This 4 Days Bwindi Gorilla Trek & Lake Bunyonyi Safari presents an opportunity for gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and a night on Lake Bunyonyi, giving primate adventure and relaxation.
After trekking gorillas, there’s nothing more refreshing than spending a night on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, Africa’s second deepest, where you can do a boat ride to explore its beautiful islands and visit the people that live on the islands including BaTwa pygmies.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is just 170 kmfrom Kigali city, so decide to start this trip from Rwanda because it’s easier (about 4-hour drive) to get to Rushaga, Nkuringo or Ruhija, the southern gorilla trekking sectors of Bwindi than from Entebbe or Kampala. This tour is good for visitors interested in Uganda gorilla trekking but want to base from Rwanda. For that matter, you need to have the East African single tourist visa instead of single entry visas because it saves time and money.
Day 1: Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Your tour guide will meet and pick you at the hotel in Kigali Rwanda and drive from there to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The drive is about 4-hours and takes you through the land of a 1000 hills before you cross the border at Cyanika to enter Uganda and go still further past Kisoro town through terraced rolling hills and tea plantations on the edge of Bwindi to your lodge in Rushaga gorilla trekking sector. Check in for lunch and relax for the rest of the day – dinner and overnight stay.
Rushaga, one of the four gorilla trekking sectors located in the south of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, has the highest number of habituated gorilla families. There are 7 gorilla families that include Kahungye, Nshongi, Bweza, Busingye, Mishaya, Bikingi and Bushaho, but you can only visit one during your gorilla trek the following day.
The altitude in the south of Bwindi forest ranges above 2000 meters above sea level, therefore, it’s accessible by hiking on foot while searching for the mountain gorillas, gorilla treks can be strenuous. You are advised to pack gears like hiking shoes, gardening gloves, long pants, mosquito repellants, camera and daypack.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking tour
First thing in the morning after breakfast is to attend briefing on the gorilla rules conducted by a team of Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers at the gorilla center. The briefing lasts for 30 minutes in which you will be advised to hire a porter if you feel you need assistance while trekking and carry all the necessary items in your daypack.
The time it will take to see gorillas is unpredictable because they frequently move around and so visitors will be put into groups of 8 people and allocated to a gorilla family that might be easier to trek. The shortest trek can take 1-3 hours while the longest could be 5-8 hours, just prepare for the adventure.
Armed rangers will lead and escort you into the forest searching for the gorillas and visitors are allowed to spend one hour strictly taking photos and seeing gorillas while maintaining a social distance of 7 meters. Thereafter, trek back to the starting point to receive your tracking certificate before lunch at the lodge.
Trekking the gorillas can stretch your body that makes you ache for relaxation and so, you will connect to Lake Bunyonyi for dinner and overnight stay on the shores with a view of the beautiful islands.
Day 3: Leisure at Lake Bunyonyi
After breakfast, there are canoes and motorized boats for visitors to explore Lake Bunyonyi with 19 islands, it’s a beautiful place to be and take a deep breath and relax. Boat trips on the lake can start anytime of the day and offer bird watching as there are over 200 birds on the lake plus visiting the historical punishment island.
At this island unmarried girls who would get pregnant as it was considered a taboo were dumped there and left to starve and die. Though, the practice was condemned and ceased for good, there are skeletons of people on the island that named “Akampene” – Rukiga word for punishment.
Depending on your interest, your guide will take you around other several islands and also include visit a community on the island to ensure you have a great day with lunch, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: Departure
Farewell to Lake Bunyonyi. After breakfast you will be transferred back to Kigali via Cyanika border to enter Rwanda, ending your memorable adventure.
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