21 days Uganda Rwanda safari is a comprehensive 19 nights/20 day Uganda Rwanda tour combined safari that you can ever undertake in these two safari destinations of Uganda and Rwanda.
This 21 days Uganda Rwanda safari gives you a perfect blend of Savannah landscapes, tropical and montane areas. The combination of scenery, wildlife, primates, adventure, and culture will derive ultimate lasting memories. It takes you through Uganda’s National Parks of Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Rwanda’s National Parks of Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe National Park, and Akagera National park. The cultural encounters of the Batwa people will give you a taste of the past while adventures in Jinja and Volcano climbing will help you to give your body a test of fitness. The gorilla trekking encounter will see you join the club of those that have managed to have a live sight of these critically endangered apes which only exist in Virunga and Bwindi.
The first day of this 21-day Uganda Rwanda safari is designated for your arrival in Uganda. It is such a wonderful initiative when you pack your few necessities and set off for a safari in Uganda. You will arrive at the Entebbe International Airport which is the main gateway to the country where you will be welcomed by our friendly guide who will transfer you to your respective hotel for relaxation from the aero toxic syndrome and eventually overnight.
Accommodation: Sheraton Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Cassia Lodge (Mid-range/standard) or Buziga Country Resort (Budget/basic).
You will wake up early for breakfast at your place of stay after which you will be transferred by your guide to Jinja 80km about 1-2 hours’ drive from Kampala. Upon reaching Jinja – the adventure town of Uganda, you will enroll yourself for the white water rafting experience that will see you contain the strength of waters of the Nile as they splash through the rapids. You will also participate in the bungee jumping that will see you fall from the cliff to touch on the waters of the Nile 140ft below – one of the active adventures you will ever have. The relaxing boat cruise to the source of the Nile will take you to the point where John Speke, the first European to see the source of the world’s longest river stood. You will see the Nile starting it 90 days journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Drive back to Kampala for overnight.
Accommodation: Sheraton Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Cassia Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Buziga Country Resort (Budget/Basic).
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 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 Kibale National Park 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. Kibale is 441km about 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 and Kibale in particular in the evening overlooking the mystical Ruwenzori Mountains famously known as the mountains of the moon.
Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee guesthouse (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 a recreational afternoon launch cruise that leaves at 03:00 pm taking 2 hours while exploring 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: 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 transfer to Maramagambo forest one of the mature tropical forests in Uganda for a rewarding nature walk. You will be mesmerized by various tree species and their sizes not forgetting the canopy that provides a natural shade. The sights of birds, monkeys may not be missed. Additionally, you will encounter the bat cave where thousands of bats have dwelled for years past co-existing alongside python – one of the famous reptiles. Return to the lodge for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: You will have dinner & overnight at your 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 the day 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.
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 a 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. Options after the boat include; swimming, mountain biking, community tours, and hiking. You will transfer in the evening to spend an overnight in Mgahinga National Park.
Accommodation: Volcanoes Mount Gahinga safari lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Mucha lodge (Midrange/standard) or Amajambere iwachu Camp (Budget/Basic).
By this time, you will have made up your mind about which volcano to climb. Options range from 3,474m Mt. Gahinga taking 6 hours, 3,669m Mt. Sabyinyo taking 8 hours and 4,127m Mt. Muhavura going beyond 8 hours. Climbing any of these is possible and they can be summited including the round trip. The highest Muhavura gives great views of Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward, Rwenzori peaks, and the rooftop views of the impenetrable forest of Bwindi. While climbing Mt. Gahinga offers chances of citing golden monkeys in the Bamboo zone of this highland.
Accommodation: You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.
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 Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda 68km about 2 hours’ drive. You will arrive in the evening for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Mount Gorilla View Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), La Palme Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Muhabura Hotel (Budget/Basic).
Hike 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.
Alternatively, 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.
Return to the lodge for lunch after which you will embark on a 110km about 2 hours drive to Lake Kivu (Gisenyi area) for evening relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Gorillas Lake Kivu (Mid-range/standard) or Paladise Malahide (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast, embark on the drive to Nyungwe forest National Park 294km about 6 – 7 hours’ drive. You will pass the green hillsides of western Rwanda with a lunch stop en route. Driving most of this journey along Lake Kivu is one of those enjoyable things on this safari. Arrive in the afternoon for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Nyungwe Forest Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Nyungwe Hill Top View Hotel (Midrange/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 Butare town 155km about 3 hours’ drive. You will arrive early for lunch and visiting various sites including the Ethnographic Museum formerly known as Butare National Museum with over 100,000 artifacts considered to be among the largest museum collections in East Africa, you will also visit the Nyanza palace the home of the former kings of Rwanda that is King Musinga and his successor King Rudahigwa. The traditional hut crafted in unique architecture coupled with the Inyambo cows at the area makes this site worthy of visiting. You will also visit the Murambi genocide memorial to pay tribute to thousands of Rwandese who lost their lives in the bloody genocide. You can also visit Butare University – the highest and largest tertiary institution in Rwanda. Retire overnight.
Accommodation: Barthos Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Faucon (Midrange/Standard) or Shalom Guest House (Budget/Basic).
After breakfast, transfer to Akagera National Park 247km approximately 4 hours’ drive from Butare. You will enjoy the scenic landscapes en route including the farmed hill sides before approaching the low-lying landscapes of Akagera National Park. You will arrive early for lunch after which you will embark on the boat cruise on the second largest lake in Rwanda – Lake Ihema. The boat will expose you to sights of aquatic wildlife like Hippos and Nile crocodiles. The wild game drinking on the lakeside might not be missed on this afternoon boat trip. Retreat for relaxation and overnight.
Accommodation: Akagera game Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Ruzizi Tented Camp (Mid-range/Standard) or Dereva Hotel (Budget/basic).
You will wake up early enough for a cup of coffee before embarking on the game drive in the National game park of Akagera. The early departure gives you chances of spotting early risers and night hunters retreating to their hiding places. The drive will expose you to wildlife like Zebras, giraffes, elephants, Antelopes like Impala, water-buck among other wildlife. The scenic landscapes of the Akagera plains and overlooking Tanzanian plains also make sightseeing rewarding on this trip. Return to the lodge for relaxation till lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to Kigali city 130km about 2.5 hours’ drive from Akagera.
Wake up in the morning for breakfast after which you will embark on the Kigali city encounter. You will visit the Gisozi genocide memorial site where thousands of Rwandese lay in cold blood as victims of the bloody genocide that characterized Rwanda in 1994. The tour will also expose you to the Presidential palace Museum which formerly was the home of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana who lost his life in a plane crash whose cause is not yet clear acting as a sparking factor to the outbreak of genocide. The remains of the Falcon 50 Presidential Plane are seen in the compound. The Natural History Museum honoring Dr. Richard Kandt who founded Kigali city in 1907 can also be encountered. You can pay a visit to the Hotel Des Mille Collines – the site of the famous Hotel Rwanda movie. The International specialty restaurants are in existence, craft centers, Art studios among other attractions.