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20 Days Safari Uganda and Cong / Nyiragongo and Rwenzori Trekking and Gorillas

Day 1   Arrival at EBB airport

Arrive at EBB airport, where you will be welcomed  and  greeted by a company representative and later transfer to Nexus Resort B/B in Kampala for an over night stay.

Travel time:  1 hour

Day: 2 Murchison Falls, Tracking Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Murchison Falls Park located in Northwestern part of Uganda. You will drive through a series of districts with busy trading centers and road side fruit markets, areas with fertile soils, woodland, papyrus swamps and farmland with the Ankole long horned cattle.  Visit Ziwa Rhino sanctuary the only wilderness in Uganda where White Rhinos can be tracked on foot (14 Rhinos currently exists on this 70acres of land) the visit to the sanctuary is   also a break from the 176km distance from Kampala. After Rhino tracking drive down to Masindi town for your lunch break and there after continue your journey to Murchison Falls going through Budongo forest, open savanna woodland, and extensive grassland. The drive on the southern bank of the Nile is more of a vegetarian safari because animals can’t cross the Victoria Nile. A few kilometers past the Sambiya River drive 12 km to the top of Murchison Falls where the White Nile is funneled into a 7 meter wide rock gorge on its way to Lake Albert. Drive back and check in at a booked lodge. (Murchison River lodge F/B  two nights)

Travel Time:         4 hours                  

Accommodation:  Murchison River lodge   

Day 3 Game Drive & Launch cruise

Game viewing starts with an early rise having slept on the southern bank,  cross to the northern bank on a ferry (20 minutes drive to the ferry). The game drive takes you through open grassland dotted with Borassus Palms and a panoramic view. You will have a chance to see herds of buffaloes, Rothschild’s giraffe, and elephants, prides of lions, hartebeests, ibis, kobs, and waterbucks to mention just a few. Return and have Lunch and in the afternoon at 2 p.m, take a 3-hour launch cruise (17km stretch) along the Victoria Nile to the base of the falls. Along the way you will experience close quarter contact with schools of hippos basking by the Nile bank, Nile crocodile incubating eggs, lots of birds, animals watering and the magnificent falls. Return to your lodges by 5 p.m.

Game drive 4-5 hours and Boat cruise 3 hours

Day 4 Fort Portal- Kibale Forest National park

Kibale Forest National Park, depart Murchison River lodge at 7a.m and transfer to Fort portal driving past Lake Albert en route to Hoima town. Stop at the escarpment for a magnificent view over the lake and the distant mountains of Congo. Continue to Fort Portal for a late lunch and check in at chimpanzee Guest house F/B two nights.

Travel time:   5 hours   434 km

Day 5 Chimpanzee tracking, Primate Walk  & Swamp walk

Primate walk, drive to Kibale National Park early enough for your morning primate watch This forest park is a home to the highest diversity of primates in East Africa. The park has 13 species of primates and the chimpanzees are the main attraction. Take a primate walk of 3-4 hours depending on where the monkeys are. Return for a lunch break and refreshments and there after get ready for a swamp walk driving for 10 minutes from Kanyanchu tourist centre will get you to the reception of Bigodi sanctuary, where you will meet the guides who will brief you about the conservation of Magombe swamp and later guide you through a birding and primate excursion (2-3 hrs). Return and drive back to your Guest house.

RWENZORI CENTRAL CIRCUIT                                           

Day 6     Nyabitaba hut (2652m)

After breakfast, transfer to park headquarters at Nyakalengija. This is the starting point, where you will have your luggage weighed, meet the porters, chef and guide and have a debriefing for the trip. The day's hiking is fairly easy to Nyabitaba hut. On your way to the park boundary, you will go through coffee plantations, garden plots and homesteads. After the park boundary, the trail follows River Mubuku on your right and you will cross small rivers, rocks and bluffs before reaching River Muhoma. Then make a climb through ferns and the forest and then finally onto Nyabitaba hut (2652m). 5-7 hour climb

Day 7    Hike up to John Matte (3414m).

This is considered to be the longest and most tiring day of the circuit, so an early start is vital. From Nyabitaba Hut, move westward and drop steeply at River Mubuku which you cross at Kurt Shaffer Bridge.  After the bridge, move anticlockwise and use the muddy, slippery trail that climbs to the bamboo zone. Enter the moorland zone with giant tree heather and groundsel. Have a stop at Nyamileju Hut for lunch and to enjoy the view of Mt Speke and Mt Stanley if the day is clear. After lunch proceed following River Mubuku and hiking through giant Robelia, groundsel and challenging bog before finally arriving at John Matte.

Day 8   Hike to Bujuku hut

Leave John Matte hut and head for Bujuku (3962m). The hike takes up to 5 hours depending on the conditions of the Bigo Bog. Crossing the Bujuku River, you will enter into the Lower Bigo Bog and this involves a tough track and the experience of jumping from one grassy tussock to another. The trail is muddy but eventually leads to the Bigo Hut. Past the Bigo Hut is Upper Bigo Bog before reaching the beautiful Lake Bujuku. At the southern end of this lake is a majestic setting with Mt Baker in the South, Mt Speke in the North and Mt Stanley in the west. Take the lake trail to the north end and a rock shelter called cooking pot then on a short, distance further to Bujuku Hut. If you intend to climb Mt Speke (requires climbing experience skill and special equipment) make Bujuku Hut your base which allows an extra nights stay to do this climb.

 Day 9    Elena base and Kitandara hut

 You are not climbing the Margherita peak, therefore move south from Bujuku Hut to Kitandara (4023m) hiking to the highest point on the circuit trail Scott Elliot Pass (4372m). From there go through the giant groundsel and descend to Kitandara lakes. Kitandara huts are positioned on the shores of the lakes and it takes 3-4 hours from Bujuku hut.

 Day 10   Descending to Guy Yeoman hut.

An early start from Kitandara huts is advisable in order to avoid over heating on the steppes. Walk through fresh fields which traverse beautiful alpine mossy glades. The trail can be very slippery and difficult to trace especially when it’s rainy and misty. Bujongolo and Kabamba rock shelter can be an option for an overnight stopover. Alternatively it is best to push on through the endless mud of Kabamba bog to Guy Yeoman Hut.

 

Day 11   Nyabitaba hut

Last day on the circuit trail.Descend down the steep valley to Kichuchu rock shelter. The trail is difficult and muddy in some spots so help each other and descend slowly. Go through the bamboo forest and the bog, cross the Mahoma River and other two minor streams before finally descending back into tropical vegetation. Follow a ridge down to Nyabitaba Hut (5 hours). Depending on the condition of your knees, you may decide to push on to Nakalengija (2-3 hours).

 Day 12   Queen Elizabeth – Afternoon boat cruise

This day you will meet the cars & driver guides waiting at headquarter to transfer to Queen Elizabeth Park. Check in at Engiri lodge time for lunch and later take up an afternoon Boat cruise on Kazinga channel.

Accommodation:   Engiri lodge F/B

 Day13 Savannah Game drive in central area & one in Ishasha Sector

 Early Savannah game drive in the Kasenyi plains searching for prides of lions, herds of Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Hyenas, Elephants etc, return around  9am for your breakfast, pack and leave for Ishasha sector( Famous for tree climbing lions and beautiful topis) Check in at Jungle lodge time for lunch and there after take up an afternoon  drive.

Accommodation:  Jungle lodge F/B

Day 14   Ishasha morning  game drive/Transfer to Bwindi Park (Ruhija sector)

To day we look for climbing lions in the ishasha sector plus other animals like the topis,leopards,kobs and plenty of birds

Accommodation:  Broadbill forest camp F/B

Day 15 Gorillas Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Park

Trekking adventure starts with an early rise, after your breakfast get yourself ready with enough drinking water and a packed lunch. Your guides drive you to the briefing ground where you team up with other trekkers. You will be divided into trekking groups and later meet your guide who will debrief you before you set off for the day. The trekking takes anywhere from 1 hour to 7 hours depending on how close or far the gorillas are at any given moment. Once you find the family of gorillas, you will have one hour to view them in their natural habitat. Although still wild, the gorillas are habituated and are used to people so you will have an unforgettable close interaction with these magnificent animals. The safari might be stressful and demanding but worth well because looking into the eyes of a Gorilla is a life time memory.

INFORMATION TO NOTE
Trekking can be wet and hot work. Therefore carry water proof jackets and a day pack to hold essentials like binoculars and cameras. Trekking is through steep ridges with thick and thorny vegetation. It's advised to have good hiking shoes, long trousers, long sleeved shirts, sun cream, sun glasses, gloves, walking stick and a hat. For photographers you may need 800 ASA or 1600 ASA film in order to take pictures of Gorillas because flashes are forbidden and the habitat in which they live is dark.

Day16  Transfer from Bwindi Park to Goma

Transfer from Bwindi Park early morning to Goma, at the border a representative will  assist you to clear with customs and cross border entering the Democratic Republic of Congo. Proceed on to Goma to Caritas hotel for dinner and overnight.

 Day 17   Mount Nyiragongo hike 

Transfer from Goma hotel early morning and meet your local agent who will take you to Mountain Nyiragongo, the volcano is done on an overnight tour,   It involves about 5-6 hours trekking on the 1st day up to the volcano itself and then you stay at 8 huts, with 2 beds each right on the crater rim about 30m from peering inside the crater. You will feel, see and hear the huge lava lake as it moves and as it changes colour at night. It does get cold at night so bring thermals, and a good sleeping bag. The hike is probably medium grade and no technical climbing. It can be wet in the forest region at the base.

Things to bring for Nyiragongo Hiking:
Meals( will be catered for in the cost) sleeping Bag, Change of dry clothes, Rain gear, Good walking shoes, Warm Clothes (sweater, jacket) it is cold up the rim. Sun cream, warm Hat, Torch, Camera and any other personal toiletries

Day 18   Mount Nyiragongo descend       
 You will head back down the mountain in the morning to Goma city clear with customs  and continue to  Gisenyi   for an overnight stay   Virunga Guest house F/B

 Day 19   Transfer to Kigali

Morning breakfast, transfer to Kigali town check in at Frame tree hotel for lunch and later a site seeing at Genocide memorial.

Day  20 Leisure, Souvenir shopping

Take the morning for leisure, souvenir shopping, packing and later transfer to Kanobe airport for your evening flight and end of safari.