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Tree-climbing lions, Queen Elizabeth National Park

UGANDA Gorillas', Chimp, Monkeys' HABITUATION, LIONS TRACKING SAFARI- 8 Days

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Uganda Chimp, Gorilla, Golden Monkey Habituation Experience & Lion Tracking Safari - 8 Days

8 Days speciality deep-in experiences habituating Kibale wild chimps, mountain gorillas, researcher- led tracking of lions in Queen Elizabeth NP, golden monkeys habituation experiences in Mgahinga and more.

Spend (4 times) more time than normal tours!

This is the ideal safari to Africa for travellers who would love a deeper than ordinary experience with Africa’s unique wildlife.

We have made special arrangements with the national park authorities so that you have 2-5 times more the traditional amount of time with the rare and endangered mountain gorillas guided by scientific researchers and contributing to their research, wild chimpanzees and other primates, lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and intimate contact with gorillas, plus safaris for chimpanzees, tree-climbing lions, mongoose and more.

Our new Insider’s Uganda safari is an incredibly unusual combination of truly “once-in-a-lifetime” safaris that feature scientific researcher-led up-close wildlife interactions for gorillas, chimps, golden monkeys and Africa’s Rare 5.

  • Day 1: Kibale National Park
  • Day 2: Full day chimpanzee habituation experience plus other primates
  • Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park, viewing Rwenzoris, crater lakes & wild animals
  • Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park - jeep safari, lion tracking, boat safari
  • Day 5: Tree-climbing Lions, Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 6: Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Day 7: Golden monkey habituation exercise, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  • Day 8: Return to Kampala - Entebbe
Itinerary

Day 1: Kibale National Park

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.

Early morning after breakfast we continue driving through the undulating highlands of southwestern Uganda on our way to the greener and beautiful Fort Portal area. 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.

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.

Day 2: Full Day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Plus Other Primates

Three large communities of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals.

Today we’ll accompany Kibale’s researchers in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to a “soft” habituation project with chimpanzees. You’ll learn to safely observe the chimps during their daily activities, so they get comfortable with human presence without changing their natural behaviors. You will be able to experience the chimp families as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed.

Guided by biologists and researchers, we will enjoy unprecedented intimate access to these wild chimps for the entire day until they build their nests at bedtime.

Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Viewing Rwenzoris, Lots of Crater Lakes & Wild Animals

We then drive 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.

Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park - Jeep Safari, Lion Tracking, Boat Safari

See a different face of the park as we venture off road with a research team to track lions and contribute to a valuable lion research project in the Ishasha Sector. The researchers' Land- cruiser is fitted with radio-collar-receiving equipment. You get a full briefing on the animals with opportunity for as much lion photography as you can manage.

After a leisurely lunch on the Mweya Peninsula we’ll enjoy a two hour boat safari along the Kazinga Channel. This affords the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray and 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.

Day 5: Tree-climbing Lions, Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast we drive further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head to the southern sector of the park – Ishasha. This is the best area to see the famous tree-climbing lions draped from low hanging limbs of fig trees. Next we visit the Kob Mating Ground—a defined area specifically used by these stunning antelopes for challenging other males, enticing females and mating. Finally we’ll pass through beautiful savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles for over 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 species of mammals 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 bird- watchers. 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.

Day 6: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Our Unique Exclusive

Researcher-led gorilla habituation project - 4 hour permit!

We have an early morning entry into the mountain gorillas’ sanctuary. Our intimate gorilla experience allows you to accompany the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Bwindi gorilla habituation team for the entire day, allowing you to have a minimum 4 hours in the presence of a mountain gorilla family – since regular permits only allow 1 hour, this is 4 times the amount of time spent up close with gorillas – more than any other safari operator! During this time you will be able to experience the gorilla family as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed until they build their nests at bedtime.

The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving ad- venture that will leave you with long lasting memories. Spending more time with them than the norm means you are assured of the best possible experience, with 4 full hours for better photography, researcher access for more questions, and enough time to experience more intimate and unusual behaviors. The gorillas are shy and peaceful animals and it is an unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact with each other.

The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. Once the gorillas are sighted, you will be guided to within 6 meters of the gorillas, and be able to sit all around them while gazing into their big round eyes as the researchers note health, behavior and other characteristics.

Day 7: Golden Monkey Habituation Exercise, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

After an early breakfast, set off for the national park for the Golden Monkey habituation experience which allows you up to 4 hours with the monkeys.


The monkeys are primarily to be found in the bamboo forest that skirt the lower slopes of the volcanoes. The monkeys are very active in the canopy of the bamboo where your guides mimic their calls to follow the group.

Day 8: Return to Kampala - Entebbe

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 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 (Upscale Option)

The Lodge and Cottages

The exceptional design and sheer scale of the main lodge is immediately apparent from the moment one crests the hill and Kyaninga Lodge comes into view. Once inside, the lodge offers comfortable seating areas set around an imposing double-sided open fireplace where one can enjoy a cozy evening over a good book, a board game or a drink from the bar. The main building also houses the restaurant, where delicious meals compete with stunning views on both sides. Two raised galleries offer intimate spaces for those wishing to absorb the panorama in a more private setting. On the lake side, the main lodge leads to two decks furnished with comfortable loungers, while steps hewn from local volcanic rock lead down to the swimming pool and on to two lawned terraces overlooking the deep blue water and primeval forest of Lake Kyaninga itself. For those not quite wishing to really get away from it all, wireless Internet access is provided throughout the main lodge building.

Kyaninga Lodge’s eight cottages are built on platforms and set apart to offer privacy and tranquility. Access to the cottages from the main lodge is via a raised wooden walkway. Each spacious cottage is beautifully appointed with a choice of twin or double beds made up with the softest bedlinens and feather pillows. An indoor sitting area leads out to a private deck where one can enjoy morning tea or coffee and views over the lake and the Mountains of the Moon beyond. The en suite bathrooms boast marble countertop basins set atop beautifully crafted Elgon Olive pedestals, claw foot- ed freestanding baths, glass walled showers and plenty of hot water from solar water heaters. Lighting in the cottages is also solar powered, and each cottage features an electrical socket for the charging of laptops and other appliances, providing the comforts of home in an extraordinary setting. Extra beds, hypoallergenic pillows and bedding are available on request.

Primate Lodge (Mid-Level Option)

Primate Lodge tent, Uganda

Primate Lodge in Kibale is an exclusive eco-lodge situated in the heart of Kibale Forest National Park. It is surrounded by a lush tropical forest that is home to 13 different species of primates, including the chimpanzees.

Privately secluded in the rainforest, this safari lodge offers you a truly authentic jungle experience and is the perfect gateway for tracking the primates in Uganda.

Discover a place where the serene silence is only interrupted by the melodious sounds of the numerous forest birds. A place that combines comfort with adventure and perfectly blends with the natural environment...

Primate Lodge Kibale features an exclusive camp with eight superior safari tents, seven comfortable forest cottages and an adventurous Tree House. All rooms are privately situated within the forest, making it an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Free WIFI is available in the public areas.

Mweya Lodge (Upscale Deluxe Rooms, Mid-Level Standard Rooms)

Queen's Cottage room, Mweya Safari Lodge

Mweya Safari Lodge offers visitors an unforgettable experience. Located on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge is surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains aptly described as the 'Mountains of the Moon'.

To the east, lie the guardians of the birthplace of mankind, the Great Rift Valley hills, separated from the Mountains of the Moon by the meandering Kazinga Channel. Here the water flows endlessly into two giant lakes – Lake George and Lake Edward.

Each room at Mweya Safari Lodge has a breathtaking view of the Kazinga channel. You can watch the forest hogs grazing the grass outside, as well as the odd curious hippo! The cuisine is of the highest quality, presenting a range of exquisite Continen- tal, Indian and International cuisine.

The Mweya Health Club and spa offers treatments to revitalize you after a long day out in the game park.


Chameleon Hill Lodge

Chameleon Hill Lodge no other lodge like it in all of Africa – a unique – one of a kind luxury lodge sitting on Chameleon Hill.

We live in a sea of sameness, of similarities, where even lodges follow certain styles and patterns and then there is the one of a kind Chameleon Hill Lodge, unlike any other lodge in Uganda.

Just driving up the ridge and seeing the lodge for the first time with of its varied hues of colours that seem to twinkle in the sun like Joseph’s multi-coloured coat is an experience in itself.

Chameleon Hill Lodge is the creation of someone who walks to their own drumbeat, someone who is uniquely themselves and brought to fruition an inner dream of a castle on a hill overlooking Lake Mutanda and like the bright array of colours you will find in the chameleons of this area so Chameleon Hill with its array of brilliant colours lives up to is name “Chameleon Hill Lodge.”

Step through the castle doors into the main lodge and you are entering a world of utmost comfort – a dining area where you can enjoy a superb breakfast, great lunch and a most memorable three course dinner – if you have special dietary needs of one kind or another the capable chef can accommodate you to your satisfaction.

There is most comfortable sitting area here and in the evening a crackling fire will warm you – it does get a bit cold in this part of Uganda but you will be delighted by the fine selection of wines the lodge has to offer – simply all around class and style.

Enjoy the sunset from here – take in the majestic – almost mystical Lake Mutanda below you and the majestic Mufumbiro Mountains – Mountains that cook – the Virunga Volcanoes. It all is an amazing array of sights, colors – one of Uganda’s most amazing, comfortable and luxurious locations along Lake Mutanda.

Your room is an individual cottage and of course it is en-suite with bath and the water is heated with propane which means a superb hot shower, something that on safari at times can be lacking.

The room of your cottage is colorful in and out, very functional and practical with quality furniture throughout as in the main lodge. There is also excellent bedding with another out of the normal things and needed in this colder part of Uganda...a duvet on your bed and if that is not enough, extra blankets are there for your comfort. There is also a safe for each cottage to keep your things safe and secure during your stay here. It seems almost everything seems to be thought of.

Activities – there are many – some such as canoeing in a dugout canoe on Lake Mutanda, hikes through villages and forest, birding and of course activities that we have you scheduled for such as volcano climbing, golden monkey tracking, an interactive walk with the first people of the forest, the Batwa people all in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, There are also the activities in the southern end of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do and see while staying at Chameleon Hill Lodge - no other lodge like it and the added plus is the view.

Inclusions

Included

  • Our exclusive 4 hours gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale National Park
  • Lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Golden monkey habituation experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  • Kazinga Channel boat safari
  • Other game viewing permits
  • Land cruiser game drives
  • Accommodation with meals indicated on programme
  • Bottled drinking water on the vehicle
  • Services of a good experienced English speaking tour guide/driver
  • Transport on tour as well as hotel transfers

Excluded

  • Tips for drivers and other staff
  • Flight tickets and departure taxes
  • Travel documentation (visas)
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Optional excursion
  • Beverages other than mineral water in the vehicle

Talk to a Uganda Safari Expert

Enquire about this special wildlife experience and habituation safari and tour prices.

Talk to one of our destination experts to start planning your Uganda safari.

“ We had a truly fantastic trip and cannot thank you enough for it. Our guide James was brilliant, very informative, polite, pleasant and a pleasure to spend our trip with. He is an asset to your team. Seeing the gorillas in their natural environment was incredible. We have been recommending the trip to family and friends. Keep up the good work. We shall look forward to booking another trip with you.”

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