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Big Expeditions Safaris one of East Africa's leading tour operators specialized in providing quality, individualized private and group tours within the region. Since its establishment in 2012, the company has grown into a reputable Africa specialist with representations in the Australia, German, USA, Uganda and Canada, offering trips to a number of destinations. The fast growth and the success of Big Expeditions Safaris can be attributed to our hard work and enthusiasm, a passion for the region and a youthful and spirited approach to tourism.

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12-days Uganda & Rwanda Ultimate primate tracking tour

This 12-day tour of Uganda and Rwanda will acquaint you with the top highlights of these two scenically stunning East African countries.

Ultimate primate tracking tour

$2940 per person

Highlights

  • Chimpanzees in Uganda & Rwanda
  • Lake Mutanda & Lake Kivu
  • Gorilla permits included

This 12-day tour of Uganda and Rwanda will acquaint you with the top highlights of these two scenically stunning East African countries and bring you face to face with fascinating primates like the Chimpanzees and the real Gorillas in the Mist! You will get the opportunity to track the chimpanzees twice, in Kibale Forest in Uganda as well as in Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda and the see the gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park. All permits are included in this tour!
Itinerary:
Day 1: Welcome to Uganda
Day 2: Kibale Forest National Park
Day 3: Chimpanzee Tracking & Visit to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary  
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 5:Game Drive and Boat Safari on Kazinga Channel
Day 6: Lake Mutanda
Day 7: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest
Day 8: To Rwanda and Lake Kivu
Day 9: Optional activities: Explore Lake Kivu & The Congo Nile Trail
Day 10: Nyungwe Forest National Park
Day 11: Chimpanzee Tracking & Canopy Walk
Day 12:To Kigali & Airport Drop-of

2 Reviews
  • Departure/Return Location
    Arriving at Entebbe Airport, Your driver from the guesthouse will be at the airport to welcome you
  • journey Time
    20 minutes
  • Dress Code
    As you wish
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Guide
    Insurance
    Meals
  • Not Included
    Flights
    Transport

Tour Plan

1
Day 1: Welcome to Uganda!
Arriving to a new and foreign place can be overwhelming. All your senses are operating in overdrive as you take in the unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells of your new surroundings. This is certainly the case for a first visit to Uganda. Your driver from the guesthouse will be at the airport to welcome you and expertly navigate you through the lively traffic, while you can lean back and watch your new world go by. If this is your first time traveling to Africa, you will never forget your first acquaintance with her. The drive to your accommodation is no longer than 20 minutes. Along the way you will catch a glimpse of the shimmering waters of Lake Victoria on your right, see several matatus and boda bodas (local 4-wheel and 2-wheel taxis) weave daringly through traffic, smartly dressed residents in colorful fabrics negotiating the pot-holed streets, food stalls serving delicious Rolex and wooden carts heavily laden with our favorite staple food, the Matoke. If time allows, you are free to explore the town today. There are many activities in Entebbe that are easily organized through the reception of your guesthouse, for example a visit to the Botanical gardens or the Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC). Please note, all activities and extra transportation today are at your own cost.
  • Journey Time: 20 minutes
  • Accommodation: Papyrus Guesthouse
  • Meal Plan: No meals inclusive
2
Day 2: Kibale Forest
Your journey to Kibale Forest is incredibly scenic, taking you through tea plantations, lively village markets and over rolling hills of lush green countryside that is so characteristic of western Uganda. Kibale Forest National Park itself is an extensive tract of dense tropical rainforest located just south of the town Fort Portal. The various ecosystems in this space are reputed to harbor the highest density of primates in all of Africa. The rare red colobus monkey as well as the black-and-white colobus are just some of the primates you may encounter on your forest walks here. The highlight of a trip to Kibale Forest is of course to spend some time observing the wonderfully entertaining chimpanzees. Your lodge for the next two nights offers a unique jungle experience near the boundaries of the park. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature in one of the property’s beautifully decorated cottages, each set in a private nook in the forest. The rooms are spacious and have large terraces from where you can watch the activities of the forest inhabitants. The main lodge building offers stunning views of the forest canopy below and on a clear day you can see all the way to the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.

Journey Time: 5 hours

Accommodation: Turaco Treetops

Meal Plan: Breakfast & Dinner

3
Day 3: Chimpanzee Trekking
No other animal reminds us so much of ourselves as the chimpanzee. Besides many common features and mannerisms, chimpanzees also share 98% of our human DNA, making them our closest living relatives. It is not so surprising then that we find the habits and biology of these primates so fascinating to study. While chimpanzees can be found in 21 countries throughout Africa, they are most easily sighted in Uganda due to the high concentration of the species here. On a Chimpanzee Tracking experience in Kibale Forest you will have the opportunity to follow an experienced guide into the forest to observe these fascinating creatures at a close range. Watching them interact with each other and go about their daily routine of grooming, playing and foraging is an incredible experience. While your chances of encountering chimpanzees are high during your tracking excursion, it is never 100% guaranteed. These are, after all, wild animals with wills and minds of their own! After socializing with the chimps you will be invited to engage in the human custom of a hot lunch. Served by local residents you will learn about the traditional cuisine of the region and its preparation. This meal will offer a nice insight into the local culture, as well as giving a real taste of Uganda! In the afternoon you can choose whether you would like to spend more time with the local communities and learn more about their day-to-day lives on a Community Walk or go deeper into the forest on a Swamp Walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is home to 8 primate species, over 200 bird species, butterflies and various reptiles. For bird lovers the highlight of the afternoon is spotting the beautiful great blue turaco. Both the Community Walk and Swamp Walk are operated by KAFRED, a registered community-based organization. The income from the walk is used for community development projects such as schools and hospitals.
Please let your Matoke Tours Travel Consultant know which walk you prefer at the time of booking.
  • Journey Time: 15 minutes each way
  • Accommodation: Turaco Treetops
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast and dinner
4
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited game reserve and arguably the most scenic. The national park protects the vast savannah plains, bushland, wetlands and forests that lie at the base of the Rwenzori mountain range. Kazinga Channel, which flows through the park and connects Lake George in the east to Lake Edward in the west, attracts a rich array of birds and animals, including the infamous Nile crocodile and one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos. On your first game drive you will explore the park along a 200 kilometre network of well-maintained game viewing tracks.
  • Journey Time: 3½ hours
  • Accommodation: Marafiki Safari Lodge
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast and dinner
5
Day 5: Park Game Drive & Boat Safari
Safari breakfasts are traditionally served before the day breaks so that you can start your morning game drive as the sun comes up. Sunrise is the best time for wildlife spotting as animals tend to be the most active during the “golden hours”, when the first rays of sunshine come to rest on the savannah. Elephants, buffalo and several species of antelope are some of the characters you may come across today, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a lion or leopard. Later in the day when the sun is high in the sky and the animals make their way to the river for a drink, we will head to Kazinga Channel for an exciting boat safari. You will spot more hippos today than you can possibly imagine. Herds of elephants and buffalo will also wander down to the shoreline to bathe in the cooling waters. A boat safari is a fantastic way to get close to wildlife and for many visitors the boat safari is the highlight of their visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
  • Accommodation: Marafiki Safari Lodge
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast and dinner

Join a research team and track the majestic lions of QENP

For visitors who yearn to get a closer look at African wildlife, while contributing to an important conservation initiative at the same time, a Lion Tracking research trip can be a rewarding adventure. This unique experience allows visitors to join a research team who track and monitor some of lions in the park though locator devices. The data collected will further the conservation program, while you get a unique and intimate insight into the lives and habits of these fascinating predators.
The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 100 per person

Do you want to explore the Valley of the Apes?

If you find safaris to be a bit too sedentary for your taste, then a hike in the Kyambura Gorge is what you need to get your heart rate up. This stunning geological feature is known as “the Valley of Apes” and is another world unto itself. The view from the top is incredibly impressive with a deep sunken gorge covered in lush tropical vegetation. As its nick-name reveals, the gorge is home to several primate species including chimpanzees, the red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus, baboons and vervet monkeys. You will also see your fair share of colorful bird species. While the chances of spotting chimpanzees are not as high here as in Kibale Forest or Budongo Forest, this landscape is among the most impressive in Uganda and absolutely worth visiting.
The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 50 per person

6
Day 6: To Lake Mutanda
Your journey today will continue south-west toward Kisoro, a bustling town to the south of Bwindi Forest, near the borders to Rwanda and Congo. This is one of our favorite drives in Uganda. The serpentine roads wind through lush rainforests, skirting hill tops (keep your eyes open for the volcanos!) and dipping into lively villages in the valley before arriving to the serene waters of Lake Mutanda. Offering some of the best views in Uganda, Mutanda Lake Resort is perched on a peninsula overlooking a series of small islands scattered across the water and the volcanoes from the Virunga Range rising out of the mist in the distance. Gorilla Tracking is the main highlight of a visit to the southern parts of Bwindi Forest, but you are also in the perfect place for volcano hikes, birding, nature and culture walks and canoe and paddle board excursions. The sunset scenes are unforgettable so make sure to find your way to the veranda in time for sundowners.
  • Accommodation: Mutanda Lake Resort
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast and dinner

Optional upgrade: Luxury Cottage

The spacious Luxury Cottages at Mutanda Lake Resort boast the best views of the lake and the volcanoes. From the comfort of your private veranda you can enjoy the seclusion and tranquility of this beautiful spot on the lake.
Optional on day 6 and 7 at an additional cost of USD 40 per person per night.

7
Day 7: Gorilla Tracking
Encountering the rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an experience of a lifetime. Half of the world’s population of gorillas live under the mist-covered canopies of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest. In the company of an experienced park ranger you will be tracking the whereabouts of one of the nine habituated family groups who reside here. Your tracking experience will be an exciting, yet challenging, journey along forested (often muddy and slippery) slopes, tangled vines, thick vegetation and bamboo forests before you reach the territory of these gentle giants. En-route, your ranger will point out telltale signs of previous gorilla activity like dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. Depending on the location of the gorillas on any given day the walk can take anything from 2 to 7 hours. Once the family of gorillas has been located, settle in to your surroundings and enjoy the hour you have to quietly observe these fascinating primates whose habits and mannerisms remind us so much of our own. Encountering the mountain gorillas in the wild is a truly humbling and emotional experience, one that you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
  • Journey Time: 1 - 1,5 h each way
  • Accommodation: Mutanda Lake Resort
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast,lunch and dinner
8
Day 8: To Rwanda and Lake Kivu
Enjoy the sunrise in this beautiful corner of Uganda and take a rejuvenating swim in the lake before a hearty Mutanda breakfast. The morning is yours to enjoy as you wish. Today you will cross the border into Rwanda and travel south, tracing the shores of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes in the Albertine Rift. The lake creates a natural border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The stunning shores of Lake Kivu contain some of the best inland beaches on the continent. You can spend the afternoon relaxing at the lodge or take a walk along the long stretch of beach just outside the property.
  • Journey Time: 4-5 hrs
  • Accommodation: Rushel Kivu Lodge
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast,and dinner
9
Day 9: Optional activities: Explore Lake Kivu & The Congo Nile Trail
Lake Kivu offers some of the best outdoor activities in Rwanda from hiking or mountain biking the Congo Nile Trail, a network of over 200km of trail stretching along the length of the lake, to birding walks and boating excursions. A full-day kayaking tour is a fantastic way to explore Lake Kivu’s scenic coastline and its many beaches, coves and islands. Fishermen in traditional boats ply the blue waters as they go about their livelihoods while the active Nyiragongo Volcano in DRC can be seen rising above the lush surrounding hills. This day is yours to do as you wish. Please let your Travel Consultant know which activities you want to do at the time of booking
  • Journey Time: Depending on activity
  • Accommodation: Rushel Kivu Lodge
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast,and dinner
10
Day 10: Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful rainforest in Africa. The forest is incredibly biodiverse with 13 known primate species residing here, from colobus monkeys, mangabeys, blue monkeys and, of course, our nearest relatives, the chimpanzees. Nyungwe Forest is also famous among the birding community who come to spot some of the 310 bird species recorded here, 26 of which are endemic to Rwanda. You will have plenty of time to explore the interior of the forest tomorrow.
  • Journey Time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Emeraude Kivu Resort
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast,and dinner
11
Day 11: Chimpanzee Tracking & Canopy Walk
Today you will venture deep into Nyungwe Forest National Park in search of the chimpanzees. On a Chimpanzee Tracking experience in Nyungwe Forest you will have the opportunity to follow an experienced guide into the forest to observe these fascinating creatures at a close range. Watching them interact with each other and go about their daily routine of grooming, playing and foraging is an incredible experience. While your chances of encountering chimpanzees are high during your tracking excursion, it is never 100% guaranteed. These are, after all, wild animals with wills and minds of their own! From the trails below the foliage you will now head up high into the forest canopy on one of East Africa’s first canopy walks. The network of suspension bridges will lead you on a 1.5 hour walk over a deep gorge, through beautiful and lush vegetation and difference animal habitats.
  • Journey Time: 1,5 hrs each way
  • Accommodation: Emeraude Kivu Resort
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast,and dinner
12
Day 12: To Kigali & Airport Drop-Off
If you have time before your international flight departure today you can ask your guide to take you on a city tour of Kigali before dropping you off at the airport in good time for your flight. Should you have a late departure and require a day-room for today please let us know and we will book this for you at an additional cost.

Tour Location

History of the Gorillas and Lake Mutanda

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Tour Review Scores And Score Breakdown

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8.7

Superb

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Comments

  • Roman Paolera
    Roman Paolera
    March 9, 2018

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris a rutrum arcu. Donec ut lobortis ante, non imperdiet est. Praesent vulputate at enim sit amet mattis. Integer diam erat, volutpat in rutrum nec, pulvinar at magna. Vestibulum nisi odio, rutrum eu.

    Overall Meals Accommodation Transport Destination Value for Money
  • Hart Coney
    Hart Coney
    March 9, 2018

    Ut posuere gravida turpis ut rhoncus. Suspendisse diam est, malesuada id mattis a, sagittis et quam. Sed dui odio, imperdiet ac sem etiumun, fermentum pulvinar nisi. Suspendisse tempus libero quis libero posuere, eu tincidunt lectus. Cras diam massa, ornare sit.

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