Our 5 days Uganda Rwanda safari is designed for travelers who are interested in experiencing gorilla trekking in Rwanda, chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Nyungwe forest in Rwanda is not very reliable for chimpanzee tracking because the primates tend to go deep into the forest during certain months of the year. Trackers may sometimes have to spend the whole day looking for the chimps. There is also a real chance of not seeing them at all.
The tour starts with a tour of Kigali. After completing the city tour in Kigali, the first stop will be in Kibale National Park. Kibale is often referred to as the primate’s capital of the world. It has 13 species of primates and over 1500 chimpanzees. Unluckily, it doesn’t have gorillas. If it did, it would be very difficult to manage the number of tourists thronging the park. Kibale forest is the best place e to track chimpanzees and the chances of seeing them is very high. This is because they do not wander too far away from their known feeding zones. 4 groups have been habituated and are open to tourism. Kibale forest also offers travelers an opportunity to take part in the chimpanzee habituation experience. This experience is more expensive but allows travelers more time for an in-depth study and observation of the primates under the leadership of researchers.
From Kibale, you will be transferred to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a game drive and a launch cruise. What is special about Queen Elizabeth National Park? Well, it offers beautiful scenery and landscape which never bores. Volcanic eruptions and millions of years of earth movements created gorges, crater lakes, salt lakes and varied landscape which makes a game drive more interesting compared to even the Masai Mara. Queen Elizabeth is also found in an area with good weather and hence stays green for much of the year. Meaning that safaris are more comfortable than some of the more famous but very hot national parks in East Africa. You will spot 4 of the big five mammals but also encounter underground forests, beautiful lakes and amazing views of the Rwenzori mountains. The main activities in Queen Elizabeth are nature walks, game drives, a launch cruise at the Kazinga Channel, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge, lion tracking and cultural visits. Forget not that Queen Elizabeth National Park is the best place to see the very rare tree climbing lions.
From Queen Elizabeth, you will transfer to the Volcanoes National Park for Gorilla Trekking. The Volcanoes National Park is the most visited tourism destination in Rwanda. It’s a beautiful park found on high altitude with about 5 stunning volcanoes. The main activities are gorilla trekking, hiking one of the 5 volcanoes, golden monkey trekking, visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey and golden monkey trekking. Other activities around the park include visiting the gorilla Guardians Village, exploring the Musanze caves and visiting the Twin Lakes (Burera and Ruhondo).
This 5 days Uganda Rwanda wildlife tour starts and ends in Kigali. This tour can be designed such that gorilla trekking is done in Uganda to reduce the overall cost. Gorilla permits in Rwanda costs $1500 while in Uganda it is only $700. our 7 days Rwanda Uganda safari package is available for those longer safaris. We even have the longer 10 days Rwanda Uganda wildlife safari package. The 10 days Uganda Rwanda tour package is a variation of the one we just mentioned and from Uganda before ending in Kigali.
Transfer from Kigali to Kibale Forest national park in Uganda
Safari vacations and travel services Guide/driver will pick you up from your hotel at 8:00am or earlier to start the 6-hour journey to Kibale National Park. Before embarking on the journey, you will go for a tour of 4 places within the city. These include the genocide memorial Centre in Kigali, the main city market, and the former presidential palace museum and artisan shops for souvenir. After the city tour, you will start the journey to Uganda. Prepare your passport and yellow fever vaccination card in order to get your visa without any issues. The journey to Kibale National Park is long but you will be rewarded with amazing scenery and beautiful countryside. From the amazing volcanoes and beautiful hills of Rwanda to the thick forests of Uganda, expect a real treat if you love nature. Lunch will be taken along the way and you should reach late in the afternoon. Once you reach your hotel, check in, shower and relax as you prepare for chimpanzee tracking the next day.
Dinner and overnight stay at Chimpanzee Guest House (mid-range and budget) and Kyaninga Lodge (luxury).
Chimpanzee tracking – Queen Elizabeth national park
Tracking chimpanzees during a Rwanda Uganda tour
After your breakfast, you will head straight to the Kibale national park offices for briefing on chimpanzee trekking. The Rangers will share with your information about the park, the creatures therein, the chimpanzee clans, what to pack, how to behave around chimpanzees and what to expect. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park usually takes between 3 to 5 hours. They are easy to locate because of their vocal nature. Their groups are also more dramatic compared to those of gorillas. Expect the one hour with them to be full of action. Take as many photos as you wish and then return back to the lodge for lunch. Later in the afternoon, the driver will start the 2-hour journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge (luxury), Parkview lodge (mid-range) and Simba safari camp (budget).
Game drive and boat cruise at the Kazinga Channel
You will wake up very early to take breakfast. Alternatively pack coffee and move with it as you go for the early morning game drive. The early morning game drive is organized with the intention of allowing visitors to spot nocturnal animals moving back to their dens after hunting in the night. It is also designed to catch the early risers before they go out hunting. Watch out for Leopards and hippos returning back after grazing outside the water during the night. The morning is also the best time to spot birds and herbivores animals happily going out to graze after defending themselves against predators. The game drive will also provide you opportunities to spot buffaloes, lions, hartebeests and other antelopes. You will then return back to the lodge for lunch and rest.
At 2.00 pm, you will be transferred for a boat cruise at the Kazinga Channel. The boat cruise is one of the top activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Kazinga Channel is the place where most of the animals and birds gather for a bath or drink. The Kazinga channel connects Lake Edward to Lake Gorge and is considered one of the best places for birding in Africa. For the sheer number of primates and other animals found along the channel, it is also one of the best places to spot wildlife in Africa. Expect to spot elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, antelopes and some of the predators.
Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge (luxury), Parkview lodge (mid-range) and Simba safari camp (budget).
Game drive at Ishasha Sector – Transfer to Volcanoes national park in Rwanda
After the interesting activities of day 4, you should crown it all by visiting the famous tree climbing lions at the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Tree climbing lions can only be seen in Ishasha, Kruger National Park of South Africa and Lake Manyara in Tanzania. After spotting the tree climbing lions of Uganda, you will start the journey back to Rwanda and cross to the Volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking the next day. Lunch will be taken from a suitable restaurant along the way to Rwanda. Once you reach the lodge, ensure that you rest early so that you are in fine form for gorilla trekking the next day.
Dinner and overnight at The 5 Volcanoes Lodge (Luxury), Da Vinci Lodge (Mid-range) and Kinigi Guesthouse (Budget).
Mountain gorilla tracking in Rwanda – Departure
This day you will wake up early morning to take breakfast before heading to the park offices for the briefing on gorilla trekking. The briefing covers several topics including what to expect, how to behave yourself while with the gorillas, the gorilla groups and the history of the park. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda involves being assigned one gorilla family from among the 10 that are habituated. The park officials will assign you one taking into consideration your preferences, age and overall fitness. Some gorilla families in Rwanda live and move deep in the forest and require more hours to find them. Hire a porter if you have extra luggage and equipment before heading into the forest.
You will have one hour with the primates. Take your time to observe and take photos. Listen to instructions from the Rangers and always stay calm even when a gorilla comes close to you. Remember the gorilla trekking rules. After your one hour with the gorilla family is done, you should head back to the starting point where you will meet our office Guide to drive you back to the lodge for lunch. Later in the afternoon, you will start the journey back to Kigali. The driver will take you up to the airport in Kigali or to your hotel if you are still around.
Safari Inclusions and Exclusions
For the most comfortable experience tracking the gorillas, pack suitable hiking boots with good traction, thick cotton gloves to protect against thorns and tree branches.
You will also need a raincoat
Light snacks and drinking water.
If you have heavy cameras or bags, you may need to hire a porter to help you carry them. Porters can be hired for between $10 to $15. Some of the porters you meet were ex-poachers. By supporting them, you help them see the benefit of protecting the gorillas.
Remember fitness is not a requirement for gorillas trekking but being mentally prepared will help you deal with any challenges that may arise. You might want to read our article about gorilla trekking for elders.
This luxury lodge is found close to the starting point for chimp tracking in Kibale National Park. It has a main lodge which houses the bar and restaurant. On the front of this main building is a swimming pool and a deck overlooking the breathtaking Lake Kyaninga? All cottages have balconies overlooking the beautiful Crater Lake.
The actual rooms are 9 in number and are in form of wooden cottages with raised platforms. Each cottage is spacious and offers great privacy to guests. In each cottage you will find a twin/double bed, working table, modern bathrooms and Wi-Fi. The furniture used to build the cottages is simple but very elegant.
Parkview Safari Lodge:
Parkview is one of the best mid-range lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is built on a hill with stunning views of the vast savanna. Each of the 25 cottages has ceiling fans, drinking water, large bedding, ironing board, Wi-Fi, toiletries, clean towels and modern bathrooms. There is also a family cottage with 4 twin beds. The main amenities in the lodge are a large swimming pool, a poolside bar, a restaurant, a 24-hour business center, a health club, free Wi-Fi and a shuttle. There is also free parking, a children’s pool, coffee shop, a business center, spa, a library, laundry services, BBQ grills, a vast garden for relaxation and buffet breakfast in front of your private terrace if you choose.
Kinigi Guest House:
Kinigi Guesthouse is found in the town of Musanze and very close to the gates of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. It is one of the popular budget lodges close to the park. The lodge is built at the foot of mount Sabyinyo hence offering majestic views of the Virunga volcanoes. If you are planning to do gorilla trekking and have a tight budget, this is the place to be. It has self-contained cottages with clean interiors and showers.
The lodge can accommodate up to 40 individuals in the rooms. It has a hall that can accommodate 400 people for seminars, weddings, meetings and other functions. It is important to note that although the hotel is classified as budget, it now has 4 VIP suites for those who want the ultimate comfort. Other amenities include a beautiful garden and free parking.
This itinerary doesn’t include meals and accommodation the day before the start of the tour or after the last activity.
You need to be 13 years and above to track chimpanzees.
For gorilla trekking one needs to be 15 years and above.
You are required to have a yellow fever vaccination card to enter most African countries.
Visas can be got from the border crossings, airport or online.
Safari vacations and travel services assists clients in arranging and clearly planning of the safari and continues to acquire the chimpanzee and gorilla tracking permits for clients’ behalf, we ensure that no delays or any inconveniences on your trip, we arrange accommodation, and transport with a knowledgeable driver guide from our team