Deeper Africa - vacations and travel

Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safari

Rwanda, Uganda

from $8,299* per person 14 Days Year-round
Boutique accommodations Exertion level: 5
Operator: Deeper Africa 8 people max
  • Entebbe airport
  • Culture & Nature trips
Our Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safari provides the opportunity to gain close access to the world's last wild gorillas and chimpanzees.  Begin your gorilla viewing with two days of viewing in Uganda's Bwindi Forest, followed by two more days of gorilla viewing in Rwanda's Parc' Nationales des Volcans.  Parc' Nationales was made famous by Diane Fossey and the movie Gorillas in the Mist.  Four days of viewing allows you to observe the subtle behavioral differences resulting from the markedly different habitats between Bwindi and Parc' Nationales.   

Visiting Uganda's Kibale National Park gives you the opportunity to view chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Plus, wildlife viewing in the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park and Mburo National Park make this safari truly unique.

Both Queen Elizabeth and Mburo have a variety of traditional safari animals available for viewing, including elephants, hippo, Ugandan kob, and many antelope species.  Queen Elizabeth provides you access to viewing the famous "tree climbing lions."  Enjoy upscale accommodations throughout your safari.

Locations visited/nearby

Rwanda, Uganda

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.

Itinerary

Day 1 Travel day International flight

Day 2
Sheraton Hotel
Kampala
Arrive Entebbe Airport. Pickup by Deeper Africa guide after clearing customs.
Your Deeper Africa guide will have a sign that has your name on it. He will
transport you to the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala in our 4 x 4 safari vehicle.
Dinner and overnight at the Sheraton Hotel

Day 3
Mihingo Lodge
Lake Mburo National Park
Breakfast at Sheraton Hotel in downtown Kampala. Enjoy the morning drive to
Lake Mburo National Park. Pass through beautiful agricultural countryside
where fruits and vegetables grow in abundance. Turn off the main road to look
for herds of Ankole cattle famous for their long horns, raised by the Banyankore
people. We’ll do traditional wildlife viewing throughout the park’s ecosystems
which include savannah, acacia woodland, swamp, and lake environments. This
Ugandan park is the only reserve in Uganda to support a population of impalas.
There are plentiful topi, bushbuck, zebra, buffalo, eland, reedbuck, and
warthogs. Viewings of predators are rarer, but the water environments bring
abundant sightings of hippos. At least 315 bird species have been recorded in
Lake Mburo National Park with many East African bird species present at the
very northern limit of their range.
Your lodge is set in a series of rugged hills on the west side of the park with
majestic views of Lake Mburuo and the undulating grassy valleys that hold
wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. Hiking and walking are available from
the lodge.
Dinner and overnight at Mihingo Lodge. Swimming pool available.

Day 4
Ndali Lodge
Near Kibale National Park
Breakfast at Mihingo Lodge. Spend the morning wildlife viewing in the park or
hiking, as you choose. Begin the drive after lunch to Ndali Lodge toward Kibale
Forest National Park and the Bunyaruguru Crater Lake region. Make your way
to the colonial homestead of the Price family, which is set just above Lake
Nyinambuga. Aubrey Price is our host for a relaxing and comfortable stay.
There is no electricity at this lodge, but ample candle and oil lamps provided in
the evening create a romantic feel of “old Africa.”
Activities available at Ndali Lodge include:
Walking around Lake Nyinambuga or through the 1,000 acre farm to Mahoma
Waterfall;
Relaxing on the verandah of this old African homestead with views of the
Rwenzoris and the western corridor of the Great African Rift Valley;
Bird watching from the cottages or out on the trails;
Hiking into the nearby organic farm or to tea and vanilla fields. Ndali is a
working farm and they organically grow much of the fruits and vegetables served
at the lodge.
Dinner and overnight at Ndali Lodge.

Day 5
Ndali Lodge
Near Kibale National Park
Breakfast at Ndali Lodge. Up early after breakfast to drive to Kibale Forest
National Park. Enter the forest at Kanyanchu with rangers from the Ugandan
Wildlife Authority who are actively engaged in the primate research at Kibale.
Trek out in search of the park’s chimpanzees and other primates. Several
families of chimpanzees have been habituated by the researchers. Over 325 bird
species are reported in the Kibale area. Kibale Forest supports one of the
highest primate densities in the world, including chimpanzees, red colubus, black
and white colubus, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoests
monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, and olive baboons.
Short drive to the home of Tinka John, a community leader of the Bigodi
Community Project. You will join Tinka for a traditional lunch served in typical
Ugandan fashion. Tinka will tell you about his work in the local community,
getting tourism projects started, and sharing the profits from those projects with
the local farming people in the area. These ecotourism projects have built a local
library and a new secondary school. This grass roots community effort, run by
the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development, is a
successful conservation and tourism endeavor.
After lunch, you‘ll hike around the Bigodi Swamp with one of the community
guides. Walk through local crop lands at the edge of the Bigodi Wetlands
Sanctuary. The Sanctuary trails are considered some of the finest birding trails in
Uganda. With luck, you will see one of the forest’s great blue touraco. The
wetlands also support many small primates, including vervets, colubus, and blue
monkeys. Late afternoon activities at Ndali Lodge, as you choose.
Dinner and overnight at Ndali Lodge.

Day 6
Jacana Lodge
Queen Elizabeth National
Park
Breakfast at Nadali Lodge. Drive out after breakfast for the famous savannahs
and lakes of Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to herds of the Ugandan
national animal, the Ugandan kob. You’ll be right at the equator and the foot of
the snowcapped Rwenzoris, the “Mountains of the Moon”, once thought to be
the source of the Nile. Queen Elizabeth National Park is split into distinct
sectors by water, the most important being the Kazinga Channel, Lake Edward,
and Lake George. Today you will be exploring the savannah and wetlands
ecosystems in the north sector of the park. Populations of Ugandan kob,
buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephant, giant forest hogs and warthog were hit
hard by poaching in Uganda, but wildlife populations are rapidly increasing.
Lunch at Jacana Lodge overlooking Lake Edward in the central area of the park.
This afternoon you will board the Queen Elizabeth launch and spend about two
hours on the boat. View some of the largest concentration of hippo in the
world; along with good sightings of waterbuck, buffalo, and other game that
come to the water to drink. There are many fish in the channel which attract
substantial populations of aquatic birds.
At the end of the afternoon you will move to the northern end of the park near
Maramagambo Forest. In this area the biodiversity and animals show greater
affinity to Central African than East African forests. Your lodge overlooks the
forest fringed Lake Nyamasingiri. The cottages and open sided bar and
restaurant are suspended over the lake making this a sheltered and relaxing
wilderness retreat.
Dinner and overnight at Jacana Lodge.

Day 7
Gorilla Forest Camp
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
UNESCO World Heritage
Site
Breakfast at Jacana Lodge. Drive out after breakfast south into the remote and
open Ishasha plains in the southwest of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Famous for tree climbing lions in the fig trees, the Ishasha plains are also home
to elephants, Ugandan kob, topi, eland, buffalo, wart hogs, and other savannah
wildlife. The Ishasha River supports a healthy hippo population. Wildlife view
with a picnic lunch.
After lunch, continue the drive south into the Bwinidi Impenetrable Forest
region. Late afternoon arrival at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest park gate.
Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp.

Day 8
Gorilla Forest Camp
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Breakfast at Gorilla Forest Camp. After breakfast you will attend an
introductory session at the park headquarters to learn about forest and gorilla
trekking etiquette. Ugandan park guides will be taking you into the rain forest,
and there will be park guides in your party who work daily with the gorillas in
Bwindi. You’ll hike to the point where the gorillas were seen the day before and
track from that point. Trekking can range from 1 to 5 hours as you move into
the gorilla’s home range. The terrain is rough and sometimes muddy. Picnic
lunches are provided. Birds abound with over 350 species sighted.
Close to half of the world’s mountain gorilla populations (approximately 320)
reside in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Mountain gorillas’ larger size and thicker
fur coats distinguish them from their lowland counterparts. Seeing mountain
gorillas is considered to be the most profound wildlife viewing experience in the
world.
Afternoon activities can include:
Relaxing on the verandah or soaking in the tub after gorilla trekking;
Hiking on the Waterfall Trail, which follows the Munyaga River; or
Community Village Cultural Walk through the local Buhoma Village. This walk
is led by a community guide who will take you through the Buhoma market area
and out on the local trails to meet the village banana brewer and a traditional
medicinal healer. Along the way you see traditional farms and homes. Villagers
may come out to greet you. If you choose, arrangements can be made for you to
visit the people of the local Batwa tribe. These people were displaced out of
their traditional forest habitat by the Ugandan government in 1991 when Bwindi
Forest was declared a World Heritage site.
Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp.

Day 9
Gorilla Forest Camp
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Breakfast at Gorilla Forest Camp. Today you will visit a different gorilla family
residing in the rain/montane forest of Bwindi.
• No more than eight guests are allowed to view each of the three
habituated gorilla families at any one time.
• You should maintain a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas.
Do not touch the gorillas or try to make contact. The gorillas will
break the rules occasionally. In such cases, don’t increase the distance
between you and them, but drop back as soon as you can without
disturbing them.
• Do not use flash cameras.
• Do not eat or smoke.
• Do not do anything that may cause the gorillas stress or exhibit any
behavior that they may see as a challenge. Respect their space, speak
very quietly, and avoid unnecessary movement.
• Keep in a small group and never surround the gorillas.
• Leave nothing behind but footprints.
Afternoon activities at Gorilla Forest Camp as you choose.
Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp.

Day 10
Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
Parc Nationales des Volcans
Breakfast at Gorilla Forest Camp. Set out after breakfast south for the Rwandan
border crossing at Kisoro via the Cyankia border post. After clearing Rwandan
customs continue on to Kinigi and then on to Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.
Picnic lunches are provided en route. Your day traveling through this vast forest
territory will show you the forests that link Uganda, Rwanda, and the nearby
Congo. This area is known as the Switzerland of East Africa, and the views of
the Kisoro Valley are stunning when the weather is clear. Descend from the
high country around Bwindi into the Kanaba Gap and then gain elevation again
as you move into the Virunga Range. Parc’ Nationales des Volcans takes its
name from a string of free-standing volcanoes that stretch across the Rwanda
section of the Virunga Mountains. This area was part of the first national park in
Africa, created in 1925.
Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.

Day 11
Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
Parc Nationales des Volcans
Breakfast at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge. We’ll enter the park at Kinigi and
meet up with our Rwandan Park rangers from the Office Rwandaise du
Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN). The park service employs about 80
people as guides, trackers, and anti-poaching officers and they speak both
English and French. We trek and climb through the shady bamboo forests on
the lush forested slopes that are home to five habituated gorilla groups.
The park boundaries and this “Land of a Thousand Hills” include six of the
Virunga Volcanoes. Parc Nationales is the area where Diane Fossey did her
ground breaking gorilla research. She is buried at Karisoke, in the saddle
between Bisoke and Karisimbi Volcanoes. The film “Gorillas in the Mist” was
filmed in Parc National des Volcans. Picnic lunch while you are out trekking.
Afternoon activities available at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge include:
Relaxing at the lodge;
Driving trip into the local market town of Ruhingiri: and
Walks into the surrounding community areas.
Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.

Day 12
Gorilla Mountain View Lodge
Parc National des Volcans
Breakfast at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge. Meet up with our Rwandan guide
and trackers in the morning for our last day of viewing. Today you will track a
different gorilla family, hoping to find them munching bamboo in the forest.
Recent DNA research has shown that there are sufficient genetic differences
between the Virunga and Bwindi gorillas. This suggests that the populations
breed in isolation, even though mid-altitude forests linked the two mountain
ranges until 500 years ago. Picnic lunch while trekking.
Afternoon activities as you choose.
Dinner and overnight at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.

Day 13
Transit through Kigali Breakfast at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge. Drive out after breakfast for Kigali.
Stop at the Gisozi Genocide Museum built with funds from the Belgium,
Swedish, and US based Clinton Foundation.
Transport to the Kigali International Airport for return international flights.

Day 14 Travel day International flight

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