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The Great Apes of Uganda and Rwanda
tripDetail_slider_img1 MOBILE

11 days

from $20,218 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($13,795 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

trip_detail module icon Signature Land

trip_detail module Light icon Moderate trip_detail hint icon

Travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.

Premium trip_detail hint icon

Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Join a National Geographic-funded primatologist on treks in search of chimpanzees, gorillas, and endangered golden monkeys.
  • Watch the antics of chimpanzees up close at a sanctuary established in association with the Jane Goodall Institute.
  • Meet with scientists at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center to learn about ongoing conservation projects.
  • Get an in-depth perspective on National Geographic grantee Dian Fossey’s 18-year-long gorilla study as you trek through her living laboratory in Volcanoes National Park.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.

Itinerary

Set off on a once-in-a-lifetime journey into the lush hills of Uganda and Rwanda to encounter chimpanzees and mountain gorillas in the wild. Observe chimpanzees with a primatologist, and track gorillas in the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park. Stay in stunning lodges, from a lakeside bungalow at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains to a hilltop eco-lodge with spectacular views of Rwanda’s volcanoes.

Days 1-2: Entebbe, Uganda/Ngamba Island

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Arrive in Entebbe this evening and transfer to our hotel. The next day, visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Ngamba Island, established in association with the Jane Goodall Institute as a habitat for rescued and orphaned chimpanzees. Later, explore the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.

Days 3-4: Kibale National Park

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Fly from Entebbe to Kasese en route to Kibale National Park and check in to our lodge, set on a crater lake. Meet with National Geographic grantee Emily Otali, the Field Director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, and hear about the many conservation and education projects they support. Head into the park to search for chimpanzees; and look for other primates in the Bigodi Weland Sanctuary, including black-and-white colobus, red-tailed, and blue monkeys; and the rare l’Hoest’s monkey.

Days 5-6: Kibale National Park/Queen Elizabeth National Park

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Spend a second morning tracking chimpanzees. Continue to Queen Elizabeth National Park, and go on safari to look for elephants, lions, and Ugandan kobs before an afternoon wildlife cruise.

Days 7-8: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The next morning, head into the park’s forests, home to roughly half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Sit among these gentle giants, observing one of the planet’s most endangered creatures up close.

Days 9-10: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

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Cross into Rwanda and settle into your private villa overlooking the surrounding volcanoes and lakes. Meet experts at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center to learn about ongoing conservation efforts. Spend the next day tracking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, where National Geographic grantee Dian Fossey conducted research on gorillas for 18 years. Enjoy a traditional dance performance this evening.

Day 11: Volcanoes National Park/Kigali

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This morning, search for endangered golden monkeys in the park alongside wildlife biologist and National Geographic grantee Deogratias Tuyisingize. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of moderate; travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of walking or hiking over uneven terrain on some days. While tracking primates, guests will trek up to 8 hours through thick jungle at elevations that may reach 10,000 feet. Treks can be arduous; and the terrain can be steep, uneven, wet, and muddy. Travelers must be at least 15 years old.

Accommodations
Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels and lodges with many amenities.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.

1 /8

Virunga Safari Lodge - Rwanda

This eco-lodge is perched on a stunning hillside with breathtaking views of the Virunga volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The solar-powered lodge consists of eight luxury cottages.

2 /8

Virunga Safari Lodge - Rwanda

This eco-lodge is perched on a stunning hillside with breathtaking views of the Virunga volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The solar-powered lodge consists of eight luxury cottages.

3 /8

Bwindi Lodge - Uganda

Bwindi Lodge overlooks the primeval Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This stunning eco-lodge is made up of just eight solar-powered cottages, each with a private terrace that juts out into the forest canopy. Enjoy access to the neighboring river via a path through regenerated bushland, carefully nurtured as a buffer zone by the lodge.

4 /8

Bwindi Lodge - Uganda

Bwindi Lodge overlooks the primeval Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This stunning eco-lodge is made up of just eight solar-powered cottages, each with a private terrace that juts out into the forest canopy. Enjoy access to the neighboring river via a path through regenerated bushland, carefully nurtured as a buffer zone by the lodge.

5 /8

Kyaninga Lodge - Uganda

Kyaninga Lodge’s eight cottages are built on platforms and set apart to offer privacy and tranquility. Each spacious cottage is beautifully appointed and offers a private deck, en suite bathrooms, and solar power. The on-site restaurant serves classical European cuisine infused with local ingredients, most of which are handpicked from the lodge’s own garden and neighboring markets. Other lodge amenities include a swimming pool, grass tennis court, croquet lawn, and wireless internet access in the main building.

6 /8

Kyaninga Lodge - Uganda

Kyaninga Lodge’s eight cottages are built on platforms and set apart to offer privacy and tranquility. Each spacious cottage is beautifully appointed and offers a private deck, en suite bathrooms, and solar power. The on-site restaurant serves classical European cuisine infused with local ingredients, most of which are handpicked from the lodge’s own garden and neighboring markets. Other lodge amenities include a swimming pool, grass tennis court, croquet lawn, and wireless internet access in the main building.

7 /8

Lake Victoria Serena Resort - Kampala, Uganda

Styled to replicate the lines of a classically rustic Roman villa, Lake Victoria Serena Resort sits on the shores of Africa’s largest lake. The property is located twenty minutes from Entebbe International Airport and twenty minutes from the center of Kampala. Each of the 124 luxurious guest rooms offers internet access, satellite television, an in-room safe, mini bar, air-conditioning, hair dryer, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Other property amenities include a restaurant, cocktail bar, spa, and swimming pool with lake views.

8 /8

Lake Victoria Serena Resort - Kampala, Uganda

Styled to replicate the lines of a classically rustic Roman villa, Lake Victoria Serena Resort sits on the shores of Africa’s largest lake. The property is located twenty minutes from Entebbe International Airport and twenty minutes from the center of Kampala. Each of the 124 luxurious guest rooms offers internet access, satellite television, an in-room safe, mini bar, air-conditioning, hair dryer, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Other property amenities include a restaurant, cocktail bar, spa, and swimming pool with lake views.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Dec 29, 2019 - Jan 8, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Feb 11-21, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Jun 13-23, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Jul 14-24, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Aug 2-12, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 1-11, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Dec 29, 2020 - Jan 8, 2021
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $20,218 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $25,348 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. Internal flights are $330 per person. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

Please note: A US Department of State travel advisory for Rwanda is currently in effect (travel.state.gov). We expect to operate this trip as planned, but will continue to closely monitor events in the region and will alter the itinerary if necessary.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Jill Pruetz
Biologist
"

National Geographic Explorer Jill Pruetz is a biological anthropologist who specializes in primatology. A professor at Iowa State University, Jill spent two years in East Africa researching patas and vervet monkeys as well as Grevy's zebras. She is one of the world's foremost chimpanzee experts and is currently conducting ground-breaking research on chimpanzee behavior—funded by National Geographic—in southeastern Senegal.

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  • Jul 14-24, 2020
  • Aug 2-12, 2020
  • Dec 29, 2020 - Jan 8, 2021
Lucy Spelman
Wildlife Biologist Educator
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Lucy Spelman is a board-certified zoo and wildlife veterinarian with degrees from Brown University and the University of California at Davis. During her tenure as the first woman and youngest person to head the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, she brought two giant pandas to the U.S. from China. She worked as a consultant for Animal Planet before moving to central Africa to run the field program for the Gorilla Doctors, which monitors the health of gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Since returning home, Lucy has been teaching biology to students at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2015, she founded Creature Conserve to provide ways for artists and scientists to work together for the benefit of all animals. She is the author of 40 scientific articles, the National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia, and The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes.

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  • Dec 29, 2019 - Jan 8, 2020
  • Jun 13-23, 2020
  • Sep 1-11, 2020
Washington Wachira
Birder Naturalist Photographer
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National Geographic Explorer Washington Wachira is a naturalist, a photographer, and one of East Africa’s top birders. He’s studying the urban ecology of the African crowned eagle with grant support from National Geographic. His other research interests span paleontology, primatology, and herpetology. He loves sharing East Africa’s cultures and wildlife with travelers, and he was awarded the African Sustainable Tourism Fellowship Award in 2016. Washington is an accomplished nature photographer. His photos have been featured in publications worldwide and have won multiple awards. He holds several conservation leadership positions, including Chair of the National Bird of Kenya Sub-committee, member of the African Primatological Consortium for Conservation, Vice Chair of the Kenya Herpetofauna Working Group, and member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Specialist Group on Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills. Washington is a TED Speaker and gave a TEDGlobal talk in 2017 titled “For the love of birds.”

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  • Feb 11-21, 2020