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PRIMATES SAFARIS UGANDA AND RWANDA

11 Nights
 
Highlights
 
View over 10 different primate species on this magnificent private safari that travels through Uganda & Rwanda in East Africa. Track chimpanzees on foot in Kibale rainforest, view the river-based wildlife of Queen Elizabeth Park & trek to see endangered mountain gorillas in both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest & Volcanoes National Park. English speaking guide, all game viewing & wildlife permits included

Day 1
You will be met at Entebbe Airport and transferred to your hotel.

Check in and relax at your hotel under warm blue Ugandan skies.
Day 2
Today you will be collected from your hotel and transferred by speedboat to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the peaceful waters of Lake Victoria.

This sanctuary was established to care for over 40 orphaned chimps, rescued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. You will have the opportunity to watch them feed from a raised platform (11.00 or 14.30) and interact with each other, before returning to the mainland.
Day 3
Transfer to Entebbe Airport for your light aircraft flight to Kasese, where you will be met and transferred 1-hour to the picturesque Crater Lakes region.

This is the gateway to Kibale National Park, a protected tropical rainforest that has the highest concentration and variety of primates in all of East Africa. The park is home to 13 different primates as well as the bushpig, duiker, otter, leopard and large herds of elephants that migrate between Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Park. The bird life is also outstanding.

Drive through tea plantations to your lodge and relax in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains (the 'Mountains of the Moon').
Day 4
This morning enjoy the amazing experience of Chimp Tracking, as you walk through the spectacular Kibale Rainforest with a guide, searching in the high rainforest canopy for these intelligent primates that are our closest relatives.

Kibali is home to 13 different primate species including the chimpanzee, black-and-white colobus, red colobus, red tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby, vervet and L’ Hoest’s monkey. Tracking a noisy chimp family is a thrilling experience and is best in the morning, when they come down to the forest floor to forage. The chimps are very mobile, so viewing can be quite unpredictable, but the walk itself is enchanting.

The birdlife is also outstanding, although the dense forest canopy does mean patience is needed. You can hope to see the huge crowned eagle, the black-and-white flycatcher, African grey parrot, black-necked and yellow-mantled weavers, the beautiful blue touraca and maybe the secretive black bee-eater.

In the afternoon enjoy a 2.5-hour guided nature walk in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, a local community initiative that is home to 8 different primate species, including black-and-white colobus and red colobus, over 200 bird species and numerous other small mammals and reptiles.

Note: Chimp tracking is limited to small groups, with a minimum age of 12 years. Please note the chimpanzees move a lot - sometimes far into the dense forest - so wear good walking shoes and expect to walk a lot today (up to 3 hours). Don’t forget your binoculars, as if the chimps don't come down from the trees you will need these.
Day 5
This morning we travel 3.5-hours through the scenic crater lakes region to Queen Elizabeth National Park - stopping for a photo opportunity as we cross the equator.

This enormous 764 square mile (1,978 square km) wildlife sanctuary is the second largest in Uganda. It extends from Lake George to Lake Edward, with the Kazinga Channel connecting these two great lakes.

This park is renowned for its river-based game viewing, but it also has a land-based game viewing area about 45-minutes from the river. Game is not plentiful here, especially during the dry season when most animals migrate to the river, but if you are patient you may be rewarded with good lion and leopard sightings. You can also hope to see buffalo, baboon, vervet monkey, waterhog, Ugandan kob, waterbuck and the elusive giant forest hog.
Day 6
Rise early today for a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park - the most visited national park in Uganda. It has 95 different species of mammal including lions, hippo, elephants, leopards and chimpanzees, as well as over 660 different bird species.

We drive to the game viewing area where we search for lion, elephant, buffalo and other animals in their natural habitat, before returning to our lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon enjoy a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. Thanks to the abundant wildlife that gathers along its shores - including huge herds of elephant, buffalo, Nile crocodile & hundreds of hippo - this cruise will be a highlight. The channel is also a magnet for great flocks of waterbirds and pink backed pelican, fish eagle, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, grey-headed kingfisher, African spoonbill, marabou stork, cormorants, yellow bill stork, hamerkop, hadada ibis, sacred ibis, vultures and many other species gather here on the shores of the channel.

Note: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in Uganda. The park opens at 6.30 am and closes at 7 pm.
Day 7
Today we travel 3.5-hours from Queen Elizabeth Park to our lodge situated near the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park - home to over 50% of the world's population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, and also a sanctuary for colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.

This dense equatorial jungle is accessible only on foot and features one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, including 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species including hornbills and turacos, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species as well as chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species. It also boasts over 1,000 different flowering plants, ferns & trees.

Check into your lodge and enjoy the beautiful scenery of your remote forest surroundings.
Day 8
This morning we enter Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park - home to half the world's population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, and also a sanctuary for colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.

This dense equatorial rainforest is accessible only on foot and features one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, including 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species including hornbills and turacos, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species as well as chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species. It also boasts over 1,000 different floral species.

After walking (or driving up to 1.5-hours) to your specified gate, rangers will allocate you to a small group of up to 8 people - with each gorilla family graded as a short, medium or long hike, based on their location the previous day. We recommend you ask your guide to request the appropriate category for you, although this cannot be guaranteed as the gorillas may have moved significantly overnight.

After a briefing, you will then track a family of endangered Mountain Gorillas, accompanied by two guides - one at the front and one at the back. The group will walk at the speed of the slowest member, so it is important to proceed at your own pace and enjoy the experience. We strongly recommend hiring a local porter at a cost of around $15 per person, as not only is this an important source of local employment, but they will carry your backpacks and give you a hand up (or a push) where necessary. Expect to walk 1 to 4-hours each way in steep, sometimes muddy and dense tropical jungle conditions to view a family of these enormous primates and observe their behavior up close - a rare privilege indeed.

You must take a copy of your passport with you today, as this will be required to trek. You must be over the age of 15 years to track gorillas and be sufficiently fit to walk for the period indicated. Ensure you arrange a packed lunch with your lodge and carry sufficient water in your backpack (at least 2 litres). You should wear long trousers, long sleeved top, long socks (tucked into your trousers to keep out biting ants), proper walking boots and gardening gloves to protect your hands from nettles and undergrowth. Start off wearing a light fleece, as it is cold in the forest in the morning and pack proper rain gear, including a rain jacket and waterproof trousers, as it can rain at any time. A walking stick to help with the steep ascents will be provided if you don’t have your own.

You cannot be sick or have any infectious disease and no eating or drinking is permitted in the vicinity of the gorillas. Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas and you have to keep a distance of at least 7 metres. No flash photography is allowed and no touching the gorillas (although they may decide to touch you)!
Day 9
Today we leave Bwindi and travel 5-hours across the border to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda - home to most of the remaining population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, and also a sanctuary for colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.

This dense equatorial jungle is accessible only on foot and features one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, including 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species including hornbills and turacos, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species as well as chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species. It also has over 1,000 different flowering plants, ferns & trees.

Learn about the conservation work being done by the Karisoke Research Centre, sponsored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, before checking into your hotel.
Day 10
This morning we enter Volcanoes National Park - home to critically endangered mountain gorillas, and also a sanctuary for colobus and other monkeys.

This dense equatorial rainforest is accessible only on foot and features one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, including 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species including hornbills and turacos, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species as well as chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species. It also boasts over 1,000 different floral species.

After walking (or driving up to 1.5-hours) to your specified gate, rangers will allocate you to a small group of up to 8 people - with each gorilla family graded as a short, medium or long hike, based on their location the previous day. We recommend you ask your guide to request the appropriate category for you, although this cannot be guaranteed as the gorillas may have moved significantly overnight.

After a briefing, you will then track a family of endangered Mountain Gorillas, accompanied by two guides - one at the front and one at the back. The group will walk at the speed of the slowest member, so it is important to proceed at your own pace and enjoy the experience. We strongly recommend hiring a local porter at a cost of around $15 per person, as not only is this an important source of local employment, but they will carry your backpacks and give you a hand up (or a push) where necessary. Expect to walk 1 to 4-hours each way in steep, sometimes muddy and dense tropical jungle conditions to view a family of these enormous primates and observe their behavior up close - a rare privilege indeed.

In the evening enjoy a display of traditional dancing.

You must take a copy of your passport with you today, as this will be required to trek. You must be over the age of 15 years to track gorillas and be sufficiently fit to walk for the period indicated. Ensure you arrange a packed lunch with your lodge and carry sufficient water in your backpack (at least 2 litres). You should wear long trousers, long sleeved top, long socks (tucked into your trousers to keep out biting ants), proper walking boots and gardening gloves to protect your hands from nettles and undergrowth. Start off wearing a light fleece, as it is cold in the forest in the morning and pack proper rain gear, including a rain jacket and waterproof trousers, as it can rain at any time. A walking stick to help with the steep ascents will be provided if you don’t have your own.

You cannot be sick or have any infectious disease and no eating or drinking is permitted in the vicinity of the gorillas. Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas and you have to keep a distance of at least 7 metres. No flash photography is allowed and no touching the gorillas (although they may decide to touch you)!
Day 11
Today enjoy a guided nature walk in Volcanoes National Park, tracking troops of rare Golden Monkeys. These rainforests are also home to numerous bird species, so superb bird watching is also assured.

In the afternoon we visit a local school before transferring 2.5-hours to the capital city of Kigali.

You guide will show you the Rwanda Genocide Memorial, before dropping you off at your hotel.
Day 12
Transfer to Kigali Airport for your flight home.