11 Days Uganda, Rwanda & Eastern Congo Safari

Departure Date

Daily

Duration

11 Days

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11 Days Uganda, Rwanda & Eastern DRC Safari

Day 1

Welcome to Rwanda!

Your driver/guide will be at Kigali Airport to pick you up from your flight. Depending on your arrival time you may be able to visit some of Kigali’s craft markets to browse amongst the pottery, carvings, batik, weaving, sculpture, musical instruments, leather and fabrics on offer. Prepare to use your haggling skills! All activities and purchases today are at your own cost. Dinner and overnight stay at Kigali Hotel
Day 2

To Nyungwe Forest National Park

In the morning you will meet your Ensi Safari leader who speaks good English and will be with you during your entire tour. Both Rwanda and Congo are french speaking countries and communication in English can be difficult. You will set off towards the famous Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest forests in East and Central Africa. The forest is abundant with flora and fauna including 13 primate species from colobus monkeys, mangabeys, blue monkeys and, of course, our cousins the chimpanzees. Nyungwe Forest is also a famous location for birders. With about 310 recorded bird species, 26 of which are endemic, this is one of the most important - and still little known - bird-watching destinations in Africa. In the evening, you will settle into your room at Top View Hill Hotel. The views are stunning and you will have a nice hot meal in the cozy restaurant.
Day 3

Chimpanzee Tracking

After a very early morning start, you will proceed to the chimpanzee tracking trail in either the Cyamudongo or Uwinka sections. The total population between the two groups is a healthy 80 individuals. This exciting up-close encounter with human's closest relative you will not soon forget. In the afternoon you are going for a special activity to track down the Ruwensori Black colobus and other rare monkey species that live in Nyungwe forest N.P. In the afternoon you are going for a special activity to track down the Ruwensori Black colobus and other rare monkey species that live in Nyungwe forest N.P. This is the only location in Africa where you'll find "supergroups" of more than 400 Colobus monkeys in the wild. It is also one of the few places worldwide where you'll see L'Hoest's monkeys. Another rare animal you might also run into is the owl-faced monkey, an Albertine Rift endemic that inhabits Nyungwe's southern forests. In fact, most of the monkey species found in the park are endemic.
Day 4

To Bukavu in DR Congo

After a relaxed breakfast you will continue the journey to the heart of Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. This scenic route passed over the rolling hills of Rwanda and the shores of Lake Kivu until you reach the city of Bukavu. You Congolese driver will pick you from the border and take you to your accommodation for the night. Your English speaking tour leader will accompany you the entire trip. In the afternoon you have time to explore Bukavu with its old colonial architecture and impressive cathedral in the city centre. You can also just enjoy the lake view from your veranda. You will stay in a semi-luxury hotel called Orchids Safari club. This sleek and elegantly decorated hotel offers a mixture of contemporary and traditional African styles. You will not expect this stylish accommodation on the shores of Lake Kivu. It is the perfect starting place for tomorrow’s activity.
Day 5

Lowland Gorilla tracking

Early in the morning you will depart for your first Gorilla tracking of this tour. The Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla berengei graueri) live in a small national park called Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The national park is named after the 2 extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega which dominate the park with summits at around 2600 meter above sea level. One of the last remaining groups of Eastern Lowland gorillas can be seen here. There is estimation that there are only 250 individuals remaining in this national park. The Gorillas live at an altitude between 2100 to 2400 meters above sea-level. The lowland Gorilla should not be confused with their relatives the Mountain Gorilla’s. The main difference in appearance is the size and type of hair. The Eastern lowland gorilla or Grauer Gorillas are the largest gorilla's in the world! Kahuzi-Biega is the last remaining protected area where these magnificent creatures live and is on the UNESCO world heritage list. During your tracking you will be able to approach the gorillas at short range. You will spend one hour with them and you are able to make pictures but without flash. Besides the habitat of the Lowland Gorillas, Kahuzi-Biega is also an important endemic bird area with an impressive list of 349 species of which 42 are endemic species. If that is not enough, the stunning landscapes will provide unique photo moments. Depending on what time you finish your Gorilla tracking you can go for the optional activity of visiting the Lwiro Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre. After the amazing encounters with the Lowland Gorilla's you will drive back to Bukavu. Here you can relax or do an optional activity like a boat ride on Lake Kivu or take a stroll along the lake side. In the evening you will enjoy a lovely meal at Orchids safari club.
Day 6

To Virunga National Park

Your driver/guide will take you to the harbor of Bukavu where you will board the day boat to Goma. This boat ride is a nice relaxing opportunity to see Lake Kivu and its small islands. Goma is a simple town in Congo but has some interesting sites you could visit. During the 2002 Nyiragongo eruption there are several places in the city completly destroyed several important buildings in the city. The Hotel Volcano names like this after the eruption and the ruined cathedral. After a short city tour you will continue to Virunga national park where you will sleep at Mikeno Lodge. This is without doubt the most beautiful lodge in the DRC.
Day 7

Mountain Gorilla Tracking

Today is an exciting day and the second tracking of this tour. Today you will stand eye-to-eye with the Mountain Gorilla. Virunga National park is an UNESCO world heritage site and the oldest national park on the continent! It is a diverse protected areas with the peaks of the Rwenzori mountains, erosion valleys, active volcanoes, forest and even savanna areas. This national park has been hidden from the public for a long time due to civil war and unrest in Eastern Congo. At this moment it is fully operational and the perfect place to track the mountain gorillas in the wild. Starting at the headquarters in Rumangabo you will go for a challenging hike in search of these gentle giants. Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorillas’ current location. Your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. Once the gorillas have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Congo's own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’. Please note: Ensi Safaris purchases the permits in advance but is unable to reserve a specific gorilla group as it is for the head-ranger to decide this! Visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage; When you are back from the Gorilla tracking you can choose to visit the Senkwekwe orphanage which is located in Rumangabo next to Mikeno lodge. Each of the four gorillas living at the center was victimized by poachers or animal traffickers, and likely witnessed family members being murdered. Thanks to the financial support of individuals around the world – and the loving care provided by their human caregivers – the orphans now lead happy and secure lives in their forested enclosure. Please note that you will not be interacting with the Gorilla's but you can see them from a distance playing and their how their caregivers take care of them. This activity is for free. Tonight you will sleep in the most beautiful lodge in DR Congo. Mikeno Lodge offers twelve unique bungalows, fashioned with lava stone, mahogany. The spacious bungalows enjoy en-suite bathrooms with stone carved baths and curved stone showers. The private deck allows guests to enjoy the performance of the Blue and Colobus monkeys in the forest.
Day 8

Nyiragongo Volcano

Your driver will take you to the Kibati patrol post on the foot of the Nyiragongo volcano. You will start hiking at 10 AM in the morning. You will have your own porter to carry your backpack and your personal cook will prepare your meal on top of the crater rim. The Nyiragongo is one of the world’s most active volcanos and has the world's largest lava lake. This strato volcano recently erupted in 2002 but is predicatable and therefore safe to climb. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including monkeys and bushbucks. In the late afternoon you will reach the top with an extraordinary view of the crater filled with sea of lava. You are one of the few to admire this spectacle. At night you can see the sea of lava in the crater which gives spectacular pictures! You will sleep in one of the huts on the crater rim. These huts are very basic at the moment.
Day 9

To Lake Mutanda

In the morning you will enjoy your breakfast with the breathtaking view overlooking the crater before you descend. Your driver/guide will drive you to Kisoro in the south-western part of Uganda. You will cross the border at Bunagana where your driver/guide is ready to pick you up. You will then continue to Mutanda Lake resort where you will have lunch. Mutanda Lake Resort is spectacularly located on a private peninsula stretching into Lake Mutanda. With small islands dotting the surrounding lake and a backdrop of misty volcanoes in nearby Rwanda and DR Congo this setting never fails to impress visitors. The main building where the restaurant is located resembles a Swiss chalet with an African touch, the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner watching otters visiting the shore, or to cuddle up next to the fire place. The cottages are built on a wooden platform, each with private veranda and en-suite bathroom.
Day 10

Optional third Gorilla tracking

Optional third Gorilla tracking: US$ 600 per person. Note: In April, May & November the Gorilla permit is only US$ 450 per person! Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts both Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees - the only forest in Africa which can make this claim in fact. It also hosts five other species of primate, 113 species of mammal, over 200 butterflies and 360 birds. This day you can choose to go on your 3rd Gorilla tracking and see the Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can also choose to relax at Lake Mutanda and enjoy the stunning view! If you don't go on your third Gorilla tracking you have all day to unwind, relax, swim or do something else in this wonderful area. There are several optional activities you can do organized by Mutanda Lake resort. All activities are at your own cost. Transportation can be arranged via the lodge. Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga N.P. Batwa trail in Mgahinga N.P. Climb the Mgahinga, Muhavura or Sabinyo volcano, Bird watching tour on the Lake, Village walk.
Day 11

Departure

With a domestic flight from Kisoro airstrip transfer to Entebbe International Airport in time for your home bound international flight.