The Ultimate Uganda and Rwanda Safari

The ultimate Uganda and Rwanda safari. Four safari parks, two countries, an endless adventure across Kingdoms filled with myriad cultural experiences, stunning nature views, dramatic wildlife encounters and historic scenery to die for.

Highlights

  • Trek gorillas in both Bwindi forest and Volcanoes National Park
  • Enjoy chimpanzee tracking, bush walks, boat safaris and game drives
  • Walk through clouds of butterflies on the slopes of active volcanoes
  • Stay in exclusive, privately owned lodges in spectacular settings

Trip Overview

Visit two different gorilla parks on this ultimate Uganda and Rwanda safari and get the opportunity to trek these magnificent creatures numerous times, but the trekking is just the start. Wild savannahs in the shadow of glacial peaks, where Albertine Rift Valley forests meet open savannahs and dazzling lakes and traditional villages add a splash of colour.

Follow chimpanzees in the dramatic Kyambura Gorge, explore Queen Elizabeth National Park looking for tree-climbing lions, enjoy nature walks through prehistoric forests and float past fishing villages on a boat safari on the Kazinga Channel.

Walks in the small, but beautiful Mgahinga National Park reveal clouds of butterflies, thriving on the rich volcanic slopes. Using the most exclusive lodges chosen as much for their location as their style and atmosphere, the ultimate Uganda and Rwanda safari is a trip for those who want all of the adventure and none of the compromise.

Cost includes TWO gorilla treks (one in Rwanda & one in Uganda) and transfers between destinations.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Trip Summery

Day 1: Arrival
Day 2: Entebbe – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 3: Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Chimp tracking in Kyambura Gorge
Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Uganda Gorilla Trekking
Day 7: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Day 8: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Mgahinga National Park
Day 9: Mgahinga National Park
Day 10: Mgahinga National Park – Volcanoes National Park
Day 11: Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking
Day 12: Volcanoes National Park
Day 13: Volcanoes National Park – Kigali (2-3 hours)

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival and overnight at Papyrus Guesthouse

Day 2: Entebbe – Queen Elizabeth National Park

Travel from Entebbe to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Start the The ultimate Uganda and Rwanda Safari with a drive southbound stopping briefly on the way see the Equator and bargain at the roadside markets before arriving in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a journey time of approximately 5-6 hours.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, and encompasses Lake Edward and Lake George. This is a park with an incredible variety of habitats, which in turn are home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife. From volcanic craters and grassy plains to stunning tropical forests, wetlands and rivers, there is something different to see at every turn.

You will be staying at Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Full board

Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Head out on an early morning game drive as the sun rises and the animals stir, first to explore the Kasenyi plains, excellent for sighting lion and large herds of Ugandan kob. Mweya is also one of the best places to look for leopard, which live in the dense, scrubby thickets. After lunch back at the lodge, you can head out again and enjoy another drive or you may prefer to stay out all day with a picnic. Just discuss this with your guide.

You will be staying at Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Full board

Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Chimp tracking in Kyambura Gorge

The steeply forested walls of Kyambura are home not only to chimpanzees but also to the red-tailed monkey, black and white colobus, giant forest hog and many bird species. A half day walk down to the Gorge is a rewarding experience, not only for seeing chimpanzees but also to explore the beautiful river valley.

You will be staying at Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Full board

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Morning Game Drive in QENP then Travel to Bwindi

Take a traditional game drive in the Q.E.N.P, passing through the Ishasha area looking out for the famous tree climbing lions and other game in this spectacular park. Continue on to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where you cross the equator, through scenic open savannah, dotted with giant Euphorbia trees and traditional villages.

Covered in thick tropical rainforest and often shrouded in mist, Bwindi provides a perfect habitat for mountain gorillas. Spread over a series of steep ridges and valleys it looks the part and having survived the last ice age is considered one of the most diverse forests in Africa. The birding here is big and colourful, the forest dark and inviting and the sense of adventure palpable.

You will be staying at Bwindi Lodge, Full board

Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Uganda Gorilla Trekking

Set off early to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to track one of three habituated gorilla groups – Habinyanja, Rushegura or Mubare. On the trek, clients will be split into two groups of seven. One group will be escorted by Dr Mike Cranfield from Gorilla Doctors while the other group will be escorted by wildlife photographer, David Lloyd. You will also be escorted by a local guide and park rangers who will give a thorough briefing before you set foot into the park.
Walking through the forests at first light is a thrilling experience and as the mists disappear to reveal prehistoric plants towering above, follow the trail of the gorillas hidden in the shadows. The mud, sweat (and sometimes tears) are worth it and coming face to face with the gorillas is like no other wildlife experience. Bring plenty of memory cards, lots of water and strong legs.

You will be staying at Bwindi Lodge, Full board

Day 7: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Second day Gorilla Tracking or Alternative Activities
Today is another opportunity to trek gorillas. Some alternative options include a guided walk in the rainforest, home to several endemic bird species, clouds of butterflies and rare plant life, with excellent photographic opportunities. Walk through the local village learning about a variety of community projects, such as the Amagara project that assists local farmers and their communities and the Bwindi Community Hospital which started as a health clinic under a tree and now provides vital medical and educational services to over 60,000 people. There is also the chance to spend time with the Batwa Pygmies in the area and learn about the native tribal inhabitants of the forest who whilst no longer resident there, still practice many of their traditional hunter-gatherer skills.

You will be staying at Bwindi Lodge, Full board

Day 8: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Mgahinga National Park

Travel from Bwindi to Mgahinga National Park

Travel to Mgahinga winding through bamboo forests and then mountain roads to the Kanaba Gap with its spectacular views of the Virunga Volcanoes. The route drops dramatically, surrounded by terraced hills to the frontier town of Kisoro before climbing again to 2,300 metres. The total journey time is around 5 – 6 hours including stops and lunch.

Mgahinga punches above its weight. The smallest, but most beautiful park in Uganda, with a network of trails following valley streams lined with forest flowers rising up and over volcanic peaks, this is very much a place for those who like to explore. In the shadow of a skyline dominated by mountains live the indigenous Batwa community who’s knowledge of the area borders on the supernatural and bring personality to this rugged wilderness.

You will be staying at Mount Gahinga Lodge, Full board

Day 9: Mgahinga National Park

Activites at Mgahinga

Mgahinga is an underrated gem of a park and one of the most picturesque. There are hikes to the Muhavura or Gahinga Volcanoes or a gentler walk through the bamboo forest on the lower slopes through forestes rich with forest birds, but also home to bushbuck and the elusive duiker. A guided nature walk through the park also provides an opportunity to track the golden monkeys, surprisingly nimble and sometimes tougher than the gorilla trek although as they do move around quite a bit, it is now always possible to pre-plan this. The region is also home to the Batwa communityand time here offers an extraordinary insight into the unique cultural heritage of the forest’s indigenous people.

You will be staying at Mount Gahinga Lodge, Full board

Day 10: Mgahinga National Park – Volcanoes National Park

Travel from Mgahinga National Park to Virunga National Park

Today leave Uganda and cross into Rwanda (where the clocks go back one hour). This journey should take a few hours although time spent at the border crossing can vary and can be an experience in itself! The remainder of the day is at leisure to either relax at the lodge or enjoy some of the easy trails around the lodge itself. Many people choose to soak up the spectacular views of the Volcanoes, with traditional villages dotted below.

The forested slopes of the Volcanoes National Park are spectacular and full of drama. A chain of free-standing volcanoes, they are home to local snake spirits, active volcanoes and the place where Dian Fossey lived – and died – for mountain gorillas. With peaks reaching nearly 4,500 metres and a network of rugged trails, this is a park that is as challenging as it is thrilling and despite its popularity, it is still the best place to see mountain gorillas.

You will be staying at Virunga Lodge, Full board

Day 11: Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

After waking at sunrise, there is a short drive to the park headquarters, where briefings, porters and coffee awaits before stepping into the cool forests to begin your adventure. Guides help steady the pace, with stops for water, signs of gorillas and a chance to soak up the views of the valleys below.

Trekking can take anything from 30 minutes to most of the morning so it is important you are prepared. When the gorillas are found, porters stay with your bags as you step forward, with cameras at the ready, for a truly magical wildlife experience.

You will spend one hour with the gorillas – sometimes you will move to keep up with them, other times they will remain in the same place, although the guides will always ensure you get the best views. After the hour is over, return to the porters and begin your trek back – the length of time again depends on where you are in the forest. A packed lunch (provided) is usually eaten at a scenic spot in the forest, before returning to the lodge to freshen up. Then transfer to Kigali for your flight home.

You will be staying at Virunga Lodge, Full board

Day 12: Volcanoes National Park

Second Day of Gorilla Tracking

Today there is the chance to head out into the forest on a second gorilla trek. The trek follows the same format as before and after another briefing, you head into the forest to search for gorillas with every group and every trek different from the last – no two are the same. A larger group may have a more relaxed atmosphere, with playful juveniles, whereas the silverback of a smaller group may want to show his strength and protect his family with chest beating and plenty of noise. If anything, a second trek allows people to enjoy the experience that much more, soaking up the atmosphere without the need to try and capture that perfect photo…easier said than done. Afternoon activities are kept flexible depending on when you return.

You will be staying at Virunga Lodge, Full board

Day 13: Volcanoes National Park – Kigali

Travel from Volcanoes National Park to Kigali – A journey time of 2-3 hours.

Kigali offers a charm offensive, the people here being some of the warmest and most welcoming you could hope to meet. Aside from the laid back but surprisingly organised feel, it is a forward-thinking city – banning plastic bags, public transport that runs on bio-fuel and holds a national day of cleaning once a month. The Rwandese people rightly take pride in their capital.

Time to Explore Kigali

Today is more relaxed. Take a short tour of Kigali, including the moving Genocide Memorial, a number of local markets or if you prefer, head to a local restaurant for lunch (at own expense).

Fly back home

Accommodation

Entebbe — Papyrus Guest House — B&B

Queen Elizabeth — Kyambura Gorge Lodge — Full Board

Bwindi — Bwindi Lodge — Full Board

Mgahinga — Mount Gahinga Lodge — Full Board

Volcanoes N.Park — Virunga Lodge — Full Board

What is Included

  • Accommodation and full board basis
  • Internal local flights
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

What is excluded

  • Drinks
  • Gratuities
  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa

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