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Uganda and Rwanda are two of the few countries in Africa where mountain gorilla trekking is possible. Mountain gorillas are internationally recognised as one of the most endangered species in the whole world. Globally, the total population of mountain gorillas is an estimated 880 individuals, with about 400 individuals inhabiting Uganda’s prized Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is important to note that this is almost half of the world’s population of these critically endangered primates. The other only place you can find mountain gorillas in Uganda is Mgahinga National Park which has only one habituated family. As for Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is the only place to go for a gorilla trekking excursion.
Your 13 days Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari package is designed to give the mountain gorilla lover a satiating encounter with the prized creatures. A gorilla trekking excursion in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an opportunity to encounter any of the 12 habituated families found in one of the four regions in the forest; Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. Besides gorilla trekking, the park also offers a habituation experience for an entire day observing a mountain gorilla family – helping it adapt to the presence of human beings. Apart from the mountain gorilla trekking excursions in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, you will explore other parks and tourist attractions for the ultimate wildlife encounter experience. You are guaranteed an epic African safari experience while on your Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari.
Entebbe International Airport
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Your 13 days Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari package will include:
Your epic 13 days Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari adventure will begin with an experienced driver – guide picking you from Kampala or your residence at 7:30 am. After briefing you on how your safari will go, you will embark on your journey to Uganda’s celebrated Murchison Falls National Park. As you drive toward the North-western Uganda where Murchison Falls is situated, you will pass through the infamous Luweero triangle.
You will make your first stop at Ziwa rhino sanctuary – the only place in Uganda where rhinos can be observed in their natural habitat for an hour. Your next stop will be in Masindi town where you will have your lunch. You will arrive at Murchison Falls National Park in the evening. Before retiring to your choice accommodation for dinner and overnight, your guide will drive you to the top of falls. Before encountering the prized mountain gorillas, Murchison Falls National Park will offer you a wealth of exciting adventures.
Your mountain gorilla safari will begin with a game drive at 6:30 am, after having an early breakfast. You will embark on a game drive in one of the park’s famous game viewing tracks; the Albert track, Buligi track or the Victoria track. Also, the area around Nyamsika gorge and its cliffs has a high concentration of game. You will see various animals including four of the big fives and wild life in the Murchison Falls.
After having lunch, your mountain gorilla safari will continue as you head out for a boat cruise along the Victoria Nile. The sight and sound of the gushing and rushing waterfalls is soothing and breath-taking. As you sail upstream to the bottom of the falls, you will spot herds of hippos and crocodiles along the river banks. The boat cruise is also the ideal adventure for the avid birder. The area around the Nile and the Murchison falls is a habitat to a number of bird species. Murchison Falls National Park is nature’s hub; you will enjoy the sights and sounds of the abundant wildlife before retiring to your accommodation for dinner and overnight.
On the third day of your Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari, you will have an early breakfast, pack your bags and drive to Kaniyo – Pabidi eco-tourism site. The site is comprised of a forest reserve which a habitat to a numerous number of birds and wildlife species. While on a nature walk, you will be able to see a number of primate species. You will then embark on a drive to Kibale National Park – the safari destination with the highest concentration of primate species in Uganda. Before tracking mountain gorillas, you will have a chance to encounter over 13 primate species found in Kibale forest.
You will head out to Kanyanchu Visitor Center for a chimpanzee trekking excursion on the fourth day of mountain gorilla safari. You will have a briefing from the park authorities, after which you will be allocated a chimp community to track. Chimpanzees live in large communities of about 100 individuals, and a typical tracking experience lasts between 2-6 hours. You will have the opportunity to watch the chimps go about their daily routine. Kibale National Park has the highest concentration of chimp population in Uganda.
After your chimpanzee tracking experience, your gorilla safari adventure will continue with a guided nature walk in Bigodi wetland sanctuary in the late afternoon after having your lunch. The swamp is a habitat to over 200 bird species, and a variety of primate and mammal species including; the various kinds of monkeys, otters, bush pigs, bush bucks, sitatungas, and mongooses. You will retire to your lodge in the late evening for dinner and overnight.
You will transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park after breakfast on your fifth day of your Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari. You will enjoy the rugged-natural beauty of Western Uganda as you drive toward the park. You will see the long-horned Ankole cattle grazing in the green fields, the vast tea plantations spread across the rolling hills, the rift valley escarpment, and the silhouettes of the famous Rwenzori and the humble homesteads of the countryside dwellers.
You will arrive at Uganda’s prized Queen Elizabeth National Park in the late afternoon. Before checking in at your lodge, you will embark on your first game drive along the channel drive circuit, following the Northern shore of the Kazinga channel. This section of the park is one of the few places in Africa where the rare giant forest hog, among other mammals is frequently sighted. Your day’s adventure will end when you choose to retire to your lodging.
While at Queen Elizabeth, the Uganda – Rwanda mountain gorilla safari will continue with a boat cruise on Kazinga channel. The launch cruise along the channel is one of the most popular safari activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You get to sit back and enjoy the sight of elephants, buffalo, bushbucks, kobs and large herds of hippos on the riverbanks. Occasionally, visitors are able to spot leopards, lions and forest hogs. Besides the various mammals, the channel is a habitat for various species of water birds.
After having lunch, you will head out to Kyambura gorge for a chimpanzee trekking excursion. Besides chimpanzees, Kyambura is a habitat to an innumerable number of wildlife and primate species. In the early evening, your mountain gorilla safari will continue as you embark on a tour to the crater lakes region – a cluster of 10 lakes formed from extinct volcanoes.
You will go for a game drive through Queen Elizabeth’s famous Ishasha region – the home of the tree climbing lions. As you drive through the region, you will see the lions nestled languidly in the enormous tree branches. You will also be able to to sight other mammal and bird species. You will retreat from the game drive in the early afternoon and embark on a transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
You have breakfast before you head out to the park headquarters at around 7:00 am. A typical mountain gorilla trekking excursion lasts between 2 – 8 hours. Hiking through the beaten trails in search of the potent giants is exerting but greatly rewarding. The hours you spend searching through the vast forest are not boring; you get to encounter a variety of mammal, primate and bird species as well as noteworthy floral and plant life.
Once you encounter a mountain gorilla family, you will spend an hour observing its members; how the domineering male silver back (head of the family) displays his authority and ability and the caring mothers. You will be allowed to take photos and video recording of the experience. As the afternoon wanes, you will embark on the ‘Batwa experienc’. This includes visiting the community where the Batwa – native forest dwellers live. You will observe and get a chance to engage in their daily routine. You will return to your choice lodge in the late evening for dinner and overnight.
You will embark on a transfer to Rwanda in the early morning. You will drive via the splendid Kigezi highlands fondly referred to as ‘Africa’s Switzerland’. You will cross over to Rwanda via the Uganda – Rwanda boarder to Ruhengeri, a region marked out by the classic chain of the Virungas – a group of 8 mountains. Once in Rwanda, you will go for a boat cruise on the twin lakes; Burera and Ruhondo. You also have the opportunity to interact with the locals before retiring to your choice accommodation for the night.
After having breakfast, you will report at Kinigi park headquarters for a briefing on mountain gorilla trekking etiquette. You will be allocated a team to trek with and a gorilla family to track. After the briefing and undergoing necessary preparations, you will drive to one of the trail heads to start your mountain gorilla trekking excursion. The trek through the lush vegetation and steep landscape is exerting but gets to be highly rewarding when you finally encounter a habituated family.
After the trekking experience, your guide will drive you back to your lodge for you to have lunch and unwind before heading out for a cultural encounter with the native Rwandan people. You will be enjoy their thrilling traditional dances and songs, among other cultural performances. You will retire to your accommodation for dinner and overnight in the late evening.
You will embark on a transfer to Uganda after breakfast. You will drive back to the pearl of Africa – Uganda, via Kisoro – Kabale road through the Kigezi highlands. You will have lunch enroute and drive on to Lake Bunyonyi. Once you reach the lake, you will embark on a boat cruise to tour the islands that are spread across it. You will be amazed by the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi and its features.
For the avid birder, a boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi is a time to spot a variety of bird species including those that are endemic to the region. Some of the birds you will see include; the white-tailed blue monad, herons, grey-crowned crane, egrets, levillant cuckoo, cardinal woodpecker and the slender-billed baglafetch. Lake Bunyonyi and its surrounding is a habitat to over 200 bird species. You will also have a community tour to encounter the pygmy Batwa and the Abaheesi – a black smith community that have inhabited the area for many years. You will learn about their way of life and enjoy a series of performances from them. As the day wanes you can choose to go fishing, canoeing or cycling be for retiring to your choice lodging for the night.
Your next stop of the mountain gorilla safari will be a trip to Lake Mburo National Park situated in Kiruhura district in the Western Uganda. Upon reaching the park, you will embark on a game viewing drive. With the guide of a park ranger, you will drive through the demarcated trails spotting various game along the way.
In the late afternoon after having lunch, you will go for a boat cruise on Lake Mburo. As you sail on the lake, you will spot; herds of hippos, buffaloes, and crocodiles at the banks. The area around the lake is also a habitat to many bird species including the rare shoebill stork. The day’s adventure will end when you choose to retire to your choice lodging.
You will have breakfast and then embark on a guided nature walk in Lake Mburo National Park on the day of your gorilla safari. You will go to the salt lick area where you will encounter various wildlife licking the salty soil found there. You will then embark on your journey back to Kampala. Your driver guide will drop you at Entebbe airport if you have a flight to catch. This will mark the end of your 13 days Uganda – Rwanda gorilla safari.