Rwanda & Uganda
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Come face to face with heartbreaking history and incredible wildlife on a 6-day Premium journey through Rwanda and Uganda. See sombre reminders of Kigali’s devastating past, watch local life play out on the streets and witness a beautiful country that's continuously striving to move forward. Enter the world of rare mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and spend a day tracking and observing these endearing creatures. This soul-stirring adventure won’t soon be forgotten.
Your Premium Guided Holiday Includes:
- Accommodation - hotel (2 nights), eco-lodge (3 nights)
- 13 meals - 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
- Select activities
- Arrival airport transfer
- Tipping for accommodation, activities and transport
- Luggage transfer
- Daily breakfast and signature local meal experiences
- 24/7 on-ground support
Pricing is based on per person twin share for travel 15-20 October 2023
**Other dates available, a surcharge may apply
**Single traveller pricing available. Please speak to one of our travel consultants for more details
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Why you'll love this trip:
- With your gorilla permit included in the price of the trip, spend a day trekking (with an optional second) through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to get close to Uganda's rare mountain gorillas for an unforgettable hour.
- Wake up to spectacular views of the forest canopy during a three-night stay at our carbon neutral feature stay, the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
- Take a closer look at Rwanda’s devastating history and the resilience of its people during a two-night stay at Kigali’s Hotel des Mille Collines, which famously sheltered more than 1000 people during the Genocide, plus visits to the Ntarama Church, the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre and the Genocide Museum
- Sit down to dinner with a local park ranger, learning about life in the wilderness and their special relationships with the mountain gorillas. This is one dinner conversation you've likely never had before!
- Enjoy a local street food favourite 'Rolex' at a colourful lunch stop in Kigali. Rolex is actually a sandwich made out of flat bread called chapati with omelette and extra toppings rolled like burrito.
Is this trip right for you?
- Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, humid, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous walking. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours up and down hills (perhaps pack some gardening gloves to assist in any up-hill climbs). But the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty.
- The gorilla trek is a shared activity. You may be split into different groups according to fitness level, and be accompanied by other travellers on your trek. However there will only be a maximum of 8 people per gorilla family, plus a local Uganda Wildlife Ranger, and trackers.
- Kigali - Welcome Dinner
- Kigali - City Tour
- Kigali - Nyamata Memorial Site
- Kigali - Ntarama Church
- Kigali - Rolex Streetfood Lunch
- Kigali - Genocide Memorial Centre
- Bwindi National Park - Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Dinner with Ugandan Wildlife Authority Park Ranger
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Leisurely breakfast overlooking Bwindi Impentrable Forest
Day 1 / Kigali
Welcome to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city and the starting point for your adventure. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel, where you will meet your tour leader and small group for a 6pm welcome meeting. Your accommodation for the next two nights is no ordinary hotel – the Hotel des Mille Collines is famous for sheltering and consequently saving more than 1000 people during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. If you arrive to Kigali early, perhaps take to the streets to explore this flourishing city in the midst of a great revival. Head to Nyamirambo, the Muslim quarter, to try some giant grilled tilapia, or stop by a local cafe and discover why Rwandan coffee is considered some of the world’s best. This evening, join your leader and small group for dinner at a lively East African restaurant popular with the locals. Enjoy live music, cocktails, incredible views and an authentic shared dining experience full of regional flavour.
Day 2 / Kigali
This morning, head out of the city for a sobering visit to the Ntarama Church. Your leader will explain how this memorial marks the spot where 5000 people were tragically slaughtered during the Genocide. Reminders of lives lost remain in the church, including clothes and even bones. Continue to the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Centre, a former church where an incomprehensible 50,000 people were murdered. Your leader will discuss how the Tutsis sought refuge in churches, only for them to turn into death traps. Then, visit the Genocide Museum, a powerful yet confronting experience, and important in understanding the tragedy and the resilience of the Rwandan people. This afternoon, it’s time for a rolex – not the watch, but a delicious Ugandan snack made of eggs and vegetables rolled in a chapati. Stop by a local street vendor and watch how these tasty treats come together, before enjoying one with Rwandan chilli sauce, fries and beer. This afternoon, take a tour of the thriving city with your leader and stop by the local craft market, then the rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy.
Day 3 / Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
After breakfast, depart Kigali and head across the border to the Bwindi National Park in Uganda (approximately 4 hours). Arrive at the Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, your feature stay accommodation for the next three nights. Sitting high on the Nteko Ridge, the lodge offers up magnificent views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to half of the world’s 800 mountain gorillas. Gaze out across the stoic Virunga Mountains and Albertine Rift Valley. An eco-friendly oasis, beautiful cottages are built with locally sourced materials, a terrace overlooking the forest canopy, and a fireplace for colder nights. The lodge is solar powered, carbon neutral and works closely with the local people. Here you’ll experience genuinely warm Ugandan hospitality – when they wish you welcome, they really mean it. There’s no better spot for soaking in your wild surroundings and searching for mountain gorillas. This evening, join your group and leader for a wholesome dinner at the lodge.
Day 4 / Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Rise early and take a short walk to the park headquarters where you’ll be briefed on the gorilla trek by the Uganda Wildlife Authorities. The trek can be strenuous, wet and uncomfortable at times but the incredible biodiversity of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the chance to see rare mountain gorillas makes it so worthwhile. We recommend investing in the help of local porters who can carry your pack and provide expert, local one-on-one assistance along the trek. Not only does it make for a more comfortable trek, it also provides valuable employment opportunities to locals. Gorilla trekking is highly controlled, with only 24 gorilla trekking permits available each day. Once you encounter a group of gorillas you will be able to stay with them for one hour – watch them swing from trees, groom each other and play, all under the watchful eye of a giant silverback. Coming face to face with a family of mountain gorillas is sure to be a life-affirming experience that will be etched on your mind forever. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the lush wilderness of the rainforest. At the end of the day the comforts of the hotel beckon, along with a chance to reflect on a memorable day. Freshen up with a hot shower and enjoy a hearty dinner by the crackling fireplace.
Day 5 / Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the terrace overlooking the forest, curated by an in-house chef to showcase the finest locally grown ingredients. The day is free for you to do as little or as much as your please – your leader will be able to help tailor a day that best suits your interests. For those seeking another encounter with the majestic mountain gorillas, there is the option for a second day of trekking. Please speak to your booking agent about purchasing an additional gorilla permit before your departure to ensure you don’t miss out. As part of its sustainable tourism initiative, the lodge offers a number of walking safaris guided by passionate local experts. Explore forest trails, meet nearby local communities and take in more unforgettable views. You may wish to simply relax at the lodge and enjoy a drink at the rainforest bar. Tonight’s dinner at the lodge will be a meal like no other. You’ll be joined by a local ranger from the Uganda Wildlife Authority who will provide a special insight into the crucial and challenging role rangers play in conserving the gorilla’s natural habitat. Learn about the intimate and life-saving relationships they form with gorillas and ask any questions you may have on gorilla conversation or the unique life of a ranger.
Day 6 / Kigali
After breakfast, depart the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and begin the journey to Kigali (approximately 4 hours). Along the way, stop off at the equator and in Musanze to pick up some lunch. You should expect to arrive back in Kigali in the mid-afternoon, at which point your adventure comes to and end. Please don't booking any international flights departing before 7pm this evening to allow for any unexpected delays. If you would like to extend your stay in Kigali, additional accommodation can be booked in advance (subject to availability).
* Conditions apply. Offer is limited, subject to availability and change without notice. Promotion is correct and valid at the time of publication. Booking and full supplier terms and conditions apply. Valid for new bookings only and not combinable with any other offer (unless stated).
Prices listed are per person in Australian/New Zealand Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 11 August 2021 and can be withdrawn without notice. Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Visas are not included. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.