Elephant herd, Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Rwanda & Uganda Safari - 14 Days

Rwanda & Uganda Safari - 14 Days

This 14 day Uganda-Rwanda safari starts with rhino tracking, safari game drives in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Akagera National Park, chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park, gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park.

The tour can also start from Kigali and end in Uganda.

You can also climb a volcano or go for a nature walk or visit the endangered golden monkey. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.

  • Day 1: Murchison Falls National Park & Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Day 2: Murchison Falls National Park Game Drives
  • Day 3: Kibale Forest National Park
  • Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
  • Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park & Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 8: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 9: Rwanda
  • Day 10: Gorilla Trekking in Parc National des Volcans
  • Day 11: Day to Explore Volcanoes National Park
  • Day 12: Musanze to Kigali to Akagera
  • Day 13: Akagera National Park
  • Day 14: Tour of Kigali

Day 1: Murchison Falls National Park & Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

After your breakfast, we drive through the famous Luwero triangle.

We can also arrange for you to be picked from the airport if you are arriving on this day, in which case your arrival time at Entebbe Airport shouldn't be later than 11 am. The tour guide shall then give you a brief about the holiday experience ahead of you before setting off on ±5 hours' drive to Murchison Falls National Park.

After about 2 hours of driving, we go on a detour to the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, the only place in Uganda where white rhinos can be found in the wild. For a better and more intimate experience, visitors to the rhino sanctuary can track them and get to about 6 meters from them. We shall be allocated a local ranger guide to lead us to the day's location of the rhinos. A short briefing about the instructions to follow on the trek to the rhinos shall follow before we start our walk to reach for them. Currently, there are at least 16 white rhinos at the Ziwa Rhinos Sanctuary and the hope is that as more are born, some will be transferred to a larger protected area in the wild, like a national park.

It won't take long before us reaching the rhinos. Although sometimes they wander off to far ranges, we could still drive for a bit to each them faster. There are often sightings of other bigger wild mammals on this trek. It is not uncommon to encounter waterbucks, bushbucks, kobs,duikers and sometimes  leopard on this trek.

When you reach the rhinos, you will be allowed a maximum of 1 hour with them.

We shall then proceed with the reminder of our drive to Murchison Falls National Park. We hope to be entering the park after about 2 hours of driving on mostly smooth surfaced roads with both open savannah lands and thick tropical forests along. As we drive through Budongo forest you shall be lots of baboons and monkeys everywhere along the road.

We plan to have a stop at the top of the falls, the vantage place to view Murchison Falls closely from above. While at the top of Murchison Falls, you will see the entire Nile River, the longest river in the world, forcing itself through a 7-meter wide gap and then furiously plunging downwards 43 meters. The sight is beyond description and the memory of which will certainly stick with you for the rest of your life. No wonder many keep returning over and over again.

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest in Uganda at 3,840 square kilometres.

The park has a variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamplands to broad savannah, and provides visitors the opportunity of seeing large concentrations of wildlife including lion, leopard, civet, hyena, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, a host of smaller game, small primates and many bird species, including the rare shoebill stork. The park is especially famous for crocodiles and hippos.

Apart from game viewing, the launch trip to the bottom of the falls is another memorable adventure giving you the experience of the mighty Biblical Nile. On the launch you may see schools of crocodiles and hippos basking on the river banks as well as a variety of birds.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Nile Safari Lodge

Luxury:   Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge | Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge

Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 2: Murchison Falls National Park  - Game Drives and boat trip

Seriously consider enduring an early morning start this morning to increase your chances of sighting the big cats in Murchison Falls National Park. The usually setting is for guests to depart from the lodge not later than 6:30 AM and then launch into the wilderness before the heat of the day. There is just so much to see in Murchison Falls National Park  - hyenas, leopard, lions, giraffes, herds of elephants, buffaloes and many more. We allow for whole morning to be spent on covering most of the lucrative trucks in the park, combing out every thicket we expect to have wildlife in it. Enjoy and have all the fun!

Our afternoon will be spent on a boat trip along the Nile River to the bottom of the Murchison Falls. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles. The bird life is stunning with brightly coloured kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Nile Safari Lodge

Luxury:   Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge | Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge

Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3: Kibale National Park; Guided Primate Walk in Bigodi Swamp (flights can be arranged if driving is challenge for you)

After breakfast it is time to head south! Along the way you will pass vast farmlands and the historic Great Rift Valley, meandering majestically and dividing the lands. 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.

In the afternoon, you will reach your accommodation for the night and have lunch served. Later on, we visit a nearby forest swamp, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. Bigodi is located on the Eastern edge of Kibale forest and is maintained by the local community. On this guided walk, keep on the look out for the great blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bush bucks, bush pigs and among others.

Driving time: 5.5 hrs

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge

Luxury: Primate Lodge Kibale | Crater Safari Lodge

Midrange: Isunga Lodge| ensuite tents at Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp (with bedding and mosquito nets, shared bathroom) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park (you can opt for the full day habituation experience for USD70 extra)

Today you go in the depths of the jungle on the search for the wild but habituated chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale starts at 08:00 AM at Kanyankyu River camp. Your driver shall make all the necessary arrangements the evening before so that you are well prepared for the chimpanzee trek.

At the park offices, you will have a briefing about how to conduct yourself while in the forest before finally setting off to search for the primates. Apart from the chimpanzees, be on the look out for the other primates in the park. Kibale forest has at least 11 other primates' species in it among which includes bush babies, pottos, monkeys like the red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoest, black and white colobus monkeys. red tailed monkey among others.

The trek to the chimps should normally be about an hour or so over mostly gentle slopes in the forest. Once you are able to locate the chimpanzees, further instructions will be communicated by the rangers to the group and then you will get very close, but not more than 6 meters from them.  You are allowed 1 hour to be with the chimpanzees. You will see them in their undisturbed home as they go on with their daily life routine without being bothered by human presence. The chimps will just keep on with the hunting, playing in the canopies, glooming each other, copulating, and feeding, as you continue learning about them and taking photographs.

After your 1 hour is done, communication shall be shared to prepare to leave. As we walk back on our primates trek, be on a careful look out for other larger mammals in the forest as well like the elephants, buffalo, foxes, and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, and black bee-eater.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge

Luxury: Primate Lodge Kibale | Crater Safari Lodge

Midrange: Isunga Lodge| ensuite tents at Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp (with bedding and mosquito nets, shared bathroom) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Game drive

After a leisurely breakfast with a beautiful view over the forest and crater lakes, it is time to continue your journey. Your destination for the day is the Queen Elizabeth National Park, located some 2 hours of driving on good roads.

Queen Elizabeth National Park holds other wildlife including the predators, lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Other mammals include giant forest hog, a variety of antelope, elephant and hippo. The park’s bird species number more than 600, quite likely higher than any other destination in Africa.

Keep an eye out for elephants, giraffes, lions, many antelope species and much much more! Sitting around the campfire in the evening you have time to reflect on the events of the day, before enjoying a delicious meal.

Overnight options:

Upper Luxury: Elephant Plains Lodge | Kyambura Gorge Lodge | Kasenyi Safari Camp

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge

Mid-range: Ihamba Safari LodgeEnganzi Lodge | Bush Lodge

Budget: Bush Lodge (tents)| Simba Safari Camp (tents) | Pumba Cottages

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6: Discovering Queen Elizabeth National Park in Game drives and boat trip

Your morning starts with an early morning game drive where you will see even more animals of the park. Expect to encounter 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.

Back at the lodge, you have a hearty breakfast and then again head out for 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. .

Overnight options:

Upper Luxury: Elephant Plains Lodge | Kyambura Gorge Lodge | Kasenyi Safari Camp

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge

Mid-range: Ihamba Safari LodgeEnganzi Lodge | Bush Lodge

Budget: Bush Lodge (tents)| Simba Safari Camp (tents) | Pumba Cottages

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7: Tree-climbing lions safari, Kob mating grounds experience & Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

On your way out of the park you will enjoy some more game viewing. Be on the lookout for any animals you might have missed during the previous days.

We shall also have more time for game drives in the southern side of the park mostly known as Ishasha Sector.  The main attraction here is the very rare type of lions, the tree-climbing lions. It is mostly speculative as to why the lions in Ishasha are actually able to climb trees and as to why they do this but many say it is because of bugs in the grass, while others say they strategically climb the trees for vantage views over the plains for prey. Some of them actually hide the prey in the fig tree branches from the other predator species that can't climb.

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 National Park. 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 bush pig wallows is a marvellous spectacle.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Gorilla Forest Camp | Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge | Bwindi Lodge

Luxury: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge or Gorilla Safari Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge |Gorilla Mist Camp | Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget: Gorilla Conservation Camp | Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today we experience a more endangered primate species, the mountain gorillas when we go gorilla trekking in the deep jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Tracking the gorillas in Bwindi is a moderately adventurous activity. We shall be trekking through some thick tropical forest undergrowth with several paths made that day. Trekking over ridges and moderately steep slopes can be a strain for many but when we finally reach the gorillas, all these discomforts will be quickly forgotten.

We shall be going for 2-4 hours before we reach the gorillas. The guides will advise on the best viewing and photographing spots for the gorillas. After having 1 hour of observing the wonderful animals and their togetherness, we shall start getting ready to leave.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Gorilla Forest Camp | Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge | Bwindi Lodge

Luxury: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge or Gorilla Safari Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge |Gorilla Mist Camp | Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget: Gorilla Conservation Camp | Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9: Rwanda

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

Located in the far north-west 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)

Upper Luxury: Virunga Lodge | Silverback Sabinyo Lodge | Bishop's House Rwanda

Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Davinci Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Today, you can choose to have a quite relaxed say at the lodge or have another trek into the deep jungles in search of the endangered mountain gorillas.  Although the gorilla in Rwanda and Uganda are pretty the same, the experience of visiting two separate gorilla families can never be the same. Just like humans, different gorilla families behave in unique ways from each other. Besides the forests of Bwindi and Volcanoes National Park where you will find the gorillas are quite different. If you are a keen photographer, there is so much to gain from having to photograph the mountain gorillas a second day - the weather could be different, the angles, light setting, etc all present a uniquely different opportunity for photographers.

The mountain gorilla trekking permit cost USD1500 for Volcanoes National Park and USD700 for Bwindi. This cost is always included in the tour cost but you could choose to have only one gorilla trek and the tour price will be amended accordingly. Other visitors ofter choose to have both gorilla treks in the same national park and this is all still good.

Accommodation options available

Upper Luxury: Virunga Lodge | Silverback Sabinyo Lodge | Bishop's House Rwanda

Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Davinci Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11: Day to Explore Volcanoes National Park (with golden monkeys tracking or Visoke Hike or Diane Fossey tomb hiking)

This day is at your free disposal! Because your accommodation is located so conveniently, you have a variety of options at your disposal.

You can either take a nature walk with a guide from the park, learning about the flora and fauna of the forest.

Alternatively, you could go on a short trek to search for one of the troops of golden monkeys which inhabit the forest (this would need to be pre-booked, and is an additional cost).

Or climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes, or, if you wish, you can visit the Iby'Iwachu Cultural Village, which will give you a fascinating insight into the traditions and history of Rwanda's people, or walk to Lake Bulera.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Virunga Lodge | Silverback Sabinyo Lodge | Bishop's House Rwanda

Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Davinci Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 12: Musanze to Kigali to Akagera

Depart for Akagera National Park, located along the Tanzanian border of Rwanda.

Have lunch in Kigali then continue to Akagera. This park is famous for game drives and boat trips on Lake Ihema. The park is also known for its herds of game animals including Burchell's zebra, lions, elephants, topi, giraffes, impalas and over 425 species of birds that include the shoe bill stork, African jacana, sacred Ibis, goliath Heron, and more.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Akagera Magashi Camp

Luxury level: Akagera Safari Camp

Moderate: Akagera Rhino Lodge

Low Budget:Akagera Rhino Lodge

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 13: Akagera National Park

After morning breakfast enjoy a game drive in Akagera National Park.

Expect to encounter some members of the Big Five including the hippos, elephants, buffaloes, etc; giraffes, warthogs, waterbucks and different antelope species. During the afternoon there will be a relaxing boat trip on Lake Ihema.  

Upper Luxury: Akagera Magashi Camp

Luxury level: Akagera Safari Camp

Moderate: Akagera Rhino Lodge

Low Budget:Akagera Rhino Lodge

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 14: Tour of Kigali

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.

Afterward you will be dropped off at Kigali Airport for your flight back home.

 

Included

  • All tour activities as indicated above
  • 1 gorilla permit per person in Uganda and 1 in Rwanda
  • Golden monkey tracking
  • All chimps permits
  • All boat trip fees
  • Game drives
  • Accommodation in hotels (with breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
  • Sightseeing as noted in the trip itinerary
  • Park fees
  • Entry fees
  • Ground transportation
  • 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
  • Meals not indicated on your detailed itinerary

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