AT A GLANCE
To see the Uganda Chimpanzees and Gorillas is a bucket list experience. Combine that with exquisite wildlife, including the famous African Big 5 and you have an unforgettable safari experience.
Arrival at Entebbe International Airport, transfer to hotel
Welcome to Uganda! Your fantastic gorilla, Chimpanzee and wildlife safari will start as soon as you touch down at the Entebbe International Airport. You will be met by your Nature Travel guide who will help load the bags into our comfortable, airconditioned vehicle before we set off for our guesthouse situated nearby.
It was from the airport you just landed at that Queen Elizabeth II departed Africa to return to England in 1952, when she learned of her father’s death and that she had become Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Entebbe airport was also the scene of a famous hostage situation and rescue operation that ended on 4 July 1976.
Entebbe is in central Uganda, about 44 km (27 mi) southwest of the capital Kampala, stunningly located on the shores of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) on the magical Entebbe peninsula. The fresh air, relaxed pace of life and tropical sun will make you feel instantly at home in the “Pearl of Africa”. The small city used to be the governmental seat of power (the word Entebbe in the local Luganda language actually means a “seat”) before it transferred to Kampala. In fact, the president of Uganda still has his official office and residence in Entebbe.
Depending on your time of arrival there might be a chance for an optional excursion to one or more of the nearby attractions. These include the extensive National Botanical Gardens, the National Zoo and the Uganda Reptiles Village. The National Botanical Gardens is a great place to start our trip lists, with some cool birds (Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Red-headed Lovebird, Double-toothed Barbet, Grey Parrot, White-throated Bee-eater, Great Blue Turaco, Palm-nut Vulture, Orange Weaver and Black-headed Gonolek) and primates (Angola Colobus, Vervet and Red-tailed Monkey).
We will get together at the restaurant of the guesthouse for relaxation, dinner (the food is excellent) and our overnight stay. Tomorrow the tour starts in earnest!
Entebbe to Murchison Falls National Park, visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary en route
We will start our day with an early breakfast in the hotel. We will then pack our bags, check out and set off.
We are aiming north, for our first park of the trip, namely Murchison Falls National Park. It is a 5 to 6 hour drive in total, but we will stop en route several times for bathroom breaks and to stretch our legs. There is also a surprise in store on the way.
We will use the time in the vehicle to get to know each other a bit better and find out what every person wants from the trip, in terms of wildlife sightings, scenery, and so on. This will ensure that everyone has a great time in Uganda!
Speaking of Uganda, we will also use the time to learn more about the country. You will see why the opening lines of the national anthem is “Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty”. It truly is an incredibly scenic place, and no other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats. The country lies in Africa’s Great Lakes area, and the southern portion of the country includes a big part of Lake Victoria. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, averages about 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) above sea level and has a moderate equatorial climate. Uganda has 60 protected areas, including ten national parks, that harbour populations of numerous critically endangered species.
In the last twenty years the country has shaken off its dark history (including Idi Amin’s dictatorship and a lengthy civil war) and has emerged as one of the tourist destinations on the continent. It is tourist-friendly, filled with friendly, helpful, English-speaking people, has a burgeoning cultural-artistic scene, boasts Africa’s Big Five, gorillas, Chimpanzees, over 1,000 species of birds and on top of that, has fantastic coffee! What’s not to like!
We will drive through impressive stretches of the Nakasongora district before branching off at Nakitooma for a special stop in the late morning. We are going to enjoy a stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Uganda to see the near-threatened (Southern) White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum in the wild.
The 70 km2 (7,000 ha) sanctuary is a collaborative effort between the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Rhino Fund Uganda (a Ugandan NGO committed to the restoration of Uganda’s Rhinoceros population) and Ziwa Ranchers Limited. The long-term goal of the sanctuary is to build a sustainable rhinoceros population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat in Uganda’s protected areas.
We will do a 2 hour rhino tracking activity (on foot with an expert local guide) here and of course we hope to see one or more of the 22 or so White Rhinoceros currently in the sanctuary. The experience of seeing a rhino on foot a few meters away from you is an experience you will never forget. The sanctuary is also home to at least 40 mammal and reptilian species including monkeys, antelopes, Nile Crocodiles and numerous bird species (including Giant Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Great Blue and Ross’s Turaco), so we will start our mammal and bird trip lists with a bang today!
This super exciting start to our safari will be followed by lunch at nearby Kabalega, and if you want to try some of the local Ugandan cuisine this is your first real chance. It draws on English, Arab and Indian influences, so you are bound to find something to your liking. Traditional foods include several stews (containing peanuts, beans and/or meat) served with ugali (solidified maize meal porridge) or presented in banana leaves, as well as several fish dishes and vegetarian options.
After lunch we continue to legendary Murchison Falls National Park. We will drive through a sizeable portion of the southern section of the park in the late afternoon, and get a feel for Uganda’s biggest (and one of its best) national park. This used to be one of Africa’s most famous national parks, but the poaching in the 1960s and onwards led to the decimation of the park’s fauna populations. However, recently the park is starting to reclaim its former glory, and now the 3,893 km2 (1,503 sq mi) conservation area boasts 76 mammal (including four of the Big Five) and 450 bird species (among them some very special range-restricted ones) and spectacular scenery.
The park is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls (which we will visit tomorrow), which in turn were christened by explorer and naturalist Sir Samuel Baker. Baker named the falls Murchison Falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison, the president of the Royal Geographical Society in the 1860s.
Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals. The 1951 film The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart was filmed on Lake Albert and the Nile river in Murchison Falls National Park.
We plan to arrive at our lodge for the next two nights in the early evening, and you will see why we chose it! It is situated directly on the southern bank of the Victoria portion of the Nile river overlooking the park, and from the vantage point of the lodge bar and restaurant you are treated to some fabulous panoramic views.
After freshening up (and maybe enjoying a dip in the pool) we will get together for a sumptuous three-course dinner and a good night’s rest under the stars in Africa.
Murchison National Park
We will start the day with an early breakfast, and then we set off on our first real game drive of the safari.
We will cross the river by ferry and then drive to the park’s northern section; this portion contains savanna and borassus palms, acacia trees and riverine woodland, whereas the south is dominated by woodland and forest patches.
During our drive we will look for Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo, African Elephant, the rothschildi subspecies of Giraffe, Spotted Hyaena, Oribi, Common Warthog, the taxonomically interesting Jackson’s Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Sitatunga, Hippopotamus, the thomasi subspecies of Kob, Tantalus and Patas Monkey, Olive Baboon and Uganda’s largest population of Nile Crocodiles.
Of course, there are birds here too! Over 450 species have been recorded in the park, ranging from a variety of waterbirds, as well as many rare and range-restricted species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Some of the top birds we will search for today are the iconic Shoebill, rare Pel’s Fishing Owl, Saddle-billed Stork, Red-winged Grey Warbler, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Goliath Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Black-billed Wood Dove, Senegal Coucal, Snowy-crowned Robin-chat, Whistling Cisticola, Buff-bellied Warbler, Silverbird, Western Black-headed Batis, Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bushshrike, White-crested Helmetshrike, Western Violet-backed and Beautiful Sunbird, Fawn-breasted and Black-rumped Waxbill, Grey Crowned Crane (Uganda’s national bird), Double-toothed Barbet, White-thighed Hornbill and spectacular Great Blue Turaco, to name just a few.
We then return to the lodge for relaxation and a good lunch. After our meal we will get together for what will surely be one of the highlights of the entire trip: an afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the Murchison Falls!
The 3 hour boat ride will take us on the legendary Nile river’s more relaxed waters as it joins the Albert delta. On the banks and in the water we should see many Hippopotamus, Nile Crocodile and, if we are lucky, even the iconic and sought-after Shoebill. Other birds we might tick include African Darter, Intermediate Egret, Goliath and Purple Heron, Woolly-necked and Yellow-billed Stork, Hamerkop, Egyptian and Spur-winged Goose, Western Osprey, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Swamphen, Senegal Thick-knee, Long-toed and Spur-winged Lapwing, African Jacana, Malachite, Pied and Giant Kingfisher, Wire-tailed Swallow and Red-throated Bee-eater.
Upon arriving on the bottom of the falls, we will embark on a 45 minute hike to the top of one of the world’s most phenomenal waterfalls. The Murchison falls have been described as the most spectacular thing to happen to the Nile along its entire 6,700 km length. The 50 metre wide river forces itself through a rocky gap less than 8 metres wide before falling 45 metres to what has been termed the “devil’s cauldron” below, forming a plume of spray marked by a thunderous roar and a permanent rainbow. It is a truly unforgettable experience!
After this incredibly exciting activity we will return to the lodge for dinner and some time to socialise and relax.
Remember to look at up the African sky when you go back to your room tonight; the night sky out here in the bush is truly amazing. Also listen for the hippos that exit the river at night; it is an incredible experience to watch and hear them at night grazing around the lodge grounds.
Murchison Falls to Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve
We start the day with a slightly later breakfast today. Why don’t you try a “rolex” this morning? It is an omelette with onion and vegetables rolled up in a chapati; delicious! We will then pack our bags, check out and say goodbye to the wonderful staff at the lodge.
Then it’s time to take a very scenic drive south to the Albertine Rift area, marked with incredible steep escarpments, the extensive rift valley flats and beautiful views of Lake Albert to our right, and the distant Blue Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo even further on the horizon. The drive is about 4 hours long, but the time will fly by; it’s just so beautiful here!
We will reach our chosen lodge in time for a late lunch and some time to relax. The comfortable lodge is situated in the incredibly scenic Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve, and has stunning views over Lake Albert and the surroundings. It really is the perfect halfway stop between Murchison Falls and our next important park, Kibale. There are no predators in the reserve, but good numbers of antelopes, some African Buffalo, Common Warthog, monkeys, baboons and hippos. Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve, a huge amount for such a small area. Top species include Grey Parrot, Crowned Eagle, Black Bee-eater, Mountain Masked Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, Handsome Spurfowl, Rwenzori Turaco, Dusky Crimsonwing and many more.
The 87 km2 Kabwoya really is a perfect little gem of a reserve, as it offers a variety of optional activities that include birding walks, fishing for Nile Perch in the lake, nature walks, fossil hunting, mountain biking, quadbiking (huge fun!), and even night game drives. We will get together and choose an option or two out of all these this afternoon. Or you can just relax around the pool or in your room! It’s entirely up to you.
After our optional activity we will all get together for dinner, to update our trip lists and then get a good night’s sleep.
Kabwoya to Kibale National Park
After a relaxed breakfast this morning with incredible views over Lake Albert, we will pack our bags and set off southwards.
We are slowly heading for the Kibale National Park, but we have some serious sightseeing (and more) to do before we get there. We will reach the town of Fort Portal at around lunchtime. The fort that gave the town its name might not stand anymore, but this is a beautiful town in another scenic area of the country. It is an important commercial area too, as it is in the heartland of the tea-growing area of Uganda. The town also boasts a fantastic market.
We will enjoy lunch at one of best restaurants in town. In fact, some people say it is the best place to eat in all of Uganda! There are a myriad options to choose from, with things like crocodile burgers, Guiness beef stew and 46 different pizzas on the menu! Bon appetite!
After lunch you have the option to cycle in the Mpanga tea estates, where workers still harvest the tea leaves by hand. The green tea plantation is spread over a beautiful undulating landscape with endless scenic views which makes it ideal to experience on a mountain bike.
Alternatively, you can opt to visit the Amabeere Caves and hike the Fort Portal Crater Lake field. The breast-like features in the caves are believed to have belonged to Nyinamwiru, the daughter of Bukuku who was a self-enthroned King of the Bachwezi. She was denied the opportunity to breastfeed her baby Ndahura as the father had been alerted that the child will take over his throne. The “milk” continues to flow out of Nyinamwiru’s breasts in the form of stalactites in the caves.
After visiting the caves we will then embark on the hike to the Fort Portal Crater Lake field where you traverse the challenging slopes of Kyeganywa hill, surrounded by a range of crater lakes and crater hollows (some of them over 400 metres deep) presenting one of the beautiful scenic sites in Uganda. The top of Kyeganywa hill offers spectacular views of the Rwenzori Mountains on a clear day.
After your chosen afternoon activity we will transfer to Kibale National Park, about an hour to the south. The 776 km2 (300 sq mi) park is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and montane forests, and is famous for its primates. The park, formally established in 1993, forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park to the southwest. This adjoining of the parks creates a 180 kilometre (110 mi) wildlife corridor, in which African Elephants move freely.
The varied altitude (1,100 metres (3,600 ft) to 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level) of the park results in different varieties of habitat, ranging from moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) along the Fort Portal plateau, then through the dry tropical forest (moist semi deciduous), and then to the woodland & savanna along the rift valley floor. Over 350 species of trees have been registered in Kibale.
The reason that naturalists from all over the world come to Kibale, however, is the fact that it has one of the highest diversities and concentrations of primates in Africa. Species include the endangered Chimpanzee, Ugandan Grey-cheeked Mangabey, the endangered Ashy Red Colobus, Olive Baboon, Red-tailed Monkey, Guereza, Blue Monkey and the vulnerable L’Hoest’s Monkey.
We will reach our camp in the late afternoon and settle in. It is a beautifully atmospheric camp hidden away in the forest, and our home for the next two nights. Here you will get seduced by forest smells and sounds, spot primates swinging through the trees and observe rare birds and beautiful butterflies fluttering around. A magical place indeed!
We will get together in the restaurant area for relaxation, dinner and our overnight stay. Tomorrow another exciting adventure awaits!
Kibale National Park
Today is going to be a highlight! So if you can’t sleep through the night due to the excitement, do not hesitate to ask for a coffee or tea with your wake-up call; there is no better way to wake up than with a cup of good Ugandan coffee on the terrace of your tent, enjoying the lush verdant forest around you.
After breakfast we will gather at the Kanyanchu Tourism Centre in Kibale (only about 10 minutes from our camp) to do our Chimpanzee trekking activity which begins promptly at 8am. The encounter commences with a briefing from the excellent park rangers who will be our guides for the activity. After the briefing, we head to the forest in search of man’s closest relative. The activity lasts about 3 to 4 hours and over the years have had a 95% success rate of seeing some of the 1,450 individuals in Kibale. The chimps have been fully habituated and thus offer you an opportunity to draw quite close to them and take pictures. Viewing them as they munch fruit, swinging in trees, socializing, patrolling, mating and making hooting calls is an unforgettable experience that you will treasure forever. You have a full hour to enjoy these precious creatures and you are free to take as many photos as you wish!
There are of course several other mammals present in Kibale’s lush flora, though they are hardly seen. If we are lucky we might see Bushbuck, Blue Duiker, Common Warthog, Sitatunga, Forest Hog or Bushpig. And if we are extremely lucky, we could encounter African Buffalo, Leopard, some of the forest-adapted African Elephant, different mongooses, two species of otter, and even a Lion. A sharp observer will also see many species of amphibians and reptiles and a colourful variety of butterflies.
Kibale is also home to 325 variety of bird species, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift valley. These are Dusky Crimsonwing, Black-capped and Black-collared Apalis, Blue-headed and Purple-breasted Sunbird and Red-faced Woodland Warbler. Other Kibale specials are the Green-breasted and African Pitta, Afep Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Western Nicator, Abyssinian Thrush, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Brown-chested Alethe, Grey Parrot, Brown Illadopsis, and many others.
After our amazing Chimpanzee trek we will return to the starting point where we will enjoy our packed picnic lunch and catch our breaths after all the excitement.
After lunch the fun doesn’t stop, as we visit the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a famous successful community tourism initiative where we have a chance to walk in the swampy habitat that has become known as the “bird paradise”, as we have the chance to see some special species here. They include Great Blue Turaco, Papyrus Gonolek, Yellow-billed, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-spotted Barbet, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Honeyguide and Joyful Greenbul, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Red-headed Bluebill, Grey-winged and Snowy-crowned Robin-chat, Superb Sunbird, Black-crowned Waxbill and Bocage’s Bushshrike.
After our exciting day we will head back to our camp to freshen up. The we will have dinner together and reminisce about our wonderful day and amazing time so far in Uganda. Then we’re off to bed for a good night’s rest, because tomorrow another superb national park awaits!
Kibale to Queen Elizabeth National Park
After breakfast this morning, we will pack our bags into the vehicle, check out and say farewell to the great staff in the Kibale forest.
We then embark on the day’s journey further south towards Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a 2 to 3 hour drive with incredibly scenic views en route.
We will make a stop in Kasese on the foothills of Mount Rwenzori to explore the Ruboni Village. We will experience the cultural traditions of the Bakonzo people that have lived on the foothills of Mount Rwenzori for centuries. We will learn about their way of life, the crops that they grow, livestock that they keep, their art and craft, not forgetting impressive music, dance and drama.
After this enriching and sometimes humbling encounter we continue on the drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. We will arrive at our lodge in time for a late lunch. Surrounded by the park and bordering the stunning Kazinga channel, the authentic lodge has a truly unique setting. Animals literally roam in and out the camp and the sounds of hippos and hyaenas will complement our star-lit dinners… It really has a great outdoor safari atmosphere, and a close-to-nature experience with excellent food and friendly service.
We will get together for an afternoon game drive to explore the impressive landscapes of “Queen”, as the locals and those in the know call the park. It was founded in 1952 and named Kazinga National Park, but was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. The park covers a large area (1,978 km2/764 sq mi) and extends from Lake George in the northeast to Lake Edward in the southwest, with the Kazinga Channel connecting the two lakes.
Queen is Uganda’s most visited park, and with good reason! It has the most diverse habitats of any park in the country, and includes areas of sprawling grassland savannah, moist forests, fertile wetlands and beautiful crater lakes cut into the green, rolling hills. This incredible diversity has led to a fauna and flora count of 95 mammal species, over 600 bird species and much, much more. Get your cameras ready!
After our first game drive we will return to our camp to relax, socialise and have dinner with beautiful views of the savannah at sunset. Later we are off to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
We start our day with an early breakfast at the camp, and then we are off to the park again.
Our game drive this morning through the Kasenyi Plains will give us a chance to tick some impressive African big game species, including African Elephant, African Buffalo, Kob, Bushbuck, Hippopotamus, Forest Hog, Common Warthog, Nile Crocodile, Spotted Hyaena, Leopard and various smaller creatures. This section, apart from the great wildlife, is also one of the prettiest in the park, especially in the golden light of the morning.
We will also look to pick some special bird species during our drive, and we could see Shoebill, African Hobby, Rüppell’s Vulture, Bateleur, Brown Snake Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Grey Kestrel, African Finfoot, African Skimmer, Black bee-eater, Broad-billed Roller, Caspian Plover, Great Blue Turaco, Great White Pelican, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Palm-nut Vulture, Papyrus Gonolek, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Red-chested Sunbird, Rufous-bellied Heron, Western banded Snake Eagle, White-backed Night Heron and Yellow-throated Cuckoo, along with many others. After our game drive we will return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch.
In the afternoon, we have another fantastic activity planned! We will gather at the Mweya jetty for an afternoon boat cruise starting at 2pm. Taking the boat tour on the Kazinga channel is a real must-do activity when visiting the park. It will give us the chance to cruise just metres from hundreds of hippos and African Buffalo, while African Elephants linger on the shoreline, along with waterbirds (including African Skimmer, Pink-backed and Great White Pelican, White-breasted Cormorant, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Glossy Ibis, African Wattled Lapwing, Water Thick-knee, Grey-hooded Gull, and White-winged and Gull-billed Tern) and Nile Crocodiles. It is an incredible experience being so close to all these fantastic creatures from the comfort of the boat, with the stunning park all around us adding to the memories we will have of this cruise.
After the boat cruise we will do a short game drive along the channel track as we head back to the lodge.
We will relax and have dinner, chatting about trips we would all like to do in the future to exotic places on the planet. Remember to listen for night creatures in and around the camp grounds; we have seen Verreaux’ Eagle-owl, Square-tailed and Black-shouldered Nightjar, and African Wood Owl here before. After our exciting day we will all get a good night’s sleep.
DAY 9: Queen Elizabeth to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
We will start with an early breakfast and then we will pack our bags and check out.
We will depart “Queen” and head even further south. Before leaving the park we will undertake a game drive in the Ishasha sector in the Rukungiri District in search of the famous tree climbing Lions, whose males sport black manes, that tend to lie on fig tree branches scanning the plains for prey. This is also the only area in the park to see Tsessebe (Topi subspecies) and Sitatunga.
We then exit “Queen” and continue towards our next park, the world famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We will enjoy lunch somewhere along the route and reach our destination in the mid-afternoon.
Composed of 321 km2 (124 sq mi) of both montane and lowland rainforest, and accessible only on foot due to the improbable steepness, Bwindi was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. It is an amazing piece of land; it survived the last Ice Age (about 15,000 years ago) when most other forests in Africa disappeared. In the local language (Lukiga), Bwindi actually means ‘impenetrable.’
Of course most famously, Bwindi is home to more than half the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas (a subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla), about 400 individuals at last count. It is undoubtedly Uganda’s biggest tourism drawcard, and rightly so.
In addition to the endangered and impressive Mountain Gorillas, the incredibly biologically varied park also has almost 350 bird species (including 23 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemic species), 120 mammal species (including various other primate species, in addition to African Elephant and many antelopes), more than 200 butterfly species, 27 species of frogs, more than 1,000 flowering plant species and 324 species of trees.
Tonight we are staying in a special spot, in a typical African safari lodge with landscaped gardens and breathtaking views of the Bwindi forest and the six peaks of the Virunga mountains in the distance.
We will check in and relax, taking in the incredible views, or maybe stretch our legs with a birding walk in the lodge grounds. We will already feel the excitement to start to build for tomorrow’s activity… A trek through the thick and dark rainforests of Bwindi in search of the great apes definitely ranks among one of the world’s premier wildlife encounters.
We will get together for a scrumptious dinner, to update our trip lists and socialise. Then we are off to bed for a good night’s rest, for tomorrow we go gorilla trekking!
Bwindi to Lake Bunyonyi
Today is going to be an undoubted highlight. And we don’t mean just of this safari, but of your life. Gorilla trekking really is a bucket list experience that naturalists from all over the world dream of doing!
We will have breakfast at our lodge and then head to the park offices to get briefed by the expert local guides. At 8am we will embark on the trek along the designated trails within the impenetrable forest in search for these great mountain creatures.
The park is inhabited by about 400 individual gorillas, known as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost half of all the Mountain Gorillas in the world. The gorilla trekking might take us a good few hours, depending on their movements. The trek for these great apes is tiresome as the forest can be quite wet and the going fairly steep. But trust us, the bit of exercise will he very well rewarded by meeting, watching, spending time with and photographing these incredible creatures as you look straight into their inviting, brown, expressive eyes. This is a thrill of a lifetime only Bwindi can offer you.
Although the gorillas will be the highlight, other mammals that we may be fortunate enough to find on our trek include Black-fronted and Yellow-backed Duiker, Guereza, L’Hoest’s, Blue and Red-tailed Monkey, Chimpanzee and several species of squirrels, including Fire-footed Rope, Carruthers’ Mountain, Ruwenzori Sun and Red-legged Sun Squirrel.
After this life-changing gorilla trekking experience we will return to the starting point where the slogan of “We came, we trekked, we saw and we conquered” will be cheered when we receive our gorilla trekking certificates at our gorilla graduation. We will enjoy a packed picnic lunch, after which we will leave for Lake Bunyonyi, about 90 minutes away.
We will drive through the fascinating Kigezi Highlands where locals apply a terracing method to cultivate their slopes, making for an impressive and scenic landscape.
We will arrive at Lake Bunyonyi in the late afternoon. This is an ideal stopover for our tour, because our final park of the safari, Lake Mburo National Park, is unreachable today.
Our resort is set high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge above the banks of Lake Bunyonyi, commanding panoramic views of the beautiful surroundings. Lake Bunyonyi (meaning “place of many little birds”) is popular for its green and lush terraced islands that hold over 200 bird species. It is also a good spot for water activities like swimming, canoeing and boat cruises.
We will have some to relax at the resort, and while you do, look for the resident zebras, Kob, Impala and one monkey! We will get together to have a lovely dinner, chatting about and sharing photos of our incredible day with the gorillas! Then we are off to bed for our overnight stay.
Lake Bunyonyi to Lake Mburo National Park
After a relaxed breakfast, we will leave for our final park of the tour.
The drive to the northeast will take all of the morning, and we will make a lunch stop at the Igongo Cultural Centre, a huge commercial enterprise with conference facilities, a five star hotel, a top restaurant, craft centres and shops, and luckily also one of the best museums in all of Uganda.
After lunch we will continue on our way, and then enter the Lake Mburo National Park through the Sanga Gate. Just outside the park we will come across some of the world-famous long-horned Ankole cattle of the Bahima people that live in the area – always a highlight and worth a few photos.
The 260 km2 (100 sq mi) park is a superb wetland and Acacia savanna sanctuary that is a famous spot for serious birders, and also a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders.
We will then basically do an afternoon/early evening game drive in the park as we head to our lodge. Lake Mburo is home to 350 bird species as well as Plains Zebra, Impala (the only park in Uganda with this elegant antelope), Common Eland, African Buffalo, Oribi, Defassa subspecies of Waterbuck, Leopard, Lion (there is maybe one individual left in the park), Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyaena, Topi subspecies of Tsessebe, Southern Reedbuck, and Banded, Slender and Dwarf Mongoose.
Some of the avian gems of the park we will look for include the localised Red-faced Barbet, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Marsh Harrier, White-backed, Lappet-faced and White-headed Vulture, Brown Snake Eagle, African Hawk-eagle, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit and African Finfoot.
We will reach our stunningly-located lodge in time to freshen up. Then we will have our excellent farewell dinner after an amazing tour through the “Pearl of Africa”, as we watch the African night creep closer over the waters of Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo to Entebbe International Airport and Departure
After our early morning breakfast, we will undertake a nature walk, our last “safari activity” of the tour.
This is one of the most interesting game walks in the country, in a beautiful area with a knowledgeable local guide. On the walk we might see various species of primates, birds, antelopes like Common Eland, Waterbuck, Impala, Tsessebe, Bushbuck and Klipspringer among others, as well as Spotted Hyaena, African Buffalo, Giraffe, Plains Zebra and Common Warthog. All this in a beautiful savannah landscape dotted with great Acacia trees.
After the walk we will embark on the transfer to Entebbe, about 4 to 5 hours away. However, there is one more surprise in store!
We will make a stop at the Ugandan Equator crossing at Kayabwe, where you can stand with one leg in the Northern hemisphere while the other remains in the Southern! It makes for great photographs and memories. It is also an impressive site for purchasing memorabilia to take back home as a memento of this incredible safari in Uganda.
We will reach the Entebbe International Airport where we will say our goodbyes after making friends for life. Then we all depart on our onward or homeward flights.
*Please note: Extensions to Rwanda, Tanzania or Kenya can easily be arranged. Please don’t hesitate to ask for our expert assistance.
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