This 14 day safari traces the western Rift Valley in the heart of Africa, starting with game viewing on the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park – elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, and leopard. Track the chimps in Kibale National Park. In Ishasha go on the hunt for the tree-climbing lions lounging on old fig trees. See the rich wildlife and array of birds on the Kazinga Channel. Seeing some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a fantastic experience and this safari takes you to three gorilla parks – Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda and PNV in Rwanda. It offers an opportunity to track gorillas five times, twice in Bwindi, once in Mgahinga/Nkuringo, and twice in PNV.

Bwindi in Uganda has four habituated families and the gorillas there live in thicker tropical forest and tracking
You can also go for nature walks to see birds, monkeys and orchids, visit the Akagera National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Kigali City tours etc.

You can also climb a volcano or go for a nature walk or visit the endangered golden monkey. PNV in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes only a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.

Day 1: Do Kampala city tour

After breakfast at your place of stay, embark on the city tour of Kampala which is very rich in religious, cultural, historical and geographical landscapes. The city encounter takes you through the main worship centers including the Baha’i temple which is the only temple of the Baha’i faith in Africa, the Gadhafi mosque which is the second largest in Africa, the Namirembe and Rubaga cathedrals for Anglican and Catholic denominations respectively, Hindu temple and the Namugongo Martyrs shrine where the Uganda martyrs were burnt alive on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda in 1885. The historical sites like the Amin’s torture chambers, cultural sites like the Kabaka’s palace, the Kasubi royal tombs, Kabaka’s lake and the National Museum and monuments also offer a great encounter in Kampala city. You can also opt to visit local markets of Owino, Nakasero, Kalerwe and Wandegeya or the educational institutions like Makerere University which is the best in the whole of the East African region. Due to the distances involved between these attractions anfd their numkers, they may not all be visited in a single day. Thus, you will need to prioritize those that should not be missed before retiring for overnight.

Accommodation: Sheraton Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Cassia Lodge (Midrange/standard) or Buziga Country Resort (Budget/Basic).

Day 2: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park & do crater lake hike.

Wake for an early breakfast after which you will transfer to Kibale National Park 358km about 7 hours’ drive. You will traverse the lush country side dotted with varying geographical landscapes including inselbergs, deep valleys, and steep sided hills among others with settlements of the local people. You will have lunch en route and upon reaching Fort Portal, you will continue to visit the Amabere caves and do Crater Lake hike. The Kyeganywa hill gives an impressive all round view of the crater laker lakes and hollows in the area and the sights of Mount Rwenzori at a distance. Retire for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee guesthouse (Midrange/standard) or Chimps nest (Budget/Basic).

Day 3: Do Chimp trekking & Bigodi wetland encounter

You gather at Kanyanchu tourism center to start up with short briefing about the Chimpanzee trekking conduct at 08:00am after which you will head to the forest of Kibale full of birds, 13 species of primate, amazing flora and fauna including forest elephants. The search is for the common chimpanzees – one of man’s closest relatives. Upon encountering them, you will marvel at their physical make up particularly the facial structure that is much correlated with that of man, their pant hooting calls, their playful tactics and the way they swing from branch to branch and from tree to tree that will lure you to use up your camera space unknowingly. The full one hour encounter will allow you maximize this experience. Return from this 2 – 5 hour activity and transfer to Bigodi wetland for eco-tour encounter. The community of Bigodi is gifted by a natural wetland with birds like Rwenzori Turaco, animals like Sitatunga and amazing flora which is greatly used in craft making which makes the Bigodi encounter rewarding. The visit to the local healer and a local school gives you the taste of the societal setting. Return to the lodge for dinner & overnight.

Accommodation: You have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 4: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park & do crater drive

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park 157km about 4 hours’ drive from Kibale. You will drive through the amazing scenic landscapes of Rwenzori Mountains rising above the snowline with Margarita peak standing at 5,109m above sea level. You will arrive in Queen Elizabeth early for lunch and short relaxation after which you will embark on the drive to the crater are to encounter the magical scenic offerings of the explosion craters that lie in form series surrounded by impressive terrain that is fancied by wildlife especially elephants. You can also use that evening to visit the salt lake (Katwe) to explore into the process of salt formation, extraction and processing. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Mama land Pumba Safari Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 5: Do game drive & Kazinga channel launch cruise

Wake up early enough to depart for a game drive at 06:00am to catch up with early risers and night hunters getting back to their hiding places including Hyenas, owls, side stripped jackals among others. You will drive through the Kasenyi tracks to enjoy the sights of wild game including elephants, lions, buffaloes, antelopes among others though they are not guaranteed. You will return from this 3 – 4 hour activity for relaxation and lunch after which you will gather at Mweya to catch up with the launch cruise on Kazinga Channel at 03:00pm. The 2 hour boat cruise will expose to a range of aquatic animals including Hippos and Nile Crocodiles which is the second largest reptile in the whole world. Wild game drinking on the channel side including elephants, Antelopes and buffaloes and abundant bird life will make your launch trip on the 45m long Kazinga channel memorable. Retire for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 6: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & enjoy tree climbing lions en route

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will drive through Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth in search of tree climbing lions lying on short tree branches of Ishasha providing a perfect base to view these unique creatures other than any other wilderness. Continue on the drive to arrive in Buhoma in the afternoon for relaxation and overnight.

Drive distance: 160km Drive distance: 5 hours

Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp (Upmarket/luxury), Engagi Lodge (Midrange/standard) or Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 7: Do gorilla trekking

Wake up for an early breakfast before assembling at the park headquarters Buhoma for briefing about the gorilla trekking activity at 08:00am. The forest of Bwindi dates back from the prehistoric era and is one of the few remaining Afro montane forests in East Africa. Due to its surviving of the last ice age, it has a great bio-diversity concentration including the endangered mountain gorillas. Other great flora will give you company as you traverse the dense thicket famously known as impenetrable forest while wildlife crossings and bird songs will never leave you abandoned in this ancient forest. The trek is a bit strenuous due to rugged terrain that characterizes the area. One hour is availed to you upon encountering of these close to human apes that will leave you with real belief of human evolution theory. Return to the lodge for relaxation and overnight.

Trekking duration: 2 – 8 hours

Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 8: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Volcanoes National Park 236km about 7 hours’ drive from Buhoma. You will drive along the eastern side of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park before being welcomed by the magical views of the Virunga Volcanoes that form a natural boarder of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. You will arrive in Ruhengeri in the late afternoon for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Mount Gorilla View Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), La Palme Hotel (Midrange/standard) or Muhabura Hotel (Budget/Basic).

Day 9: Do gorilla trekking

Gather at the park Headquarters Kinigi after breakfast at 08:00am for briefing by the park rangers about the conduct of gorilla trekking activity. You will set off following the set trails to the lush volcanic forest full of birds, abundant flora, fauna including golden monkeys, elusive elephants and buffaloes and scenic sights of the volcanic peaks seen through the forest gaps. The trek involves great hiking through the varying terrain which makes it an attraction in its self. The moment of coming across the critically endangered mountain gorillas is a hilarious encounter that will take your strenuous hiking fatigue to rest and concentrate on optical nutrition and satisfying the inner desires. The memories of this experience will be kept in spirit and in the range of photos that your camera is able to contain. The guides are knowledgeable to exhaust your longstanding queries about the gorillas. You have one full hour to maximize your encounter. You will have picnic lunch and then return to the starting point to mark the end of this gorilla trekking encounter after which you go to the lode for relaxation and overnight.

Trekking duration: 2 – 8 hours

Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 10: Hike Dian Fossey & visit the iby’wachu cultural village.

After breakfast, embark on the hike to the Dian Fossey center to pay tribute to the leading gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey who championed the cause of conserving mountain gorillas. She lays in rest at Karisoke research center which also has a great collection about mountain gorillas. The grave of Digit her favorite silverback also can be seen at the site. The hike involves passing through the jungle of Volcanoes with a relative steep ascent as the site is positioned on an elevated position. It takes about 4 hours after which you will return to the lodge for lunch and short relaxation after which you will visit the iby’wachu cultural village which gives a detailed account of the Kinyarwanda culture dating from the pre-colonial era. The cultural village exposes you to traditional architecture, traditional cuisine, values, arts and crafts and performances. Return for overnight.

Accommodation: You will have dinner & overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 11: Transfer to Akagera National Park

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Akagera National Park – the largest protected area in Rwanda which lies in the eastern boarder of Rwanda adjacent to Tanzanian plains. You will drive through the farmed hillsides of Rwanda whose landscape has given Rwanda the name of the land of a thousand hills. The journey is 246km about 5 ½ hours’ drive excluding stops en route. You will drive through the city of Kigali to have an encounter of the air of the urban environment before continuing to the wilderness of Akagera full of wild animals. You can relax for lunch in Kigali before continuing to arrive in the afternoon for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Akagera game Lodge (Upmarket/luxury) or Ruzizi Tented Lodge (Midrange/standard) or Dereva Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 12: Do game drive & boat cruise on Lake Ihema

Wake up early to embark on morning game drive departing at 06:00am in search of a range of African game as they start off their day with in the rolling plains that are covered with impressive savannah combretum. Wild game include; elephants, giraffe, buffaloes, waterbucks, elusive leopard among others. Return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch after which you will have a boat cruise on Lake Ihema in the afternoon. You will enjoy the sights of Hippos and Nile crocodiles and Hippos. The water birds thrive in the marsh that stretches along the Akagera river line system. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation: You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 13: Do morning game drive & transfer to Kigali city.

After breakfast, embark on a long game drive that stretch up to Mutumba hills that will give you rewarding views of the Akagera plains and the plains of Tanzania. The wild game of Akagera is better seen along this drive. After this activity, you will embark on the transfer to Kigali city for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Kigali Serena Hotel (Upmarket/luxury), Hotel Chez Lando (Midrange/standard) or Omurugo Rwanda Hostel (Budget/Basic).

Day 14: Do Kigali city tour

After breakfast, embark on Kigali city tour where you will encounter the Gisozi genocide memorial to pay tribute to thousands of Rwandese who lost their lives in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. You can also visit the Presidential Palace Museum where the remains of the FALCON 50 presidential plane in which genocide president Juvenal Habyarimana lost his life lie within the compound. You can also visit the natural history museum formerly the Kandt house which contains a lot of collections about the environment of Rwanda. Richard Kandt was a German explorer who explored Rwanda and he set the first building in Kigali city in 1903. The tour to the craft centers, Art studios, down town Kigali, Remera Heroes Cemetery where the graves of the former Rwandan Heroes including Maj. Fred Rwigyema who led the 1990 Rwanda Patriotic Front Invasion over Rwanda. You will have lunch in Kigali city and you will retire in the evening to mark the end of your safari.

End of safari: