Day 1: Entebbe/Lake Victoria Hotel
Upon arrival at Entebbe Airport on the shores of Lake Victoria, you are met by your trip leader or representative and driven a short distance to the Lake Victoria Hotel, your lodging for the first night in Uganda. The Hotel, completely refurbished, is surrounded by, pleasant gardens and a pool. It is a four star hotel with 99 rooms. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can visit the botanical gardens and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (formerly the zoo). Later in the evening you will get a brief overview of the country and your safari by one of our representatives. B/B
Day 2: Entebbe/Kibale Forest (Approximately 7 hours drive)
After breakfast, you begin the day with a drive west toward Fort Portal to the Kibale Forest. Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan Villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good “photo opportunities” and keep your eyes open for birds such as the beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Double-Toothed Barbet, Long-Crested Eagle and some of the numerous Sunbirds and Weaver birds that perch on the fence rows and power lines near the road, 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. You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a terrific area for birds. Overnight Ndali lodge/Chimp's Nest Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Kibale Forest
Today you spend the day hiking through the dense overgrowth of the Kibale Forest in search of primates, both greater and lesser. The forest has well marked trails that make it easily accessible. Three large communities of Chimpanzees inhabit Kibale, each numbering over 200 individuals. Typically you will locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then observe them as they feed in the trees, lounge or hunt (this is usually an adrenaline-filled moment!). Chimps move quickly through the bushy canopy hunting colobus monkeys and bushbabies, and will occasionally capture ground dwellers such as small duikers or dik-dik. Though they feed primarily on figs and other fruits, they are effective hunters. The chimp’s strong social order and behavior is fascinating to watch. They are noisy, communicative, and often confrontational with each other.
Once you have encountered the Chimps, you will continue hiking through the forest, looking for birds and lesser primates, which may include red-tailed monkey, red colobus monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey, gray cheeked mangabey, olive baboon and vervet monkey. The forest is the habitat of the spectacular great Blue Turaco and the African Gray Parrot; it is alive with the tantalizing sounds of the elusive birds such as the Angola Pitta. Expert national park guides will accompany us and will reveal some of the botanical secrets of the forest. A night walk to see the potto and galagoo can be arranged. Overnight Ndali Lodge/ Chimp's Nest Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Kibale/Queen Elizabeth National Park (Approximately 3 - 4 hours drive)
After an early morning breakfast, you will say goodbye to Kibale and return to Fort Portal. This rural Ugandan town is locally famous for its weaving and basketry, and we stop briefly to examine some of this local art. Leaving Fort Portal town, you turn south and gently descend into the Great African Rift Valley 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 Zaire 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. Overnight Mweya Safari lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today’s exploration of Queen Elizabeth National Park begins with an early morning launch trip on the Kazinga Channel. This fresh water system, joining Lake Edward and Lake George, boasts of the highest concentration of Nile Hippos in the world. In addition to these semi-aquatic mammals, the launch affords unique opportunities to view other mammals, and birds as they come to the waters edge to drink or bathe. Birding is excellent and you expect to see species ranging in size from the tiny and brilliant Malachite Kingfisher to the Giant Goliath Heron. You leave the water and re-unite with your driver/guides to explore the park in a more traditional manner. Uganda Kob occur in the thousands, and you will expect to see Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Cape Buffalo, Hartebeest, Giant Forest Hog, Warthhog, Elepant, and potentially Leopard and Lion. The scenic beauty of the park is a perfect backdrop for the wildlife drama that takes place before you. Overnight Mweya Safari Lodge B L D
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth/Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Approximately 5-6 hours drive)
You are up early this morning for a final game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park, hoping to catch a glimpse of the more elusive wildlife of this lovely sanctuary. You then drive through Ishasha area of the park hoping to see the famous tree climbing lions (weather permitting) and then through the scenic area known as the “Switzerland” of East Africa, to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for your gorilla treks. Overnight either in Gorilla Forest Camp / engagi Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Impenetrable Forest of Bwindi National Park is certainly aptly named. On its steep slopes and in the deep valleys, the largest of the primates has managed to escape extinction. Report at the park office at 7.30 am for the gorilla tracking. Carry a picnic lunch and plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film is recommended. It can rain at short notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock bags for cameras and film.
Meeting our ranger guides, gorilla watchers head off the steep, trail-less slopes to search for gorillas. In addition to the gorillas, you may spot many birds, red-tailed and ground-dwelling L’Hoest’s monkeys.
Although park rangers try to keep tabs on the whereabouts of the gorillas, they are free ranging wild creatures and can be difficult to locate. Sometimes finding the gorillas can be easy, as they may have remained close to the area where they had been feeding the previous day. Sometimes they require constant tracking, which can be arduous. Some of the difficulties to be encountered can include steep, muddy slopes, stinging nettles, safari ants, and rain. The reward is an extraordinary opportunity to observe the gorillas at close range. The gorillas are not tame, but they have been scientifically habituated to accept the presence of quiet and non-threatening observers.
The park rangers will brief you on appropriate behavior. You can expect to stay with the animals for about an hour after first encountering them. However we can‘t guarantee you’ll see them but chances are 98%. If your group size is less than six members, the park rangers will add other trekkers to your group. You have no way of knowing who these trekkers will be or what physical condition they may be in, and our group will need to trek together. Should your gorilla trekking end early, rainforest walks in Bwindi can be arranged. Other wildlife you may encounter includes yellow-backed duiker and a variety of birds. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Second Gorilla Trek
Early breakfast, drive to the park headquarters with picnic lunch for your second day of gorilla tracking.
Day 9: Bwindi / Lake Mburo National Park (approximately 7 hours)
After breakfast depart for Lake Mburo National Park. En route, you pass through Uganda’s Ankole District where the people keep massively horned cattle, which have been bred in this region for centuries and are used as an indicator of personal wealth. The horns of these domestic beasts may measure well in excess of four feet each. Small children tend their herds, making sure that the cattle don’t invade the fertile fields and banana plantations that dot the countryside. We continue to Lake Mburo National Park, a small park surrounding a lovely system of lakes and papyrus swamps. Mburo offers perhaps the best opportunities in Uganda to see birds associated with acacia woodlands, such as the Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-headed Gonolek, Grey Hornbill and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater. The only large predators here are Spotted Hyena and Leopard, but the park is home to a large variety of ungulate species, including African Buffalo, Topi, Uganda Kob, Oribi, Reedbuck, Klipspringer, Defassa Waterbuck, Common Zebra and Eland. This is the only place in Uganda where Impala are found. Nile Hippo and Crocodile are also fairly common in the park. Overnight Mihingo Lodge / Mantana tented camp. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Lake Mburo/Kampala/Entebbe (approximately 5 hours)
You will view game as you leave the camp for Kampala, pass through the town of Masaka near the shores of Lake Victoria, then continue through huge papyrus swamps, fragmented rainforest, with a stop at the equator and the Mpigi Royal drum makers and witness how drums have been made in Uganda for centuries. Long before the coming of the Europeans, the Baganda people had a highly structured society and drums were used extensively for long distance and rapid communications. If time permits, stop in Kampala for shopping, and later transfer to the airport for your departing flight. End of services. Includes: (B), (L).
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Your departure flight should be late in the afternoon or in the evening; otherwise another night can be arranged in Entebbe.
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