Day 1: Arrive Entebbe, meet, greet and transfer to Lake Victoria Hotel. If time permits, visit the famous Entebbe Botanical Gardens. The Lake Victoria Hotel is a colonial hotel with beautiful gardens and a swimming pool. It is a four star hotel with 99 rooms. You will be given a full briefing about your safari on arrival at the hotel. Overnight at Lake Victoria Hotel.
Day 2: Our driver/guide picks you up and transfers you back to the airport for your flight to Kigali. Arrive Kigali airport, meet and greet, then a 2.5 hour drive to Kinigi via Ruhengeri. Lunch and visit the Kigali Genocide museum enroute. The road to Ruhengeri is sealed and offers stunning scenery of hills and valleys of this green and lush country. From Ruhengeri, 30 minute drive to Kinigi at the base of Sabinyo Mountain, with excellent views of the rest of the Virunga Volcanoes. Overnight at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.
Day 3: Gorilla tracking day: After breakfast take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla tracking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and sometimes muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock bags for cameras and film. Overnight at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge NB: We cannot guarantee seeing the Gorillas.
Day 4: Second gorilla trekking day: Overnight Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.
Day 5: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The drive passes through Cyanika border and Kisoro where you see green vegetation and some Albertine rift bird species, then to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (a World Heritage Site) passing through the scenic area known as “The Switzerland of East Africa”. On arrival at Bwindi you are checked into Gorilla Forest Camp. This is a permanent luxury tented camp nestled in the montane rainforest within the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable National Pa The exclusive location affords Gorilla Forest Camp the status of being the ideal base for gorilla trekking and birding excursions in the park. The camp has been designed to blend into the forest environment, overlooking the misty valleys and looming, forest-clad mountains that protect this fragile ecosystem. Accommodation is in 8 twin or double tents, raised on wooden platforms, each with en suite bathroom facilities including a bathtub looking out onto the forest. There is also a private spacious wooden verandah where you can relax and absorb the exotic mystery of the surrounding rain-forest.
The camp also offers a bar and dining cottage with views of the rain forest, as well as a raised natural platform for open air dining.
Bwindi is situated on Uganda’s extreme western border, very close to the geographical heart of Africa where the confluence of the Rift Valley and the Great Lakes have created an Eco-system that perhaps defines the very essence of the continent. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an enduring pocket of primeval forest that once stretched from the Virunga Volcanoes in the south to the Rwenzori Mountains in the north. The green and fertile 331 sq km of the park contains 113 species of mammals (including a herd of the forest elephant), 200 species of butterfly, over 360 species of birds and a prodigious 324 tree varieties (10 of which are endemic to the park).
In addition to this incredible diversity, Bwindi is home to seven species of primates, attracting the attention of international conservation efforts, of which the most endangered is that elusive giant of Africa – the Mountain gorilla. Only 600 of these magnificent animals remain worldwide, and Bwindi is home to just over half of them.
Day 6: Gorilla trekking day. After breakfast take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice, hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock bags for cameras and film. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp.
Day 7: Today we drive to Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth National Park. This area is famous for tree climbing lions but the cats’ success sight rate is 75%. Ishasha Wilderness Tented Camp is very remote and consequently does not have running water. Showers are of the bucket-style upon request and the toilets are dry chemical. Afternoon. we go for a game drive to the Albert flats Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Tented Camp.
Day 8: This morning we take yet another game drive looking for the tree climbing lions. We return to the Lodge for breakfast and then check out for the main section of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Mweya Safari Lodge is situated on a peninsula overlooking Lake Edward and he Kazinga Channel, offering beautiful views of the park with the Rwenzori Mountains in the background. The Lodge has been completely renovated to a high standard with excellent rooms, en suit facilities, bar area, outside dining and a swimming pool. Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 9: Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park including a launch trip of about 2 hours on Kazinga Channel to view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world (reported to be 30,000) and other game with excellent birding. Queen Elizabeth National Park I one of the best birding parks in Africa, with 560 + recorded species and a record of 296 bird species seen in one 24 hour period. Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 10: We have a whole day of game drives. Covering an area of almost 2000 sq km, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most exciting of Uganda’s wildlife reserves, being home to a rich variety of game and occupying such a beautiful position adjacent to the lake of Edward and George and the Kazinga Channel that links them together. Although consisting primarily of open Savannah with acacia and euphorbia trees scattered liberally, the park also has large areas of swamp around the lakes and forest to the east, in particular the Maramagambo Forest and the Chambura Gorge. With almost 100 species of mammal resident here, the park can offer some excellent game viewing including predators such as the leopard, lion and spotted hyena. Antelope species include the Uganda kob, topi and semi-aquatic sitatunga, whilst herds of elephant and buffalo can be seen. There are ten species of primate including the black & white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkey. The park is also famous for its astonishingly diverse bird population (resident & migratory) with over 540 species recorder within its boundaries, which is one of the highest figures of any of the world’s wildlife reserves.
Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 11: Drive to Kibale Forest area. Primate Lodge is a comfortable permanent tented accommodation with hot and cold running water in their en suite bathrooms. The lodge is ideally situated as one can walk to park h/q in 5 minutes. Overnight at Primate Lodge.
Day 12: Today we take forest and cultural walks to see the rain forest and view birds and primates, including chimpanzees. Walking is not difficult, paths have been made in the forest and all walks are with excellent local guides. The cultural walk includes exploring the Bigodi villages and getting to know how the Bigodi locals spent their time, one can get involved in meal preparation, basket weaving. Overnight at Primate Lodge.
Day 13: Drive to Murchison Falls National Park via Biso and the Butiaba escarpment into the Great African rift Valley to your lodge on the banks of Victoria Nile. Nile Safari Lodge is located on the banks of the Victoria Nile with each tented room overlooking the river. Each room has an en suite shower and toilet at the rear and in front a private deck to relax. The bar and restaurant also overlook the river with beautiful views of the sun setting over the river. There is also a pool available. Today’s drive is about 7 hours. Overnight at Nile Safari Camp.
Day 14: Drive to Paraa, take a launch trip on the Victoria Nile to the base of Murchison Falls, viewing game and birds en-route. Nile crocodile are in abundance as are hippo and aquatic birds. One of the highlights of this trip is that there is a good chance of seeing rare shoe bills. The launch trip is about 3 hours. We then take a ferry across the Nile to game drive in the northern sector of the park; most of the game is to be found in the area north of the Victoria Nile River and East of the Albert Nile and Lake Albert. This is where part of the movie “The African Queen” was filmed. Game is now returning quite rapidly and game drives can be very exciting. Game often seen includes elephant, oribi, giraffe, waterbuck, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, sitatunga, bushbuck, warthog, bush pig, lion, leopard, mongoose, genet, hyena, jackal and bat eared fox. Overnight at Nile Safari Camp.
Day 15: We drive to the top of falls for a walk in the area to obtain excellent views of the falls where the Nile is forced through a 20-foot wide gap in the rocks and drops 145 feet over the escarpment. This is said to be the largest natural force of water in the world creating what appears to be a boiling caldron of water. After the visit to top of falls, you drive to the airstrip to take a charter flight to Kidepo.
On arrival at Kidepo airstrip, the Apoka Lodge Manager and driver meet, greet and transfer you to the lodge for lunch. Overnight at Apoka Lodge.
Days 16-17: We have two days in Kidepo Valley National Park for game drives in open vehicles with excellent lodge driver and a guide. There are no restrictions to length of game drives but are generally in the mornings and late afternoons because it can be quite hot. We’ll also have game walks as per clients’ wishes and requests. A visit to local villages is also available. The Lodge managers must be consulted in respect to all activities.
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