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

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

Gorillas and Wildlfe Safaris Hall of Fame Trip Advisor RecommendedThis 11 day Uganda Rwanda safari allows you two gorilla treks (tracking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda), chimps trek in Kibale, golden monkey tracking 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 1066 mountain gorillas in the world is a fantastic experience and this safari takes you to three gorilla parks – Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. It offers an opportunity to track gorillas five times, twice in Bwindi, once in Mgahinga/Nkuringo, and twice in Volcanoes National Park.

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

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

  • Day 1: Arrival in Uganda 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 Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 8: Transfer to Rwanda
  • Day 9: Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park
  • 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

You shall commence the Uganda Rwanda safari from Entebbe Airport when your driver comes to pick you on arrival. In case you arrival a day before , pickup can be arranged from your place of stay at 8 AM. There shall be a short briefing before setting off with our safari, driving for about 5 hours in to Western Uganda.  

Apart from a few potholes, our journey today is mostly smooth. We traverse several traditional Uganda villages with crop farms of coffee, bananas, millet and corn among others. The lush rolling hills of this region shall welcome you as you enter the major city here, Fort Portal. A carpet of green spreads before you, to as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.

The afternoon is spent on a guided nature walk in a local community conservation wetland, the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located along the edges of Kibale National Park an is rich with biodiversity. It is inhabited by several rear bird species, 9 primates species and a number of large mammals. We shall be getting services of a knoweldgeable local guide to take us along. Towards the end of the walk, guests have the opportunity to engage with the community. You can even take a go making local medicine, traditional coffee roasting, cultural dance and music performances among others.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Kyaninga Lodge | Papaya Lodge | Safari Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge

Luxury: Primate Lodge Kibale

Moderate: Isunga Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park  

Our first big primates' encounter on the Uganda Rwanda Safari is on today with chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park. The chimpanzee trekking starts from the park's headquarters at Kanyankyu and we plan on being there at 8 AM for the briefing.  You will need to present your passport before joining the chimpanzee trekking.

After the briefing, you will be allocated to a group for 8 other visitors with whom you visit a habituated troupe of chimpanzees. Each group has a team of knowledgeable local forest guides, and guards for your service. Chimpanzee trekking normally takes about 1-2 hours before the chimpanzees are located. When you find them, you will be allowed 1 hour with them.

After the 1 hour is done, you will receive communication to start on your way back to the park offices. As you trek back, be on the lookout for the other primates in this forest. There are monkeys like the black and white colobus, grey-cheeked, L'Hoest, and red-tailed. You could also encounter elephants along some of the tracks!

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Upper Luxury: Kyaninga Lodge | Papaya Lodge | Safari Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge

Luxury: Primate Lodge Kibale

Moderate: Isunga Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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

You have most of the morning to relax after the previous two days of adventure. At 11 am, we shall set off driving southwards to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The 2-hours drive is a really panoramic one with beautiful views of the Rwenzori mountains on the right, crater lakes on the left, and large tracts of expansive grassland savannah ranges.  

Within no time you shall be entering Queen Elizabeth National Park. The 767-square-mile park is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains - the famed "Mountains of the Moon". As we drive to our accommodation, you should be sighting game and the guide can make stops for you to enjoy and take pictures. You might be able to spot herds of impala-like Uganda kob, topi, elephants and the cape buffalo.  

If you are not so tired for the afternoon, a game drive can be arranged for you in the north of the park towards the beautiful Baboon Cliff. 

Overnight options:

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

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Safari Lodge

Mid-range: Ihamba Lakeside Safari Resort | Twin Lakes Safari Lodge| Bush Lodge

Budget price: Tents at  Bush Lodge or Simba Safari Camp | Pumba Cottages

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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.

Overnight options:

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

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Safari Lodge

Mid-range: Ihamba Lakeside Safari Resort | Twin Lakes Safari Lodge| Bush Lodge

Budget price: Tents at  Bush Lodge or Simba Safari Camp | Pumba Cottages

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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

You can choose to have more time relaxing at the lodge this morning until 10AM.

But otherwise, we can set off early to Maramagambo Forest for a guided forest walk. Another early start for a bush walk through the Maramagambo Forest. The forest is rich with at least 7 primates species including wild chimpanzees, olive baboons and monkeys. It also has a great diversity of rear bird species and butterflies.  On this walk you can 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.

If you are not in for the guided forest walk, then we can spend our day on more game drives in Ishasha Sector. We shall be driving 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)

Overnight options:

Upper Luxury:Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Luxury: Ishasha Jungle Lodge

Mid-range: Enjojo Lodge

Budget price: Tents at Enjojo Lodge

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

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

This morning we still have more time to accommodate one more game drive in Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park before going to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Depending on the allocated sector of Bwindi you are staying at, the drive could be either 3 hours or 5 hours, both of which are on dusty upcountry roads. 

Upon arrival in Bwindi, you could choose to simply relax at your lodge/ camp or take unaccompanied walks in the community (it is safe anyway). You could also engage in 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.

Or if you are kin on bird, a local birding guide can help you locate some of Bwindi's 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Of those, 14 are found nowhere else in Uganda. S 

Bwindi Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

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

Luxury: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge  | Chameleon Hill 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 7: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The highlight of the Uganda Rwanda safari is definitely gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Volcanoes National Park.

This morning you have your first attempt to encountering the giant but endangered primates, the mountain gorillas as you trek deep into the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. First we shall have a briefing at the park headquarters and then a group of guides and rangers will be allocated to you. These will help you trek to a gorilla group in Bwindi. A maximum of 8 persons can visit any gorilla group per day. For between 1-3 hours, you shall be trekking through thick undergrowth of the tropical rainforest as well as bamboo covered slopes in your search for the day's location of the mountain gorillas.

Once you reach the gorillas, the guides make way for you have vantage viewing and photographing spots. As the gorillas keep shifting positions, the rangers shall keep on clearing bush for you to have a better viewing experience. The time allowed to be in the presence of gorillas is one hour per day and you will definitely want to make the best out of this. For your own safety and the health of the gorillas, you can only be allowed to be 7 meters or more from them.

Bwindi Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

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

Luxury: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge  | Chameleon Hill 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: Transfer to Rwanda

The Uganda Rwanda Safari shall this morning continue to its Rwandan section. We shall be driving along some of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa with the lovely  picturesque views of the Virunga mountain ranges and terraced hills on either sides of the road and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which cuddles evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

You can spend the evening in the comfortable lodge and enjoy the silence of Volcanoes National Park.  

Top Accommodation options in Volcanoes National Park (all on full board basis)

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

Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge | Virunga Hotel Musanze

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.

Top Accommodation options in Volcanoes National Park (all on full board basis)

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

Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge | Virunga Hotel Musanze

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10: Volcanoes National Park - Rwanda

We have left this day free for your personal exploring or relaxation at the lost. In fact, we have book your accommodation conveniently closer to the Volcanoes National Park so that if you have to engage in any activity in the park, you have easy access.

Some great option s include engaging in another gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park, or trekking the endangered golden monkeys (still in the park), climbing up the summit of one of the volcanoes that make up this park - Mt Ghahinga or Mt Muhabura or have community walks in the park neighboring communities.  

Top Accommodation options in Volcanoes National Park (all on full board basis)

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

Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge 

Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge | Virunga Hotel Musanze

Meals included today: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11: Tour of Kigali, end of the Uganda Rwanda Safari.

We plan to check out of the lodge at 10 AM and drive to Rwanda's capital city, Kigali. While in Kigali, you shall be visiting the Genocide Memorial Museum to acquaint yourself with the 1994 Rwanda genocide before your driver transfers you to the Kigali International airport for your onward international flight. 

It is a great idea to extend the Uganda Rwanda safari with safari to Tanzania or Kenya. Also explore the "Big Five" in Kenya or discover the beautiful beaches of the dream destination Zanzibar. Please contact us! 

 

Accommodation

Top Recommended Accommodation for the Uganda Rwanda Safari

Upscale Luxury:

Night 1&2: Kyaninga Lodge or Crater Safari Lodge or Ndali Lodge

Night 3 & 4: Elephant Plains Lodge | Kyambura Gorge Lodge | Kasenyi Safari Camp

Night 5: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Night 6&7: Gorilla Forest Camp | Trackers Safari Lodge | Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge | Bwindi Lodge

Night 8,9&10:  Virunga Lodge | Silverback Sabinyo Lodge | Bishop's House Rwanda 

 

Luxury accommodation:

Night 1&2: Primate Lodge Kibale

Night 3 & 4: Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge

Night 5: Ishasha Jungle Lodge

Nights 6& 7: Buhoma Lodge or Mahogany Springs Lodge or Bwindi Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge or Chameleon Hill Lodge 

Night 8, 9&10: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge  

Midrange (Moderate) accommodation:

Night 1&2:  Isunga Lodge or Kibale Forest Camp or Turaco Treetops Lodge

Night 3 & 4: Ihamba Lakeside Safari Resort or Bush Lodge or Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Night 5: Enjojo Lodge

Nights 6&7: Engagi Lodge or Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Mist Camp  or Silverback Lodge Bwindi

Night 8,9&10: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Lower Budget accommodation:

Night 1&2: Sheltered and furnished tent at Kibale Forest Camp or Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Night 3 & 4: Sheltered and furnished tent at Bush Lodge or Simba Safari camp or Pumba Cottages 

Night 5: Sheltered and furnished tent at Enjojo Lodge

Nights 6&7: Gorilla Conservation Camp | Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge 

Night 8,9&10: Hotel Muhabura

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

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