23 DAYS UGANDA RWANDA AND CONGO

23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo : This 23 Days wildlife, primates and cultural safari covers 80% of Uganda’s national parks including Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park, Kibale national park, Murchison falls national park, Semuliki national park, Lake Bunyonyi and Jinja town. Murchison falls national park is located in the north-western of Uganda offering the best experience of the big four game, and the park is divided by the River Nile which flowing through a narrow gorge causing a lot of force as the waters flow through a narrow gorge thus the most powerful falls in Africa – the Murchison falls. Kibale national park is Africa’s best chimpanzee trekking destination with guaranteed best views of the chimpanzees and other 12 existing primates in the park.

It is also a home to 138 species of birds, 250 tree species and 60 species of forest wildlife including forest elephants, bushbucks, warthogs, giant forest hogs and buffaloes. Semiliki national park and reserve is located in Bundibugyo district near Fort portal town adjust to Congo Ituri rain forest. The park is a home to Uganda’s largest Sempaya hot springs, about 53 mammal species and over 400 bird species recorded in this park thus making it one of the top birding destination in Africa earning a title of “True birders Haven” Queen Elizabeth national park is located in the western part of Uganda offering the great experience of different Antelope species. Queen Elizabeth national park is home to the tree climbing lions in Uganda.

The park is occupied by 2 great lakes – Lake Edward and Lake George which meet at a channel commonly known as the Kazinga channel. Mgahinga national park is one of Uganda’s oldest national park with diverse rainforest of over 25,000 years ago and contains about 400 plant species. Lake Mburo national park is smallest savannah national park and has the different species of Antelope and is named as one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest lake in East Africa with 44 -900 meters deep and with about 29 islands. When you think of a place to relax and chill after gorilla trekking before going back home, Lake Bunyonyi is the best place because of its cool weather and freshness of the breeze.

In Rwanda, this trip features visiting Volcanoes national park which is a home of the endangered mountain gorillas and Nyungwe forest national park on the other hand is a home to the wild chimpanzees and other primates of Nyungwe forest.  While in Congo, the trip features visiting Mount Nyirangongo which is the active volcano on the Virunga Mountain with active boiling lave. This 23 Days trip will start and end in Kigali Rwanda simply because Rwanda is the nearest place to access all the national park. It also requires an earlier arrival in Rwanda before your cross to Uganda to Bwindi forest.  It’s important to note that the Democratic Republic of Congo is not an East African country and therefore note that your Rwanda Visa expires immediately you cross into Congo so you will have to reapply for another while at the border and find it ready after the tour.

Safari highlight

  • Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe 01-08-2021 – Kampala city tour
  • Day 2: Murchison falls via Ziwa Rhino sanctuary for Rhino tracking (Optional). Visit top of the falls
  • Day 3: Morning game drive and Boat cruise to the bottom of the falls.
  • Day 4: Kibale NP via banana plantations, Mpanga Growers tea factory in Fort Portal.
  • Day 5: Kanyanchu for Chimpanzee experience & Chimpanzee tracking. Afternoon nature walks to Bigodi wetland sanctuary
  • Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park – Coffee plantation and Boat cruise Kazinga channel – evening game drive
  • Day 7: Ishasha lions. Bwindi NP, (tea & coffee plantations in Kayonza, en route to Bwindi National Park
  • Day 8: Gorilla trekking Bwindi NP. Drive to Lake Bunyonyi – nature walk in the forest & on Lake Bunyonyi
  • Day 9: Nature walk and boat cruise around the islands in Lake Bunyonyi – Transfer to Mgahinga National Park.
  • Day 10: Golden monkey tracking Mgahinga National park
  • Day 11: Fly to Entebbe – Rwanda
  • Day 13: Drive to Gisenyi – Goma Border
  • Day 14: Gorilla trekking & Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage.
  • Day 15: Nyiragongo volcano hike
  • Day 16: Descend the Nyiragongo volcano, transfer to Tchegera Island.
  • Day 17: Tchegera Island and Goma Volcano Observatory.
  • Day 18: Drive to Emmanuel Port – Goma to Bukavu – 07:00am
  • Day 19: Lowland Gorilla tracking in Kahuzi Biega National Park – Cross back to Rwanda via Rusizi border – Nyungwe forest national park – visit the Coffee plantation
  • Day 20: Transfer to Akagera national park – en route – Murambu genocide museum, Butare museum, Nyanza palace
  • Day 21: Nyarubuye Genocide memorial and afternoon boat cruise on Lake Ihema
  • Day 22: Akagera NP morning game drive and back to Kigali – City tour
  • Day 23: Departure

Detailed itinerary

Day 1 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Arrival in Entebbe 01-08-2021 – Kampala city tour       

Upon arrival at Entebbe airport in the night or morning hours, you will be met by your our company representative/driver who will welcome and later transfer you to your hotel within Entebbe (2 Friends Guesthouse Entebbe/Protea Hotel Entebbe for luxury)

Kampala City tour
Kampala City tour

Later in the day, your safari driver will pick you up from the hotel to drive to Kampala city for a city tour experience of Kampala visiting the Namugongo shrines, Bahai temple, National museum, Makerere University, Kasubi Tombs, Gadhaffi Mosque, Namirembe Cathedral, Lubaga Cathedral, Lubili King’s palace, depending on the time with en-route lunch. Dinner and overnight stay at Skyz Hotel Nakuru for Luxury/Fairway Hotel for mid-range option

Day 2 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo : Murchison falls via Ziwa Rhino sanctuary for Rhino tracking (Optional). Visit top of the falls.

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met by your safari guide to transfer to Murchison falls national park. This park is located in the north-western part of Uganda – 5-6 hours’ drive from Entebbe/Kampala.

Visiting the Ziwa rhino sanctuary will be optional since the sanctuary is currently closed for visitors. Have en-route lunch in Masindi town then proceed to Murchison national park entering via Kichwabanyobo gate and proceed to visit the top of the Murchison falls for specular views of the falls. Thereafter, proceed to your reserved lodge for relaxation dinner and overnight stay at Pakuba safari lodge for mid-range/Paraa Safari lodge for luxury

Day 3 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Morning game drive and Boat cruise to the bottom of the falls.

Wake up early and meet with your driver for an early morning game drive at the northern bank of the park. This activity takes about 2-3 hours depending on the availability of animals when you visit. Some of the animals to find including elephants, Rothschild giraffes, buffaloes, lions, Hartebeest, hyenas, Uganda kobs, Oribis and waterbucks, etc. After the game drive, drive back to the lodge for late morning breakfast, relax at the lodge.

In the afternoon go for a boat cruise on the along the Nile which will give you an exciting panoramic view at the bottom of the mighty Murchison falls. Along the cruise, you will encounter crocodiles, hippos, and birds on the river banks like kingfisher, cormorants and bee-eater. After spending a good time at the bottom of the falls, you will meet your driver who will transfer you back to your lodge with an en-route sunset game drive. Dinner and overnight stay at as above

Day 4 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Kibale National Park via banana plantations, Mpanga Growers tea factory in Fort Portal.

After early morning breakfast, then embark on your journey to Kibale national park located further western part of Uganda in Kabarole district. It is about 7-8 hours’ drive with en-route lunch and several stops, visiting the Tea plantations (Mpanga tea grower). Have lunch in Fort portal before you proceed to your reserved lodge with en-route crater lakes visit. Dinner and overnight stay at Chimpanzee Guesthouse for mid-range/Kyaninga lodge for luxury/Crater Safari Lodge

Kibale national park
Kibale national park

Day 5 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Kanyanchu for Chimpanzee experience & Chimpanzee tracking. Afternoon nature walks to Bigodi wetland sanctuary.

Have early morning breakfast and go for briefing and start Chimpanzee trekking. Kibale Forest National Park is one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. Kibale’s 795km2 National Park contains one of the most beautiful and with the most varying tracts of tropical forest in the whole of Uganda. This is place to a number of forest wildlife, most especially 13 species of primate coupled with chimpanzees. After trekking, return to your lodge.

Later afternoon, visit the Bigodi swamp for a nature walk experience in a wetland and spot some of the birds and primates found in the forest swamp. Return to your lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight at lodge as above.

Day 6 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park  – Coffee plantation and Boat cruise Kazinga channel – evening game drive

After breakfast, check-out of the lodge to transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park, this park is the second largest national park after Murchison falls national park. It’s about 3-4 hours’ drive to reach Queen from Kibale.

Upon arrival mid-morning, proceed to visit the coffee plantation in Kyambura before checking-in at your reserved lodge where you will also have your lunch. After lunch, you will connect to the Kazinga for your boat cruise experience at the Kazinga channel that starts at 2 pm. During the boat trip you will enjoy watching the densely populated hippos along the lake, crocodiles and other animals like the elephants, buffaloes and bird species on the banks.

After the boat treat, connect for an evening game drive with a sunset drive in the Kasenyi area where we find most of the animals. This is a 2 hour, depending on the animals available such as the savannah elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, the Oribi, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, warthogs to mention a few. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay at Park View Lodge/Elephant Hub Lodge for mid-range/Mweya Safari lodge/Elephant Plains Lodge for luxury

Optional activity: Lion tracking experience. This activity is only carried out in Queen Elizabeth national park to allow visitors see lions given that Lions are rarely spotted during game drives. You are 100% guaranteed to spot the lions while on this activity.

Day 7 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Ishasha lions – transfer to Bwindi National Park (tea & coffee plantations in Kayonza, en route to Bwindi National Park

Wake up early, drive to Ishasha sector with your packed breakfast for a game drive in Ishasha sector for chances of spotting the tree climbing lions. Seeing the lions in Ishasha is not guaranteed and the roads are quote dumpy and bad, so you will not spend a lot of time on the game drive.

After 1 or 2 hours, embark on your journey to Bwindi Impenetrable national park. It’s 5 to 7 hours depending on your gorilla trekking sector. Upon arrival in Kanungu, visit the tea and Coffee plantations there before you connect to your reserved lodge close to Bwindi forest. Dinner and overnight stay at Buhoma Haven lodge for mid-range/ Buhoma Lodge/Mahogany springs Lodge for luxury

Day 8 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Gorilla trekking Bwindi NP. Drive to Lake Bunyonyi – nature walk in the forest & on Lake Bunyonyi

After early morning breakfast, transfer you to park offices for briefing about Mountain Gorilla trekking by the park warden then connect to the forest to search for the gorillas. The time taken is usually between 2-8 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas. Meeting the gorillas unexpectedly is one of the most captivating lifetime experiences. You will have a chance to observe and take pictures at very close range. You will observe adults feeding and groaning among themselves. After an hour with the long-awaited gorillas, your ranger guide will lead you back to the starting point where your driver will readily be waiting to transfer you back to the lodge.

Gorilla trekking Bwindi
Gorilla trekking Bwindi

After the trekking, transfer to Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi which is one of the deepest lakes is Africa with about almost 32 Islands. The Lake is a good stopover for relaxation for people from trekking Mountain Gorillas. It’s about 2-3 hours’ drive from Buhoma sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park. On reaching Lake Bunyonyi, proceed to your reserved lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight stay at Arcadia Bunyonyi Lodge for mid-range/Bunyonyi BirdNest Lodge for luxury.

Day 9 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Nature walk and boat cruise around the islands in Lake Bunyonyi – Transfer to Mgahinga National Park.

After breakfast, take boat trip on the lake to visit some of the islands on the Lake. Each Island is named according to the bird species found on the Island and some were named because of their purposes, for example, the Punishment Island which is the smallest and was used by the Bakiga people to drop their girls who got pregnant before marriage.

After the boat ride and the nature walk on Lake Bunyonyi, return to the Lodge lunch then check-out to transfer to Kisoro which is about 2-3 hours’ drive from Lake Bunyonyi with sights of rolling Kigezi hills. Dinner and overnight at Lake Mulehe safari lodge for mid-range/Lake Mutanda safari Resort for luxury

Day 10 of 23 Days Uganda Rwanda and Congo: Golden monkey tracking Mgahinga National park

Breakfast will be served in the morning and transfer to the headquarters for trekking briefing. After this, with your packed lunch, you will start tracking. The trekking time takes between 2-5 hours depending on the movement of the monkeys. The activity is demanding although at the same time it’s rewarding. The one hour pleasure encountered after meeting the golden monkeys is unforgettable. After tracking, you will drive back to the lodge for relaxation dinner and overnight stay at lodge as above

Kindly, you will not be able to connect to Congo because the Uganda-Congo border is not recommended of the bad road that is still under construction and insecurities involved. The recommended route to connect to Congo is via Goma border of Rwanda and Congo however the Uganda-Rwanda border is still closed.

Day 11: Fly to Entebbe – Rwanda

After breakfast, transfer at good time for your flight from Kisoro to Entebbe at 7 am with Aero-link Uganda who have daily scheduled flights to Kisoro and Entebbe. Upon arrival, wait at the airport for your check-in flight to Rwanda – Kigali. Upon arrival in Kigali, you will be dropped off at your designated hotel in Kigali where you will quarantine for the next 24 hours (Day 12) while waiting for your PCR test results.

Day 13: Drive to Gisenyi – Goma Border

Kindly note that this package (Le Petit Mikeno) only departs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only, so plan your flights accordingly

After getting your test results, and having your breakfast, you will meet your driver at your designated hotel waiting to drive you to Gisenyi which is about 3 hours’ drive from Kigali to cross into Congo to Goma by 10:30 am. Check-in with the tourism office strategically located at the Grand Barrier border at 11:15 am. Post to receive Gorilla and Volcano permit that’s to be presented at the beginning of every trek. Thereafter you will be transfer to Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. On arrival at Mikeno lodge have late lunch and enjoy your afternoon at leisure exploring Rumangabo’s several nature walks trails.

Note that your Rwanda Visa expires immediately you cross into Congo so you will have to reapply for another while at the border and find it ready after the tour.

Day 14: Gorilla trekking & Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage.

Have your breakfast and report to Bukima ranger post. On arrival at Bukima, meet the rangers and for a briefing before you start the trek. All treks in Virunga national park begin here. Later head into the forest with your ranger guide and expect to hike for 1 to 3 hours until you find the mountain Gorillas in Virunga national park

Mountain Gorillas in Virunga national park
Mountain Gorillas in Virunga national park

When you get to see them, you will be in awe-inspired by their huge size and gentle nature as you watch them go about their daily business with mothers tending to the young ones and the juveniles making an effort to impress. You will stay up to 1-hour maximum and head back to the Bukima camp then transferred back to Mikeno lodge.

Later afternoon, visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage at your afternoon leisure time. Dinner and overnight stay at lodge as above

Day 15: Nyiragongo volcano hike

Prepare for early morning breakfast as you will be expected at the Kibati ranger post headquarters by 8 am. Meet your ranger guides for briefing, a porter and begin your hike. The climb up takes about 4-6 hours. Meals will be provided and you will stay overnight in a wooden shelter at the top.

Equipment’s; Sleeping Bag (1), Rain Coat (1), Rain Jacket (1), Hiking Stick (1), Hiking Shoes (1), Hut (1), Gloves (1)

Day 16: Descend the Nyiragongo volcano, transfer to Tchegera Island.

This morning, you will descend the Volcano and head down to Kibati by 11:00 am. Here, you will connect with your driver/guide and transfer to Goma where you will proceed to visit Tchegera Island which is a one of a kind island in the heart of Lake Kivu. This is the best place known for relaxation after hiking the volcano. Cross to the island on a 15 minutes boat ride from Goma harbor. Tchegera Island is a collapsed volcanic caldera located in the middle of Lake Kivu. Relax at the island with great views of the two active volcanos – Nyirangongo and Nyamulagira. Spend a night there; meals will be served at the camp too. If interested, optional activities include; bushwalk and birding, overnight stay at Tchegera Island Camp

Day 17: Tchegera Island and Goma Volcano Observatory.

After your cup of tea/coffee at the island, cross back to Goma to visit the Goma Volcanic Observatory. The Observatory has a large responsibility of monitoring the activity of Nyiragongowhich is about 20kms away from the observatory, and Nyamulagira. The observatory keeps an eye on all the activities of Nyiragongo, Nyamuragira and any other natural calamities of the region through their equipment and teams of scientists that visit the places on and off.

You will spend approximately one hour exploring and learning about the very important role that the observatory plays in protecting the people in the volcano’s line of fire, as well as understanding the role it plays in keeping the international community informed of the volcano’s status.  After the tour, you will be dropped off at your accommodation in Goma – Linda Hotel for mid-range/Lac Kivu Lodge for luxury

Day 18: Drive to Emmanuel Port for Emmanuel boat (Goma to Bukavu, 18:00pm – 06:00am)

Very earl morning, you will be dropped off at Port Emmanuel for your 6 am boat trip to Bukavu. It is about 3-4 hours. Upon arrival, find your guide waiting for you at the landing site. Then drive to your hotel in Bukavu. After lunch, spend your afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight stay at Panorama Hotel for mid-range/ Orchid safari lodge for luxury.

Emmanuel Port
Emmanuel Port

Day 19: Lowland Gorilla tracking in Kahuzi Biega National Park – Cross back to Rwanda via Rusizi border – Nyungwe forest national park – visit the Coffee plantation

In the morning, you will head for the memorable adventure of tracking the lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park. Tracking lowland Gorillas is very amazing, lowland Gorillas differ from the mountain gorillas, the lowland gorillas are bigger in size, usually takes 1-4 hours tracking the lowland Gorillas. The lowland Gorillas stay in bigger families as compared to mountain gorillas; you will not regret the safari effort once you meet the amazing Gorillas!

After trekking, the driver will drive you to the border to cross back to Rwanda via Rusizi border. Before your connect to the lodge, visit the coffee plantation in Nyungwe depending on the time then proceed to check-in at Nyungwe Top hill Hotel for mid-range/One and Only Nyungwe Hotel

Day 20: Transfer to Akagera national park – en route – Murambu genocide museum, Butare museum, Nyanza palace.

After breakfast, you will connect to Akagera national park. It’s a 8-9 hours’ drive with en-route stop to visit the Murambu genocide museum, Butare museum, Nyanza palace and lunch in Kigali city.

Proceed to Akagera national park, arriving late afternoon.  Check-in at your lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight stay at Ruzizi tented camp for luxury option/Akagera game lodge for mid-range option

Day 21: Nyarubuye Genocide memorial and afternoon boat cruise on Lake Ihema.

After breakfast, visit the Nyarubuye genocide memorial. Return back to the lodge.

Nyarubuye Genocide memorial
Nyarubuye Genocide memorial

After lunch, you will go for a boat ride on Lake Ihema which will offer you views of the surrounding areas, hills, and swamps. Expect to see Hippos, crocodiles, and more bird species. Return back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay at Lodge as above

Day 22: Akagera NP morning game drive and back to Kigali – City tour

Wake up early and connect for a morning drive where you will go for a Northern circuit game drive to search for animals such as elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, rhinos, lions, leopards and many more like Antelopes. Return for late breakfast at the lodge the after, check-out of the lodge to transfer back to Kigali.

Upon arrival in Kigali, have your lunch then proceed for a city tour visiting the Gisozi genocide memorial, First house, Nyamata church, Ntarama church, etc). Dinner and overnight stay at Blue Ridisson Hotel for mid-range/Kigali Serena Hotel for luxury

Day 23: Departure

On this last day of your safari, depending on your return flight schedule, you may visit the missed out places of the previous day or stay at the lodge as you wait for your departure flight back home. End of safari

book a safari