• A mountain gorilla in Rushaga Bwindi Impenetrable NP

Gorillas, Lakes & Villages

Journey to the south west of Uganda to an area known as “Switzerland of Africa” for its mountain ranges and highlands lakes. Meet the Batwa people who were once the hunter gatherers living on volcano slopes and track a rare mountain gorilla family in the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable rainforest. Explore the idyllic Lake Mutanda and the surrounding Kigezi Highlands with a boat cruise and unwind at your lodge nestled on the lakeshore with a stunning volcano panorama stretching across the skyline.

Gorillas, Lakes & Villages

Day One

Transfer

Transfer from Entebbe to Lake Mutanda. Estimated journey time: 11 hrs. 

[scheduled flight option available]

Day Two

Batwa at Garama Cave & Mukozi Village Trip

Transfer from Lake Mutanda to Mgahinga Gorilla NP. Estimated journey time: 1 hr. 

Venture into the foothills of the Virunga Volcano chain, with the conical volcano peaks towering above you. You will be exploring the Batwa trail on the slopes of Mount Gahinga, which winds its way through former farmland now reclaimed by the park. The Batwa are the indigenous tribe who once called the Virunga Volcanoes their home. Here they lived a nomadic life of hunting and gathering in the rainforest, until they were evicted from the rainforest on the creation of the national park. This 3km trail will lead you to Garma Cave, which is sacred to the Batwa and once their refuge. As you hike, your Batwa guides will teach you about their tribal cultural heritage and demonstrate how they traditionally gathered honey, made bamboo cups, their hunting techniques as well as identify many species of wildlife and traditional medicinal plants. On reaching the cave you will be invited inside where the women from the tribe will treat you to a performance on traditional songs in the cool darkness of the cave before you make the return hike down the mountain side.

Estimated excursion time: 3 - 4 hrs

Transfer from Mgahinga Gorilla NP to Lake Mutanda. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.

Take to the idyllic waters of Lake Mutanda with your local guide in a motorised boat or if you prefer, in a dugout papyrus canoe. As you cross the lake you will be able to enjoy tranquil views with the Virunga Volcanoes conical peaks stretching across the skyline. On reaching Kyangushu Island you will step ashore to explore the island, which is also a local ancestral burial site. You will then continue your journey across the lake to reach the lakeshore, from where you’ll disembark from your boat and hike up the hillside. The going can be steep for a few minutes but there are walking sticks and people to help you along the way as you trek to reach the picturesque village of Mukozi. Here you will receive a warm welcome from the villagers and you will be shown around the nursery school, a mushroom growing project, visit a local craft maker who will show you the tricks of their trade, then meet a traditional healer who will teach you about traditional medicine. You will then return back down the hillside by foot which offers fantastic views over the rural countryside laid out below you.

Estimated excursion time: 2 to 3 hrs

Day Three

Hike and canoe tour of Lake Mutanda

Meet your guide on the shores of Lake Mutanda and take to the water in a motorboat to explore the lake shores and islands. Your guide is very knowledgeable about the lake and will be able to give you an insight into the traditions and customs of the local communities living along the lakeshore. The boat trip includes a visit the local ancient burial place of Kyangushu and a visit to Mutanda Island, the biggest and the only inhabited island in the lake. On a clear day it offers views of Bunagana (Congo border), Lake Mulehe and the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. If you happen to be visiting on a Sunday you can dance with the 70 villagers in their church. 

Estimated excursion time: 3 - 4 hrs

Spend some time relaxing at Lake Mutanda which has a choice of activities to explore the lake surroundings or your can simply read a good book, bird watch and swim. Activities available around the lake include village walks, a visit to the nearby Lake Mulehe and nature walks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (*for an additional cost). However you spend your time here, you will enjoy the splendid beauty of Lake Mutanda with its volcano panorama of Mt. Muhavura, Mt. Gahinga and Mt. Sabyinyo, three extinct volcanoes running along the Ugandan - Rwandan border.

Day Four

Mountain Gorilla Tracking & Sunset Cuise

Transfer from Lake Mutanda to Mgahinga Gorilla NP. Estimated journey time: 1 hr. 

Experience Uganda’s greatest natural wonder, an intimate meeting the Nyakagezi gorilla family, the only habituated group of gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla NP. This is Uganda’s smallest national park, which protects the Ugandan section of the Virunga mountain range including the volcanic slopes of Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo. The park is part of a wider protection over the Virunga volcano range as it also connects as transnational park with Virunga NP in the D.R. Congo and Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda. The park is incredibly diverse and an important conservation area. The rangers accompanying will be able to identify for you the local plants, birds and wildlife as well as the general ecosystem of Mgahinga Gorillas NP as you trek.
From the trailhead into Mgahinga Gorilla National Park you will receive an orientation on tracking the gorillas from the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers who will then guide you through the dense forest. The trek length varies, depending on where the gorillas spent the night, ranging from thirty minutes to seven hours. Once you find these incredible creatures you will spend one hour with them. We think you’ll agree - to experience this unique family feed, socialise, nurse their young, patrol and display their prowess - is the most magical experience you can see in nature. After tracking you will make your way back to the edge of the rainforest where you’ll meet your driver guide.

Transfer from Mgahinga Gorilla NP to Lake Mutanda. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.

In the late afternoon you will take a boat out onto the water to enjoy a sundowner on Lake Mutanda. As you enjoy your drinks you will be played local melodies on the enganga, a traditional guitar as you relax watching the sunset lighting up the sky behind the volcano panorama stretching across the skyline.

Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

 

 

Day Five

Transfer

Transfer from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Entebbe or Kampala. Estimated journey time: 10-11 hrs. 

[scheduled flight option available]