6 DAYS LAKE BUNYONYI AND VOLCANOES

Lake Bunyonyi is in south-western Uganda between Kisoro and Kabale, and it is close to the border with Rwanda. The lake appeared from 2004 to 2009 on the 5,000 Ugandan shilling note under the title “Lake Bunyonyi and terraces”.

Tour highlights

  • Boat cruise
  • Cultural experience
  • Nature walks
  • Gorilla tracking
  • Golden monkey tracking
  • Volcano hiking

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe

Upon the arrival at Entebbe International Airport, the Prime tour company representatives will welcome you and then transfer to Kampala at hotel to relax and refresh at Kololo Courts Holiday/Express Hotel/Rochester Hotel.

Embark on journey to Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale which is approximately 407km and takes around 8hours driving from Kampala. Stopover at the equator for taking photos and buying handcrafts you might need during the trip. Have lunch in Mbarara at Shaheen restaurant/Agip motel/Café Havana.

Proceed to Kabale town and there after drive 8km to Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi is such a fantastic destination for relaxation and refreshment courtesy of its panoramic views of 29 islands surrounded by steep terraced hillsides. You surely are tired after this long journey and what you need is to refresh as you sip your cup of coffee. Dinner and overnight stay Bunyonyi overland resort/Bunyonyi Heights Inn/White Horse Inn.

Day 2: Boat cruise

Take your morning breakfast at 8:00am. Head to Bushara boat launch just 4 minutes’ walk away for boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi. You will not miss seeing Akampene Island known for being the place where girls who got pregnant before marriage were abandoned to die as a tradition of the Bakiga. There are several islands on this deep lake and on prior arrangement you can have a hiking experience on an island. Here you will be able to have yet more spectacular views of the lake and take photos.

After the boat cruise, turn back at the lodge for lunch and then proceed to Lake Bunyonyi View Hotel for mountain biking experience and you are at liberty to swim in the bilharzia free water of Lake Bunyonyi.

In the evening you will be taken around Kabale town to visit various places like the museum. In the museum you will get to know about the culture and traditions of the Bakiga. Dinner and overnight stay White Horse Inn/Bunyonyi Heights Inn/Bunyonyi overland resort.

Day 3: Transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Have your morning breakfast at 8:00am. Continue with journey to Kisoro district which is about 77km and takes around 1:30hours driving from Kabale. After reaching Kisoro town, it is 14km to Mgahinga national park. This park is famous for mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Check in at the lodge. You will then have a forest walk in Mgahinga forest and have that fresh feeling in the natural forest. Enjoy the sweet melodies of birds up in the trees as you take a forest walk which is indeed the best for those seeking to explore and uncover the hidden treasures of this small park. Turn back at the lodge for lunch.

Also, walking is an opportunity to spot some animals and birds at a close range. Among the animals expect to see golden monkeys, elephants, buffalos to name but a few. Also look out for the Rwenzori turaco which is a favourite for many tourists. Dinner and overnight stay Mondi lodge/Mount Gahinga lodge/Migano hotel.

Day 4: Gorilla tracking and Batwa trail experience

Have your early morning breakfast at 8:00am. Set off for Gorilla tracking. Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a captivating and unforgettable experience which more than repays the effort needed to reach the bamboo forest, sitting amidst the shaggy gorillas, up to three times bulky as the average man is a lasting memory that you experience on Mgahinga Gorilla into the Virunga Region. Despite their fearsome and aggressive appearance, these gentle giants are very peaceful. Turn back at the lodge, enjoy your lunch and relax a bit.

In the early evening, head on for the Batwa trail experience. Spend some time with Batwa pygmies for a memorable cultural experience where they guide you in Mgahinga forest. Learn about their traditional forest activities such as collecting honey, picking medicinal herbs, hunting, picking fruits and offering sacrifice in caves. Traditional songs and dances are performed which give you an extensive understanding of Batwa. Dinner and overnight stay Mondi lodge/Mount Gahinga lodge/Migano hotel.

Day 5: Volcano hiking.

Take your early morning breakfast at 6:30am. Report to Ntebeko visitor centre and clear for hiking mount Muhabura. The hike starts at 7:00am and it takes about 6-8 hours depending on hiker’s fitness. Guides, porters to help carry your heavy luggage are available at an affordable price. Be sure to have your hiking shoes because the slopes get quite muddy during rainy seasons as they are covered with thickets and shrubs.

Mount Muhabura is the steepest of the volcano ranges with its first resting point at 3,116m above sea level, the second is at 3,855m and the summit is at 4,127m. It offers spectacular views of beautiful craters and vast plains on the slopes where gorillas dwell. The breath-taking view of the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera will literally sweep you off your feet. You will rest the hike and have your packed lunch.

One of the most interesting aspects of hiking mount Muhabura is that near its summit there is a gorgeous crater lake that is indeed fascinating. Also while at the summit you can ably view 5 other volcanoes that your guide will identify by name. After decent you will be dropped at your lodge. Dinner and overnight stay Mondi lodge/Mount Gahinga lodge/Migano hotel.

Day 6: Depart to Kampala.

Enjoy your breakfast at 7:00am. Head for the Golden monkey tracking on the slopes of Mgahinga Gorilla, golden monkey tracking is one of the top activities that make this park an interesting place for tourists to visit. Turn back at the lodge and check out.

Embark on the journey back to Kampala. You will have lunch in mbarara town at Café Havana/Agip motel/Shaheen restaurant. You will be dropped at the location of your choice in Kampala or at Entebbe Airport for your evening flight.

END OF THE TOUR

 

NO. OF PAX 1 2 3 4 5 6
COST ($) 3,780 3,730 3,670 3,600 3,520 3,430

 

COST INCLUSIONS

  • 4WD safari vehicle
  • Park entrance fee
  • Full board accommodation
  • Tour activities as per the itinerary
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Bottled drinking water in the safari vehicle
  • Company of English speaking driver guide

COST EXCLUSIONS

  • Flight tickets
  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Extra activities not in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses like laundry.
  • Extra food and drinks
  • Tips

 

Commonly Visited Gorilla Destinations

Bwindi Impenetrable national park a large primeval forest located in the South Western part of Uganda is a home to over half the worlds 1,000 mountain gorillas.

mountain-gorilla-in-bwindi-impenetrable-national-park

Bwindi Impenetrable national park

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

Bwindi Impenetrable National park is found in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district. It covers an area of 332kms. When we talk of gorillas in Uganda, we talk of Bwindi and this is Africa’s oldest rainforest, it hides much more than just gorillas but more other wild animals but when gorilla tracking became an activity it made it even more appealing. Bwindi is commonly known for its 400 endangered gorillas with many families, Batwa trails, the Batwa are the first and last forest people who anciently lived in the forest for a long time also known as hunters, gatherers and fierce warriors and 350 bird species. Buhoma as one of the gates apart from gorillas it’s the right place for bird watching.

ACTIVITIES
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is found in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district, when we talk of gorillas we talk of Bwindi, but it not being the only activity, Bwindi has a variety of activities all incredibly good and as Gorilla Trips Africa here are some of the activities

Gorilla Tracking
Gorillas in Bwindi are habituated making them less dangerous and this is one of great activity done, the tour guides guide tourists through the forest on their way to track gorillas, gorillas act more like humans which keeps you wondering about God’s will, you can interact with them offer them yellows and even can have pictures with them creating memorable moments. Bwindi has a number of gates for example Buhoma gate with three gorilla  groups habituated, Nkuringo gate with two groups , Ruhija with four groups of gorillas habituated, and Rushaga with the most habituated groups and others are still under habituation with six groups

Gorilla Habituation Experience
During habituation Gorillas are tamed to be more of human, not to be dangerous around people, tour guides will take you through the process they go through while habituating the gorillas, it’s a terrifying experience but worth to go through and this is so because the gorillas are not yet fully habituated, this is most popular at Rushaga gate it being with the large gorilla habituation

Batwa Trail
Experience the ancient life of Batwa people. The Batwa trail is a celebration of the forest first people and still they are the last forest people who are also known as hunters, gatherers and fierce warriors. When you get a chance to see them you can see the forest in their lives and all through their eyes, this trail is guided by the Batwa guides who provide insights into their traditional forest life and culture. It runs  from the lower slopes of the muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes and ends in the Batwa community, throughout the trail you will be surprised all through for example showing you how incredibly  they made fire using friction of sticks, having a taste of the wild berries which they used to eat before going to hunter, seeing the huts the built using the tree leaves lastly after reaching the Batwa community you will get the unforgettable performance of your life since the Batwa are well known for their music and dance.

Nature Walks
Tourists who have a short time for nature walk usually do it near river Munyanga and river Ivy on the way you get an opportunity to see baboons, monkeys and birds. And if you continue to the Batwa pygmy community you will be surprised by the energetic dance of the Batwa, you will meet woman making craft giving you and opportunity to buy craft from the Batwa. Nature walk to the Mubwindi swamp is the right spot for the birders and if you use the path of the forest descending through the majestic rainforest it will give you great scenery of the green nature. Amazingly the name Bwindi came from Mubwindi swamp.

Bird watching
Bwindi is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda the pearl of Africa, it being the oldest forest in Uganda surely means it’s the ideal habitat for the variety of bird species, Bwindi is estimated to have around 350 bird species for example Jameson’s Antpecker, pink-footed puff back, Waller, crested Guinea fowl, Barred long-tailed cuckoo, Grey crowned crane, White headed saw wing and so many more. Migratory birds are present from November to April and if you want the main spot for bird watching is along Buhoma waterfalls trails.

gorilla-in-mgahinga-gorilla-national-park

Mgahinga Gorilla national park

MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is in the southwestern corner of Uganda, located in Kisoro district although the volcanoes stretch to the far parts of Rwanda and DRC. Mgahinga National Park was gazzetted in 1991 despite it being declared an area of game sanctuary in the early 1930s by the British Administration and it covers 33.9 square kilometers. As the name “Mgahinga” suggests, the park was mainly established to protect gorillas that inhabit the depth of the forest, other than that the park has a significance to culture “the Batwa culture”. Most importantly Mgahinga National Park has great features which are the beautiful extinct volcanoes, a great fauna, primates which include mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, bird species include handsome francoin, red throated alethe, Rwenzori batis, collared apalis, mountain masked apails, stripe-breasted tit, blue- headed sunbird, strange weaver, red –faced woodland warber, regal sunbird, Rwenzori turaco among others.

Top Activities Done At Mgahinga National Park

Gorilla Trekking

Mgahinga National Park is the right place for gorilla trekking and that’s so because it has half of the world’s Gorillas thus making it the most popular activity done at Mgahinga, it has one habituated gorilla family called “Nyakagezi Gorilla family” and this family at times moves to the parts of Rwanda and DRC. Gorilla trekking at Mgahinga usually starts from 8:30 in the morning and it takes 3-8 hours, trackers take visitor through the routes to the place they had left Gorillas a day before and that’s where they begin the trekking from, Gorillas are habituated making them less dangerous to humans. All in all Gorillas trekking is best done in dry seasons because it makes the hikes easier for tourists.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Mgahinga National Park is the best place for Golden Monkey trekking and it’s among the most interesting activities done for primate safari, the estimated number of golden monkeys at Mgahinga is 3000-4000. If you participate in this activity you will have an excitement of your life time since it offers you an opportunity to view, take pictures of the monkeys before heading back to the lodges.

Volcano Hiking

At Mgahinga Gorilla National Park despite Gorilla trekking visitors have an opportunity for hikes to the summit of Mountain Muhabura which requires more than one day to hike it but still tourists who prefer a one day hike can opt Gahinga trail aa their best and this takes 6 hours. During this hikes you will come across various bird species, also have a view of the famous extinct volcanoes.

Batwa Trail

Batwa are also known as the forest people. While at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Batwa trail begins from the Muhavura cave with the Batwa guides who will give you an insight of their ancient life and culture in the forests where they lived in harmony with the gorillas. Batwa people lived as hunter-gatherers, built houses using tree leaves but later they were displaced from the park although some are still with in the park taking part in tourism as tour guides and others as porters.

Bird Watching

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the ideal place for birders because its blessed and enriched with over 180 bird species all unique in one way or the other and these birds can be spotted in the wetland areas , forests, Buffalo wall among others. These unique bird species include Rwenzori turaco, regal sunbird, strange weaver, mountain masked apails, stripe-breasted tit, handsome francoin, red throated alethe, collared apalis among others.

Garama Cave Exploration

Beneath a plateau northern edge of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park you will come across the great Garama Cave lying on the length of 342meters and this believed to have been used as a retreat and council for the Batwa where they met to solve conflicts and problems among Batwa members.

gorilla-in-volcanoes-national-park

Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park also referred to as Parc National des Volcano in French and Pariki y’Igihugu y’Ibirunga in Kinyarwanda local language. The park is situated in the north-western province of Rwanda in a small town called Musanze formerly Ruhengeri.

The park is the oldest national park in the African continent and harbors the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. Gorilla tracking is Rwanda’s main tourism activity. Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in DRC and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda. Besides its huge population of Mountain Gorillas, it also harbors the endangered Golden Monkeys, primate specie that apparently offers the best diverse tourism activity within the national park at the moment.

Volcanoes National Park also shelters five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga massifs which are: Mount Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo: covering over 160 km2 of rain forest and bamboo. The park acted as a base for American zoologist Dian Fossey.

Fauna of the forest in addition to endangered species of mountain gorilla includes: golden monkeys, buffaloes, black-fronted duiker, hyenas then bushbucks. A few reports also clam that a small number of elephants can be found at the park but on very rare occasions. The bird life spans at 178 species, with about 12 of the main species and 15 of the subspecies being endemic to the Virunga conservation area and the great Ruwenzori Mountains.

The Volcanoes National Park is one of the three other only habitats for Mountain gorillas on the planet and the only possible destinations for Mountain gorilla trekking expeditions in Rwanda. The rainforests are at a higher altitude and temperatures are generally lowest in the African region. The tropical sun brings with it effects of heat, evaporation of vapor and rain forming. In Volcanoes National Park, it rains at any time regardless of the season. Factor is the volcanic soils that are fertile and very rich in plant mineral content, resulting in an evergreen rain forest; some parts have bamboo trees, small patches of shrubs and grassland areas, swamp and wetland vegetation in the valleys, and heath on the tips of the volcanoes. These are the ideal conditions for the survival and the existence of the Mountain gorillas and other unique wildlife species.

Mammal species

Volcanoes National Park is a rich ecosystem, a habitat with vibrant and unique mammal species. Mountain gorillas and Golden monkeys are most recognized than other wildlife species because the Virunga volcanoes region is their only habitat on earth. There is high mammal presence in the park, though harder to spot because of hilly and rugged terrain, coupled with  a thick and enclosed rainforest. The mammals in such habitat adapt to a solitary or pair lifestyle, shy away from intruders and are very aggressive if cornered. Save for rare physical encounters, there are signs that indeed show Forest elephants, buffaloes, bushpigs, bushbucks, giant forest hogs, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, duikers, vervet and colobus monkeys and other primate species reside in the park. Volcanoes National Park is very popular as a Rwanda gorilla trek and Golden monkey tracking destination. There are other Rwanda travel destinations to easily spot and have maximum interaction with the rest of mammal species.

Predominant activities include:

Gorilla tracking, Golden Monkey tracking, twin lakes visit, mountaineering, visiting Dian Fossey’s tomb, Iby’Iwacu cultural village and other community visits.

Rwanda is an exciting destination with a number of national parks in addition to the famous Volcanoes national park; say the Akagera and Nyungwe national parks plus Lake Kivu for water excursion.