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13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari – Gorillas, Wildlife, Chimpanzees, Culture, Scenery

13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari – Overview

The 13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari – is a combined Uganda Rwanda safari tour featuring gorilla trekking in Rwanda & Uganda, wildlife viewing, Chimpanzee trekking, community tours, beautiful scenery, and relaxation in both countries.

The 13 Days Uganda & Rwanda safari tour incorporates wildlife, culture and heritage, scenery, primates, and recreation. The 13 days safari tour takes you to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – the only home of white Rhinos in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park with its most powerful waterfall in the world – Murchison Falls, the recreational Nile launch cruise with sights of shoe bill, Nile crocodile and Hippos and exciting wild game viewing such as giraffes, buffaloes, lions, elephants, Jackson’s hartebeest among others.

You will visit Mpalo royal tombs where the famous King Kabalega lays in rest, the Mpanga tea estate cycling or hiking the Fort Portal crater field, and the Amabere ga’ Nnyinamwiru caves tour.

During this  13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari you will undertake a Chimpanzee trekking encounter with other 12 primate species in the primate capital of the world – Kibale National Park and Eco-encounters in Bigodi wetland.

Hiking the legendary mountains of the moon – the Ruwenzori, wild game viewing and recreational Kazinga Channel launch cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park, tree climbing lions of Ishasha is part of this tour.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Kinyarwanda culture and heritage tour at Iby’ wachu Cultural Village, Nyanza Royal Palace, and Butare National Museum also known as the Ethnographic Museum one of the largest museums in East Africa not forgetting the genocide memorial site that will give you a reflection of the tragic catastrophe that befell Rwanda in 1994 are all part of this comprehensive 13 days Uganda & Rwanda safari trip.

13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari – Highlights

  • Day 1: Depart Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park & visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary en route.
  • Day 2: Do a game drive & boat cruise.
  • Day 3: Visit the top of the falls & transfer to Hoima & visit Mpalo Royal Tombs.
  • Day 4: Transfer to Kibale National Park & do either Mpanga Tea Estate cycling or Fort Portal Crater Lake hike and Amabere ga’ Nyinamwiru caves tour.
  • Day 5: Do Chimpanzee trekking and transfer to Kasese & visit the Rwenzori Art Foundation & Ruboni Wax & Craft Center en route.
  • Day 6: Whole day Mount Rwenzori hiking.
  • Day 7: Do a morning game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park & Kazinga Channel boat cruise
  • Day 8: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & do Ishasha game drive en route (tree climbing lions)
  • Day 9: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi.
  • Day 10: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park & visit the Iby’ wachu cultural village
  • Day 11: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Kigali city
  • Day 12: Visit the Gisozi genocide memorial site & transfer to Butare
  • Day 13: Encounter the Nyanza palace & Butare National Museum & transfer to Kigali city.

13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari

13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari – Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Depart Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park & Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary en route

Transfer after breakfast to Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest of Uganda 311km about 5 hours drive excluding stops en route.

You will pass through the flat Savannah landscapes of Nakasongora before branching off a little at Nakitoma 115km from Kampala for a 7 km drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track white rhinos that only thrive at this place in the whole of Uganda.

You will have lunch at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and depart in the afternoon for Murchison Falls National Park for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Murchison River lodge (Midrange/standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 2: Do Game Drive & Boat Cruise:

Wake up very early for a cup of coffee and then head to Paraa ferry crossing at 7:00 am (if you slept in the south) to the northern sector of the Park where game drives are carried out.

The possible sights of various wildlife including; elephants, buffalo, Jackson hartebeest, Kobs, lion, leopard, and giraffe among other wildlife will leave you with a taste of African Savannah wilderness.

The activity takes 3 – 4 hours after which you will return to the Paraa ferry crossing at 11:00 am to go back to your lodge for relaxation and memory sharing.

After your stimulating lunch, gather at the Paraa for an after-boat cruise on the Nile at 02:00 p.m. This boat trip has captains and guides who have cruised on these waters for years and will be glad to share with you every piece of information that you would wish to gather on this trip including any bird species and wildlife both aquatic and land that might present itself.

The shoe-bill stork can be luckily seen on this boat while the great sights of Nile crocodiles – the second largest reptile in the world and the Hippos would make up your trip up to the base of the falls.

The boat takes 3 hours after which you will have marked the end of your day’s adventures.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Murchison River lodge (Midrange/standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 3: Visit The Top of The Falls & Transfer to Hoima & Visit Mpalo Royal Tombs

After breakfast, embark on the exploration of the top of Murchison Falls which is the most powerful waterfall in the world to marvel at the Nile River which is the longest River in the world squeezing itself to pass through an 8m ravine before falling 43m to what has been termed as the Devils Cauldron forming a thunderous roar with a plume of spray marked by trade mark rainbow.

Sir Samuel Baker was the first European to marvel at this feature on 14th March 1864 on his Nile expedition from the north and named after the then president of the Royal Geographical Society – Sir Roderick Murchison.

Continue on the drive to Hoima where you will visit the Mpalo Royal Tombs to encounter historical Kings of Bunyoro like King (Omukama) Kabalega who is famously known for resisting British rule in Bunyoro. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation: Kontik Hotel / Kolping Hotel

Day 4: Transfer to Kibale National Park & do Either Mpanga Tea Estate Cycling or Fort Portal Crater Lake Hike And Amabere g’ Nyinamwiru Caves Tour

7 Days Primate Safari Uganda Gorilla trekking & Chimpanzee TourAfter an early breakfast, embark on the drive to the Fort Portal area.

After an approximate 5-hour drive on a rough murram road always preferred and named by European travelers as African massage, you will arrive at Mpanga tea estates.

You have the option of doing a cycling tour through the tea plantations, having an opportunity to participate in tea plucking with the estate workers, and then paying a visit to the tea factory to get acquainted with the process of tea growing and processing.

This is ideal for active travelers who prefer cycling/ mountain biking. You will proceed for lunch in Fort Portal town.

As an alternative to the Mpanga tea estate cycling, you can opt for the Fort Portal crater lake hike and Amabere ga’ Nnyinamwiru caves tour. Amabere ga’ Nnyinamwiru caves – the breast-like features date back to the pre-historic era with great attachment to the Chwezi heritage.

The breasts (Amabere) are believed by the locals to belong to Nnyinamwiru the daughter of Bukuku who was a self-imposed King of the Bachwezi.

The maiden daughter cut her breasts in protest of being refused to breastfeed her only son Ndahura who later became a prominent King of the Chwezi Empire.

The encounter also involves hiking the Fort Portal Crater field. The famous Kyeganywa hill rises in a conical shape and its summit presents great sight-seeing moments of the range of crater hollows and crater lakes including Saaka, Bikere among others not forgetting the distant views of Mount Rwenzori on a clear day. Transfer to the Kibale area for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee Guesthouse (Midrange/standard) or Kibale Forest Camp (Budget/Basic)

Day 5: Do Chimpanzee Trekking And Transfer to Kasese & Visit The Rwenzori Art Foundation & Ruboni Wax & Craft Center en route

10 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Wildlife Safaris TourAfter breakfast, gather at the Kanyanchu Tourism Center for a briefing at 08:00 a.m. from the park rangers about the Chimp trekking conduct.

Set off to this forest of Kibale after the short briefing in quest of Chimpanzees.

The 2 – 5 hour trek will expose you to amazing tree species and wildlife including other 12 species of primates like Colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, and olive baboons.

The sights of Birds cannot be avoided while their songs will offer you natural entertainment through the jungle.

You will marvel at the Chimpanzees as they roll themselves on tree branches, munch fruits, and make their pant–hooting calls.

After utilizing your one hour, you will have a picnic lunch and return to the starting point for a short relaxation and then embark on the transfer to Kasese 110km about 3 hour’s drive excluding en route stops.

You will make a stop visit to the Rwenzori Art Foundation – the only bronze casting center in Africa to have a look at the process of various sculpture making and the final products.

A fine cup of coffee can be arranged at the site before proceeding to visit the Ruboni craft & wax center to have a look at how the local people extract different products like candles from beeswax and also encounter the craft-making process.

It is an experiential and if interested you can have some time and participate in making various crafts like baskets among others. Proceed to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Midrange) or Ruboni Community Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 6: Whole Day Mount Rwenzori Hiking

Transfer early after breakfast to Mount Rwenzori (Nyakalengija) for the whole day Rwenzori hiking encounter.

The hiking encounter exposes you to raised landscapes of Mount Rwenzori offering impressive scenic views of the ridges and glaciers and the rift valley flats below.

It is a perfect one-day active adventure exploring the legendary mountains of the moon as described by the famous Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150AD towering at 5,109m above sea level making it the tallest mountain range in Africa and the third highest in Africa. Return from the activity at 5:30 pm and transfer to your lodge for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Midrange) or Ruboni Community Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 7: Do Morning Game Drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park & Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise

10 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari Uganda Wildlife Safaris TourWake up for a cup of coffee before setting off for the game drive activity in the Savannah game park of Queen Elizabeth.

The early departure at 06:00 gives you an opportunity to see night hunters like hyenas getting back to their hiding places and early risers setting off to look for what to eat.

The drive through the Kasenyi and channel tracks gives a probable opportunity to see a range of game including; Lions, buffalo, elephants, elusive leopards (if too lucky), defassa water bucks, Uganda kobs, Oribis, side stripped jackals among other wildlife.

Return to the lodge after this 3 -4 hour game drive and relax till lunchtime. After lunch, you will gather at Mweya for a recreational afternoon launch cruise leaving at 03:00 pm taking 2 hours exploring the magical offerings of Kazinga Channel including the sights of water birds and wild game drinking on the channel side, the Nile crocodile and the Hippos.

The 45m channel that stretches from Lake George to Lake Edward has tranquil waters that always give pleasure and psychological satisfaction to any traveler on Uganda safaris. Retire from the boat at 5 p.m. for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 8: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Do Ishasha Game Drive En-route (Tree Climbing Lions)

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to the gorilla trekking haven of Bwindi South (Rushaga) 309km from Mweya.

You will pass through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and do simple game drives in search of the unique tree-climbing lions that tend to rest on fig tree branches during day time – something that you can only find in Queen Elizabeth National Park Ishasha sector – Uganda and Lake Manyara National Park in southern Tanzania.

Proceed with the journey, have lunch en route, and arrive in Rushaga late in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Chameleon Hill Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Gorilla Valley Lodge (Midrange/standard) or Wagtail Eco- Safari Camp (Budget/Basic)

Day 9: Do Gorilla Trekking & Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

It is this long-awaited date when you will come across the critically endangered mountain gorillas that only exist in the Bwindi and Virunga Volcanoes. You will wake up early for a heavy breakfast before gathering at the Park headquarters in Buhoma for a briefing at 08:00 about the conduct of gorilla trekking.

You will head to the forest after briefing in search of these apes and though the trek is a bit challenging, it is one of those activities that you will never forget to have done in Uganda.

The 2 – 8 hours activity involves hiking up the hills, descending down the valleys, walking through swamps, and maneuvering the way through thickets that have formed the background of this Impenetrable forest before coming in direct contact with gorillas.

The one full hour is at your disposal to maximize your experience with gorillas as you them forage, play, socialize, and also gaze at you in a sign of welcoming and saying goodbye. The opportunity to take as many photos as you can is availed to you while asking questions to your guide about these apes is up to your discretion.

The experience is rewarding and worth undertaking. Your picnic lunch will take you through the activity after which you will descend to the starting point and embark on the transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Birdnest@Lake Bunyonyi (Upmarket/Luxury), Arcadia Cottages (Midrange/Standard) or Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (Budget

Day 10: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park and Visit The Iby’ wachu Cultural Village

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Volcanoes National Park 120km driving along the Virunga Volcanoes with magnificent scenic views.

Arrive early for lunch after which you will visit the Iby’ iwacu cultural village to encounter the heritage of Rwanda. You undertake a community walk guided by a community member to different sites including the replica of the King’s palace where the story about the Kings of Rwanda is told and you have the opportunity of being crowned as a king for minutes, encounter about eight traditional Kinyarwanda dances by all community groups including; men, women, children, and youths, visit the traditional healer who uses traditional medicine to cure diseases, encounter Batwa pottery making experience, art and craft making by local women and encountering the banana brewery making process. Retire in the evening for dinner and overnight.

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

Day 11: Do Gorilla Trekking and Transfer to Kigali City

Wake up for an early cup of coffee, before gathering at Kinigi Park Headquarters for briefing about the gorilla trekking activity at 08:00 am always conducted by park rangers.

This lasts 30 minutes to 1 hour to detail the dos and don’ts while trekking gorillas. After the briefing, you will traverse the jungle in search of the splendid mountain gorillas in the company of the park ranger guide which stretches between 2 – 8 hours.

You will walk through the luxuriant vegetation, climb raised gradients, and ascend down the valleys before you encounter the great mountain gorillas as they munch their food and get astonished by the young gorillas playing and demonstrating their tactics which will prompt you to use up your camera space unknowingly.

Your one hour with gorillas is done and it is time for you to trek back to the starting to transfer to Kigali city 116km about 3 hours’ drive for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Kigali Serena Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury),

Day 12: Visit the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site and Transfer to Butare

After breakfast, embark on a Kigali city tour. You will visit the Gisozi genocide memorial site to pay tribute to counts of Rwandese who lost their lives in the bloody 1994 genocide.

You will also visit the Presidential Palace Museum which was formerly the home of Juvenal Habyarimana who was the Rwandan President at the time of the genocide. After this encounter, transfer to the Southern Province of Rwanda in Butare arriving in the evening for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Barthos Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Faucon (Midrange/Standard) or Shalom Guest House (Budget/Basic).

Day 13: Encounter The Nyanza Palace & Butare National Museum and Transfer to Kigali City

After breakfast, embark on the tour of the Nyanza Royal Palace – the ancestral home of the royal Kings of Rwanda including King Musinga and his successor King Rudahigwa.

The palace has got impressive heritage including the traditional royal hut with its components, the traditional Inyambo cows with their long horns with their famous parade, and a range of other cultural attributes like traditional performances.

You will also visit the Butare National Museum also known as the ethnographic museum with about 100,000 artifacts which is the largest museum in East Africa with various sections including the underground compartment. Retire from this cultural and heritage encounter and transfer to Kigali city.

End of The 13 Days Uganda & Rwanda Safari