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Gorilla climbing bamboo, Uganda

Uganda Gorilla, Primate & Wildlife Safari - 9 Days

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Uganda Gorilla, Primate & Wildlife Safari - 9 Days

An all inclusive Uganda safari package to the Pearl of Africa’s most beautiful parks offering you the best experiences with free-ranging tropical savannah Big 5, lots of antelopes and grazers, Uganda’s 1,000 bird species, chimpanzee and gorilla tracking experiences. Also fabulous sightseeing is guaranteed on most of this safari.

Special Discounts

Save $150 on gorilla permits; $50 on Kibale chimps permits for 2017 Nov.

  • Day 1: Kibale National Park
  • Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
  • Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Day 5: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Day 6: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 7: Lake Mburo National Park
  • Day 8: Lake Mburo National Park
  • Day 9: 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.

Fort Portal is a small and attractive city. The fort was built between 1891 and 1893 and named after Sir Gerald Portal, the British Consul General of Zanzibar who arrived in Uganda in 1892 to formalise the protectorate of Uganda. He died of malaria a few months after the fort was completed.

During the afternoon we have time to visit the scenic crater lakes region, checking out the superbly terraced tea estates. In the south of Fort Portal is Kasenda Crater Lakes region. It sits on the rim of Lake Nyinambuga—the back of the main building looks down over the lake, while the other side of the lodge looks out over another lake in the distance and, further off, the Rwenzori Mountains, which were perpetually shrouded in the clouds, except early in the morning.

There’s plenty to do in this area and we can also take an hour’s walk around Lake Nyinambuga.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

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

Moderate: Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (self contained cottages)

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (shared bathroom rooms)

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 columbus 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, lttle 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 socialize 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 amongst others.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

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

Moderate: Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (self contained cottages)

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (shared bathroom rooms)

Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Either a day’s walk in the foothills of the Rwenzoris, one of the great mountain ranges of the world, looking out for its forbidding peaks in the distance, or drive straight to Queen Elizabeth.

The game seen will depend on the season; the Kasenyi plains are good for lion and the Mweya peninsula for a variety of animals.

Shift to Queen Elizabeth National Park this morning (about 3 hours driving). Leaving through Fort Portal town, you turn south and early this afternoon enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains - the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the south-west by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Congo Parc Du Virunga.

You will expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda kob, as well as topi, elephant and lion, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon enjoy a game drive in the northern part of the park, visiting the Baboon Cliff famous for its nice scenery, and good views of the shadows of the mountains of the moon – the Rwenzoris. The drive to the lodge leads through large expanses of savannah grasslands and plenty of wildgame

Up-market/Luxury: Deluxe Tent/Deluxe room at Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge

Mid-range or moderate facility: Ihamba Safari Lodge | Bush Lodge (rooms) | Buffalo Safari Resort | Enganzi Lodge

Budget price: Bush Lodge (tents)

Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park

We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park on the Kasenyi Track in search of lions, elephants, solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for opportunities of viewing the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kobs. We have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range.

In the afternoon we will go for a launch trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at a mere feet away from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others.

Up-market/Luxury: Deluxe Tent/Deluxe room at Mweya Safari Lodge | Katara Lodge

Mid-range or moderate facility: Ihamba Safari Lodge | Bush Lodge (rooms) | Buffalo Safari Resort or Enganzi Lodge

Budget price: Bush Lodge (tents)

Day 5: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Seasons allowing, you will drive through the Ishasha sector in search for the tree-climbing lions. Nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha. This game drive en route will expose you to some of the animals that you might have missed seeing while on your game drives in Kasenyi and Queens Mile.

Arrival in Bwindi is in the late afternoon. Once you are checked-in, you could rather be interested in rural African culture and we suggest you take a guided village walk in Buhoma Village– see how Ugandans live, visit a local bar and meet the local medicine man!

Please speak to your guide about the various options.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge | Trackers Lodge Buhoma

Moderate: Silverback Lodge | Nkuringo Gorilla Camp | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Gorilla Valley Lodge | Buhoma Community Campground

Day 6: 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.

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.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge | Trackers Lodge Buhoma

Moderate: Silverback Lodge | Nkuringo Gorilla Camp | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Gorilla Valley Lodge | Buhoma Community Campground

Day 7: Lake Mburo National Park

We drive east to Mbarara, now one of Uganda’s major towns, but formerly capital of Ankole kingdom for over 400 years until disbanded by independence in 1962. In the days before modern Uganda came into being, the area had a series of fiercely independent tribal states.

The once nomadic Bahima people, part of Bantu-speaking Ankole kingdom, are renowned for the particular bond they forge with their unique, long-horned Ankole cattle. These hardy cattle respond to their individual names when called by their male herder; he in turn lives in close harmony with them.

From here you continue to Lake Mburo, a small but picturesque national park renowned for its herds of antelope and one of the only two Ugandan parks home to Buchell’s zebra. The park is also especially good for acacia-associated bird.  

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Mihingo Lodge | Mantana Tented Camp | Arcadia Cottages

Moderate: Lake Mburo Safari Lodge | Rakobo Rock

Low Budget: Rwonyo Campsite

Day 8: Lake Mburo National Park

Rise early for breakfast before a short drive to the Rwonyo Park Headquarters.

This has often been a good chance of seeing hyenas coming back to their dens, hippos walking back to the water, you will see buffalo, zebra, impala and topi and with a bit of luck maybe even a sitatunga, an antelope rarely seen living in the papyrus swamps.

After your early morning activities, return the lodge for a late breakfast on the wooden decking overlooking the water hole. Before lunch you can relax at the pool, the bar area or enjoy the privacy of your room.

In the afternoon you can go on a game drive to Kazuma Look-out Point with a stunning view onto 9 of the lakes surrounding this park. On your way you will see most of the animal species occurring in Lake Mburo National Park. The walk onto Kazuma Look-out Point is steep but short and extremely rewording and should not be missed when visiting this park.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Mihingo Lodge | Mantana Tented Camp | Arcadia Cottages

Moderate: Lake Mburo Safari Lodge | Rakobo Rock

Low Budget: Rwonyo Campsite

Day 9: Kampala

Heading east from Lake Mburo, we bid farewell to the park’s friendly staff as we depart for Kampala.

We drive through a magnificent hilly country and lush cultivation on an approximately four-hour journey. En route we will stop at the Equator for photographs and ‘polar-water experiment', then a local community popular for making local drums (Mpabire Village), gardens, crafts shops and fruit markets.

We will be in Kampala in the evening before for your flight back home

 

 

Accommodation
Inclusions
  • Gorilla permits (each at US$600)
  • Chimpanzee viewing permits
  • Meals indicated on programme
  • Experienced driver/guide
  • Accommodation as per programme
  • Park fees for the various parks
  • Transport on tour as well as hotel transfers
  • Entrance fees for tours mentioned in the programme
  • Boat rides as on the program

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“ My wife and I have recently returned from our Kenya/Uganda safari and gorilla trek. We had a fantastic time and have some superb memories and photos. It was fantastic, from Alex, our tour guide along with the other crew, the food, the safari’s and the gorilla trek. We can never have enough praise of this trip. ”

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