A 12 day safari which starts in Kigali and finishes in Kampala. This safari combines the best spots in Uganda and Rwanda, tracking the gorillas in both countries.
What To See
This safari traces the western Rift Valley, from the Virunga volcanoes to the Rwenzori mountains. Seeing some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a fantastic experience and this safari takes you to three gorilla parks – PNV in Rwanda and Mgahinga and Bwindi in Uganda. It offers an opportunity to track gorillas five times, twice in PNV, once in Mgahinga/Nkuringo and twice in Bwindi. PNV in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes only a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave or visit the endangered golden monkey. Mgahinga, in Uganda, is a great place to appreciate the unique Virunga volcanoes and it has one habituated family. Sometimes this group moves across the border and you can track gorillas at Nkuringo in Southern Bwindi instead. You can also climb a volcano or go for a nature walk, visit the endangered golden monkey or go birding. Bwindi in Uganda has four habituated families and the gorillas there live in thicker tropical forest and tracking is more challenging as the hillsides are steeper. You can also go for nature walks to see birds, monkeys and orchids.
Continue to Ishasha (roads permitting) and go on the hunt for the tree-climbing lions lounging on old fig trees. Further north see the great game of Africa in Queen Elizabeth National Park – elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, and leopard. Track the fast moving and elusive chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge. See the rich wildlife and array of birds on the Kazinga Channel. Fly out from Entebbe.
On safari clients stay 3 nights at Volcanoes Virunga Lodge, 2 nights at Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge, 3 nights at Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge and 3 nights at Mweya/Jacana.
A choice of three short safaris can be added at the end: Sipi and rafting (4 days), Chimps on Ngamba Island (3 days) or Wildlife in Murchison (4 days).
Day 1 : Meet & Greet in Kigali – Depart for PNV, Rwanda
Met on arrival at airport and transfer to Kigali. Briefing on your safari. After lunch depart for PNV at 2pm. The journey north goes through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterise much of Rwanda’s landscape, gradually climbing to the base of the awesome volcanoes, sometimes with as many as five peaks visible. O/N: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge (FB).
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking in PNV, Rwanda
Go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans. 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. O/N: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge (FB).
Day 3: Golden Monkeys/Lake Kivu/Rwanda Community Tour
Visit the golden monkeys or drive to Gisenyi, visit Ross Carr’s orphanage and Lake Kivu or climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes, or trek to Dian Fossey’s grave, or visit the local school, community projects or walk to Lake Bulera. O/N: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge (FB).
Day 4: Golden monkey Tracking/ Transfer to Uganda
In the morning either relax or walk near the Lodge, visit the golden monkeys or trek to Dian Fossey’s grave. After lunch transfer to Uganda [Clocks go forward one hour]. O/N: Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge (FB).
Day 5: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Either go gorilla tracking again, this time in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. If time permits after the gorilla hike, climb the Muhavura or Gahinga volcano, or go for a nature walk, visit golden monkeys in Mgahinga. O/N: Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge (FB).
Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Leave for Queen Elizabeth National Park. Either drive via Ishasha, home of the tree climbing lion, roads permitting, or take the alternative route through cultivated expanses. Time permitting, go for an evening game drive O/N: Mweya/Jacana (FB).
Day 7: Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Go for an early morning game drive to seek out wildlife, rest during the heat of the day and then go on an evening game drive. The game seen will depend on the season, the Kasenyi plains are good for lion and the Mweya peninsula for a variety of animals. O/N: Mweya/Jacana (FB).
Day 8: Kyambura Chimpanzee Tracking
An excursion to Kyambura gorge nearby to track the fast moving and elusive chimpanzees, one of man’s closest relations. The chimp population is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable but the walk is enchanting. Alternatively go for a nature walk in Maramagambo Forest to see other primates and to visit the bat cave and the blue lake. In the afternoon take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel where the wildlife and a vast array of birds come to drink. O/N: Mweya/Jacana (FB).
Day 9: Return to Kampala
Drive to Kampala; enroute stand on the Equator, bargain at the roadside markets and see the royal drum makers. Freshen up in day rooms at Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe until transfer to the airport for return flight (HB).