The most outstanding feature of this excellent value-for-money lodge tour is that it takes you gorilla trekking twice - once in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and once in the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda!
In addition to these two extraordinary gorilla encounters in the ancient forests of the Virunga Mountains, you also get to track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park of Uganda and endangered golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. Your time in the dense rainforests also offers rare opportunities to see a variety of other primates, as well as a diverse array of birds, plants and other unusual creatures.
To add to all these unforgettable forest and primate encounters you also enjoy a good dose of game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda's leading game park. Here you embark on a boat cruise along the hippo-studded Kazinga Channel, spot a variety of big game species and visit Ishasha, famous for its tree-climbing lions.
On the first morning of this Gorillas & Wildlife Safari we collect you from your pre-tour accommodation in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. From Kampala we head west to Kibale National Park, driving through the papyrus marshes and dense jungles of the lush Nile Delta.
Arriving at the guest house just outside of Kibale National Park we have lunch and admire the beautiful views of tea plantations, forest and the lofty Ruwenzori Mountains. In the afternoon we set off on a scenic walk in the crater lakes area of the national park. Walking in this tranquil area provides beautiful views of the forests, plantations and mountains, and perhaps even sightings of monkeys and other creatures. We walk to a local village where we are treated to a unique cultural experience in the evening.
Dinner is served back at the guesthouse, followed by leisure time to soak up the peace and quiet.
This morning you have breakfast at the friendly guest house, enjoying the natural surroundings and good food.
Then we transfer to the Kibale Park Headquarters for a briefing about the guided chimpanzee trek ahead. After the briefing we make our way into the forest on foot to track down the chimpanzees of Kibale Forest. The guide can tell you all about the chimpanzees and other inhabitants of Kibale as we walk. In addition to chimpanzees, we might spot a variety of primates, including grey-cheeked mangabeys, colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys, along with birds, insects and butterflies.
In Kibale the chances of encountering chimpanzees are exceptionally high. We spend an hour watching our closest relatives, sharing about 98% of our DNA make-up. Watching the chimpanzees swing in the trees and interact on the ground is a special experience. It is remarkable to see how the behaviour of these social apes resembles that of our own!
Returning from our chimpanzee encounter in the forest, we have lunch and relax at the guest house. Later this afternoon we embark on a nature walk in Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, hosting abundant birdlife, eight primate species and all kinds of mammals, reptiles and plants. With over 200 bird species found here, the guided walk offers rewarding bird watching. Primate sightings include various colobus monkeys, mangabeys, baboons, vervet monkeys and mountain monkeys. Other mammals that we may encounter include sitatunga antelope, bush pig, civet, mongoose, bushbuck and possibly chimpanzee.
This evening we enjoy a hearty dinner at the comfortable lodge and unwind in nature.
On day three we have breakfast and visit the pretty Nyakasura Falls near Fort Portal. Then we travel south to one of the oldest game parks in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park. Making our way into Uganda's premier national park we look out for wildlife and take in the wild landscapes.
Our next lodge is set on a hill next to Queen Elizabeth National Park, offering sweeping views of the open bush and Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. We have dinner at the remote lodge, lapping up the stunning views from the upper viewing deck.
Today we are up early for our exciting sunrise game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Early mornings are ideal for spotting wildlife and birds in the bush, so keep your eyes open.
Queen Elizabeth Park is home to plenty of big game, with frequent sightings including elephants, buffaloes, lions, hippos, baboons and crocodiles. The park is also home to the rare giant forest hog and Ugandan kob, amongst other antelopes. Birdlife is prolific with some 638 species recorded!
After lunch we take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, running between Lake Edward and Lake George, in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The boat cruise offers excellent game viewing opportunities as the natural channel attracts a host of animals. The natural channel has one of the highest concentrations of hippos in East Africa and is a birding haven. Keep an eye out for buffalos, elephants and antelopes too.
Our game viewing cruise on Kazinga Channel is followed by dinner at the scenically located lodge.
Day five takes us south through one of the most stunning parts of Uganda en route to Bwindi.
Leaving our lodge we travel via the Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth Park. We take a game drive in search of the tree-climbing lions Ishasha is famous for, keeping an eye out for other wildlife and birds as we go. We also visit Kyambura Gorge or the bat cave at Maramagambo Forest.
Then we drive up into the highlands, a fertile region of tea plantations and rainforest-covered mountains and gorges. It is here in the ancient forests of the volcanic mountains that nearly half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas survive today. These incredibly lush highland rainforests are home to an amazing array of primates, insects, small creatures and exotic birds.
This afternoon we spend time exploring the area around Bwindi National Park on foot. The walk offers a chance to meet the friendly local people and see what village life in rural Uganda entails. Our walk is followed by dinner at the lodge, next to Bwindi Park. Tonight we get ready for the epic gorilla trek taking place tomorrow.
Today is the big day - time to go mountain gorilla trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest! Put on your trekking boots and bring the necessary gear for this incredible gorilla encounter. Make sure that you take along a rain jacket, drinking water, snacks and your packed lunch from the lodge.
First, we have breakfast at the lodge, then we head to the park where the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff give you a briefing at 08:00am. After the briefing the UWA guides lead you into the dense rainforest of Bwindi Park. Bwindi Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such for its endangered mountain gorilla population and rich biodiversity. Walking in this ancient and exceptionally diverse forest is a remarkable experience, providing rare opportunities to spot a variety of jungle creatures. The forest is inhabited by 11 primate species and some 90 mammal species in total, plus an amazing variety of bird species.
The highlight is, of course, seeing the African mountain gorillas in the wild! There are about 320 mountain gorillas in Bwindi Park, including four family groups that are habituated to humans. One of the most phenomenal wildlife experiences on the planet.
The trek takes between two and six hours, depending on where the gorillas are and the pace of your group. The hike can be challenging at times, especially in the rainy season (March to May), but the effort is completely worth the rare privilege. Our eventful day of trekking ends back at the lodge with a hearty dinner and a good night's rest.
Wake up to the beautiful views of Bwindi Forest where you came face-to-face with the endangered mountain gorillas the day before. We have breakfast in this lush and peaceful setting, before crossing from Uganda into Rwanda.
Our picturesque drive takes us through the undulating hills of Rwanda, known as 'The Land of a Thousand Hills'. We make our way to the town of Ruhengeri, now called Musanze, and our guest house for the next two nights. Along the way we pass the scenic gems of Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera, encircled by hills and flanked by the Virunga Mountains.
Arriving at our guest house near Volcanoes National Park in the late afternoon, we spend the evening exploring the area and relaxing.
On day eight we get to embark on a second mountain gorilla trek, this time in Volcanoes National Park!
We wake up early, have breakfast and set off for the headquarters of the park. At the headquarters your driver/guide gets the formalities done and your ranger tells you more about the gorilla trekking procedures. Then you set off into the unspoilt forests of the Virunga Mountains with your experienced ranger leading the way.
The Volcanoes National Park, named after the Virunga volcanoes it encompasses, hosts the most habituated groups of gorillas. This is arguably the best place in Africa for mountain gorilla trekking. Trekking through the afro-montane forests of this 160km² park, we might come across a variety of other mammals, creatures and birds. Some 178 bird species have been recorded here, including about 29 species endemic to the mountains of this region.
There are about ten groups of gorillas in the national park, one of which we will be assigned to track. Once we have located our group we stop and spend an hour watching them - an unforgettable experience! During this spell-binding hour we get to observe these majestic apes as they interact with each other - playing and grooming, feeding and napping. After our once-in-a-lifetime gorilla encounter we trek back out of the ancient forests, returning to the park headquarters and our guesthouse.
End the day with a laid-back drink on the patio, followed by dinner at the guesthouse.
This morning we embark on our last trek into the forests of East Africa. Today's exploration in Volcanoes National Park takes us in search of the endemic golden monkeys found on the lower slopes of the mountains.
Walking in the bamboo forests we search out the endangered golden monkeys and spend an hour watching them at close range. Watch as these long-tailed monkeys swing energetically between the bamboo trees, feeding and interacting with each other playfully.
This special primate encounter is followed by lunch in Ruhengere and then we set off on the three-hour drive southeast to Kigali. Along the way we pause several times to take in the beautiful scenery of this hilly country. Tonight we have our final dinner together at the hotel overlooking Kigali, the clean and modern capital city of Rwanda.
On our final morning we have breakfast at the hotel and embark on a city tour of Kigali.
The sightseeing tour takes us to the arts and crafts market where you can buy curios and gifts, as well as visiting the landmark genocide memorial.
After exploring the pleasant city of Kigali and having lunch, you are transferred to the Kigali International Airport for your onward flight.
The cost of this tour excludes the Gorilla Permit fees of US$ 600 in Uganda and US$ 1500 in Rwanda.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
Only children over the age of 16 may go gorilla trekking.
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