21 Days Uganda and Rwanda Great Adventure
Day 1: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park Uganda
From Kampala, you will head to Murchison Falls National Park. This Park is Uganda’s largest national park. It harbors a chunk of feral African savannah Flora and fauna along side mighty river Nile. It is named after magnificent Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river plunges thunderously through a narrow gorge in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a fizzing pool 43m below.
Wildlife populations have largely recovered from the poaching of the 1980s; in the rich grassland to the north of the Nile, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a variety of antelope are frequently encountered on game drives, while lion are seen with increasing frequency.
In the southeast, Rabongo Forest is home to chimpanzees and other rainforest creatures. The Victoria Nile it self harbors one of Africa’s densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of water birds including the world’s most accessible wild population of the rare shoe bill stork. Dinner and overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Red Chilli Rest Camp, Nile Safari lodge, Murchison River lodge.
Day 2: Morning Game Drive and Boat trip along the River Nile
Take a cup of coffee or tea to warm up for the morning then set off for a 3-5 hours game drive on the northern Bank of the Nile River, You Expect encounters of the Rothschild Giraffe, Jackson Hartebeest, Elephant, Lions, Waterbucks and a variety of Savannah woodland birds. Return to your lodge for mid morning breakfast and lunch. In the afternoon, you will go for a launch cruise on the Victoria Nile.
The boat ride takes you to the bottom of the fall. Along the ride you will encounter hippos, crocodiles, and many other savannah wild life taking water. For those interested in birds, watch out for the legendary shoe Bill stork if you are lucky and many other bird species. Return to your lodge for dinner and overnight. Accommodation options available (all on full board basis).
Day 3: Another Game Drive and chimps tracking in Kaniyo Pabidi
Early morning game drives on the northern Bank. Expect to see Elephant, Lion, Cape buffalo, Rothschild’s giraffe, hartebeest, Waterbuck, Oribi, Bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, hyena and if you are lucky, the leopard. After a packed lunch picnic, go for a boat safari upstream the calm Victoria Nile to the base of the falls stopping just tens of meters from the “Devil’s Cauldron”. En-route, marvel at the tooth some hippos, crocodiles and over this 17 km stretch you may see elephant, waterbuck and Uganda Kob.
This is also a zone of many bird species like Goliath heron, Egyptian goose, pelican bee- eater, kingfisher, hornbill, cormorant and the rare shoebill stork. After taking shots of photogenic Murchison Falls, return for breakfast and lunch and then in the afternoon you will head to Kaniyo Pabidi for Chimpanzee tracking. The rangers will help you search for these chimpanzees as they also give you information about the other primates that you will en counter. Return to your lodge for dinner and overnight. Dinner and overnight at your lodge.
Day 4: Fort portal – Kibale National Park
Breakfast and transfer to Kibale National park. It is the most accessible of Uganda’s major rainforests and yet home to remarkable 13 primate species, including the much localized red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey. You will have the opportunity to track habituated chimps .These delightful apes, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are awesome to watch as they bicker and have fun in fruiting trees.
A network of shady forest trails provides much to glee botanists and butterfly lovers, while birders are in for a fragility with 335 species recorded including the endemic Prirogrine’s ground thrush. The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart, budges seasonally into the industrial part of the park, while other earthly mammals include buffalo, giant forest hog and a half dozen antelope species. Retire for dinner and overnight at Luxury Ndali Lodge or Kyaninga lodge, Kibale Primate lodge, Kibale safari lodge, Mountains of the moon Hotel or Chimpanzee guest house.
Day 5: Chimps trekking in Kibale National Park Uganda
Spend half of the day searching for chimpanzees and 10 other primates species including l’hoestes, red colobus, blues, red tailed and gray-cheeked mangabey. The guide will provide detailed explanations, not only on primates, but on all the forest fauna and flora and will ensure that your walk is both informative and enjoyable. This walk is excellent for viewing bird life and seeing primates at close quarters. Take lunch and then in the afternoon, you will go for a swamp walk in Bigodi swamp a community owned incentive .Retire for dinner and overnight your lodge and all meals on full board basis.
Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Have breakfast and then transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A game drive en route may be rewarded with views of lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, hyena and a variety of antelope species. Check in and relax as you wait for time for a unique 2 hour boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel and into Lake Edward.
This trip passes through possibly the highest concentration of hippos and many animals may be seen drinking at the water’s edge. This launch cruise offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. The prolific bird life is colorful and stupendous with well over 550 resident species. Dinner and overnight stay at Mweya safari lodge, Enganzi Lodge or Bush lodge, Twin lake lodge, Kyambura game lodge, Katara lodge or Mweya hostels.
Day 7: Morning and afternoon Game Drives
Wake up early in the morning for a game drive to search for the early risers. Queen Elizabeth National Park’s diverse eco-system of grassy plains, tropical forest, rivers, swamps, lakes and volcanic craters is home to an incredible abundance of wildlife. Game drives in this park, with the massive Rwenzoris as a backdrop provides excellent opportunities to see lion, leopard, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo, elephants, defassa waterbuck, Uganda Kob, Topi and bush buck. These two game drives and the boat trip (taken prior) are a memorable method of discovering a vast array of Ugandan wildlife. Dinner and overnight at your lodge as on day six.
Day 8: Chimps in Kyambura Gorge
Breakfast and transfer to kyambura, diverse Eco-system of grassy plains, tropical forest, rivers, swamps, lakes and volcanic craters is home to an incredible abundance of wildlife. Expect to have an excellent opportunity to see chimpanzees, l’hoestes, red colobus, black and white colobus and more. After lunch, return to the Mweya Area for another exciting and scintillating game drive. Dinner and overnight stay at your lodge and all meals on full board.
Day 9: Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
Early morning transfer to Ishasha Area of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ishasha is home to the famous tree-climbing lions and the large herds of game. The scenic beauty, the size of the euphorbias and combination of riverine forest, Savannah plain and equatorial forest makes this a memorable day, only found in Africa. Dinner and overnight stay at Ishasha wilderness camp or Savannah Resort.
Day 10: Game Drives
Morning game drives in the Ishasha plains. Search for tree climbing lions and afternoon relaxation at your lodge as you wait for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Hit the road to Bwindi National Park
Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Park home to the Mountain Gorillas. This morning, you will leave for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. You will again travel through the seasonal southern sector of Queen Elizabeth called Ishasha.
Here we will take lunch by the Ishasha River and try to find the famed Ishasha tree-climbing lions before continuing to Bwindi, home to the few remaining mountain gorillas. Bird life and primate life in Bwindi is quite superb, and there is an incredible variety of flora.
Bwindi is the Bird watchers haven! It holds 348 species of birds and supports 24 of 26 Albertine Rift Endemics that occur in Uganda; and seven red data book species. Once continuous with the forests of the Virunga Volcanoes (Dian Fossey’s stomping ground), Bwindi is now an ecological island, surrounded by cultivation on the rich volcanic soils. Dinner and overnight at Mahogany Springs lodge, Gorilla mist Camp, Silverback lodge or Gift of nature Lodge.
12: Tracking Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Report for briefing after breakfast and then be led by the ranger guides to search for the great apes. This rainforest is spectacular. It offers a dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but criss-crossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. Mammals recorded include the endangered mountain gorilla, rare golden monkey, forest buffalo, forest elephant, black-fronted duiker, bushbuck, leopard, giant forest log and others. This park is best known for the fascinating gorillas.
The time taken and the terrain varies according to the movements of this marvelous primates. The thrill of spending time and observing the gorillas is a rare, moving, awesome and exciting adventure. The gorilla is a shy and peaceful animal and it is unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact. Dinner and overnight at your lodge. Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Day 13: Forest walk in Bwindi forest and transfer to Lake Mutanda
After breakfast, you will proceed on a forest walk to see more of what Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has to offer. Later travel to Kisoro for dinner and overnight stay at Nkuringo gorilla camp, Chameleon Hill lodge, Gorilla safari lodge or Travellers Rest Hotel.
Day 14: Hike the Gahinga-Transfer to Rwanda- Parc des Volcanoes
Breakfast and transfer to the Mgahinga and Virunga. Then later transfer to Rwanda. Lying in the northern part of Rwanda Parc National Des Volcans are looms up to almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest. Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda the most notable amongst these is the “the Virungas”, and is inhabited by Rwanda’s most prized endowment- the endangered mountain gorillas. Half the world’s population of gorillas can be found in these mountains.
Parc Nationale des Volcanoes in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave or visit the endangered golden monkey. The 1994 genocide and war greatly hurt the tourism sector of the economy, however due to deligent work by the government this has first become the leading industry.
Dinner and overnight at Mountain gorilla view lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback lodge / Virunga lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla or Muhabura Hotel.
Day 15: Gorilla Trekking
Breakfast and report for briefing and thereafter enter the forest to search for the great apes. This is the second time to meet gorillas. Like in Uganda, you will be given a maximum of one hour and thereafter, return to your lodge for relaxation as you wait for dinner and overnight.
Day 16: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi
After breakfast, transfer to the beautiful lake Bunyonyi. Relax at the shores of Lake Bunyonyi. The setting is truly beautiful. Relax as you wait for the sunset. Dinner and overnight stay at Bushara Island Camp, Arcadia cottages, Bunyonyi overland resort, Bird Nest Resort.
Day 17: Enjoy Lake Bunyonyi Surrounding
Enjoy Bilharzia – free swimming, dug out canoeing, sunbathing, hilly walks. Dinner and overnight stay at your lodge.
Day 18: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
After an early breakfast, you will drive to Lake Mburo National Park. Enter the Park through the nearest gate. Afternoon game drives along the Lakeshore track. With its own system of game trails and cleared walkways the “Kigambara Loop” offers interesting guided lakeside walks. Find here herds of zebra, Cape buffalo and eland. Oribi and topi are easily approached. Along with a game drive, many visitors enjoy a boat trip on Lake Mburo. Self-guided nature trails are also available.
Birdwatchers, will enjoy the more than 250 species of birds found in Lake Mburo including Papyrus Gonolek, Brown faced Lapwing. Caruthers’s Cisticola, the extraordinary White winged Warbler and Bare-Faced-Go-Away bird. Retire for dinner and overnight at Luxury Mihingo Lodge or Moderate Arcadia cottage.
Day 19: Canoe Ride along Lake Mburo
After breakfast, proceed for a game drive or a safari walk under the escort of an armed ranger. The Kopjes are particularly interesting and camouflage kilp-springers and topis. Due to cattle herding in the area it is amusing to see zebra grazing alongside the long horned Ankore Cattle peaceably. Return for lunch which should be taken leisurely enjoying the view of the lakes in this park. Enjoy the boat ride on Lake Mburo and get quite close to crocodiles and hippos. This is the only park where you are not entirely imprisoned in a vehicle. Rather refreshing! Dinner as on day 18.
Day 20: Transfer to Kampala
Breakfast; go for one more game drive. After lunch, drive back to Kampala stopping at the Mpigi Royal Drum Makers en route where you will able to watch the ceremonial drums being crafted using methods passed down through generations. There will also be time to stop at the equator for photographs. Proceed to Entebbe for overnight stay at up market Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel, Moderate The Boma Guest house or Budget Central Inn Hotel.
Day 21: Transfer to Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary
We will transfer you to the pier for a boat ride to Ngamba Island for a half day excursion to see orphaned Chimpanzees being fed. Visit the Uganda Wildlife Education center. Before taking your 09:00am boat, you will be driven to CSWCT offices in Entebbe for briefing. Here they have replicated some of the country’s conservation zones such as savannah, wetlands and tropical forest.
The boat takes about 45 minutes across to Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary, crossing the Equator en-route. On arrival at this home to 39 orphaned chimpanzees, you will be given a short introduction and briefing on the sanctuary. After which, the chimpanzee feeding time will come! Watch these primates from the visitors’ platform whilst they are feeding.
It is fascinating to watch the chimpanzees intermingle with each other and with their keepers. You will realize that most of them have different characters just like Man. Whereby some are very greedy others aren’t. This is fascinating!! In the relatively short amount of time you are there you will be able to see such different personalities amongst the group, with some whistling for food and others clapping.
Clearly, the superlative option would be to re-introduce these orphaned chimpanzees to the wild however this is not possible for a number of different reasons and the sanctuary is not bad for second best. Later transfer to the airport for your departure flight.