13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

Uganda Gorilla Safaris

The 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda is one of the popular combined tours in featuring these two destinations. The safari begins and ends in Kampala Uganda and features gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda that is Bwindi and Volcanoes National Parks, Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park and Kyambura Gorge, the wild game viewing including the Big five encounter in a combination of Ziwa Sanctuary, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park, recreational boat rides along River Nile, Kazinga Channel, Twin lakes of Rwanda and Lake Bunyonyi along with a historical tour to the source of the Nile whose discovery dates back in 1862.

chimpanzee-trekking-in-the-kyambura-gorge


Day 1 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park. Track the southern white Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Day 2 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Do morning game drive, Nile launch cruise in the afternoon and hike to the top of the falls

Day 3 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Drive to Kibale Forest National Park. Explore the rich countryside

Day 4 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Do chimpanzee tracking in the morning & Bigodi wetland walk in the afternoon

Day 5 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park & explore the Kazinga Channel boat cruise in the afternoon along with evening game drive along the channel track

Day 6 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Undertake a morning game drive in the Kasenyi plains and afternoon chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge

Day 7 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Do a game drive in Ishasha sector en route in search of tree climbing lions

Day 8 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Do Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & relax at the lodge

Day 9 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Transfer to Rwanda via the fascinating Kigezi Highlands dubbed the Switzerland of Africa. Do a boat ride on the twin lakes upon arrival in Rwanda

Day 10 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Undertake a mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s volcanoes National Park and transfer to Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda)

Day 11 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Do Island hopping on Lake Bunyonyi & boat cruise and then drive to Lake Mburo National Park.

Day 12 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Do a morning game walking safari and drive to Kampala. Make a stop at Uganda Equator crossing Kayabwe for amazing photo shoots and water experiments

Day 13 of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda: Visit Jinja – the source of the world’s longest Nile River. Visit Ssezibwa Falls, Mabira forest, Reptile Village boat cruise to the source of the Nile



Day 1: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park. Track the southern white Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

After breakfast, you embark on the transfer to Murchison Falls National Park 311km about 5 hours drive from Kampala – Country’s capital. The drive takes you through the impressive landscapes of Nakasongora with impressive savannah vegetation.  You branch off at Nakitooma from the main road for 7km to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Headquarters for white Rhino tracking. The sanctuary shelters a count of fifteen (15) southern white Rhinos which are not found anywhere else in Uganda. Traversing the savannah stretches of Ziwa in search of the Rhoinos and then spending over one hour with them is a thrilling encounter and marks the beginning iof the Big five encounter on your safari. Retreat from the encounter, settle for lunch at Kabalega dinner and then proceed to Murchison Falls National Park. If you are sleeping in the northern section of the park, you undertake a an evening game drive as you connect to the park for relaxation dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge / Bakers Lodge

Midrange / Standard: Murchison River Lodge – Thatched Safari Tent / Pakuba Safari Lodge / Fort Murchison

Budget / Basic: Heritage Safari Lodge

Day 2: Do morning game drive, Nile launch cruise in the afternoon and hike to the top of the falls

The rolling open savannah stretches of Murchison Falls National Park welcome you in this early morning to offer the true wonders of the wild. The game drive in Murchison is a magical wonder where the herds of elephants and Buffaloes spread in the open landscape for grazing, the towering necks of the Rothschild Giraffes – the world’s tallest mammal stretching to pick the leaves of the scattered acacia, the brownish color of the antelopes including the Kobs, Oribis, Waterbucks, Jackson’s Hartebeest standing slightly above the tall savannah grassland while the Carnivores including the lions roaming in search of their delicious natural given food. The activity lasts 3 – 4 hours after which you connect back to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. You gather at Paraa Jetty in the afternoon, for the boat departing at 2pm to the bottom of the falls. The 2 hour launch cruise on the world’s longest Nile River is very magical with possible sights of aquatics like Nile crocodiles, the Hippos, water birds like Shoebill stork along with the grazers on the banks drinking water.  You disembark from the boat upon reaching the bottom of the falls hiking along the narrow path following the course of the Nile River as it clashes its head on the ancient impermeable rocks. The sights and sounds of the Nile River passing through a less than 7m ravine falling 43m below to what has been termed as the Devils Cauldron forming a thunderous roar marked by a trade mark rainbow. Retreat from the activity and connect to the lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight. ‘

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge / Bakers Lodge

Midrange / Standard: Murchison River Lodge – Thatched Safari Tent / Pakuba Safari Lodge / Fort Murchison

Budget / Basic: Heritage Safari Lodge

Day 3: Drive to Kibale Forest National Park. Explore the rich countryside

Following breakfast, you embark on the drive to Kibale National Park 441km about 8 – 9 hours drive. You enjoy the rich countryside landscapes Masindi, Hoima and Kagadi before approaching Kyenjojo and Fort Portal. Connect to the lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight.

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Primate Lodge – Luxury Cottages / Ndali Lodge

Midrange / Standard: Kibale Forest Camp – Safari Tent / Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Budget / Basic: Rwenzori View Guesthouse

Day 4: Do chimpanzee tracking in the morning & Bigodi wetland walk in the afternoon

After early morning breakfast, embark on the memorable Chimpanzee trekking encounter in the natural habitat of primate Capital of the world – the Kibale Forest National Park. The Park is proud of 13 primate species including the world endangered species of the Chimpanzees which have been fully habituated increasing the chance of encountering them to 90%. The chimp trekking encounter in the primates Capital starts at Kanyanchu tourism center at 8:00am local time in the morning and the experienced Uganda Wildlife Authority Park rangers are dedicated to lead you throughout the whole rewarding processes of trekking the Chimps in their natural Habitat. The trek exposes you to stunning flora, other primate species including black and white colobus monkey and birds before meeting face to face with the chimps. The Chimpanzees will lure you in a state of amazement as they swing through the branches, make pant hooting calls, play with each other, and imitate your body language along with other features that will make your one full hour with them a memorable experience of its own. The activity can last 2 – 5 hours after which you transfer to Bigodi wetland Sanctuary for an afternoon wetland walk. The Sanctuary is noted to be the most successful community tourism initiative in the whole of Uganda with a blend of culture and wetland conservation where a range of primates including Black and White colobus, the Swamp dwelling Sitatunga antelope and 138 species of birds are known to thrive. The walk can last 2 hours after which you connect to the lodge for relaxation dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Primate Lodge – Luxury Cottages / Ndali Lodge

Midrange / Standard: Kibale Forest Camp – Safari Tent / Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Budget / Basic: Rwenzori View Guesthouse

Day 5: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park & explore the Kazinga Channel boat cruise in the afternoon along with evening game drive along the channel track

After a relaxed breakfast, embark on the drive Queen Elizabeth National Park 157km about 2 – 3 hours drive excluding the stops en route. You drive through the Ndali – Kasenda Crater field one of the Uganda’s explosion craters with amazing scenic views and proceed to make a stop on the foot hills of Rwenzori Mountains – the legendary mountains of the moon rising to 5,109m above sea level with snow capped peaks. You can visit the Rwenzori Art foundation – the only bronze casting center in the whole of Africa to explore the impressive sculptures displayed in the gallery and can also participate in the casting process. Proceed to Queen Elizabeth National Park for lunch and an afternoon boat ride along the 45km long Kazinga Channel. The cruise on the channel departs at Mweya jetty at 2pm and it lasts for 2 hours with possibilities of exploring the aquatic species like the Hippos and Nile crocodiles. The wild game like elephants, the Buffaloes and a range of antelopes drinking on the channel shores may not be missed. Upon returning from the cruise, you undertake a game drive along the channel track as you connect to the lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury:  Mweya Safari Lodge / Kyambura Game Lodge

Midrange / Standard:  Enganzi Game Lodge / Bush Lodge / Marafiki Safari Lodge

Budget / Basic:  Pumba Safari Cottages

Day 6: Undertake a morning game drive in the Kasenyi plains and afternoon chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge

You wake up early in the morning and embark on the extensive game drive in the savannah plains of Kasenyi where the magical possible sights of a range of wild game are high. The activity commences at 7am if you slept outside park and can start earlier for those who would sleep inside. The game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park presents opportunities for exploring a range of wild game including the Elephants, Buffaloes, Lions, Leopards, Spotted Hyenas, Side stripped Jackals, the Uganda Kobs, the defassa waterbuck, the Bushbuck among other species. The park features a count of over 600 bird species making it the number one in Uganda in terms of the bird species count. The game drive lasts 3 – 4 hours after which you retreat to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. In the afternoon, you connect to Kyambura Gorge to catch up with chimpanzee trekking departing at 2pm. The activity starts with briefing after which you set off to the jungle in search of the chimpanzees that thrive in the 100m deep gorge with verdant lush tropical forest below sea level. The magical gorge has been dubbed the Valley of Apes. The Chimpanzee trekking lasts 2 – 5 hours with one hour allocated for your moment with the chimpanzees. Viewing the chimpanzees as they socialise, forage, munch fruit, make pant hooting calls among others is exciting and would definitely make part of your safari memories. Retire for overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury:  Mweya Safari Lodge / Kyambura Game Lodge

Midrange / Standard:  Enganzi Game Lodge / Bush Lodge / Marafiki Safari Lodge

Budget / Basic:  Pumba Safari Cottages

Day 7: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Do a game drive in Ishasha sector en route in search of tree climbing lions

Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the remarkable home of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. You undertake a game drive en route in Ishasha sector in search of tree climbing lions along with other wild game. The savannah stretches of Ishasha feature a range of fig trees that have low lying branches making it suitable for the lion’s to climb.  The drive in Ishasha sector offers you chances of exploring them and other wild game like Elephants, Water bucks, Topis among others after which you proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for relaxation, dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Chameleon Hill Lodge   / Buhoma Lodge

Midrange / Standard:  Gorilla Mist Camp / Gorilla Valley Lodge

Budget / Basic:  Broadbill Forest Camp

Day 8: Do Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & relax at the lodge

You gather at the respective gorilla trekking headquarters for briefing and gorilla family allocation at 8am. The walk through the jungle is a fascinating one as it involves hiking through the verdant forested hill sides with dense shrubs and high forest canopy, traversing the steep slopes up and down, crossing the streams among other natural features which are quite challenging hence justifying its naming as an Impenetrable forest. The time with the gorillas is a historical one as you come face to face with these critically endangered apes where only 880 are known to be left in the world with Bwindi alone sheltering a minimum of 400. The activity commences tend to last 2 – 8 hours and the actual moment with the gorillas is limited to one hour for conservation reasons. Exploring the gentle giants with their shy faces, gigantic bodies, dense fur and silver patch for the adult males is exciting and memorable. Retire from the activity and connect back to the lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Chameleon Hill Lodge   / Buhoma Lodge

Midrange / Standard:  Gorilla Mist Camp / Gorilla Valley Lodge

Budget / Basic:  Broadbill Forest Camp

Day 9: Transfer to Rwanda via the fascinating Kigezi Highlands dubbed the Switzerland of Africa. Do a boat ride on the twin lakes upon arrival in Rwanda

After a relaxed breakfast, you embark on the transfer to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. You drive along the fascinating Kigezi Highlands whose terrain and the nature of climate that is similar to that of Switzerland have earned them a dub as the Switzerland of Africa. You are welcomed by the Virunga Mountain chain stretching from Uganda through Rwanda to Congo. The count of eight (8) mountains namely; Muhabura, Gahinga, Sabyinyo, Bisoke, Karisimbi, Mikeno, Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira present one of the best scenic views in the world. Upon arrival in Rwanda, you embark on the boat trip on the twin Lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo on the foothills of the Volcano for evening recreation before retiring for relaxation, dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury: Mount Gorilla View Lodge / Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge / Virunga Lodge

Midrange / Standard:   Hotel La Palme / Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Budget / Basic:  Muhabura Hotel

Day 10: Undertake a mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s volcanoes National Park and transfer to Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda)

The Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda is somehow relaxed compared to that of Uganda. The terrain is not all that challenging except for a few groups and the vegetation is short and not very intact like that of Bwindi thus presenting clearer viewing opportunities. You gather at Kinigi Park Headquarters to attend briefing at 8am. The earlier arrival offers you chances of enjoying the hot cup of the fine Rwandan coffee while being entertained by the traditional Kinyarwanda performances. You set off to the jungle in the company of the armed ranger guides who are determined and willing to give a themed interpretation of the range of attractive features that might come on your way. The trekking can last between 2 – 8 hours with one hour of viewing experience after which you connect to the starting point and transfer to Uganda and have an evening relaxation on Lake Bunyonyi.

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury:  Birdnest @Lake Bunyonyi Resort

Midrange / Standard:   Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort

Budget / Basic:  Byoona Amagara Island Retreat

Day 11: Do Island hopping on Lake Bunyonyi & boat cruise and then drive to Lake Mburo National Park.

Lake Bunyonyi features a count of 29 Islands and stands as the second deepest in Africa after Lake Tanganyika. Its exploration at the sun rise is magical and rewarding. You take a local engine wooden boat ride exploring the lake where you also disembark and take a walk on one or two Islands exploring their heritage and beauty. From the cruise, you embark on the drive to Lake Mburo National Park 199km about 4 hours drive exploring the countryside landscapes of Ntungamo and the range lands of Ankole. Upon arrival, you undertake an evening game drive and visit to the Ankole Cow Conservation Association Center for wildlife and heritage encounter respectively. Retire for dinner, relaxation and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury:  Mihingo Lodge

Midrange / Standard:   Rwakobo Rock

Budget / Basic:  Eagles Nest

Day 12: Do a morning game walking safari and drive to Kampala. Make a stop at Uganda Equator crossing Kayabwe for amazing photo shoots and water experiments

Connect to Rwonyo Tourism Center to get the armed ranger guide after which you start the game walking safari in the savannah stretches of Lake Mburo National Park. The walking safari lasts 2 hours and offers you an opportunity to explore the amazing wild game views at a close distance. The wild game in Lake Mburo National Park including Rothschild Giraffes, the Impala, Burchell’s Zebra, the Elands, the Topis, Warthogs, Deffassa waterbucks, Buffaloes among others may be explored. Retreat from the activity and embark on the transfer to Kampala 240km about 3 – 4 hours drive making a stop at Uganda Equator crossing Kayabwe for amazing photo shoots and water experiments to justify the geographical divide between the north and southern hemispheres. Proceed to Kampala for relaxation, dinner and overnight

Accommodation

Upmarket / Luxury:  Kampala Sheraton Hotel

Midrange / Standard:    Cassia Lodge / Humura Resort

Budget / Basic:  Nexus Resort / Buziga Country Resort / Banda Inn

Day 13: Visit Jinja – the source of the world’s longest Nile River. Visit Ssezibwa Falls, Mabira forest, Reptile Village boat cruise to the source of the Nile

After breakfast at your lodge, you embark on the drive to Jinja. The direct transfer is 80km about 2 hours drive but series of stops will be made en route. You make a stop at Ssezibwa falls to explore the beautiful Ssezibwa falls and the heritage attached to it, Mabira Forest – one of the largest rain forests in Uganda for an impressive forest walk with possible sights of primates including the endemic Ugandan Mangabey and birds. You proceed to Jinja for lunch on one of the restaurants overlooking the Nile after which you take a thrilling boat ride to the Source of the Nile and then a reptile village visit thereafter. Retreat back to Kampala after a drive in Jinja town to mark the end of the tour.

End of the 13 Days Gorilla Safari in Uganda and Rwanda


General Safari Inclusions

  • Gorilla Permit (for gorilla trekking safaris)
  • Chimpanzee Permit (for chimpanzee trekking safaris)
  • Full Board Accommodation on Safari
  • Transportation in either 4X4 Safari Van or 4X4 Safari Land Cruiser all with Pop up roof & AC
  • Fuel
  • Professional English Speaking driver guide. Any other foreign language speaking guide can be arranged on request.
  • Entrance fees to the tourist sites including Protected areas mentioned
  • Activity fees of the tourist activities mentioned
  • Bottled water while on safari
  • Border crossing fees (for cross border safaris)

General Safari Exclusions

  • General tips for the driver guide, site guides and service staff at the lodges
  • Laundry Services
  • Other Beverages / drinks of personal nature like Alcohol
  • International Flights (Arranged on request)
  • Domestic Flights (Arranged on request)
  • Visas
  • Optional Activity fees
  • Other extras not mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Airport Transfer (Arranged on request)
  • Accommodation in Kampala or Kigali unless it is part of the Itinerary (Arranged on request)


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