12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari: Queen Elizabeth national park is the second largest wildlife national park located in the western part of Uganda in Rubirizi district near Kasese district. Queen Elizabeth national park has a massive biodiversity with landscape including bushland, savannah, wetland and lush vegetation. The park covers an area of 1,978 square kilometres and was first founded in 1952 as Kazinga national park however later after the visit of Queen Elizabeth 11; it was renamed Queen Elizabeth national park. The park inhabits about 95 mammal species including the big 4 game (Lions, Leopards, buffaloes, and Elephants), other animals including; hyenas, hippos, waterbucks, Oribi to mention a few and over 600 bird species. Queen Elizabeth national park is surrounded by 2 lakes including Lake Albert and Lake Edward which support water activities like boat cruises, and fishing activities. Queen Elizabeth national park is located in the western part of Uganda, covering a distance of about 335Kms from Kigali-Rwanda crossing via Katuna border. 

Bwindi Impenetrable national park on the other hand is the most visited primates’ national park for gorilla trekking experience located in the southwestern part of Uganda close to Rwanda-Uganda border at the edge of the Rift Valley.  Bwindi Impenetrable national park is one of Uganda’s oldest national park with diverse rainforest of over 25,000 years ago and contains about 400 plant species. Bwindi Impenetrable national park inhabits half of the remaining endangered mountain gorillas in the world and it is divided into 4 sectors including; Buhoma sector which is the oldest trekking sector, Rushaga sector which has the largest number of gorilla families, Ruhija sector and finally Nkuringo sector. Bwindi forest also shelters some species of mammals including the forest elephants and the different species of antelopes. The park is also rich with different bird species including Albertine Rift endemics.

Rwanda is incredibly interesting to visit in its incredible scenic hilly landscapes making her famous as “Land of a thousand hills” rich in biodiversity. This 12 Days Uganda-Rwanda Safaris is the best way to spend your safari in Uganda and Rwanda taking you Rwanda’s most visited primates’ destinations that is Volcanoes national park and Nyungwe national park with a bit of relaxation during the trip at Lake Kivu. Volcanoes national park is the most popular park unique for gorilla trekking along with other 2 parks in Uganda and 1 in Congo. Apart from gorilla trekking, Volcanoes national park is also a home to the endangered golden monkeys and a few of the forest animals and the park hosts about 200 different bird species. Nyungwe forest national park on the other hands is home to the endangered chimpanzees and 12 other species of primates. Trekking chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest is one of the most scenic experiences under the montane rainforest and walking on a canopy above the forest is an added beautiful experience. 

Highlights of the 12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari

  • Day 1: Arrival in Kigali – Transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park
  • Day 2: Morning Game drive and Boat cruise 
  • Day 3: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable national park
  • Day 4: Gorilla trekking experience
  • Day 5: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi 
  • Day 6: Canoe ride, Zip Lining and Batwa community tour 
  • Day 7: Transfer to Volcanoes national park
  • Day 8: Golden Monkey tracking and community tour 
  • Day 9: Explore Lake Kivu
  • Day 10: Transfer to Nyungwe forest national park
  • Day 11: Chimpanzee trekking and Canopy walk
  • Day 12: Return to Kigali – Departure 

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Pick-up in Kigali and Transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park

The first day of your 12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari requires you to at least arrive in Uganda a day before or have an every morning arrival flight at Kigali international airport. This is because you need about 6 to 7 hours driving from Kigali city to cross to Uganda – Queen Elizabeth national park. So then depending on your location in Kigali, you will be picked-up by our company representative/guide who will then transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park. The journey is scenic with great views of the rolling hills of Rwanda, cross via Katuna border and proceed to the western part of Uganda to Queen Elizabeth national park. Hot Lunch will be served en-route at one of the best restaurants in one of the towns in en-route. 

Arrive in the park late afternoon and drive to some of the exploration crater lakes around the park. The crater lakes are very interesting to view providing exciting pictures. Proceed to check-in at your lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight stay.

  • Budget option: Pumba Safari Cottages 
  • Mid-range option: Parkview Safari lodge 
  • Luxury option: Kyambura Gorge lodge 

Day 2: Lion tracking/morning game drive and afternoon boat cruise

You will wake up early, have breakfast and drive for an early morning game drive but first you will go for a lion tracking experience where you will get to see the lions then do a game drive in the Kisenyi region for more animals like antelopes, buffaloes, elephants, warthogs and waterbucks just to mention a few.

You will return to the lodge for lunch then later afternoon, you will go for a launch cruise along the Kazinga channel where you will get an opportunity to see a number of bird species, elephants and buffalos, hippos and crocodiles at the lake shores. Return and relax at lodge as above

12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari
Tree Climbing Lions in Queen

Day 3: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable national park

On Day 3 of your 12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari, after breakfast early in the morning, check-out of the lodge drive heading to Bwindi Impenetrable national park via the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park for an opportunity to spot the tree climbing lions. Have en-route hot lunch then proceed to Bwindi forest. It’s about 4-5 hours journey to Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Arrive at your lodge close to the park depending on which gorilla trekking sector you will go to. Check-in for dinner and overnight at the lodge.

  • Budget option: Buhoma Community Rest Camp 
  • Mid-range option: Buhoma Haven lodge for mid-range
  • Luxury option Buhoma lodge for luxury

Day 4: Gorilla trekking experience

Breakfast is served quite early since you are required to report at the park headquarters by 7 am for a briefing about Uganda Gorilla Safaris by the park officials. By 8 am, you will connecting to then starting point after you have being allocated a group to trek along with your trekking gears. The time taken trekking is not guaranteed between 2-8 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas hiking up and down the impenetrable forest to find the gorillas. 

Meeting the gorillas is one of the most fascinating lifetime experiences. You will observe and take pictures of them at very close range. After an hour with the long-awaited gorillas, your guide and rangers will lead you back to the starting point where your driver will readily be waiting to transfer you back to the lodge for a restful evening. Dinner and overnight stay at the same lodge as above

Day 5: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi – Kabale

After having breakfast early morning, connect and transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable national park-a home to the endangered mountain gorillas. First connect for a game drive in Ishasha sector for chances of spotting the tree climbing lions. Thereafter proceed out of the park to connect to Buhoma sector of Bwindi. Check-in your lodge for relaxation dinner and overnight stay at 

  • Budget option: Bunyonyi Overland resort 
  • Mid-range option: Bunyonyi Eco lodge 
  • Luxury option: Bunyonyi BirdNest lodge 

Day 6: Canoe ride, Zip-lining and Batwa community tour

Today you will spend your exploring lake Bunyonyi. Wake up and enjoy your breakfast and connect to some of the islands on the lake, you will go on a boat ride/ canoe paddle on some of the islands. Bunyonyi comprises of 29 islands especially the punishment island and the lake is the best place of relaxation. After your lunch, do a Zip-lining experience and relax at the lakeshore with great views of the hills and visit the community in Bunyonyi. Meals will be served at the lodge and spend another night the lodge as above at lodge as above

Day 7: Transfer to Musanze (Rwanda) – Community tour

Meet your driver after breakfast and drive to drive to cross to Rwanda crossing via Cyanika border to connect to Musanze. Proceed to your lodge to check-in. Later afternoon, drive to Ibya’ cuwa cultural village to have an experience of Banyarwanda culture and tradition, relaxation, dinner and overnight stay at 

  • Luxury lodge option; 5 Volcanoes Gorilla lodge 
  • Mid-range lodge option: Le Bambou Gorilla lodge 
  • Budget lodge option: Kinigi Guest House 

Day 8: Golden monkey tracking – Volcanoes national park

On the 8th day of your 12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari, After breakfast, transfer to the park headquarters for briefing about the golden monkeys. Volcanoes national park is also a home to the fascinating Golden monkeys, the park shares boarders with Virunga national park in Congo; it also has the most scenic as it stands at 3 volcanoes of Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo.

Later you will begin hiking over the volcanic terrains in search of the monkeys in the bamboo forest. It may take you 2-6 hours to find them depending on their location and you will be given 1 hour to spend with them while taking pictures before to return to your lodge. Dinner and overnight stay at lodge as above

Day 9: Explore Lake Kivu 

In the morning, have breakfast and then connect to the Kibuye with great views of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Virunga Mountains where you will enjoy a boat cruise along visiting the local fishing villages and islands depending on your interest. Return to lodge for lunch before you proceed to Kibuye. It’s a 2 hours’ drive from Gisenyi. Dinner and overnight stay at 

  • Luxury lodge option: Lake Kivu Serena Lodge 
  • Mid-range lodge option: Rushel Kivu Lodge 
  • Budget hotel option: Paradise Malahide Hotel

Day 10: Drive to Nyungwe Forest national park

After breakfast, you will set off to Nyungwe forest located in the south western part of Rwanda. The park is best known for its habitant of primates species like the chimpanzees and plus owl-faced and colobus monkeys and canopy walk. Have lunch and connect to your hotel to rest or do an activity of you interest as you will be advised by your guide. Dinner and overnight stay at 

  • Budget option: Gisakura Visitor centre 
  • Mid-range option: Nyungwe Top View hotel 
  • Luxury lodge option: Nyungwe House Lodge

Day 11: Chimpanzee Trek & Canopy Walk

After breakfast, transfer to the park offices for briefing and after enter into the tropical rain forest to search for the shy chimpanzees in the branches of the trees and take unforgettable photos and videos. Lunch and later in the evening experience the canopy walk which offers clear view of plants, primates, birds, butterflies very close. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight. Dinner and overnight at lodge as above.

Chimpanzee Trek
Chimpanzee Trekking

Day 12: Return to Kigali/Departure

Take an early morning breakfast then embark on your journey back to Kigali. Proceed to Kigali with en route lunch if time is available visit the Butare genocide memories and museum. Arrive Kigali city late evening and the driver will drop you off at your hotel. 

End of the 12 Days Uganda Rwanda Wildlife Safari

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