Primates Safari Express Uganda - Rwanda .

6 Days | Primates Safari Express Uganda - Rwanda

Primate trekking is a must-try thing equally exciting. This Primates Safari gives you a opportunity to see endangered mountain gorillas, clever chimpanzees or unique golden monkeys of Mgahinaga national park. Different primates every day. Unique Community life experiences. 1 hours up-close Gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Tour ends with visiting Kigali memorial and city highlight tour in Rwanda.

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Highlights

  • Chimpanzees in an all day habituation experience.
  • Community walking experience at Bigodi wetland sanctuary
  • swim at lake Bunyonyi and experience the punishment island
  • The ultimate gorilla-trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable
  • visit Kigali genocide memorial museum

Need To Know

This program can be further customized to fit your interests. If you decide not to travel to Rwanda, again this tour gives you the freedom to choose. You might want to fly back from Bwindi/Mgahinga to Entebbe (Uganda) or drive back on a road trip, the choice is yours.

Please note; that with 'gorilla tracking' viewing time is supposed to last an hour from the time they have been sighted by rangers. With 'Gorilla habituation' once they are sighted by rangers, you spend an incredible 4 hours viewing, moving and observing behaviors of these gentle giants.

Gorilla permits can only be secured after receiving the requested deposit. The chimp tracking in Kibale Forest may take place either in the morning or afternoon, depending on the availability of the permits for chimp tracking. The estimated travelling hours are based on the actual hours of driving; stops for lunch or photos not included.

it is possible on this day 6 to go golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park in the morning starting at 8:00 AM, after transfer to Kigali city. This tour can also start from Kigali (Rwanda) and end in Entebbe (Uganda) the other way backwards.

Detailed Itinerary

Primates Safari Express Uganda – Rwanda.

Today after breakfast at 07.00 am,  our guide will pick you from your hotel  in Kampala or Entebbe (or airport if you are arriving same day before 12 pm), transfer to Fort portal. A lot to see on this road trip like traditional Ugandan villages where you see native people in their farmlands, roadside  markets beaming with fresh fruits, vegetable and plenty of harvests. The lush green rolling hills will end up into viewing Uganda’s open tea plantations offering you great photo opportunities.

Drive time: 5 hours

Overnight : Kibale Forest Camp  / Upgrade to Primate Lodge

Meal plan:  Full Board (Breakfast, lunch, Dinner)

Optional activity: Crater Lakes walk: 

Formed by ancient volcanic activity, the crater lakes of Uganda are located near Fort Portal, and are a great hiking option. Typical hikes take you through local villages and tea plantations, to the base of several of these incredibly serene and beautiful lakes. With the Rwenzori Mountains in the background, this is by far one of Uganda’s most peaceful and extraordinary sights, a chance to view 3 craters in one spot. Activity time: 2 hours. Cost: $20 per person

Today we transfer to Kibale forest gate at Kanyanchu.  Today is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move with rangers to encounter chimpanzees up-close. Kibale National park is an extension of the great rainforests of Central Africa.

In Kibale, here you will find one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa – about 1450 individuals. This park has other primates; there are chances of seeing  the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, and olive baboons as well as the red colobus monkey and plentiful of forest bird life. Remember to carry water, rain gear, and walking/hiking boots plus back pack. It will be perfect opportunity to listen to the chimps as they grumble and feed. Only one community is allowed to be visited by tourists.  

Chimpanzees live in communities. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against other male intruders; the females usually wander in small family groups. Rangers locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, following their eating trails. A chance to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees,  and socialize with each other. On a lucky day people have witnessed chimpanzees hunting.

Please note: There is option of making a top up ($50 per person) for chimp habituation however  its limited to 12 people per day, who have to be split into 2 groups of 6 members. Chimpanzee habituation is where visitors, move with rangers and  researchers to encounter chimpanzees all day, starting at 6.30am. Visitors enjoy unprecedented intimate access to these wild chimps for the entire day until they build their nests at dusk.

4:00 pm, we head out to visit Bigodi Community walk. Experience like a local. At the edge of Kibale forest is Bigodi Wetland Community. This authentic eco tourism initiative of how the local community protect and live harmoniously with a habitat of over 8 primate species including Guereza colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys. look out for  bird species including Greatblue Turaco, bee-eaters and whydah .  

Nothing beats learning a culture more than immersing itself in it. Head out to a Banana plantation where there is local brewing family demonstration using Bananas. Uganda is the original Banana Republic in a literal sense and produces more Bananas  varieties than any other country except Brazil, not bad for a country the size of the state of Oregon.  Also you can sample the local beer made from Bananas, taste some gin and participate in local coffee brewing. After return to the lodge.

Overnight : Kibale Forest Camp  / Primate Lodge

Meal plan:  Full Board (Breakfast, lunch, Dinner)

Today we travel to Lake Bunyonyi  probably Uganda’s most beautiful lake with 29 islands.  This lake is about 2000m above sea level, is safe for swimming. No crocodiles, No Hippos.   Lake Bunyonyi community have this legendary custom  where until 1940’s unmarried pregnant girls were dropped and left to die helplessly or starve to death on lonely island, some drown trying to swim ashore; they were often saved my poor men who could not afford pride price.

Overnight: Birds Nest Resort.

Meal plan:  Full Board (Breakfast, lunch, Dinner)

After breakfast, you have a choice of activities to enjoy, or simply relax by your lodge.

optional activities at lake Bunyonyi

  1. Boat ride to punishment island – Look out  for “akampene” – the punishment Island – where until 1940’s unmarried pregnant girls were dropped and left to die helplessly or starve to death, some drown trying to swim ashore; they were often saved my poor men who could not afford pride price. It was a taboo to pregnant before the recommended marriage age. Costs $15 per person.
  2. Boat ride to traditional healer’s village.  Experience how traditional african medicine is integrated into modern medicine. The healer not only treats the sick, but uses his knowledge to conserve and educate about the various medicinal plants if time. Costs $20 per person

At 2 pm – we travel further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Bwindi, in addition to being the home of the mountain gorillas, has over 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 species of mammals including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon.

Bwindi is also a prime destination for bird- watchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics – species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

Bwindi forest /mgahinga National Parks have over 409 gorillas, half of the number remaining in the world . only 20 habituated gorilla families that can be viewed by visitors. Each family can be visited by a maximum of 8 people per day. Gorilla tracking starts at 4 different gates; either at Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga or Nkuringo or Nyakagyezi. These are separated by  long meandering dirt roads requiring 4WD vehicles. Please note that choice of overnight accommodation will  been determined by the location of the gorilla permits available at the time of booking.

Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge – 7 minutes drive to Bwindi park South gate – Rushaga gate.

Mutanda lake Resort –  55 minutes drive to Rushaga and Nkuringo – Bwindi park South gates.

Bakiga Lodge – 20 minutes to Ruhija Gate- Bwindi park South gate.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After early breakfast, your guide will take you to park gate. The trekking adventure will begin with a orientation by the park ranger guide on rules and how to handle yourself on the adventure.

It’s time to see the big apes. Today you’ll be trekking mountain gorillas – this memorable experience  starts with pre – tracking orientation starts at 8.00am.Trekking through the thick jungle, traversing canopies of thick undergrowth can be tough, wet, arduous but not impossible – the tracking can last from as little as 45 minutes to as much as 10 hours. The activity depends on location of gorillas the previous day. Visitors therefore are supposed to move along with packed/picnic lunch and water, and should be equipped with strong water-proof clothing and must be averagely healthy. It can rain at any minute’s notice; hence water proof clothing is essential including ZIP bags for cameras. Porters are available at an additional small fee.  

Under  this gorilla trekking, upon finding gorillas, viewing time is restricted to one hour! After the ranger guide will guide you out of the forest, our driver guide will transfer you back to the lodge. Overnight accommodation same as Day4.

Optional activity:

Visiting  Native Pigmies:

Today evening it’s possible to visit to the Batwa Pygmy community,  the original native people of the forest – those who lost their homes when Bwindi forest was legally made  Impenetrable Forest National Park. This tour ends with traditional dance and gorilla dance. Pigmies locally known as ‘Batwa’  were hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine thanks to ancient knowledge passed down for generations.  During this moving tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; point out medicinal plants.

Costs: $20 per person.

Early breakfast depart for Kigali – Rwanda (which is about 4 hours drive).  Visit the Genocide memorial. It is where the remains of 250, 000 victims of 1994 Genocide are buried. It contains a cemetery, genocide exhibition section, a library The memorial is very moving – the tour takes two to three hours – It is in memory of the multitudes murdered in Rwanda´s genocide 1994. The memorial sites and centres are places of dignified remembrance for loved ones lost.

END OF SAFARI

Please note – Golden monkey trekking (optional): For those interested in more adventure and primates safari, it is possible on this day 6 to go golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park in the morning starting at 8:00 AM, after transfer to Kigali city.

To go on a gorilla trek, you need a gorilla permit/license which we can arrange for you.  We can only purchase your Gorilla permit after you have made a down-payment to us. Gorilla permits are competitive on a daily basis, advance booking is always preferred.

Please note the gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Bwindi and or Mgahinga national parks. Gorilla tracking is dependent on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible.

Gorilla trekking can be strenuous activity and Minimum gorilla tracking age is 15 years.

What to bring: Hiking shoes/walking shoes,  long socks to tuck-in long pants , rain wear, warm clothing, evenings can be cold/chilly, gloves preferably gardening type are very helpful and  insect repellant.

Once your crew has spotted gorillas, maximum time allowed with the gorillas will NOT exceed 4 hours. you are  requested to practice different modes of using your camera in different light situations. Gorillas can sometimes be moving, Forest vegetation can at times obstruct visibility, and hence taking photos of these creatures can be very challenging!

Transport:
Our standard offering is a 4×4  land cruiser safari vehicle with pop-up roof for easy safari viewing.  All passengers will have a dedicated window seat. Your driver/guide will be at your disposal for questions.

Extension / add on Tour. If you want to extend your tour to one of our other destinations or if you’d like to add a few side trips to the itinerary, kindly let us know.

Difficulty:
Gorilla trekking takes place at altitudes 1160 to 2607m (3806 to 8553ft) above sea level. This means that moderate/average physical fitness is required. The slowest member will determine the groups’ speed. The pace will be moderate, with plenty stops to rest, ask questions, re-hydrate and enjoy the forest and views.

Trip Price Includes:

  • Airport transfers
  • Ground transport per private 4WD safari vehicle
  • English speaking driver/guide
  • Accommodation in places mentioned in the itinerary, based on a twin/double room
  • Bottled mineral water in the safari vehicle
  • Entrance fees and ranger fees for national parks
  • Activities and excursions mentioned in the program
  • Community life  experiences – pigmy visit, bigodi wetland walk, banana beer/gin brewing, coffee tour
  • Permit for chimp tracking in Kibale Forest
  • General and public Liability insurance cover by SATIB

Trip Price excludes:

  • Any optional activities
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
  • Any optional activities
  • Items of personal nature
  • Tips to driver/guides and service staff
  • International flight
  • Visa (USD $50)
  • 1 Gorilla permit per person ( to be added on final package price)

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