- Trek to find the rare and elusive mountain gorilla in their natural habitat
- Embark on multiple treks to find chimpanzees
- Enjoy the spectacular scenery in Uganda by foot, by car, and my boat with sundowner cocktails as the sun sets
- Spend a full day with Batwa tribesmen and women to uncover their fascinating and heartbreaking story
Day 1: Arrive – Kibale Forest
Kyaninga Lodge (L,D)
Arrive at Entebbe International Airport on a morning flight and meet your driver guide. Drive (7 hrs) to Fortportal with a packed lunch. There are no activities listed for this day to allow you to settle in and get acclimated. You will be based at Kyaninga Lodge, a fairy-tale-like construction perched on the edge of a cobalt-blue volcanic crater lake. The entire lodge is constructed in the style of log cabins, and is the result of six years of labor by master carpenter and owner Steve Williams.
Day 2: Kibale Forest National Park
Kyaninga Lodge (B,L,D)
Start the day off with an exhilarating chimp tracking expedition in Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale Forest is the natural habitat for an amazing 12 primate species, and contains the highest primate density of any area on Earth. Here, on a guided forest walk, you may find families of chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys chattering and swinging through the ancient forest trees.
Enjoy a traditional local lunch, after which you will visit the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, a conservation project managed and operated by Community Based Organization KAFRED (Kibale Association For Rural and Environmental Development). KAFRED was formed in 1992, and through conservation of the swamp, has achieved many important community development goals. The swamp – eight kilometers long and three hundred meters wide – is attached to Kibale Forest at both ends and serves as a vital corridor between the north and south areas of the park.
Day 3: Kibale Forest National Park – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kyambura Gorge Lodge
Today marks another glorious early morning for your second chimp tracking adventure in Kibale Forest National Park. With a picnic lunch, drive to Fort Portal via the BBC honey project where you will learn how to make your own beeswax candles. You’ll also pay a visit to the Rubona Basket weavers association, which offers grass-dyeing workshops where visitors can learn about the way baskets are produced and how natural dyes are extracted from various plants.
From there, you will continue 3-hours to Kyambura Gorge Lodge. If time permits, you will be able to explore the nearby plantations. This stylish lodge has been converted from a coffee store into a contemporary space with a warm, but elegant ambiance. Located on the fringes of Queen Elizabeth National Park, the lodge boasts sweeping views of the savanna and sunken Kyambura Gorge. Keep an eye out for the myriad of exquisite bird species that frequent the lodge!
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kyambura Gorge Lodge
Today starts with an early morning game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. With the help of an expert guide you will seek out the rare species that call the park home, including leopard and an intriguing sub-species of tree climbing lion! Keep an eye up as these big cats like to lounge in the branches of fig trees.
Come afternoon, set off on a three-hour lunch trip down the Kazinga Channel, a highlight of the trip. Here, hundreds of hippos mingle with other large herbivores coming down to the water’s edge to drink, while the outstanding bird life will impress even non-birders. Follow this fantastic afternoon with a scenic drive along Crater Explosion Track back to Kyambura Gorge Lodge.
Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Ishasha Wilderness Camp (B,L,D)
This morning, with a picnic lunch in hand, enjoy a walk in the Kyambura Gorge, which is home to a unique and isolated family of chimpanzees, recently featured in the BBC documentary “Chimps Of The Lost Gorge”. Then, we’ll drive to Ishasha for lunch for afternoon game drives in the Ishasha sector. Ishasha is a more remote and less-traveled part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and one in which one has a sense of exclusivity. An added bonus is that the lions have learned to climb trees to escape the midday heat and insects, so we’re usually rewarded by the slightly surreal sight of anywhere up to six lions relaxing high up in a tree.
Enjoy the evening sundown by the River Ntungwe. Ishasha Wilderness Camp offers simple, but quality accommodation in this unspoiled area. Currently catering for up to eight guests in large twin bedded, East African meru-styled tents are situated in the wooded area beside the Ntungwe River.
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Forest National Park
Mahogany Springs (B,L,D)
This morning, depart for Ishasha for a morning game drive with a picnic lunch from Katara Lodge. Come afternoon, you will proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for dinner and an overnight stay. Your base will be Mahogany Springs, one of Uganda’s newest lodges, with eight luxurious suites situated in lush, exotic gardens on the banks of the Munyanga River. Each suite offers twin or queen size beds, with a large bathroom featuring a beautifully designed terracotta shower.
Day 7: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Mahogany Springs (B,L,D)
This morning you’ll set off on a gorilla tracking expedition. You will have an early start from the lodge, walking to the nearby park headquarters, where you will receive a briefing and select your porters for the day. Then you’re off on a drive that may last anything from 10 minutes to 2 hours before starting your gorilla track. The tracking can be strenuous because of the steep slopes and the high altitude. Initially, you will walk along established paths, your ranger coordinating with the advanced trackers by radio to guide you into the gorillas’ last known location.
As you get to where the gorillas are, you will leave the paths and begin hacking your way through the slippery underbrush. Your porters will stay back as only a party of 8 and your ranger may approach the gorillas to spend a magical hour with them. The hour passes all too quickly, and then it’s time to reluctantly make your way back to your waiting vehicles.
Day 8: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Mahogany Springs (B,L,D)
Today, enjoy a full day Batwa experience in Bwindi Forest National Park. The Batwa were the original dwellers of the forest. These are a semi nomadic people who lived as hunters, gatherers and trappers in Bwindi Forest National Park. When the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was named a national park and a World Heritage site in 1991 to protect the 350 endangered mountain gorillas within its confines, the Batwa were moved out of the forest.
Day 9: Bwindi Forest National Park – Lake Mburo National Park
Mihingo Lodge (B,L,D)
Drive (seven hrs) to Lake Mburo National Park and enjoy lunch in Mbarara. Later you’ll set off on a night game drive in the park. Lake Mburo National Park is a small but beautiful wildlife area comprised of scrub and acacia woodland, savannah, wetlands, and five lakes. It is a refuge for many species of plains game, which can be experienced on foot, by vehicle, or on horseback. The most notable species that are found here are eland, zebra, and impala, as well as for those lucky enough, leopard and hyena. Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. It features ten rooms, which are built on wooden platforms with stilts, covered by a thatched roof.
Day 10: Lake Mburo National Park – Entebbe
Get up early for a hearty breakfast, before heading out for nature walk in the morning. (Optional horseback safari can be paid directly at the lodge.) Enjoy an early lunch at the lodge. Drive to Entebbe with a quick stop at the equator. Finally, transfer to the airport in time for your evening departure flight back home.
- Accommodation in standard twin rooms
- Meals as indicated in the daily meal plan
- Drinks included, as per the policy at each lodge
- All road and air transfers as indicated
- 2 chimpanzee tracking permits per person (minimum age limit 15 years)
- Services of an English speaking driver/guide
- Park fees
- All activities described in the itinerary, unless specified as extras
- Mineral water, tea, and coffee in the vehicle
- Medical evacuation to a hospital in Nairobi
- International airfare, entry Visa fees, domestic and international departure tax
- Beverages other than mineral water in the vehicle, and other than the drinks included at each lodge under their policies
- All expenses of a personal nature
- Tips and gratuities to your driver/guide, hotel/camp staff, etc.