18-Day Rwanda-Uganda Wildlife Safari Including Gorilla Trekking
18 days Itinerary
1:Arrive Kigali Airport, pick up and transfer to the booked hotel.
On arrival at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, you will be received by one of our representative/guide who will welcome you to Rwanda and brief you about your safari. Thereafter, you will be transferred to your accommodation for relaxation and the overnight stay.
Accommodation: Hotel Chez Lando Meals: Dinner Drive Time: about 15 minutes.
2:Kigali city tour (Morning) and transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Morning pick up (after breakfast) by the assigned tour driver/guide who will take you around Kigali City for the city tour. Expect excursion to places like the national museum, local markets, art and craft shops, genocide memorial ground. Thereafter, you will transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Filled with stunning beauty, Nyungwe in southwestern part of Rwanda is not a place to miss on a Rwanda safari offering memorable wildlife experiences. A visit to Nyungwe takes you through the great natural forest comprising of ancient trees which have all favored the inhabitation of a number of primates including chimpanzees, black & white colobus monkeys among others. The drive is a bit longer but incredibly scenic, passing through villages, lush green countryside. You won’t get bored at all.
3:Undertake chimp trekking and the afternoon canopy walk experience.
Sheltering the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda (roughly 400), Chimpanzee trekking is a major activity done in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Have your breakfast and transfer to the trekking point where you will first receive some briefing on the dos and don’ts during chimp trekking. Thereafter, enter the forest to encounter these fascinating and human-like primates firsthand in their natural habitat. Return to the accommodation for lunch and some rest before going out again for the canopy walk experience.
The two hours walk starts and ends at the park’s headquarters – Uwinka information center. Travelers walk on the built trail which hangs 60 meters above the forest rewarding them with an aerial view of the national park, wildlife, adjacent communities, Virunga volcanoes and attractions in the neighboring countries.
4:Exit Nyungwe Forest NP and Transfer to accommodation in (near) Volcanoes NP.
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast at the accommodation and then hit the road to Volcanoes NP. Volcanoes National Park lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. With a strenuous day ahead, you will reach and just check into your accommodation and relax. Later, enjoy your dinner plus the overnight stay.
Accommodation: La Palme Hotel Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time: about 6 hours.
5:Golden monkey trekking and transfer to Bwindi (Uganda) via Cyanika Border.
Golden monkeys trekking takes place in Volcanoes National Park and at the same time (7:00 am) just like gorilla trekking. These rare monkey species are also listed as endangered and Volcanoes NP currently has two habituated groups that are available for trekking by visitors. The exercise starts with a short briefing from the park ranger at the RDB Office. Thereafter, you will proceed to trek the golden monkeys through the rainforest of the volcanoes NP. Return to the accommodation for some rest and lunch. After lunch, drive off to Cyanika Border Post and cross border into Bwindi Impenetrable NP - Uganda where you will undertake the gorilla trekking the next day.
6:Gorilla trekking Bwindi Forest and (optional) afternoon community encounter.
Have breakfast and move to the rangers’ post. You will receive some briefing (from a ranger guide) on the dos and don’ts during trekking. Thereafter, you will enter the gorilla sanctuary for your adventure. The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular! The area offers dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of these great primates. Once you have located a gorilla group, you will be allowed an hour in their presence. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle but endangered giants is unforgettable. Return to the accommodation for some rest time and lunch. Depending on interest and time permitting, you may proceed for the optional community, cultural encounter. Else, just relax after a strenuous early part of the day.
7:Drive to Ishasha in search of tree-climbing lions and continue (North) Queen Elizabeth NP.
Have breakfast then set off for a breathtaking game viewing of Ishasha sector – famously known for its resident tree-climbing lions. The chance of spotting these lions is about 70% though sometimes they are really hard to spot (most especially when they’re down in the grassland looking for prey). Hoping you get the chance to spot them, the sight will be spectacular! You will also be able to see other wildlife such as the Uganda kob, Cape buffalo, elephant and warthog that have settled in this area. Thereafter, head to the accommodation (North) Queen Elizabeth NP for relaxation, dinner and later overnight.
8:Undertake morning game drive and go on a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel.
Be up early and have your breakfast. Proceed for a morning game drive to the Kasenyi plains and be on the look for Cape buffalos, herds of elephants plus the big cats: lions, leopard (but very hard to spot) among others. Return to the accommodation for some rest time and lunch.
After lunch, you will go for a 2-hour boat trip on the Kazinga Channel that connects Lakes George and Edward. During the trip, the sight of wildlife including giant hippos, elephants and crocodiles among others will fascinate you. You will also see many varieties of birds at the water shores. You will have dinner and overnight at your accommodation.
9:Morning game drive, continue to Kibale NP and proceed for the Bigodi swamp excursion.
Be up early and have your breakfast then proceed for an early morning game drive. Thereafter, continue to Kibale Forest NP. You will reach Kibale in time for lunch and some rest before proceeding out for the Bigodi swamp excursion. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a fascinating area, located in Magombe swamp. This area boasts of extensive array of biodiversity among which are several primates’ species like the baboon, black & white colobus monkey. The Bigodi is also a paradise for bird watchers. Among the major bird species within the sanctuary is the Great Blue Turaco. Later, relax and overnight at the booked accommodation.
10:Exit Kibale Forest National Park and transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.
Have breakfast and embark on the journey to Murchison Falls National Park. The highlights of this park include the roaring rapids of the Murchison, the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park where you will have the chance of viewing lions, giraffes, hartebeest, buffalo, and elephants. Then surely, the concentration of hippos and the Nile crocodiles here will fascinate you. For birders, Murchison Falls boasts about 450 bird species including the grey parrot, dwarf king fisher and the Goliath heron among others. This is going to be quite a long drive but incredibly scenic. You will reach Murchison and do little but check into your accommodation for relaxation, dinner and the overnight stay awaiting next day’s activities.
11:Murchison game drive and afternoon boat trip to the base of the falls.
Have your breakfast, depart for an early morning game drive across the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park and be on the look for wildlife including: lions, leopards (though hard to spot) among others. For any birder, there are quite a number of birds to sight too during the drive. Return to the accommodation for some rest time and lunch. OPTIONAL: If interested, you may opt for the hot air balloon safari (instead) at an extra cost (on ground).
After lunch, you will head out for the boat trip to the base of Murchison Falls where you will also be able to catch sight of more animals including Hippos and Crocodiles and several water birds. Continue with a hike (if you like) to the top of the falls. The hike may be a strenuous one but the thrill on reaching the top is unforgettable. Miss it only if you must. Return to your accommodation and have a relaxed evening.
12:Exit Murchison Falls National and Transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park.
If you ever thought of being in the real wild alone, then Kidepo is the perfect place to go. Kidepo Valley NP is Uganda’s most pristine, unexplored game reserve teaming with abundance of wildlife. While here, you get the true meaning of being in the African jungle. It is also in Kidepo Valley that you will have the opportunity to get the insight about the Karamojong Nomadic Pastoralist of Uganda.
You will have breakfast at the accommodation and then hit the road for Kidepo. This will be a long drive but you will be treated with some spectacular scenery along the drive that will make the drive even seem shorter. You will reach and do little but check into your accommodation, relax, enjoy your dinner plus the overnight rest.
13:Morning game drive & (optional) Karamojong community, cultural encounter.
Have breakfast and proceed for game viewing in the Narus Valley in the south sector of Kidepo. Narus is the sector of Kidepo that has savannah grasslands mixed with acacia woodland. It is also the area of the park with permanent water sources throughout the year and for that matter, most of the animals are in this part of the park. Be on the look for large herds of Buffaloes, many Zebras, antelope species and the lions. You will return to the accommodation for lunch and some repose. Later (if interested), you may proceed out for the (optional) Karamojong community, cultural encounter. You will spend a wonderful afternoon (evening) with the Karamojong people and have an insight of their way of life and beliefs. At the end of the day, you will retire to your accommodation where you will enjoy your dinner and overnight rest.
14:Full day hiking Morungole Mountains including the IK community encounter.
Be up early, have breakfast and set off to hike Mount Morungole, located in the northern hills of Karamoja. You will find stunningly beautiful Scenery the higher your climb takes you, simply breathtaking scenes in the valleys below you and into the Eastern Rift Valley of Kenya and over to Southern Sudan. While in Morungole, expect to encounter the smallest tribe of Uganda called the Ik. The Ik have always lived in nowadays Kidepo Valley National Park but have been displaced 50 years ago whereby they now live on the mountain ridges. Visiting the IK gives you a rare insight of a very unique tribe in Africa. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
15:Another morning game drive in the park and later transfer to Kara-tunga Safari Camp.
Have breakfast and proceed out for another morning game drive to the sector of Kidepo (of your choice). Thereafter, return to the accommodation for some rest and lunch. After lunch, exit Kidepo and drive off to Kara-tunga Safari Camp (Moroto) where you will have dinner and overnight stay en route Sipi.
16:Go explore Pian Upe Game Reserve then proceed to Sipi (booked lodge).
Be up early and have your breakfast then proceed for game viewing in the pristine Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. Pian Upe is located between Mt. Elgon NP and Kidepo Valley NP, established as a game (wildlife) reserve in the 1960s. The Reserve is part of the Mount Elgon Conservation Area (MECA).
While in Pian Upe, look out for its inhabitants such as ostriches, common elands, plain zebras, the greater kudu, savanna monitor lizards and the only remaining numbers of roan antelope in the whole of Uganda. It is also only in Pian Upe that you may have the chance to see cheetahs while on a Uganda safari. After the game viewing and of course (packed) lunch, exit Pian Upe then head to Sipi (booked lodge) where you will have your dinner and the overnight stay.
17:Sipi Falls walk/hiking experience and afternoon coffee tour plus community encounter.
You will have breakfast and thereafter proceed out to explore the Sipi falls. The hiking (about 2½ - 3 hours) takes you to explore the nearby Sipi falls which is a set of 3 falls. The views are breathtaking and make for a great excursion while in Sipi. The (afternoon) coffee tour on the other hand will enable you to trace the story of coffee from seed to that in the cup and you don’t want to miss this informative experience. Later, just relax at the accommodation with some spectacular view of Sipi right in front of you.
Accommodation: Sipi River Lodge Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time:
18:Drive to Jinja, visit the source of the Nile and proceed to Entebbe Airport.
Have breakfast and then drive off to Jinja where the Nile begins its flow to the Mediterranean Sea. Visit the Source of the Nile and proceed to Entebbe Airport to catch flight out (recommended for 18:00 onward). OPTIONAL: While in Jinja & depending on interest, you may proceed to enjoy half-day water rafting (at an extra cost). What better way to start your safari? Than to experience this most exciting, exhilarating adventure firsthand? Get wet! Get wild! Get rafting! In fact, no experience is required to undertake this unforgettable adventure on the Nile.
Accommodation: Excluded Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Drive Time: about 6 hours.
Average price per person
All Meals and accommodation as per the itinerary.
Ground transportation in a comfortable safari car.
Applicable park entrance fees. USD 40 PP/entry.
Services of a full time English speaking driver/guide.
Bottled water while on safari.
All (boat) trips as on the itinerary. USD 30 PP/trip.
Bwindi Gorilla trekking permit USD 600 per person.