The 13 days Uganda Rwanda safari is a 12 days/13 day Uganda Rwanda tour taking you through Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, Ziwa Rhino sanctuary – the home of white Rhinos, scenic encounters in the crater lake area, and Amabere caves. These 13 days Uganda Rwanda safari takes you chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park, game viewing, and amazing boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth not forgetting the tree-climbing lions of Ishasha, double gorilla trekking in Bwindi, and Volcanoes National Park with different experience altogether, relaxing boat cruise on the lake of a thousand islands – Lake Bunyonyi, Dian Fossey hiking or golden monkey tracking and heritage encounters in Kigali city including Gisozi genocide memorial.
Leave Kampala after breakfast as early as 6:00 am from your place of stay and head to the north of Uganda accompanied by the company guide. The journey is 311km about 5 hours’ drive to Murchison Falls National Park passing through the flat Nakasongora landscapes before diverting at Nakitoma from the main road 115 Km from Kampala to drive further for an extra 7 Km to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. You will spend some time tracking the magnificent white Rhinos which only exist at this place in Uganda after which you will proceed to Masindi for Lunch. In the afternoon, you will continue on the drive to Murchison Falls National Park and upon arrival, you will hike the top of the falls to take time gaze at the splendid powerful waterfalls and listening to its roaring sound as it squeezes itself through the 8m ravine before falling 43m below the devil’s cauldron forming a plume of spray with a trademark rainbow – the greatest feature to have ever happened on the course of the Nile River which happens to be the longest river in the world. Check-in at your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Murchison River Lodge (Mid-range/standard) or Red Chili Rest Camp (Budget/Basic).
Wake up very early for a cup of coffee and then head to Paraa ferry crossing at 7:00 am to the northern sector of the Park where game drives are carried out. The possible sights of various wildlife including; elephants, buffalo, Jackson hartebeest, Kobs, lion, leopard, giraffe among other wildlife will leave you with a taste of African Savannah wilderness. The activity takes 3 – 4 hours after which you will return to the Paraa ferry crossing at 11:00 am to go back to your lodge for relaxation and memory sharing. After your stimulating lunch, gather at the Paraa for an after boat cruise on the Nile at 02:00 pm. This boat trip has got captains and guides who have cruised on these waters for years and will be glad to share with you every piece of information that you would wish to gather on this trip including any bird species and wildlife both aquatic and land that might present its self. The shoe-bill stork can be luckily seen on this boat while the great sights of Nile crocodiles – the second largest reptile in the world and the Hippos would make up your trip up to the base of the falls. The boat takes 3 hours after which you will have marked the end of your day’s adventures.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.
The drive to Fort portal is not an ordinary journey; it involves driving through the lush countryside dotted by amazing features of earth movements including the Albertine rift valley. The farmed landscapes bring out the typical African villages that you have always heard of or wished to see on your safari like this safari in Uganda. Fort Portal is 415km about an 8 – 9 hours’ drive from Murchison Falls National Park. The lunch stop will be made in Hoima town dubbed the oil city and a continuous drive will see you arrive in Fort Portal in the evening overlooking the mystical Ruwenzori Mountains famously known as the mountains of the moon.
Accommodation: Kyaninga lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Mountains of the moon hotel (Mid-range/standard) or Rwenzori guesthouse (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast drive to the Crater Lakes area to do hiking and Amabere caves walk. You will first visit the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves an ancient landmark with a lot of historical and cultural significance to the local people as it dates from the Chwezi era. Geographically, the caves are breast like features of stalagmites and stalactites with the seasonal Nyakasura waterfalls falling from their rooftop. It is a great sight to encounter on Uganda safari. Continue to hike the crater lakes by hiking the famous Kyeganywa hill to gain the surrounding view of various crater lakes and hollows plus the overlooking views of Ruwenzori Mountains. In the evening, you can visit the Karambi royal tombs and the grand Karuzika Palace – the royal palace of the Kingdom of Tooro after which you will transfer to Kibale Forest National Park 26km from Fort Portal town.
Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee guest house (Mid-range/standard) or Kibale Forest Camp (Budget/Basic).
Wake up early for a heavy breakfast before gathering at Kanyanchu tourism center at 08:00 am for a short briefing after which you will head to the forest in quest of Chimpanzees – man’s closest relative. The trek involves passing through the jungle of Kibale dubbed the primate capital of the world with over 13 species of primates some of which you will luckily come across during your Chimpanzee trekking including colobus monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon, Red-tailed monkey among others. The enchanting songs of Birds will keep you entertained in this 2 – 5 hour trek. One full hour is at your disposal to explore the Chimpanzees in detail and ascertain the external considerations as to why they are dubbed man’s close relative. Watch them as they eat fruits, play, socialize, and swing in tree branches as you take as many photos as you can. Return to the center after having had your picnic lunch. Encounter Bigodi wetland sanctuary in the afternoon to take the rewarding swamp walk with amazing bird sights including the Rwenzori Turaco and swamp animals like Sitatunga. The communities around Bigodi offer a close touch of tourist – host interaction.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park 157km about 4 hours’ drive from Kibale. The journey offers the scenic views of the magical Mountains of the moon that stand high up in the clouds at an elevation of 5,109m above sea level towards the west. You will arrive in Queen Elizabeth National park early for lunch after which you will embark on the visit to Salt Lake in the afternoon. You will enjoy the process of salt extraction and see how the communities around have developed a livelihood centered on salt mining.
Accommodation: Mweya safari lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi lodge (Mid-range/standard) or Simba safari camp (Budget/basic).
Wake up very for a cup of coffee before setting off for the game drive activity in the Savannah game park of Queen Elizabeth. The early departure at 06:00 gives you an opportunity to see night hunters like hyenas getting back to their hiding places and early risers setting off to look for what to eat. The drive through the Kasenyi tracks gives a probable opportunity to see a range of games including; Lions, buffalo, elephants, elusive leopard (if too lucky), antelopes among other wildlife. Return to the lodge after this 3 -4 hour game drive and relax till lunchtime. After lunch, you will gather at Mweya for a recreational afternoon launch cruise leaving at 03:00 pm taking 2 hours to explore the magical offerings of Kazinga Channel including the sights of water birds and wild game drinking on the channel side, the Nile crocodile, and the Hippos. The 45m channel that stretches from Lake George to Lake Edward has tranquil waters that always give pleasure and psychological satisfaction to any traveler on Uganda safaris. Retire from the boat at 5 pm for overnight.
Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to the gorilla trekking haven of Bwindi 160km about 5 hours’ drive from Mweya. You will pass through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park where you have chances of spotting tree climbing lions lying on tree branches in the mid-morning warm sunshine. Proceed to Bwindi in the afternoon and check to your lodge for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp (Upmarket/Luxury), Engagi lodge (Mid-range/standard) or Bwindi View Bandas (Budget/Basic)
It is this long waited for a date when you will come across the critically endangered mountain gorillas that only exist in Bwindi and Virunga Volcanoes. You will wake up early for a heavy breakfast before gathering at the Park headquarters Buhoma for briefing at 08:00 about the conduct of gorilla trekking. You will head to the forest after briefing in search of these apes and though the trek is a bit challenging, it is one of those activities that you will never forget to have done in Uganda. The 2 – 8 hours activity involves hiking up the hills, descending down the valleys, walking through swamps, and maneuvering the way through thickets that have formed the background of this Impenetrable forest before coming in direct contact with gorillas. The one full hour is at your disposal to maximize your experience with gorillas as you they forage, play, socialize, and also gaze at you in a sign of welcoming and saying goodbye. The experience is a rewarding and worthy undertaking. Your picnic lunch will take you through the activity after which you will descend to the starting point and embark on the transfer to Lake Bunyonyi 122km about 3 hours’ drive. You will arrive in the evening for overnight.
Accommodation: Birdnest@Lake Bunyonyi resort (Upmarket/Luxury), Arcadia Cottages (Mid-range/standard) or Byoona Amagara (Budget/Basic).
Labeled the lake of a thousand islands, Lake Bunyonyi has a range of islands stretching up to 29 in number and can all be explored on 5 – 6 hours boat ride while on this safari in Uganda. The Lake Bunyonyi encounter is designed to maximize your relaxation and is entirely recreational. The tranquil waters of the lake and the surrounding views of Kigezi highlands dubbed the Switzerland of Africa combine to make this day a total complete experience. After the boat cruise, transfer to Volcanoes National Park 120 km for overnight.
Accommodation: Mount Gorilla View Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), La Palme Hotel (Mid-range/standard) or Muhabura Hotel (Budget/Basic).
Wake up very early for breakfast such that by 8:00 am, you are already at the park headquarters –Kinigi for briefing and eventual gorilla trekking experience. During this session, you are allocated to a gorilla family to track, and if, with a special case, rangers can be consulted for special arrangements. You will head off to the volcanic lush vegetation in search of gorillas. The trek is quite thrilling as you go through amazing landscapes amidst bird sights and other wildlife crossings including monkeys, wild pigs, and if lucky wild elephants. The trek takes 2 – 8 hours as gorillas are unpredictable thus packed lunch is required. The jungle sounds will accompany you up to that long waited moment of direct contact with gorillas. You will see them as they forage, play, socialize, and sometimes charge. The state of wonder that will engulf your heart could leave your camera film with no space for other encounters. The full one hour is enough to optimize this experience after which you will retreat to the starting point to drive to your lodge for relaxation. If time permits, you can go for a caves walk in the evening to wonder about the structure of these natural houses or you can opt to visit the Iby’ iwachu cultural village to encounter the culture of the Banyarwanda.
Accommodation: You will have dinner & overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, you can choose to do golden monkey tracking to encounter the rare and endangered golden monkeys that only dwell in the Virunga volcanoes. The activity takes about 4 hours and starts at 08:00 from the park headquarters – Kinigi. The trek involves passing the lush vegetation of Volcanoes up to the Bamboo zone where the golden monkeys prefer to dwell. Upon, reaching them, you will marvel at their golden skins and their distinctiveness from other monkey subspecies.
Alternatively, hike the Dian Fossey site. The hike to Dian Fossey center to pay tribute to one of the gorilla conservationists the world is proud to have had is an interesting activity. This American Primatologist championed the conservation of these critically endangered mountain gorillas. The Karisoke center is located at a raised landscape thus involves a relative hike but less strenuous. The grave of the Silver-back digit is also seen at this center. The activity takes 3 – 4 hours.
Another option is hiking Bisoke Volcano which takes 7 hours round trip. It involves a relative hike and like any other mountain, it involves step ascend at certain levels. Hiking this volcano exposes you to various vegetation covers, wildlife including monkeys, bird species while its summit offers views of the entire Virunga volcanoes and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You will return from any of these activities to the lodge for lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to Kigali 116km about 3 hours’ drive.
Accommodation: Kigali Serena Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Hotel Chez Lando (Mid-range/standard) or Murugo Rwanda Hostel (Budget/basic).
Kigali – the capital of Rwanda is a lush city free of traffic and pollutant noise. It is a cozy environment that one may not expect in African cities. In its calmness, it has got rich heritage which is highly shaped by the effects of the 1994 genocide. After breakfast, you will embark on the tour of this city visiting sites like the Gisozi genocide memorial, presidential Palace museum which was the home of the then president Juvenal Habyarimana who lost his dear life in a plane crash, and the remains of FALCON 50 lay in the compound to justify this tragedy. The tour also exposes you to the Natural History Museum, craft centers in Kigali, Kigali down town, Hotel Des Milles Collines – the scene for the movie Hotel Rwanda among other Kigali city landscapes.