A trip to Rwanda and Uganda should be on everyone’s bucket list. If seeing the gorillas is your main interest, it’s possible to see them with only 3-4 days in Rwanda, but two weeks is ideal if you’d like to see both countries. Make a comfortable loop through both Rwanda and Uganda and have an amazing and varied experience. Include the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, the chimps of Uganda, perhaps some tree-climbing lions, the source of the Nile, Murchison Falls, great game viewing, fabulous bird-watching, friendly and welcoming people, and come home with a book of stories to tell.
Volcanoes National Park is home to the largest remaining mountain gorilla population in the world, and only a few hours by road from Kigali with your driver. Rwanda truly is the Land of a Thousand Hills and surprisingly, every inch of those hills, no matter how steep, are cultivated. The land is incredibly fertile and lush, making for a very scenic drive. Stay for at least two nights at the base of the volcanoes in our favorite lodge, and be ready at daybreak for your gorilla trek. Hike along the jungle trails, following the footsteps of Dian Fossey, and nothing prepares you for the first glimpse of the gorillas when all the hair on the back of your neck stands on end. Spend a peaceful hour watching them interact with each other, and with you! Watch the toddlers and teenagers wrestle and play, mothers nurse their young, and the enormous silverback grandfather watch proudly over his family while keeping everyone in line.
From Rwanda, continue over the border into Uganda and spend a few nights game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Enjoy interesting game drives with a huge variety of wildlife and if you’re lucky you’ll even see tree-climbing lions! Continue on to Kibale National Forest for the opportunity to see the chimpanzees. At first, you might think seeing the chimps would be similar to a gorilla experience, but it’s entirely different. While the gorillas are fairly relaxed and you spend your hour in one place, more or less, your hour with the chimps will go by in a flash because they are so active! Hike through the forest with your guide and keep your ears open because you’ll hear them long before you see them. Once you spot the first one, you’ll realize they’re everywhere, hiding in plain sight – on the ground, up in trees, under branches, behind logs, swinging through the treetops…
Finish your trip at Murchison Falls National Park and stay in a prime location right on the banks of the Nile. Spend a few days doing game drives and take a cruise to the base of Murchison Falls too – the perfect end to a magical trip.
Rwanda & Uganda