16 days Rwanda and Uganda gorilla Trekking safari

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Uganda gorilla
Image by Pete Ball from Pixabay

This 16-day Rwanda and Uganda gorilla trekking safaris takes you through Akagera National Park to see the Big 5 & Big Cats, Bwindi forest for gorilla trekking, Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the Big 5, Kibale forest for Chimps tracking, Murchison falls National Park & Kidepo Valley National Park to see giraffes, elephants, lions, buffalos, hippos, and leopards among others. Enjoy comprehensive game drives, deep and rich Karamojong tribes’ culture, Uganda scenery, with game viewing on the Savannah plains making it an unforgettable adventure experience.

Highlights

  • Epic Gorilla tracking
  • Chimps tracking
  • Spot the Big 5 & Big Cats
  • Unlimited game drives
  • Meet friendly locals
  • Seek tree climbing lions
  • Top of the world hike
  • Boat cruise on the Nile river – Murchison Falls
  • Boat cruise on Lake Ihema – Akagera NP
  • Explore Lake Bunyonyi Islands

Your detailed itinerary

Day 1: Entebbe – Kidepo Valley National Park 

Early morning after breakfast, we will leave Entebbe for Kidepo Valley National Park which is in the northern part of Uganda. You will have a quick lunch and then proceed Kidepo via Kitgum staying overnight at your lodge.

Meal plan: Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Kidepo Savannah Lodge

Day 2: Explore Kidepo Valley National Park 

Kick the day off with a walking Safari tour through the swaths of the savannah studded with hills and rock clusters, and its traversed forest- flanked Lorupei River.

Afterwards, join an afternoon game drive to spot more excellent wildlife, including greater and lesser kudu, elands, lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and a variety of game from the plains.

Then, rest and get ready for the exciting next days of cultural adventure.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Kidepo Savannah Lodge

Day 3: Kidepo Valley National Park 

Start with an early breakfast and then go for a game drive along the trails of Kidepo Valley. The park inhabits one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan parks, with over 80 species of mammals several of which are endemic to Kidepo National Park like the cheetah, the striped hyena the caracal and over 465 bird species including the ostriches. In the afternoon visit the Karamojong village to learn more about their culture, music and dance Karamoja has a cattle culture and the Karamojong are notorious as cattle raiders.

Unlike most other Ugandans, many Karamojong shun western-style clothes and instead wear “traditional” dress of a blanket -like shawl, often in red and black. The women wear elaborate beadwork.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Kidepo Savannah Lodge

Day 4: Kidepo Valley National Park – Murchison Falls National Park

Early in the morning after breakfast, and then leave for Murchison falls national park the northern sector with lunch along the way.

You will track Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary before reaching Murchison Falls National Park.

We reach at our lodge just outside the park boundaries later in the afternoon. Here we will stay and with a cool drink and a fabulous view over the river Nile the evening will come with all the noise of an African night.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Fort Murchison

Day 5: Murchison Falls National Park – Game drive and Launch cruise 

After a heavy breakfast, you will embark on an early morning game drive where you are likely to spot animals like Lions, buffaloes, waterbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest, Rothschild’s giraffe, oribi among others. Return for lunch which will be followed by a breathtaking launch cruise for a wide view of Hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, several water birds such as the shoebill stork, the most sought-after bird in Africa among others. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay at your booked lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Fort Murchison

Day 6: In Murchison Falls 

Early morning the boat will take us downstream to the delta. The place where the Nile enters Lake Albert. This trip of 5-6 hours will show us all the beauty of this national park especially the delta with all the different birds. Here is a good chance to see the elusive Shoebill stork! In the afternoon is a visit to the top of the Falls, a wonderful view.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Fort Murchison

Day 7: Transfer from Murchison Falls National Park to Kibale national park

After an early breakfast, you will depart for Kibale National Park. The drive goes through the Albertan Escarpment of the western arm of the East African Rift valley with dramatic views of Lake Albert, traditional homesteads and scenic views of the mountains of the moon. Reach Fort portal in the evening for dinner and overnight stay at your lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Isunga Lodge

Day 8: Chimpanzee trekking – Cultural Village Walk in Bigodi 

This morning go in search of chimpanzee near Kanyanchu. Chimps live in communities of about 100 individuals; learn about the physical and behavioral aspects we share in common. Check out more primates such the golden monkey, olive baboons, red Colobus, white and black Colobus monkeys, grey checked mangabey and blue monkeys.

Later explore the atmospheric village of Bigodi accompanied by one of our professional English-speaking field-guides.

The walk will take up to 3 to 4 hours depending on the pace of the group. According to your interests, you will first visit a traditional healer who will happily share his knowledge about spirits, herbs, plants and local medicines. Secondly, the visitors will visit the homes of elderly men and women who tell interesting stories about birth, marriage, ceremonies, clans and their traditional life. Learn more about the history and issues that they face as a developing community of rural Uganda. Along the way, you will also be given the chance to experience the Ugandan school system, visit a local church and Bigodi’s trading centre, a hub of rural life and activity. The field- guides are ready to answer any questions during the walk.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Isunga Lodge

Day 9: Top of the world hike – Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park 

Be up early, have your breakfast and proceed for the breathtaking “Top of the World Hike”. The hike is a popular activity with visitors to nearby Kibale Forest and Fort Portal. The most rewarding time to take this hiking trail is early in the morning when the day is still cool. There are two trails that you can take to the top of the world viewpoint (i.e. the easy and the more challenging trail that most take).

The hike may be a strenuous one but you will surely be amazed by the spectacular and unforgettable view on reaching the “Top of the World Hike”.

Later drive to Queen Elizabeth national park situated at the bottom of Mountain Rwenzori which is among the finest mountain ranges in the world. On your way to the park you might see a number of wild animals plus birds since this park hosts approximately 100 species of mammals and an outstanding 606 species of birds.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Irungu Forest Safari Lodge

Day 10: Queen Elizabeth NP – Game drive and Boat cruise 

After a cup of coffee, begin the day with a game drive in the Kasenyi plains that may lead you to see bush buck, Uganda Kob, topi, Defassa waterbuck, and Cape buffaloes, Lions, elephants and many more. You will later return at the lodge for a late breakfast, relax as you wait for lunch. In the afternoon, you will enjoy an afternoon boat ride along the Kazinga Channel for a wide view of yawning hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, various bird species such as red chest, papyrus Gonolek, pink backed pelicans, malachite kingfishers, yellow crown, water thick-knee, yellow-billed stork, shoe bill stock among others.

Return at the lodge for dinner and overnight stay at your booked lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Irungu Forest Safari Lodge

Day 11: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 

Search for Tree climbing lions & transfer from Queen Elizabeth NP to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. After a heavy breakfast, you will depart for Bwindi impenetrable national park- a home to half of the endangered Mountain gorillas in the world. It is a scenic drive with an en route game drive in Ishasha sector that offers an opportunity of viewing the tree climbing lions at a closer range and later continue to Bwindi with lunch en route. Arriving in the evening for dinner and overnight stay at your booked lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Bakiga Lodge

Day 12: Bwindi National Park – Gorilla trekking and Community walk 

Following the morning breakfast, depart to the starting point for briefing about your gorilla trekking Uganda tours adventure after which you will be led by experienced gorilla trackers on the slopes of the volcanoes. You will start from the site where the gorillas were encountered the day before and from here the gorilla tracking begins.

Although the hike can be physically demanding, the anticipation of the exciting experience ahead is amazing, and the beauty of the gorilla forest and its inhabitants are fascinating. Later take walk around the lodge after lunch to visit the Batwa /Pygmy community to see how they live.

The batwa community walks in Bwindi take you to batwa local communities where you learn more about their forest life. It’s not just a conventional nature walk but an in-depth interaction which increase an understanding of who the batwa are. You may meet some small groups of batwa during gorilla trekking but a walk out to their homes is an amazing experience.

Lodge: Bakiga Lodge

Day 13: Transfer from Bwindi National Park to Lake Bunyonyi 

After breakfast you continue driving further south to Lake Bunyonyi. A very beautiful lake with 29 islands which might make you feel like you are out of Africa. Lake bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika but it’s being always calm enables Canoeing and a Nature walk on these historic islands is very rewarding.

You will be taken on the boat ride to visit the several Islands of this place. Each island has its own significant history. Later wind up the day and return to your place of accommodation, refreshments will be served.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort

Day 14: Transfer from Lake Bunyonyi to Kigali 

After an early breakfast, you will pack your bags and be transferred to Kigali for a city tour.

You will visit Kigali Genocide Memorial is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It honors the memory of the more than one million Rwandans killed in 1994 through education and peace-building.

You will visit Kandt House Museum. This Museum introduce you to the past Rwanda during the German colonial era and the livelihoods of Rwandans at the time. It also introduces you to the environmental whereby crocodile and snakes are raised and transfer to your hotel for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Five to Five hotel

Day 15: Kigali to Akagera National Park 

Today morning we leave for Akagera national park right after your breakfast, the driver guide will pick you up from your hotel where he will drop you at the end of the trip or to the airport depending on where you prefer. The journey to Akagera national park takes about 2 hours depending on the stopovers along the way.

With the beautiful landscaper en route to the park, feel free to ask the guide for stopovers to capture some photos. On arrival at the park, we shall proceed to our accommodation after a short game drive and check in. We order lunch and later take a boat trip on Lake Ihema watch Hippos and crocodiles in the water or by the shores.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lodge: Akagera Game Lodge

Day 16: To Kigali and fly out 

We arise early and leave right after breakfast for a game drive in Akagera national park.

We will be searching for the big mammals like Elephants, Giraffes, Buffaloes, several Antelope species, and recently the re-introduced Lions and Rhinos.

The park is a varied habitat for wildlife and a birders haven with over 500 bird species in the park. You will leave the lodge with parked lunch for the game drive which will last about 6 hours depending on your interests before starting the journey back to Kigali Airport and fly out.

Meal Plan: Breakfast