The 18 days Rwanda Uganda safari is 17 nights/18-day Uganda Rwanda safari trip offering double gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes and Uganda’s Bwindi, encountering Africa’s largest pool of colobus monkeys in Nyungwe Forest National Park and the famous Canopy walk, recreational water encounters on Lake Kivu Rwanda and Lake Bunyonyi Uganda, paying tribute to the world gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey, rich wild game viewing including tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth alongside elephants, buffaloes, Antelopes, leopard among others. The 18 days Rwanda Uganda safari full-day Chimpanzee habituation in the primate capital of the world Kibale Forest National Park, scenic encounters of the Crater lake area, Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves, and the Sempaya hot springs combine to derive lasting safari memories.
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.
Accommodation: Kigali Serena Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Hotel Chez Lando (Mid-range/standard) or Murugo Rwanda Hostel (Budget/basic).
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Nyungwe forest National Park 268km about 6 hours’ drive excluding stops en route. The journey passes through the farmed landscapes of southern Rwanda with stops in Butare to visit the ethnographic museum, Nyanza palace, and Murambi genocide memorial site. You will have lunch en route in Butare before proceeding on your journey to Nyungwe Forest in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Nyungwe Forest Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Nyungwe Hill Top View Hotel (Mid range/Basic) or Gisakura Guest House (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast, set off for colobus monkey tracking in Nyungwe forest where you have chances of encountering the largest grouping of colobus monkeys in Africa. The colobus monkeys appear in their white and black coat and their appearance makes them unique and worthy of trekking. The colobus monkey tracking on Rwanda safari is beyond colobus monkeys as it involves trekking through the jungle full of birds and other wildlife species, the raising landscape of this mountain forest add spice to this colobus monkey tracking experience. It takes 2 – 5 hours and involves one full hour encounter with Colobus monkeys. After this, you will return to the lodge for relaxation. In the afternoon, you will embark on the rewarding Nyungwe canopy walk that takes you through the views of the Nyungwe forest canopy that is filled with birds and primate species like monkeys. The 90m long and 40m high Nyungwe canopy is an exciting adventure to undertake on Rwanda safari.
Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Lake Kivu – Gisenyi area 294km about 6 – 7 hours’ drive from Nyungwe. The journey drive exposes you to the scenic hillsides of western Rwanda and the views of Lake Kivu. You will have lunch en route and arrive in Gisenyi in the evening for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Gorillas Lake Kivu (Midrange/Standard) or Paladise Malahide (Budget/Basic).
Wake up for a relaxed breakfast on the shores of Lake Kivu – the largest water body in Rwanda. The calm waters of Lake Kivu that are free from crocodiles, hippos, Bilharzia, and gas outbursts provide a basis for a range of recreational activities. Activities include; swimming, water sports like Kayaking, windsurfing, catamaran and Jet ski, boat cruise, cycling, hiking among others. You have all the chances of participating in any of these activities. The whole day encounter on this Lake will reward you with ultimate refreshment.
Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous hotel.
Wake up very early to transfer to Volcanoes National Park 110km about 2 hours’ drive to catch up with golden Monkey tracking at 08:00 am. The activity exposes you to the rare and endangered golden monkeys that only dwell in the Virunga volcanoes in Africa. 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. You will return from this activity to the lodge for lunch after which you will embark on either a cultural tour to the Iby’iwachu cultural village to encounter the traditional setting of the Kinyarwanda culture or take a walk to the ancient caves which appear like a natural cathedral.
Accommodation: Mount Gorilla View Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), La Palme Hotel (Midrange/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.
After breakfast, hike the Dian Fossey site to pay tribute to one of the gorilla conservationists the world is proud to have had. 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. You will return for relaxation and lunch at the lodge after which you will embark on the drive to Uganda 68km about 3 hours to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The journey will take you through the magical views of Virunga volcanoes that bring together countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Accommodation: Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Mucha Lodge (Mid-range/standard) or Amajambere iwacu Camp (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast, set off for the Batwa heritage trail a half-day activity that takes you through the forests of Mgahinga in the company of the indigenous Batwa guides as they interpret every forest landscape and what it meant in their traditional life. The hike stretches up to the Garama cave the ancient dwelling of the Batwa – one can call it their capital in the forest of Mgahinga volcanoes. The cave is a natural shelter that always provided a refugee for the Batwa in times of danger. You will listen to the sorrowful songs being sung by the Batwa women taking you through the course of their tradition; it is a rich taste of the fading typical African culture. Return from this activity and embark on the transfer to Lake Bunyonyi 80km surface drive for overnight.
Accommodation: Bird nest @Lake Bunyonyi resort (Upmarket/luxury), Arcadia Cottages (Mid-range/standard) or Byoona Amagara (Budget/Basic).
Nicknamed 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 ride, you will embark on the transfer to the gorilla trekking haven of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Buhoma) 120km about 4 hours’ drive. You will arrive in the evening for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp (Upmarket/Luxury), Engagi Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Bwindi View Bandas (Budget/Basic).
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi exposes you to a different experience from that of Volcanoes National Park. The terrain of Bwindi is rugged with a thick jungle which is different from the former. The gorilla behaviors and group composition can never be the same and this makes second gorilla trekking in Bwindi. 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 lodge for relaxation. In the evening, you can attend the local performances to see the amazing cultural performances of the Bakiga and the Batwa.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park 160km about 5 hours’ drive. You will pass through the Ishasha sector after driving for 63km where you will have chances of spotting tree climbing lions resting on tree branches in the midmorning sun. Continue on the drive to Mweya for lunch after which you will embark on the crater area drive. The crater area drive exposes you to a range of explosion craters that lay in a sequence justifying the work of the earth processes that characterized the area many years ago. Crater lakes like Lake Nyamunuka, Lake Murumuli, and Lake Kitagata can be seen on this drive.
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 of 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 Kibale National Park 157km about 4 hours’ drive. You will enjoy the magical views of the Ruwenzori Mountains with their peaks covered by snow. You will arrive early for lunch after which you will embark on Bigodi wetland walk. You will enjoy the amazing wetland flora with swamp animals like Sitatunga, birds like Ruwenzori Turaco, Primates like Monkeys and community encounters including the tour to the traditional healer and local schools.
Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee guest house (Mid-range/standard) or Kibale Forest Camp (Budget/Basic).
After taking heavy early breakfast, you will gather at Kanyanchu Tourism Center at 06:00 am to set off for the full-day Chimpanzee habituation experience. Unlike Chimpanzee trekking which involves one hour encounter with chimps, the chimpanzee habituation takes a full day as you will have chances of seeing chimps as they get out of their nests, setting out to feed, watch their social moments, playful tactics, and their amazing sounds until they form new nests in the evening for overnight. It is a comprehensive Chimpanzee encounter that you can have while on safari in Uganda.
Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.
After breakfast drive through Fort Portal town heading for the Crater Lake hike 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 roof top. 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.
Accommodation: Kyaninga lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Mountains of the moon hotel (Mid-range/standard) or Rwenzori guest house (Budget/basic).
After breakfast, drive for 52km about 2 hours to Semuliki National Park for an amazing nature walk. You will pass through this forest of Semuliki which shares much of the characteristics with West African forests. It is a continuation of the Congo Ituri forest. The walk will expose to various birds like Rwenzori Turaco and primates including the rare deBrazza’s monkey before reaching the famous Sempaya hot springs. You will visit the female hot spring known as Nyasimbi and the male hot spring known as Bitente where you will boil your plantains in this natural steam and they are ready in a couple of minutes – something to wonder of while on safari in Uganda. This is an Eco-encounter that will bring you in close contact with nature and will ultimately refresh your body from the routine work back at home. Return to Fort Portal for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge
After breakfast, embark on the drive to Kampala 300km about 6 – 7 hours’ drive. You will pass through the forested views surrounding Kibale forest plus the swamps and marshes that characterize this wet region of Uganda. The journey breaks at Mubende town where you will branch off a little to visit the Nakayima tree, an ancient tree with a rich Chwezi background. The locals attach a lot of cultural and religious significance to this site and thus it is used as a shrine. Lunch in Mubende town and continue on the journey to Kampala to arrive in the afternoon.