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11 Day Uganda gorilla and wildlife safari

This trip will show you the best of what Uganda has to offer. The trip features grassland savannah, wildlife, gorilla and chimp tracking and boat safaris.

Highlights

  • Game drives
  • Top of falls
  • Boat safaris
  • Gorilla and chimp tracking
  • Tree climbing lions

Day 1: Airport pick up.

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be picked up from Entebbe airport by a representative of your accommodation for tonight. You will meet your driver/ guide tomorrow morning when he picks you up from your hotel.

Depending on the time of your arrival, you might be able to do some optional activities in Entebbe like a visit to the Botanical gardens or the Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC). Please note that all activities today are at your own cost.

Journey Time: 10 minutes

Accommodation: Lake Victoria View Guest house

Meal plan: No meals included

Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls en route Rhino sanctuary

Today’s journey will take you north from Kampala to Murchison falls national park.  En route, you will visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you will go for guided rhino tracking with an experienced ranger, which gives you a unique opportunity to view the rhinos from a close distance.

Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks once had both black and white rhinos; however, widespread poaching during the Idi Amin era resulted in the disappearance of these majestic animals from the wild. Founded in 1998, Rhino Fund Uganda works to reintroduce black and white rhinos into Uganda and runs a breeding programme.

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest conservation area in Uganda covering an area of over 3,840 km², The Park’s name derives from its famous waterfall: the mighty Murchison Falls, which are formed where the Victoria Nile powerfully forces its way through a narrow cleft before plunging 43m down with a thunderous roar

The mighty Nile River divides the park into its north and south sections. At the spectacular Murchison Falls the world’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. As the river attracts large numbers of game, a boat safari up the Nile provides the perfect opportunity to see and photograph the animals. You will be watched by crocodiles, hundreds of hippos, buffaloes, water birds, monkeys and all the other thirsty wildlife that the Nile attracts, you go to the bottom of the Murchison Falls, which approaches you with a thunderous sound. By car or after a short hike you can reach the “Top of the falls” from where you have a perfect view of the extraordinary falls and the river snaking below.

You will be staying at a great mid-range lodge, overlooking the River Nile. Here you can relax during the rest of your day.

Journey Time: 7 Hours

Accommodation: Fort Murchison lodge- Safari tents

Meal plan: All meals

Fort Murchison – Safari tents (Budget) offers budget accommodation in the form of non self-contained tents. Furnished with 2 single beds, the tents share communal ablution blocks. It is set on the eastern banks of the slow flowing Albert Nile, just outside the national park. Fort Murchison revokes the idea of a well maintained isolated outpost from times where Arab traders frequented the African hinterlands and legendary explorers led expeditions in search of the source of the Nile.

Day 3: Morning game drive, Boat safari & Hike to the top of falls

Today you will wake up very early. In the early morning hours animals are the most active, the sun is not yet so bright and temperatures are cooler. It offers the best time to spot wild animals. After an early breakfast you will go on a game drive to explore the northern part of the park.

You will be eye-to-eye with the African animals like elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, leopards, different species of antelopes and many tropical birds may all be spotted during the game drive. So keep your eyes open.

In the afternoon you will take a boat safari up the Nile River to Murchison Falls. You will be watched by crocodiles, hundreds of hippos, buffaloes, water birds, monkeys and all the other thirsty wildlife that the Nile attracts, you will reach the base of the 43-meter high Falls which approach with a thunderous sound.

After the boat safari you will hike to the top of the falls. From here you will have a wonderful view and fantastic photo opportunities.

Accommodation: Fort Murchison safari tents

Meal plan: All meals

Optional activity: Chimp tracking Budongo forest

Budongo Forest is located in the southern part of Murchison Falls NP and has the highest number of wild chimpanzees of Uganda. The habituated groups are located in Kaniyo Padibi, where you can go for chimpanzee tracking. Budongo Forest has an incredible biodiversity that beside the chimpanzee includes several other species like the Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys and Olive baboons.

Costing: $95 us dollar p.p.

Optional activity: Hot air balloon safari

Discover Murchison Falls from the air and enjoy the unique experience of flying over Murchison Falls NP in a hot air balloon. You will have the most amazing views over the river Nile, Lake Albert, the great Murchison Falls and of course this is the best way to spot lots and lots of animals. You will start early morning, so you will see the sun rise over the park. After your balloon safari you will have a bush breakfast in the park (inclusive).

Costing: $380 us dollar p.p.

Day 4: Transfer to Kibale National Park

Today you will begin your journey to Kibale Forest N.P. The long drive is incredibly scenic, passing through tea plantations and the lush green countryside which characterizes so much of Uganda.

Kibale Forest National Park is located in west-central Uganda just east of the Rwenzori Mountains, near the town of Fort Portal. The 766 Km² Park predominantly covers evergreen rain forest and ranges between 1100 and 1600m in elevation. Kibale Forest is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests and forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park.

You will have packed lunch en route, arriving in the evening for overnight and dinner

Journey Time: 8 hours

Accommodation: Kibale Forest Camp- Lazy camping

Meal Plan: All meals

Kibale Forest Camp – lazy camping (Budget) offers a more budget option in the form of non-self-contained tents away from the main accommodation.

The lazy camping consists of a basic camping tent furnished with 2 single beds and a solar lantern. No need to bring your own linen as all bedding and towels are provided. The tents share a communal ablution blocks with hot showers and flushing toilets.

Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking – transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP

Today you will wake up early to go to the park head offices to be briefed about your chimp tracking experience. Kibale Forest National park boasts the highest number of primate species in the world, including the chimpanzees. Approximately 5,000 chimpanzees live in the wild in Uganda, which makes it a perfect place to see them

An experienced ranger will take you chimp tracking chimp in the morning or afternoon; you might also see other monkey species that live here. Once you locate the chimpanzees you will have a full hour of eye-to-eye contact with them. Since they are wild animals, we can never guarantee you to see them and might have to settle with hearing their hoots and hollers.

In the afternoon after lunch, you will be transferred to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National park is Uganda’s second largest park, located at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountain range, adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. The park has game including Uganda kob, warthog and waterbuck. Lions are often sighted both in and at the entrance to the park. Be ready to see huge numbers of hippos and elephants, and keep your eyes on the look out for a leopard lazing in the sunshine.

In the late afternoon you will relax at the lodge. You will stay in a nice lodge, overlooking the Lake George.

Journey Time: 3 ½

Accommodation: Irungu Forest lodge- Budget

Meal Plan: All meals

Day 6: Game drive & Kazinga channel boat safari

Today you wake up early. A little before sunrise coffee, tea and donuts will be served in the lounge before we head out for a long game drive in time to see the first rays of light. You will search for all the wildlife in the park and are likely to come across Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Waterbuck, Leopard, Uganda Kob, and many Warthogs.

A well-deserved brunch will be served back at the lodge in the late morning.

In the afternoon you will take a boat safari along the Kazinga Channel which joins Lake George and Lake Edward.

Here, you will see a lot of hippos (more than you can possibly imagine!), as well as a variety of other animals which come to the waterhole to drink or bathe. You can expect to see buffalo, crocodile, bathing elephant, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour.

After the boat-safari you game drive back to the lodge.

Accommodation: Irungu Forest lodge- Budget

Meal Plan: All meals

Optional activity: Hot Air Balloon Safari:
Experience the wildlife of Queen Elizabeth national park in a new, unique way. Wake up early to catch the sunrise, as you silently fly over the plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Admire the herds of buffaloes, elephants and enjoy the serene tranquillity of the African bush…

You will take off early at dawn for a flight that lasts for approximately 1 hour. Rise as the sun rises and floats in whatever direction the winds of the morning takes you. Fly higher than the trees and hills and enjoy the best of Uganda, with many great photo opportunities of the scenery and wildlife below.

After a smooth landing you can celebrate this amazing adventure with a glass of sparkling juice before returning to your lodge to continue your safari.

Costing: $380 us dollar p.p.

Optional activity: Lion Tracking:

For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This new and unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of lions in the park, using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behaviour. The results are added to researchers’ databases, contributing valuable information to the overall understanding of wildlife ecology – and helping to conserve this wonderful ecosystem. This will as well gives you a 95% chance to see the lions.

The number of people on each outing is limited in order to reduce stress on the animals and to increase the quality of the experience for visitors.

The experiential tourism activities currently available are Mongoose Tracking, Lion Tracking, Hippo Census, and Bird Counts.

Experiential tours lasts between one and three hours. They usually take place in the early morning or evening, or occasionally at night. All activities must be booked through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya at least 24 hours in advance.

Cost: $60 us dollar p.p.

Optional activity: Kyambura Gorge

Another optional activity in Queen Elisabeth N.P. is to visit the Kyambura Gorge. A hike through the gorge gives you the opportunity to see habituated chimpanzees and other types of primates including red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus, baboons and velvet monkeys. Although the chance of spotting chimpanzees is only 50%, the landscape is among the most impressive in Uganda and is absolutely worth it!

Cost: $50 US Dollar p.p.

Day 7: Transfer to Ishasha – tree climbing lions

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the southern part of Queen Elizabeth N.P; Ishasha sector which is famous for its tree-climbing lions.

To escape from the heat during the day, the lions learned how to climb the fig trees. If you’re lucky you might spot a few during your afternoon game drive.

Journey Time: 2 ½ hours

Accommodation: Enjojo Lodge- Bamboo huts and canvas tents

Meal plan: All meals

Enjojo Lodge – Bamboo Huts and Canvas Tents (Budget) is in a private bush setting and offers a more budget option with either their bamboo huts and the canvast tents

Although not self-contained, the huts and tents are solar powered, comfortable and equipped with beds, bed linen and towels. You can use the clean campsite showers and toilet facilities.

Day 8: Tree climbing lions- transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

After breakfast you will proceed to the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the famous Ishasha area, for a game drive searching for the tree climbing lions

Ishasha is home to the famous tree-climbing lions. While lion cubs around the world frequently climb trees for fun, adults rarely do. The adult lions in Ishasha are an exception to this. It is thought that they sit in the branches to get away from the tsetse flies and to enjoy a cool breeze. If you are lucky you might spot a few during your game drive.

Lunch will be at the lodge

After lunch you will be transferred to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to Mountain Gorillas.

You will get there in time for dinner and overnight.

Journey Time: 5 hours + game drive time

Accommodation: Broadbill Forest Camp

Meal plan: All meals

Broadbill Forest Camp is located in Ruhija, on the Eastern edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park.

It is calm, peaceful with stunning views of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, making it a perfect place to totally unwind and relax, away from the pressures of every day life.

The tents are en suite, with hot water and a private veranda. From your balcony, you will see lots of rare Albertine Rift Valley endemics, and with birding skills of the birding expert Emmy Gongo at the lodge, you would be able to identify them

Day 9: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest

Today after early breakfast, you will be transferred to the park head quarters for briefing about gorilla tracking.  You will encounter one of Bwindi’s endangered mountain gorillas. For most people this is the absolute highlight of their tour in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable national park boasts both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees – the only forest in Africa that can make this claim. It also hosts five other species of primates, 113 species of mammals, over 200 species of butterflies and 360 species of birds. The gorillas you track are habituated and can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period of time, every day.

The time taken to track the gorillas can be as few as 2 hours to as many as 7 hours. Once the gorillas have been located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Uganda’s very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

Accommodation: Broadbill Forest Camp

Meal plan: All meals

Day 10: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast, you will travel to Lake Mburo National Park, one of Uganda’s smallest parks, but certainly not to be underestimated. It is the only Ugandan national park (besides to Kidepo Valley N.P.) which is home to zebras, elands and impalas, as well as to an abundance of other wildlife – not to mention the lake itself, which has lots of hippos and crocodiles. Last but not least: The Uganda Wildlife Authority recently brought 15 giraffes from Murchison falls to lake Mburo (1st July 2015)!

You will stay just outside the park boundaries, but it will feel like being in the middle of the park. From your veranda and restaurant you have a great view over the park and its wildlife.

Journey time: 7 hours

Accommodation: Eagle’s Nest

Meal plan: All meals

Eagles Nest (Budget) is located just outside Lake Mburo National Park on the top of a hill with great views over the park and is often visited by bush buck and zebra. It has a large restaurant with seats overlooking the park. The safari tents are simple with two single beds, a private eco toilet, and simple shower with hot water on request.

Day 11: Guided bush walk and transfer to Kampala or Entebbe

Today after breakfast, you will go for a guided bush walk. Lake Mburo N.P is one of two parks in Uganda where bush walks with an experienced ranger are permitted. This opportunity should not be missed. From footprints and animal droppings the ranger will be able to tell you which animal has left it and how long ago. It is exciting to approach wildlife at such close range.

Note: Instead of going for the bush walk, you can go on a horseback riding safari in the park (US $60 p.p. extra for 2 hours).

After, you will drive back to Kampala or Entebbe (Airport) stopping at the equator for the requisite snapshot and a bit of souvenir shopping.

Accommodation for tonight is not inclusive in the program. If you wish to depart tonight from Entebbe Airport, make sure your flight is at 10 pm or later. If you want us to book one (or more) nights in Kampala and/or Entebbe, please let us know.

Journey Time: 5 hours to Kampala, 6 hours to Entebbe

Accommodation: Not included

Meal plan: Breakfast and lunch

Dates

This is a private tour, departure can be organised for anytime throughout the year subject to the availability of accommodation and transport.

Extension Tours

If you want to extend your tour to one of our other destinations or if you’d like to add a few side trips to the itinerary, kindly let us know.

Gorilla and chimp permits

It is not possible to ‘reserve’ gorilla and chimpanzee permits. Therefore we can only buy them after your booking and down-payment and it all depends on availability.

Transport

Our standard offering for budget tours is a 4wd minibus with pop-up roof for easy safari viewing. All passengers will have a dedicated window seat. Your professional and courteous driver/guide will be at your disposal for questions or translations.

Booking

The bookings with the hotels mentioned in the program depend on availability. Reservations will only be made after your booking.

In case the mentioned hotels are not available during the requested period, we will do our utmost best to book a hotel in the same class for you (of course we will only do this after consulting you). It is not possible to ‘reserve’ gorilla and chimpanzee permits. Therefore we can only buy them after your booking and down-payment and also here it all depends on availability.

Tour Package Including:

  • Transport in a 4WD minivan with pop-up roof for excellent safari view;
  • All fuel for the tour;
  • English speaking Ugandan driver/guide;
  • Accommodation as listed in the program;
  • All meals as per the itinerary;
  • Packed lunch for the gorilla tracking
  • Park-entrance fees according to the program;
  • All activities described in the itinerary;
  • 1 chimpanzee permit per person (a US$ 150 value);
  • 1 gorilla permit per person (a US$600 value).

Excluding:

  • International air fares and entry visa Uganda
  • Meals that are not part of your accommodation
  • A porter for during the gorilla tracking (someone who carries your daypack);
  • Personal (medical/travel) insurance;
  • Tips and gratuities to rangers, driver/guide, porter, hotel staff, etc;
  • All expenses of personal nature (e.g. drinks, laundry, optional activities, souvenirs etc.).

Important: 

Please note the gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Rwanda as well or in the other sectors on Bwindi or Mgahinga

Gorilla tracking is dependant on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible.

This tour can be tailor made to suite mid range and luxury travellers

When you book your trip with Gorilla Link Tours to any of our destinations, Gorilla Link Tours will donate US$ 5 per person to persons with Albinism.

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