Self Drive Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda and Rwanda – 7 Days


A day-by-day self-drive gorilla trekking safari in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest National Park and in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park offers a chance to compare gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. The arrangement of our 7-day self-drive gorilla trekking safari in East Africa started with looking for a good local car rental agency to hire a 4×4 safari vehicle that we can use to move around in the two counties. This trip started in Uganda at Entebbe International Airport where we met the agent from a car rental agency who offered us a Land Cruiser VX/V8 at 95$ per day. The trip end in Rwanda at Kigali International Airport where we met an agent from 4×4 Uganda Ltd and dropped the vehicle to catch our flight back home. This is a great opportunity to do gorilla trekking trice in Uganda and Rwanda when you have limited time in Africa, we also have short gorilla trips like the 3-day gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda.

Picking the Safari Rental Car

The first day started with meeting a car rental agent at the Entebbe International Airport who delivered the vehicle to us and then we transferred to the southwestern part of the country to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park the home to the rare and engendered mountain Gorillas in Uganda. When we received the vehicle at the airport, we drove for something like 2hour and we got a stopover for photos and breakfast at the Equator in the village called Kayabwe, then we continued to Mbarara Town for lunch. After lunch, we continue to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park for relaxation as we waited for dinner and overnight at Mahogany Springs Lodge.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Family in Bwindi Forest Uganda

The next day before 8:00 a.m., we had breakfast and got our packed lunch, gorilla trekking gears, and then transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park headquarters for a briefing from the ranger guide about how to behave when with the mountain gorillas in the jungle. After the briefing, we were accompanied by armed ranger guides and entered the forest to search for the mountain gorillas. We passed through the thick forest, slashing the undergrowth, and parting thick creepers in order to create the way. The tracking period was about 3hours but we were told by the ranger that sometimes it can be less or more and always depends on the movement of the gorillas in their natural habitat in search of food and shelter. Upon reaching the Gorillas, we got a full hour to spend with the gorillas we got a chance to watch them as they interact with each other, and communicated, and also took photographs and recorded videos. Then after this amazing experience, we returned to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Relaxation at Lake Bunyonyi

On the third day, we left this amazing jungle and we drove about 75km to Lake Bunyonyi found between Kisoro and Kabale near Uganda and Rwanda border. The word Bunyonyi in the local language means little birds and therefore the lake got its name from the many birds that inhabit the area. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest lake in Uganda and the second deepest in Africa. Upon our arrival at Bunyonyi Overland Camp, we relaxed and waited for lunch and after lunch, we took a canoe ride to the various islands found on this lake. After the canoe ride, we returned to the camp for dinner and overnight.

Lake Bunyonyi

The next day at Bunyonyi Overland Camp, we had a lot of activities from which we can choose, we had options like, visiting the local market in Kabale town, visiting the Bakiga cultural museum, there was another option of visiting the dairy farms and plantations and also there was an option to visit the Batwa community on one of the islands on the Lake Bunyonyi. But we decided to spend the whole day relaxing at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Camp as we spot different birds at the lake.

On the 5th day, we had to drive direct and cross the border to Rwanda through the Cyanika border and transfer to Volcanoes National Park the home to the rare and endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda. En route, we visited the beautiful twin lakes for memorable photos before we proceed to the park for lunch and relaxation as we waited for dinner and overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.

Mountain Gorilla in Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

Second Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park

The 6th day, was the day of doing gorilla trekking in Rwanda, we had to wake up early in the morning and transfer to the park headquarters of Volcanoes National Park with our gorilla trekking permits and gorilla trekking gear for registration and gorilla group allocation. At the park headquarters, we were shortly briefed about the gorilla trekking rule and regulations, and then we were accompanied by an armed guard and two ranger guides and then we entered the jungle in search of mountain gorillas. We hiked into the volcano Virunga hills and green valley for something like 3hours before we met the gorillas, the tracking activity is a bit tiresome but the encounter with these gentle giants makes you forget all the hardships you went through as you were searching for them. When we met the gorillas, we were given a full hour to spend with them gorillas and we got a chance to take photos and record videos. After this amazing experience with gorillas, we returned to the lodge for relaxation.

The last day was reserved for departure, we woke up at around 8:30 in the morning for breakfast at the lodge and then pack our luggage, and then hit the road and drove to Kigali the most beautiful city in Africa for a simple city tour, last-minute shopping and then transfer Kigali International Airport where we met the agent from 4×4 Uganda Ltd to receive the vehicle.