Tailor-Made

Rwanda and Zambia Tracking Safari

An exciting tailor-made walking safari encountering the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda, followed by the big game of South Luangwa National Park. This safari on foot allows you to enjoy intimate wildlife encounters as well as fantastic photography opportunities.

Duration 12 days
Price From $8,585
When Jun -Sep
Destination Rwanda & Zambia

Safari Overview

The experience of watching a family of gorillas at play, foraging and relaxing is one that will stand out in your memory for a lifetime. Many describe feeling a deep connection to these great apes and you will be happy that two tracking permits are included.  Zambia, and in particular the South Luangwa National Park, remains the finest place in Africa for walking safaris. Walking in Zambia is not the usual bug bumble typical of most 'game walks'. The prolific game and unrivalled expertise of the local guides mean that sightings of leopard, elephant, hippo, lion and wild dog are not just rare experiences, but commonplace. This is an intense experience, covering a range of distances from 2-3 hours to a full day. Walks are largely, blissfully, conducted in silence. Walking in single file guests are encouraged to really listen and connect with the environment.  Tune into bird calls, or the barking of baboons, are they alarm calls signalling the presence of predators? You will want to have all senses tuned in as the chances of encountering big game is high. There's nothing quite as adrenaline-inducing as walking into a herd of buffalo, the most feared by hunters, their bovine bulk and uncanny focus is unnerving.

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Come face-to-face with endangered mountain gorillas, twice!
  • Experience the exhilaration of encountering big game on foot.
  • Game viewing in a reserve renowned for having the highest density of leopards.
  • The magic of night drives seeking out nocturnal wildlife from predators to porcupines.

You will form a deep appreciation for your guides intuition and experience in interpreting the signs of the wild to keep you both safe and enthralled.

Day by day

Day 1

Kigali - Volcanoes National Park

From Rwanda's capital Kigali, travel in your private vehicle through the 'land of a thousand hills' to reach the Volcanoes National Park. Straddling the shared borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Virunga Mountains consists of eight major volcanoes, two of which are still active. Along with Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, the forested slopes of the Virungas are home to the worlds remaining mountain gorillas, with an estimated one third of the remaining populations found within Volcanoes National Park on the Rwandan side of the range.

Overnight: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel L, D

Day 2

Gorilla Trekking

Time to put your walking boots on along with hat, sunscreen, gardening gloves (for tackling ivy, thorns and branches) and good quantities of water in your backpack and head to the park headquarters to find out which gorilla family you will be tracking today. It may take anything from one to four hours walking before you connect with a family, once sighted you are permitted to spend a maximum of only one hour with them. You are not likely to ever forget your first sighting of the gorillas. They are truly magnificent; each family member unique in his or her own way. You are going to be happy you have booked permits for a second trek! In the afternoon your guide and vehicle are at your disposal to visit the twin lakes or Musanze Caves.

Overnight: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel B, L, D

Day 3

Gorilla Trekking

Early up, breakfast and back to park headquarters for 7:00am and then into the valleys and up the ridges on your second trekking expedition. You are likely to have packed even more water today, will appreciate energy bars to keep you fuelled and will gratefully pay the small fee for a porter to carry your backpack. During your walk, take time to appreciate the surrounding natural beauty including birds, butterflies and monkeys. Today you may be lucky enough to witness the silverback doing some signature chest-beating, baby gorillas swinging in the trees and the whole family out on what generally looks like a leisurely picnic outing of play and foraging. Once again in the afternoon your guide is available to take you exploring. Highly recommended is a visit to the Gorilla Doctors (additional fee donated to the programme).

Overnight: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel B, L, D

Day 4

Kigali - Lusaka

This morning choose between trekking the golden monkeys or visiting the Dian Fossey Memorial. After lunch you will be transferred back to the airport in time for the evening flight to Lusaka, Zambia. You will be met on arrival and transferred to a stylish small boutique hotel in a quiet residential suburb of Lusaka.

Day 5

Lusaka - South Luangwa National Park

Fly to Mfuwe Airport, gateway to the South Luangwa National Park. A road journey brings you to the wild southern reaches of the reserve and the first of your three bushcamps. Over the next six nights you will stay in three different bushcamps using a combination of walking and game drives to move from camp to camp. Enjoy the rustic charm of Kuyenda's four thatched rondavels or the elevated tree-houses and prime riverside location of Chamilandu. Set on the edge of a permanent lagoon, Chindeni is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful tented camps in the South Luangwa. A picturesque and intimate camp with just four extremely spacious thatched chalets, and hosted by an award-winning guide, Bilimungwe, affectionately called Billi - is the one to book well in advance! Remote and romantic Kapamba with stone and thatch chalets complete with sunken stone bath or the Meru-style thatched tents and quiet charm of Zungalila complete the lodging options. Which three camps you stay at will be determined by availability, or if booked well in advance, your preferred choice of camps (please see links to the bushcamps in the Suggested Safari Accommodation section below). With just three or four rooms at each camp you are assured of a very personal and authentic experience.

Days 6-10

South Luangwa

You have five full days to discover the rich wildlife and varied ecosystems of South Luangwa in the company of passionate and knowledgeable guides eager to share their patch of paradise with you. Set off on both day and night game drives to seek out the Luangwa’s resident wildlife. But the most thrilling is feeling your heart pound in your chest as you tiptoe your way through the bush, alarm calls from other animals echoing in the air, inching towards a small clearing and peering through the branches to discover what awaits; perhaps a pride of lions busy devouring a recent kill or a family of elephant foraging in what seems like a giant salad bowl. The dazzling arrival of dawn and an action-packed day closes in with the magic of sunset and one of Zambia’s signature sundowner treats: sitting on camp chairs barefoot in the soft sandy shallows of the gently swirling Luangwa River.

Day 11

Mfuwe

Time to start acclimatising back into the real world as you game drive through the park to the game rich Mfuwe area and a final night at a somewhat larger lodge.

Overnight: Mfuwe Lodge B, L, D

Day 12

Depart Zambia

Final morning game drive and breakfast and transfer to Mfuwe Airport for the flight to Lusaka and your onward flight home.

Trip Details

Trip Restrictions

This safari is tailor-made and can be redesigned to meet your specific requirements including your preferred number of days, dates of travel, standard of lodges and budget. Walking safaris are available in South Luangwa NP from June – November. No under 15's both for gorilla tracking and walking safaris in Zambia.

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safaris is one designed specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you

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