Tailor-Made

Ugandan National Parks & Mount Nyiragongo Safari

This trip incorporates scenic drives through Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, a gorilla trek in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and a night sleeping atop the crater rim of the DRC’s Nyiragongo volcano: a selection of truly remarkable safari experiences.

Duration 10 days
Price From $5,134
When Year-Round
Destination DRC & Uganda

Safari Overview

For travellers seeking an African safari that offers a variety of different excursions, this 10-day trip through Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is just the ticket. Beginning in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, you’ll travel by foot, car and boat through the region’s stunning landscapes in search of a number of different wildlife species, before heading to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to spend time with a habituated mountain gorilla group. From there you’ll cross the border to the DRC and ascend Mount Nyiragongo. Atop the summit of this peak you’ll be granted spectacular views of the surrounding Virunga National Park, as well as the seething cauldron of Nyiragongo’s lava lake below you.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Travel through scenic Queen Elizabeth National Park in search of iconic African wildlife like lions, elephants and chimpanzees.
  • Cruise along the idyllic Kazinga Channel in the company of countless migratory birds.
  • Track the critically endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
  • Ascend the active volcano Mount Nyiragongo and sleep on its crater rim, watching the boiling lava lake below.

These three destinations would make for worthwhile safaris in their own right; together, they form an intrepid African adventure you won’t soon forget.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Entebbe

On arrival at Entebbe International Airport you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. Entebbe is a small, quiet town located on the Ugandan side of Lake Victoria, the largest of Africa’s Great Lakes. You can choose to relax after your flight at the comfortable family-run Boma Guesthouse, or explore the town either on foot, by boda-boda (the name for the local motorbikes) or by taxi. Activities include shopping in the bustling markets and curio shops, sampling the local bars and restaurants, and wandering through the Botanical Gardens on Lake Victoria.

Overnight: Boma Guesthouse D

Day 2

Entebbe – Queen Elizabeth National Park

Your second day on safari starts with a long drive west to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Sit back, take in the scenery and enjoy a picnic lunch en-route. Your adventure in the park begins in the Mweya sector, where you’ll be able to enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, the shores of which are a haven for numerous birds, including many migratory species as they make their way south to warmer climes. The cruise also provides a spectacular view of the beautiful Mweya Peninsula, where life in the local fishing villages continues as it has for generations.

Overnight: Mweya Safari Lodge B, L, D

Days 3-4

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Ishasha is the venue for the next two days of your safari, which composes the remote southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kyamburu Gorge is an optional stop-off en-route, where you can embark on a trek to find a large troupe of habituated chimpanzees. Although located in a pristine area filled with lush vegetation, the walk down into the gorge is steep in places and can be slippery, so be sure to wear proper hiking boots. But it’s not just chimps that call Ishasha home - elephants, leopards, hippos, buffalo, baboons, Ugandan kobs, tree-climbing lions and a wide variety of birdlife can all be seen here. Ishasha is composed of both riverine and savannah habitats, as well as one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda, Maramagambo.

Overnight: Ishasha Wilderness Camp B, L, D

Day 5

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

A 2-3 hour drive through scenic country brings you to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, one of the most biodiverse areas in all of Uganda. Located on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, Bwindi is home to over 120 species of mammal, 345 species of bird, 200 species of butterfly and 160 species of tree. In addition, almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population live here. Your accommodation for the next two days is Buhoma Lodge, which offers uninterrupted views of Bwindi’s lush forest canopy.

Overnight: Buhoma Lodge B, L, D

Day 6

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Today is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! To be in the presence of a habituated mountain gorilla group as they go about their daily lives of foraging, grooming and playing with each other is something only a few people on earth have been privileged enough to say they’ve done. You’ll accompany experienced guides and trackers on an early-morning trek into the dense rainforest that carpets Bwindi’s slopes, searching for a species with an estimated population of less than 900. Gorilla trekking can be fairly strenuous in this environment due to the high altitude, as well as the location of the gorillas – it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours to locate your assigned group. Other optional activities that may be enjoyed in and around the park include forest walks and visits to a local school, orphanage or Batwa pygmy village.

Overnight: Buhoma Lodge B, L, D

Day 7

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park – Virunga National Park

Today you’ll leave Uganda behind and enter the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Bunagana border post. After a long drive you’ll meet your guides from the DRC’s Virunga National Park at the border, where you’ll then be taken to your next overnight accommodation, Mikeno Lodge. The 12 private bungalows here are located within a beautiful section of forest where guests can spot blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons and an abundance of birdlife.

Overnight: Mikeno Lodge B, L, D

Day 8

Virunga National Park

The eighth day of your safari marks your ascent of Mount Nyiragongo, and with a climb in altitude of almost 5,000 ft, you’ll need good-quality hiking boots, plenty of water, a decent level of fitness and a taste for adventure. You’ll begin on the volcano’s forested lower slopes, where you may be able to spot some of the local residents like chimpanzees, monkeys and bushbucks. As you begin to ascend, the vegetation thins out and almost disappears altogether to be replaced by volcanic rock. Although Nyiragongo has been one of the most active volcanoes of the last century, its eruptions are easily predicted, ensuring the ascents are safe for travellers. A reminder of the awesome power contained within can be seen once you reach the volcano’s crater rim, where one of the world’s largest lava lakes boils and churns away. The full ascent should take around 4 – 6 hours, depending on the average fitness of your group (which will be led by park rangers). Once at the top, you’ll be able to overnight in the newly refurbished summit huts, which offer a welcome escape from the elements. The best time to view the lava lake is at night, when its contents sets the night sky afire.

Overnight: Mount Nyiragongo Summit Huts B, L, D

Day 9

Virunga National Park – Kisoro

Awakening atop the summit of Mount Nyiragongo is an experience you won’t soon forget. Today you’ll make your descent of the volcano and transfer back across the border to Uganda, where you’ll overnight in the town of Kisoro. Appropriately enough, you’ll be staying in the Traveller’s Rest Hotel – the perfect place to recuperate after your trek up and down Nyiragongo. This is one of the oldest hotels in Uganda and boasts an impressive list of former guests, including famed primatologist Dian Fossey who even called Traveller’s Rest her second home!

Day 10

Depart Kisoro

In the morning you’ll transfer back to Entebbe to catch your international flight home, and reflect on a quite spectacular safari here in the heart of Africa.

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safari is one designed according to your specific requirements, including budget, dates, personal interests, the number of people travelling, and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and altered to make it perfect for you.

PRICE

The price for this safari depends on the time of travel, and ranges from low season (April, May and November) through to high season (January to February, July to September and December) with the shoulder months in between (March, June and October). Please enquire for more details about dates and prices.

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