21 days Uganda Gorillas, Chimps, Wildlife, Culture and Scenery

Overview

The 22 days Uganda safari takes you to Uganda’s vast protected areas including all its National Parks ranging from Mount Elgon to Kidepo, Murchison Falls, Kibale, Semuliki, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga Gorilla and Lake Mburo National Park, the wetland system of Lake Bisina and Opeta with counts of shoe bill stork and the encounter to the source of the Nile. The diverse attractions on these parks ranging from the enormous wild game such as elephants, buffaloes, Zebras, Impala, lions, leopard, cheetah, Rothschild giraffe among others coupled with great primates like Chimpanzees, critically endangered mountain gorillas and golden Monkeys derive an ultimate experience. The recreational encounters along the Nile River, Kazinga Channel, and Lake Bunyonyi are intermingled to derive ultimate safari memories.

Safari Highlight

Day 1: Explore Jinja – the source of the Nile

Day 2: Transfer to Mbale. Visit Sipi Falls

Day 3: Whole day hike of Mount Elgon

Day 4: Explore the Lake Bisina – Opeta Wetland system

Day 5: Transfer to Kidepo National Park. Drive through Pian Upe Game Reserve

Day 6: Do morning game drive & afternoon Karimojong Community tour

Day 7: Hike to the Morungole Mountains & visit the indigenous Karimojong

Day 8: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

Day 9: Do morning game drive, afternoon launch cruise & hike to the top of the falls

Day 10: Transfer to Hoima. Make a stop at Kibiro Salt Gardens &hot springs en route

Day 11: Transfer to Fort Portal Area, do Fort Portal Crater Lake Hike & visit the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves

Day 12: Do Chimpanzee trekking in the morning, Bigodi wetland walk in the afternoon

Day 13: Visit Sempaya hot springs in Semuliki NP, the Batwa of Ntandi & transfer to Mount Rwenzori Area. Visit the Rwenzori Art Foundation – the only bronze casting center in Africa & Ruboni Community wax & craft center en route

Day 14: Do whole day Mount Rwenzori hike

Day 15: Do morning game drive & Kazinga Channel Launch cruise

Day 16: Undertake a forest walk in Maramagambo Forest & relax at the lodge

Day 17: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & do a game drive through Ishasha sector in search of tree climbing lions

Day 18: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Mgahinga National Park

Day 19: Do golden Monkey tracking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for an evening boat cruise and relaxation

Day 20: Whole day relaxation at Lake Bunyonyi

Day 21: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & do an evening game drive

Day 22: Do a morning game walking safari & transfer to Kampala

Description:

Day 1: Explore Jinja – the source of the Nile

Encounter the source of the world’s longest River Nile at Jinja. You will wake up early for breakfast at your place of stay after which you will be transferred by your guide to Jinja 80km about 1-2 hours’ drive from Kampala. You will enjoy the soothing fresh air from Mabira forest en route which is one of the major rain forests in Uganda. Upon reaching Jinja – the adventure town of Uganda, you will enroll yourself for the half day white water rafting experience that will see you contain the strength of waters of the Nile as they splash through the rapids. You will visit the Reptile farm in Jinja to have encounter of various reptile species. The relaxing boat cruise to the source of the Nile will take you to the point where John Speke, the first European to see the source of the world’s longest river stood. You will see the Nile starting its 90 days journey to the Mediterranean Sea.

Accommodation: Jinja Nile Resort (Upmarket/Luxury), Kingfisher Resort (Midrange/Standard) or Source of the Smile Guest house (Budget/Basic).

Day 2: Transfer to Mbale. Visit Sipi Falls

sipi-falls-hike

After breakfast at your place of stay in Kampala, you will embark on the drive to Mbale. You will drive through Mabira Forest, Jinja town, rice fields of eastern Uganda before approaching Mbale and Kapchorwa. The journey takes 3 – 4 hours’ drive. Upon arrival, you will relax a little and have lunch after which you will embark on the visit to the Sipi Falls. The splendid natural feature is very romantic to look at and drawing closer to it exposes you to its roaring sound. The altitude at the falls offers you impressive views of Elgon Mountain, the Karamoja plains and the swamps of Eastern Uganda.  Retreat to Mbale for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Mbale Resort (Luxury/Upmarket), Mount Elgon Hotel (Mid-range/Standard) or Kapkwai Forest Cottages (Budget/Basic)

Day 3: Whole day hike of Mount Elgon

After breakfast, embark on the hike of Mount Elgon. You gather at the park headquarters where they will allocate you the respective ranger and you can also get a porter from there if so wish. The hike to the mountain is very rewarding as it offers you impressive scenic views of the mountain and the adjacent areas, the lush mountain flora and remarkable fauna including hyrax, bushbuck, and wild cats among others. You can undertake the 7km Mountain bamboo trail to Kapkwai cave passing through bamboo and tropical forest or the 5km walk to chebonet falls. A range of other trails are available to enable you explore the mountain in short period as possible. Retire in the evening for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Mbale Resort (Upmarket/Luxury) Mount Elgon Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Kapkwai Forest Cottages (Budget)

Day 4: Transfer to Kumi to explore the Lake Bisina – Opeta Wetland system

After an early breakfast, connect to Kumi 55km from Mbale before continuing for other 25km to Kapir Community Eco-tourism site to gain ground for the exploration of Lake Bisina and Opeta wetland system where a range of shoebill stork and the only Uganda’s endemic bird – the Fox weaver thrive in considerable numbers. You will undertake a shoe bill trekking encounter in search of King Whale head the highly sought after bird species in Uganda. After this encounter, you embark on the 2 hour soothing canoe ride to the Tisai Island passing through the dense corridor of Bisina and Opeta that have been marked as the Gate of the two lakes with the impressive views of the traditional Teso huts.

Accommodation: Kumi Hotel

Day 5: Transfer to Kidepo National Park through Pian Upe.

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park. The drive will take you through Pian Upe Game Reserve. The Pian Upe Game reserve has got a predominant cover of mixed acacia-commiphora savanna is essentially the Ugandan extension of an eastern savanna belt encompassing much of northern Kenya and Amboseli –Tsavo-Mkomazi complex of reserves on the boarder of Tanzania and Kenya. The impressive Mount Kadam rises to an altitude of 3,068m on the eastern boundary of the reserve with impressive tortured turrets and bleak volcanic plugs. The reserve has cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena, a small population of lions, along with buffalo, Burchell’s Zebra, eland, Jackson Hartebeest, greater Kudu, topi, oribi, dik-dik, and the only surviving population of Roan Antelope in Uganda. The possible sights of patas monkey, vervet monkey and the olive baboon also exist. Continue on the drive through Moroto, Kotido and eventually Kaboong district where Kidepo National Park is located. You will arrive in the evening for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Apoka Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Nga’ Moru Wilderness (Mid-range/Standard) or Apoka Rest Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 6: Do morning game drive & afternoon Karimojong Community tour

Wake for an early morning breakfast, and then set off for a game drive to encounter early risers and predators before they disappear from sight. Have opportunity to view real African game including; lion, elephants, giraffe, eland, oribi, Zebra, cheetah among others though not wholesomely guaranteed as they are wild animals alongside a number of bird species like Ostrich and other endemics. Return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. In the afternoon, undertake the community walks to pastoralist Karimojong to encounter traditional way of life, the setting of their cultural Manyattas, attend to their traditional performances along with their arts and crafts. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation: Apoka Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Nga’ Moru Wilderness (Mid-range/Standard) or Apoka Rest Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 7: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast, transfer on the surface drive to Murchison falls National Park passing through the flat open grasslands of northern Uganda as you wonder over the traditional home steads and their architecture that lie scattered in a vast landscape. The remains of the LRA rebel activities still stand as you will see the once flourishing trading centers now standing in ruins. Arrive in Murchison falls in the afternoon for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Pakuba Safari Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 8: Do morning game drive, afternoon launch cruise & hike to the top of the falls

trip-to-murchison

After an early cup of coffee, embark on the drive through the park in search of wild game. The rolling savannah combretum of Murchison Falls National Park supports a range of grazers including elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, water buck, Jackson hartebeest, oribis among others with predators thriving not far from them including lion, leopard among others. The drive through the delta area, Buligi tracks, Albert and Queen tracks offers rewarding wild game viewing. Retreat from the 3 – 4 hour activity and get to the lodge for relaxation and lunch after which you will embark in the drive to Paraa to catch up with the boat at 2:30pm. The boat on the Nile to the bottom of the famous Murchison Falls is very rewarding. Not only does it offer you opportunities of encountering the game drinking on the river side, it also draws you closer to counts of Hippos, Nile Crocodiles and a range of water birds such as the famous Shoebill Stork. Upon reaching the bottom of the falls, embark in the hike to the top of the falls following  a narrow and challenging path to the top enjoying roaring sounds of the Nile as it clashes its head on the impermeable rocks that have narrowed its way to less than 8m for centuries past. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Pakuba Safari Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 9: Transfer to Hoima. Make a stop at Kibiro Salt Gardens &hot springs en route

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Hoima. You will drive along the Albertine escarpment with great sceneries of the rift valley. The drive through Bulisa which is in the oil region is very interesting before making a stop en route at Kibiro Salt Gardens and hot springs will expose you to impressive local methods of fine salt extraction. The views of the scenic Lake Albert and the views of the Blue Mountains on the Democratic Republic of Congo are very rewarding. From here, you will embark on the drive to Hoima for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Kontik Hotel

Day 10: Transfer to Fort Portal Area, do Fort Portal Crater Lake Hike & visit the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves

Transfer after breakfast for about 5 hours’ drive to Fort Portal Area. The drive will take you through the impressive country side landscapes with rural setting and local populations. Arrive in Fort Portal town for lunch after which you will continue to do the          Fort Portal Crater Lake Hike to gain impressive views of the Fort Portal explosion crater. You will also visit the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves with a magical Nyakasura River falling over them forming beautiful water fall. The caves have breast like features which the locals attach a great cultural connotation and are thought to date back to the Chwezi era. Retreat from the activity and get to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Ndali Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (Mid-range/Standard) or Rwenzori View Guesthouse (Budget/Basic).

Day 12: Do Chimpanzee trekking in the morning, Bigodi wetland walk in the afternoon

bigodi-wetland

After breakfast, embark on the Chimpanzee trekking encounter in the primate Capital of the world – the Kibale National Park. The Park boasts of 13 primate species including the common Chimpanzees which have been fully habituated increasing the chance of encountering them to 90%. The chimp trekking encounter starts at Kanyanchu tourism center at 8am in the morning and the Uganda Wildlife Authority Park rangers are dedicated to take you throughout the whole exercise. The trek exposes you to impressive flora, other primate species including black and white colobus monkey and birds before approaching the chimps. The Chimpanzees will lure you in a state of amazement as they swing through the branches, make pant hooting calls, play with each other, and imitate your body language along with other features that will make your one full hour with them a memorable experience of its own. Retreat from the activity which tends to take 2 – 5 hours to embark on the transfer to Bigodi wetland. The Bigodi wetland, lies in close distance to the park thus connecting there is less hectic. The Bigodi wetland walk exposes you to typical eco –tourism encounter in Uganda. The impressive flora and fauna existing along with the local community is indeed rewarding to encounter. The sights of great blue turaco and the Sitatnga may not be missed. Retreat from the activity and transfer to Mount Rwenzori Area for overnight.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge Luxury/Midrange or Rwenzori View Guesthouse (Budget/Basic).

Day 13: Visit Sempaya hot springs in Semuliki NP, the Batwa of Ntandi & transfer to Mount Rwenzori Area. Visit the Rwenzori Art Foundation – the only bronze casting center in Africa & Ruboni Community wax & craft center en route 

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Semuliki National Park to visit the Sempaya Hot springs. Exploring the female and male hot springs with their geyser sprouting up to 2m high with temperatures rising to over 100 degrees Celsius where you can boil your plantains or eggs for picnic bites. The walk to the hot springs passes through the lush forest cover with counts of birds and primates which are impressive to encounter. Retreat from the walk and drive to Ntandi to encounter the Bambuti people who are like the Batwa of south western Uganda very short than an average man in nature. Drive back to Fort Portal town for lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to the Rwenzori Area with stops at the Rwenzori Art Foundation – the only bronze casting center in Africa to explore the process of sculpture making. You will also visit the Ruboni Community wax & craft center to see how the local people have employ their indigenous knowledge to make a living. Retire for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Mid-range) or Ruboni Community Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 14: Do whole day Mount Rwenzori hike

Embark on the hike to the mystical Mountains of the moon towering to 5,109m above sea level with snowcapped peaks. The Rwenzori Mountains are greatly known for their lush flora which has contributed to its recognition as a world heritage site. The one day hike epsoss you to the foot hills of the mountain exploring the lower ridges, glaciers and gaining the impressive views of the Albertine flats below dotted with lakes and the panoramic view of Kasese town. Retreat for relaxation, dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge Luxury/Midrange or Ruboni Community Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 15: Do morning game drive & Kazinga Channel Launch cruise

kazinga-channel-boat-cruise

Take an early morning cup of coffee before embarking on the wild game viewing in the rolling savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. the drive will take you through Kasenyi which is a dwelling place for a range of game including the elephants, lions, buffaloes, Antelopes among  others. The racks are well designed to increase you possibilities of encountering wild game. The sights of an elusive leopard, defassa waterbuck, Uganda kob, Side stripped Jackal; Oribis among others might be encountered. Return to the lodge after this 3 -4 hour game drive for refreshment and relaxation until the time for lunch. After having a thrilling lunch, embark on the rewarding boat cruise on the 45km long Kazinga Channel that connects Lakes Edward and George. The 2 hour boat cruise opens your possibilities of enjoying the calm channel waters filled with counts of Hippos no wonder the channel is called the Paradise of Hippos. The other sights of water birds and the Nile crocodiles may not be missed. Retire in the evening at 5pm to connect to the lodge for overnight. You have a mini game drive along the channel track to encounter the wild game enjoying themselves in their natural habitats.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 16: Undertake a forest walk in Maramagambo Forest & relax at the lodge 

After breakfast, embark on the forest walk in Maramagambo Forest. This expanse tract of natural forest stretches over a lengthened landscape offering impressive nature walk. Exploring the famous bat cave where counts of bats thrive along with python is very rewarding. There is a range of bird and tree species that would me your walk a memorable one. Retreat from the activity for lunch and spend the whole afternoon relaxing at the lodge.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 17: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & do a game drive through Ishasha sector in search of tree climbing lions

After breakfast, embark on the drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The drive will take you through the Ishasha sector where you have possibilities of encountering tree climbing lions that tend to lie on the branches of fig trees. The drive also exposes you to other wildlife. Continue on the drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park arriving in the evening for relaxation, dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Chameleon Hill Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Gorilla Mist Camp (Midrange/Standard) or Broadbill Forest Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 18: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Mgahinga National Park

After your early morning breakfast, your driver guide will drive you to the Park head Quarters in your respective gorilla trekking region for briefing about the do’s and don’ts of gorilla trekking in Bwindi. You will meet other trekkers in the headquarters and you will be divided in groups of eight individuals who are allowed to visit one particular gorilla habituated group. After briefing, UWA experienced ranger guide will lead you to the trail heads where gorilla trekking starts from and you will entre in the thick dark impenetrable forest to start searching for the mountain gorillas. It can take you like 2-8 hours to encounter mountain gorilla and once up close, you will be allowed to spend one magical hour with these stunning apes. During this time you can decide to sit down listen to gorilla crumble, study how these apes go about their daily activities and you can take as many photos as possible. When the one hour is done, you will walk back to the park headquarters and finally after the whole mountain gorilla encounter in Uganda’s Bwindi you will drive back to the starting point to transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park with the views of Virunga Mountains for relaxation, dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Mount Gahinga Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Mucha Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Amajambere Iwacu Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 19: Do golden Monkey tracking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for an evening boat cruise and relaxation

After breakfast, embark on the golden monkey tracking in the Virunga Massif. The three volcanoes of Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Muhabura lay in front of you offering remarkable sights. The hike to explore the golden monkeys which are also critically endangered found only in Virunga massif is very rewarding. The golden monkeys tend to dwell in the Bamboo forest on Mount Gahinga and like any other monkeys; they have impressive playful tactics, rolling over tree branches and have got a unique skin color that makes the impressive to look at. Retreat from the activity which tend to last 4 hours with 1 hour of direct encounter with them to transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for evening relaxation, dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Birdnest @Lake Bunyonyi Resort (Upmarket/Luxury), Lake Bunyonyi Eco-resort (Mid-range/Standard) or Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (Budget/Basic).

Day 20: Whole day relaxation at Lake Bunyonyi 

You will spend the whole day relaxing at Lake Bunyonyi famously known as the lake of a thousand islands. A range of activities include; Island Hopping, canoe paddle, boat cruise, nature walk on one of the Islands, community tour among others. Overnight at the lodge

Accommodation: Birdnest @Lake Bunyonyi Resort (Upmarket/Luxury), Lake Bunyonyi Eco-resort (Mid-range/Standard) or Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (Budget/Basic).

Day 21: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & do an evening game drive

lake-mburo-game-tour

After a relaxed breakfast, embark on the transfer to Lake Mburo National Park 199km from Lake Bunyonyi about 4 – 5 hours’ drive. The drive will take you through the impressive rolling hills of Kigezi, the towns of Kabale, Ntungamo and Mbarara before making a lunch stop at Igongo Cultural Center 12km for a traditional lunch. After a thrilling lunch, continue for 33 km to the park where you undertake an evening game drive exploring the park’s wild game including Burchell’s  Zebra, Impala, Topis, Waterbuck , eland among others and a rewarding sun set views of the acacia dotted savannah landscape.

Accommodation: Mihingo Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Arcadia Cottages Mburo (Mid-range/Standard) or Eagles Nest (Budget/Basic).

Day 22: Do a morning game walking safari & transfer to Kampala

After breakfast, undertake a sun rise game waking safari in the park exploring the impressive park landscapes including the famous Kazuma Hill that offers you great views of the eight lakes in the area of which five have extension in the park and one fully within the park. The counts of wild game thrive in their natural habitat and are rewarding to encounter. Retire from this activity and embark on the transfer to Kampala with a stop at Uganda Equator crossing Kayabwe for amazing water experiments and photo shoots before continuing for 77km to arrive in Kampala in the late afternoon.

End of Safari