Heart of the Rain Forests
Your adventure starts in Uganda tracking the rare mountain gorilla, then continues on to Rwanda with further opportunities to visit the gorillas and a chance to see the playful golden monkey.
Your adventure starts in Kampala, Uganda's capital city - from here you will continue west to Queen Elizabeth National Park to encounter tree climbing lions and chimpanzees at the gorge. Unwind at the reputable Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge and Mount Gahinga Lodge.
This journey will then take you across the border to neighbouring Rwanda, where you will have further opportunities to view the rare mountain gorilla and the lively antics of golden monkeys.
What To Expect
10 Days / 9 Nights
This itinerary is ideal for adventure and wildlife enthusiasts who are either repeat or new travellers to the African continent. Track gorillas and chimpanzees, embark on a cruise and enjoy game drives whilst you travel to three wildlife parks in two countries.
DAY 1: Kampala
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be met by a representative from Volcanoes Safaris for your short road transfer to Lake Victoria Serena Resort.
Day 2 - 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park
After an early breakfast you will depart for your road transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park where you will spend your next two nights. On the route south you will be able to stop at the royal drum makers and stand astride the Equator before continuing to the contemporary Volcanoes Kyambura Gorge Lodge.
DAY 4: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
After tucking into a hearty breakfast, your safari will continue to the ancient Bwindi Forest, travelling via Ishasha - subject to road conditions - where you can observe the unusual behaviour exhibited by the tree-climbing lions. The extended journey through the rapidly changing landscape takes you to the beautiful Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, which boasts scenic views of the towering trees of the forest. Depending on when you arrive, there may be time to explore the lodge grounds with their clear mountain stream or visit the local village.
DAY 5: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
After enjoying an early breakfast, you will set off for your unforgettable gorilla tracking excursion. Your journey will take your through the steep, densely forested hills in search of a resident family. To encounter these rare and majestic animals is a life-changing experience. Please be advised that tracking in the Bwindi Forest requires stamina and can often take most of the day.
Alternatively, you can take part in other activities and excursions on offer in-and-around the National Park:
- Take a guided walk in the rain forest, home to several endemic bird species, clouds of butterflies and rare plant life. This walk offers excellent photographic opportunities and the knowledgeable guide will provide great insight into this globally important habitat.
- Walk through the local village, and learn about community initiatives, such as the Amagara Project that assists local farmers and their communities, and Bwindi Community Hospital, which started as a health clinic under a tree and now provides vital medical and educational services to over 60 000 people. Though no longer resident in the forest, still practice many of their traditional hunter-gatherer skills.
Day 6: Mgahinga National Park
After breakfast, you will depart for Mgahinga Lodge. The route winds through bamboo forests and then mountain roads before it reaches the Kanaba Gap, with its spectacular views of the Virunga Volcanoes. Then it drops dramatically, winds through the terraced hills to the frontier town of Kisoro and climbs again to 2 300m where the spectacular Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge, is situated next to the Mgahinga National Park. Enjoy your pre-dinner drinks on the terrace, which boast stunning views of the volcanoes or warm yourself inside by the roaring fire.
DAY 7: Mgahinga National Park
After breakfast you will enjoy an excursion to experience the lives of the Batwa Pygmies. Take a walk along the Batwa trail accompanied by tribal elders and learn about the unique cultural heritage of the forest’s indigenous people. During your walk the Batwa will demonstrate their traditional hunting techniques and knowledge of medicinal plants. You will also visit the sacred Ngarama Cave and enjoy the traditional music and dance of this vibrant culture.
Alternatively there are other exciting activities for those interested in the culture and natural history of Mgahinga:
- Track gorillas in Nkuringo, located in the southern part of Bwindi National Park. Tracking can be challenging due to steep and muddy paths.
- Hike the Muhavura or Gahinga Volcanoes. Gahinga offers a gentle hike through the bamboo forest on the lower slopes and marshy craters at its peak. The lower slopes are rich with forest birds and the marshes near the summit are home to bushbuck and elusive duiker. Muhavura is the most challenging peak in the park. The hike will take most of the day, but the adventurous will be rewarded with a great sense of accomplishment and - on a good day - spectacular views.
- Take a guided nature walk through the park to track golden monkeys. The path takes you through the bamboo stands and a forested gorge on the lower levels of the slope to the elevated heath and moorland higher up. The forest is not only home to the rare golden monkey, but also to a great diversity of bird and animal life.
DAY 8: Parc des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park)
After a more relaxed morning you will journey south, across the border to Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans. Your lodge is perched on the top of a hill overlooking the volcanoes and lakes - Bulera and Ruhondo. From your terrace you can take in the panoramic sunset over the lakes and, weather permitting, enjoy a performance by the Intore Dance troupe. Situated in the far northwest corner of Rwanda, the Parc National des Volcans protects the steep forested slopes of the magnificent Virungas mountain range. Home to the rare mountain gorilla, the Virungas volcanoes span Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the Parc National des Volcans being the name given to the part of this ecosystem that is
located in Rwanda. The lush slopes of these volcanoes provide a dramatic natural setting for one of the most thrilling and memorable wildlife experiences ― seeing the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Roughly half of the world’s wild population of mountain gorillas is resident on the slopes of the Virunga in Rwanda.
DAY 9: Parc des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park)
After a wholesome breakfast, you will embark on a gorilla tracking excursion through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virunga range in the Parc National des Volcans. Once you find the gorillas, you can spend an hour with them and be back at the lodge in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially if it is wet and muddy.
DAY 10: Kigali
After breakfast, you will drive to Kigali International Airport. If there is time before your outbound flight, you can enjoy a tour of the city and visit the Genocide Memorial - a moving testimony to this country’s turbulent past
- WildlifeMountain gorillas, golden monkey, sykes monkey
- Travelling with ChildrenNot suitable for children
- &Beyonds TreatNot applicable
- Don't Leave withoutPhotos of your gorilla encounter!
Where to Stay
Set between the Kyambura Gorge and Gueen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge Safari Lodge boasts six beautiful and spacious bandas.
Overlooking the depths of the primeval forest, Bwindi Safari Lodge features eight stone and tile bandas.
Nestled in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes lies Mount Gahinga Lodge.
Set on a stunning hillside, the magnificent Virunga Safari Lodge boasts panoramic vistas of the Virunga Volcanoes and the beautiful lakes of Ruhondo.
Perched on the shores of Africa’s largest lake, the 124 rooms of the Lake Victoria Serena Resort feature elegant balconies with magnificent lake views
Rates & Terms
- Meet and Greet service at Entebbe International Airport
- Accommodation inclusions as per itinerary above
- Two Gorilla permits (One for Uganda and one for Rwanda)
- An expert Volcanoes safaris driver/guide and vehicle
- Park and conservation fees
- Emergency medical evacuation insurance
We have many activities to keep you busy during your stay. See our destination pages for more information.
Enhance Your Experience With
- Gorilla Tracking
- Golden Monkey Tracking
- Genocide Museum
- Kigali City Tour
- Chimpanzee Tracking
- Kazinga Channel Cruise
- Cultural Experience
- Batwa Experience
Ready to start planning your adventure?
Start your adventure in Kampala, Uganda's capital city, then continue west of the country in search of the mountain gorilla in the forests of Bwindi.
Explore the Virungas volcanoes in search of mountain gorillas, roughly half of the world’s wild population of mountain gorillas reside in this area