Bwindi in Uganda has four habituated families and the gorillas there live in thicker tropical forest and tracking is more challenging as the hillsides are steeper. You can also go for nature walks to see birds, monkeys and orchids. Mgahinga, in Uganda, is a great place to appreciate the unique Virunga volcanoes and it has one habituated family. When this group sometimes moves across the border, tracking at Nkuringo in Southern Bwindi is possible. You can also climb a volcano or go for a nature walk, visit the endangered golden monkey or go birding. PNV in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes only a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave or visit the endangered golden monkey. At the end of the safari fly out from Kigali. Clients stay 3 nights at Mweya/Jacana, 3 nights at Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, 2 nights at Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge and 3 nights at Volcanoes Virunga Lodge. A choice of two safaris can be added at the end – Primates and Birds in Nyungwe Forest (4 days), Wildlife and Birds in Akagera (3 days).
Day 1: Arrive at Entebbe Airport, probably the friendliest in Africa, welcomed by a Volcanoes guide. Briefing on the great African adventure. Set off on the southbound road at 10am. On the way see the royal drum makers, stand on the Equator, and bargain at the roadside markets. Descend to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, keeping an eye out for game. Overnight: Mweya/Jacana. Includes: (B).
Day 2: Go for an early morning game drive to seek out wildlife, rest during the heat of the day and then go on an evening game drive. The game seen will depend on the season, the Kasenyi plains are good for lion and the Mweya peninsula for a variety of animals. Overnight: Mweya/Jacana. Includes: (B).
Day 3: An excursion to Kyambura gorge nearby to track the fast moving and elusive chimpanzees, one of man's closest relations. The chimp population is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable but the walk is enchanting. Alternatively go for a nature walk in Maramagambo Forest to see other primates and to visit the bat cave and the blue lake. In the afternoon take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel where the wildlife and a vast array of birds come to drink. Overnight: Mweya/Jacana. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Start for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Either drive via Ishasha, home of the tree-climbing lion, roads permitting, or take the alternative route through cultivated expanses. Time permitting, go for a guided nature walk. Overnight: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Go gorilla tracking (subject to permit availability at time of booking), walking up steep densely forested hills before finally coming across the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation. An inspiring moment. Tracking in Bwindi requires stamina and can often take most of the day. Alternatively go for a leisurely nature or community walk. Overnight: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Either go gorilla tracking again (on payment of supplement at the time of booking subject to permit availability) or go for a guided nature walk in the thick forest rich in birds, butterflies and monkeys. Alternatively go for a stroll around the Lodge or for a community walk. Overnight: Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 7: Leave for Mgahinga. Make brief stops at places of interest including Kanaba Gap to view the dramatic Virunga volcanoes and the beautiful terraced hills. Proceed, via the frontier town of Kisoro, up the mountain to Mgahinga at 2,300 m. Overnight: Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Either go gorilla tracking again, this time in Mgahinga/Nkuringo (on payment of supplement at time of booking), or climb the Muhavura or Gahinga volcanoes, or go for a nature walk or visit golden monkeys in Mgahinga. Overnight: Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 9: Either relax or walk near the Lodge, or do one of the activities in day 8 in the morning (except gorilla tracking) and transfer to Rwanda after lunch. (Clocks go backward one hour). Stroll around the Lodge, or simply take in the panoramic sunset over the volcanoes. Overnight: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Go gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans (on payment of supplement at time of booking). 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, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch. Some gorilla families however are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy. Overnight: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 11: Either go gorilla tracking again in Parc National des Volcans (on payment of supplement at time of booking), or visit the golden monkeys or drive to Gisenyi, visit Ros Carr's orphanage and Lake Kivu or climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes, or trek to Dian Fossey's grave, or visit the local school, community projects or walk to Lake Bulera. Overnight: Volcanoes Virunga Lodge. Includes: (B).
Day 12: Leave for Kigali. Time permitting, go for a tour of the city including a visit to the market, a pottery project, handicraft shops and the genocide memorial. Transfer to the airport. Includes: (B).
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