Uganda is all about its friendly people and the diversity in landscapes and activities. This trip will show you the best of what Uganda and Rwanda has to offer. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest and Nyungwe forest one of the oldest forests in Africa! You will also Gorilla tracking in Uganda. This tour is a unique experience for anyone who likes primates.
One of our drivers/ guides will be there at Entebbe Airport who will receive you and transfer you directly to your lodge in Kampala. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may be able to explore the sites in and around Kampala. You will stay in a nice lodge with beautiful views on Lake Victoria. The hotel is equipped with cozy furnished room specifically for safari provided with TV, fridge bar, telephone, fan, en-suite bathroom, and a stunning view of the lake from the balcony. Drive time is approximately 1 hour.
Today, through an incredibly scenic route, you’ll drive to Fort Portal which is located in western Uganda. Along the way, you’ll come across tea plantations and lush green countryside which to some extent characterizes the country of Uganda.
Then, you’ll continue on with the tour for about 1 hour. Upon arriving at the forest, you’ll experience a completely different world… some serious monkey business! Even if your mission is ultimately to spot the chimps, as a bonus, you’ll come across 12 other primate species including the olive baboon, red tailed monkey, Black and White Colobus Monkey, and the Blue Monkey.
You will stay in a cottage, privately situated in the forest with a spacious bedroom and en-suite bathroom. This is the perfect starting point of tomorrow’s activities. (Drive time: 6hrs)
Kibale Forest National Park possesses the highest number of primate species in the world including our closest species with whom we share almost 95% of our DNA, the chimps. There are close to 5,000 chimpanzees in the wild which is the perfect place to spot these delightful animals.
An experienced forest ranger will take you chimp tracking in the morning or afternoon. You can also spot other monkey species that inhabit the tropical forest. Once you locate them, you can spend a full hour with the family, but nor more than that. Since they are still wild animals, we can never guarantee you to see them and might have to settle with hearing their hoots and hollers.
Your swamp walk (2-3 hours) will take you through grassland, small communities and some beautiful scenery, where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves. It is usual to spot three to four different primate species during this walk, though the highlight is catching a glimpse of the great blue Turaco! (Drive hour: 5minutes)
In the morning, you can relax at your lodge, make a crater lake hike or visit a nearby tea plantation, where you will be able to assist the tea pickers and learn about how leaves are selected for the highest quality (All activities of this morning are at your own cost). You will then continue your journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s second largest park, located at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountain range, adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. The park has prolific game, including Gazelle, Uganda Kob, Warthog and Waterbuck
Lions are often sighted both in the park and at the entrance to the park. Brace yourself for spotting huge number of hippos and elephants. Also you should have a keen eye for spotting the leopards which can be seen lazing in the sunshine.
Today you wake up early. A little before sunrise coffee, tea and donuts will be served in the lounge before we head out for a long game drive in time to see the first rays of light. You will search for all the wildlife in the park and are likely to come across Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Waterbuck, Leopard, Uganda Kob, and many Warthogs.A well-deserved brunches will be served back at the lodge in the late morning. In the afternoon you will take a boat safari along the Kazinga Channel which joins Lake George and Lake Edward. Here, you will see a lot of hippos (more than you can possibly imagine!), as well as a variety of other animals which come to the waterhole to drink or bathe. You can expect to see buffalo, crocodile, bathing elephant, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour.
Today you drive to Lake Mutanda in the south-western part of Uganda; close to the borders with Rwanda and Congo. You cross a beautiful part of the country often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Africa’. You will pass the country-side, bamboo forest and have great views over the Virunga Mountains. For lunch you stop at a local restaurant (not inclusive).
Your comfortable lodge is overlooking Lake Mutanda and the Virunga volcanoes on the border with Rwanda. This will undoubtly be one of the most spectacular views you have ever seen!
From here you will depart tomorrow for the gorilla tracking so it is best to get a good night's sleep. (Drive time: 7hrs)
Today is the big day… prepares you for an encounter with one of Bwindi’s gentle giants: the rare mountain gorilla. For most people this is the absolute highlight of their tour in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees - the only forest in Africa which can make this claim, in fact. It also hosts five other species of primate, 113 species of mammal, over 200 butterflies and 360 birds. En route to the gorillas, your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots.
The gorillas you track belong to one of nine habituated family groups who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day.
The time taken to track the gorillas can be as few as 2 hours to as many as 7 hours. Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorilla family. Once the gorillas have been located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Uganda’s very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.
After breakfast you will continue to the border with Rwanda. After a short drive you will arrive in butare, Rwanda.
Depending on your arrival time you may be able to visit the Presidential Palace Museum which was the place of residence for the Rwandan president at the time of genocide, Juvenal Habyarimana. You will return to your Hotel for dinner and overnight. (Drive time: 4hrs)
In the morning you will meet your driver/guide and you will set off towards the famous Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest forests in East and Central Africa. The forest is abundant with flora and fauna including 13 primate species from colobus monkeys, mangabeys, blue monkeys and, of course, our cousins the chimpanzees. Nyungwe Forest is also a famous location for birders. With about 310 recorded bird species, 26 of which are endemic, this is one of the most important - and still little known - bird-watching destinations in Africa. (Drive time: 6hrs)
Today you will go for you second chimpanzee tracking of this tour! After a very early morning start, you will proceed to the chimpanzee tracking trail in either the Cyamudongo or Uwinka sections. The total population between the two groups is a healthy 80 individuals. This exciting up-close encounter with human's closest relative you will not soon forget. After the chimp tracking you can relax at the hotel or choose an optional activity that you can discuss with your guide. (Drive time: 1-2hrs)
After a relaxed breakfast you will travel Kibuye on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu. Time allowing, you can visit the Ndaba Falls or take a walk around Kibuye town. In the afternoon you can you can rent a boat and visit a few islands. All activities today are at your own cost. (Drive time: 3-4hrs)
Today you shall drive northeast to the town of Musanze close to the Virunga Volcano range. This beautiful area represents the gateway to the gorilla tracking.
Your lodge for tonight is located near the national park. The spacious rooms are nicely decorated and will give you a homely feeling. You can warm yourself at the fireplace in the restaurant area. From here you will start your Gorilla tracking tomorrow. (Drive time: 4hrs)
Today you will start early! From the lodge, you drive into the park about 30 minutes to the Office Rwandais du Tourisme et Des Parc Nationaux (ORTPN). The head ranger of the ORTPN will divide you into groups based on interest and fitness. From here your driver/guide will take you as close as possible to the starting point of your tracking.
Today you will track one of the habituated Golden monkey groups which can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day.
Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorillas’ current location. Once the golden monkeys have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them.
Today after a relaxed breakfast you shall be transferred by your driver/guide back to Kigali. Depending on your departure flight you can visit the Genocide Memorial and Education Centre, which opened in 2004. It’s a dignified tribute to the victims, including a poignant Children’s Memorial, and a detailed description of the darkest hour in Rwanda's recent history in time to catch your flight back home.
Your driver/guide will take you to the airport in time for your flight home. Sadly, this is where you say goodbye to Rwanda.(Drive Time: 2,5hrs)
Given that Gorilla tracking involves a lot of walking on rough, mountainous terrain, a tracker is advised to:
Carry a good camera that can take photographs of black animals in dim light without a flash. A monopod can also be very helpful