Rwanda to Uganda Gorilla tracking safari

26th September, 2015 | Article By Riverine Safaris

8 Day Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla Tracking Trip.

Four days gorilla tracking split between the very different habitats of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda – enjoy spending plenty of time with these magnificent creatures.

Nature walks into the Gahinga volcanoes and golden monkeys in Mgahinga are other highlights of the trip. This safari will offer you the opportunity to track gorillas on foot in three different locations; Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Nkuringo, Uganda. Visit the grave of Dian Fossey and the Ros Carr’s orphanage. Witness the golden monkeys swinging through the trees in Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy a fascinating nature walk through the dense Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Scale the heights of the impressive Muhavura or Gahinga volcanoes. Luxury lodge accommodation. Private guide to teach you about this fascinating corner of the world. Eight days with a maximum group size of ten guests and minimum of one to ensure a highly personal experience. Departures are throughout the year.

Summary of Arrangements:
Date Activity

Day 1 Arrive into Kigali
Road transfer Kigali to Virunga Lodge
Virunga Lodge – 3 nights
Day 4 Road transfer Virunga Lodge to Mount Gahinga Lodge
Mount Gahinga Lodge – 2 nights
Day 6 Road transfer Mount Gahinga Lodge to Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge
Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge – 2 nights
Day 8 Road transfer Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge to Kigali
Depart on flight home


Day 1: Virunga Lodge – 3 nights – Full Board
On arrival into Kigali, you will be welcomed by your private guide who will brief you on your safari before setting off to Volcanoes National Park. Your journey north will take you through the beautiful terraced hillsides that characterize much of Rwanda’s landscape, gradually climbing to Virunga Lodge at the base of the spectacular Virunga volcanoes range, where sometimes as many as five peaks are visible. This drive takes approximately three hours.Your three night stay here is on a full board basis, which includes all meals, drinks (excluding premium brands), and laundry service.

Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. If you are lucky you can get to the gorillas nearby, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for lunch (perhaps a little late). Some gorilla families however are more elusive and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy. One gorilla track is included in this itinerary, second and subsequent tracks are available on payment of a supplement at the time of booking. Aside from gorilla tracking, you can track the endangered golden monkeys, trek to the grave of Dian Fossey’s and the gorilla cemetery, visit local schools and community projects, visit the Roz Carr Imbabazi Orphanage, relax on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu, or take a guided walk to Lake Bulera and experience local village life.

Virunga Lodge is set on a high hilltop with breathtaking views of the Virunga volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The lodge is around three hours drive from Kigali, an hour from the Uganda border and around an hour from the start of the gorilla tracking activities in Parc National des Volcans. The eight large cottages are comfortably furnished and have en-suite facilities. Each has a private en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water and flushing toilet. Each of the cottages has its own verandah which, like the lounge, bar and dining room, looks across the valley with the lakes or volcanoes in the distance. Guests should be aware that access to and from the lodge is via a steep paved pathway. Parc National des Volcans borders national parks in neighbouring Uganda and DR Congo and is named after the string of volcanoes which it encompasses. There are currently ten habituated families of gorillas in PNV and gorilla tracking is the main reason most tourists visit this area.

Aside from gorilla tracking, clients can climb the Visoke or Karisimbi volcanoes, track golden monkeys, visit the remains of the Karisoke Centre which Dian Fossey set up, visit Dian Fossey’s grave or go for gentle strolls around the picturesque villages near the lakes. Guests may also have the opportunity to watch local villagers perform traditional dances.

Day 4: Mount Gahinga Lodge – 2 nights – Full Board
This morning you have the chance to either relax, enjoy a local walk or visit a nearby lake. After lunch you will set off for Mount Gahinga Lodge in Uganda (clocks go forward one hour). This drive takes approximately three hours.You will stay at Mount Gahinga Lodge for two nights on a full board basis to include all meals, drinks (excluding premium brands) and laundry. You have the chance to track gorillas in Nkuringo once during your stay.

Mgahinga National Park is in the far south west of Uganda close to the borders of both Rwanda and Congo. Volcanoes Lodge close to the park entrance sits on a hillside in the shadow of three extinct volcanoes: Muhabura (4,127m), Sabyinyo (3,645m), Gahinga (3,475m).

The lodge has a super garden and is surrounded by rural housing and cultivated land mostly producing potatoes, but also some maize and a small amount of beans. The lodge has eight circular thatched cottages spread throughout the grounds. The cottages have a private ‘bucket’ shower and ‘long-drop’ toilet, similar to those found in remote safari camps, along a short corridor from the bedroom. Each of the cottages also has its own veranda. The communal area of the lodge, which is a large thatched building, is decorated with local artefacts, is home to the bar, sitting room and dining room.

Although mountain gorillas do live in Mgahinga National Park they are not always resident in Uganda, moving across to the neighbouring national parks in Rwanda or Congo for months on end. It is therefore more normal to plan a day walk to climb one of the volcanoes (not to be taken lightly, since the starting altitude is 2,300m) or to take part in a nature walk or a trip in a dug-out canoe on Lake Mutanda. Those not wishing to partake in these activities can simply relax at the lodge and enjoy watching the birds attracted by the flowers and trees in the grounds.

Day 6: Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge – 2 nights – Full Board
Today you will drive to Bwindi through the ‘Switzerland of Africa’ (takes approximately six hours), with the road winding through many hills and valleys, with distant views of the volcanoes and lakes.

Your two night stay at Bwindi Lodge is on a full board basis and includes all meals, drinks (excluding premium brands) and laundry. Activities on offer here include gorilla tracking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (one gorilla track is included in this itinerary, second and subsequent tracks available on payment of supplement at the time of booking), community walks to local villages and projects, interactions with the Batwa pygmies and nature walks through the rainforest. The gorilla tracking is likely to involve walking up steep, densely forested hills before reaching the habituated family groups so requires a certain amount of stamina and can take most of the day. It’s definitely worth the effort and spending an hour with these extraordinary creatures is truly exhilarating.

Volcanoes Lodge at Bwindi is adjacent to the small village of Bwindi on the edge of Bwindi ImpenetrableNational Park in the far west of Uganda. The lodge is set on a hillside above a river, overlooking lush rainforest opposite. It is the perfect base for visits to the national park and as a starting point for gorilla tracking.

The lodge’s accommodation is in eight large, beautifully constructed, en-suite thatched cottages with running water, shower and a flush toilet. Each of the cottages has its own verandah which, like the bar and dining room, looks across to the forested hillside on the opposite bank.

More than half the worlds wild mountain gorilla population is resident in Bwindi, with a number of habituated groups, which can be visited as part of the national park’s regulated tracking programme. Although this is the reason most guests come to Bwindi the park is home to 93 mammal species, including eleven types of primate, as well as almost 350 types of birds. These animals and birds can be viewed on varied lengths of nature walks alongside a knowledgeable National Parks Guide.

Day 8: Road transfer Bwindi Volcanoes Lodge to Kigali
Today you leave for Kigali. Time permitting, you can go on a city tour, including a visit to the market, a pottery project, handicraft shops and the genocide memorial, before heading to the airport to meet your onward flight.

Pricing Details

The itinerary includes:
An expert Volcanoes Guide for the duration of the 8 day safari.
A customized safari vehicle taking a maximum of 5 people (each having a window seat).
Accommodation, meals, drinks, laundry, as stated.
National Park and concession fees.
One gorilla permit per person.
Nature and community walk fees.

The itinerary excludes:
International and regional flights.
Visas and Travel insurance.
Tips and gratuities, other personal spending.
Extra gorilla permits
**There are four opportunities to track the mountain gorillas and we have included one gorilla permit in the cost of the itinerary. You can buy subsequent permits at $750 per permit in Rwanda and $600 per permit in Uganda (availability depending)**

**Single rooms are available on this trip upon payment of a supplement at the time of booking and is subject to availability**

**This safari will run on a minimum of two people, and a maximum of ten people**

Please ask Volcanoes Safaris to assist you with checking in online for your international and regional flights 24 hours before your return.

Why choose Riverine Safaris

-We have a dedicated and skilled staff and extensive network of professional drivers, tour guides, booking agents, who make your travel convenient. We are available and at your disposal 12hrs plus during the day and 5hrs for night duties every day and 7 days a week. So we do offer you dedicated services at any time you need us.
-We have a special attachment to most hotels and lodges across the country; therefore we can make for your hotel bookings and reservations with any of Uganda’s hotels and lodges.
-We provide 4×4 wheel vehicles that are well maintained, insured, reliable and cost effective and ensure that we provide you with vehicles which are conducive for the Ugandan roads and which are always in good mechanical condition at all times.
-We continue to follow our customers’ feedback on and to maintain and improve the quality of our service. This has enabled us to perfect our online reputation and achieve high standards of customer satisfaction.
-Our Mountaineering Guides are locals and highly trained to international standards: locally trained by NOLS an outdoor school based in Kenya.
-Client safety, health and security is our priority.
-We can offer tailor made trips for individuals and groups such as students, researchers, families, church groups among others. Tell us your interests and time frame and we will advise.
-We are flexible and can arrange your visit to suit your schedule at any time you wish.
-Due to flexibility, we do not mix different groups together, unless on request, for your individual interests.
-We do not subcontract our trips. We do them ourselves.

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