A flying safari combining Volcanoes National Park & Kigali in Rwanda with Rubondo Island & the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Experience the Primates and the Plains on this incredible safari while taking advantage of direct flights between destinations.
Itinerary in Brief
A fantastic fly-in-fly-out safari that combines the mountain Gorilla trekking in Rwanda with a stop-over on the remote Rubondo Island for a Chimpanzee habituation experience, before ending in a luxurious mobile camp that follows the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti National Park.
This safari starts with your arrival in Kigali, where you will meet you guide and be transferred to your accommodation near the Volcanoes National Park. You’ll have one full day where you will set off on a Gorilla Trek into the dense rainforest. Once with the gorillas you have one precious hour to soak in all of their behaviour and interactions, watching as silverbacks exert their dominance over the youngsters, and perhaps seeing a baby gorilla trying to climb a tree. The following day you’ll make your way back to Kigali for an overnight in a lovely boutique hotel. There will be time for an afternoon exploring this vibrant city and also a visit to the Genocide Memorial. The following day you’ll catch a flight to Rubondo Island on Tanzanias Lake Victoria. Spending 3 nights on Rubondo Island allows for ample time to experience the range of activities available to you, but most notably is the Chimpanzee habituation experience! The area is also home to giraffe and elephant populations and particularly great activities are boating, fishing and birding. After your time on Rubondo Island you’ll catch a flight to the Serengeti where you will spend the next 3 nights in a luxurious canvas tented camp that changes location throughout the year to be within close proximity to the annual wildebeest migration. Explore the Serengeti on twice daily game viewing activities in search of the incredible plains game and predators that call the grasslands home. After these last 3 nights you’ll head to the nearest airstrip for your first flight on your journey home.
This Primates and Plains Safari is perfect for high-end couples or honeymooners seeking to combine the best of Rwanda with Chimps and the Migration in Tanzania. The itinerary combines well with an additional stay in Ngorongoro, Southern Tanzania or Zanzibar.
Day 1: Overnight at Virunga Lodge, Volcanoes National Park
Arrive at Kigali International Airport, meet your guide with 4×4 vehicle, departing by road for the Volcanoes National Park. The journey takes approximately three hours, passing through rolling hills covered in a patchwork of small fields and farms. You will stay for two nights in the charming Virunga Lodge, with sweeping views over the Virunga Mountains to one side and the twin lakes Burera and Ruhondo to the other. Enjoy lunch here and an afternoon at leisure.
Day 2: Gorilla Trek
After an early breakfast set off with your guide for the park headquarters to meet your ranger for a briefing about the gorilla group you will trek to see today. The trek is in small groups of up to 8 visitors per gorilla family, and you will be driven to the start of the trek. Walk initially through farmland and then through the dense bamboo forest, ascending through dense rainforest vegetation until you reach the gorillas. The trek will take anything from one hour to five hours to reach the gorillas, often on uneven ground and not on set trails, so a good level of fitness and sense of adventure are needed. Once with the gorillas you have one precious hour to soak in all of their behaviour and interactions, watching as silverbacks exert their dominance over the youngsters, and perhaps seeing a baby gorilla trying to climb a tree. Take plenty of photos but make sure to also put your camera down to enjoy the moment, too. Descend back through the forest and back to your vehicle, returning to Virunga Lodge for a well-earned rest and overnight.
Day 3: Overnight at Heaven Boutique Hotel, Kigali
After a relaxed breakfast, set off by road with your guide for Kigali, where you will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon, you will take a tour, exploring some of the markets and sights of this bustling and vibrant city. You will also spend an hour or two at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where the survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide tell the story in their own way through various very moving and enlightening exhibits. The memorial also offers insight into the rebuilding of the country since then.
Day 4: Rubondo Island Camp, Rubondo Island
Set off early for the airport for your 06h00 flight to Rubondo Island on Tanzania’s Lake Victoria. The flight will take approximately two hours, stopping en route at Bukoba to complete immigration formalities. The friendly team from Rubondo Island Camp await you and will drive you through the forest to the camp, where you can relax before a leisurely lunch overlooking the lake. This afternoon, you can choose from having a relaxing time beside the swimming pool, learning about the island’s chimpanzees in The Nest information centre or enjoying a guided nature walk if you wish to stretch your legs. The island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including sitatunga, African grey parrot, forest elephant and spotted-necked otter.
Day 5: Chimp Trek
After breakfast set off with a packed lunch with your guide, travelling by road or boat to the north of the island to begin your walk. Following your guide and the rangers, you will trek through dense forest, over uneven ground and often not on set trails, as you follow signs and noises of the chimpanzees. The chimpanzee habituation is still in progress, so this activity offers visitors a unique opportunity to be part of conservation in action, as the chimpanzees become more accustomed to tourist visitors. Sightings are not guaranteed, but even if luck is not on your side you will learn all about the habituation process, the history and family dynamics of the island’s chimpanzees and if you want to try again the following day, we can arrange this at the cost of an additional permit. The duration of the walk very much depends on the movement of the chimpanzees, so you will stop on the way for snacks and/or lunch, and the rest of the day is yours to either relax by the pool, or perhaps go on a sunset boat cruise on the lake.
Day 6: Rubondo Island
A day to enjoy activities exploring Rubondo Island and its surrounding waters further. A guided forest walk is a great option to seek out some of the birdlife and butterflies, as well as learning about the plant life here. Nature drives offer the opportunity to look for the sitatunga antelope, giraffe or elephant populations, whilst boating offers the chance to get up close to the hippos and crocodiles that call Lake Victoria home. Fishing is also possible at an additional cost, as is the chance to visit a local village on a neighbouring island and visiting our vegetable garden project there.
Day 7–9: Kimondo Migration Camp, Serengeti National Park
Enjoy a final breakfast overlooking the lake before the drive to the airstrip for your morning flight across to the Serengeti National Park for the final stage of your safari adventure. The flight takes approximately two hours, depending on how many stops the plane makes on the way to drop off and pick up passengers. You will be staying at Kimondo Migration Camp, which moves around the Serengeti at different times of the year to put you in the best position to try to see the two-million-strong herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle that make up the Great Migration. Enjoy lunch and a siesta in camp before going on an afternoon game drive, enjoying the distinct change of scenery from the rainforests and lakes that you have been exploring so far.
Day 10: Departure
After breakfast, depart camp and make your way to the relevant airstrip (Lamai or Serengeti South). Here, you will bid your guide farewell as you board your flight on the first part of your journey home.
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