Botswana Safari & Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Experience

Local Time

Why You Should Go

Based on our various travels to Africa, we feel the contrasting flora and fauna of Botswana and Rwanda offers some of the most intimate wildlife experiences anywhere! The UNESCO-designated Okavango Delta in Botswana is among the most important wildlife areas in Africa; including the “Big Five” (lions, elephants, cape buffalo, rhinos, and leopards) and outstanding bird watching. In stark contrast to Botswana, the Rwandan highlands provide the most intimate closeup with the wild: the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. With only 10 habituated gorilla families, each can only be visited by a maximum of eight people per day, in order to ensure a low human impact. Even our most seasoned Africa travelers consider the Rwanda gorilla trekking experience to be their number one wildlife adventure activity anywhere!

Best Travel Time: Spring Summer Winter

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Golden Monkey in Volcanoes National Park

Sample Itinerary

13 Days

Each private luxury tour is custom to the wishes of each client. This itinerary is a sample. Our Sister Company, TRAVNET, may provide assistance with mileage points conversion. Do not hesitate to call Randy to create your custom tour.

1

Day 1

Fly to Johannesburg
Through our sister company, premium air provider TRAVNET, we may assist with your international airfare, as well as with mileage points conversion.

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Zebras grazing in the Okavango Delta
2

Day 2

Arrive Johannesburg + Fly Johannesburg/Maun/Okavango Delta
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you will be assisted in connecting to your onward flight to Maun. In Maun, you will be assisted in boarding your light aircraft to the Okavango and subsequently driven to Vumbura Plains Camp.

Meals: Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Vumbura Plains Camp

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Vumbura Plains Camp at night
3 - 4

Day 3 – 4

Wildlife Viewing at Vumbura Plains Camp
Vumbura Plains Camp offers safari experiences by land, water, and air to explore this dynamic landscape. Wildlife here is plentiful, including impala, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, and crocodiles (+ amazing bird watching!). If truly adventuresome, you may also request a nature walk (accompanied by an armed guide). Being a “wet camp” gives you ample opportunity to explore the delta via the fun mokoro (dug-out canoes). Based on its location on the extreme northern area of the Okavango, Vumbura may offer the widest range of habitats and species, with a chance of observing just about every animal occupying the Okavango Delta.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Vumbura Plains Camp

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Elephants in the Okavango Delta
5

Day 5

Fly Okavango Delta/Moremi Game Reserve
Following breakfast and, time permitting, one last wildlife drive at Vumbura, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Sanctuary Chief’s Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Sanctuary Chief’s Camp

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Sanctuary Chief's Camp
6 - 8

Day 6 – 8

Wildlife Viewing at Chief’s Camp
Expert guides will share their extensive wildlife knowledge while providing you with the awe-inspiring opportunity to view roaming lions, antelope, zebras, buffalo, and wild dogs. You will even get to enjoy a scenic helicopter ride over the Moremi Game Reserve!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Sanctuary Chief’s Camp

Time to Relax
Leopard relaxing in the Moremi Game Reserve
9

Day 9

Fly Moremi Game Reserve/Maun/Johannesburg
Following breakfast and, time permitting, one last wildlife drive at Chief’s, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Maun. In Maun, you will be assisted with your connection to Johannesburg. Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you will be assisted with check-in at the InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport Hotel for your forced overnight stay.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport Hotel

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Lions in the Moremi Game Reserve
10

Day 10

Fly Johannesburg/Kigali + Private Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Upon arrival in Kigali, you will be met by our representative and taken to a local restaurant for lunch. Thereafter, you will pay a visit to the sobering Genocide Memorial site before being privately transferred to the outskirts of Volcanoes National Park for check-in at Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, or One&Only Gorilla’s Nest — our three favorite options in the area! The remainder of your day will be free to enjoy the lodge and prepare for your upcoming days of gorilla trekking.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, or One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

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Private deck at Bisate Lodge
11 - 12

Day 11 – 12

Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Please note that all members of your party must be 15-years-old or older to participate in gorilla trekking. In order to ensure a low-human impact on these extraordinary creatures, only 80 gorilla permits are issued daily and you are guaranteed one hour with a gorilla family. After breakfast, you will be driven to the park offices where you will meet your gorilla tracking group. With a maximum number of eight people per group, this is a personal and sublime experience. To learn more about this incredible encounter, see our blog post here.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, or One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

botswana-gorilla-rwanda-gorilla
Rwanda mountain gorilla
13

Day 13

Fly Kigali/Johannesburg/Home
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to Kigali for your flight to Johannesburg, where you will be assisted in connecting to your onward flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

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Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Hotels

The Vumbura area compromises two separate satellite camps, Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura, with Vumbura Plains being our preference. Each of Vumbura’s spacious “rooms” is raised off the ground, with indoor and outdoor showers and ensuite bathrooms. Other features include a private, small plunge pool and “sala” (a place to watch the passing of wildlife of the Okavango). Don’t be surprised to see elephants walking behind the tents and feeding on the trees. Each camp has its own raised lounge, dining bar, an area with truly amazing views of the Okavango Delta. This nicely designed common area is where you will mix with fellow guests and exchange your fun game drive tales! We particularly enjoy the comfortable cushions and seating of the camp deck; a perfect setting for star-gazing or the nightly campfires. Wildlife here is plentiful, including Impala, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, and crocodiles (+ amazing bird watching!). Vumbura includes morning and night game drives, using 4×4 Land Rovers. If truly adventuresome, you may also request a nature walk (accompanied by an armed guide.) Being a “wet camp” gives you ample opportunity to explore the delta via the fun mokoro (dug-out canoes). Be sure to check with camp representatives about the best fishing times and locations for bream and silver catfish!

Vumbura Plains Camp

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The Vumbura area compromises two separate satellite camps, Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura, with Vumbura Plains being our preference. Each of Vumbura’s spacious “rooms” is raised off the ground, with indoor and outdoor showers and ensuite bathrooms. Other features include a private, small plunge pool and “sala” (a place to watch the passing of wildlife of the Okavango). Don’t be surprised to see elephants walking behind the tents and feeding on the trees. Each camp has its own raised lounge, dining bar, an area with truly amazing views of the Okavango Delta. This nicely designed common area is where you will mix with fellow guests and exchange your fun game drive tales! We particularly enjoy the comfortable cushions and seating of the camp deck; a perfect setting for star-gazing or the nightly campfires. Wildlife here is plentiful, including Impala, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, and crocodiles (+ amazing bird watching!). Vumbura includes morning and night game drives, using 4×4 Land Rovers. If truly adventuresome, you may also request a nature walk (accompanied by an armed guide.) Being a “wet camp” gives you ample opportunity to explore the delta via the fun mokoro (dug-out canoes). Be sure to check with camp representatives about the best fishing times and locations for bream and silver catfish!

Chief’s Camp is yet another example of the many luxury safari camps to choose from in the predator-rich Okavango Delta. Set in the Moremi Game Reserve, Chief’s Camp is made up of 101,500 sq. feet of luxury bush pavilions and one suite, all with private decks with plunge pools, as well as indoor and outdoor showers (using the outdoor showers in this remote, pristine environment is truly exhilarating!) We particularly like the pavilion’s polished teakwood floors, insect-proof netted windows and colorful batik fabrics. Other amenities include a new spa treatment room, a small pool, and picturesque dining area/observation deck. Based on the Chief’s location overlooking a large lagoon on the northwest tip of Chief’s Island, many mokoro (canoe/boat) game excursions are a continuing fun activity in the summer! Chief’s extraordinary location and wildlife-rich Moremi Island allows for game-viewing to include all of the “Big 5” (African lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhino) hence, our choice as a prime family safari site. Chief’s renovation includes 10 luxury bush pavilions (in effect like small cottages), all with private terrace plunge pools, 462 sq. feet!

Sanctuary Chief’s Camp

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Chief’s Camp is yet another example of the many luxury safari camps to choose from in the predator-rich Okavango Delta. Set in the Moremi Game Reserve, Chief’s Camp is made up of 101,500 sq. feet of luxury bush pavilions and one suite, all with private decks with plunge pools, as well as indoor and outdoor showers (using the outdoor showers in this remote, pristine environment is truly exhilarating!) We particularly like the pavilion’s polished teakwood floors, insect-proof netted windows and colorful batik fabrics. Other amenities include a new spa treatment room, a small pool, and picturesque dining area/observation deck. Based on the Chief’s location overlooking a large lagoon on the northwest tip of Chief’s Island, many mokoro (canoe/boat) game excursions are a continuing fun activity in the summer! Chief’s extraordinary location and wildlife-rich Moremi Island allows for game-viewing to include all of the “Big 5” (African lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhino) hence, our choice as a prime family safari site. Chief’s renovation includes 10 luxury bush pavilions (in effect like small cottages), all with private terrace plunge pools, 462 sq. feet!

Situated close to park headquarters, convenient for your morning gorilla trek rendezvous, the Bistate property covers 103 acres. Due to its location within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, the main areas and villas are perched atop the raised elevation of the slopes of Mount Bisoke (12,175 feet), though often shrouded. Based on Bisate’s restorative conservation projects and real local engagement, the lodge has become woven into the local community. During the lodge’s building phase, an amazing 15,000 trees were planted, with more being planted each week to promote reforestation. As part of your stay here, you are encouraged to plant a tree in the lodge’s nursery before your departure. With only six suites (each one being 980 square feet), Bistate is one of Africa’s most exclusive luxury eco-lodges. Each suite includes an indoor shower, bath, and fireplace (nice on chilly nights!). The main lounge dining area and bar is the perfect place to meet and reflect on your day’s gorilla experience. The in-villa massage treatments are a great way to relax after a day of trekking!

Bisate Lodge

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Situated close to park headquarters, convenient for your morning gorilla trek rendezvous, the Bistate property covers 103 acres. Due to its location within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, the main areas and villas are perched atop the raised elevation of the slopes of Mount Bisoke (12,175 feet), though often shrouded. Based on Bisate’s restorative conservation projects and real local engagement, the lodge has become woven into the local community. During the lodge’s building phase, an amazing 15,000 trees were planted, with more being planted each week to promote reforestation. As part of your stay here, you are encouraged to plant a tree in the lodge’s nursery before your departure. With only six suites (each one being 980 square feet), Bistate is one of Africa’s most exclusive luxury eco-lodges. Each suite includes an indoor shower, bath, and fireplace (nice on chilly nights!). The main lounge dining area and bar is the perfect place to meet and reflect on your day’s gorilla experience. The in-villa massage treatments are a great way to relax after a day of trekking!

Though we love the six-suite Bisate Lodge in Rwanda, we are excited about the August 2019 opening of the luxury Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Based on the high demand for high-touch, luxury Rwanda lodges, it is a welcome addition! Singita Kwitonda is set on 178 acres of picturesque land, right on the edge of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. More than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorilla’s live in the high-altitude dense cloud forests. Using local materials, the Singita Kwitonda is built with volcanic rocks, river stone, handmade ceramic tiles, and oven-red clay bricks all connecting the structure to landscape and culture. The lodge is set up with a central hub, that includes both indoor and outdoor living spaces, featuring lounges, dining areas, an outdoor fire pit, interactive kitchen, bar, deli, and wine cellar. The Lodge’s eight suites (seven one-bedroom and one two-bedroom) and a four-bedroom villa, Kataza House that sleeps eight, are off the main lodge via a network of volcanic rick pathways. The accommodations offer indoor/outdoor baths and showers, fireplaces, plunge pools, and verandas. Carefully designed interiors are curated with a focus on handcrafted pieces like woven panels, handmade tiles, and clad feature pots.

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

View More Info >>

Though we love the six-suite Bisate Lodge in Rwanda, we are excited about the August 2019 opening of the luxury Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Based on the high demand for high-touch, luxury Rwanda lodges, it is a welcome addition! Singita Kwitonda is set on 178 acres of picturesque land, right on the edge of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. More than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorilla’s live in the high-altitude dense cloud forests. Using local materials, the Singita Kwitonda is built with volcanic rocks, river stone, handmade ceramic tiles, and oven-red clay bricks all connecting the structure to landscape and culture. The lodge is set up with a central hub, that includes both indoor and outdoor living spaces, featuring lounges, dining areas, an outdoor fire pit, interactive kitchen, bar, deli, and wine cellar. The Lodge’s eight suites (seven one-bedroom and one two-bedroom) and a four-bedroom villa, Kataza House that sleeps eight, are off the main lodge via a network of volcanic rick pathways. The accommodations offer indoor/outdoor baths and showers, fireplaces, plunge pools, and verandas. Carefully designed interiors are curated with a focus on handcrafted pieces like woven panels, handmade tiles, and clad feature pots.

Located in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range, we are excited about the October 2019 opening of the luxury One&Only’s Gorilla’s Nest Lodge. With 21 rooms and suites, it is much more conducive to larger family groups interested in the intimate gorilla trekking experience! Each room/suite includes an indoor shower, bath, air-conditioning, gas fireplace, TV, and covered outdoor terrace areas. Other amenities include a main lounge, dining area, bar, as well as a luxurious spa! Though we only have artist renderings at the moment, we are excited to see the finished product!

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

View More Info >>

Located in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range, we are excited about the October 2019 opening of the luxury One&Only’s Gorilla’s Nest Lodge. With 21 rooms and suites, it is much more conducive to larger family groups interested in the intimate gorilla trekking experience! Each room/suite includes an indoor shower, bath, air-conditioning, gas fireplace, TV, and covered outdoor terrace areas. Other amenities include a main lounge, dining area, bar, as well as a luxurious spa! Though we only have artist renderings at the moment, we are excited to see the finished product!

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Location

Overview

Botswana
Temperature
Highs: Low 90’s
Lows: Mid 60’s
Area
581,730 SQ KM
224,607 SQ MILES
Capital
Gaborone
Population
2.3 Million
Language
English & Setswana
Currency
Pula
Rwanda
Temperature
Highs: High 60’s
Lows: Mid 50’s
Area
26,338 SQ KM
10,169 SQ MILES
Capital
Kigali
Population
11.2 Million
Language
Kinyarwanda (official), French (official), English (official) & Swahili
Currency
Rwandan Franc

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