Day 1: Arrival/Entebbe. 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). Includes: (B).
Day 2: Entebbe/Kibale (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 greatest 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 Chimpanzee Trek. Today you take forest and swamp walks to see the rain forest and view primates including chimpanzees and birds. Walking is not difficult, paths have been made in the forest and all walks are with excellent local guides. Overnight Ndali lodge / Chimp's Nest Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Kibale/Bwindi (Approximately 7-8 hours drive). Drive to Bwindi via Queen Elizabeth National Park. The drive passes through Fortportal and then south along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon) with the hope of seeing the glaciated peaks, gently descending into the Great African Rift Valley to Queen Elizabeth National Park and continuing to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, passing Ishasha area of the park with the hope of seeing the famous tree climbing lions and through the scenic area known as the “Switzerland of East Africa”. Overnight Gorilla Forest camp/ Engagi Lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: First Gorilla Trek. 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 7.30am 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 6: Second Gorilla Trek. Early breakfast, drive to the park headquarters with picnic lunch for your second day of gorilla tracking.
Day 7: Bwindi/Lake Mburo (Approximately 6-7 hours drive). 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 8: 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).
- Your departure flight should be late in the afternoon or in the evening, otherwise another night can be arranged in Entebbe.
- By no means are you restricted to this itinerary. If you want a certain itinerary, we shall design it for you.
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