In the heart of Africa, straddling the equator, bordered by a chain of lakes, sporting high-altitude mountains and covered to an extensive part in montane rainforest, lies Uganda - The Pearl of Africa. The country offers wildlife enthusiasts everything they could wish for: All the iconic animals of Africa are present, some with a twist - Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the few places where you will see lions climbing trees! The rainforest birding is phenomenal, and there is of course an undeniable attraction that will make you trek deep into the Impenetrable Forest: An encounter with Mountain Gorillas in one of their last pockets of habitat, a special occasion to observe these gentle giants that are so similar to us. Another highlight of the trip is a visit to the Jane Goodall Institute, where you will have the chance to get close to Chimpanzees in the wild. Uganda's artery of life, the Nile, originates in the country and will be our constant companion throughout the tour. We will cross the river several times on our journey, embark on a game viewing boat cruise right up to Murchison Falls, and the adventurous travellers have the option of rafting some of its rapids in Jinja, the adrenaline capital of Uganda.
As Uganda, by and large, is covered in rain forest, it can rain at any time. Bad road conditions may deteriorate due to rain, so our clients need a flexible disposition and an open mind to best enjoy the unparalleled beauty this friendly country has to offer.
The trip includes a professional guide, transfers, meals as indicated, park entry fees and excursions, including the gorilla permit. Not included in the price are flights, visas, drinks and gratuities.
C = Camping, A = Accommodated | B,L,D = Breakfast, Lunch, and/or Dinner included.
Today, your international flight will arrive in Entebbe, from where you will be transferred to Cassia Lodge in Kampala. Here, you will have time to relax by the pool and to have dinner (own expense) on a terrace overlooking Lake Victoria. Anthony Washford will meet you in the evening to give you an overview of the tour and to get better acquainted.
Leaving Cassia Lodge after breakfast, we will stock up on supplies before traversing the bustling outskirts of Kampala. Then the scenery changes to rural villages and banana groves as we make our way west. We will cross the equator en route, buy fresh fruit from one of the local merchants and visit a drum market along the way. We will arrive at Lake Mburo National Park in time to embark on our first game drive in the afternoon, which is a good introduction to Ugandan wildlife and scenery and the only chance to see zebra on our tour. We camp right by the lake and have a fire under the stars. (B, L, D)
After an early morning game drive at Lake Mburo, we will travel through rolling hills and past Uganda's typical herds of long-horned Ankole cattle on to Lake Bunyoni, one of the deepest lakes in Africa. Crystal-clear Bunyoni lies amidst high misty mountains and is hence known as Little Switzerland. This afternoon, we will take a boat trip out to a mystical island. (B, L, D)
* Lake Bunyoni might be left out of the itinerary in case the limited gorilla permits will be issued for this day. Instead, we will spend one extra day in Bwindi exploring the village and looking for the magnificent birds that inhabit the forest fringe.
Today, we continue through beautiful green mountains and past remote villages. The villagers are tending their crops on steep mountainsides, and on a clear day you can see the Virunga volcanoes in the Congo. The roads are rough, and arriving at the edge of the rainforest we will stay just outside the National Park close to a pretty village with friendly people. Accommodation tonight and the following night will be in basic cottages. (B, L, D)
This day is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour. You will pick your way with professional trackers through the thick jungle, which is quite aptly named the Impenetrable Forest, in search of the family of Mountain Gorillas that has been allocated to you and your small group of fellow trekkers. Spending time with these wild giants will be unforgettable. (B, L, D)
Dropping down into the Rift Valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park, we exchange the montane rainforest for open savannah. Wildlife is abundant here, but Ishasha is especially known for its tree-climbing lions. During our stay here we will embark on extensive game drives to explore this magnificent reserve. We will camp in a remote area inside the park close to the Ishasha river which forms the border to the Congo. (2 x B, L, D)
Today, after an early-morning drive in the area, we will travel to the eastern side of the national park via the Maramagambo Forest and cross the famed Kazinga Channel. This natural waterway connects Lake George and Edward and is a dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The channel attracts an abundance of wildlife and birds, with one of the world's largest concentration of hippos as well as numerous crocodiles and we might be able to watch the animals right from our campsite overlooking the channel. This afternoon we will participate on a boat trip down the channel to further explore the area. (B, L, D)
We will use the morning for a game drive out of the park and then re-supply in Kasese, passing numerous tea plantations along the way. Arriving just outside Kibale National Park, we will have some time to relax in the afternoon. Accommodation is in bungalows at the edge of the forest overlooking a lake. Kibale Forest, in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth National Park, forms a wildlife corridor over 180 km and has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is the best place to see chimps in Uganda, but also 12 other primate species are present, such as the Red Colobus monkey, the Blue monkey and the rare L'Hoest's monkey. We will spend the next morning trekking the chimps, hoping to be able to spend up to an hour with them. In the afternoon, we will go on a walk to explore the gorgeous tropical forest. (2 x B, L, D)
Budongo Forest is another prime chimpanzee viewing area, and research legend Jane Goodall did much of her work here. The first night we will stay at Kaniyo-Pabidi camp, which is managed by the Jane Goodall Institute and provides comfortable facilities. Early the next morning, accompanied by professional trackers, we set off on a trek in search of Chimpanzees. We hope to spend an hour with them before returning to camp. In the afternoon, we will visit Murchison Falls, a narrow rocky gap through which the Nile River plunges into the Rift Valley. The second night, we will stay at Shoebill Camp, perched high on the banks of the Nile, named after the rare Shoebill Stork which can be spotted on the river with luck. (2 x B, L, D)
Starting early this morning, we will conduct an extensive game drive in the park. During the heat of the day, we will relax, and in the cooler hours of the afternoon change the means of transport and embark on a game viewing boat cruise on the Nile that will take us to the base of Murchison Falls. (B, L, D)
Our last morning in Murchison, we will go on an early morning game drive before exiting the park and continuing to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. This non-profit project has been established to re-introduce rhinos to Uganda and is so far the only place in the country where you can see them in the wild. We will stay at the sanctuary in simple guest house type accommodation. (B, L, D)
This morning, we have the chance to track rhino on foot with professional trackers and share some time with these impressive animals and their offspring. Thus, we actively support this outstanding project. After lunch, we travel back to Entebbe and embark on a boat cruise into the Mabamba swamps where we hope to catch a glimpse of the shoebill stork. (B, L)
Option: If you wish to take an extra day and travel on to Jinja, Uganda's adrenaline capital, to enjoy world-class white water rafting on the Nile, please let us know, and we will book it for you.
After a hearty breakfast we will say good-bye and get ready for our respective flights. (B)