Visit the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park located in the highlands of south western Uganda and then travel north to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s premier game park and home to ‘the big five’. Wrap your safari with a visit to Kibale National Park home to 13 primate species including chimpanzees.
Early in the morning, our guide will pick you from your hotel and you’ll set off for Bwindi in the South West of Uganda. The first part of the journey takes you through central Uganda crossing the equator in Mpigi district on to Masaka then Lyantonde.
Following a stop in Mbarara for lunch you continue on to the last stretch through a gradually rising beautiful landscape of rolling hills fetching up in the picturesque highlands of Kigezi, famously nicknamed “The Switzerland of Africa“. Arriving at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the early/late evening, you will check into the Silverback Lodge.
After a hearty breakfast, you will receive a briefing from the park guides on the dos and don’ts and then you’ll venture off into the forest. Tracking gorillas is an exhilarating experience taking you deep into the thick jungle and requires a modest level of physical fitness as it can take anywhere from 2-6 hours to find the gorillas. Once you have found the gorillas, you’ll be able to spend up to two hours with them. It is always best to hear from other visitors, and this is Stella and Trudy’s story:
“At a distance of about fifteen feet a mountain gorilla with her baby appears. She comes out of the bushes, looks at me and lies down. My presence does not seem to bother her. She just wants to rest, whether I am there or not. I can almost touch her. My heart dances with joy. I am in a good position to take pictures, so I let my camera do its work. It is the thrill of a lifetime. I cannot but agree with the American zoologist George Schaller, the first to study gorillas in the Virunga volcanoes, who once said: ‘No one who looks into the eyes of a gorilla, gentle and vulnerable, can remain unchanged.”
In the afternoon you’ll take a walk with a guide and visit the surrounding communities. You’ll meet and interact with the locals and immerse yourself in some of the traditional pastimes like cultural dances and storytelling. Returning to the lodge late in the day and settle in for a quiet evening, dinner and a good night’s sleep.
After breakfast drive north to Queen Elizabeth National Park passing through the Ishasha sector of the park. Ishasha is dominated by acacia woodland and features the meandering Ishasha River, banked by a riparian forest and is most famous for tree climbing lions.
After a picnic lunch in Ishasha, drive northwards to the Mweya peninsula, arriving at Mweya Safari Lodge in the afternoon. The Mweya peninsula is located on the northern bank of the impressive Kazinga Channel at the convergence of the channel with Lake Edward.
After checking into the lodge, take a rewarding scenic boat cruise down the channel which joins lakes George and Edward. You’ll cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffalos while elephants linger on the shoreline. You’ll return to the lodge in the evening for dinner and relaxation.
After an early breakfast, go for an early morning game drive in the park’s well maintained tracks. This drive provides excellent opportunities to see lions, leopards, warthogs, buffalo, elephants, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, topis, bush bucks and many more.
After lunch, bundle up into the car and head out to Kibale National 2 hours’ drive from QENP. Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.
It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
The Kibale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve. Arriving at Kibale National Park in the evening, you’ll check into Ndali Lodge and spend the rest of the day relaxing.
After your breakfast, with a packed lunch in hand, you’ll receive brief instructions before setting out on the track of chimpanzees, other primates and the many species that make up the forest ecosystem.
Kibale Forest is the most accessible of Uganda’s major rainforests and yet home to a remarkable 13 primate species, including the red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys. You will have the opportunity to track habituated chimps. These delightful apes, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are awesome to watch as they bicker and have fun in fruit trees. A network of shady forest trails provides much to engross botanists and butterfly lovers, while birders are in for a treat with 335 species recorded including the Prirogrine’s ground thrush.
After lunch, you’ll take a trip to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is located outside the park in Magombe Swamp. Rich in biodiversity and beautiful scenery, the wetland is a birder’s paradise with about 138 species. It also hosts eight species of primates including the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be found here. The sanctuary was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features along with the wetland and is managed by the local community.
Return to the lodge in the evening for dinner, delightful conversation (if you brought some with you), a good book and some zzzs.
After breakfast, hit the road back to Kampala.
Notes and Extras
The package includes the following:
Please carry with you the following;
6-Day Primate Safari