In Rwanda the primary appeal are the gorillas, native to the Parc National des Volcans. The gorillas can be tracked with an experienced guide and visitors are all allowed to spend a full hour with the family they track. Various families of chimps and monkeys have also been habituated around the Virunga Mountains and each can be visited and tracked in the wild with the help of a guide.
Gorillas also populate Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Here they are usually harder to track than in Virunga thanks to the more difficult terrain. The experience is no less enchanting, however, with the Forest itself almost feeling as though it has a character of its own as you explore its various tracks.
Uganda is also home to the vast savannahs of Queen Elizabeth National Park, where game drives are popular. It’s not only the park itself, either, with the breathtaking Kyambura Gorge being nearby as well as the Mweya Peninsula and the Kazinga Channel, which are all home to a vast series of diverse and spectacular wildlife. The big game is thrilling to find around these parts with a huge birding community also advocating Kyambura as a prime location to spot any of the 600+ bird species that call the area home.
Uganda and Rwanda offer a wide variety of experiences to the potential visitor and to make them more accessible, we’ve devised a simple and comprehensive programme of safaris that will take you to the wildlife that populate these vibrant countries. Perhaps one of the keen aspects of wildlife in Uganda is the vastly diverse bird population. Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 600 species of bird that call it home and the surrounding area is home to even more, with some being unique to this part of the world. This makes Uganda a premier birding destination and visitors won’t be disappointed by the selection that Uganda can offer.
The most famous safaris in Uganda and Rwanda are without a doubt the gorilla safaris, where one can spend a day (or several if you have additional permits) tracking the gorillas through the forests of Parc National des Volcans or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Though there are billions of humans roaming the planet, there are only around 700 gorillas, so the opportunity to see these majestic and eerily human creatures in their natural habitat is genuinely special.
They are not the only endangered species in the region, though. Many of the primates of Africa are endangered, critically or otherwise, and the chimps and golden monkeys of Uganda and Rwanda are no exception. All of our tours through Rwanda offer the opportunity to see these rare and fascinating animals in their native environment.
What everyone thinks of when you say ‘safari’ is the vast open grasslands and savannahs looking for elephant, leopard, lion and a host of other African marvels. This is not excepted from the Ugandan itinerary, with the Queen Elizabeth National Park being home to a large number of the more standard safari animals, who often spread through the surrounding area as well. Volcanoes Safaris is proud to offer safaris that take you to see all of these magical and compelling species.
There is no such thing as a typical day with Volcanoes Safaris. Every day will be different, every experience different and none of them are forgettable. They will all stay with you forever. Following Dian Fossey’s footsteps, one of the most popular activities for our guests is undoubtedly the gorilla tracking in Rwanda, staying at our stunning Virunga Lodge. The night before you set out you’re asked by the staff when you would like to be woken up. This will be early as you will be leaving the lodge at around 07.00 and you don’t want to miss breakfast. You’ll be gently woken when requested and given your choice of tea or coffee before venturing out of the luxurious banda to the main lodge for your breakfast of fresh fruit, omelette, a whole host of choices.
Leaving the lodge will see you taken into the forests that cover the Virunga Mountains in search of the gorillas. Your expert trackers will lead the way as the adventure unfolds. You can never predict how long it will take to find and reach the gorillas, with the time spent to find one of the 7 habituated gorilla families being anywhere between 1 and 6 hours. There are plenty of other things to see along the way but nothing can prepare you for that first moment where you see the gorillas mere feet away from you.
Once you’ve spent a full hour with the gorillas it’s time to head back to the lodge. You’ll meet up with your Volcanoes Guide and enjoy your picnic lunch. On your return to the lodge you can finally relax by stepping into one of the massage rooms and having all the knots and aches teased out of your muscles. Perfectly relaxed, the evening will see you take a very short walk to a nearby hilltop to see the local Intore Dancers perform their traditional dance at sunset, with the imposing figures of the five Virunga Mountains surrounding you before you settle in for dinner and the excitement of tomorrow.
We operate high-end safaris in Uganda and Rwanda and our lodges are often considered the best in East Africa. Their locations, the quality of the service and the food among other things make them easily top of the range places to stay. Each lodge has a comfortable communal space in addition to the idyllic bandas, all designed in the style and architecture of local buildings. The lodges at Kyambura, Virunga and Bwindi are all equipped with low-flush toilets and ensuite regular showers in the luxury bandas.
The number and dispersion of our lodges throughout the luscious countryside puts us in the foremost position to be able to offer you a diverse and memorable experience. In the same holiday you can spend a day tracking gorillas in Rwanda to find yourself only a few days later in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda on a savannah safari experience trying to find elephants and lions. The services at the lodges include the sensual massage rooms and the visits to local villages, where you can enjoy a first-hand experience of the cultural life of the region thanks to our work supporting the local communities.
Our safari packages contain a host of activities included in the itinerary, your own personal expert Volcanoes Safaris Guide (whose knowledge makes them more than just a driver and among the best guides in Africa) as well as vehicles, accommodation and all meals as well as all drinks and a complimentary massage. Most operators don’t include alcoholic drinks, massage and laundry services as well as the wide range of activities that we do in the price, but Volcanoes is committed to offering the best and most comprehensive experience in the region.