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12 Days Midrange Pearl of Africa Tour

12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour / 12 Days Explore Uganda wildlife safari

This 12 Days Midrange pearl of Africa Tour is popular and will show you the best of Uganda. It features grassland Savannah with wildlife, a bush walk and an optional horse back safari. Activities include gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, game drives in different national parks and safari boats.

12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour

Highlights

  • Rhino tracking
  • Safaris on the Savannah
  • Chimpanzees in the tropical forests
  • Boat safari
  • Tracking the rare mountain gorillas
  • Best mid range accommodations in Uganda

Day 1 of 12 days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: Entebbe – Kampala: Travel Time: 42 km, 1 hour

Arriving at the airport you will be warmly welcomed by a representative of Gorilla Link Tours, and transferred to your hotel in Entebbe

Journey Time: 10 minutes

Accommodation: Pineapple Guest House

Meal Plan: No meals inclusive

Days 2 of 12 days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: Entebbe – Murchison Falls National Park via Ziwa Rhino sanctuary.

Today after breakfast, your guide will pick you from Kampala to Murchison Falls NP. En route, you will visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you will go for a game walk with an experienced ranger, which gives you a unique opportunity to view the rhinos from a close distance.

Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley 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 program.

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. Carefully watched by crocodiles, hundreds of hippos, buffaloes, water birds, apes 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 impressive falls and the river snaking below.

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

Journey Time: 7 hours

Accommodation: Pakuba Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: All meals

Pakuba Game lodge

A wonderful safari game lodge found in the Murchison Falls National Park, the lodge has been refurbished with a touch of class. It has 11 Guest rooms which are self-contained. It offers a warm and inviting atmosphere and it’s a home to a wonderful selection of birds, all the general plains game from Giraffe to Impala and innumerable species of reptiles and insects. The area is blessed with a temperate climate all year round. Accommodation is luxurious and all rooms have bathroom en suite and a terrace.

Meals are a combination of Ugandan and French cuisine with excellent Ugandan wines to complete the experience. Special diets are available on request.

Day 3: Morning game drive- Afternoon boat safari-Top of falls

Today after breakfast, you will depart for an early morning game drive across the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park.  The 3,893 sq km park is home to a range of animals, and you will have a chance of viewing some of the Park’s residents including lions, giraffes, hartebeest, buffalo, and elephants.  For the birders amongst you, these areas support the secretary bird and the black chested snake eagle, to name a few.

In the afternoon, go for a boat trip to the base of Murchison Falls, where the Nile thunders through a small 7 meter gap plunging 43 meters into the Nile on the way to Lake Albert.  The banks of the Nile are densely populated with crocodiles, hippopotamus, and a range of other wildlife that come to the river to drink.

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

Accommodation: Pakuba Safari Lodge

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 of 12 days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: 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: Primate Lodge Kibale- Standard cottages

Meal Plan: All meals

Primate Lodge Kibale is ideal for visitors who want to stay in the middle of the forest. It is located in Kibale National park, about 10 minutes to the park head quarters. Calls from monkeys and birds will be your alarm call while here. The lodge has en suite spacious clean cottages each with a private deck. The restaurant serves delicious food too. Staff is professional and friendly and will take care of you to make your stay a pleasant one

Day 5 of 12 days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: Chimpanzee tracking – Bigodi swamp walk

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 go for the guided swamp walk. The walk (2-3 hours) will take you through grassland, small communities and some beautiful scenery, where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves. It is usual to spot three to four different primate species during this walk, though the highlight is catching a glimpse of the great blue turaco.

Optional Activities:

  • Chimpanzee habituation tracking

At an additional fee of only $70 US Dollar per person, you can do the chimpanzee habituation tracking instead of the regular chimpanzee tracking. This will take all day and you will be 100% sure to have a very close encounter with our cousins. Book this in time because only 6 persons per day are allowed to go. Your swamp walk can be postponed to the next morning before heading to Queen Elizabeth National park

Optional Activities:

  • Crater Lakes Hike:

Formed by ancient volcanic activity, the crater lakes of Uganda are located near Fort Portal, and are a great hiking option.  Typical hikes take you through local villages and tea plantations, to the base of several of these incredibly serene and beautiful lakes.  With the Rwenzori Mountains in the background, this is by far one of Uganda’s most peaceful and extraordinary sights

Journey Time: 15 minutes each way

Accommodation: Primate Lodge Kibale- Standard cottages

Meal Plane: All meals

 Day 6 of 12 days midrange Pearl of Africa Tour: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

In the morning, you can relax at your lodge. You will then continue your journey 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: Marafiki Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: All meals

Marafiki Safari Lodge is in a unique location and has been designed and handcrafted using local materials, fitted by artisans from the local community. Overlooking Lake George in the Queen Elizabeth National Park it offers private luxury safari tents on raised wooden floors and canvas walls that can be rolled up to allow you to sit comfortably watching the Savannah Plains with breath taking views across the park and the Rwenzori and Virunga mountains.

Day 7 of 12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: 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: Marafiki Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: All meals

Optional activities:

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: $85 us dollar p.p.

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 8 of 12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: Transfer to Ishasha sector

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.

You will overnight at Enjojo Lodge, which is surrounded with acacia forest, lush vegetation with palm trees and scattered grasslands. Find birds, monkeys, and other wildlife around your cottage.

Journey Time: 2 hours

Accommodation: Enjojo Lodge

Meal plan: All meals

Enjojo lodge is bordering the Ishasha sector of Queen Elisabeth NP. The lodge is situated on 40 hectares amidst acacia forest, lust vegetation with palm trees and scattered grass line. There is a lot of birdlife around and herds of elephants, buffaloes and antelopes, but also vervet monkeys and the black and white Colobus monkey are regularly spotted around the lodge.

The thatched cottages at Enjojo Lodge have an en-suite bathroom and an outdoor shower. On the wide verandas you can relax and overlook the surrounding bush and savanna, it is the perfect place for a quiet and intimate retreat. The cottages are interlinked with an elevated wooden walkway.

Day 9 of 12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: Transfer to Bwindi

Today after breakfast, you will be transferred to Lake Mutanda in the south-western part of Uganda; close to the borders with Rwanda and Congo. You will see a great country-side, bamboo forest and have great views over the Virunga Mountains. For lunch you will stop at a local restaurant on the road

Journey Time: 6 hours

Accommodation: Mutanda Lake Resort

Meal plan: All meals

Mutanda Lake Resort

Mutanda Lake Resort offers most likely the best view in Uganda! Perched on a peninsula in Lake Mutanda (see photo), in the shadow of the Virunga Mountain Range, Mutanda Lake Resort offers comfortable accommodation combined with the most beautiful views on planet earth. Situated between Kisoro town, Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks the Resort makes a perfect base for gorilla trackers, volcano hikers, bird lovers as well as those looking for a secluded place in nature. The cuisine is among the best in Uganda.

Activities on the lake are organized by the lodge and the lake is safe to swim as it is Bilharzia free

Day 10 of 12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: 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’.

Journey Time: 1 hour each way

Accommodation: Mutanda Lake Resort

Meal plan: All meals

Optional Activities:

Batwa Trail: During this moving tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups.

Village Walk: Overlooking the imposing hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with the mist swirling over the summits, this is one of the most dramatic settings for your cultural tour.

Day 11 of 12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour: 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: Rwakobo Rock

Meal plan: All meals

Rwakobo Rock (Mid-range)

Set on a massive granite outcrop, just outside Lake Mburo National Park, the accommodation at Rwakobo Rock offers thatched chalets blending into the natural landscape.

The rooms are dotted around the hill taking advantage of rocky ledges and private corners. The chalets celebrate the natural lines of the surrounding wilderness. They also provide guests with real comfort and luxury that doesn’t cost the earth.

From the spacey restaurant you have great views over the national park.

Good value for money.

Day 12: 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 12 Days midrange pearl of Africa tour is a private tour, departure can be organized 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 like white water rafting, kindly let us know.

Discount
When your gorilla tracking is in April, May, November 2017, you will receive USD $150 per person discount on this tour

Transport

Our standard offering for mid-range tours is a 4wd minibus with pop-up roof for easy safari viewing but we can use the 4WD land cruiser on request by the client. 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.

12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour includes:

  • 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 breakfasts and dinners included;
  • All meals in Murchison Falls NP;
  • 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).

12 Days midrange pearl of Africa Tour excludes

  • 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 that gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Rwanda as well or in the other sectors of Bwindi or Mgahinga national parks.

Gorilla tracking on this 12 days midrange pearl of Africa Tour is dependent 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 budget and luxury travelers

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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