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Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Chicago, Illinois
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Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Hi! We are in the prelim stages of planning 2013 trip. Can anyone recommend reputable companies that offer both Rwanda/Uganda gorilla/chimp safaris for about a week with more upscale accommodations? There's a lot of info out there & I've tried my own search & found some companies that offer one country but not the other (or maybe I have to specially request tailor-made from these companies?). The only company I've found is Volcanoes Safaris that offers a 7 day trip to both countries & they look really awesome, but I'd like to be able to compare a few different companies & compare apples to apples.

Also, the only times of year we could go would be mid-late April or around Xmas/New Year - is it correct to assume that because of the rain, December would be better? We're really most interested in animal viewing & bad (but not horrible weather) is not much of a deterrent.

Any input would be much appreciated...thanks!

North Coast, N...
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1. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

I think there are quite a few companies out there based in Uganda who offer this but they are probably more geared towards people like us who are there for longer and starting from Entebbe, Uganda. We're going in May and although most of our trip is in Uganda, we are going over to Rwanda for 3 nights to do a second gorilla trek and see a little of Kigali.

We're using Churchill Safaris. We're doing more budget-mid-range (I think Paraa is as upmarket as we are going) but they do offer high-end options. They tailor the trip for you.

http://www.churchillsafaris.com/

Edited: 09 March 2012, 07:38
Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Amahoro or bizzydanni get good reviews in Rwanda. I am not sure they can do cross border trips but they probably can. However as Ponaire states you will most likely be in Uganda for longer therefore it should make sense to use a Uganda Agent such as Churchill who regularly cover both countries either as fixed itineraries or tailor made.

Volcanoes are too steep for me but I have never knowingly had a bad place to rest my head.

Ignore the weather bogey. It can and does rain in teh mountians at any time of year. Sometimes it just rains more than others but it is never Monsoon like in season.

I have been in most seasons and never been troubled. Go when you can!

Actually it is said that when it rains the Gorillas are closer. They come in the village for the fruiting trees, and when they get wet they sit in the open basking in the followng sunshine which makes for great visiting.

Milan, Italy
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3. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

I used http://www.toursgorilla.com/ on my trip to Tanzania and they were AMAZING. Still in touch with Haddy after 3 years, always exchanging e-mails during the holidays. Plan to use them for my next trip to Rwanda and Uganda

UGANDA
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4. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Yes, Volcano safaris is one of the but what I am sure of is that most Uganda tour operators offer Uganda and Rwanda Combo safaris . And given the fact that you intend to visit Uganda for more days than Rwanda , I high recommend that you use a Uganda Tour operator

Just check the Association of Uganda tour operators list and email at least 20 tour companies, you will not fail to get a response.

The AUTO website can be accessed at http://www.auto.or.ug.

Edited: 09 March 2012, 21:40
Kampala
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5. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Gorilla permits have to be booked in advance.

Remember to share pictures with us.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Thanks for all the quick responses & great input! Couple of follow up questions - why does everyone say we will spend more time in Uganda & recommending a Ugandan tour operator - are there more activities to do there & things to see while on a 7 or 8 day tour? We had planned to spend perhaps 2 extra days in Rwanda before or after safari & are open to flying into/out of different countries, not sure if that makes a difference in whether to choose Rwandan or Ugandan company?

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

We can only guess where you're going if you don't tell us.

Taking a 14 day trip as a yardstick most folks will visit the Gorillas in Rwanda and maybe Uganda too. Rwanda being a very small country there is not much else other than Nyungwe in the west and Agakera in the east as wildlife destinations. So folks usually migrate north for some game viewing "while in Africa"!

I re read our report and it seems you are only there for 7 days so this yardstick is shorter. (18inches?) but more or less the same will apply. You may try Kigali and the Genocide business but rapidly run out of things thereafter.

so that is answer 1.

Answer 2 is more complex. I have given you two names and they are both capable. Flying into Kigali and out of Entebbe is feasible. Two European airlines do this, SN and KLM which cuts out connecting flights by more local airlines.

It all depends on what you wish to achieve in your visit.

Please tell us more detail.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Thanks mfuwe. Sorry, I didn't mean to be vague! For tours, we were looking to do PNV and/or Bwindi for 2 days of gorilla tracking - leaning toward PNV b/c seems like it is a lot closer to Kigali than Entebbe is to Bwindi, so as to not spend massive amounts of time on the road, though if Bwindi gorilla viewing is measurably better than PNV, we are open to that - we are in good physical shape, if that's the main difference in gorilla experience between the 2 locations (I read somewhere Bwindi is more physically taxing). We also wanted to do chimpanzee viewing & the boat cruise/animal viewing in Queen Elizabeth NP in Uganda & do a couple of cultural things in either country to get a chance to interact with people, perhaps try to fit in a hike in either country.

We want to see the Rwanda genocide memorials & sites & shop in the markets so our thought was we would fly into Rwanda & do those things on our own for a day or two before safari & to get over jet lag & spend a day in Kampala after the safari & fly back to the US out of Entebbe. So we'd be in Rwanda/Uganda a total of 10 days or so total. We wish we could spend more time there, but with all the travel time (about 3 days total to/from US) & our crazy jobs, the most time we can take off is 2 weeks. Sad!

Again, thanks for all the input! We love Africa a lot. We're going to South Africa in two months for 2 weeks & I've been to Tanzania for 3 weeks several years ago to volunteer & sightsee during free weekends (Ngorongoro safari & Zanzibar) & had the most fantastic time!

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

OK. It is clearer now. first up, KLM fly Amsterdam to Kigali back to EBB and then AMS. So it is feasible to get off the plane in KIG and get back on (a similar one) in EBb for a return ticket.

So arriving Kifgali and rest up. Wander around Genocide site(s) before drifing up to PNV for a Gorilla trek. (Rwanda $750, Uganda $500 so there is an incentive to trek in Uganda.)

Or do both. Generally Rwanda is thought easier but this is not always the case. Some folks have been out and back for lunch in Uganda. Terrain is tough in Bwindi but not difficult.

So then it is chimps and QENP for Kazinga. There is a chimp tracking base nr Kazinga (Kyambura) but the success rate is not good. Better at Kanyanchu (Kibale) or Kanyo Pabidi. (Budongo). Kanyanchu is 3 hours max from QENP and fromthere Entebbe and your plane home is maybe 4. this all fits together inot a nice round trip of 9 or 10 days so some slack left..

Barcelona, Spain
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10. Re: Recommendations on tour operators for combo Rwanda/Uganda?

Hi, i would also recommend a Ugandan tour company because there is more to see in Uganda. We also did both Uganda and Rwanda,visited the Murchison falls national park,then went to top of the falls,queen Elizabeth park,did a boat trip on the channel and later went to Rwanda for gorilla trekking.

We contacted Destination Jungle Tours and Safaris.It did us a great service,everything resulted as we had planned it so contact them.The director is a great person,he briefed us himself at the hotel in Kampala so i can assure you will receive the best like we did. contact them at:

d.jungle@safaritoeastafrica.com

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