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Rwanda Culture, Uganda Gorilla Trek, Wildlife Tour -7 Days

Overview
Detailed Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Rwanda Culture, Uganda Gorilla Trek, Wildlife Tour -7 Days

On this 7 Days Rwanda Uganda tour, you will visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, Trek Musanze caves, Iby'Iwacu cultural village experiences; and track mountain gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, enjoy splendid game viewing experiences  in Queen Elizabeth NP looking for lions, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hyenas, etc.

The tour is private and exclusive, only you or your privately arranged group with your safari guide.  So you can start any day.
The safari starts from Kigali city or airport but can also start from Entebbe airport in Uganda.
Transportation is by a 4x4 safari customized land cruiser with a pop-up roof for enhanced game viewing experiences.

  • Day 1:  Kigali city tour, genocide memorial, Musanze cave experience 
  • Day 2: Iby'Iwacu cultural village experiences
  • Day 3: Twin Lakes canoe trekking, cross to Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable  National Park, Uganda
  • Day 4: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable  National Park, Uganda (you can top-up USD900 to have 4 hours with the gorillas in the gorillas habituation experience instead of the standard 1 hour)
  • Day 5: Drive to Queen Elizabeth  National Park, look for tree-climbing lions in Ishasha Sector
  • Day 6: Game drives in Queen Elizabeth  National Park, boat safari on Kazinga Channel looking for more wildlife
  • Day 7:  Drive to Entebbe International Airport  (5 hours) or Kigali Airport for departure (8 hours).
Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Kigali City Tour, Visit Genocide Memorial, Musanze cave experience, Rwanda

Your guide meets with you at your hotel in the morning or at Kigali Airport. You go through the tour program and a general brief about Uganda and Rwanda before the Kigali city tour. On the city tour we visit the Kigali Genocide memorial (at Gisozi) and other interesting places in the city.

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. It is in memory of the multitudes murdered in Rwanda´s genocide 1994. The memorial sites and centres are places of dignified remembrance for loved ones lost. It is also a place of reflection and learning for the wider community, both in Rwanda and internationally.

The Musanze Caves just opened to exploratory tourists in 2013. Located at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, the caves offer a peek into the geological history of the region, which was created by intense volcanic activity that formed the Albertine Rift Valley some 65 million years ago. Extending for a length of two kilometers and relatively easy to hike, the underground caverns provide guests with a profound understanding of the origins of the area.

The Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda Defense Forces have provided access to the caves so adventurous holiday-makers can enjoy exploring them. The floors of the caverns are paved, while the trails have stairways and walkways in place to facilitate easy movement. As you wander through the various subterranean areas, you can view intricate rock formations lit by pockets of soft sunlight, which filters through gaps in the ceiling. You might also chance to encounter some of the Rwandan bat species that have taken up residence there.

Accommodation options available

Up-market: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes Lodge (or upgrade to Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge)

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorillas Lodge | La Palme Hotel

Low Budget: Kinigi Guest House | Muhavura Lodge

Day 2: Iby’Iwacu Village Cultural Experiences

Iby’iwacu Village is located in Kinigi, close to Volcanoes National Park. Taking a trip to the village as part of your itinerary will leave you feeling as though you have stepped back in time, to when kings ruled over the kingdom of Rwanda. The village offers visitors to the country an opportunity to gain a fascinating glimpse into an age-old culture, which can extend to spending a night there to get a taste of the traditional lifestyle. Activities depend on the interests of the visitors.

As you wander through the village on a guided community walk, you will be overwhelmed by the warmth and friendliness of the local folk. They are happy to introduce you to their traditional way of life, including songs and dances accompanied by lively drumming. You can listen to “gorilla songs” sung by the well-known performer Ngayabatema (better known as Kayuku), or perhaps watch the unique dance form presented by the Intore dancers and accompanied by traditional instruments. Take a lesson from a traditional healer in how to create medicinal elixirs from local plants, grasses, and shrubs, or peek into a classroom at one of the local schools.

Accommodation options available

Up-market: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes Lodge (or upgrade to Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge)

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorillas Lodge | La Palme Hotel

Low Budget: Kinigi Guest House | Muhavura Lodge

Day 3: Canoe Trek experience on Twin Lakes, Cross to Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Have morning breakfast and then visit the beautiful region of the twin Lakes Burera and Ruhondo. You will be introduced to traditional sustainable farming methods with African vegetables and fruits, visit the local fishermen and also see the fishing competition with children from the adjacent villages.

While here, you will go a launch cruise in one of the traditional canoes and have a visit to the local witch doctors and the “snake man” and also to the convent “Foyer de Charité”.

Afterwards, a few minutes drive leads us to the Rwanda/Uganda border post of Kyanika. We cross and continue driving through amazing landscapes of the terraced Virunga region.

After the fabulous scenery drive, we will be at our overnight accommodation.

Accommodation options:

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge | Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge (or upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Forest Camp )

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

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Day 4: Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 

Today enjoy surely. After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip- Gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day. We trek 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 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.

Bwindi National Park, located in south western Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda. The area, one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa, where lowland and mountain habitats meet, contains a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs. Home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site. Bwindi is also home to several endangered bird species with very limited ranges, and acts as an important catchment area for many rivers, supplying water for agriculture in the surrounding region.

Accommodation options:

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge | Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge (or upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Forest Camp )

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

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park,  Tree Climbing Lions search in Ishasha Sector

We depart in the early morning after your breakfast to Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park.

We drive through some of the most fabulous sites with clear views of the 6 Virunga Volcanoes, Lake Bunyonyi, the terraced hills and valley of South Western Uganda. 

We go through stunning savannah grasslands as we head to the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The game densities here are high, and this region has reported some of the largest herds of Elephant anywhere in Uganda, as it is their main migration corridor between Uganda and the DRC. 

The northern circuit is known for the only tree climbing lions and your tour guide will do all it takes to ensure you see them.

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 Zaire 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.

Overnight at:

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge | Mazike Game Lodge

Medium: Ihamba Lake Safari Resort  | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge | Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Low Budget: Bush Lodge (tents) or Simba Safari Camp (tents)

Day 6: Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast we depart to 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.

As we drive through the park, expect to spot teeming herds of impala-like Uganda kob, as well as topi, elephant, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon we will go for a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at very close range 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.

Overnight at:

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge | Mazike Game Lodge

Medium: Ihamba Lake Safari Resort  | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge | Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Low Budget: Bush Lodge (tents) or Simba Safari Camp (tents)

Day 7:  Drive to Entebbe Airport or Kigali Airport for Departure  

 

 

 

Embark on your journey to Entebbe. This route travels through breathtaking scenery and delightfully rolling plantations, some of the best in Uganda.

 

 

Accommodation

 

Upscale 

Five Volcaoes Lodge 

Set in Ruhengeri, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel offers a year-round outdoor pool and sun terrace. Mosque is 600 metres away. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. All units feature a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A fridge and kettle are also featured. Free private parking is also available on site. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Musanze Caves is 6 km from Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, while Musanze Caves Exit (Underground Cave System) is 7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kigali International Airport, 83 km from Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel.

Mweya Safari Lodge

Mweya Safari Lodge is located on the ridge of the Mweya peninsula that separates Lake Edward from the Kazinga Channel. There are fantastic views over the lake and the channel. The 54 rooms are laid out along the ridge in single storey blocks. Each room has a ceiling fan, mosquito nets and en suite bathroom with bath and shower. All the rooms have their own private terrace and most look over the Kazinga Channel below. The standard rooms are quite simple and the deluxe rooms are of a good standard with air conditioning. The suites are even larger with a separate sitting area and there are now also luxury tents. The main lodge has a large swimming pool and sundeck with some steps leading down the hill to an observation point where you can sit and watch the animals coming down to the water to drink and the hippos wallowing. The dining room serves good food that switches between buffet and a la carte meals.

Buhoma Lodge

Buhoma Lodge is situated in Uganda in the idyllic Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, well known for being home to the rare and elusive mountain gorilla. From the private veranda of each cottage guests can enjoy views overlooking the forest whilst relaxing and taking in the stunning natural surrounds. Buhoma is an ideal accommodation for guests interested in gorilla trekking, being closely located to the meeting point for the treks.

There are ten comfortable cottages at Buhoma Lodge, each complete with a private veranda offering superb views of the forest. Cottages are traditionally decorated with wooden furnishings, but each is comfortable and spacious. Each cottage has en-suite facilities, and some provide bathtubs.

Meals are taken in the main, elevated lounge area, and are prepared using local ingredients to create an international cuisine. Located in the lounge, the bar is the perfect place to relax after the day's activities, or enjoy a drink around the fireplace.

Chameleon Hill Lodge

Looking out over the waters of Lake Mutanda, Chameleon Hill Lodge is one of the more Uganda's more unconventional architectural accomplishments. A mishmash of square buildings are strung along a beautiful ridge, culminating in the turret-clad reception building, with its unorthodox array of window designs.

Each building is painted in a different bold colour, adding a feeling of energy to this beautifully positioned lodge. Inside the rooms, the quirky style continues - they are decorated colourfully, but with care. Simple but comfortable, rooms are welcoming and bright.

WHY WE LIKE IT

This is a wonderful, quirky lodge, with beautiful sweeping views across Lake Mutanda. The kitchen is famed for its delicious food and staff are always praised for their friendly and helpful service. 

Mid Range Accommodation (usually self-contained rooms/ cottages/ furnished safari tents)

LE Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Situated in Ruhengeri, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge is 9 km from Musanze Caves Entrance (Underground Cave System). Bukane primary school is 10 km from the property. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property. Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge also includes a barbecue. Guests can enjoy a children's playground and a restaurant on site. The property also offers packed lunches. Bike hire and car hire are available at the property and the area is popular for cycling and hiking. Umuzabibu Mwiza - Handspun Hope Women's Center is 11 km from Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, while ORTPN Office / Ruhengeri (Gorilla track pass) is 11 km away. The nearest airport is Kigali International Airport, 87 km from Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge.

La Palme Hotel

Offering a restaurant, Hotel La Palme is located in Ruhengeri in Musanze District. The hotel features a garden and conference facilities and free WiFi access is available. Each room here will provide you with a TV, a terrace and a minibar. Complete with a refrigerator, the dining area also has an electric kettle and a coffee machine. Featuring a shower, private bathroom also comes with a bath. Extras include a seating area and satellite channels. At Hotel La Palme you will find free shuttle service, a 24-hour front desk and a garden. Other facilities offered at the property include a shared lounge, luggage storage and shops (on site). The property offers free parking. Hotel La Palme is a 20-minute drive from Lake Burera and 23 km from Virunga Park.

 Bwindi Gorilla Lodge Nkuringo 

Situated in Bwindi Impenetrable Park, 700 metres from Registration Office Gorilla Tracking (Nkuringo), Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge features a barbecue, children's playground and terrace. Free private parking is available on site. Some units feature a seating area and/or terrace. There is a private bathroom with bathrobes in each unit. Towels and bed linen are available. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge also includes a spa centre and offers massage treatments. Guests can enjoy a drink at the on-site bar. The property also offers packed lunches. Bike hire is available at the property and the area is popular for cycling. Guests can enjoy various activities in the surroundings, including canoeing and hiking.

Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge

Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge is situated on the shores of Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Muhokya sub-county, near Kahendero Fishing Village.

The lodge has about 10 special suites constructed with stones, thatched and are located in a secreted setting with enough space to do personal work.

The design of the suits leads you to the main lodge and after connect you to the bush. Which ever corner of the lodge you are in, you have a magnificent view of the forest, the windows lodge are glass thus give you a perfect view of nature.

Among the services provided include telephone, internet with a fully well stocked bar. The rooms are air conditioned with up to date bathrooms and toilets.

Meals are served in a spacious dinning overlooking the magnificent Lake George in order to deliver a relaxing and comfortable feel of the Lake breeze as the sun sets calmly over the horizon.
Breakfast comprises of a full English breakfast containing freshly made juice, Eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato & toast accompanied by CAFE PAP Coffee or Tea. Breakfast is served from 6:30am to 10: 00 am.

A light lunch is offered to all guests, that is, a variety of pasta, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Guests who need packed lunch for the game drive are given exclusive light pack accompanied by picnic juice.

 After dinner, all guests are escorted to their cottages by the lodge guide.

The lodge has a professional wine cellar manager who is good at selecting good wine for the visitors. Besides wine, there are other drinks that you will like.

Engagi Lodge

Engagi Lodge is a small and exclusive property on the edge of the Impenetrable Forest, close to the park headquarters. The lodge is open-ended at the front allowing a dramatic view of the Bwindi National Park from every corner inside the building.

The accommodation consists of eight en-suite Cottages which are evenly spaced out and hidden in the foliage. Each Cottage has either double or twin beds, a bathroom with flushing toilets and hot and cold running water. All units have private verandahs where guests can enjoy their early morning tea or coffee.

The kitchen, which has been built a distance away from the lodge to ensure privacy for the clients, prepares a variety of three course meals and all requirements such as vegetarians and vegans are catered for by our team of experienced Kampala trained chefs. The main lodge comprises a rock bar, the restaurant and a large wooden verandah with a separate outdoor viewing platform. The lodge building is large enough to cater for sizeable groups needing banqueting tables, but still allows smaller individual groups to spread out in the various different areas for privacy.

Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge

Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge is conveniently situated for your safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Located close to as well the chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge as to the prime game viewing areas in the park, it forms an excellent base for your exploration.

In the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park and overlooking Kazinga Channel, The Bush Lodge offers a unique safari experience. The coming and going of game witnessed from the terrace of your room, hippos lingering in the shallow waters of Kazinga channel, or a lion’s roar while seated at the campfire.

The lodge currently consists of 6 self contained units which are spaciously placed between the indigenous bush. Built along ecological principles the accommodation blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

The rooms are stilted buildings on wooden platforms and are made from a fine combination of canvas and local materials. Huge windows allow you to fully absorb the environment and to feel one with nature.

Each room is comfortably equipped and has its own private ensuite bathroom with an eco toilet and an outside shower where 2 showerheads allow couples to take their starlit shower together.

Inclusions
  • Accommodation with all meals during the tour
  • Private Transportation using a safari land-cruiser
  • All tour activities as indicated  including 1 Uganda gorilla permit
  • Game drives and Kazinga boat safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park 
  • Sight seeing opportunities in Virungas, Lake Bunyonyi, Rwenzori
  • Accommodation as per programme
  • Park fees
  • Entry fees
  • Bottled drinking mineral water

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