Rwanda to Uganda – Wildlife & Culture Adventure:  May 12 – May 23, 2022 

  • 12 Days / 11 Nights

  • Luxury Accommodations and Vehicles

  • Mountain Gorillas & Chimpanzees

  • Traditional African Safari Game Drives

  • Museums & Cultural Demonstrations

  • Limited to just 12 Guests

Iam excited to share with you one of the most beautiful corners of the globe: Rwanda and Uganda.  I’ve visited this region regularly over the past few years for various photography related projects, and have absolutely fallen in love with this part of east Africa.  We are going to have some incredible wildlife experiences, including two mountain gorilla treks and a chimpanzee trek.  We will search for big cats and elephants on traditional safari game drives, spot monkeys and birds on nature walks, and meet members of the communities to learn about rural life in the region.

We will enjoy staying at the best destinations, in luxury lodges that emphasize wildlife conservation and community empowerment.  Our professional guides accompanying us for the entire itinerary are some of the most experienced in the business.  Their knowledge of both wildlife and the local cultures will be invaluable as we transit through this incredible region, in comfortable and modern 4×4 Land Cruisers.  Join me on what promises to be an unforgettable experience!

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Itinerary & Destinations

The Route

We will be tracing a path from the mountains of Rwanda and Uganda down into the savannah, stopping at some of the most pristine and wild regions of east Africa.  Numerous National Parks and protected areas, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site, await us as we learn about the wildlife, landscape, people, and culture of this incredible region.

Day 1 – Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda

Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, we will be met by our guides who will transfer us to the modern and comfortable Park Inn by Radisson Kigali.  We will have a late dinner upon arrival at the hotel, then it’s time to relax and unwind for the night.

Accommodation: Park Inn by Radisson Kigali

Photos courtesy: Park Inn by Radisson Kigali

Day 2 – Kigali to Musanze, Rwanda

After breakfast, our guides will take us to the Kigali Genocide Memorial where we will learn about the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.  There we hope to better understand this relatively recent human tragedy, which continues to shape the region as it recovers.   We will then have lunch in Kigali before proceeding up to Musanze (formally Ruhengeri).  This is a beautiful 3 hour drive up into the “Land of One Thousand Hills” and the Virunga Massif, where we will stay for the next two nights.

If we have time upon arrival in Musanze, we will visit the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International headquarters.  There we can begin to learn about mountain gorilla conservation and the incredible efforts Dian made to protect this majestic species.

Photo courtesy: Kigali Genocide Memorial

Photo by: Skyler Bishop

Accommodation: Amakoro Songa Lodge

Photos Courtesy: Amakoro Songa Lodge

Day 3 – Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters for your first mountain gorilla trek.  After a coffee and briefing from your Park guide, we then transfer in our vehicles to the starting location of the trek and begin our hike up the slopes of the volcanoes and into the forest.  The length and difficulty of the trek will vary dependent on where the gorillas are, but once we find them you will have a full hour to spend observing these magnificent creatures of the forest.  We return back to our lodge for lunch and will have plenty of time to relax, unwind, and share stories from our time with the mountain gorillas.

We will have a special guest join us for dinner and stories around the fire this evening.  One of the Rwandan wildlife veterinarians from Gorilla Doctors, the only organization to provide hands-on veterinary care for mountain gorillas, will talk about the work they do and you will have an opportunity to ask questions as it relates to gorilla conservation.

Accommodation: Amakoro Songa Lodge

Photos by: Skyler Bishop

Day 4 – Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda to Buhoma, Uganda

For those with the energy after yesterday’s mountain gorilla trek, we will have an early breakfast before embarking on a golden monkey trek in Volcanoes National Park.  Those who would rather relax, can take a leisurely morning at the Lodge, taking in the incredible views.

Late morning we will depart for the Rwanda/Uganda border, just 45 min from our Lodge.  It’s then a beautiful four hour drive around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Buhoma, with a picnic lunch along the way.  Upon arrival at our lodge, we will relax, do some birding from the decks, and have a leisurely evening.

Photos by: Skyler Bishop

Accommodation: Buhoma Lodge

Photos courtesy: Buhoma Lodge

Day 5 – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

After an early breakfast, we are transferred to the Buhoma Ranger Station of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for our second mountain gorilla trek.  We will then be briefed by our Park guide and commence our trek into the forest.  As in Rwanda, we will have one hour with the mountain gorillas… once we finally find them!  As we enjoy our packed lunch, you’ll notice how different the forest in Bwindi is from the forest of the Virunga Massif.  You may also recognize distinct differences in the appearances and behaviors of the mountain gorillas here, although they are the same species as those in the Virungas.

We will then return to our lodge for an afternoon of relaxation.  As in Rwanda, we will invite one of the Ugandan Gorilla Doctor veterinarians to join us for dinner so we can ask more questions and learn more about gorilla conservation here in Uganda.

Accommodation: Buhoma Lodge

Photos by: Skyler Bishop

Day 6 – Buhoma to Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha Sector, Uganda

After breakfast we will depart Bwindi for a quick 90-minute transfer the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, famous for its tree climbing lions.  A game drive in the Park on our way to camp will likely yield our first sightings of some of the more iconic African wildlife.  After a relaxing lunch at our breathtaking luxury camp situated on the Ntungwe River, we will will embark on an afternoon game drive in search for Ishasha’s numerous animals in the hopes of sighting some lions atop the fig trees.

Accommodation: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Photos courtesy: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Day 7 – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha Sector, Uganda

After a hearty breakfast, we will head for a morning game drive in search of wildlife as we explore more of the beautiful Ishasha Sector. We will return for lunch and have the afternoon to relax and enjoy the views along the River, observing the abundant birds around our camp.  For those who wish to get back into the field, an afternoon game drive is included to continue exploring the Ishasha Sector.

Accommodation: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Photos courtesy: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Day 8 – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha Sector to Mweya Sector, Uganda

After a relaxed breakfast, we will depart for the Mweya Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The drive is approximately 3 hours, with game viewing along the way.  We’ll arrive at the incredibly situated Mweya Safari Lodge in time for lunch.  The rest of the afternoon is dedicated to relaxing and enjoying the views of the Kazinga Channel in the comfort of our private balconies or the main lodge area.  For those that wish, we have scheduled an afternoon game drive (included) to begin exploring the wildlife of Mweya Sector.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge

Photos courtesy: Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 9 – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Sector, Uganda

At first light we will embark on a game drive in the Mweya Sector of Queen Elizabeth NP in search of lions and the elusive leopard.  We will have an opportunity to see a variety of wildlife including elephants, buffalo, antelope and numerous bird species, making sure to take time for coffee in the bush.  After returning to the Lodge for lunch and some relaxation, we head down to the river in the afternoon for a private boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel.  We’ll be able to observe wildlife from the vantage point of the water, hoping to see animals drinking at the shore along with unique bird life.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge

Photos courtesy: Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 10 – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Sector to Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda

After breakfast, we depart for Kibale Forest National Park.  During the two-hour journey we will be passing through rural Ugandan villages and farm land.  The eco-friendly Primate Lodge is situated in the tropical forest, and we will arrive in time for lunch.   This afternoon we have the unique opportunity to take a walk through the local Bigodi Community, and meet with some of the local people.  We’ll learn first-hand about how they make coffee and beer (with tastings of course) and we’ll meet a community medicine man to learn more about the regional culture.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge

Photos courtesy: Primate Lodge

Day 11 – Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda

This morning we will be hiking into Kibale Forest in search of our closest relative: the chimpanzee.  As with gorillas, we will have an hour with the chimps once we find them in the forest, to observe their behaviors and take photos.  We return to our eco-lodge for lunch and a leisurely afternoon.  For those who wish, we have arranged a nature walk (included) in the swamp to search for other primates, birds, and unique plant life.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge

Photos courtesy: Kibale Forest National Park

Day 12 – Kibale Forest National Park to Entebbe, Uganda

Shortly after breakfast, we begin the 6 hour drive to Entebbe, Uganda.  En route, we will have stops for souvenir shopping, photo ops, and lunch before arriving at the Boma Guest House in Entebbe to relax and freshen up.  There is an option to book a commercial flight from Kasese to Entebbe which takes about 1hr 45min and costs ~$300 (via Aerolink Uganda) if you wish to avoid the long road transfer.

Dinner is on your own this evening at the Boma Guest House restaurant, as everyone gets readied for the journey home.  We will be transported to the Entebbe airport around 8pm for our departing flights (typically international flights depart around 11pm).

Accommodation: Boma Guest House afternoon/evening (no overnight)

Photos courtesy: Boma Guest House Entebbe

Cost & What’s Included?

$9,850 per person (sharing).  Single supplement is $1,050.

INCLUDED

  • All accommodations and scheduled activities, trekking permits, and laundry service.
  • All meals, refreshments, drinking water, wine, and local spirits (except for final evening at Boma Guest House)
  • English-speaking Terra Incognita EcoTours guides to accompany our group for the duration of the itinerary.
  • Photographic instructor Skyler Bishop will accompany the group for the duration of the itinerary.
  • Tour administration support from Terra Incognita EcoTours staff located in Rwanda.
  • Transport in spacious 4×4 Land Cruiser vehicles.
  • All National Park fees, all government levies and taxes, requisite donations for guest speakers and museums.
  • Airport transfers for arriving and departing international flights.

Example of 4×4 Land Cruisers we will be using.

EXCLUDED

  • International flights and airport taxes.
  • Passport, visa, and airport fees.
  • Dinner on final evening at Boma Guest House restaurant.
  • Additional meals, drinks, activities, and transfers not specified on the itinerary.
  • Premium imported drinks.
  • Gratuities and items of a personal nature.
  • Any government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases beyond our control.
  • Travel and medical insurance (strongly recommended for each guest).

Booking & Logistics

BOOKING  –  Skyler Bishop Photography has pre-booked this private safari with the operator, Terra Incognita EcoTours Rwanda, exclusive to our group only.  Guest payments are made to Skyler Bishop Photography.

A non-refundable deposit of $2,400 secures your spot on the trip.  This ensures all permits and lodging are reserved in your name.  Remaining balance is due 75-days prior to departure.

CONTACT ME to start the booking process.

Photo by: Skyler Bishop

COVID-19 Rescheduling Contingency

While we are confident travel in May 2022 will be possible, the COVID-19 pandemic may still be impacting travel.  We will endeavor to be as flexible as possible if travel restrictions force the trip to be postponed.  In the event the trip must be rescheduled to a future date, your payment will be applied to the rescheduled trip date.  While lodging/permit fees are subject to change, no other additional fees will be applied if we must reschedule the trip due to the pandemic.

  • Your money is applied to a future trip date in the event COVID-19 travel restrictions require the trip to be postponed.
  • Permit date-change fees may apply (currently $150 in Rwanda, free in Uganda).
  • Permit and lodging fees are subject to change.

Travel Insurance is strongly recommended, as many policies have provisions regarding unexpected trip cancellations.

General Trip Cancellation Fee Schedule

Should you need to cancel your trip, the following policy applies:

  • Cancellation greater than 75-days prior to departure: forfeit of deposit
  • Cancellation less than 75-days prior to departure: full trip cost

GETTING THERE  –  It is the responsibility of each guest to book their international air transportation arriving in Kigali, Rwanda and departing Entebbe, Uganda.  Once you arrive at the Kigali Airport (KGL) we will be in the capable hands of Terra Incognita EcoTours Rwanda for the duration of our stay.

Please book for arrival at KGL airport on May 12, 2022 around 8pm local time.  If departing from San Francisco, CA (SFO) your departure date will be May 10, 2022 to arrive in Kigali, Rwanda the evening of May 12, 2022.  Departure flights should be booked from Entebbe airport (EBB) for around 11pm local time on May 23, 2022.  I recommend using Google Flights to search for the best airfare rates.