18 Days Birdwatching, Chimp, and Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda

  • Lake Victoria Serena - Paraa Safari Lodge - Masindi Hotel - Contiki Hotel - Mountains of the Moon Hotel - Mweya Safari Lodge - Silverback Gorilla Lodge - Mountain Gorilla Lodge - Lake Kivu Serena Hotel - Nyungwe Forest Lodge - Hotel Des Mille Collines

Adventure and Culture, Birdlife, and Primate Safaris East Africa

Visit beautiful national parks in two East African countries to see a wide variety of bird species. During your stay, you will also have the unique opportunity to spot Albertine Rift endemics, as well as trek habituated chimpanzees and gorillas in their homes. In your last two days here, you will get to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Rwandese people.

Highlights

  • See a great variety of birdlife
  • Gorilla, chimp, and golden monkey trekking trips
  • See the localized red-collared mountain babbler in Nyungwe
  • Cultural city tour of Kigali and visit to the traditional village of Iby’Iwacu
  • Boat cruises to Murchinson Falls, Kazinga Channel, and Lake Kivu
  • Transportation between the various locations
  • 17 nights accommodation
  • Daily meals
  • 17 activity days
  • Chinese (mandarin), English
Hide all

You will spend 17 nights in various accommodations as follows: one night at Lake Victoria Serena, Uganda, two nights at Paraa Safari Lodge, two nights at Masindi Hotel, one at Contiki Hotel, two at Mountains of the Moon Hotel, and two more at Mweya Safari Lodge, also in Uganda.

After two nights at Silverback Gorilla Lodge in Uganda, you will spend a further two at Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Rwanda. You will have one more night at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, two nights at Nyungwe Forest Lodge, and one at Hotel Des Mille Collines, all in Rwanda.

Day 1

Arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB) at 5:55 p.m., and then you will be transferred to Kampala. You will have dinner and spend the night at Lake Victoria Serena.

Day 2: Simple city tour, then birding to Murchison Falls

You will drive north and see the beauty of Uganda. No wonder Uganda becomes the Eden of African birding, since the ecosystem completely changes and you get exposed to different bird species en route, like the bronze-tailed, lesser and greater blue-eared starlings which have a very difficult, but idiosyncratic call that helps in their identification.

Black winged-bishop, fantailed widowbird, white-crested turaco, black-billed and blue-spotted wood-dove, yellow-bellied hyliota, African moustached warbler, brown twinspot, the seasonal lesser grey shrike, brown parrot, African thrush, little sparrow-hawk, and the African harrier hawk can also be seen here.

You will have the chance to spot the grey and Nubian woodpecker, green-backed eremomela, grey-headed oliveback, white-chinned Prinia, black and white mannikin, Eastern grey plantain eater, red-eyed African morning, ring-necked and loughing dove, plus many other species of birds as well.

You shall later reach Murchison with a visit to the top of the falls, and check into Paraa Safari Lodge; all meals are included.

Day 3: Birding to Northern Murchison Falls and boat ride to the bottom of the falls

After breakfast, you shall do birding on the Northern bank of Murchison Falls, keeping an eye out for both game and birds, including the grey-headed, striped, and woodland Kingfisher; the red-shouldered cuckooshrike; the beautiful sunbird; foxy, whistling, croaking, singing, rattling, zitting, and siffling cisiticolas; the Abyssanian ground hornbill; black-bellied and Stanley’s bustard; white-fronted black chat; sooty chat; yellow-billed, wood chat, and grey-backed shrike.

You can also see the Abyssinian and Rufous crowned roller; spotted morning thrush; African quail finch; vitteline masked weaver; black-billed barbet; swallow tailed, Northern carmine; little and the seasonal Eurosian; blue-cheeked and olive bee-eater; white-browed and chestnut crowned sparrow-weavers; white-headed buffalo weaver; speckle-fronted weaver; the Rufaous sparrow; the superb starling, and many more bird species.

Some of the mammals to be seen alongside the birding will be the giraffe, cape buffalo, African elephant, Jackson’s heartbeast, oribi, bohor reedbuck, bush and water buck, jackal, lion, hyena, and with big luck, the leopard.

In the afternoon, the cruise to the bottom of the falls will expose you to lots of water birds, like the saddle-billed, yellow-billed, and African open-billed stork, lots of different Kingfishers, and large schools of hippos and Nile crocodiles. Later, you will get back to the lodge for dinner and overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge; all meals are included.

Day 4: Birding Tobudongo and Masindi

Start in the morning and bird to Masindi via Kaniyo Pabidi, which is part of the Budongo Forest Reserve, an area with mammoth diversity of flora and fauna. The forest is criss crossed with a well maintained network of forest trails, making it doable to explore the dense forest with its beautiful biodiversity in different ways. This also gives you the best sighting of Puvel’s Illadopsis, a shy and secretive dull brown bird.

Other species you can see here will include the grey and yellow lobgbill, and the chocolate-backed, blue-breasted, and pygmy Kingfisher. You will also have good views of the shaggy-crested Guinea fawl, the fire-crested alethe, and the narina tragon yellow-billed, grey-throated and yellow-spotted barbet among the species for today. After this, you shall continue for dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel; all meals are included.

Day 5: Birding to Royal Mile and Busingiro Forest

Today you have a birding excursion to the above two unique sites within the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. You shall start early and head to the Royal Mile where many ceremonies of the Bunyoro kingdom took place before this was a conservation area.

En route, you shall have some birding stopovers to look out for bird species, like the singing cisiticola, cabanis’ bunting, dark-capped yellow warbler, grey-headed olive back, brown twinspot, black-bellied fire finch, and more.

Then, carry on to the Mile. Birding here is excellent with an open interior and gives you unique bird species like the Ituri Batis, lemon-bellied crombec, firest warbler, dusky longtailed cuckoo, dwarf, blue-breasted, pygmy, and chocolate backed kingfisher, Western black-headed oriole, red-headed malimbe, blue-throated roller, white-spotted greenbul, Rufous crowned eremomela, chestnut-capped and forest flycatcher, yellow-crested woodpecker, and many more.

Next, drive to Busingiro looking out for bird species which might have been missed at the Mile, then later back to Contiki Hotel Masindi for dinner and overnight stay; all meals are included.

Day 6: Transfer and en route birding to Kibale Forest

You will have a long drive ahead, so birding will be minimized to a few stops enroute. You shall be leaving Masindi with a picnic lunch to enjoy enroute. Some bird species you can expect on our stopovers include the brown and Western banded snake eagle, the little sparrow hawk, Wahlberg’s eagle, the joyfull greenbul, grey-throated barbet, olive longtailed cuckoo, white-breasted nigrofinch, the African emerald-spotted cuckoo, and many more.

You will later continue and check in for dinner and overnight at Mountains of the Moon Hotel; all meals are included.

Day 7: Birding and optional chimp trekking in Kibale Forest

You have an option of chimp trekking today. Human's close cousins, the chimpanzees, live in intricate societies. Just like a community of humans, they have the ability to solve complicated problems, and are able to make and bring tools into play, engage in convoluted social interactions, and communicate through a variety of sounds and gestures. When encountering these habituated chimpanzees, you may scrutinize a variety of behaviors. It is worth watching them play and interact with one another.

The main bird specie to look out for here is the green-breasted pitta, a very uncommon bird and restricted to forest interiors. You shall as well loom out for the African broadbill, rufous flycatcher thrush, red-tailed ant-thrush, and many other species. You will get back later to your lodge for dinner and overnight stay. Full board is included at Mountains of the Moon Hotel.

Day 8: Early birding as you transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda

Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park while birding en route. There will be an evening game drive and birding for the nocturnal species. Dinner and overnight at at Mweya Safari Lodge; all meals are included.

Day 9: Early birding drive and afternoon launch cruise along the Kazinga Channel

This is Uganda’s second largest National Park, with a recorded bird species of about 612. On a wonderful day, there have been records of over 150 bird species.

Start early and bird through the vast grassland, looking out for rarity bird species, like the African moustached warbler, black and white browed coucal, golden weaver, grey kestral, Southern red bishop, flappet, red-capped and Rufous napped lark, grassland, plain backed, and thick-billed pipit, black-chinned quail finch, crimson-rumped waxbill, white-browed robinchat, black-headed Gonolek, common and blue quail, African crake, Temminck’s couser, and many more other grassland birds.

Today you will also have a boat ride along the natural Kazinga channel which takes you close to lots of water birds, among which you shall see the Goliath heron, black crake, African spoonbill, African jacana, collard pratincole, great white and yellow billed egret, squacco heren, and many more.

Finally, get back to the lodge for dinner and overnight; full board is included at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Day 10: Early morning visit to Buhoma, and then birding to Bwindi

The birding tour gets close to Rwanda and today you get to head towards the Gorilla Sanctuary in Bwindi. This is home to half of the remaining population of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. There are two optional routes which lead you there.

One route is through the Southern part of Queen Elizabeth, called Ishasha, which is very popular for the tree-climbing lions; finding these predators in the trees is a unique encounter. This sector is also great for savanna birding and always provides good sittings for the African cuckoo-hawk, African cuckoo, common scimitarbill, black-bellied bustard, red-faced crombec, bateleur, hooded, Rupell’s grifon, Lappet faced and white-backed vulture.

You shall then enjoy your picnic lunch by the Ishasha river, where you can at times view the black bee-eater. You will then continue to Bwindi, have dinner and overnight at Silverback Gorilla Lodge; full board accommodation is included.

Day 11: Bird watching in Buhoma

You will have two days here, one of which is an optional visit to the endangered mountain gorillas. Tracking them always starts where they were left the previous day and may take 30 minutes to reach them or even the whole day. The trekking is conducted by patient, qualified, and knowledgeable ranger guides with wide experience in natural history and particular attention to gorilla behavior. Finding them and watching them play is quite amazing.

The other option of the birding day takes you to watch out for the merrymaking greenbuls, such as the red-tailed, Cabanis’s, Shelley’s, yellow whiskered, slender billed, little grey, plain, and toro olive. Other bird species here will be the yellow-spotted, yellow-billed, and grey-throated barbet, and the red-faced woodland warbler, one of the Albertine Rift endemics that is easily seen here.

You will also get to see the yellow bill, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, and red-throated alethe; differentiating the white-bellied and Equatorial akalat would be very interesting.

The red-capped, grey-winged, and blue-shoulderd robin chat, African shrike, and Vanga flycatcher, black-faced Rufous warbler, Red-fronted antpecker, pink-footed and Northern puffbuck, buff-throated, grey and black throated apalis, wallers, narrow-tailed and Stuhlumann’s starling, Elliot’s and buff bellied woodpecker, and Cassin’s and Least honeyguide are among the other bird species in this area.

You will later retreat to your lodge for dinner and overnight; full board is included at Silverback Gorilla Lodge.

Day 12: Transfer to Virunga Volcanoes National Park

After an early morning breakfast, you will head out to Rwanda to Virunga Volcanoes National Park, home to some of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and the Karisoke Research Institute where Dian Fossey brought the plight of the endangered mountain gorillas to the attention of the rest of the world.

You will have all meals and spend the night at Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Rwanda.

Day 13: Trek gorillas and visit Iby'Iwacu

After an early morning breakfast, transfer to the National Park headquarters for a briefing by the park rangers. Then, trek through the tropical Virunga rainforest in search of the rare mountain gorilla. Please bring lots of water, sturdy walking shoes, water-proof warm clothing, sun-screen, insect-repellent, and a hat. A no-flash camera is recommended because you will come up close with these gentle giants.

The park ranger guides will make your three to six hour trek both educative and enjoyable. The excursion in a thick rainforest and the interaction with the mountain ape makes for a wonderful life experience.

Later in the afternoon, you will visit Iby’Iwacu, a cultural village where tradition still runs the modern world. There are lots of optional activities to do here, including cycling through the villages, walking, visiting a local healer, visiting schools, and so much more to experience the lives of the local people.

You will have all meals and spend the night at Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Rwanda.

Day 14: Birding to Lake Kivu

After breakfast, you will transfer to Gisenyi town which is located on the shores of Lake Kivu. Once there, you can engage in relaxing activities like swimming, sport fishing, and boat cruising. The cruise will provide you with a spectacular view of the Kibuye and Gisenyi towns. Full board accommodation is included at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel.

Day 15: Transfer and walk in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe is at present the best site in the world to see the thrilling and localized red-collared mountain-babbler. This peculiar and active flock species is a stellar attraction. The park also provides great chances of seeing endemics like the Rwenzori apalis and turaco, the red-faced woodland, red -throated alethe, and Archer’s robin-chat, Doherty’s and many coloured bushshrike.

This is another good spot for seeing the handsome francolin, sooty boubou, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Ruwenzori hill babbler, Grauer’s rush, Neumann’s and Grauer’s warblers, black-faced apalis, Lagden’s bushshrike, purple-breasted, blue-headed, and regal sunbirds, stripe-breasted tit, dusky crimson-wing and strange weaver.

Other gems you can hope to see include Kivu ground thrush, white-bellied robin-chat, and white-tailed blue flycatcher. While birding here, you shall also keep your eyes out in the canopies to find primates like the chimpanzee, Angola pied colobus - a species known in west African countries, as well as blue, red-tailed, and L’Hoests monkeys.

Full board accommodation is included at Nyungwe Forest Lodge.

Day 16: Monkey track

After breakfast, you will go for the morning canopy walk to search for the black and white colobus monkeys, along with different bird species like paradise flycatcher, the red throated alethe, drab Chubb’s cisticola, green pigeon, the great blue turaco, forest hornbills, Ross’s turaco, red-breasted sparrow hawk, and white-headed wood hoopoe.

The playful doile monkeys are a pure delight to watch with large troops in some parts of the forest. In the afternoon, continue with other encounters in this rich and aged forest, including more bird species and other primate species like chimpanzees and colobus monkeys, L’hoests monkey, silver monkey, golden monkey, owl-faced monkey, red tailed monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, crowned monkey, Vervet monkey, olive baboon, and so on.

Full board accommodation is included at Nyungwe Forest Lodge.

Day 17: Transfer to Kigali via Butare

After an early morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, for a city tour. Kigali is a smaller city compared to Kampala but has a lot of stories to tell about Rwanda today. You will stop over in Butare, home of Rwanda’s ethnographic museum - the largest of its kind in Eastafrica. Here you will find all the information you need to know about the Rwandese people, including their culture, lifestyles, history.

You will have all meals and overnight at Hotel Des Mille Collines.

Day 18: Departure

After breakfast, you will go on a Kigali city tour where you will visit places like the Genocide Memorial Center at Gisozi, but also markets, shopping malls, and so on. Later on the driver guide will transfer you to the airport to catch your flight back home at 4:40 p.m.

About the vehicles

Africa Tours uses six, five or four-seater custom safari minibuses with pop-up roofs that are ideal for game viewing and sight seeing. All safari drivers are trained tour guides, friendly, experienced, knowledgeable, and are committed to ensuring clients’ satisfaction.

The buses are fitted with HF long-range radios for easy communication and are well maintained to provide maximum level of comfort and safety. In addition, all vehicles are fully equipped with cool-boxes and first aid kits. If requested, transportation can be arranged in a 4 x 4 Landcruiser or Landrover at an extra cost.

During your safari, you will get to watch birdlife in a variety of locations across Uganda and Rwanda, including the Budongo Forest Reserve, the Murchison Falls Conservation Area, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park (with an evening game drive and birding for the nocturnal species), Lake Kivu, and Nyungwe Forest.

In Uganda, you will get to go to the top of Murchison Falls, then cruise to the bottom of the falls to see the great variety of water birds, but also hippos and Nile crocodiles. You will also go chimp trekking in Kibale Forest, explore the dense Budongo Forest Reserve, visit the Gorilla Sanctuary in Bwindi, and spend two days in Buhoma, where you can either go birding or trek gorillas.

Next, in Rwanda, you will also get to visit the home of the other half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, namely the Virunga Volcanoes National Park. Here you will also find the Karisoke Research Institute where Dian Fossey brought the plight of the endangered mountain gorillas to the attention of the world.

Trek through the tropical Virunga rainforest in search of the rare mountain gorilla, and visit Iby’Iwacu, a cultural traditional village where you can spend your free time cycling through the villages, visiting a local healer or the local schools.

In Nyungwe Forest, you will trek the black and white colobus monkeys, along with different bird species, like the paradise flycatcher. You will also go on a city tour of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, with stopovers at the largest Eastafrican ethnographic museum and at the Genocide Memorial Center.

In the town of Gisenyi, located on the shores of Lake Kivu, you can opt for relaxing activities such as swimming, sport fishing, and boat cruising. The cruise will provide you with a spectacular view of the Kibuye and Gisenyi towns.

This safari will take place in two East African countries, namely Uganda and Rwanda.

Bwindi Impenetreble National Park, Uganda

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which half of the word’s remaining mountain gorillas call home. While meeting gorillas is the most poignant wildlife encounter, you shouldn’t be distracted from Bwindi’s broader diversity, including the flourishing birdlife and other primates, such as the black and white colobus with its flowing white tail.

Kaniyo Pabidi, Uganda

Kaniyo Pabidi is part of the Budongo Forest Reserve, an area with mammoth diversity of flora and fauna. The forest is criss-crossed with a well maintained network of forest trails, making it doable to explore the dense forest with its beautiful biodiversity in different ways. This also gives you the best sighting of Puvel’s illadopsis, a shy and secretive dull brown bird.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Uganda’s second largest national park, it boasts a recorded bird species count of about 612. On lucky days, there have been records of over 150 bird species spotted.

Virunga Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Virunga National Park is home to some of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, as well as of the Karisoke Research Institute where Dian Fossey brought the plight of the endangered mountain gorillas to the attention of the rest of the world.

All meals are included in the price of the safari.

In the town of Gisenyi, located on the shores of Lake Kivu, you can opt for relaxing activities such as swimming and sport fishing.

Some of the hotels and lodges have spas or offer massages for an additional fee.

  • 17 nights accommodation
  • All daily meals
  • Birdwatching tours to see a large variety of birds
  • Chimp, golden monkey, and gorilla trekking
  • Cruise the Kazinga Channel, Murchison Falls, and Lake Kivu
  • Cultural city tour of Kigali and visit to the traditional village of Iby’Iwacu
  • English speaking driver guide
  • Spot the great variety of the Albertine Rift endemics
  • Transportation in a 4×4 safari vehicle between the various locations
  • Visits to national parks across two countries
  • All expenses of personal nature
  • Domestic and international flights
  • Drinks
  • Gorilla and chimp permits
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls
  • Tips
  • Visa

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB).

At 5:55 p.m. Africa Tours will transfer you from the airport to Kampala.

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Central, Uganda

African Tours LTD is based in Kampala, Uganda, and has a strong presence in East Africa and the rest of Africa. The company offers complete tour packages.

from --

18 days / 17 nights

Why choose BookAllSafaris.com

  • Largest Selection
  • Friendly Customer Service
  • Offers for every budget
  • Best Price