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Destinations

UGANDA & RWANDA

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Destinations

UGANDA & RWANDA

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Destinations

UGANDA & RWANDA

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Destinations

UGANDA & RWANDA

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Destinations

UGANDA & RWANDA

The combo of these two destinations packs quite a punch, incorporating the source of the Nile, the home of the great apes, and a poignant human side to it all to boot.

No one put it better than Winston Churchill when he said ‘for magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life - bird, insect, reptile, beast - for vast scale - Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa’. Indeed, it is hard to do justice to a country that has quite so much to offer - and as for its miniature neighbour Rwanda, whose size belies its apparently infinite diversity and beauty, one could say much the same.

Best time to travel: June through August, and December through February.

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The Source of Life

Although landlocked, Uganda has a wealth of sparkling waterways, from the vastness of Lake Albert down to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where the landscape boasts gorges rather than hills, and wide-open plains plummeting to valleys and depressions. Its Lakes, George and Edouard, are connected by a channel that makes for scenic boating, while the rim of Kibale’s immense crater lake Nyinambuga offers views of snow-capped peaks from a delightfully eccentric English lodge that will transport you back to the time of Burton and Speke.

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Extraordinary Gorillas

Hiking up narrow paths hacked into dense bamboo forest with all senses on alert for the signs and sounds of these legendary primates, the sense of reward when you finally come upon them heightens the awe that these gentle giants inspire. As you watch them interact each individual’s personality will emerge, and the uncanny similarities between them and us adds to the inimitable experience of being a temporary part of the troupe.

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Mountains of the Moon

Uganda’s glacier-capped Mountains of the Moon, named for two crescent-shaped lakes thought to be the source of the Nile, have captured imaginations since the time of the ancient Greeks. Currently called the Rwenzoris, their sylvan slopes are home to hundreds of chimpanzees that hang out within easy hiking distance. Your guides have known these troupes for over twenty years and the intimacy of their acquaintance can in turn make you feel like part of the family.

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The Land of 1,000 Hills

Rwanda and Uganda are joined by a border, and while it is the former that is known as the Pays de Mille Collines, Uganda too has its share of undulating montane landscape, and forested slopes festooned with primates. This rolling terrain best roamed on foot and by car, not air: slow the pace, get to grips at grassroots level, and be charmed by the Rwandans and Ugandans that you’ll meet along the way.

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The Human Animal

On safari it’s rare to have an abundance of enriching interactions with the people that make a place, yet Uganda and Rwanda proffer this in spades. The innate passion of the people for the creatures they share their landscape with is inspirational, as is their ingenuity in finding ways to co-exist in harmony. Visit the farmer who built a110km elephant ditch to keep pesky pachyderms out of his crops, and drop your jaw in awe at the rangers that know their primate charges as well as they know their own children.

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Remembering the Genocide

Carl Sagan said ‘you have to know the past to understand the present’, and Rwanda’s clean, calm and beautiful veneer belies a very recent and staggeringly traumatic past, which the Genocide Museum tastefully bears testament to. Rather than focusing on the horror of the massacre, the display takes you on a humbling journey through the why’s, how’s, and ways the country is regenerating, healing and forgiving.