Rwanda, Uganda Gorillas and Botswana Eco-tour

008676A-15

Limited availability! Rwanda, Uganda and Botswana – these three fascinating countries combine to create an experience offering a myriad of wildlife viewing, including the remote, majestic gorillas of Bwindi.

Highlights
Details
Itinerary
Included
Not Included
Tour Notes
Map
Highlights
  • Tour Kigale, Rwanda including a visit to the Genocide Memorial site
  • Gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
  • Stay at two safari camps in Botswana
  • Wildlife safaris with opportunities to see elephant, giraffe, hippo, crocodiles, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, impala, lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah
  • Hundreds of species of birds including herons, storks, kingfishers, pygmy geese, fish eagles and the elusive Pels Fishing Owl
Details

Group Size: Maximum 12

2018 Dates:
May: 20
**Only 1 tent left available on this tour**

2018 Pricing:
From US$7,850 – twin

Prices are shown in US$, per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single occupancy rates may be available, on request.

Tour Code:
008676A-15

Itinerary
Open All
Day 1: Kigale, Rwanda

On arrival at Kigali you are met by tour guide and transferred the 12km from the airport to your centrally located hotel.

The Park Inn by Radisson offers a prime city centre location and is the premier hotel choice in Rwanda’s capital city. Accommodation has been booked on half board basis, including breakfast and dinner. The 161 modern rooms and suites include amenities like free Wireless High-speed Internet and comfortable furnishings. Enjoy dining at Live Inn Room Restaurant, with its convenient dining hours. Amenities include a pool, pool bar and fitness centre. Easily reach government buildings such as the Presidential Palace and the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center.

Day 2: Kigale

Breakfast at Park Inn, and then head out for a city tour of Kigali, including visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial site, Kigali museum, and the Nyamirambo Women’s Center. Dinner and overnight at Park Inn.

Day 3: Kisoro – Bwindi National Park

Breakfast at Park Inn, and transfer by road to Kisoro – Uganda (Bwindi national park area) via Cyanika Border. Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and proceed to Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge for dinner and overnight. Driving time today is 4-5 hours.

Sitting on the Nteko ridge, the eco-friendly Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge overlooks Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Kashasha river valley, and the Nkuringo forested hill. The camp has views of the Virunga volcano chain and the Albertine Rift Valley and also provides prime access to gorilla tracking. Other activities include Buniga and Bwindi forest walks and bird watching, guided village tours, Batwa pygmy visits, and the Nteko ridge community trail. The proceeds of this trail go back to community support projects.

The lodge has 4 en-suite cottages, 6 en-suite Virunga Terrace rooms, and a family cottage. The smaller cottages and rooms have private terraces with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and the family cottage looks out on to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. There is a restaurant where guests can enjoy fresh and wholesome meals.

Day 4: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Early morning breakfast at Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, then a short drive takes you to the National Park offices by 8:00 AM for pre-Gorilla trekking briefing.

Your guide will inform you regarding all the dos and don’ts while with mountain gorillas then you will be transferred to the starting point of your gorilla family trek. Please note that gorilla family allocation depends on your interests, fitness and age. Gorilla trekking can be strenuous and a certain level of fitness is required. Trekking can take from 30 minutes to three quarters of the day so one needs to prepare for both. You guide will try to provide information about trees, birds and other wildlife in the forest until you reach a given family of gorillas. You will be allowed only one hour of photography and observing mountain gorillas as they go about with their daily day activities and then trek back to the park headquarters to receive your certificates. Lunch will either be a packed lunch or taken back at the lodge.

Dinner and overnight at your Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge.

Day 5: Kigale

Breakfast at Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge and then transfer back to Kigali, with a possible visit to Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village en route. Iby’Iwacu village is located around Parc National des Volcans in Nyabigoma, Kinigi, Musanze District, Northern Province Rwanda. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is committed to showcasing the ways of living, traditional lifestyles and dances to tourists.

Dinner and overnight at Chez Lando Hotel. The quaint garden-style hotel is located just five minutes from Kigali International Airport.

Day 6: Kigale – Johannesburg

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Johannesburg. While not included in the tour price we will book the flight for you to ensure the whole group travels together. The airfare cost will be quoted to you as an additional charge to be added to your package price and collected at the time of your deposit. You are free to book your own accommodation in Johannesburg or we can book you in at the Holiday Inn, Johannesburg Airport. This hotel offers free airport transfers and offers double rooms at approximately CA$130/night, breakfast included.

Day 7: Johannesburg – Maun – Kwara Camp, Botswana

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your late morning flight to Maun, Botswana. While not included in the tour price we will book the flight for you to ensure the whole group travels together. The airfare cost will be quoted to you as an additional charge to be added to your package price and collected at the time of your deposit.

You are met on arrival at Maun airport and transferred by light aircraft to Kwara Camp, where you will stay for 3 nights in tented rooms with en-suite, on an all-inclusive basis (excluding premium, imported alcohol). Enjoy an afternoon high tea and a late afternoon game drive today.

Kwara Camp is in the remote northern part of the Okavango Delta within the private Kwara concession. The camp fronts onto a huge floodplain, adjacent to the permanent water of the Delta and is backed by extensive bush. It is a wilderness area more than 1,700 square kilometres, bordering the Moremi Reserve. Kwara encompasses a wide diversity of habitats, ranging from the clear Delta waters with reed-lined lagoons and channels, to open grasslands, mopane woodlands and palm-fringed islands. The 8 luxury safari-style tents are built on raised decks, within a grove of huge and ancient African Ebony trees. Each tent has its own viewing deck, private en-suite facilities including hot and cold running showers, flush toilets and modern amenities.

At Kwara Camp you can enjoy a diverse wildlife experience all year-round, but the focus is on the water, gliding along in the special silence of a mekoro through crystal-clear waters or visiting the famous Godikwe lagoon, literally eye to eye with thousands of herons, storks and other nesting birds.

Other species you can encounter through the channels and rivers are kingfishers, pygmy geese, fish eagles, jacanas, darters and the elusive Pels Fishing Owl. Along with the bird watching, walks with a guide on one of the many palmfringed
islands and night drives in addition to morning and afternoon drives. The Kwara Camp area is also home to a variety of wild animals including, lechwe, sitatunga, reedbuck, bushbuck, hippo, crocodiles, elephant, buffalo, sable, roan, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, impala and tsessebe. Lion, hyena, wild dog, leopard and cheetah are abundant in this part of the Delta and regularly seen.

Day 8 & 9: Kwala Camp

Enjoy all the scheduled camp activities and amenities offered at the camp.

Day 10: Kwala Camp – Lebala Camp

Take in some activities this morning prior to departing by light aircraft to Lebala Camp, where you will stay for 3 nights in tented rooms with en-suite, on an all-inclusive basis (excluding premium, imported alcohol). You will be met on arrival by camp personnel and will enjoy afternoon high tea and a late afternoon game drive.

Lebala means wide open spaces in Setswana and the scenery around Kwando Lebala Camp is dominated by vast plains with scattered palms and tree clumps backed by wooded savannas. This wild expanse is contrasted with the casual elegance and luxury of the camp itself. Lebala Camp is situated 30 kilometres to the south of Kwando Lagoon Camp and fronts onto the Linyanti Wetlands of Chobe National Park.

The 8 spacious tents are unique and were designed specifically for this camp. Each is built on a raised teak deck, laid out for comfort and privacy. The tents have an entrance foyer with a reading and writing area, en-suite bathrooms with Victorian claw-foot bathtubs, “his and hers” washbasins and flush toilets. The bathrooms lead out to a reed enclosed open-air shower with hot and cold running water, powered by gas for hot water on demand. Each secluded tent has its own sundeck, and is set back among the trees. The endless vistas from the large windows and decks across the vast plains, make Lebala one of the finest ‘in the middle of nowhere “camps in Africa.

Day 11 & 12: Lebala Camp

Enjoy all the scheduled camp activities and amenities offered at the camp.

Day 13: Lebala Camp – Kasane

Take in some activities this morning prior to departing by light aircraft to Kasane, where our safari program ends.

Included
  • 2 nights of accommodation with breakfast and dinner in Kigali, Park Inn by Radisson or similar
  • City tour of Kigale
  • Transfer by road from Kigale to Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi National Park, including lunch en route
  • 2 nights of accommodation with breakfast and dinner, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge
  • Transfers between the lodge and the National Park Office
  • Gorilla permit
  • Guided gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, including packed lunch
  • Transfer from Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge to Kigale
  • 1 night of accommodation with breakfast and dinner in Kigale, Chez Lando Hotel or similar
  • Scheduled light aircraft flights between camps
  • Tented accommodation at camps
  • All meals while at camp
  • Local drinks (excludes premium imported brands and champagne)
  • Laundry services
  • Services of lodge guides and staff
  • Twice-daily scheduled camp activities
  • Park Fees
  • Accommodation taxes, Tourism Levies, VAT and GST
  • Escorted by Great Canadian Travel Africa Specialist
Not Included
  • International flights to Kigale and from Victoria Falls
  • Airfare from Kigali to Johannesburg one-way
  • Airfare from Johannesburg to Maun one-way
  • Accommodation in Johannesburg
  • Extra accommodation in Kigali pre or post-tour, as required depending on your flight schedule
  • Meals not specified
  • Drinks not specified; park and entrance fees; porterage; extra tours/excursions and transfers not specified
  • Guide and camp staff gratuities
  • Optional extensions or touring added to the basic program
  • Travel insurance
  • Passport and visa fees, as required
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Local airport taxes, payable in US$, cash only
  • Any new government taxes, levies, fuel surcharges or industry increase beyond our control
Tour Notes

Extensions available post-tour:
Victoria Falls or Livingstone (any duration)
You may choose to add on a stay in Victoria Falls. There is a direct road link from Kasane Airport to Victoria Falls. The Kazungula Road Border Post, about 10 minutes drive from the airport, links Kasane, Botswana to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Your Zimbabwean visa is obtained at the border post. From here it is about a one hour drive to Victoria Falls. We offer stays at the Shearwater Explorers Village, a base camp ideally located in Victoria Falls town. Chalet accommodation starts at US$60 per person on a twin-share basis, including breakfast daily.

Alternatively, if you are heading to Livingstone, either to catch a flight or spend a few days sightseeing, the transfer from Kasane Airport isn’t just a run of the mill trip by bus, it’s part of the adventure! The transfer includes a short 10 minute drive to the Kazungula ferry terminal. A small speed boat ferries you across the Zambezi River to Zambia, where your visa is obtained. After immigration clearance you’ll continue on from Kazangula to Livingstone by road, approximately a one-hour drive.

You can choose to spend a few days experiencing this diverse and beautiful area staying in either Victoria Falls or Livingstone, with the highlight of course being the famous falls! Many interesting day tours and activities are offered, with advance reservations recommended. Numerous accommodation options are available. Please inquire.

Little Makalolo Camp (post-tour), 4 days/3 nights or 3 days/2 nights
Transfer by air to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe to Little Makalolo Camp.

Situated in a remote and private concession within the vast and iconic Hwange National Park, Little Makalolo is one of the few camps built within the park boundaries. Legendary for its array of wildlife, particularly massive herds of elephant and buffalo, you can expect a holiday of a lifetime. Our smiling staff will welcome you into your luxurious ensuite safari-style tent nestled in the treeline. A productive waterhole in front of camp will offer you hours of entertainment from our raised platform or plunge pool, while the lounge and dining areas will provide you with shaded relaxation. With space for only for 12 guests in camp, Little Makalolo is a place of well-being and seclusion.

Our safari partner in Hwange has partnered with the National Park in jointly combating the effects of poaching along Hwange’s southern boundary, an area beyond their concession. The park is predominately Kalahari sandveld supporting teak and mopane woodlands, dry acacia scrub and is interspersed with saltpans and grasslands. We focus on game drives; however, a well-situated bunker hide provides an idyllic way to spend a lazy afternoon while watching passing wildlife. You will typically see elephant, buffalo, sable, roan, southern giraffe, blue wildebeest, impala and sometimes even gemsbok. Lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah are regularly sighted. Bird life is prolific with more than 400 species found here. Guided walks may also be arranged on request.  After your fascinating stay here comes to an end you will fly back to Victoria Falls, where you can catch your onward
flight.

Prices for the 4 day/3 night Little Makalolo extension start at US$2,620 per person, based on two people sharing accommodation. The price includes round trip flights between Victoria Falls and Little Makalolo, Hwange National Park; accommodation in tented room; all meals and drinks at camp (excluding premium, imported alcohol and champagne); guided safari drives; services of camp guides and staff.

Cape Town, South Africa (any duration)
Fly from Victoria Falls to the playground of South Africa, Cape Town. Known as one of, if not the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town really does offer it all, from ocean side beaches, to stunning views from the surrounding mountains, to excellent wine from many nearby vineyards and breathtaking coastal drives. A great escape from the cold winter weather in Canada and the Northern US. A wide variety of accommodation is available, starting at just CA$145 per night for a double room at the Dale Court Guest House right up to luxurious 5 star hotels. Excellent and interesting day tours are on offer in the city and surrounding countryside.

For your Gorilla Trek:  Make sure you have packed all the necessary trekking gear like gloves, trekking boots, long sleeved wear, rain jackets, snacks and packed lunch, walking stick (very necessary) and among others. This is what you should expect the day of your gorilla trekking excursion in the Rwanda and Uganda.  Carry your passport as you head to the park headquarters during the pre-tracking briefing by the officials. Your gorilla permits will be crosschecked with your passports to confirm whether you are the right owner of the permit.

A cup of tea/ coffee will be served as you are being entertained by the local traditional Bakiga dancers to give you a good start to a strenuous, yet exciting day, before the ranger guide gives you tips on how to conduct yourself on this trek and ensure you are ready with your packed lunch. This is because there is uncertainty about the time you will take to see the elusive gorillas.

After a quick briefing on safety measures and what to expect during the day, you will be grouped in groups of 8 people maximum and assigned one gorilla family to trek. Rwanda has 10 gorilla families / groups while Uganda has 12 gorilla families in the 4 tracking regions in Bwindi national park and 1 gorilla family (Nyakagezi group) in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Being wild animals in their natural habitat, seeing these gorillas so easily may not be guaranteed, as they tend to move as far as necessary in search of food. Even those which are allocated to the physically fit and energetic tourists, that are always regarded as strenuous to track, may be easily tracked on a particular day which makes gorilla tracking experience in Uganda both unpredictable and interesting.

Each gorilla tracking group consists of a main guide and two scouts who carry AK-47 guns. One walking in front and another behind the group. The reason for armed scouts is for protection in the forest against wild elephants or angry wild gorillas. The scouts are trained to fire shots into the air first in order to scare away the animals. But this is only done on rarest occasions. when all other options like hiding away from the dangerous animals have been done. However, the policy of the National Parks is to be safe rather than sorry.

The overall length of your hike to track the mountain gorillas will vary depending on how far the gorillas have moved. It may take as little time as 30 minutes to find your gorilla family and as long as five to seven hours. If you are unsure of your fitness, please let your guide know so that he may help you in hiring a porter at the park gate. A porter is hired at a fee between $15 to $20 depending on the weight of the luggage.

The forest is verdant, humid and somewhat light and there are no discernible trekking paths. The terrain is full of hills and steep volcano slopes; where you will be required to pull yourself up steep grades by grasping onto branches, plant roots, bushes and more. Follow the lead of the guide as to the best path and form to take. You can have a short break during a long trek in order to relax and refresh. It is also advisable that you carry some energy giving snacks and bottled mineral water to quench your thirst and give you more energy in case of extensive gorilla treks.

Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.

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