21 Day Rwanda and Uganda safari
21 Day Rwanda and Uganda safari – This 21 Day Safari will take you to some of the top tour destinations in Rwanda and Uganda. Major highlights of this 21 Days Combined Holiday Safari includes activities such as; Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, Chimpanzee trekking and golden monkey trekking in Uganda, wildlife viewing and cultural tours in both Rwanda and Uganda.
Detailed Itinerary for 21 Days Combined Holiday.
This 21 Days Combined Holiday in Rwanda and Uganda will begin in Kigali Rwanda and end in Kampala/Entebbe, Uganda.
Day 1: Pick up from Kigali and City Tour.
Pick up and Kigali City Tour: On Day 1 21 Day Rwanda and Uganda safari, you will be picked by your guide from Kigali international airport. After a brief meet and greet session, you with will embark on a tour of Kigali city where you will visit interesting cultural and historical sites like; Kigali Genocide Memorial, Caplaki Craft Village, Nyamirambo Women’s Center, and Camp Kigali Memorial Center to mention but a few. After your tour of Kigali City, drive to your hotel in Kigali for dinner and an overnight stay at City Blue Hotel/Kigali Serena Hotel.
Day 2: Transfer to Akagera National Park & Evening Game Drive.
Transfer to Akagera: Wake up early in the morning and have breakfast at your hotel. Meet up with your guide and proceed with your transfer to Akagera National Park in the eastern part of Rwanda. The national park is Rwanda’s only refuge for savannah wildlife animals and has over 8,000 large land animals. It is also the only national park in the country where you stand a chance to see the famous Big Five animals of Africa. The park is situated about 110 kilometers from Kigali, which is about a 2½ hour drive.
Evening Game Drive: On arrival at Akagera national park, you will proceed to go on an evening game drive, which usually takes between 1-2 hours. While on your game drive, look out for wildlife animals like; hyenas, jackals, zebras, waterbuck, duikers and elephants among others. Later drive to your lodge, check in, freshen up and have your dinner before retiring to bed. Dinner and accommodation at Magashi Safari Camp/ Karenge Bush Camp/ Akagera Game Lodge.
Day 3: Morning game drive and Evening boat cruise.
Morning Game Drive: Have your breakfast early in the morning and head out for a morning game drive. Get to explore the beautiful savanna and landscape in the park. You will also have the opportunity to see wildlife animals in the park like; elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, antelopes, and waterbucks to mention but a few.
Evening Boat Cruise: You will return back to your lodge for lunch, rest for a short while and later embark on an evening boat cruise on Lake Ihema. While on your boat cruise, you will get to see the splendid wildlife at the park like; Nile Crocodiles, Hippos and some water birds like; the marabou stork, herons and the African fish eagle. After your boat cruise, you can opt to go guided nature walk and explore the marvelous flora and fauna species that Akagera National Park has to offer.
Return back to your lodge for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 4: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park & Iby’iwacu Community Visit.
Transfer to Volcanoes: Have breakfast from your lodge early in the morning. Check out of your lodge and meet up with your guide who will transfer you to Volcanoes National Park. This national park shelters more than 300 mountain gorillas and all are habituated, thus are comfortable being around humans. The park is located in Ruhengeri district, neighboring Virunga National Park in Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Iby’iwacu Community Visit: Once you get to Volcanoes national park, you will pay a visit to the popular Iby’iwacu community village which is situated outside the national park. This community is filled with individuals who were once poachers who have reformed and now actively participate in conservation projects that are run in the park. Visiting the Iby’iwacu community village is a good way to experience the Rwanda culture through music, dance and drumming performances from the local intore dance group.
Later drive to your lodge for dinner and accommodation at Kinigi Guesthouse/ La Palme Hotel/ Virunga Lodge.
Day 5: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park.
Gorilla Trekking: After having a hearty breakfast at your Lodge’s restaurant, your safari guide will pick you up from your lodge and you will embark on a 30 minute drive to Volcanoes National Park offices.
While at the Park’s offices, you will be briefed by the head ranger at the park in regards to the Park’s rules and regulations, as well as gorilla tracking regulations. After this briefing, the head ranger will put you into groups depending on the gorilla family group you prefer to track. Mountain Gorillas belong to one of the seven habituated family groups and hence have quite a tolerance for humans. It could take about 1- 8 hours to track a gorilla group depending on how easily they are located. Once gorilla group is located, your will be allowed to spend only an hour with the gorillas.
While tracking Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, you will have an opportunity to enjoy a nature walk. Your guide will show you some of the bird and plant species that the park is blessed with.
At the end of your Gorilla Tracking activity, you will be taken back to your Lodge where you will retire, have your dinner and have a good night’s rest.
Day 6: Transfer to Mgahinga National Park & Evening Cultural Expedition.
Transfer to Mgahinga: Have breakfast early in the morning and transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. It takes about 1½ hours driving from Volcanoes national park in Rwanda to Mgahinga national park in Uganda via the Cyanika border in Kisoro district. You will have a stopover at Lake Mutanda a boat ride in one of the traditional canoes/boats. Have lunch by the lake side, with stunning views of the lake and its surroundings.
Evening Cultural Expedition: After your lunch, you will proceed to embark on a cultural tour to the neighboring Batwa communities. These Batwa communities live on the outskirts of Mgahinga national park and have a rich cultural history. Learn more about their interesting culture, and also get to watch traditional music and dance performances from the local dance groups. This cultural expedition will also give you an opportunity to interact with the local Batwa people, also known as pygmies.
Later drive to your designated lodge for dinner and accommodation at Gorilla Resort/Travelers Rest Hotel/Mutanda Lake Resort.
Day 7: Golden Monkey Tracking and Garama Cave.
Golden Monkey Tracking: Have breakfast early today morning and drive to the park headquarters in Ntebeko where your golden monkey tracking activity will commence. This activity starts exactly 8am in the morning, so make sure that you get to the park by 7am in time to sign into the visitors’ register and a briefing from the head ranger or warden at the national park. Golden monkeys are a special primate species that can be found inhabiting areas where mountain gorillas live, which include montane rain forests. Trekking can take between one to six hours, inclusive of an hour that is spent with the monkeys once they have been located. After your primate experience, you can have your packed lunch in case you carried some, or alternatively, drive back to your lodge for lunch and relax for the rest of the evening.
Garama Cave Expedition: In case you do not wish to the afternoon at your lodge, you can have an optional tour of Garama caves which are located approximately 3 kilometers from the park’s headquarters in Ntebeko. The caves used to act as a home for the Batwa people for quite a long time until the park was gazetted as a protected area and the Batwa where evicted from the caves. The caves are 342 meters long and lie beneath a plateau on the northern edge of the national park. Learn a lot about the history of the cave and its cultural significance to the Batwa people.
Later drive back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 8: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi and an Afternoon Boat Cruise.
Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi: Wake up today morning and have breakfast at your lodge. Later drive to Lake Bunyonyi, located in the southwestern region of Uganda in Kabale district. Lake Bunyonyi is the third deepest lake in the world and has about 29 islands.
Afternoon Boat Cruise: Once you get to Lake Bunyonyi, you will embark on an afternoon boat cruise on the lake using a boat or one of the traditional canoes and explore some of the popular islands on the lake such as ‘the punishment island,’ where young women long ago were abandoned to in isolation when they got pregnant out of wedlock. The lake is also rich with a variety of bird species, which you can get to view during your tour. You can have lunch by the lakeside and later drive to your lodge for dinner and accommodation at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort.
Day 9: Transfer to Bwindi National Park.
Transfer to Bwindi: Have breakfast early in the morning and transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Marvel at the beautiful countryside in the western part of Uganda that is dominated by lush green and well terraced hills in Kabale district. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park shelters half of the world’s remaining species of mountain gorillas. The national park is also home to about 120 mammals and 350 species of birds. Upon your arrival in Bwindi, you will embark on a guided nature walk to explore the beauty of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Get to see the unique bird species inhabiting the forest and monkey species like the vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and so many more.
Cultural Tour: On this day, you will get to embark on a cultural tour to the nearby Batwa communities, where you will mingle with the Batwa people (Pygmies). You will get to see their day-to-day lifestyles, and watch lovely dance performances from the local people.
Later retire to your lodge for dinner and an overnight. Accommodation will be at Silverback Lodge/Buhoma Haven Lodge/Ichumba Gorilla Lodge.
Day 10: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park & Batwa Trail Experience.
Gorilla trekking: This is the day you have been anxiously waiting for. Have breakfast very early at you lodge as your guide will pick you up at 6am. You will embark on a short journey to the Parks headquarters in Buhoma. You are supposed to be at Buhoma at exactly 7am for a briefing by the park’s head ranger which will begin at 8am and then you will be put in groups of 8 individuals per group depending on the gorilla group you are going to track. Tracking begins at exactly 8:30 am hence endeavor to always keep time.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a total of 15 habituated gorilla groups that are tracked from four trailheads. Of these 15 habituated gorilla groups, 3 are found in Buhoma area in the northwest part of the park; while 4 gorilla groups are situated in Ruhija in the eastern part of Bwindi and 8 gorilla groups in Nkuringo and Rushaga respectively, located south of Bwindi.
Each tracking group consists of strictly eight individuals with each group having a park guide and ranger. Tracking can take about 1- 6 hours depending how easily and quick the gorillas are spotted. Once you have located a gorilla group, you will be give exactly an hour with them; hence you should maximize your time well and don’t forget to take lots of pictures without using your camera’s flash. The tracking trails can be very wet, steep and slippery thus you should wear a good pair of hiking boots.
Batwa Trail Experience: After your gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Forest, you will proceed to do the Batwa Trail Experience, which is conducted by local Batwa guides. Get to learn more about the Batwa’s long and ancient history with the forest, and also learn how to make some local herbal medicines, and Batwa traditional hunting skills. Later head back to the park’s headquarters for your gorilla trekking certificate and transfer back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & a Sunset Boat Cruise.
Transfer to Lake Mburo: Have breakfast at your lodge and later transfer to Lake Mburo National Park, which is one of the smallest national parks in Uganda. This national park is a great place for sighting Uganda Kobs, zebras, and elands among other wildlife species. You will have lunch in Mbarara town, and then proceed to the national park.
Evening Boat Cruise: Upon your arrival in the national park, you will embark on a sunset/evening boat cruise on Lake Mburo. The boat ride takes about 1- 2 hours and offers you great sights such as; crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes and some bird species such as; the white egret, fish eagles, kingfishers and Shoebill stock. The boat leaves Rwonyo every 2 hours starting from 8am.
Later drive to your lodge for dinner and an overnight at Rwonyo Campsite/Mihingo Lodge.
Day 12: Morning Game Drive and Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Morning Game Drive: Wake up early in the morning and have your breakfast. Check out of your lodge and embark on a morning game drive in Lake Mburo national park. Morning game drives in the park take between 2-3 hours of wildlife view. Look out for animals such as buffaloes, zebras, antelopes, topi, giraffes, duikers and so many more.
Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park: You will have lunch enroute to Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is the second largest savannah national park in Uganda. This national park is well known for its tree climbing lions which can be found in Ishasha sector in the southern part of the park. Upon your arrival in the park, check into your lodge and rest for the rest of the evening. You can have an optional evening game drive in the park, in case you feel like doing so. Accommodation Options include; Pumba Safari Cottages/Park View Safari Lodge/ Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 13: Morning Game Drive and Evening Boat Cruise with a sundowner.
Morning Game Drive: Have an early morning breakfast and proceed on a morning game drive in the park which begins at 6am. This morning game drive will give you a great chance to view nocturnal animals like leopards, serval cats and other wildlife such as African savannah elephants, hyenas, Uganda Kobs, heart beasts, giraffes, zebras and many more. Queen Elizabeth National Park is blessed with over 612 bird species thus making it a great destination for birding activities. While on your game drive, you may spot birds like the African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, Shoebill stock, the great flamingos and Pink- backed pelicans.
Evening Boat Cruise: Return back to your lodge for lunch and in the afternoon, head out for an evening boat cruise along the Kazinga channel. The boat cruise starts at exactly 1pm and can take approximately 2 hours. During your boat cruise, you may sight lots of wildlife such as hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants and some species of birds like the great flamingos, Shoebill stock, Ibis and so many others.
Later return to your lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 14: Lion Tracking Experience and Evening Cultural Tour.
Lion Tracking Experience: Have your breakfast early in the morning and head out for a lion tracking experience in the national park. You will get to see the famous tree climbing lions of Ishasha and other animals as well like; hippos, savanna elephants, topi and buffaloes among others. Head back to your lodge for lunch.
Evening Cultural Tour: Later in the evening, head out for a cultural tour to the neighboring local communities and get to interact with the local Bakonjo people. While on the cultural tour, you will be taken through their historical and social lifestyle and also be entertained by local cultural groups in the community. Drive back to your lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 15: Transfer to Kibale National Park & Visit Amabere Ganyamwiru Caves.
Transfer to Kibale: Have breakfast from your lodge in the morning and proceed with your transfer to Kibale National Park. The national park is situated in the western part of Uganda, in Kabarole district. The park is located just 22 kilometers southeast of Fort portal town. You will have lunch in fort portal town.
Visit Amabere Ganyamwiru: After having a heartwarming meal, your guide will take you on a cultural tour to the renowned Amabere Ganyamwiru caves. Although the caves were formed as a result of stalagmites and stalactites, they have a rich cultural history attached to them, especially to the people of the Toro Kingdom. The Batooro people believe that the caves are the ancestral home of the ‘Bachwezi’ people and the birth place of their first king. The caves derive their name from an old legend of a King who cut off the breasts of this daughter as a punishment for her refusing to marry the man that he had chosen for her. The word ‘Amabere Ganyamwiru’ when translated into English means ‘breasts of Nyamwiru.’ Enjoy quality time exploring the caves and learning more about the Toro culture and its people.
Later drive to your hotel/lodge for dinner and accommodation at Chimpanzee Guesthouse/Primate Lodge/Kyaninga Lodge.
Day 16: Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale Forest & Bigodi Swamp Walk.
Chimpanzee Trekking: This is one of the top highlights of any visit to Kibale national park. Wake up early in the morning and head out to Kanyanchu Visitor’s Center, where your chimpanzee trekking activity will commence. You will be expected to report to the park by 7am for a briefing from the head ranger at the park. Actual trekking begins at 8am after you have been placed into trekking groups that consist of not more than 6 members per group. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park can take between 2-5 hours, depending on the location of the chimpanzees. You will be given an hour to spend with the chimpanzees once they have been located. Head back to the park headquarters in Kanyanchu for your chimpanzee trekking certificate and drive back to your hotel/lodge for lunch in case you didn’t not pack any in the morning.
Bigodi Swamp Walk: Later in the Afternoon, you will proceed to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is just adjacent to the national park. Here, you will embark on a guided nature walk in the Swamp; where you will get to sight a number of bird species like; the Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Superb Sunbird, Black Bishop bird and the rare Shoe Bill Stock to mention but a few. There are about 138 bird species in Bigodi Swamp alone. Later head back to your lodge for dinner and accommodation.
Day 17: Transfer to Semuliki National Park & Visit Sempaya Hot springs.
Transfer to Semuliki National Park: After an early breakfast, transfer to Semuliki National Park in Western Uganda. Upon your arrival at the park, you will head out on a guided nature walk that will take you to the amazing Sempaya Hot Springs and wind up at the nearby Batwa communities at Ntandi. Get to spend some quality time with the Batwa pygmies, learning about their unique culture and watch entertaining dance performances from the locals. Drive back to Fort Portal for lunch and relax for the rest of the evening. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Fort Portal.
Day 18: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.
Transfer to Murchison falls: Today is the 18th day of your 21 Day Rwanda and Uganda safari. Wake up early in the morning and have your breakfast. Meet up with your guide out your hotel and proceed with your transfer to Murchison Falls National Park. The drive from Fort Portal to the park takes approximately 6 to 7 hours. You will have lunch enroute to the park. Murchison Falls national park is the biggest national park in Uganda, covering about 3,840 square kilometers. The park covers four districts which include; Masindi, Nwoya, Buliisa, and Kiryandongo. The park is dominated by savannah grasslands, riverine forest and woodland. The main attraction of this national park include; Murchison falls and the numerous savannah wildlife.
Once you get to the park, check into your lodge for dinner and accommodation. Accommodation options include; Heritage Safari Lodge/Pakuba Safari Lodge/Paara Safari Lodge.
Day 19: Morning Game Drive and an Evening Boat Cruise with a sundowner.
Morning Game Drive: After an early breakfast, head out for a morning game drive on the northern bank of River Nile. Enjoy 3-5 hours of exclusive wildlife viewing in the park. While on the game drive, you will have a chance to sight wildlife species like Elephants, the Rothschild giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, Hartebeests, Uganda Kobs, Waterbucks, Oribis, Impala and so many others. Return to your lodge for Lunch and rest for a bit.
Evening Boat Cruise: Later in the afternoon, drive to the Paara dock for a boat cruise on the Albert Nile. Boat cruises in Murchison Falls commence at exactly 2pm in the afternoon. You will take a boat trip to the Delta where you will get a panoramic view of the majestic and mighty Murchison falls. Spend quality time (about four to five hours) marveling at nature’s beautiful gifts while sipping a cold beer or cocktail drink of your choice. You will also enjoy seeing crocodiles, hippos and various bird species such as the Kingfisher, cormorants, and the Rare Shoebill Stork among others.
Later drive back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 20: Hike to Top of the Falls & Transfer to Kampala.
Hike to Top of the Falls: Today is the second last day of your 21 Days Safari. After having breakfast at your lodge, you will head out for a guided hiking expedition to the Top of the fall. Trails around the top of the falls will lead you up to the water’s edge. You will get an opportunity to close to the narrow gorge through which the river plunges. Meet up with your guide and proceed with your transfer to Kampala.
Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary: You will have a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Masindi. This sanctuary is the only refugee for rhinos in Uganda, with both white and black rhinoceros. The rhino sanctuary is located just 125 kilometers from Murchison Falls. Have lunch in Masindi town and proceed with your drive to Kampala.
Once you get to Kampala, your guide will drive you to your designated hotel for dinner and an overnight stay at City Blue Hotel/Sheraton Hotel/Serena Hotel.
Day 21: City Tour & Transfer to Entebbe.
Kampala City Tour: Today marks the end of your 21 Days Combine Holiday Safari. Have breakfast from your Hotel and head out for a half day city tour. There are lots of interesting places to visit in Kampala such as; the Uganda Museum, the Independence Monument, Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine, Craft Village on Buganda Road, and shopping malls like Kingdom Kampala, Acacia Mall, Garden City and so many more.
Transfer to Entebbe: Your guide drive you to Entebbe International Airport in time to check in and catch your evening flight back home. End of Tour.