UGANDA / RWANDA PRIVATE SAFARI
This 12-day safari has been designed due to an increased demand for combining the best of Uganda with Rwanda. Obviously, there is time to trek in BOTH Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, but also included in this dynamic trip is chimpanzee trekking, and some incredible game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
This 12-day safari has been designed due to an increased demand for combining the best of Uganda with Rwanda. Obviously, there is time to trek in BOTH Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, but also included in this dynamic trip is chimpanzee trekking, and some incredible game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It includes Kibale Forest (chimpanzees), Queen Elizabeth (game, birds, chimpanzees), Bwindi (gorillas and culture), Rwanda (gorillas, volcanoes and culture), ending in Kigali. This itinerary is just a suggestion – we can run it with Rwanda first, and/or increase the number of days actually spent gorilla tracking. Whatever you prefer – we can make it happen!
On arrival at Entebbe International Airport you will be met by a company representative and transferred to The Boma.
Set in the shores of Lake Victoria, Entebbe is a small town that is easy to explore on foot or local boda bodas (motorbike taxis). Explore the markets, hunt for souvenirs or crafts, meander through the Botanical Gardens or relax with a boat cruise on Lake Victoria. You’ll find a wide variety of restaurants, bars and clubs where you can sample the local beer, catch a game of football and meet the friendly locals.
Entebbe’s original hotel, this charming 1940’s home has been converted into an intimate guest house that offers modern comfort, warm hospitality and delicious food. Set in tropical gardens a few minutes drive from the airport, the family run Boma extends a down-to-earth, homely atmosphere. The décor reflects a mixture of African and European colonial influence, and guests can relax beside the swimming pool, grab a book from the library, or hop on a bicycle and cycle down to nearby Lake Victoria.
Overnight at The Boma (www.boma.co.ug)
Depart after breakfast to Kibale Forest. The drive via rural villages and towns will take approx. 6-7 hours, stopping for a picnic lunch en route.
Kibale is an enchanting ancient forest, and supports an incredible range of flora and fauna. Rich in wildlife, it is most noted for its primate population including red-tailed monkey, diademed monkey, olive baboon, chimpanzee, black and white colobus.
Optional excursions around Kibale (aside from Chimp trekking) include a guided forest walk, visit to the Bigodi Swamps, or the Vanilla Farm close to Ndali.
Overnight Primate Lodge or similar, with all meals included.
Today is sure to be exhilarating! If staying at Primates Lodge, walk down to the park headquarters, or if staying elsewhere, a 30 min drive will bring you to your Chimp trek briefing point.
Head off into the forest in search of Chimps – sometimes stepping off well-defined paths following their markings.
Chimpanzee trekking can be exciting – as unlike their cousins the Gorillas, chimpanzees tend to be more active and often keep moving through the forest canopies, so you may find yourself following a family through dense jungles! Of course sightings cannot be guaranteed, but the chances of seeing them are very good. Once amongst the Chimpanzees, spend approximately an hour observing and following them.
Afternoon at leisure to rest/ explore the Kibale Forest area.
Overnight Primate Lodge or similar, with all meals included.
Depart early to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a drive of approximately three hours. This park set in the Great Rift Valley is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephants, lions, hippos, buffalo, Uganda kob, baboon, and many species of birds. With both a riverine and savannah habitat, the park includes the southern Ishasha area with its tree climbing lions and Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda.
Enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a 32-kilometre long natural channel linking Lake Edward and Lake George. Kazinga’s shores are dotted with herds of lazy buffalo, pods of hippos wallowing without a care, and countless bird species. Drift past local fishing villages, and soak up the peaceful tranquillity of this beautiful African day. (Cruise normally departs at 11h00, although this depends on availability when booking and is subject to change –no drinks/ snacks provided on boat).
The next three nights will be enjoyed at Ishasha Wilderness Camp, an intimate camp with just ten luxurious safari tents set on a tranquil river bank.
Day 5 & 6
Days at leisure to enjoy game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Overnight Ishasha Wilderness Camp including all drinks and meals.
From Queen Elizabeth National Park, we drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. On the way we will stop at the Community Project at Ishasha Village. Immerse yourself in Agartha’s ‘Taste of Uganda’tour – it’s a fun, educational experience for the inquisitive visitor who wonders how a rural Ugandan lady lives. Watch how the local crops are transformed into local staples such as millet porridge and kalobread.
Continue to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a World Heritage site. Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa and home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and 160 species of trees. The park contains an estimated one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site.
Set within the National Park, just steps away from the Gorilla Trekking headquarters, Buhoma Lodge offers cosy accommodation in wooden chalets with uninterrupted views of the pristine rain forest. Well loved for its warm welcome and attentive service, Buhoma is an eco friendly lodge operating on solar power, constructed using sustainable local materials. Each of the ten wooden chalets offers a private verandah and enchanting forest views.
Awaken to chattering forest birds, and watch out for the occasional mountain gorilla that has ventured right in to visit the lodge.
Overnight at Buhoma Lodge with all meals and local drinks included (www.ugandaexclusivecamps.com)
It’s up early today as one of the most humbling and enthralling wildlife experiences imaginable awaits your discovery. Coming face to face with an endangered mountain gorilla is something words cannot aptly describe. Please note that gorilla trekking is strenuous with treks ranging from 45 mins up to eight hours, at high altitudes in hot African conditions. The thrill of the hour you spend quietly observing these gentle giants once you find them is well worth the hike to get there! Although mountain gorillas are wild animals and it should be noted that sightings cannot be guaranteed, viewing success rates are well over 95%.
Head back to Buhoma Lodge for a complimentary massage after your trek, or explore the surrounding Bwindi community.
Overnight at Buhoma Lodge with all meals and local drinks included.
* Please note that days 8 and 9 are interchangeable depending on when we can secure gorilla permits *
Those with additional pre-purchased permits will depart for a second gorilla tracking experience. Guests not tracking have the day free to explore the Bwindi area – optional activities include forest walks, a visit to a local school/orphanage/hospital or Batwa pygmy village, and some local curio shopping.
Overnight at Buhoma Lodge with all meals and local drinks included
From Bwindi, we drive through the ‘Little Switzerland of Africa’ along winding mountain roads, and through rural villages, to the border of Rwanda, Kisoro. Here, on a clear day, the Virgunas can be seen ‘standing sentry’ along the border – a row of massive, dormant volcanoes watching over the region.
Crossing into Rwanda (border crossing takes about 1 hour), we continue to our Gorilla Trekking base, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge for overnight on a full board basis.
(Full day in vehicle travelling from Bwindi to Rwanda, picnic lunch included).
Trekking gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park is a very similar experience to that in Bwindi – just as challenging, equally memorable. If you’ve opted not to trek today, take a hike to Dian Fossey’s grave or enjoy forest walk with Golden Monkeys. You will only be able to enjoy one of these activities (as they all take place in the morning) and pre-booking is essential.
After lunch (and depending on when your trek ends) we drive to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda – a bustling , clean and safe city.
Overnight Kigali Serena or similar, dinner included.
Visit the haunting Genocide Memorial before your transfer back to the airport.
End of services
(12 Day / 11 Night)