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Uganda Rwanda safari tour Leopard, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Uganda Rwanda Safari to Gorillas, Primates & BIG-5 - 11 Days

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Uganda Rwanda Safari to Gorillas, Primates & BIG-5 Wildlife - 11 Days

This 11 day Uganda Rwanda safari allows you two gorilla treks (tracking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda), chimps trek in Kibale, golden monkey trackin in volcanoes National Park, BIG-5 wildlife sightings in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

It traces the western Rift Valley in the heart of Africa, starting with game viewing on the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park - elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, and leopard.

In Ishasha go on the hunt for the tree-climbing lions lounging on old fig trees. See the rich wildlife and array of birds on the Kazinga Channel.

Seeing some of the last remaining 880 mountain gorillas in the world is a fantastic experience and this safari takes you to three gorilla parks – Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda and Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda. It offers an opportunity to track gorillas five times, twice in Bwindi, once in Mgahinga/Nkuringo, and twice in Parc National des Volcans.

Overview of the Uganda Rwanda Safari:

  • Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe, drive to Kibale National Park, afternoon guided primate walk in Bigodi Wetland
  • Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
  • Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Game Drive in afternoon
  • Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park - game drives and boat safari along Kazinga Channel looking out for lions, leopards, hippo, elephant, hyenas, buffalo, etc
  • Day 5: Guided Forest walk in Maramagambo, game drives in Ishasha Sector for tree climbing lions and other wildlife.
  • Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, guided community walk to Batwa Pygmies
  • Day 7: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 8: Transfer to Rwanda
  • Day 9: Gorilla Trekking in Parc National des Volcans
  • Day 10: Golden monkeys tracking in Volcanoes National Park 
  • Day 11: Tour of Kigali, end tour.
Itinerary

Detailed Itinerary for Uganda Rwanda Safari to Gorillas, Primates & BIG-5 Wildlife - 11 Days

Day 1: Kibale National Park, afternoon guided primates trek

Briefing on the safari before we drive westwards towards Fort Portal to the Kibale Forest National Park (about 5 hours).

Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan Villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good photo opportunities.

As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.

You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a terrific area for birds. This rural Ugandan town (Fort Portal) is locally famous for its weaving and basketry, and we can spend some time briefly to examine some of this local art.

Fort Portal is a small and attractive city. The fort was built between 1891 and 1893 and named after Sir Gerald Portal, the British Consul General of Zanzibar who arrived in Uganda in 1892 to formalise the protectorate of Uganda. He died of malaria a few months after the fort was completed.

In the afternoon we visit a nearby forest swamp that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. At the eastern edge of Kibale Forest is Bigodi Wetland sanctuary which is maintained by the local community. You will expect birds like the great blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bushbucks, bush pigs amongst others.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge| Primate Lodge Kibale

Moderate: Isunga Lodge| Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (self contained cottages)

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (shared bathroom rooms)

Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park  

Assemble at Kanyankyu River camp at 08:00 hours to go for the most popular activity in this park which is chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzees are man’s closest cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate species. More primates like black and white columbus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, lttle greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee-eater and mammals like elephants can be seen in this walk.

Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.

Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge| Crater Safari Lodge | Primate Lodge Kibale

Moderate: Isunga Lodge| Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (self contained cottages)

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (shared bathroom rooms)

Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Game drive, wildlife safari

Either a day’s walk in the foothills of the Rwenzoris, one of the great mountain ranges of the world, looking out for its forbidding peaks in the distance, or drive straight to Queen Elizabeth.

The game seen will depend on the season; the Kasenyi plains are good for lion and the Mweya peninsula for a variety of animals.

Shift to Queen Elizabeth National Park this morning (about 3 hours driving). Leaving through Fort Portal town, you turn south and early this afternoon enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains - the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the south-west by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Congo Parc Du Virunga.

You will expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda kob, as well as topi, elephant and lion, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon enjoy a game drive in the northern part of the park, visiting the Baboon Cliff famous for its nice scenery, and good views of the shadows of the mountains of the moon – the Rwenzoris. The drive to the lodge leads through large expanses of savannah grasslands and plenty of wildgame

Up-market/Luxury: Deluxe Tent/Deluxe room at Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge

Mid-range or moderate facility: Ihamba Safari Lodge | Bush Lodge (rooms) | Buffalo Safari Resort | Enganzi Lodge

Budget price: Bush Lodge (tents)

Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park, game drive/ wildlife safari, boat safari on Kazinga Channel

We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park on the Kasenyi Track in search of lions, elephants, solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for opportunities of viewing the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kobs. We have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range.

In the afternoon we will go for a launch trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at a mere feet away from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others.

Up-market/Luxury: Deluxe Tent/Deluxe room at Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge

Mid-range or moderate facility: Ihamba Safari Lodge | Bush Lodge (rooms) | Buffalo Safari Resort or Enganzi Lodge

Budget price: Bush Lodge (tents)

 

Day 5: Tree climbing lions in Ishasha & Maramagambo Forest Bush Walk

Another early start for a bush walk through the Maramagambo Forest.

This is one of the largest forests in Uganda, and forms a habitat for a number of primates and forest dwellers. Due to its location, Maramagambo also has a great diversity of butterflies and birds. The walk culminates in a visit to volcanic caves that are home to thousands of bats. Pythons are often observed in the crevices of the bats cave as they prey on bats. In this walk you will see the picturesque blue lake Kimeranjojo which got its name after swallowing an elephant. Other trails will lead you to the Crater Lake and habitats of the wild chimps and forest bird.

In the afternoon you will proceed to Ishasha Sector. Drive along the deep and wide dry craters that are occupied by savanna grasses and acacia. The drive takes you through the unique western rift valley escarpment and the (southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park) Ishasha sector where you will take on yet another game drive in search of tree climbing lions in the afternoon and evening. 

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market/Luxury: Ishasha Wilderness Campsite

Mid-range: Enjojo Lodge | Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp

Budget: @ the River

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park & Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After an early morning game drive, we continue to  Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Bwindi’s chief claim to fame is its resident, habituated population of mountain gorillas. These spectacular primates now number only around 650, most of which live either at Bwindi or across the border in Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans. (Bwindi holds some 280 – 320 gorillas, in 15 groups.)

This ancient rainforest has 120 mammal species, perhaps more than any other national park in the country except Queen Elizabeth. Primates include L’Hoest’s, red-tailed, blue and colobus monkeys and the olive baboon. Antelope include bushbuck and 5 species of forest-dependent duiker.

Birders come to Bwindi to seek the 23 Albertine Rift endemics which thrive here. Of those, 14 are found nowhere else in Uganda. Some 200 species of butterfly have been recorded in the park and the colourful clouds of butterflies that congregate at bushpig wallows is a marvelous spectacle.

In the afternoon, a guided community walk to the indigenous Bwindi forest inhabitants, the Batwa Pygmies. It's an all-exciting experience to learn and live through how they carry on life in their original community.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Community Campground

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today enjoy gorilla tracking in Bwindi. After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip - gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day.

We trek the gorillas through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When the gorillas are sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.

While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles over at least 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterfly, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 types of mammal including 10 primates.

The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.

Bwindi is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Community Campground

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8: Transfer to Rwanda

Take breakfast and depart for Rwanda. You will cross the border via Kisoro then clear at the boarder - Rwanda is 1 hour behind Uganda.

Located in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Parc des Volcans is home to the steep slopes of this wonderful mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which cuddles evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upscale level: Five Volcanoes Lodge | Mountain Gorilla View Lodge 

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge | Kinigi Guest House

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9: Gorilla Trekking in Parc National des Volcans

You can choose to go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans (subject to permit availability at the time of booking).

Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families however are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upscale level: Five Volcanoes Lodge | Mountain Gorilla View Lodge 

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge | Kinigi Guest House

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10: Parc National des Volcans | Golden Monkey Trekking & Kigali

Have early breakfast at the lodge and enter the forest in search for golden monkeys and other primates. The trek will expose you to excellent birding and other primates like colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys among others.

Day 11: Tour of Kigali, end of tour

Depart from the park in the afternoon to Kigali.

You have a Kigali city tour today and visit the Genocide Memorial Museum before you transfer to the airport for your onward international flight. The city tour includes the old town (Nyamirambo) and Muslim quarter, the new handicraft village and other shops, the Batwa pottery and dance centre and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial.

The memorial is very moving – the tour takes a couple of hours - and will be of interest to anyone who has spent some time in this enchanting country.

After, you will be transferred to Kigali Airport for your flight back home.

 

 

Accommodation

Upscale accommodation:

Night 1&2: Baker's Lodge or Paraa Safari Lodge

Night 3 & 4:  Kyaninga Lodge or Crater Safari Lodge or Ndali Lodge

Night 5& 6: Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge

Nights 7& 8: Buhoma Lodge or Mahogany Springs Lodge or Chameleon Hill Lodge 
(Upgrade to Gorilla Forest Camp or Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)

Night 9&10: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or Five Volcanoes Lodge (Upgrades possible to Virunga Lodge or Sabinyo Silverback Lodge or Bisate Lodge)

Midrange (Moderate) accommodation:

Night 1&2: Murchison River Lodge or Fort Murchison Lodge

Night 3 & 4:  Isunga Lodge or Kibale Forest Camp

Night 5& 6: Ihamba Lakeside Safari Resort or Bush Lodge or Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Nights 7& 8: Engagi Lodge or Bwindi Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Mist Camp 

Night 9&10: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Lower Budget accommodation:

Night 1&2: Tents Murchison River Lodge or Fort Murchison Lodge or Red Chilli Rest Camp

Night 3 & 4:  Tents at Kibale Forest Camp or Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Night 5& 6: Tents at Bush Lodge or Simba Safari camp or Pumba Cottages 

Nights 7& 8: Buhoma Community Restcamp or Rushaga Gorilla Camp  

Night 9&10: Kinigi Tourist Guesthouse or Muhabura Hotel

Inclusions

Uganda Rwanda Safari to Gorillas, Primates & BIG-5 Wildlife - 11 Days

Tour cost Includes:

  • All tour activities as indicated above
  • 1 gorilla  trek permit per person in Uganda and 1 in Rwanda (you could opt for only one)
  • All chimps trek permits
  • Golden monkeys trek
  • All boat trip fees
  • Game drives and boat safari
  • Accommodation in hotels (with breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
  • Sightseeing as noted in the trip itinerary
  • Park fees
  • Entry fees
  • Private Ground transportation using a safari land cruiser with a lift-up roof
  • Bottled drinking mineral water

Excluded

  • Tips for drivers and other staff
  • Bank charges involved
  • Flight tickets and departure taxes
  • Travel documentation (visas)
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Optional excursion
  • Beverages other than mineral water in the vehicle

Book Confident

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