Rwanda History, Uganda Gorilla trek, Boat ride Safari & Karinzu Forest Chimpanzees | 6 Days
2pax: per person sharing
Visiting: Kigali Memorial, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, Karinzu forest.
What to Expect;
- Encounter mountain gorillas – one of the most stunning wildlife experiences ever.
- Safe travel within Rwanda & Uganda
- Check out darkest moments of human history at Kigali memorial
- Get better insights into animals, birds, and the culture of people.
- Walk to see chimps off the beaten path in Kalinzu forest
- Amazing boat safari in Queen Elizabeth NP
Rwanda History, Uganda Gorilla trek, Boat ride Safari & Karinzu Forest Chimpanzee Adventure – 6 Days
This Rwanda & Uganda Gorillas, Boat safari, Kalinzu Chimpanzees tour takes you to visit Rwanda’s memorial museum in Kigali, where 250,000 genocide victims have been buried, and learn about Rwanda’s ‘dark past but bright future’. You simply cannot appreciate this beautiful country and its people if you haven’t visited this memorial and reconnected with local people at Nyamirambo women’s center. Kigali is one of Africa’s cleanest and most interesting capitals. Enjoy scenic drives through Rwanda, known as the Land of a Thousand Hills with its beautiful rolling landscapes dotted with tea plantations, rugged mountains, and towering volcanoes. You will cross the border to explore Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to meet a family of mountain gorillas – a wildlife encounter of a lifetime. A close encounter with these amazing animals is simply breathtaking. Uganda is much more than gorillas; you will check off amazing birds, and wild animals on a boat cruise across the rift valley on the Kazinga channel. You will walk to trek chimpanzees of Kalinzu forest, part of Queen Elizabeth conservation area. Opt to learn how to cook Ugandan street food – ‘Rolex’. Tip: Birder lovers can opt to add on a day to search for rare Shoebills on Lake Victoria – Uganda’s most sought-after bird.
This trip starts in Kigali City and ends in Kigali, with an option to end at Entebbe Airport-Uganda.
Things to know
- The order of activities on day 2 can change to day 6, depending on the availability of gorilla permits on day 4 – gorilla trekking day.
- Mountain gorillas share 98% of our DNA and are prone to catching human illnesses. Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the gorillas. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.
- Touching gorillas is not allowed (although in some cases gorillas may come closer to touching you)
- Given the high elevation (over 2000m), to ease your walking, hiring a local helper (porter) is recommended. Porters are hired at a small fee ($15) to carry your backpack along the path. All are hired from local villages and not only can carry your day pack, but assist you with a welcome hand over difficult spots. Regardless of your fitness level, we highly recommend hiring a porter as some tracks can be very muddy and elevation can affect even the fittest person.
Day 1: Arrival in Kigali
Arrival and transfer to your hotel. If you have some time explore some evening life. Kigali is known for its pleasant, friendly atmosphere.
- Standard: Heaven Boutique Hotel
- Comfort: Hotel des Mille Collins
Meals: Breakfast…. included
Day 2: Kigali City Tour
Estimated Driving time: 2-3 hours.
After breakfast, head out for Kigali City Tour. The Kigali City tour offers you the true heartbeat of the city. The nation’s recovery is incredible and a testimony to a dark past but a bright future.
You will visit Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum at Gisozi. Learn how an estimated one million Rwandans were killed in nearly 100 days of genocide. The memorial museum is where the remains of 250, 000 victims of the 1994 Genocide are buried. It has a cemetery, a genocide exhibition section & a library. A visit to this memorial center is not only an educational experience that will offer you a thorough insight into the country’s painful past but also provides a truly moving experience.
The memorial is moving – the tour takes two to three hours – It is in memory of the multitudes murdered in Rwanda´s genocide in 1994.
You will visit Nyamirambo Women Centre & immerse yourself with local people, situated in the largest and most vibrant township in Kigali City. The center provides women and girls the opportunity to obtain practical skills to support each other and succeed in life. Enjoy lunch prepared by women employed at the center, allowing us to try local lunch; foods, and popular dishes. You could opt to attend a cooking lesson at an optional extra cost. You could browse through the center’s shop, which features handmade, high-quality crafts, fabrics, and clothes, made by some of the women. Proceeds from sales help to support skills training programs for this women’s Centre.
Pass by the Hotel des Mille Collines (where the 2004 movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ was filmed based on events relating to families that took shelter in this 5-star hotel during the genocide) in Kigali. Later we travel to the Volcanoes National Park driving through the stunning scenery of flourishing green hills and valleys.
- Standard: Heaven Boutique Hotel
- Comfort: Hotel des Mille Collines
Meals: Lunch, Dinner Included
Day 3: Kigali City to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Early morning departure from the hotel drives to Rwanda/ Uganda land border. After border immigration/ customs, drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Enjoy this scenic route, dotted with impressive landscapes. Approximate driving time: 5 hours, border crossing time: 1 hour.
- Standard: Ichumbi Gorilla lodge or Ride4woman
- Comfort: 4Gorillas lodge or Mahogany springs
Meals: Lunch, Dinner Included
Please note that the final choice of accommodation will be determined by the location of gorilla permits available at the time of booking.
Day 4: In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Gorilla Trekking
Activities: Gorilla trekking. A wildlife encounter of a lifetime to meet a family of mountain gorillas up close.
Today is the big day… our guide will pick you up from your hotel, for your mountain gorilla encounter. After a short transfer to the Bwindi National Park office, you will meet up with excellent local rangers and trackers, who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking.
An advance party of rangers (known as trackers) will have gone ahead into the forest to locate where the gorillas slept the previous night and will have begun to track their movements. These trackers will keep communicating with your head guide via a radio talkie and the trek into the forest will begin.
The tracking can last from as little as 45 minutes to as much as 10 hours. The activity depends on the location of the gorillas the previous day. Visitors, therefore, are supposed to move along with a packed/ picnic lunch and water, should be equipped with strong water-proof clothing, and must be averagely healthy. After finding gorillas, you will spend a maximum of 1 hour viewing them. The terrain can get tough and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. It can rain at a few minutes’ notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock bags for cameras. It is important to take plenty of water.
HOT TIP: Hire a porter at the briefing point. Your porter will carry your backpack and help you as you traverse the forest and is so completely worth it. You’ll be supporting a local family and this allows them to continue being part of community gorilla protection cooperation, which is essential in Mountain gorilla conservation. After this exciting experience, it’s time to relax at the lodge and view your photos.
In Bwindi NP (Uganda), there are 23 habituated gorilla families that can be viewed by tourists.
In Mgahinga NP (Uganda), there is 1 habituated gorilla family for tourist viewing.
In order to minimize animal stress and exposure to possible human disease, daily visits are limited to a maximum of 8 people and viewing lasts“only one hour”. This rule still allows you adequate time for photography and viewing these great primates in their natural habitat.
- Standard: Ride4woman or Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
- Comfort: Mahogany springs or 4Gorillas Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 5: Bwindi To Queen Elizabeth National via Ishasha – Boat Cruise Safari
Today morning we transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park via Ishasha. You will drive to Queen Elizabeth. There are chances of finding lions in the trees by the road trail head. Please note that this is not 100% guarantee sighting. You will continue driving north on time for a shared boat cruise safari at 3pm on Kazinga channel (2 hours approx.). Look out for the hippos, great herds of buffalos, and lots of water birds by the channel side. This boat cruise offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. This park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species. After retire to your lodge.
- Standard: Bush Lodge
- Comfort: Mazike Valley Lodge or Mweya safari lodge.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
Day 6: In Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kalinzu Forest – Kigali Airport
Activities: Chimpanzee tracking & Transfer back to Kigali.
Today early morning you’ll transfer to Kalinzu forest to begin your trek to see chimpanzees of Kalinzu forest. Expected activity time; 2-3 hours. Opt to have a ‘Rolex’ Stop! Stop by the street, visit a street stall, and learn how to cook Ugandan street food – ‘Rolex’, freshly done by the roadside by yourself. Thereafter transfer to Kigali airport or Entebbe airport for departure arriving after 18 hours:
Road type: Mostly Paved
Meals: Breakfast, and lunch included
TIP: If you choose Entebbe airport for departure and like bird watching you could add on, one day in Entebbe and go for a shoebill excursion (2-4 hours) in Mabamba bay on Lake Victoria, the following morning at extra cost and transfer (1.5hours) to Entebbe airport thereafter.
If you choose Kigali airport for departure, you could also opt to stay a night in Kigali at an extra cost.
- Return transfers to Kigali Airport
- All National Park entrance fee
- Accommodation on safari on a full board basis (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
- 5 nights’ accommodation
- 5 Lunches
- 4 dinners
- Private Transportation in 4×4 Toyota Safari vehicle. Reference Books & Maps, Bottled water in vehicles
- Professional and knowledgeable English-speaking driver/guides in Rwanda & Uganda
- x1 Gorilla permit per person at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (US$700 per permit)
- x1 Chimpanzee permit per person at Kalinzu Forest (US$50 per permit)
- All other activities as stipulated in the itinerary, including:
City tour of Kigali, Kigali memorial museum visit, Nyamirambo women center, Game drive & Boat ride safari in Queen Elizabeth NPK.
- Entry visa for Rwanda/Uganda (East Africa tourist Visa)
- International flights.
- Yellow fever inoculation certificate or an exemption letter from your doctor
- Arrival/ Departure covid19 tests and Vaccinations
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Meals and drinks not specified
- Laundry services
- Gratuities to the driver/guide, trackers, hotel staff, and porters
- All expenses of personal nature
Optional activities; Cultural village, market visit. Nyamirambo women’s center cooking lesson ($25 per person) 1 Shoebill canoe ride on Lake Victoria – USD $60 per person.
Optional accommodation on the last day (6)
Heaven Boutique Hotel, Kigali City.
Ichumbi Gorilla lodge, Bwindi NP.
Twin Lake safari Lodge, Queen Elizabeth NP.