Explore Uganda - The Pearl of Africa

Explore Uganda on a 12 day African safari trip, meet the elusive gorillas of the mountain on a challenging gorilla trekking excursion, visit the indigenous Batwa pygmies, search for the tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This small group Uganda safari trip will take you through the most popular safari circuits in the country. You’ll take the western circuit from Entebbe through the small but impressive Lake Mburo NP, then into the mountain jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. After the challenging gorilla trekking experience, you’ll also be challenged to a canoe and hiking experience before heading up north into Queen Elizabeth NP’s savannah plains for a game drive and boat safari. You’ll then move on into the primate capital of Kibale Forest, before your final nights of the safari in the magnificent Murchison Falls National Park on the banks of the Nile. On the last day stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – the only place in Uganda you can track rhino.

From US$4,143 per person sharing.

Includes all meals, transport, accommodation and activities as detailed in itinerary.

Excludes permits.

Arrive and overnight in Entebbe

 

 

Arrival in Entebbe as per your international flights and transfer to Papyrus Guest House.

Optional in the afternoon (departure from the hotel at 14.30/15.00 hours) departure by car to Mabamba Swamp, one of the best places for spotting the rare shoebill storks. Chances of spotting this rare and unusual bird are actually quite good. Many other water birds have also chosen this area as their home so birding is always very interesting. Enjoy a relaxing sundowner on Lake Victoria and then return to the Guest House.

Day two - Lake Mburo National Park

After an early breakfast begin your drive to Western Uganda, across the beautiful landscape of central Uganda made of rolling hills and cultivated terraces. Stop-over en-route at Mpambire, to watch traditional methods of drums being made and stop at the equator. The drive to Rwakobo Rock Lodge takes about 5-7 hours.

After lunch at the lodge, game drive in the park and a one hour boat ride on Lake Mburu in search of your first encounters with the local fauna: antelope, crocodiles, hippos, plenty of water birds, etc.

All meals included.

Day three - Mburo to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Enjoy an early morning game drive in the park, then continue to Western Uganda across its rolling hills, tea plantations and tropical rainforests, moving towards the end the majestic chain of the Virunga Volcanoes.

Pass the towns of Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro before reaching Nkuringo, on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The drive takes about 5-7 hours. In the afternoon stroll down to the Buniga Forest Trail Walk.

The Batwa tribe was forced to leave their home in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in 1991 when it was declared a UNESCO Heritage site for gorillas only. They had been living in the forest as nomadic hunter-gatherers for millennia, in perfect balance with the flora and fauna around. Moving out and suddenly living in communities with a completely different way of life has proven to be a huge challenge.

Day four - Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

After breakfast, at around 7:45 am, with packed lunch and drinking water you will be transferred to the National Park Head Quarters for the briefing on the dos and the don’ts while with the gorillas. You then continue to the forest for the start of the actual gorilla tracking.

The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular. The area offers a dramatic, steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain varies as per the movements of these great primates. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered giants is an awesome, exciting experience to be long savored. Many find it to be a rare and moving opportunity. The tracking can take place at Nkuringo or at Rushaga (1 hr drive from Nkuringo), as per the gorilla permits obtained.

Upon return, relax at the lodge and, for those who like, at 5.00 pm either stroll through the community center or drive up to the “Top of the World” – the name given to the football field, high up in Nkuringo which offers amazing views over the peaks and forests around Nkuringo.

Day five - Hike and canoe across Lake Mutanda

After an early breakfast, drive to Rubuguri Junction (10k – 1 hour) to start a nice hike across beautiful landscapes and local communities – a great opportunity to experience authentic village life (9km – 2 to 3 hours). Upon arrival at Lake Mutanda you then “settle” into a dugout canoe for 1.5 to 2 hours of gentle relaxed cruising across the lake. Meet with your vehicle and drive back to Nkuringo.

Of course you could also drive from the lodge directly to the lake (20k – 90 minutes), enjoy the canoe ride around the lake and drive all the way back to the lodge again. You decide!

Day six - Hike Across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (16 km) & drive to Queen Elizabeth NP

After a very early breakfast, drive along the Nteko Ridge till the junction of the Ivy River Trail with the forest (7 km) and then start the unforgettable hike across the forest (13km – 4-5 hours).

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a vast unique natural reserve – monkeys, duiker, bushpigs and some of Bwindi’s world renowned bird species, plus many butterflies, can be sighted. If you are very lucky you may even encounter gorillas! Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighbouring Rwanda, the park is nowadays an ecological island within a sea of villages and farmland, its’ conservation importance is immense. The emphasis of this activity is for your walking guide to share his knowledge of the forest with you, it is not simply an A to B hike.

Upon arrival at the park headquarters in Buhoma, meet with the vehicle and departure to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The southern area of Ishasha is notably recognized for its resident ‘tree climbing’ lions that are an exceptional attraction and one of the highlights of all safaris taken within the park. The lions can be spotted hanging on branches of huge fig trees whereas the Uganda Kob (which is the major food to these lions) graze on the plains below.

The drive takes about 4 hours (180 km).

Day seven - Queen Elizabeth National Park

Full day dedicated to game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park and to the boat trip on the Kazinga Channel – the 36 km waterway which connects Lake George and Lake Edward which allows special viewing of game and birds on the river banks, as the boat passes through pods of hippos. Crocodiles have only recently been seen in the Channel, they disappeared for 8,000 years after they were eliminated from Lake Edward by toxic ash from local volcanoes.

QENP is one of Uganda’s oldest parks being formed officially in 1952. The park was initially known as ‘Kazinga National Park’ before it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. QENP hosts 95 species of mammals, more than any other park in Uganda, and 619 bird species, the second-highest of any park in Africa – the sixth-highest of any park worldwide.

Day eight - Game Drive & Boat Safari, drive to Kibale

This morning is dedicated to a game drive and then a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel – the 36 km waterway which connects Lake George and Lake Edward which allows special viewing of game and birds on the river banks, as the boat passes through pods of hippos. Crocodiles have only recently been seen in the Channel, they disappeared for 8,000 years after they were eliminated from Lake Edward by toxic ash from local volcanoes.

QENP is one of Uganda’s oldest parks being formed officially in 1952. The park was initially known as ‘Kazinga National Park’ before it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. QENP hosts 95 species of mammals, more than any other park in Uganda, and 619 bird species, the second-highest of any park in Africa – the sixth-highest of any park worldwide.

In the afternoon you will continue to the lodge in Kibale National Park via the town of Fort Portal. Time permitting late afternoon trek to the ‘Top of the World’ to enjoy fantastic views of the Rwenzori Mountains, crater lakes, tea plantations and local villages. The drive takes about 3hours (180kms).

Day nine - Chimpanzee Tracking and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Get up early on this Classic Primate Safari day and get to the trailhead for your Chimpanzee tracking experience.

The density and diversity of primates in Kibale National Park are the highest in the whole of Africa. The most well-known of its 13 species are the chimpanzees, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee population of this threatened primate is Uganda’s biggest. Additionally, Kibale is home to the uncommon I’Hoest’s monkey as well as East Africa’s biggest population of the endangered red colobus monkey. The black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby and potto are among the other primates.

Afternoon excursion to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, a great example of a community-based approach to the natural resources management which can be of good economic benefit to the local residents living within this area and to the tourism industry. This sanctuary is a paradise for bird watchers and skilled birders can spot up to 50 new species on a bird list. At today 138 species of birds have been recognized within the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, among which the Great Blue Turaco. Bigodi is also regularly visited by a diverse number of primate species from the nearby national park.

Day ten - North Bound to Murchison Falls NP

After an early breakfast, departure to Murchison Falls National Park. Located at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into the vast palm-dotted savannah, the park is bisected by the Victoria Nile. The “mythical” river plunges here 45m from the rift valley wall thus creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, centrepiece of the park and final “event” in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last energies from the river and transforms it into a broad placid stream flowing quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles.

The drive takes about 8 hours (400 km).

Day eleven - Murchison Falls NP Game Drives & Boat Safari

Full day dedicated to the discovery of this unique national park.

Early morning game drive en route to the Victoria Nile Delta for a boat trip in this spectacular area teeming with birds and wildlife – several endemic species like the Rothschild’s giraffe, the Shoebill stork and the red-throated bee-eater. Water level permitting, short walk accompanied by the ranger guide.

In the afternoon, scheduled boat trip to the Murchison Waterfalls (with the possibility to disembark and walk to the top of the falls) – amazing for the panorama and the possible encounters with the local fauna: elephants, giraffes, buffalos, crocs, antelopes … Game drive on the way back to the lodge.

Day twelve - Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and travel to Entebbe

After an early breakfast, departure to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – located in Nakasongola it is the only place in Uganda where southern white rhinos can be tracked. In 1983 both black rhinos and northern white rhinos were declared extinct throughout Uganda so the purpose of the NGO Rhino Fund Uganda is to return rhinos back into the country, through a program of breeding and release. The first 6 rhinos were translocated in 2005-06 (4 from Kenya and 2 from the USA) and it was 5 years before the first healthy calf was born, making him (“Obama” is his name) the first rhino born in Uganda in almost 30 years!

After lunch continuation to Entebbe where arrival is expected around 17.00. Transfer to the airport in time for the evening flight out.

The drive takes about 6 hours (390 km).

Join Sean as he chats with Lydia Nandudu of Nkuringo Safaris in Uganda.