Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla & Chimp Adventure
Day 1 Kigali
Arrive at any time and transfer to your hotel. Your CEO will meet with the group this evening to go over details of the trip - a note will be left at the hotel reception, indicating time and place. Rwanda’s capital is located on a number of hills in the center of the country and is well connected with good roads to all boarder crossings. As such it is a good base for safaris to all the places of interest in Rwanda as well as to Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania. The population of Kigali has since independence 1961 grown from 30,000 to an estimated 1 million inhabitants. Although not many attractions are found in Kigali it is one of Africa’s safest cities and the atmosphere is pleasant and the city is known for its exceptional cleanliness. There are several good hotels and many restaurants are well worth a visit. There are a few good bars and nightclubs, which however safe and fun offer the same hazards as such establishment’s do worldwide. Normal caution and care should be taken when visiting such places anywhere in the world.
Day 2 Northern Rwanda/Volcanoes National Park (1B,1L,1D)
Embark on an orientation tour of Kigali and delve into the sombre history of the country with a visit to the Genocide Memorial, and lunch at Hôtel des Mille Collines, famed for the movie Hotel Rwanda, which was based on true accounts during the 1994 genocide. Proceed to northern Rwanda in the afternoon to the lodge, located just outside the national park with stunning volcano views. The Kigali Genocide Memorial opened on the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004 - the Centre is built on a site where over 250,000 people are buried. The Centre serves as a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide in 1994 and remains a place for people to grieve those they lost. The Centre is a meaningful tribute to those who perished, and form a powerful educational tool for the next generation. Approximate Distance: 130 km Estimated Travel Time: 3hrs
Day 3 Northern Rwanda/Volcanoes National Park (1B,1L,1D)
Depart early and transfer to the National Park to meet the Gorilla tracker/guide for orientation. Embark on the trek which can vary in length and difficulty, depending on the location of the gorilla family you will visit. Spend one hour observing these beautiful and endangered creatures, a truly privileged experience. Trek back and return to the lodge with the remainder of the day at leisure. Approximately 800 Mountain Gorillas today exist in the world in the wild. They are found in three different locations in Rwanda, DRC & Uganda. In DRC & Rwanda, Gorillas live in similar eco systems / areas. The Gorilla species found in these 3 areas are called “Highland Gorilla”, the latin name is “Gorilla Berengei” named after the first European person to see and encounter a Mountain Gorilla. In Rwanda there are ten habituated Gorilla families that are open to visits – the visit to a Gorilla family is done ONCE per day and the duration of a visit is limited to one (1) hour with the Gorilla family. The time spent with them is limited due to conservation considerations and to minimize impact on the day-to-day life of the Gorilla family you are visiting. It is important to be well prepared for the trek - you never know if your total trek will be “short” or “long”. The total duration of a trek can vary and be anything between 3 & 9 hours in length depending on the location of the gorillas, who are constantly moving. Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rainforest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain. You will mainly walk where there are no paths apart from the occasional buffalo or elephant trail. Below is an example of how the day may go: 05.45 AM. Breakfast at your lodge. 06.15 AM. You will be picked up from the lodge by your driver – guide & drive to the check in at the registration office. 07.00 AM. Registration & briefing by your designated Gorilla guide. 08.00 AM (Approx). Proceed with your vehicle and guide to the actual starting point. The driving time from the check in point – office and to your starting point can be anything between 30 minutes and 1 & ½ hours depending on which Gorilla family you have been allocated. 09.00 AM (Approx). Start your Gorilla trek. Your driver/guide will wait for you at the road head while you do the Gorilla trek with your designated Gorilla guide from the Rwanda National Parks Authority. 12 NOON – 16.00 PM (Approx). Return from your Gorilla trek and drive back to your chosen lodge for a late lunch & probably a very appreciated shower.
Day 4 Northern Rwanda/Volcanoes National Park (1B,1L,1D)
Enjoy a second trek into the National Park with our ranger/guide to view a unique and endangered species, the “Golden Monkeys". Watch these playful and lively creatures in their natural habitat. Later, we visit the Ros Carr house and orphanage, learning about her life and works in helping orphans after the war. Embark on another trek in “Volcanoes National Park” to view a species even more endangered than the “Mountain Gorillas”, the “Golden Monkeys”. It is only in Rwanda where this interesting species has been successfully habituated. “Golden Monkeys” normally and mainly live in the lower parts of the bamboo forests, they are not as socially “tight” as Gorillas and chimpanzees and the number in the habituated troupe can vary on any given day between 20 and up to 80. The species are lively, curious and “chattery” - and with a bit of luck you may have a close encounter with them – although they are also often only seen high up in the trees. Below is an example of how the day may go: 05.45 – 06.15AM. Breakfast at your lodge. 06.15 AM. Depart from your lodge with your guide to the National Park head quarters located only approx 30 minutes away. 07.00 AM. Short briefing from your designated “Golden Monkey guide” from the Volcanoes National Park authority. 07.30 – 08.00 AM. Depart with your guide and your vehicle to the actual starting point of the trek where your driver will wait for you while you do the trek with your guide from the Rwanda National Park authority * Travelling time from Park headquarters to starting point; 30 – 45 minutes. 11.00 – 14.00 PM. Return from the Golden Monkey trek and drive back to your lodge for a late lunch and have the rest of the day “at leisure”.
Day 5 Queen Elizabeth National Park 1B,1L,1D)
After breakfast, cross into Uganda arriving at the Queen Elizabeth National Park area in the afternoon. Enroute, visit a tea factory/farm for a tour. Enjoy the rest of afternoon at leisure at the lodge with a cool drink on the deck or lounge at the pool. The 1,978 sq. km Queen Elizabeth National Park is characterized by open savannah, large areas of swamp around Lake George, the extensive Maramagambo Forest in the southeast, and the forested Kyambura Gorge along the border with Kyambura Game Reserve. Approximate Distance: 310 km Estimated Travel Time: 8hrs
Day 6 Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B,1L,1D)
Today, we explore Kyambura Gorge with a chimp trek in search of the playful primates. We also enjoy a safari drive with possible sightings of buffalo, waterbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants. Depending on the number of people travelling, the group will be split into 2, with half doing the chimp trek in the morning, then game drive in the afternoon and vice-a-versa. Game drive: Queen Elizabeth National Park, is home to Uganda's largest wildlife populations. Here, it is possible to see primates, buffalo, hippo, elephant, lion, and the elusive leopard. Chimp trek: The trek is done in Kyambura Gorge also known as the “Valley of Apes” in the eastern corner Queen Elizabeth National Park. The excursion is more than just visiting chimpanzees in their natural environment, it also teaches visitors about the ecosystems of the Gorge’s atmospheric “underground” rainforest, including vegetation types; bird identification and behavior; and chimp and monkey ecology. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, visitors stand a good chance of hearing and seeing our distant cousins as they are habituated and not bothered by humans watching their daily behaviour. The excursion can last between 1-3 hours.
Day 7 Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B,1L,1D)
Embark on a morning game drive for more wildlife viewing inside the park. This afternoon, take in a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to view hippos and birds, and with a bit of luck, we may even view elephants or cats.
Day 8 Entebbe (1B,1L)
After breakfast, head to Entebbe with a stop at the equator and a visit to a royal drum makers workshop. Approximate Distance: 350 km Estimated Travel Time: 8.5hrs
Day 9 Entebbe (1B)
Depart at any time.