25 MAR - 11 APR
About This Tour
NOTE: On May 6, 2017, the Rwanda Development Board announced a doubling in the price of gorilla permits, from $750 to $1,500. To save you money, we have removed Rwanda from the main tour and now offer Rwanda as an optional extension. The revised Uganda tour includes two gorilla visits in different sectors of Bwindi National Park. The Rwanda add-on is priced separately and includes a flight, one gorilla tracking permit plus the golden monkey permit and a visit to the grave of Dian Fossey. The Tourist Board in Uganda may well decide to follow the lead of Rwanda and increase the price of gorilla permits in Uganda. We do not purchase your permits until your reservation is received. To avoid any possible increase in the Uganda tour price, please book your space as soon as possible!
In modern times a “safari” means cameras, not guns, are used to shoot wildlife. It also means an overland journey, often involving great distances and requiring special preparation. It is in this broader spirit that we embark upon an exotic journey to equatorial Africa to connect with distant, unfamiliar cultures, and to seek out a species of primate that is almost “family,” and that is in danger of extinction.
Uganda’s star attraction is the endangered mountain gorilla, the bulkiest of living primates, and among the most peaceable. The total population of mountain gorillas living in the wild is now less than 900 individuals. Within Uganda, five habituated gorilla troops can be visited by only a small group of tourists daily. Uganda is also home to man’s closest relative, the chimpanzee, whose evocative pant-hoot call is a definitive sound of the African rainforest. Monkeys are exceptionally well represented here, boasting the greatest primate variety and density in East Africa, with five or six species likely to be observed over the course of a single afternoon walk.
We offer a tour extension to Rwanda. Divided by great peaks up to 9,842 feet which run across the country from north to south, Rwanda is equal to its neighbor as a habitat protecting mountain gorillas. Whether you’re a first time safari-goer or a seasoned Africa traveler, Uganda and Rwanda, with their unique blend of savannah and forest creatures, and their wealth of mountain and lake habitats, are simply dazzling.
Our visits to these countries support the protection and conservation of the mountain gorillas. A part of your tour cost is also designated for supporting the work of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda), which is the leading advocate for establishing gay rights in Uganda. Our tourist dollars will only be spent in establishments which are supportive of the gay community.
- Kampala, capital of Uganda
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
- Murchison Falls National Park
- Kibale Forest
- Crater Lakes region
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Kazinga Channel
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park *
- Lake Mburo National Park
- Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda)
- Kigali, Rwanda’s capital
- Gorilla tracking in both Uganda and Rwanda
- Game drives
- Meeting with SMUG representatives * UNESCO World Heritage Sites
LEAVE HOME, BOUND FOR KAMPALA
Arrange your international flight to leave your home city sometime today, arriving in Kampala, Uganda tomorrow night or the following day. Entebbe International Airport (airport code EBB) lies 25 miles from Kampala and is serviced by several international airlines, including KLM/Northwest, SN Brussels, British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwandair Express, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines. Please arrange to arrive in Uganda by the afternoon of Tuesday, March 27th, at the very latest. Since there are no direct flights from the U. S. to Uganda, you will most likely be connecting through a European capital, where you will arrive tomorrow morning. (Meals Aloft)
EUROPE TO UGANDA
After landing in whichever European capital serves as a hub for your chosen airline, connect onward to Entebbe. You may have a substantial layover, since most flights to Uganda leave in the evening, arriving at Entebbe Airport the next morning. However, a few flights do leave during the daytime and arrive in the evening. If your flight arrangements enable you to arrive in Uganda today, you will need to book an extra night at our hotel. Our tour officially begins in Kampala tomorrow, so an extra charge will apply if you arrive today. (Meals Aloft)
ARRIVE IN KAMPALA
Upon arrival, collect your luggage and go through customs. A guide will meet you and transfer you to our gorgeous hotel in the center of Kampala. The day is entirely free for you to rest up from the long journey, explore the environs of the or swim in the beautiful pool. We gather this evening for cocktails and to get acquainted with one another before proceeding to the restaurant for a Welcome Dinner. (Dinner included)
Embark on a sightseeing tour of Kampala, commonly referred to as “a city on the hills” due to its location on seven hills that provide key points of orientation and identity. Some of these hills are closely linked to colonial history, and others are dedicated to the Catholic, Protestant or Moslem faiths, the country’s oldest university, diplomatic missions, and the Kabaka Palace. Our sightseeing today includes the Uganda Museum, town markets, Makerere University, the National Theater, and Namugongo Uganda Martyrs Shrine. We enjoy a special dinner this evening with members of SMUG, an organization leading the fight for gay rights in Uganda. (Breakfast / Dinner)
ZIWA RHINO SANCTUARY / MURCHISON FALLS
We drive north of Kampala into the Nakasongola District, making our first stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where guides lead us on foot to track the northern white rhinos. Proceed to Murchison Falls National Park, the country’s oldest and largest conservation areas. The waters of the Nile River plunge through a narrow gorge only 23 feet wide before plunging the height of a 15-story building. The Nile bisects this massive park for 71 miles, making it a sanctuary for 76 different species of mammals, as well as Uganda’s largest population of crocodiles. We check into our lodge and have a free evening. (All Meals)
GAME DRIVE / BOAT EXCURSION
Start with a morning game drive in the northern circuit of the park, known as the delta region, where we can view giraffes, lions, elephants, buffaloes, and baboons. This afternoon we take a boat to the bottom of Murchison Falls for spectacular views. The banks of the Nile are home to many species, including the huge, indigenous Nile crocodiles, large groups of hippos, monitor lizards, buffaloes, elephants and many more. We return to our lodge for dinner and overnight. (All Meals)
FLIGHT TO KASESE / CRATER LAKES
Board a charter flight to the Kasese airstrip in the Crater Lakes region, where we spend the next two nights at a lodge on a volcano rim with spectacular views. Settle into your private cottage and enjoy a free evening to luxuriate in the amenities of the lodge and a spectacular sunset over the Ruwenzori Mountains. As darkness descends the howling of black-and-white colobus monkeys and wood owls provides accompaniment to a sumptuous candlelight dinner. (All Meals)
Early this morning we head into the Kibale Rain Forest, which has the greatest diversity and highest density of primates in all of Africa. On the Kanyanchu Primate Walk you may see up to thirteen different species, including the blue monkey, red colobus, black-and-white colobus, mangabey, and chimpanzee. After tracking, we proceed to a Tinka villager’s home to sample local African cuisines for lunch. We return to our lodge for a free evening. (All Meals).
CRATER WALK / QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
We begin our day with a crater walk in one of the extinct volcanoes of the area. Marvel at the stunning biodiversity, from plant life to primate species and large mammals. Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Rwanda. It is renowned for its wildlife, including chimpanzees, Congo lions, elephants, leopards, hippos, Cape buffaloes, crocodiles, and over 500 species of birds. Our lodge is situated above a peninsula, overlooking the Kazinga Channel which connects Lake Edward and Lake George in the park. (All Meals)
GAME DRIVE / KAZINGA CHANNEL
Embark on a morning game drive to the shady plains of the park, where we may see herds of Uganda kobs, lions, African elephants, hippos and many others. This afternoon we take a boat cruise along the famous Kazinga Channel to view enormous hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants, and buffaloes, as well as hundreds of bird species along the water’s edge. Time permitting, we will have a sunset game drive to see different animal species as they begin to come out of foliage as night falls. Dinner and overnight at our lodge. (All Meals)
GAME DRIVE / TRANSFER TO ISHASHA
Enjoy a morning game drive in the open savannah of the Kasenyi area, before transferring to the Ishasha sector of Q.E. National Park. We will have lunch at our wilderness camp, followed by a relaxing afternoon. As the sun begins to set, we embark on a game drive in search of the tree-climbing lions, who nap in the branches after gorging on a kill. We may also see elephants, buffaloes, and some primates. We return to our camp for dinner and a free evening. (All Meals)
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK
We continue our wildlife sightings today as we travel through the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on our way to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the far southwestern corner of Uganda. Keep your eyes attentive for more tree-climbing lions! Upon arrival at our gorilla forest camp, enjoy dinner and an evening free to relax in preparation for tomorrow’s big adventure. (All Meals)
GORILLA TRACKING IN BWINDI
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to more than half of the total population of mountain gorillas left in the wild. The morning begins with a briefing by specialized guides about how to deal with the gorillas when they get up close-and-personal. We are then divided into smaller groups, depending on which gorilla family you have been allocated to track. Undertake a mountain trek to where your gorilla family is located. This can be strenuous, and it is possible to hire porters to carry you if you are not able to climb in this rough terrain. Once in the presence of our family group, we enjoy a full hour of interactions and snapshots and videos clips with these giant and gentle gorillas, which many describe as a life-altering experience. We may also encounter other primate species as well as a variety of birds. We return to our wildlife camp for a free evening. (All Meals)
NKURINGO SECTOR IN BWINDI
After breakfast this morning we transfer to the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We check in at our Gorilla Camp, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Options for activities today include a visit to a local community. (All Meals)
GORILLA TRACKING IN BWINDI
We grab a packed lunch after breakfast and head to the park headquarters to commence our second adventure tracking gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. After successfully locating our designated gorilla family and spending an unforgettable hour with them, we return to our lodge for dinner and overnight. (All Meals)
LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
We transfer to Lake Mburo National Park this morning, passing via the beautiful Kigezi Highlands, commonly referred to as the Switzerland of Africa. We stop for lunch at Mbarara Town before reaching our lodge. Enjoy a sunset game drive today, during which we may encounter many species such as impalas, zebras, buffaloes, giraffes, elephants, and many more. Return to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay. (All Meals)
MORNING BUSH WALK / TRANSFER TO ENTEBBE
Begin your day with an invigorating bush walk in the park to encounter a variety of animals and birds. Return to the lodge for breakfast, after which we transfer to Entebbe. We check into our hotel and enjoy a Farewell Dinner together at the conclusion of the main tour. This will be the parting of the ways, as some of us fly out late tonight, returning to the USA sometime tomorrow, and others of us continue on for more adventures in Rwanda. The Rwanda participants will spend the night at our Entebbe hotel. (All Meals)
Optional Rwanda Tour Extension
We transfer to the Entebbe airport this morning to board our flight to Kigale, Rwanda. We meet our guide for the Rwanda portion of the tour, and proceed city-center hotel for check-in and an evening at leisure. (Breakfast)
KIGALE TOUR / TRANSFER TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Begin the day with a city tour of Kigale, including the Gisozi Genocide Museum. Afterwards we proceed to Volcanoes National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorillas. The park lies in Northwestern Rwanda, bordering Virunga National Park. We check in at our lodge and prepare for our gorilla adventure tomorrow. (All Meals)
GORILLA TRACKING IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, proceed to the park headquarters at Kinigi for a briefing about our gorilla tracking experience. Our ranger guides lead us into the forest in search of our designated gorilla family. Once united with them, enjoy another hour of sheer magic observing babies playing, watched over by protective mothers and a huge silverback dad. Volcanoes National Park is part of the Virunga Conservation Area. There are five extinct volcanoes here, the highest having an altitude of 14,700 ft. This is where famed zoologist and primate researcher Dian Fossey lived, and the location for “Gorillas in the Mist,” a movie about her life which you will want to see again before setting out on this adventure. We return to our lodge for a free evening. (All Meals)
GOLDEN MONKEYS TRACKING
We track another endangered primate species this morning, the golden monkeys. Volcanoes National Park currently has two troops of these primates that are available for visiting by tourists. Like with the gorillas, we are briefed and then divided into small groups for the visit. Golden monkeys are very active – jumping from tree to tree – which makes for interesting viewing and challenging photography! Returning to our lodge, our evening is free. (All Meals)
DIAN FOSSEY TOMB / RETURN TO KIGALE
Our morning is spent hiking to the house where noted zoologist Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered in 1985, and where she is buried next to her favorite gorilla friend, Digit, and about 20 other mountain gorillas. This hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and left a legacy that exists even today. The hike involves climbing up forest slopes, and requires a degree of fitness. Return to our lodge for a shower and change, and then transfer to the Kigali International Airport for our late-night flights home. Let us know if you wish to spend more time in Kigali. We can also organize a further extension to the Congo for those who are interested. (Breakfast / Lunch)
EUROPEAN CONNECTION / RETURN HOME
Arrive in one of Europe’s capital cities and connect with onward flights bound for the U.S. Most airline schedules allow you to arrive back home sometime today. (Meals Aloft)
Entry Requirements (Uganda) – Effective July 1, 2016, visas and residency permits are no longer available at Entebbe Airport upon arrival.
All visa applications must be completed via the Government of Uganda’s website. Under the new application process, you must apply online for all immigration services such as visas, permits, and passes at least two weeks prior to travel. The fee for a single-entry tourist visa is $50.
For the most up-to-date visa information, contact the Embassy of Uganda at 5911 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011; telephone (202) 726-7100 or visit their website.Entry Requirements (Rwanda) – U.S. nationals require a valid passport and a visa. A 30-day tourist visa can be obtained at the border crossing for $30 (cash). Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay.
Immunizations and Health - International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever required for entry to Uganda. No other immunizations are currently required for travel to Uganda and Rwanda, but you will want to take malaria medicine. Always consult with your doctor and/or the staff of a certified travel clinic when planning your individual immunization regimen. For your convenience, the Centers for Disease Control website offers a complete list of recommended immunizations for travel in Uganda and Rwanda:
Exit Requirements - Currently, there is no departure tax upon leaving Uganda or Rwanda.
Remember: Plan ahead! This is not a tour that you can book at the last minute, hop on a plane and go. The gorilla tracking permits are very expensive, and hard to obtain. We must release unsold permits several months in advance. We recommend you consider booking at least six months in advance in order to secure all permits and allow time for consultations with your health-care professionals.
Making Travel Arrangements to Uganda & RwandaOn this tour, international airfare is NOT included. You will need to get your international air to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda (airport code EBB), and return from Kigali, Rwanda (code KGL). We encourage you to work with Steven Goldberg at Frosch Travel in Chicago, who knows the best flights to get you to Uganda, with return from Rwanda.
You will need to arrive in Kampala, Uganda by mid-afternoon on March 27, 2018 at the latest. Late night departure is from Kigali, Rwanda in the evening of April 10 or the very early morning hours on April 11, 2018.
Steven Goldberg / Frosch TravelToll-Free in USA: 1-800-323-1276
International guests, please call +1-312-371-9686
When calling, please identify yourself as a Toto Tours participant. If you leave a message on Steven’s voice mail, he will return your call promptly. He will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate.
NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible we often must turn away last minute registrants because we relinquish hotel space and air reservations 8 – 12 weeks prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.
What to BringIn late March, average daily temperatures in Uganda and Rwanda range from 66 to 77 degrees, with the weather much cooler in the mountains. Neutral color safari gear is appropriate, with a couple of nice outfits for dinners. Try to pack light and bring only one piece of soft-sided luggage plus your carry-on. Soft-sided luggage is easier to handle in safari vehicles and on the charter flight. Pack any medications you require in a carry-on bag and leave expensive jewelry at home. A full packing list with necessary safari gear will be sent to you via email a few months before the tour’s start, as well as more information about weight limitations for our charter flight.
Money MattersUganda: The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling (UGX). The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. Hard currency cash can be changed for local currency at banks and private bureaux de change in all large towns, but travellers’ cheques are not accepted outside Kampala. Banknotes currently in circulation are 1000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 shillings. Coins currently circulating are 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings. Local currency can be drawn against Visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.
Rwanda: The unit of currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF). The Rwandan franc can be divided into 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of 5000, 1000, 500 and 100. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. The US dollar is readily accepted everywhere.
For current exchange rates, please check the following site: http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/
The Toto Spirit
Toto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted
- eager to try new things & test limits
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please follow the link below or call us for more information.
Pricing – Uganda Main Tour
Tour prices per person, based on minimum group size of 12Price: $8,600 in double occupancy hotel accommodations.
Private Room: $1,700 additional, for a total tour price of $10,300.
(Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance: $7,100 double / $8,800 single
Remaining Balance Due: January 4, 2018 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Note: The tour price does not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments, and assumes that the balance of the tour price will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the final balance with a credit card, a 4% service charge will be applied. Let us know if you wish to pay by credit card, and we will adjust your invoice accordingly. This policy applies to both the main tour and the extension.
Included: 14 nights hotel accommodations; day room at Entebbe airport; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; all other meals as listed in the itinerary; airport transfers; two gorilla tracking permit in Uganda; ground transportation in Toyota land cruisers with onboard wifi; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully guided and escorted tour.
Not Included: Round-trip international airfare to Kampala, Uganda (airport code EBB); ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
Pricing – Rwanda Extension
Extension prices per person, based on minimum group size of 10
Cannot be booked independent of the main Uganda tour
Private Room: $600 additional, for a total extension price of $4,800. (Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
Additional Deposit: $1,500 – bringing total deposit to $3,000
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance (for main tour + extension): $9,800 double / $12,100 single
Remaining Balance Due: January 4, 2018 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Included: 4 nights hotel accommodations with late check-out on day five before transferring to Kigali airport; economy class flight from Entebbe Airport in Uganda to Kigali Airport in Rwanda; hotel breakfasts daily plus all other meals as listed in the itinerary; airport transfers; one gorilla tracking permit in Rwanda; golden monkey tracking permit in Rwanda; ground transportation in Toyota land cruisers; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully guided tour extension.
Not Included: 14 nights hotel accommodations; day room at Entebbe airport; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; all other meals as listed in the itinerary; airport transfers; two gorilla tracking permit in Uganda; ground transportation in Toyota land cruisers with onboard wifi; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully guided and escorted tour.
Click hotel name to read description
- Kampala (2 nights): Serena Hotel
- Murchison Falls (2 nights): Paraa Safari Lodge
- Kibale Forest (2 nights): Ndali Lodge
- Queen Elizabeth National Park (2 nights): Mweya Safari Lodge
- Ishasha (1 night): Ishasha Wilderness Camp
- Bwindi Park (2 nights): Gorilla Forest Camp
- Bwindi Park (2 nights): Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
- Lake Mburo National Park (1 night): Mihingo Lodge
- Entebbe (day room / full night for Rwanda extenders): Boma Hotel