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Gorillas and Primates Discovery Safari

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Gorillas and Primates Discovery Safari

Discover the amazing inhabitants of the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda and Rwanda on this 12 day safari. Your journey begins with classic wildlife viewing on the Savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park. You then seek out chimpanzees in and continue on to the Bwindi Impentatrble Forest, home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas. At Mgahinga, you will have a chance to spot the rare golden monkey before crossing over into Rwanda, for more time with the gorillas.

Highlights:

Queen Elizabeth N.P.Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla N.P.Volcanoes N.P., Chimp Treakking, 2 Gorilla Treks, Hiking/ Boating

Detailed Itinerary:

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Day 1 – Kampala – Entebbe / Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today you will be met by your guide at your hotel or at the airport and depart by road for Queen Elizabeth National Park. Along the way you will stop at the Equator where you can stand astride both hemispheres. Continuing on, you’ll descend the escarpment to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s first national park, which lies in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley. The park is centered around Lake Edward and Lake George, which are linked by the Kazinga channel, a waterway rich in wildlife and birds. The Rwenzori Mountains act as a backdrop to the park’s variety of habitats – tropical forest, green meadows, savannah, crater lakes and swamps.

Your stay here will be at the Kyambura Gorge Lodge, set on the edge of the park with stunning views over the gorge and the lush savannah. The main lodge building was originally a coffee store. The original structure has been restored to create a stunning space with a series of distinct contemporary spaces for guests to relax and take in the views. Six guest bandas have been carefully set into the hillside. Each room has full ensuite bathrooms and private verandas offering panoramic views across the gorge, savannah and mythical Rwenzoris.

Relax with a cool drink and take in the views with time to freshen up before dinner.
Overnight – Kyambura Gorge Lodge (L, D & activities)

Day 2 – Queen Elizabeth National Park
After an early breakfast depart on an early game drive in the park. the Kasenyi plains are excellent for sighting Lion and large herds of Uganda Kob. The Mweya peninsula offers excellent game drives with magnificent views across the water to the Rwenzori Mountains. Mweya is one of the best places to look for leopard, which live in the dense, scrubby thickets. Time permitting visit the Kyambura Women’s Coffee Cooperative and its coffee processing station or the wetland reserve to spot birds.
Overnight – Kyambura Gorge Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 3 – Queen Elizabeth – Kyambura Gorge – Chimpanzee Trek
This morning after breakfast you will drive to Kyambura to track the fast moving Chimpanzees. The chimp population here is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable. The walk in this “lost world” is nevertheless enchanting. You may also visit the tropical Bee Care Center to look at their range of community projects from bee keeping, honey making to the community nursery for children. You may also see the famous tuskless elephants that have evolved in response to poaching in the past.

In the afternoon you will go on boat cruise down the Kazinga Channel to spot hippo, elephant, crocodile and a wide array of birds. Return to your lodge before dark.
Overnight – Kyambura Gorge Lodge (all meals && activities)

Day 4 – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This morning after breakfast you will continue into the dense forested hills of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This national park was established in 1991 to protect some of the last remaining great apes in the wild. Here exists about one half of the world’s population of the mountain gorillas. Other animals including the Colobus monkey, chimpanzee, elephant, bushbuck, duiker, buffalo, golden cat, leopard, civet, bushpig and giant forest hog. This pocket of primeval forest in the Virunga Mountain range is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth and has been designated as a World Heritage Site. The Gorillas live at altitudes of up to 6,500 feet (1,980 m) so be prepared for a long and difficult hike. Usually these habituated gorilla’s are tracked daily by the park rangers, but they can travel long distances through the dense jungle in a matter of hours.

Your stay here will be at Volcanoes’ Bwindi Lodge. The Lodge overlooks the primeval Bwindi forest, home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and birds. Amidst the many noises of forest life, it is the perfect place to experience the magic of this area. The lodge consist of 8 spacious bandas with a dinning room, bar and lounge that overlooks the forest below.
Overnight – Bwindi Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 5 – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Gorilla Trek
This morning you arise early to begin your hike to find the Gorilla’s. Depending on where they were last spotted it may take several hours to come upon them. But your patience and stamina will be rewarded. Coming upon a family of these amazing creatures in the undergrowth is an inspiring moment. After a full hour with these intelligent gentle creatures it’s time for one last look before hiking back to camp.
Overnight – Bwindi Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 6 – Bwindi – Gorilla Trek (optional)
Either go gorilla tracking again (optional and at an additional cost) or go for a guided nature walk in the thick forest rich in birds, butterflies and primates. Alternatively go for a stroll around the Lodge or a community walk. You can also visit the Batwa Pygmies, and learn about the use forest and still practice their traditional ways of hunting and gathering food. You will also visit their small village on the edge of the canopy.
Overnight – Bwindi Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 7 – Mgahinga National Park – Virunga Volcanoes
Today you depart for the Virunga Volcanoes home to ½ the world’s mountain Gorillas. The Volcanoes lie within the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo. En route you will stop at Kanaba Gap to view the mountains and the beautiful terraced hills. You then continue to the small town of Kisoro before heading, up the mountain to Mount Gahinga, part of Mgahinga National Park.

Your will arrive at the Mount Gahinga Lodge in time for a late lunch. This luxury Lodge is set in the lush hills and has 8 luxury bandas and a beautiful main building housing the lounge and restaurant. After lunch set out on a guided nature walk or visit the Batwa Cave, returning for drinks and dinner.
Overnight – Mount Gahinga Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 8 – Mgahinga National Park – Virunga Volcanoes
Today you have many options. You can go on a Gorilla Trek, however there is just 1 habituated group and the hike can be strenuous. Alternately you can climb the Muhavura or Gahinga volcanoes, go for a nature walk or visit golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park. You can also hike the Batwa Trail. Accompanied by pgmy Batwa Elders where you will visit the sacred Ngarama cave and enjoy the traditional music and dance of this rich culture.
Overnight – Mount Gahinga Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 9 – Volcanoes National Park – Virunga Volcanoes
After a morning activity and lunch you will cross over to the Rwanda side of the Virunga Volcanoes. After clearing customs you will continue a short ways to your home for the next three nights – the Volcanoes Virunga Lodge, a spectacular eco-lodge, set on a stunning hillside with breathtaking views of the Virunga volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. Accommodations are in eight bamdas that terrace the hillside.

Aside from gorilla tracking, you can climb the Visoke or Karisimbi volcanoes, track the golden monkey, visit the remains of the Karisoke Centre and Dian Fossey’s grave site, or go for gentle strolls around the picturesque villages near the lakes.
Overnight – Virugna Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 10 – Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trek
Be prepared for an exciting adventure this morning as you go gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. There are 10 habituated troops here and tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virunga’s is a magical experience. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families however are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy.
Overnight – Virugna Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 11 – Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trek (optional)
Today you can go on another trek (on payment of supplement at the time of booking subject to permit availability), visit the golden monkeys, drive to Gisenyi, visit Ros Carr’s orphanage and Lake Kivu or climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes, or you can trek to Dian Fossey’s grave, visit the local school and community projects or walk to Lake Bulera.
Overnight – Virugna Lodge (all meals & activities)

Day 12 – Volcanoes National Park / Kigali – Depart
After a leisurely breakfast leave for Kigali on a scenic three hour drive. Time permitting, you will have a tour of the city including a visit to the market, a pottery project, handicraft shops, the Franco-Rwandan cultural centre and the genocide memorial. You will then be taken to the airport for your departing flight. (B)

NOTE –
2 Gorilla Trekking Permits are included in the cost. Additional permits may be obtained for an additional cost.

Gorillas and Primates Discovery Safari Rates

Cost:

  • Starting at $10,425 per person sharing double accommodations
Our fully inclusive rates include:

  • All accommodations as per itinerary
  • All meals while on Safari
  • All drinks including alcoholic beverages
  • Professional wildlife guide and 4×4 safari vehicle(s) for group departure
  • Exclusive services of a professional wildlife guide and 4×4 vehicle for private safari
  • All wildlife reserve and national park fees
  • 1 chimpanzee trekking permit
  • 1 Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Permit
  • 1 PNV Gorilla Trekking Permit
  • Services of rangers and gorilla guide for trekking

Does not include:

  • Airfare into and out of Uganda or Rwanda (can be arranged by your Safari Specialist)
  • Overnights and transfers in Kampala if needed
  • Laundry (can be done for a fee)
  • Visas and visa fees
  • All items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance (Emergency Medical, Medical Transportation and Repatriation Insurance is required)
  • Gratuities for guides, rangers and camp/lodge staff
  • Airport Departure Taxes (usually included in ticket price)

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