17 DAY RWANDA & UGANDA DISCOVERY

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Both Uganda and Rwanda are East Africa’s unsung stars. Both countries combine many of the attractions you will never find elsewhere in the region. Your safari begins with a historical tour of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, tracking Chimpanzee of Nyungwe Forest, Helipocter Safari, trekking Gorillas of Parc des National Volcanoes and amazing wildlife watching in Uganda all await you on this safari.

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SAFARI HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • DATES OF TRAVEL: OPEN THROUGH OUT THE YEAR
  • CITY TOUR OF KIGALI 
  • CHIMPANZEE TREKKING IN NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
  • CANOPY WALK IN NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
  • HELICOPTER SAFARI FLYING FROM NYUNGWE TO MUSANZE NORTH OF RWANDA 
  • IBY’IWACU CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
  • GORILLA TRACKING IN KINIGI- VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
  • WILDLIFE VIEWING IN PRIVATE 4X4WD VEHICLE AROUND CRATER –QUEEN ELIZABETH NP
  • BUSH BREAKFAST IN ISHASHA QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
  • WATER SAFARI ON THE KAZINGA CHANNEL- QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
  • WATER SAFARI ON LAKE ALBERT- SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK
  • NIGHT GAME DRIVE IN SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK
  • WATER SAFARI TO THE BASE OF MURCHISON FALLS  
  • HIKE TO THE TOP OF MURCHISON FALLS
  • RHINO TRACKING AT ZIIWA RHINO SANCTUARY
  • BUSH BREAKFAST AT CHOBE MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
  • PRIVATE GAME VIEWING AND NATURE WALKS IN KIDEPO VALLEY NP
  • CHARTER FLIGHT TO KIDEPO NATIONAL PARK
  • SUNSET CRUISE WITH DRINKS AND BARBEQUE ON THE LAKE VICTORIA
  • 16 NIGHTS OF LUXURY ACCOMMODATION IN RWANDA AND UGANDA
  • MEAL PLAN (B=BREAKFAST=LUNCH=DINNER)
  • 24HRS TEMPORARY MEDICAL EVACUATION COVER BY AMREF FLYING DOCTORS

Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrival in Rwanda

Your unforgettable stay in Rwanda has started. You have entered a country full of history. On arrival at Kigali International Airport set your clock one hour back and our dedicated Guest Representative welcomes you into Rwanda. Each guest receives a Welcome Bag and our representative will assist you to transfer your luggage to your waiting safari jeep and proceed to hotel. Depending your flight time into Kigali, if you arrived before 2pm local time, your naturalist driver guide will drive around the street Kigali city returning back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. Meals and overnight at Hotel des Mille Collines

Day 2: Full day city tour of Kigali

Assuming you have a late flight into Rwanda, I have suggested a later breakfast and later city tour. After your hot African breakfast, meet your driver naturalist guide and you will be taken on a guided city tour of Kigali. Sight visits around Kigali City are informative and very interesting as they are conducted by knowledgeable and experienced guides. Please wear comfortable walking shoes. The tour will include the following sites:

-Camp Kigali Memorial(FREE) Open from 7AM-NOON-The 10 stone columns you find here mark the spot where 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers were murdered on the first day of the genocide. Orginally deployed to protect the home of moderate prime minister Agatha Uwiliwangimana, the soldiers were captured, disarmed and brought here by the presidential guard before being killed. Each column represents one of the soldiers and the horizontal cuts in it represent the soldier’s age.

-Kigali Memorial Centre(FREE) Open from 8AM-4PM-In a span of 100 days, an estimated one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were systematically butchered by the Interahamwe in one of the most savage genocide in history. This memorial honours the 250,000 bodies buried here in mass graves and tries to explain how it was that the world watched as the genocide unfolded in this tiny, landlocked country.

-Hotel des Mille Collines (Your host hotel)-This inspiration for the film Hotel Rwanda was owned by the Belgian airline Sabena in 1994.At the time of the genocide, the hotel’s European managers were evacuated and control of the Mille Collines was given to Paul Rusesabagina, manager of the smaller Hotel des Displomates.

As the situation in Kigali reached its boiling point, Paul opened the floodgates and allowed Tutsis and moderate Hutus to take refuge in the hotel, bribing the Interahamwe with money and alcohol in exchange for food and water.

Paul, his family and a few lucky survivors were eventually evacuated in a UN convoy as the Interahamwe seized the hotel. Today, Paul lives in Brussels and owns a small trucking company; he is also an outspoken humanitarian and public hero.

Time permitting and you wish to extend your tour to State House Museum entrance fees of USD 10 per person is payable directly at the gate. This former presidential palace on the eastern outskirts of the city is slowly being restored and while it has a few exhibits it’s interesting to explore, with secret rooms and an odd presidential night club. Wreckage from the late former president Juvenal Habyarimana’s presidential plane can still be seen where it was shot down-just over his garden wall.

**End of City tour*

Meals & overnight at Hotel des Mille Collines

Day 3: Depart Kigali for Nyungwe Forest National Park

Breakfast and checkout to start your journey to Nyungwe Forest National Park. With lunch en route, your driving distance from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National park is approximately 225 km and involves a journey of some 7-8 hours  taking you through  a scenic route of rural Rwanda with a number of interesting historical sites, such as Nyanza King’s Palace at Nyabisindi, a reconstructed King’s palace that provides some insight into the past royal life of Rwandan kingdoms, the National Museum, a demonstration of “Intore” dancers, handicrafts shops, an arboretum and the Cathedral all in Huya and Gikongoro’s Genocide Memorial along the way to Nyungwe Forest National Park. Meals and overnight at Nyungwe House

Day 4: Highlights of Nyungwe Forest NP  

After breakfast, you will set off for the park headquarters to register for the chimp excursion. The Nyungwe Forest National Park protects one of the oldest forests in Africa. Inside the forest the main attraction are the primates: chimpanzee tracking can be arranged and several other monkeys are readily seen as well. After a short briefing, start your walk in search of the resident chimpanzees inside the forest. Nyungwe is home to more than 500 chimps in the forest, but sightings are not guaranteed however you have around a 65% chance of spotting them. If you are lucky enough to encounter them, you will spend a really enjoyable hour watching them leap from branches, build nests from leaves in the treetops, and play and groom each other. Often, you can hear their loud calls through the forest long before you see them face to face, which really adds to the excitement of the trek. Return to the lodge for lunch and set off for the canopy walk at Uwinka park headquarters. Located 50 meters above the ground, and 200 meters long, the canopy walk gives you an exhilarating tree-to-eye view of Nyungwe forest. Dinner and overnight at Nyungwe House.

Day 5: Helicopter safari over lake Kivu to Musanze Parc des volcanoes

There is an early set off by your naturalist driver guide who will liaise with our partner property Nyungwe forest lodge for transfer to the helicopter pad. After lunch, transfer to the helipad for your scenic flight from Nyungwe to Volcanoes National Park. This is a 30-minutes scenic flight that offers magnificent sceneries of rural Rwanda. Sites will include flying over the shores of Lake Kivu and the fishing village, head north to capture the views of Mountains Karisimbi, Bisoke and Sabyinyo and land at the helipad in Kinigi on the boundaries of Volcanoes National Park. Here you will be welcomed by the Intore dancers and our guest representative who will usher you into the waiting jeep for your transfer to the lodge. Dinner and overnight at Virunga Lodge OR Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Day 6: Full Day Gorilla Trekking in Parc National des Volcans

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a globally sought after wildlife experience – and rightfully so In Rwanda, tourists can spend up to one hour with gorillas, and get within five feet of a Gorilla. It is a life changing experience. Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where the critically endangered mountain gorillas live. Experts estimate that there are only 900 mountain gorillas still in existence – and one third of these are in Rwanda. There is an early morning transfer to the park headquarters for a briefing by the park staff. Loaded with your drinking water, packed lunch and walking stick, enter the forest in search for the famous Mountain Gorillas. The trail into the forest, will abruptly immerse you in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest – home to the Gorillas. An exhilarating Gorilla trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas can be muddy and challenging but offers a great experience. Alive with the calls of Gorillas you will spend an hour before sloping back to the base. As you lope through the gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks, among the highest in Africa are glimpsed. Descend the volcanoes and return to the lodge for lunch. On the programme is the Iby’iwacu cultural village experience. Iby’iwacu cultural village is located 15 minutes’ drive from your host lodge and is an interesting cultural excursion. The village convinced ex poachers to turn their back on poaching and instead perform for visitors. Visiting the village, you can discover the traditional house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try your hand at bow and arrow shooting or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local area. The guided walk of the village takes around an hour and you can freely take photographs. It is also possible to walk to the village from your host Lodge. The walk is downhill all the way, takes around an hour. Return to the Lodge for meals and overnight.

Day 7: Depart Volcanoes National Park for Queen Elizabeth NP

  After breakfast and a packed snack, have an early start for Uganda through Cyanika border with stops on the way for amazing views of the Volcanoes. Proceed to the border, go through customs and cross into Uganda - clocks go forward one hour. Enter into Uganda through Kisoro and Ruhija in the northern sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park and the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park, known as the Ishasha plains. This remote and beautiful extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park is famed for its tree-climbing lions. It is a fabulous sight to see the lions draped from the trees and nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha. Proceed to your Ishasha Wilderness Camp with a sundowner game drive as you watch the sun at a suitable viewing point either along the ridge area or besides the Ntungwe River allowing you to savour the vast vistas and atmosphere of this beautiful area of the park. Meals and overnight at Ishasha wilderness camp

Day 8: Bush breakfast in Ishasha sector & transfer to QENP

The section of Queen Elizabeth is still pristine and untouched. If the weather allows, you will have your breakfast in the bush. Proceed with a game drive to Mweya Safari Lodge/Kyambura Gorge Lodge. Check in and enjoy lunch. Time permitting, drive along the Ishaka- Kasese Highway to visit tea plantations that offer views of the rolling hills of western Uganda. Return to the lodge check out and transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

Day 9: Water Safari on the Kazinga Channel & Transfer to Semliki 

Early breakfast and you join your naturalist guide for an early morning game drive which is usually most rewarding. The Kasenyi sector on the northern side of park is best known for the lions which prey on large population of Uganda Kob at the Kob mating ground that live in this area. Proceed to the Mweya peninsular arriving on time to embark on one of the boats for a water safari on Kazinga Channel. It is approximately 2 hours on the 36km Channel connecting two Rift Valley lakes: Edward and George. These are named after Queen Victoria’s son and heir, Edward VII and his own successor, George V. Early explorers in Africa often had to cope with inhospitable terrain and travel by boat was especially difficult. Now you can experience the sights and sounds that greeted these early pioneers in comfort. Cruise the Kazinga Channel and view the immense concentration of hippos at close range, spot over 100 species of water birds, marvel at the majestic elephants in their natural habitat and the notorious Nile crocodiles sunbathing on the channel bank. Return to the pier and join your naturalist driver guide for a transfer down to Toro – Semliki Wildlife Reserve. This Reserve situated in the basin of the western rift valley. The reserve is the oldest protected in Uganda and home to a staggering array of flora and fauna. Meals and overnight at Semliki Safari Lodge

Day 10: Water safari on Lake Albert & Night Game drive

An early morning rise, tea in your tent and followed by a good breakfast. Drive to Lake Albert for a boat trip in search of the incredible and rare shoebill stock. Return to the lodge and after your dinner embark on spot light night game drive with chances of spotting fantastic nocturnal species. Overnight at Semliki Safari Lodge 

Day 11: Fly/Drive to Murchison Falls National Park

Early set off to Murchison falls through the countryside along the Albertine escarpment of the Western Rift Valley Bunyoro Kingdom blessed with people that have maintained their cultural heritage. This section of your trip is blessed with green tea plantations, hills with terrace gardens and thick tropical rainforests including the famous Bugungu wildlife game reserve. Proceed to the lodge for check in and overnight. Meals and overnight at Bakers Lodge/ Paraa Safari Lodge

Day 12: Highlights of Murchison Falls 

Early morning game drive to the Albertine Delta. Murchison Falls National Park is well cited for the best wildlife viewing. Keep a watch out for giraffe, buffalo, lion, elephant, Nile crocodile, hippo, oribi, bush buck, waterbuck and hippos. Return to the lodge for lunch and the chance to relax before embarking on a boat trip which takes around 3 hours. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison Falls National Park since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals. Hike the top of Murchison falls and you will be refreshed by the fresh sprays of the Nile River. On arrival at the top of the falls, you will be received by your naturalist driver guide and back to the lodge in time for dinner. Return to the lodge for meals and overnight

Day 13: Rhino Tracking & drive to Chobe Lodge

After your hearty breakfast and start for Ziiwa rhino sanctuary. This scenic drive via top of the Murchison Falls on to the sanctuary will take approximately 3hours. Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch located in Nakasongola district is the proud home of the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The Rhino re-introduction project is a project of Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority. Have lunch and proceed to track the rhinos. Seeing rhinos in their natural environment, up close and in person is an unforgettable experience. The Rhino Sanctuary is the only place to do this in Uganda so if you’re looking to complete your ‘big five’ game checklist you’ll need to stop here.

After track embark on your waiting jeep and proceed with your drive to Chobe Safari Lodge arriving in time for lunch. Check and return to relax by the poolside and take a sunset walk along the Victoria Nile. Giraffes are also common, especially close to the lodge. Meals and overnight at Chobe Safari Lodge

Day 14: Bush breakfast & Onward flight to Kidepo Valley NP

A visit to Chobe Safari Lodge in the Murchison Falls National Park will not be complete without this unique & classic game safari bush breakfast. Proceeding ahead of the you, is the banqueting team that will set up the tables with the necessary cutlery & crockery, chairs, umbrella canopy and the “bush kitchenette”, as well as a campfire, in time, at the bush breakfast site before the guests arrive. You will also have the best chance of seeing 4 of the “big 5” – elephants, lions, leopards and buffaloes. 

Return back to lodge and checkout for your flight to Kidepo Valley National Park. Upon arrival you will be met by our representative at the airstrip and proceed to the lodge. The drive to the lodge takes only 15 minutes. Late lunch and time permitting enjoy an afternoon game drive around the national park. Meals and overnight at Apoka Lodge

Day 15: Game drive & Nature Walk in Kidepo Valley NP

  Game drives and walks in Kidepo Valley NP are directed by nature not time! Take a walking safari along the sandy dry river bed fringed with palm trees, climb to the top of a rocky outcrop and take in the views.  You will walk along isolated tracks to fully appreciate all around you and in-search of tracks and any signs of the animal movements. Your naturalist guide will allow you to stop at any point to investigate further. Time permitting, you may take a walk to track the lions, or even cheetah and you will always have surrounded by Zebra, Waterbuck, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Warthogs, Patas monkeys and big herds of Buffalo. Return to the lodge for meals and overnight

Day 16: Fly to Entebbe & cruise on Lake Victoria 

From To Depart Arrive

Kidepo Entebbe 1500 1630

Timings may vary depending on aircraft routing

Breakfast, check out at Apoka Safari Lodge and followed by early lunch. You will transfer back to Apoka Airstrip for your flight back to Entebbe. On arrival at Entebbe International Airport, disembark off the aircraft and meet our guest representative. You will be transferred to the marina for a sunset cruise on the Lake Victoria en route to Lake Victoria Serena Resort. Cold beverages will be served on the boat accompanied with snacks and a barbeque arriving at Lake Victoria Serena in time for your dinner and overnight.

Overnight at Lake Kivu Victoria Serena Resort 

Day 17:  Behind the Scenes & On ward flight

After a leisurely breakfast, the day is yours to plan and enjoy. Alternatively take some time out with a good book and the pool.. Check out followed by early lunch. Your naturalist driver guide will transfer you back to Entebbe and visit Uganda Wildlife Education Centre for a 2hour entertaining behind the scenes experience. As part of our responsible tourism programmes behind the scenes is a two- hour entertaining and educational adventure that offers special behind-the-scenes experiences and interesting information about how the center takes care of rescued animals in distress and need.

Later you will proceed with your drive to Entebbe International airport arriving in due time for your onward flight. 

Please note that check-in for international flights should be done 3 hours prior to departure of the flight. In the departure hall (after check-in) you will find a small restaurant, a sitting area and several duty-free shops for your convenience.

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