The Magnificent Uganda - Rwanda Tour - African Valley

The Magnificent Uganda – Rwanda Tour

Overview

This 18-day Uganda and Rwanda tour takes you to the most prized game parks and tourist hot spots in the region namely Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Parc National de Volcanoes in Rwanda, Lake Kivu, and Lake Mburo National Park. In these parks and tourist places you will enjoy fantastic game drives and boat launches, memorable primate encounters, nature walks and beautiful scenery. The tour does not miss out on the memorial sites in Kigali and an experience at the Equator.

Exquisite and evocative, East Africa’s mountain gorilla troops always dance to their own beat. Each is different, and showcase contrasts in size, social structure, behavior, and emotion. On this luxury gorilla trekking safari, you will visit three distinctive troops in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. With luxurious accommodation perched high above the canopy, this is an immersive 17-night itinerary is full of gorilla subtleties and wildlife complexities.

Safari Highlights

  • The thrill of trekking Mountain Gorillas in the challenging forest terrain and the humbling experience of coming face to face with them as they feed, play, rest and bond with their young
  • Learning about the great work of the American primatologist (Dian Fossey) who pioneered the initiatives to protect and conserve Mountain Gorillas in the volcanic mountains.
  • Trekking and watching the delightful Chimpanzees and Golden monkeys as they make acrobatic maneuvers in the tree branches
  • Enjoying game drives in the region’s best national game reserves
  • Being amazed by the wealth of knowledge the former forest people (the Batwa) have on native medicinal plants; hunting and gathering; trapping animals; and predicting the weather.
  • Watching the exhilarating colourful cultural gala of the Rwandese people at Iby’iwachu cultural village
  • Learning about the unique pastoral life and rich cultural heritage of the Karimojong people
  • Viewing the awesome scenic features of the volcanic landscapes and crater lakes
  • Listening to heartrending accounts of the astonishing genocide that occurred in Rwanda in the late 1990s.

Activity Schedule

Day 1: Kigali City tour & transfer to Akagera National Park
Day 2: Full day Game drives & overnight in Kigali
Day 3: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park via Butera Genocide Memorial
Day 4: Chimpanzee trek in Nyungwe Forest
Day 5: Canopy walk & transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 6: Golden Monkey trek & Iby’wachu cultural village
Day 7: Dian Fossey / Bisoke Volcanoe hike & transfer to Bwindi
Day 8: Gorilla trek & Batwa cultural experience
Day 9: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth & game drive in Ishasha sector
Day 10: Game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park & transfer to Kibale Forest
Day 11: Chimpanzee trek & Bigodi Swamp walk
Day 12: Transfer to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary
Day 13: Rhino trek & transfer to Murchison Falls National Park
Day 14: Game drive & Boat launch
Day 15: Transfer to Kidepo National Park, Evening game drive
Day 16: Full day game drives
Day 17: Visit Karamojong community
Day 18: Transfer to Kampala





Safari Itinerary


Day 1: Kigali City Tour & Transfer to Akagera National Park

You will have breakfast and set out to visit the prominent memorial sites in the city of Rwanda before transferring to the Volcanoes National Park. These will include the Genocide memorial sites where thousands of innocent people lost their lives during the genocide of the mid 1990s are buried, the former residence of President Habyarimana now a Presidential Palace Museum and the Nyamata church from where people who had gathered for refuge were brutally killed. In these places you will listen to the horrendous narratives of how people were cruelly put to death and learn about the history of the country from the colonial periods through to the present time. You will have lunch and transfer to Akagera National Park.

Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.

Day 2: Full Day Game Drives & Overnight in Kigali

After an early breakfast, you will embark on a morning game drive. In a circuit you will visit different lakes where you will see buffaloes and elephants drinking from the water ponds and various species of birds including the Egyptian goose and Fish eager. You will have a picnic lunch in the park then continue with the hills game drive where you will see; impalas, zebras, bush bucks, water bucks, topis, oribis, baboons, giraffes, cape elands and more.

En route you will go through the beautiful rolling hills to the northern exit of the park from where you will transfer to Kigali for dinner and overnight or to the Airport for your departure flight.

Day 3: Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park via Butera Genocide Memorial

You will have breakfast and travel to Nyungwe Forest National Park. En-route you will visit the Butare Museum, Murambi Memorial and Nyanza Palace to learn about the history of the Rwanda and its people, listen to the horrendous tales of the genocide in which more than one million people were brutally killed and pay tribute to the victims.

You will check in at the lodge of your booking near the Park for some rest before going out for a tour of the adjacent Tea factory to see how the locally grown tea is processed to become one of the finest products Rwanda exports.

You will later return to your lodge for Dinner and overnight. 

Day 4: Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest

You will have an early breakfast and report to the Park Headquarters for a briefing on Chimpanzee tracking rules before setting out with guides to find the Chimpanzees. The trekking of Chimpanzees is for 2 hours. You will return to the lodge for lunch and some rest setting out to trek other primates such as Golden monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Angola colobus, Silver monkey, Hamlyn’s Monkey, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, and Olive Baboon among others.

You will also see various types of birds in the verdant flora of this ancient forest.

You will there after return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Canopy Walk & Transfer to Volcanoes

You will have an early breakfast and go for the famous 2 hour Nyungwe Forest Canopy walk. The only one of the Kind in East Africa, the Canopy Walk is one of the most thrilling Rwanda adventures one ought to do while on a safari in Rwanda. The walkway is suspended 50 meters in the air on big trees and stretches over a steep and deep valley across a massive forest cover offering breathtaking views across the misty forest and sightings,  at eye-level, of a number of unique wildlife inhabiting the canopies including birds, butterflies, and several monkey species. The Canopy walk is an experience next to trekking Gorillas if you have the guts to do it.

You will after the Canopy walk transfer to Volcanoes National Park. 

Day 6: Golden Monkey Trek in Volcanoes National Park & Iby’wachu cultural village

You will have breakfast and move to the Park head quarters for a briefing on the

Golden monkey tracking rules before going out to track them in the forest. The trek takes 1– 4 hours and you have one hour to stay with the Golden monkeys once sighted. In the afternoon you will visit the Iby’wachu cultural village where you will learn about the fascinating culture of the Rwandese people depicted through folk songs, storytelling, music, dance, and drama.

Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge. 

Day 7: Dian Fossey / Bisoke Volcano Hike & Transfer to Bwindi

After an early Magnificent Uganda Rwanda Tour breakfast, you will be taken either to hike Mount Bisoke 3,711m above sea level or visit the Dian Fossey Centre to pay tribute to the famous American Primatologist (Dian Fossey) who pioneered the initiatives to protect and conserve the endangered Mountain Gorillas. The Bisoke Volcano has two stunning cones that were formed after the volcano eruption of 1957 and contains an amazing crater Lake (Ngezi) about 11km from the summit. A walk around the volcanic cones gives you a stunning view of the Virunga ranges in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The hike takes about 7 hours after which you will cross over to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda.  

Day 8: Gorilla Trekking & Batwa Cultural Experience

You will have an early breakfast and be driven to the Park Headquarters for a briefing on the rues of Gorilla trekking. After the briefing, you will start the trek in thick jungle with your guides to find the Gorillas. Trekking gorillas in Bwindi- Uganda is quite challenging as it involves moving over rugged terrain of steep slopes and valleys, often wet and muddy but very lively with rich forest sounds. The trek takes 2 – 8 hours and you have one hour to stay with the Gorillas once sighted. In the evening you can either go for a community walk among the Batwa people who used to live in the Bwindi forest before it was gazetted as a National Park.

You will learn about their life and culture as a forest people and be amazed by the wealth of knowledge they have on native medicinal plants; hunting and gathering; trapping animals; and predicting the weather. 

Day 9: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth & Game drive in Ishasha Sector

After breakfast we drive to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.  This part of the park is famous for its tree climbing lions which you will see resting on the branches of Fig trees as they scan for kobs in the neighbouring mating grounds, their favourite prey. You will also see a variety of other wild animals.

Dinner and overnight will at the lodge of your booking. 

Day 10: Game drive in Queen & Transfer to Kibale Forest

We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park in search of lions, elephants, leopards, Uganda kob, giant forest hog and solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for viewing the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda kobs. You will have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range.

You will return to the lodge for lunch and later go for a boat launch along the Kazinga channel whose shores habour a profusion of water animals and birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others.

You will later transfer to Kibale Forest National Park. Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking. 

Day 11: Chimpanzee Trekking & Bigodi Swamp Walk

After breakfast you will go for chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park, where the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa is exceptionally represented. The most famous of its 13 species is the Chimpanzee known to be a delightful ape. It is also a home of species like the rare I’Hoest’s monkey, the black and white Colobus, Blue monkey, Grey cheeked mangabey, Red tailed monkey, Olive baboon among others.

The walk takes 2-3 hours after which you will return to your lodge for lunch. In the afternoon you will go for a guided nature walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary or visit the beautiful Crater lakes region for a picturesque view of the breathtaking scenery.

The sanctuary offers great birding opportunities and nature walks. Bigodi is also a rich cultural heritage site where you can mix with the local people to learn about their traditional activities and lifestyles.

Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking. 

Day 12: Transfer to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

You will have breakfast and transfer to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in the famous Luwero Triangle area. This Magnificent Uganda – Rwanda Tour journey will take 6-7 hours through the savannah grasslands dotted with lots of banana & Tea plantations, traditional homesteads and picturesque landscapes.

You will arrive in the later afternoon and spend the rest of the day resting or go for a community walk to interact with the local people in this area. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking. 

Day 13: Rhino Trekking & Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

After your breakfast, you will set off to track white rhinos. The trek will be for one hour after which we shall continue the journey to Murchison Falls National Park with another stopover for lunch in Masindi town, arriving in the late afternoon.

Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking. 

Day 14: Game viewing & Transfer to Kitgum Town

You will wake up very early and set off at 6.30am for a sunrise game drive in the Nyamsika plateau to see the Cape buffaloes, Rothschild’s giraffes, Uganda kob, hartebeest and waterbucks. You may also spot oribi, bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, shy sitatunga, bush duiker, warthog and bush pig plus large carnivores including lions, leopards and spotted hyenas. Chimpanzees and olive baboons head the list of six species of primates found in the park. Crocodiles and hippos will be seen along the banks of the Nile River.

Some of the more common birds that can be seen include goliath heron, Egyptian geese, pelican, bee-eaters, kingfishers, hornbill, cormorant, saddle-bill stork and the rare shoebill stork. You will return to your lodge for lunch and some rest before you set off in the afternoon for a boat launch on the placid Victoria Nile, upstream, to the base of the falls. En-route you will see hippos, crocodiles, water buck and a wide variety of birds like the rare shoebill stork.

The boat stops just tens of meters from the “Devil’s Cauldron” for pictures to be taken of the photogenic and majestic Murchison Falls. You will then set off for Kidepo National Park with a night stopover in Kitgum Town.

Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.

Day 15: Transfer to Kidepo National Park, Evening Game Drive

You will have an early breakfast and continue the journey to Kidepo Valley National Park. This journey is on a rough road and will take 4 – 7 hours depending on the weather conditions which determine the state of the roads in this part of the country.

Magnificent Uganda – Rwanda Tour Time allowing you will, upon arrival, be taken for a game drive in the park.

Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.

Day 16: Full Day Game Drives

You will wake up early for a game drive in the park to catch up with the early predators that will be returning to their habitats after a night hunt. In Kidepo Valley National Park you will find zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, and leopards and the only place in Uganda where you can find the cheetah and ostrich. You’ll return to the lodge for a late breakfast, have a rest and go off in the mid afternoon for a nature walk.

You will return to your lodge in the late afternoon for dinner and overnight. 

Day 17: Cultural tour of Karamojong Community

You will be taken on a guided cultural village tour where you will learn about the nomadic lifestyle of the Karamajong people. During this cultural tour you will visit the Karamajong homesteads (manyattas) and see the kraals of cattle, the traditional costumes, stools, spears, headdress, knives, bows and arrows, jewelry, grinding stones and utensils all made locally by the natives. In the evening you will be taken for a sunset game drive to explore more of Kidepo Valley National Park.

Day 18: Transfer to Kampala

You will set off after breakfast on this Magnificent Uganda – Rwanda Tour 10 hour journey to Kampala, passing through the towns of Moroto, Soroti, Mbale and Jinja. This journey is through an area completely different on terrain and flora from the one in western Uganda because of its flatness and not so lush vegetation. In Jinja you will make a stop over to visit the source of the Nile River from where it starts its journey to the Mediterranean Sea.

You will arrive in Kampala in the evening for a well deserved rest.

Dinner and overnight will be at a hotel of your booking.

END OF SAFARI


Requirements for this Safari:

  • Uganda & Rwanda Visas which can be got on arrival at the Airports
  • Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Golden Monkey trekking permits (paid for in advance through our company)
  • Travel & Health insurance arranged for from your home country
  • Proof of Yellow fever vaccination (certificate)
  • Physical fitness

Cost Includes

  • Airport transfers
  • Transport in a 4×4 safari vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking driver guide
  • Fuel for the whole trip
  • Accommodation and meal plan as per the itinerary
  • All park entrance fees
  • Drinking water while in the vehicle

Cost excludes

  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Chimp trekking permit
  • Golden Monkey trekking permit
  • Pre and post tour accommodation in Uganda or Rwanda
  • International airfares
  • Uganda & Rwanda Visa
  • Items of personal nature such as tips, drinks, and laundry

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