A week long wildlife safari that takes you to gorilla country in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, then to the vast savannah grasslands of Queen Elizabeth National Park, followed by an excursion in the primate habitat of Kibaale Forest and finally on to Jinja, home to the source of the Nile river.
Early in the morning, our guide will pick you from your hotel and 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 via Lake Mburo National Park . 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 theSilverback 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 2-4 hours to find the gorillas. Once you have found the gorillas, you’ll be able to spend up to one hour 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 late afternoon you’ll set off for Queen Elizabeth National Park located in Kasese district arriving at Mweya Safari Lodge in time for dinner.
Following a scrumptious breakfast, set out on a game drive along the park’s well maintained game tracks. The tracks through Kasenyi, the North Kazinga Plains and the Ishasha Sector offer virtually guaranteed buffalo, antelope and elephant sightings, along with warthogs and baboons.
Drive back to the lodge for lunch followed by a relaxing boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. The channel is home to many animals including hippos and crocodiles and is a water source for herds of buffalo and elephants, lion prides, etc. In the evening, you’ll drive back to the lodge for dinner and rest.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
After breakfast, bundle up into the car and head out to Fort Portal approximately 2 hours drive from QENP. Have lunch at Fort Motel and then proceed to Kibale National Park.
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.
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 afternoon, you’ll check into Ndali Lodge and spend the afternoon exploring the surroundings or relaxing in the beautiful gardens.
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.
Have breakfast early in the morning and head out for Jinja in the east stopping at Ridar Hotel for lunch. Arriving in Jinja go for a refreshing dip in the Nile while white water rafting at Bujagali. Check into Jinja Nile Resort for dinner and ‘RnR’.
Following breakfast, if you’re brave enough, go for bungee jumping followed by an hour of horse riding and after lunch engage in an hour of quad bike riding. Visit the historical ‘Source of the Nile River’ and then hit the road to Kampala.
Notes and Extras
The package includes the following:
Please carry with you the following;