Great Primate Tracking Expedition

Travel Idea:

Great Primate Tracking Expedition

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Length of trip:

15 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 8195

Best travel dates to go:

Jun 18, 2009 to Jul 02, 2009;


Detailed Description of this trip:

This is quite simply the most comprehensive mountain gorilla tracking expedition. Our focus is very specific: track and spend as much time as possible with the great apes of Rwanda and Uganda in their natural habitat. We will be visiting three separate gorilla habitats where, with a bit of effort, we have a very high likelihood of finding families of this largest primate. We can also expect to find chimpanzees and numerous species of other primates, as well as many species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Visitation with the Mountain Gorillas is strictly limited to one small group of humans per family per day. Demand for these permits far exceeds availability so advance reservations are imperative. We will be staying in the best available lodges and camps. While primates are the theme and object of our quest, we will also be visiting superb natural ecosystems with a spectacular complement of rare and beautiful birds, mammals and reptiles. We will be alert to all aspects of our environment, including villages and communities along the way. We will be accompanied by exceptional local guides. This will be a great trip to learn about Rwanda and Uganda’s distinctive wildlife and people. The founding Director, Will Weber, who has been traveling to Africa since 1980 will accompany the trip.



Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Kampala

    Arrive in Entebbe, Uganda.
    Hotel

    On arrival at the Entebbe Airport, you will be welcomed and transferred to Kampala for your overnight at the Emin Pasha Hotel, or similar, for two nights.

  • Day 2 - Kampala

    Ngamba Island Chimp Search.
    Sailing

    Take a morning boat trip from Entebbe pier to Ngamba Island. Located on a beautiful forested island, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to approximately 40 chimpanzees rescued from poachers. The semi-wild environment allows for close viewing of the animals in their natural habitat and affords an opportunity to have an intimate insight into a chimpanzee community.

    Adventure

    Depending on the time of arrival, a range of activities will be available such as feeding or walking with the chimpanzees and bird watching.

    Hotel

    Return to the mainland and overnight at the Emin Pasha Hotel, or similar.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 3 - Kampala

    Murchison Falls Safari.
    Sightseeing

    Depart from Kampala in the morning. Explore the Rhino Sanctuary (with payment of supplement), then stop in Masindi for lunch. Visit the top of the dramatic Murchison Falls, as it crashes through the narrow gorge.

    Safari

    In the evening, you will enjoy game viewing.

    Camping

    Overnight at the Nile Camp or Paraa Hotel for two nights.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 4 - Uganda

    Safari along the Nile.
    Safari

    Spend the day in the park with game viewing north of the Nile.

    Sailing

    Later, take a boat trip from Paraa to the bottom of the mighty and frothy falls.

    Safari

    You will have the opportunity to observe more game along the river, with some of the largest crocodiles that remain in Africa, as well as hippos, elephants and birds, including the rare shoebill stork, basking on the banks of the Nile.

    Camping

    Return to the Nile Camp or Paraa Hotel.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 5 - Kibale

    Safari

    Visit the Nile Safari Camp on your way to Kibale. On arrival at the lodge, either explore the crater lake nearby or relax at the lodge.

    Hotel

    Overnight at the Ndali or Mantana Lodge, or similar, in Kibale, for two nights.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 6 - Kibale

    Bbigodi Ecotourism Site.
    Eco-Tourism

    Track the noisy chimps and other primates crashing around the high canopy of the forest with colorful birds squawking nearby. Have a picnic lunch before taking a walk to the Bigodi Ecotourism Site to see the swamp birds and some of the community projects financed by tourism.

    Hotel

    Return to Kibale for your overnight.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 7 - Uganda

    Rwenzoris / Queen Elizabeth Park.
    Sightseeing

    Enjoy a day’s walk in the foothills of the Rwenzoris, one of the great mountain ranges of the world, and look out for its forbidding peaks in the distance.

    National Parks

    Or, you can drive straight to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The game you see will depend on the season; the Kasenyi plains are good for lions and the Mweya peninsula for a variety of animals.

    Hotel

    Overnight at the Mweya or Jacana Lodge, or similar, for two nights.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 8 - Uganda

    Kyambura Primate Tracking.
    Safari

    Take an excursion to the nearby Kyambura gorge to track the fast moving and elusive chimpanzees, one of man's closest relations. The chimp population is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable, but the walk is enchanting. Alternatively, go for a nature walk in Maramagambo Forest to see other primates and to visit the bat cave and the Blue Lake.

    River or Barge Cruise

    In the afternoon, take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel where the wildlife and a vast array of birds come to drink.

    Hotel

    Return to the Mweya or Jacana Lodge, or similar.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 9 - Uganda

    Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
    Private Car Service

    Leave for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. If roads permit, you can drive via Ishasha, home of the tree-climbing lion, or you can take the alternative route through more cultivated expanses.

    Sightseeing

    Time permitting, go for a short stroll around the lodge or explore the village.

    Hotel

    Overnight at the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, or similar. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 10 - Uganda

    Bwindi Gorilla Tracking.
    Safari

    Enjoy your first day of gorilla tracking (subject to permit availability at time of booking), as you walk up steep, densely forested hills. When you finally come across the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation, it is a truly inspiring moment! Tracking in Bwindi requires stamina and often takes most of the day.

    Sightseeing

    Alternatively, go for a leisurely nature or community walk.

    Hotel

    Return to the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, or similar. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 11 - Uganda

    Mgahinga / Virunga Volcanoes.
    Sightseeing

    Leave for Mgahinga. Make brief stops at places of interest, including Kanaba Gap, to view the dramatic Virunga volcanoes and the beautiful terraced hills.

    Private Car Service

    Proceed to the frontier town of Kisoro, and then up the mountain to Mgahinga at 2,300 m.

    Hotel

    Overnight at the Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge, or similar.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 12 - Rwanda

    Gorilla Tracking.
    Safari

    Either go gorilla tracking again, this time in Mgahinga / Nkuringo (on payment of supplement at time of booking and subject to permit availability), or climb the Muhavura or Gahinga volcanoes.

    Optional
    Sightseeing

    Or, you can choose to go for a nature walk or visit the golden monkeys in Mgahinga.

    Private Car Service

    Transfer to Rwanda after lunch.

    Sightseeing

    Stroll around the lodge or simply take in the panoramic sunset over the volcanoes.

    Hotel

    Overnight at the Volcanoes Virunga Lodge, or similar, for three nights.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 13 - Rwanda

    Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda.
    Safari

    Enjoy another day of gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans (subject to permit availability). Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virungas is a magical experience. If you are lucky, you can reach the gorillas, spend an hour with them, and be back at the base in time for a late lunch! Some gorilla families, however, are more elusive, and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy.

    Hotel

    Enjoy a quiet evening at the lodge.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 14 - Rwanda

    Gorilla Tracking.
    Safari

    Either spend a final day gorilla tracking, again in Parc National des Volcans (on payment of supplement at time of booking and subject to permit availability).

    Adventure

    Or enjoy one of the many other activities available. Observe the golden monkeys, drive to Gisenyi, visit the Ross Carr's orphanage and Lake Kivu, or climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes. Other options include trekking to Diane Fossey's grave, visiting the local school, participating in community projects, or walking to Lake Bulera.

    Hotel

    Return to the Virunga Lodge, or similar, for your final night in Africa.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Day 15 - Kigali

    Kigali / Onward.
    Sightseeing

    Leave for Kigali. Time permitting, enjoy a tour of the city including a visit to the market, a pottery project, handicraft shops, the Franco-Rwandan cultural centre, and the genocide memorial.

    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
    Meals: Breakfast.

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