Rwanda Culture, Uganda Gorillas & Chimps Trek, Wildlife Tour -9 Days

 
 

Day 1: Kigali City Tour, Visit Genocide Memorial, Musanze cave experience, Rwanda

Your guide meets with you at your hotel in the morning or at Kigali Airport. You go through the tour program and a general brief about Uganda and Rwanda before the Kigali city tour. On the city tour we visit the Kigali Genocide memorial (at Gisozi) and other interesting places in the city.

The memorial is very moving – the tour takes a couple of hours - and will be of interest to anyone who has spent some time in this enchanting country. It is in memory of the multitudes murdered in Rwanda´s genocide 1994. The memorial sites and centres are places of dignified remembrance for loved ones lost. It is also a place of reflection and learning for the wider community, both in Rwanda and internationally.

The Musanze Caves just opened to exploratory tourists in 2013. Located at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, the caves offer a peek into the geological history of the region, which was created by intense volcanic activity that formed the Albertine Rift Valley some 65 million years ago. Extending for a length of two kilometers and relatively easy to hike, the underground caverns provide guests with a profound understanding of the origins of the area.

The Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda Defense Forces have provided access to the caves so adventurous holiday-makers can enjoy exploring them. The floors of the caverns are paved, while the trails have stairways and walkways in place to facilitate easy movement. As you wander through the various subterranean areas, you can view intricate rock formations lit by pockets of soft sunlight, which filters through gaps in the ceiling. You might also chance to encounter some of the Rwandan bat species that have taken up residence there.

Accommodation options available

Up-market: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes Lodge (or upgrade to Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge)

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorillas Lodge | La Palme Hotel

Low Budget: Kinigi Guest House | Muhavura Lodge

Day 2: Iby’Iwacu Village Cultural Experiences

Iby’iwacu Village is located in Kinigi, close to Volcanoes National Park. Taking a trip to the village as part of your itinerary will leave you feeling as though you have stepped back in time, to when kings ruled over the kingdom of Rwanda. The village offers visitors to the country an opportunity to gain a fascinating glimpse into an age-old culture, which can extend to spending a night there to get a taste of the traditional lifestyle. Activities depend on the interests of the visitors.

As you wander through the village on a guided community walk, you will be overwhelmed by the warmth and friendliness of the local folk. They are happy to introduce you to their traditional way of life, including songs and dances accompanied by lively drumming. You can listen to “gorilla songs” sung by the well-known performer Ngayabatema (better known as Kayuku), or perhaps watch the unique dance form presented by the Intore dancers and accompanied by traditional instruments. Take a lesson from a traditional healer in how to create medicinal elixirs from local plants, grasses, and shrubs, or peek into a classroom at one of the local schools.

Accommodation options available

Up-market: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes Lodge (or upgrade to Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge)

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorillas Lodge | La Palme Hotel

Low Budget: Kinigi Guest House | Muhavura Lodge

Day 3: Canoe Trek experience on Twin Lakes, Cross to Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Have morning breakfast and then visit the beautiful region of the twin Lakes Burera and Ruhondo. You will be introduced to traditional sustainable farming methods with African vegetables and fruits, visit the local fishermen and also see the fishing competition with children from the adjacent villages.

While here, you will go a launch cruise in one of the traditional canoes and have a visit to the local witch doctors and the “snake man” and also to the convent “Foyer de Charité”.

Afterwards, a few minutes drive leads us to the Rwanda/Uganda border post of Kyanika. We cross and continue driving through amazing landscapes of the terraced Virunga region.

After the fabulous scenery drive, we will be at our overnight accommodation.

Accommodation options:

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge | Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge (or upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Forest Camp )

Moderate: Bwindi Gorillas Lodge Nkuringo | Engagi Lodge | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Day 4: Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 

Today enjoy surely. After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip- Gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day. We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.

Bwindi National Park, located in south western Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda. The area, one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa, where lowland and mountain habitats meet, contains a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs. Home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site. Bwindi is also home to several endangered bird species with very limited ranges, and acts as an important catchment area for many rivers, supplying water for agriculture in the surrounding region.

Accommodation options:

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge | Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge (or upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Forest Camp )

Moderate: Bwindi Gorillas Lodge Nkuringo | Engagi Lodge | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park,  Tree Climbing Lions search in Ishasha Sector

We depart in the early morning after your breakfast to Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park.

We drive through some of the most fabulous sites with clear views of the 6 Virunga Volcanoes, Lake Bunyonyi, the terraced hills and valley of South Western Uganda. 

We go through stunning savannah grasslands as we head to the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The game densities here are high, and this region has reported some of the largest herds of Elephant anywhere in Uganda, as it is their main migration corridor between Uganda and the DRC. 

The northern circuit is known for the only tree climbing lions and your tour guide will do all it takes to ensure you see them.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains-the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the South West by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Zaire Parc Du Virunga. You will expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda Kob, as well as topi, elephant and lion, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

Overnight at:

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge | Mazike Game Lodge

Medium: Ihamba Lake Safari Resort  | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge | Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Low Budget: Bush Lodge (tents) or Simba Safari Camp (tents)

Day 6: Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast we depart to Queen Elizabeth National Park which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains - the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the north-east by Lake George and on the south-west by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Congo Parc du Virunga.

As we drive through the park, expect to spot teeming herds of impala-like Uganda kob, as well as topi, elephant, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon we will go for a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at very close range from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others.

Overnight at:

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge | Mazike Game Lodge

Medium: Ihamba Lake Safari Resort  | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge | Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Low Budget: Bush Lodge (tents) or Simba Safari Camp (tents)

Day 7:  Kibale National Park  

Early morning after breakfast we continue driving through the undulating highlands of western Uganda on our way to the greener and beautiful Fort Portal area.

Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good photo opportunities.

As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge | Primate Lodge Kibale | Crater Safari Lodge

Moderate: Isunga Lodge| Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (self contained cottages)

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (shared bathroom rooms)

Day 8: Chimpanzee & Primate Trekking in Kibale Forest (or top -up $70 for the full day chimps habituation experience)

In the early morning, we will go chimp tracking.

On your forest walk in the afternoon, you will look for the fascinating multi-species troops of monkeys. Various species move through the forest together, each specie occupying different elevation in the forest. They understand each other's alarm calls when predators are spotted, so when, for example, an eagle soars overhead, the monkeys at the higher elevation will sound the alarm and all monkeys will take appropriate evasive action. The same applies when those at the lowest elevations spot a ground-dwelling or ambush predator such as a leopard: the terrestrial monkeys will sound the alarm signal and all monkeys will rapidly move up to the higher elevation.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge | Primate Lodge Kibale | Crater Safari Lodge

Moderate: Isunga Lodge| Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (self contained cottages)

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (shared bathroom rooms)

Meals Included today: Lunch and dinner at the lodge.

Day 9:  Drive to Entebbe Airport or Kigali Airport for Departure  

Embark on your journey to Entebbe. This route travels through breathtaking scenery and delightfully rolling plantations, some of the best in Uganda.

PRICE PER PERSON FOR DIFFERENT NUMBER OF PEOPLE     Note: PP is Per Person

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