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Day by Day

16- days Uganda & Madagascar

Incredible wildlife & landscapes

Comfort
Highlights

This tour has been designed to show you the best highlights that Uganda & Madgascar has to offer. Your visit to Uganda combines wildlife safaris on the savannah plains with gorilla and chimpanzee tracking activities in the country’s lush rainforests. In Madagascar you will experience the raw and untamed nature of this stunning country and witness the many unique endemic species that call this island home. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Chimpanzee & Gorillas
  • Ranomafana & Isalo NP
  • Game drives & tracks!
Customer score:
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Day 1: Arrival to Kigali, Rwanda

Welcome to the land of a thousand hills! This small but scenically stunning country is thus known for its endless rolling green hills, which you will experience on your fly-over to Kigali International Airport.

A representative from your hotel will pick you up and drive you to your hotel in a quiet leafy street in the heart of down-town Kigali.

If time allows, you are free to explore the city today. There are many activities in Kigali that are easily arranged through the reception at your hotel, for example city tours and visits to the craft markets browse amongst the pottery, carvings, batik, weaving, musical instruments, leather and fabrics on offer. Prepare to use your haggling skills! All activities today are at your own cost.

Journey Time             30 minutes
Accommodation Heaven Boutique Hotel 
Meal Plan No meals included today
 
 

Day 2: To Lake Mutanda in Uganda

Experience the emerald green hills of Rwanda and Uganda on a spectacular drive from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The serpentine roads wind through lush rainforests, skirting hill tops (keep your eyes open for the volcanos!) and dipping into lively villages in the valley before arriving to the serene waters of Lake Mutanda. A representative from Mutanda Lake Resort will carry out this transfer and can pick you up at Kigali Airport or at any address in Kigali. 

Offering some of the best views in Uganda, Mutanda Lake Resort is perched on a peninsula overlooking a series of small islands scattered across the water and the volcanoes from the Virunga Range rising out of the mist in the distance. 

 

Gorilla Tracking is the main highlight of a visit to the southern parts of Bwindi Forest, but you are also in the perfect place for volcano hikes, birding, nature and culture walks and canoe and paddle board excursions. The sunset scenes are unforgettable so make sure to find your way to the lodge’s veranda in time for sundowners. 

Journey Time             4-5 hours
Accommodation Mutanda Lake Resort - Standard Room
Meal Plan Breakfast & Dinner

 

Optional upgrade: Luxury Cottage

The spacious Luxury Cottages at Mutanda Lake Resort boast the best views of the lake and the volcanoes. From the comfort of your private veranda you can enjoy the seclusion and tranquility of this beautiful spot on the lake. 

Optional at an additional cost of USD 40 per person per night

 

Day 3: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest

Encountering the rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Parkis an experience of a lifetime. 

Half of the world’s population of gorillas lives under the mist-covered canopies of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest. In the company of an experienced park ranger you will be tracking the whereabouts of one of the nine habituated family groups who live in the park. 

Your tracking experience will be an exciting, yet challenging, journey along forested (often muddy and slippery) slopes, tangled vines, thick vegetation and bamboo forests before you reach the territory of these gentle giants. En-route, your ranger will point out telltale signs of previous gorilla activity like dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. Depending on the location of the gorillas on any given day the walk can take anything from 2 to 7 hours. Once the family of gorillas has been located, settle in to your surroundings and enjoy the hour you have to quietly observe these fascinating primates whose habits and mannerisms remind us so much of our own. 

 

Encountering the mountain gorillas in the wild is a truly humbling and emotional experience, one that you are sure to remember for the rest of your life. 

Journey Time 1,5 hrs each way
Accommodation       Mutanda Lake Resort - Standard Rooms
Meal Plan              Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner
 
 

Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited game reserve and arguably the most scenic. The national park protects the vast savannah plains, bush land, wetlands and forests that lie at the base of the Rwenzori mountain range. Kazinga Channel, which flows through the park and connects Lake George in the east to Lake Edward in the west, attracts a rich array of animals and birds, including the infamous Nile crocodile and one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos. On your first game drive tomorrow you will explore the park along a 200 kilometer network of well-maintained game viewing tracks. 

Journey Time 7 hrs
Accommodation Marafiki Safari Lodge
Meal Plan              Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5: Game Drives & Boat Safari on Kazinga Channel

Safari breakfasts are traditionally served before the day breaks so that you can start your morning game drive as the sun comes up. Sunrise is the best time for wildlife spotting as animals tend to be the most active during the “golden hours”, when the first rays of sunshine come to rest on the savannah. Elephants, buffalo and several species of antelope are some of the characters you may come across today, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a lion or leopard.  

 

Later in the day when the sun is high in the sky and the animals make their way to the river for a drink, we will head to Kazinga Channel for an exciting boat safari. You will spot more hippos today than you can possibly imagine. Herds of elephants and buffalo will also wander down to the shoreline to bathe in the cooling waters. A boat safari is a fantastic way to get close to wildlife. For many visitors the boat safari is the highlight of their visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park.  

Journey Time  
Accommodation             Marafiki Safari Lodge
Meal Plan              Breakfast & Dinner
 

Join a research team and track the majestic lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park 

For visitors who yearn to get a closer look at African wildlife, while contributing to an important conservation program at the same time, a Lion Tracking research trip can be a rewarding adventure. This unique experience allows visitors to join a research team who track and monitor some of lions in the park though locator devices. The data collected will further the conservation program, while you get a unique and intimate insight into the lives and habits of these fascinating predators.    

The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 100 per person

 

Do you want to explore the Valley of the Apes? 

If you find safaris to be a bit too sedentary for your taste, then a hike in the Kyambura Gorgeis what you need to get your heart rate up. This stunning geological feature is known as “the Valley of Apes” and is another world unto itself. The view from the top is incredibly impressive with a deep sunken gorge covered in lush tropical vegetation. As its nick-name reveals, the gorge is home to several primate species including chimpanzees, the red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus, baboons and velvet monkeys. You will also see your fair share of colorful bird species. While the chances of spotting chimpanzees are not as high here as in Kibale Forest or Budongo Forest, this landscape is among the most impressive in Uganda and absolutely worth visiting.

The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 50 per person

 

 
 

Day 6: Kibale Forest National Park

Your journey to Kibale Forest is incredibly scenic, taking you through tea plantations, lively village markets and over rolling hills of lush green countryside that is so characteristic of western Uganda.

Kibale Forest National Park itself is an extensive tract of dense tropical rainforest located just south of the town Fort Portal. The various ecosystems in this space are reputed to harbor the highest density of primates in all of Africa. The rare red colobus monkey as well as the black-and-white colobus are just some of the primates you may encounter on your forest walks here. The highlight of a trip to Kibale Forest is of course to spend some time observing the wonderfully entertaining chimpanzees. 

 

Your lodge for the next two nights offers a unique jungle experience near the boundaries of the park. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature in one of the property’s beautifully decorated cottages, each set in a private nook in the forest. The rooms are spacious and have large terraces from where you can watch the activities of the forest inhabitants. The main lodge building offers stunning views of the forest canopy below and on a clear day you can see all the way to the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.

Journey Time 5 hours
Accommodation Turaco Treetops
Meal Plan Breakfast and dinner

Day 7: Chimpanzee Tracking

No other animal reminds us so much of ourselves as the chimpanzee. Besides many common features and mannerisms, chimpanzees also share 98% of our human DNA, making them our closest living relatives. It is not so surprising then that we find the habits and biology of these primates so fascinating to study.

While chimpanzees can be found in 21 countries throughout Africa, they are most easily sighted in Uganda due to the high concentration of the species here. On a Chimpanzee Tracking experience in Kibale Forest you will have the opportunity to follow an experienced guide into the forest to observe these fascinating creatures at a close range. Watching them interact with each other and go about their daily routine of grooming, playing and foraging is an incredible experience.

While your chances of encountering chimpanzees are high during your tracking excursion, it is never 100% guaranteed. These are, after all, wild animals with wills and minds of their own!

After socializing with the chimps you will be invited to engage in the human custom of a hot lunch. Served by local residents you will learn about the traditional cuisine of the region and its preparation. This meal will offer a nice insight into the local culture, as well as giving a real taste of Uganda!

 

In the afternoon you can choose whether you would like to spend more time with the local communities and learn more about their day-to-day lives on a Community Walk or go deeper into the forest on a Swamp Walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is home to 8 primate species, over 200 bird species, butterflies and various reptiles. For bird lovers the highlight of the afternoon is spotting the beautiful great blue turaco.

Both the Community Walk and Swamp Walk are operated by KAFRED, a registered community-based organization. The income from the walk is used for community development projects such as schools and hospitals.

Please let your Matoke Tours Travel Consultant know which walk you prefer at the time of booking.

Journey Time 15 minutes each way
Accommodation Turaco Treetops
Meal Plan Breakfast and dinner
 
 

Day 8: To Entebbe & Flight to Madagascar

Enjoy your last morning waking up to nature at your door. After breakfast you will make your way to Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Your guide will drop you off at the airport in time for your international flight to Madagascar. 

On arrival at the airport in the capital, Antananarivo, a representative from Susie’s Place will pick you up and take you to this cosy family-run Bed & Breakfast in a quiet suburb of the city. You will have the time to relax for the rest of the day and take in your new surroundings. 

Journey time:  5 hours drive + 4,5 hr flight
Accommodation: Susie's Place
Meal Plan:  Breakfast

Day 9: Travel to Antsirabe

In the morning you will meet your guide for the journey and set off south to the colorful town of Antsirabe. On the way you will see the scenery changing to farm lands where primarily rice is grown by the local people.

In Antsirabe you will see more of the Malagasy way of life. You can enjoy a ride through the town on a pousse-pousse. The pousse-pousse (meaning “push push”) are the local bikes in Antsirabe. You can also enjoy a drink on one of the local terraces. You will spend the night in Antsirabe town where there are plenty of good restaurants in town where you can sample the local cuisine.
 

Journey time:  4 hours 
Accommodation: Couleur Cafe
Meal Plan:  Breakfast
 
 

Day 10: Ranomafana National Park

After breakfast you will travel to Ranomafana National Park. This park is without a doubt the most popular national park in Madagascar.

In the afternoon you can enjoy the nearby hot springs or go to the spa to recover after a long drive. In the evening you can stretch your legs a bit on a night walk along the park to spot some nocturnal animals like the mouse lemur, several different chameleons, geckos and the treefrog. 
 

Journey time:  6 hours 
Accommodation: Centrest Hotel
Meal Plan:  Breakfast

Day 11: Explore Ranomafana National Park

Ranomafana National Park became a national park after the discovery of a new lemur species called the Golden Bamboo Lemur, which is critically endangered today. The rainforest is home to some very unique flora and fauna; including 12 different species of lemurs and 118 bird species, of which 30 are endemic to Ranomafana National Park. 

The name Ranomafana, means “warm water” in the local Malagasy language. It has been thus named due to several hot springs located in the park. 

There are 5 different tracks in the national park that you can explore with a professional guide. The walks start early morning and the length and difficulty of the trail can be adjusted to your fitness level. 

Look out for the Milne Edward Sifaka today, a lemur species characterized by a black body with a light-colored “saddle” on the lower parts of its back. Besides seeing lemurs you may also spot several different chameleons and geckos.  

Journey time:  6 hours 
Accommodation: Centrest Hotel
Meal Plan:  Breakfast
 
 

Day 12: Visit Anja Community Reserve & Travel to Isalo National Park

Today you will continue your journey southwest along the famous RN7 to a little gem of a park called, Anja Community Reserve. The Reserve has stunning scenery, loads of lemurs and has been run by the local community since 1992. 

At 74 acres, the reserve is small compared to other parks in Madagascar. However, it is a very important space in terms of conservation and education and the most visited community-managed forest and ecotourist site in Madagascar. The focus of your visit will be on the many active ring-tailed lemurs jumping around. There are about 300 of them living in the reserve and watching them play and jump between trees is an enjoyable experience. 

After your walk you will carry on to Isalo National Park. 

Journey time:  6 hours 
Accommodation: Isalo Ranch
Meal Plan:  Breakfast

Day 13: Explore Isalo National Park

Today you will explore the Grand Canyon of Madagascar, Isalo National Park. The landscapes of this park are a glorious blend of deep canyons, green oases, sandstone formations and plains. Here the history of earth is close to you and you will get a chance to explore this beautiful area on foot today. Don’t forget to bring your swimming costume so that you can take a cooling dip into one of the natural pools. Lunch is included in the program today. 

Journey time:  -
Accommodation: Isalo Ranch
Meal Plan:  Breakfast & Lunch
 
 

Day 14: Zombitse National Park & Travel to Tulear

Today you will continue on the RN7 to the west coast. You will stop about halfway between Isalo National Park and Tulear at Zombitse National Park. This park is unique in that it is the transition zone between the dry forest of the south and west and the humid forest of eastern Madagascar. The flora is especially rich within this protected area with Baobabs and several orchids common in this area. 

On a walk in this park you will have a chance to see different lemur species like the dancing Verraux Sifaka, brown lemurs and the ring-tailed lemurs, as well as several different bird species. You also have high chances to see chameleons, snakes and the beautiful Coquerel's Coua bird. The surface is flat and dry, so heavy walking shoes are not needed here.

After your walk you will continue on to Tulear, a coastal town overlooking the Canal de Mozambique. Your beach hotel is located about 30 minutes south of Tulear. This Malagasy-Swiss eco lodge is situated directly on the beach, in the midst of diverse vegetation. Here you can relax in the afternoon with your feet in the sand. 

Journey time:  4 hrs
Accommodation: Famata Lodge
Meal Plan:  Breakfast 

Day 15: Domestic flight to Antananarivo

Your accommodation will provide transportation to the airport today for your domestic flight back to Antananarivo. You will stay at the same cozy guesthouse as at the beginning of the trip. In the evening you will have the possibility to try one of the good restaurants in the neighbourhood. 
 

Journey time:  3 hours 
Accommodation: Susie's Place
Meal Plan:  Breakfast
 
 

Day 16: Departure

Today is your last morning in Madagascar. A day room at Susie’s Place is included in the package so that you can have a relaxing morning, explore the city if you wish and then freshen up before heading to the airport for your international flight. The hotel will arrange for your airport transfer. Any activities in the capital today are at your own expense. 
 

Journey time:  15 minutes
Accommodation: No accommodation
Meal Plan:  Breakfast

Did we hit all the items on your travel bucket list? 

If not, don’t worry. We specialize in tailor-made tours and can customize this program to create your dream trip. Get in touch with your personal Travel Consultant to create your personalized program.

Don't want the fun to end?

Why not combine this tour with a beach holiday in Madagascar? We take care of everything from flights to transfers and accommodation so that you can relax and enjoy your holiday. Explore our other destinations or speak with your personal Travel Consultant for some expert advice on suitable combinations.

 

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16 days Uganda & Madagascar
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