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Mountain gorilla climbing bamboo, Bwindi, Uganda

Uganda Bwindi Gorilla Tracking & Kibale Chimp Safari - 5 Days

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Bwindi Gorilla Tracking & Kibale Chimp Safari - 5 Days

5 days Uganda gorilla tracking and chimp tour to Bwindi and Kibale. This tour offers you to track the mountain gorillas in Bwindi and also track the chimpanzees in Kibale National Park.

Kibale has at least 12 other primates species and Bwindi has another 11 primates species. While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles over at least 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterfly, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 types of mammal including 10 primates.

The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.

Bwindi is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics, species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

We drive through other national parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park and you get to see more wildlife.

  • Day 1: Kibale National Park
  • Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
  • Day 3: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 4: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 5: Return to Kampala
Itinerary

Day 1: Kibale National Park

Briefing on the safari before we drive westwards towards Fort Portal to the Kibale Forest National Park (about 5 hours).

Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good photo opportunities.

As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.

You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a terrific area for birds. This rural Ugandan town (Fort Portal) is locally famous for its weaving and basketry, and we can spend some time briefly to examine some of this local art.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Primate Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge

Moderate: Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Assemble at Kanyankyu River camp at 08:00 hours to go for the most popular activity in this park which is chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzees are man’s closest cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate species. More primates like black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee-eater and mammals like elephants can be seen in this walk.

Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of Central Africa. It is inhabited by three large communities of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.

Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialise with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.

In the afternoon we visit a nearby forest swamp that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. At the eastern edge of Kibale Forest is Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is maintained by the local community. You will expect birds like the great blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bushbucks, bush pigs and among others.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Primate Lodge Kibale

Moderate: Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 3: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Depart early morning for Bwindi for your gorilla trek.

Very early in the morning after breakfast, you will set off for Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park via Kabale- Kisoro route or Isasha Sector with packed lunch. On your way you will enjoy scenery views of different mountains and beautiful plantations. 

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge | Silverback Lodge | Gorilla Safari Lodge | Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Community Campground

Day 4: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip - gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day.

We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.

Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk along distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge | Silverback Lodge | Gorilla Safari Lodge | Lake Kitandara Camp

Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Community Campground

Day 5: Return to Kampala

Early breakfast before embarking on our return to Kampala, driving down the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’.

This area is a highly fertile, mountainous region with steep sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced cultivated rows. Not to miss as we traverse Mbarara are the impressing longhorn Ankole cattle.

A remarkable highlight of this journey is the Equator line and surely you will cross it as we have a brief stop here. We will be in Kampala in the evening before for your flight back home.

 

Accommodation

Kyaninga Lodge

   

Kyaninga Lodge is located 15 minutes outside Fort Portal town. Perched atop a hill overlooking a stunning blue crater lake, the lodge enjoys spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, set against a magnificent backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. The lodge accommodates twenty guests in eight raised log cabins.

The rooms have got space more than enough and if that piece of earth is not enough you can spend your afternoon with a tennis match on grass ground.

This lodge consists of a series of lofty thatch cottages, each gracefully perched on stilts, marching up a steep hilltop, and culminating in a double-storey log structure with Reception, Bar/Sitting Room, and a Dining Hall, complete with a loft for those wanting to dine apart from the crowd. The cottages are interconnected with a glorious Escher-like cascade of suspended wooden stairways and bridges, and overlook a stunning landscape of fields and forests on one side, a spectacular crater-lake and mountains on the other. The interiors are tastefully finished in wood and thatch, with custom-designed wooden furniture.

The level of service was exceptional, and the food was good. The environmentally-friendly banana-leaf wrappings to our pack lunches were a nice touch.

 PS: Don't miss the opportunity to take the Crater Walk, an easy hike with gorgeous views that takes you on a circular route around the lake.  

Facilities:

  • Swimming Pool
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Croquet
  • Bar/Lounge
  • International Chef

Primate Lodge Kibale

Primate Lodge Kibale is located at the Kanyanchu Visitors Centre in Kibale Forest National Park. From Fort Portal follow the road to Kamwenge for 36 kms and branch off at the sign post directing to Primate Lodge Kibale.

Primate Lodge Safari Tents are self contained with lovely bathrooms at the rear of the tents - it fits almost seamlessly. The rooms are raised tents with porches overlooking the forest all located on a circular trail that runs behind the dining/reception area and bar. The rooms are fine - comfortable and spacious, you can get a good night's rest and wake up somewhere totally wild to the chorus of birds and monkeys!

The trail is worth a wander during day light hours as you will probably see some nice birds, butterflies and, of course, monkeys! From the trail, and even from the porch of your tent, you can see plenty from a range of species - baboons, colobus and red-tailed in particular. You can hear chimps screaming at each other from not too far away, and they do pop in on rare occasions

Also highly recommend while here is the Bigodi Wetlands walk as an additional local activity - should see lots of birds, and a variety of the other primates living in Kibale Forest. The Wetlands Walk affords you the best opportunity to see these, as when tracking the chimps you are really focused on seeing one thing only. You will see five species of monkey in the wetlands (red colobus, black-and-white colobus, red-tailed, L'Hoest's and grey-cheeked mangabey), and seven primate species in total in Kibale

Primate Lodge has the resources and ability to make your stay at Kibale Forest most comfortable with their caring and local staff, their International and Local Cuisine that will simply delight you for breakfast, lunch and or dinner.

Rooms:

• Luxury Tented Camp including 8 deluxe safari tents with en suite facilities

• Six spacious forest cottages with en suite facilities

• One elevated banda with en suite facilities

• One remote Sky Tree House for the adventurous travellers (non self-contained)

• Well maintained campsite

Facilities:

• Two restaurants with local and international dishes

• Well-stocked bar

• Comfortable lounge

• Camp fire area

Facilities:

  • Swimming Pool
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Croquet
  • Bar/Lounge
  • International Chef

Kibale Forest Camp

Kibale Forest Camp tents

Kibale Forest Camp is suited off Fort port- Kamwenge, subsequent to the park’s edge.

The camp is well designed with about 7 safari tents; containing double beds with en-suite bathroom along with an eco friendly toilet. The verandah will give you a perfect view of the colobus monkeys in the forest.

Chimps Nest Kibale

Chimps Nest Kibale is situated near Nyabubale, a small village between Nkingo and Bigodi. It's only a 15-minute drive from Kanyanchu, the starting point of UWA chimp-tracking and other activities in Kibale Forest. Chimps' Nest also borders the Bigodi Swamps.

Visitors can choose cottages, family cottage, tree house inside the forest, backpacker rooms, or our campsite.

Backpackers and campers have sufficient access to flushing toilets, washbasins and warm showers.

The beautifully finished cottage with its space and fantastic open bathroom or the adventurous tree house inside the rain forest with monkeys at eye-level. Both have a great though totally different setting.

Chimps Nest Kibale cottages are all situated on a hill facing the forest and the Rwenzori mountains (that we missed to see because the sky was not clear).

The tree house is about 50 feet up high in the middle of the rain forest. It also has a bathroom with hot water (!) and flush toilet.

Also highly recommend while here is the Bigodi Wetlands walk as an additional local activity - should see lots of birds, and a variety of the other primates living in Kibale Forest. The Wetlands Walk affords you the best opportunity to see these, as when tracking the chimps you are really focused on seeing one thing only. You will see five species of monkey in the wetlands (red colobus, black-and-white colobus, red-tailed, L'Hoest's and grey-cheeked mangabey), and seven primate species in total in Kibale.

 

Buhoma Lodge

Buhoma Lodge is situated in Uganda in the idyllic Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, well known for being home to the rare and elusive mountain gorilla. From the private veranda of each cottage guests can enjoy views overlooking the forest whilst relaxing and taking in the stunning natural surrounds. Buhoma is an ideal accommodation for guests interested in gorilla trekking, being closely located to the meeting point for the treks.

There are ten comfortable cottages at Buhoma Lodge, each complete with a private veranda offering superb views of the forest. Cottages are traditionally decorated with wooden furnishings, but each is comfortable and spacious. Each cottage has en-suite facilities, and some provide bathtubs.

Meals are taken in the main, elevated lounge area, and are prepared using local ingredients to create an international cuisine. Located in the lounge, the bar is the perfect place to relax after the day's activities, or enjoy a drink around the fireplace.

Engagi Lodge

Engagi Lodge is a small and exclusive property on the edge of the Impenetrable Forest, close to the park headquarters. The lodge is open-ended at the front allowing a dramatic view of the Bwindi National Park from every corner inside the building.

The accommodation consists of eight en-suite Cottages which are evenly spaced out and hidden in the foliage. Each Cottage has either double or twin beds, a bathroom with flushing toilets and hot and cold running water. All units have private verandahs where guests can enjoy their early morning tea or coffee.

The kitchen, which has been built a distance away from the lodge to ensure privacy for the clients, prepares a variety of three course meals and all requirements such as vegetarians and vegans are catered for by our team of experienced Kampala trained chefs. The main lodge comprises a rock bar, the restaurant and a large wooden verandah with a separate outdoor viewing platform. The lodge building is large enough to cater for sizeable groups needing banqueting tables, but still allows smaller individual groups to spread out in the various different areas for privacy.

Rushaga Gorilla Camp

Rushaga Gorilla Camp is a midrange facility located in the Rushaga Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Its within a walking distance from the Park Headquarters in the Rushaga Area of Bwindi.

Offering free WiFi and a sun terrace, Rushaga Gorilla Camp is located in Bugambira. Rushaga Gorilla Tracking (Nshongi Group) is 6 km away.

It offers 6 Luxury tents,  6 self-contained  Rooms (twin/double), and and ample Camping  site. All units feature a seating area. Some units have a terrace and/or balcony with garden views.

Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant or a drink at the bar. The property also offers packed lunches.

Bike hire is available at the property and the area is popular for cycling.

Gorilla Valley Lodge

Located on the border of the Bwindi impenetrable forest and set on a steep slope the lodge has a truly unique setting. Imagine waking up with the sounds of the forest, having your cup of coffee or tea on you private terrace, experiencing the forest coming alive and the mist mysteriously giving way for a lush jungle.

Gorilla Valley Lodge consists of 12 en-suite rooms, built on a steep slope, ensuring the best views on Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

All rooms have a private terrace from where to experience the splender of the forest. Tastefully decorated and equipped with solar water heaters and comfortable beds our rooms ensure a peaceful sleep.

Mahogany Springs

Mahogany Springs offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting.

At Mahogany Springs it is the little touches that make the big difference, from the tiny details in the design of the lodge through to the unrivalled service levels provided by the highly trained staff.

Spend the day tracking for Gorillas through the forest, sitting on the terrace of your room or even down by the Munyanga River listening to the flowing waters as time slowly passes by.

The Rooms

All the rooms at Mahogany Springs are suites. The Superior Suites can be Twin, Double or Triple. These suites are spacious with large double doors and

beautiful windows. Each suite has its own private exquisitely designed terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest area.

All suites have large en-suite bathrooms with a gorgeously designed open terracotta shower. For added comfort and peace of mind all the suites have an advanced mosquito net system that wraps around the entire area of the beds.

There are power points in the living room and bedrooms as well as 2 desks/dressing tables.

Silverback Gorilla Lodge Bwindi

The lodge is located just minutes from the gate to the National Park where the gorilla tracking starts, and has stunning views over the forest. 

The food was good and plentiful. Buffet breakfast of cereal, fruit, eggs, bacon, grilled tomato etc.

The rooms are clean with functional mosquito nets and all have views over the forest with fantastic hot showers. There is also small gift shop in the lodge.

Gorilla Mist Camp Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable N.Park

This is a small camp with 4 thatched roof cottages with balconies overlooking the valley, forest and volcanoes. Located about 5 minutes from Bwindi/ Ruhija park offices from where gorilla tracking for either of the three families Oruzogo, Bitukula, and Kyaguliro starts.

Accommodation at the Gorilla Mist Camp is provided in clean well maintained rooms. All the accommodation has electric lighting installed. There are several leveled terraces for those with their own equipment to camp. Cold beers and sodas are available with local produce used to provide visitors meals.

Chameleon Hill Lodge

Chameleon Hill Lodge Bwindi

Chameleon Hill Lodge Bwindi

Chameleon Hill Lodge Bwindi

Chameleon Hill Lodge Bwindi

Chameleon Hill’s biggest leverage are the best views imaginable – from up the lush highlands, to the magical Lake Mutanda & its lush islands below and the sprawling highlands all around it, and to crown it off with a perfect backdrop of the Virunga Volcanic Mountains. The most visible of the volcanoes are Muhabura, Gahinga & Sabinyo whose peaks are cloudy most of the time. On clearer days, other Virunga volcanoes from Rwanda & D.R Congo can be sighted. At night, there is a good chance of spotting magma spilling in the air from the active volcano Nyiragongo, its epic!

The lodge has a unique style of multiple colors; each building painted a different color of the rainbow, which makes it so colorful and stand out beautifully.

Facilities and Services

  • The Lobby – housed by the main castle, is comfy with colorful cushions. On arrival, it is here the lodge manager warmly welcomes you, served a glass of juice to refresh, & briefed before proceeding to check in to your room.
  • The Restaurant – serves 3 meals a day, that is, breakfast, lunch & dinner, of both local & international delicacies. Lunch and dinner are served 3 courses (starter, main course & dessert). A daily menu for the main meal course is displayed. Visitors that require special consideration for meals or an alternative from the day’s menu make prior communication with the manager.
  • Tea/Coffee is available in the Restaurant throughout the day.
  • A Bar – located right next to the restaurant, has a good collection of renowned international wines & spirits in addition to the local beer brands.
  • The Lounge, offers comfort on quality seats, sofas with cushions, and magnificent vistas of Lake Mutanda & the impressive landscape. Even better it has a fireplace to make your evenings cozy.
  • A Library – placed in the lounge, has a good collection of travel information & books including field guides of birds, Trees & Shrubs, etc.
  • A large deck, extending from the main house (that houses the Restaurant, Bar, & Lounge) overlooks the magnificent scenery – Lake Mutanda, the lush highlands, & cloudy Volcanoes.
  • Evenings are kept entertained with traditional folklore by the local dancing group
  • Electricity is provided by a generator, switched on from 7.00pm to 10.30pm.
  • Laundry services are available at small cost.

Accommodation at Chameleon Hill Lodge

The lodge has a total of 10 chalets that include 5 doubles and 5 twins. Odd numbers are doubles while even numbers are twins.

Each chalet comprises of 1 large bed for the doubles, 2 beds (not as large as those in the doubles) for the twins. In the twins, beds can be pushed together to form a double. An extra bed can be added in the double room on request, for instance to accommodate a child. Mosquito nets over the bed, in spite of this being a mosquito-free area/zone.

Other extras in the room include extra thick blanket for the colder nights; bottle of drinking water per day; wardrobe;  a Safe; Umbrella, a patio with excellent views over Lake Mutanda, highlands & Volcanoes

In the en-suite bathroom you will find, Linen and bath towels, a toilet, shower, and a wash bowl. Hot shower are available 24/7.

In between chalets is a fencing to ensure maximum privacy.

Trackers Lodge Buhoma

Trekker's tavern Cottages is located at the hilltop in Ruhija overlooking the Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park Ruhija side, one of the most famous parks and home to more than half of the world population of mountain gorillas.

The lodge is very eco-friendly and has a lovely cozy atmosphere with 5 spacious cottages all with ensuite bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets.

A place of infinite calm surrounded by untamed majesty and commanding panoramic views of the Virungas on a clear day, the beautiful sunrise, Lake Edward and Bwindi forest in the south. It is around 15 minutes walk  from the Ruhija park headquarters.

The lodge is a perfect place for bird watchers as a variety of albertine rift endemics and other special birds can be viewed from the verandas of the cottages. A day walk to the mines offers a bird watcher a chance to see the Spotted Eagle Owl in a day roost, Doherty's Bushshrike, Mackinnon's Bushshrike, Red throated Wryneck, Dusky Twinspot, a variety of Waxbills and many others.

Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Buhoma Community Rest Camp (BCRC) is attractive complex set in wooded grounds on the slope facing a forest gallery immediately inside Bwindi National park entrance gate and has been in existence since 1993. They have self contained Bandas which are cabins in African Style, Self Contained Tents and Dormitories  for your accommodation needs while doing a  Gorilla Tracking tour in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Buhoma Community Rest Camp is setup at the Edge of Bwindi impenetrable National Park with the main aim of providing quality Lodging service to tourists and visitors.
They have got six (6) well finished safari tents, which are self-contained facing the forest with a spectacular view.

Wake up and go to sleep with the relaxing music of nature. Two cottages that are self-contained facing the forest. Nothing beats the scenes that unfold right in front of you. Gorillas do drop by to say hullo occasionally.

We also have got five (5) twin cottage bandas which are non-self-contained and are built with local materials with African architectural design.

Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort Camp, Bwindi Impenetrable N.Park

It is located about 600m from the Ruhija Gorilla tracking trail-head. An ideal budget lodging in Ruhija accommodation during your trip for you to track Kyanguriro, Bitukura and Oruzongo Gorilla Groups.   The campsite has  4 furnished safari tents ($30 per person bed breakfast), a restaurant and bar.

 Spectacular views overlooking valley towards the forest. Also 3 twin rooms available and camping possible.

Inclusions
  • Gorillas tracking and chimps trek permits
  • Full board accommodation with all meals
  • Bottled drinking water on safari
  • All park entrance and related fees
  • Private 4x4 ground transportation with an English speaking driver guide

Talk to Our Uganda Primates Tour Specialist

Enquire about this Gorillas and Primate safari and tour prices.

Talk to our  Uganda Primates' Trek Specialist to start planning a memorable primates' experience.

“ Excellent. A privilege to meet the gorillas, great accommodation in a friendly town and a great guide to look after me. ”

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