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17 Days of Rwanda and Uganda Adventure

Top Animals and Birds

Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Golden Monkey, L'Hoest's Monkey, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Black Rhino, Hippo, Nile Crocodile, Cape Buffalo, Bohor Reedbuck, Ugandan Topi, Defassa Waterbuck, Giant Forest Hog plus some of at least 13 more monkey species.

Top Birds: Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Twinspot Batis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Dusky Twinspot and Grauer's Swamp Warbler, Doherty's Bushshrike, Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush, Strange Weaver, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, in the lush tropical forests of Bwindi, Kabale and Nyungwe and Papyrus Gonolek, Shoebill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler and Red-faced Barbet and Red-faced Crombec in the savannah, swamps and lakes of Queen Elizabeth and Akagera. Plus loads more, including many of over 30 Albertine Rift endemics in the Uganda and Rwanda forests.

Tour Features

Richly lush and diverse
  • Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills and Uganda, The Pearl of Africa combined to bring you the very best of the wildlife of both countries.
  • Located on the cusp of the savannah of East Africa and the Afro-Congolese Rainforests of the Albertine Rift for the best of both worlds.
  • Both have emerged from a troubled past and are very safe and very welcoming countries in the East African Union and Commonwealth
  • Both are ambitiously modern but retain great African cultures, with their characteristic friendliness.
Wildlife abundance and variety with time to enjoy it all
  • Wildlife is abundant and diverse so the tour visits National Parks and other secluded corners, picking up the very best wildlife and giving you an exceptional experience.
  • Good roads in Rwanda, short travel distances and a joint visa programme make a trip into Uganda a viable and attractive option.
  • We want you to have enough time to enjoy the beautiful habitats of Rwanda and Uganda
Animals and reptiles
  • A highlight is an extraordinary trek in the misty mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda to the iconic Mountain Gorillas.
  • Trek for Chimpanzees and Golden Monkeys
  • Up to thirteen Monkey species in Bwindi and Nyungwe National Parks are on the tour agenda.
  • The Big Five of the Savannah, Lions, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Black Rhino are all there, plus Hippos, Giraffe, Zebra and over 12 Antelope species and reptiles including huge Nile Crocodiles and the large Nile Monitor Lizard Akagera National Park.
Extraordinary Birdlife
  • Uganda has over 1000 species. Rwanda has over 700 species in beautiful, lush settings
  • The much sought-after Shoebill can be seen in the wetlands of Akagera National Park in Rwanda for a more diverse, pristine and wild experience of Shoebill and lots of other birds.
  • A tour list of over 400 species is possible in two weeks, depending on the season. Many are in abundance and the special endemics of the Albertine Rift are in both countries, with some particular to different forests
  • Many are best seen in Rwanda, with an unmissable birding bonanza and an expert local guide in the parks and bonus to the remotest source of the Nile.

Day 1: - Kigali:

Arrive Kigali (based on Rwandair 7.30am arrival) and drive to Mgahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda (hours’ drive), including a lunch stop and birding along the route. Arrive at accommodation late afternoon for 4 nights.

Day 2 and Day 3

Explore the beautiful high elevation forest of Mgahinga National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Ruhija Sector for Albertine Rift endemics, the rich bird life, maybe including Cassin's Hawk-eagle, and for Colobus Monkeys. Rise early on Day 3 for your trek to the Mountain Gorillas. Golden Monkeys Trek and birding in the afternoon and early evening.

Day 4

Early drive to the Buhoma Sector of lower forest (1.5 hours) and stop along the intriguing and productive stretch of high forest called the Neck, enroute. Large mixed flocks of Waxbills and more a wonderful identification challenge and photo opportunity. Explore the wildlife of Buhoma mid- elevation forest area for monkey species, Cassin's flycatcher, Tiny Sunbird, Black Bee-eater and even Willard's Sooty Boubou, a localised species similar to the common Mountain Sooty Boubou and much more besides.

Day 5 and Day 6 :

Early drive (3 hours) to Queen Elizabeth National Park and explore the Kazinga Channel between Lake Albert and Lake George by boat. This is a great favourite amongst wildlife watchers for its waterbirds such as Goliath Heron, Yellow-billed Stork and African Skimmer, African and maybe Lesser Jacana, Hamerkop and Papyrus Gonolek and it's Elephants and Hippos. We will also see the famous tree climbing Lions of Ishasha, lots more savannah animals, maybe including Jackal and savannah birds such as White-backed Vulture, Black-bellied Bustard, Martial Eagle, Blue-throated Roller, African Grey Parrot, Black and White Shrike Flycatcher and Red-chested Sunbird. Stay for 2 nights.

Day 7:

Start early and drive (2.5 hours) to rich forest of Kibale National Park, birding for savannah and waterbirds enroute. Kibale is famous for its high population of primates including Chimpanzees, Red Colobus and Blue Monkeys and Grey-cheeked Mangabey. We will visit the visiting Bigodi Swamp, a community run reserve on the way for primates in the forest and papyrus redd bed species. Arrive late afternoon for some evening wildlife watching. Yellowbill, black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, African Broadbill, African Emerald Cuckoo, Joyful Greenbul, Masked Apalis, Robinchats, Bee eaters, kingfishers and lots of butterflies and more are here. Stay 2 nights.

Day 8

Day in Kibale forest for Chimpanzee trekking. The Chimps are mobile and trekking can be challenging but well worth it to see these compelling primates. We will also continue to explore forest areas for monkeys and the hugely interesting bird life.

Day 9

Early drive to Akagera National Park in Rwanda (9 hours) and to Akagera National Park for a two-day visit based at the Akagera Park Lodge in the south of the park. Stay for 3 nights

DAY 10 and Day 11:

Explore the great diversity of Akagera National Park. This park represents all the lush and expansive savannah, open forest and wetland habitats for which East Africa is known, with a great diversity in a relatively small area. It has a pristine and quiet ambience making it a fabulous environment for wildlife watching. See the savannah Big 5 in the Kilala Plains in the north, in a National Park that hosts over 20 mammal species including Giraffe, Zebra, Cape Buffalo and many antelope species and 525 bird species. Lions and black Rhinos have recently been re-introduced and are thriving. We will drive along the lakes of the Akagera river system where Shoebill a rich waterbird list can be found with a boat to see fabulous waterbirds and lots of Hippos and Nile Crocodiles at Lake Ihema. Along the lake sides are a wealth of woodland birds and don't be surprised if a Giant Forest Hog pops out. Accommodation is in the Park and the gardens are a great source of birds such as Weavers, Crested and other Barbets and Red Faced Crombec, as well as a full range of hirondines. The giant Nile Monitor Lizard is quite common. Akagera is unmissable!.

DAY 12:

After some early wildlife watching in Akagera, return to Kigali (2.5 hours) for some city visits including optional visits to Nyarutarama Lake and surrounds, The Genocide Museum and Memorial, the Kandt House Museum and city markets. Stay in Kigali for 1 night.

DAY 13:

Early drive (5 hours) to Nyungwe National Park via Butare visiting the grounds of the University of Rwanda Huye Campus enroute for woodland birds in the open parkland, with woodpeckers and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird round the buildings. Lunch nearby (maybe at http://www.bluemarbledreams.org/Rwanda/ Inzozi Nziza Ice Cream shop looks ideal for a quick lunch). Late afternoon birding and look for primates enroute. Arrive in time for dinner at the guesthouse. Stay at Gisakura Guesthouse for 3 nights

DAY 14 and Day 15:

An immersion into the stunning high montane forest of Nyungwe National Park with its glorious Symphonia trees and highly diverse forest cover. Look out for some of 13 Monkey species, including Angolan Pied Colobus Monkeys and L'Hoest's Monkey. Birdlife is diverse, including the fabulous Albertine Rift endemics bonanza to be seen on the Uwinka Trail and the highly localised Grauer's Swamp Warbler in the lost world of the Kamiranzovu Swamp, accompanied by an expert local guide. You will be enthralled by every moment here, including localised birding around Gisakura guest house and local walks. The stunning Doherty's Bushshrike might turn up along the road side, along with Mountain Apalis and lots more. The sound of Turacos fills the air and pairs of Great Blue Turaco gliding through give a “Lost World” feel to the forest. The much sought after and colourful Ruwenzori Turaco is there to be found.

DAY 16:

Morning wildlife and birding at Nyungwe and then drive back to Kigali in time dinner and an evening in the city.

DAY 17:

Morning departure from Kigali to London (based on Rwandair Schedule)

When to visit: March and April for bird breeding; July to September and December to February for the dry season and peak Gorilla trekking season, September and October for bird migration. Best times for this trip February and March, September and October.

Groups of 2 to 8 people for 11 days approximate guide price USD $6,800 per person to USD $6,200 per person in two countries of Rwanda and Uganda.

Walking is easy to moderate except Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking which is moderate to difficult depending on their location. Both can be optional. Gorilla trekking is one of those extraordinary “things to do experiences” and this “up and close” meeting with our close primate relative is highly recommended. The permits are expensive, at USD1500 in Rwanda and USD600 in Uganda, but the fee money goes in part to sustaining the conservation effort including training, equipping and paying rangers and veterinary support for the Gorillas. Many former poachers are turned rangers in a great success story. Fees also support local communities, so that they value Gorillas and the environment. Fees also help fund the enlargement of the forest edge buffer zone, to protect the Gorilla community and some goes into the wider support of communities and economic development throughout Rwanda and Uganda. It is well worth it!

Fully inclusive guided tour, Park Permits, expert wildlife guide, accommodation, all meals, water, 4 x4 safari vehicle. Excludes flights, visa, health requirements, travel insurance, tips, alcoholic drinks, personal items.

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