Gorilla Country is a term that we at Trekking Timmy coined to describe a large stretch of country with probably the highest concentration of primate life in Africa. The Safari starts with a tour of Kampala City, then heads to the western part of Uganda, and runs southward along the DRC-Uganda border into seven ranges of volcanic mountains that cut across Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC. The region is so thick with primates, it’s an entire world on its own. Welcome to the Planet of Apes!
This 12 day safari into Gorilla Country is an unbeatable adventure for primate lovers and nature trekkers. If adventure is your game, the Planet of Apes Safari has your name written in its jungles. It’s a riveting experience of jungle life in three countries, involving Chimpanzee Tracking, Gorilla Tracking, and Culture Experiences with some of the longest surviving “first-nation peoples” on earth.
But beyond the adventure, few things are as rewarding as giving back to Mother Nature. Many of the primates you will see on this safari are threatened with extinction, and by simply buying this package, you are giving spades to the ongoing efforts to save these creatures from extinction. Check out this safari and stamp three countries in your passport, it’s an adventure to tell your grandkids!
All days start at first light so make quick friends with your alarm clock if you are not an early riser. The drives are scenic and fitted with breaks to ease road fatigue, the roads are well-maintained and include highways, dirt roads, and off-road tracks. However, while the vistas on the drives are breathtaking, explorers on this safari are advised to carry some snacks, a good book, or a playlist for their entertainment— some travelers are just not that into nature…
Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, a Safari Specialist will be waiting to pick you up and take you to your hotel. In case you need help with anything, our Safari Specialist is on call to attend to you. Depending on what time your flight arrives, you may tryout an optional activity or relax at your hotel.
Optional: BodaBoda Tour, Night Life
Day 2: Kampala, City Tour
This safari begins on a light note, with a tour of Kampala City, the political and economic capital of Uganda. Our destinations today are the bustling centres of urban life and cultural sites associated with Buganda, the kingdom in which Kampala City is found. The expedition begins with tours of Buganda’s royal palace (Twekobe), parliament(Bulange), and a series of religious sites that map the remarkable story of how this city came into existence, and the cultural forces that brought it into being. Kampala is reputed for being the fun capital of East Africa; it has one of the liveliest night scene in Africa. If interested, our Safari Specialist will be happy to guide you through its nightlife.
Optional: Kampala Nightlife
Day 3: Tranfer— Kibale Forest National Park, via Mubende, FortPortal
We set off for Gorilla Country at first light, stopping en-route at the Nakayima tree in Mubende and Amabere Caves in Fort Portal. These two sites are linked to Bwachezi, a mythical group of people founded kingdoms in this region, and whose culture and religion continue to dominate ordinary life 5 centuries since their mysterious departure. We’ll stop for lunch in Fort Port, a tranquil little town at base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountains. The evening ends in Kibale Forest National Park where we camp for the night and prepare for the first stage of your adventure in Gorilla Country.
Day 4: Kibale Forest National Park— Chimpanzee Tracking
Kibale Forest is the primate capital of the world. With over 13 types of primates, and several species of monkeys and other primates, it’s primate population is the most diverse in the world. The park protects chimpanzees that are threatened with extinction so the authorities are understandably strict. All chimp expeditions must be done with a park ranger who regulates how much time you can spend observing the chimps once located. There is plenty to see and do in Kibale Forest and you can choose from one of the optional activities when we come back from the tracking, or simply lay back in your camp and read a book, or relax in nature’s calming air.
Optional: Night Tracking, Village Trek, Birding
Day 5: Transfer— Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Today we head south, to Bwindi Forest, at the edges of the famous Virunga ranges. The drive goes through Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s most visited national park, where you stand a chance to catch sightings of grazers and predators as we drive to Bwindi. Look out for elephants and buffalo grazing by roadside, and if you are lucky, you might see a lion reclining in the trees at Ishasha, or catch the elusive leopard sun-bathing in the tall savannah grass. On arrival in Bwindi, we’ll have a culture experience with the Batwa, the original inhabitants of this region and one of the oldest of the world’s first nation peoples.
Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest— Gorilla Experience
Mountain Gorillas are a species threatened with extinction. There are about 800 individuals left in the world and more than half of them live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It may take anywhere between 1 hour and 9 hours to find these gentle giants but meeting them is the most rewarding thing on earth. Your time with these beautiful giants will be limited once a habituated group is located. This is entirely for their protection but the time spent is worth the trek. The Gorilla experience is by far the best wildlife experience Africa is yet to offer, and tracking permits in this park are highly sought throughout the year.
Optional: Culture Experience
Day 7: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Transfer— Musanze, Rwanda
We rise early and set off for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, where gold meets silver. We are here to track the rare Golden Monkey, whose golden fur strikes a stunning contrast with the Mountain Gorilla silverback, its neighbour in this forest. We’ll have lunch on returning from the jungle and then proceed to Rwanda to meet one of the greatest legends in conservation history. Rwanda is a country of beautiful people and remarkable scenery. While it is famous for its miraculous recovery from the trauma of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda’s best kept secret is the beauty of its landscape and a well preserved culture that has integrated effortlessly with modern customs. There is good reason why it is called the land of a thousand hills.
Day 8: Volcanoes National Park— Dianne Fossey Trail, Transfer– Goma, DRC
Volcanoes National Park is famous for being the base where the American Zoologist, Dian Fossey, launched the international campaign to save the Mountain Gorilla from extinction. It was here that she did most of her research on Mountain Gorillas and became the first expatriate to habituate Mountain Gorillas. On this trail, we visit the camp she lived in, the places where she worked, and listen to presentations on Gorilla conversation. To sum up our adventure in Gorilla Country, we cross over to Goma and prepare for a final expedition in Virunga National Park.
Optional: Village Trek, Culture Experience
Day 9: Virunga National Park, Gorilla Experience
Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest and most famous national park. It’s most popular destination is the Nyiragongo Summit, which holds the world’s largest lava lake, and tracking Lowland Gorillas in Mikeno. Lowland Gorillas are the smaller cousins of Mountain Gorillas and belong to the same species family. Here you’ll be able to see the difference between the two and learn how they have survived the conflicts that disrupted the quiet of their homeland. We return to Goma in the evening.
Day 10: Virunga National Park, Nyiragongo Trek
Today we set off for our final adventure. For the adventure junkies itching to tick off another item off their bucket list, climbing Nyiragongo is just the thing. At the summit is the world’s largest lava lake., a boiling mass of liquid lava that seems like a living creature. The photo opportunities at the mouth of this crater are unbelievable. Fancy spending the night in a tiny house on the slopes of a live volcano; it’s the perfect way to sum up the best adventure of your life!
Day 11: Transfer– Kigali, Rwanda
On descent from Nyirangongo, we head back to Kigali via Goma. For those who are up for it, we’ll do a guided tour of Kigali City, visit the Genocide memorial, and visit the famous Hotel des Milles Collines. Otherwise, this marks the end of our safari and you can do as you please with your day. Trekking Timmy will host you to a closing dinner in the evening.
Day 12: Departure
Depart at leisure.
Whether you're looking for a place to spend your honeymoon, you want to teach your children about our culture or you're just looking to escape for the weekend, we have just the adventure for you.
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