Have you ever seen gorillas or chimpanzees in the wild? These fascinating and intelligent primates live in the forests and mountains of Uganda and Rwanda in East Africa. Watching them socialise and bond with their young is true privilege.
Meet the primates up close and personal with one of these five wildlife safaris organised by Uganda-based tour operator, Kagera Safaris. These entertaining tours all educate about deforestation and illegal hunting that could lead their extinction.
Some safaris also offer the chance to observe an incredible variety of birdlife.
110-day Uganda Primates Safari
Safari Highlights: Explore the rainforests, mountains and crater lakes of Uganda on this 10-day primate safari. The locals are incredibly welcoming and friendly, and you’ll have plenty of chance to meet them.
The tour begins at Kibale National Park, regarded as the primate capital of the world that 13 species call home. At Kibale Forest you will get to track observe chimpanzees in the wild.
The second part of the tour takes you to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla tracking. You’ll either trek or drive into the forest, depending on where the gorilla group is residing. Later a transfer will take you to Lake Mburo National Park, for a walking safari along the swamps of Lake Mburo. The next morning you’ll take part in a game drive to observe impala, buffalo, topi and the largest heard of zebras in Uganda. Happily, you’ll also be able to see giraffes, who until recently had become extinct in this region.
Wow factor: The tour includes a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a stunning region dotted with crater lakes that overlook the mountains of the Moon. You’ll also travel to the Ihasha sector of the park for the chance to see tree climbing lions.
Cost and inclusions: Prices start at $3400 per person (based on two sharing) and this includes gorilla and chimpanzee permits, ground transport, park entrance fees, game drive, boat safari, Bigodi Community Walk, full board accommodation, an English-speaking guide and all activities (excluding optional activities).
221-day Birding Uganda and Gorilla Trekking Safari
You may spot a saddle-billed Stork
Safari Highlights: This three-week safari is a must-do for bird lovers, with the opportunity to explore multiple national parks across Uganda. Queen Elizabeth Park contains over 600 species of bird. Throughout the tour, you’ll drive, trek and travel by boat to bird habitats including forest, Acacia Savanna, grassland Riverine Forest, Papyrus Swamps, lakes and rivers.
Some of the key bird species include the metallic green malachite sunbird, the black billed turaco with his impressive green quiff, the saddle-billed stork and the hilariously named white-bellied go-away bird.
You will also have the chance to observe chimpanzees deep in the Kibale Forest and take part in a gorilla trek – a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Wow factor: On days 13 and 14 you will visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which has a record of 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics. The forest also contains over 360 Mountain Gorillas – half of the world’s population.
Cost and inclusions: Prices start at $8350 per person (based on two sharing) and this includes gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, ground transport, park entrance fees, game drive, boat rides, full board accommodation, an English-speaking guide and all activities (excluding optional activities).
More information about Kagera Safaris
Kagera Safaris are an independent tour operator based in Uganda with an intimate knowledge of Uganda and Rwanda. They arrange personalised safari holidays for individuals, families, and groups in Uganda and Rwanda interested in gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, wildlife safaris, birding tours and cultural experiences.
They also offer destination management services to companies across the globe offering outbound tours to Uganda and Rwanda. They strive to create memorable holidays in East Africa that benefit local communities.
36-day Rwanda Primates Safari
Majestic mountain gorillas
Safari Highlights: Learn about the culture and history of the Rwandan people in Huye and then arrive in Nyungwe Forest for a thrilling chimpanzee trek. The forest is rich in biodiversity and it is possible to spot 13 species of primates including L’Hoest monkeys with their fluffy, white beards and Columbus monkeys, who seem to have a permanently dour expression. As well as spotting chimpanzees and other primates, during your two-hour canopy walk, you might see a rare butterfly and some of the 300 species of bird who live in the forest.
Wow factor: The second half of the tour involves a trip to Volcanoes National Park to observe gorillas in the wild. Gorillas live in the dense jungles of the Virunga ranges and are simply stunning to behold. The trek can last from a few minutes to several hours, depending on where the gorillas nested the previous night.
Cost and inclusions: Prices start at $3350 per person (based on two sharing) and this includes gorilla and chimpanzee permits, ground transport, full board accommodation, an English-speaking guide and all activities (excluding optional activities).
412-day Birding Rwanda and Gorilla Trekking Safari
The dinosaur-like Shoebill
Safari Highlights: Rwanda has three national parks considered to be Important Birding Areas (IBA’s): Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park and Nyungwe National Park. Together they have more than 700 bird species, and you’ll visit all three parks on this 12-day safari.
The tour starts at Akagera National Park which borders Tanzania. Here you’ll visit marshy areas home to the cattle Egret, Augur Buzzard and Long-crested Eagle. You may even spot the elusive dinosaur-like shoebill. Next you’ll head to Nyungwe forest for more bird watching and an optional chimpanzee trek or canopy walk.
The final two days will be spent at Volcanoes National Park to observe mountain gorillas. The region is shared between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, and represents one if the richest biological areas in the world. It is also where legendary primatologist Dian Fossey began her research on Mountain Gorillas in the late 1960’s.
Wow factor: The tour also includes a visit to Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. You’ll make several stopovers in the marshes, forested areas and agricultural areas for birding and this will also provide a pleasant rest before you embark on your gorilla trek at Volcanoes National Park.
Cost and inclusions: Prices start at $4800 per person (based on two sharing) and this includes the gorilla trekking permit, birding fees, ground transport, park entrance fees, game drives, boat trip, full board accommodation, an English-speaking guide and all activities (excluding optional activities).
58-day Rwanda Wildlife Safari
Safari Highlights: Explore the different backdrops and landscapes of the “land of a thousand hills” on this eight-day wildlife safari, which starts in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.
The tour begi with a game drive through the northern part of Akagera National Park where you can observe and photograph elephants, hippos, buffalo and lions. The second half of the trip focuses on the primates, and includes chimpanzee tracking and a Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest, and gorilla trekking in the jungle of the Virunga ranges.
Wow factor: Your visit to Akagera National Park includes a boat safari on Lake Ihema where you can spot various bird species such as the African fish eagle and red-breasted papyrus gonolek, while enjoying the relaxing afternoon breeze.
Cost and inclusions: Prices start at $3700 per person (based on two sharing) and this includes gorilla and chimpanzee permits, ground transport, park entrance fees, game drive, boat trip, full board accommodation, an English-speaking guide and all activities (excluding optional activities).
Disclaimer: this article was sponsored by Kagera Safaris