Safari Overview.

The Highlands of Uganda that are part of the Virunga mountains are known to have the highest Mountain Gorilla population in the world.

Gorillas and people in the highlands trip starts in Kigali, providing an easy access to the Gorillas by road. The trip starts with a historical and people tour of Kigali city, then proceed to Southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a one-on-one with the Great apes.

The trip is not only limited to Gorilla tracking but also expect riveting sceneries of the highlands and valleys, island visits and amazing people. You will also learn about the culture of the communities living around the Gorilla Park.

This trip can also start from Entebbe, depending on client preference.

Brief itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kigali -Transfer to the Hotel.

Day 2: Kigali- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by road.

Day 3: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Day 4: Optional second Gorilla trek – Boat ride to Lake Mutanda Punishment Island.

Day 5: Bwindi- Kigali – International return Flight.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kigali – Transfer to the hotel.

Welcome to Rwanda! Adventure Consults Airport representatives will meet and assist you through customs. Collect the luggage and meet your personal/private guide for a transfer to the hotel.

Depending on arrival time, you may have a detailed briefing on your safari today or tomorrow before starting the safari.

Overnight accommodation is included on Bed & Breakfast basis.
Most hotels are about 25 minutes’ drive from the airport.
Inclusions: Bed & Breakfasts basis.
Exclusions: All meals and drinks.

Day 2: Kigali City tour – Drive to Nkuringo/Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

Meet your driver at the lobby for a briefing on your safari.

A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial will give you a welcome insight to Rwanda. It’s a historical tour based on what exactly happened to the people of this beautiful nation many years ago.  The memorial is a center of education, and peacebuilding and honors the memory of more than one million Rwandans who were killed in 1994. The three permanent exhibitions and burial gardens form part of a meaningful tribute to those who perished and provide a powerful educational tool for all.

The exhibition is shocking, provoking and attempts to piece together the causes and events of the three-month genocide which destroyed Rwanda in 1994.  Thousands of first-hand accounts are documented, and personal film footage and photography are showcased, illustrating the collection of events in a simple and striking way. No doubt, 99.9% of the Rwandan population were affected by the horrific violence of the genocide, a dark past that makes the present friendliness and goodwill of the country’s locals more inspiring.

A cup of African coffee or Rwandan tea in Kigali and head out to the Northern province of Rwanda as you enter the neighboring Pearl of Africa – Uganda.

The scenic drive is so thrilling as you get close to the highlands of the region. The landscape is green, misty, rocky, and forested for most of the journey. Cross to Uganda via Cyanika border post and proceed to southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will arrive at the lodge in time for a late lunch.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has got almost 400 species of plants, providing habitat for over 120 mammal species (including 11 primates), 346 species of birds (including 23 highly localised Albertine Rift endemics), 202 species of butterflies, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many other endangered species. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is notable for being home to over 50% of the approximately 1,060 Mountain Gorillas still living on earth.

After lunch, you have an option to relax at the lodge, photograph, enjoy the colorful Birds, butterflies, and breathtaking views of the giant volcanoes that makes the lodge outstanding.

This afternoon, you may simply relax at the lodge and enjoy the views of the mist-caped Volcanoes, and sometimes mist magically peels off. You may as well take a walk around the lodge and enjoy the forest residents, among others include butterflies, chameleons and colorful birds.

Meals and Overnight at the Lodge.
Standard inclusions: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner).
Some lodges include drinks with exclusion of premium/imported wines and spirits.
Standard exclusions: All drinks.

Day 3: Gorilla tracking in Rushaga or Nkuringo.

Depending on your lodge location, you may have breakfast at the lodge or take a parked breakfast. Some properties are about an hour away from the Gorilla tracking point, so departure time varies.  Breakfast is always ready by 0500 hours.

You will meet your personal guide at the lounge and drive or walk to the Park Headquarters for a detailed briefing about Gorillas – see more information here – Gorilla information. Gorilla tracking starts at 0800 hours and is done once a day.

Experienced Wildlife guides along with trackers and porters will accompany you through the bamboo forest and hilly National Park.  The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, leads you to lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.  After finding the Gorillas, you will have an opportunity to be within restricted distance. Watch them, follow them as you they share their daily lifestyles of feeding, grooming the young ones, taking care of each other and sometimes play up and down in the tree branches.

With an estimated 1,063 Gorilla population in the world, spending one hour with a Gorilla family is a once in a lifetime experience! You will later follow your footsteps and return to the forest edge, meet your guide, head back to the lodge.

Depending on trek duration, you have an option for a picnic lunch or have a warm meal at the lodge.

Gorilla tracking in this area, especially Nkuringo area requires good stamina. The terrain is steep and on a rainy day can be muddy. The views, however, are fascinating compared to other sectors.

Meals and Overnight at the Lodge.
Standard inclusions: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner).
Some lodges include drinks with exclusion of premium/imported wines and spirits.
Standard exclusions: All drinks.

Day 4: Optional Second Gorilla trek or take a boat ride to the Punishment Island.

Today you have an option to go for a second Gorilla trek (on payment of supplement 700$). Every Gorilla visit is different and special. You get to see different Gorilla families, different guides, different trails, and totally new experiences.

Alternatively, spend most of the day on the freshwater lake Mutanda. A motorized boat ride or canoeing on Lake Mutanda, takes you to Kyangushu island known as the punishment island. According to the old tradition of Kigezi region, it was a bad omen for any girl in society to get pregnant before marriage. Once it happened, such girls would be taken to an isolated island, left there to starve and die naturally. Some would try to swim back to the mainland but unfortunately couldn’t make but end up drowning. At the island, is where these girls would be buried or left to unattended to. After so many years of abolishing the barbaric act, right now, skeletons and remains of the victims can be seen. Your tour will be guided by the local people who understands the story better.

You will later proceed to Gahiza retreat island for refreshments. Here, you will enjoy the best views of the volcanoes as they cast shadows on the waters of Lake Mutanda.

Weather, interest, and time permitting, you may take a hike to Mutanda highland for a community walk. People here have a mobile market where you can buy crafts and support the local school. Listen to interesting stories as you enjoy views of the highest five volcanoes in the region.

You will ride back to the mainland, meet your guide and drive back to the lodge.

Meals and Overnight at the Lodge.
Standard inclusions: All Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner).
Some lodges include drinks with exclusion of premium/imported wines and spirits.
Standard exclusions: All drinks.

Day 5: Nkuringo or Rushaga to Kigali by road – International flight

After breakfast, follow your footsteps back to Kigali. You will have stunning views of the misty-covered volcanoes, lakes and terraced highlands. Relevant stops at places of interest including Cyanika border post for customs.

Proceed to Kigali, time permitting, have last minute craft shopping and later transfer to the airport in time for your flight. Today’s lunch is included in the safari package price.

Please book return/international flight departing flight not earlier than 1300 hours. check-in time is 3 hours in advance.

Where to stay while on a Gorilla in the Highlands trip.

Accommodation in Kigali City; Kigali has got a variety of hotels to cater for all visitor categories. There are small boutique hotels with limited rooms as well as commercial hotels ranging from high end, midrange to budget. Kigali hotels are all on Bed & Breakfast basis.

  • The Retreat by Heaven.
  • Kigali Serena Hotel.
  • Hotel des Mille Collines.
  • Kigali Marriott Hotel.
  • Four Points by Sheraton.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center.

Accommodation in Rushaga/Nkuringo sector.

The Southern sector of Bwindi has got a wide variety of accommodation options. The available facilities cater for all visitor categories, ranging from high-end luxury, midrange to budget. The choice entirely depends on planned budget and personal preference. Not all the accommodation facilities can be listed but here are some of the best options.

  • Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.
  • Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge.
  • Gorilla Heights Lodge.
  • Chameleon Hill Forest Lodge.
  • Four Gorillas Lodge.
  • Gorilla Safari Lodge.
  • Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge.
  • Mutanda Lake Resort.
  • Gorilla Valley Lodge.