11 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari


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11 days Uganda safari takes package includes visiting four of the most popular game parks in Uganda and the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi for an amazing encounter with some of Africa’s most famous creatures. The safari starts with a visit to the Murchison falls national park for game drives, a boat cruise and seeing the mighty Murchison falls. You will then proceed to Kibale National Park for an amazing encounter with man’s closest relative – the chimpanzee. Kibale is known as the “primate’s capital of the world”. It is arguably the best place to track chimpanzees on earth. 13 primate species can be seen in Kibale National Park. You would then proceed to Queen Elizabeth National Park for 2 game drives, a launch cruise and spotting the rare tree climbing lions of Ishasha.  The first game drive is done from the Kasenyi plains while the last game drive is at the Ishasha plains. In between, there is a launch cruise at the famous Kazinga channel for one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa. It’s worth mentioning that the scenery is beautiful in western Uganda. From the endless savanna grasslands in Queen Elizabeth National Park to the amazing views of the Rwenzori Mountains, tourists will be very impressed. From Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will proceed for gorilla trekking in the great Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The thick jungles of Bwindi are also home to chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, butterflies, forest hogs, forest elephants and an amazing collection of birds. Gorilla trekking remains the most popular activity in Bwindi. After an encounter with the gorillas and visiting the Batwa pygmies, the journey continues to Lake Bunyonyi. This lake is covered by about 20 small islands and provides one of the best sceneries in Uganda. Its natural beauty makes it a favorite for tourists who wish to relax after or in-between a long safari. After relaxing, island hopping and canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi, you will head for a final wildlife excursion in Lake Mburo National Park for more game drives and boat cruises.

The safari includes;

  1. Gorilla permits
  2. Chimpanzee permits
  3. Accommodation and meals throughout the trip
  4. Transportation in a tour van with a pop-up roof
  5. Fuel for the entire trip
  6. An experienced, knowledgeable and English-speaking Guide
  7. Park entry fees
  8. Guide/Ranger fees
  9. Game drives and boat cruises
  10. Cultural encounters
  11. All activities mentioned in the itinerary

The Safari excludes personal expenses like;

  1. Alcoholic and soft drinks
  2. Cigars
  3. Laundry
  4. Tips to porters, hotel staff, rangers and Guides
  5. Phone expenses
  6. Health and personal insurance
  • Game drives in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Murchison Falls National Park.
  • Boat cruises in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo and Murchison Falls National Park.
  • Rhino tracking at the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary
  • Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National park
  • Visiting the Bigodi wetlands sanctuary and the crater lake region
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest
  • Visiting the Batwa Pygmies

Tour Plan

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Day 1 Pickup and transfer to the Murchison Falls National Park – stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – Visit the top of the falls.

Wake up early, take your breakfast and wait for your first encounter with our Guide/Driver. He will brief you about the tour and let you know what to expect. This is the time to let him/her know if you have any missing items on the packing list for gorilla trekking. The Guide/Driver can take you to a suitable shop to buy missing items, clothing or shoes. The Driver will start the journey to the Murchison Falls with a stop at the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary. The Murchison falls National Park gets its name from the Murchison falls. The falls are formed when the river Nile passes through a narrow gorge before exploding into a mighty fall. It then calms down and continues its flow to South Sudan. The area right after the falls is rich with incredible biodiversity. Hundreds of birds, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, antelopes and elephants can be seen around this part of the river. The wider Murchison Falls Conservation region consists of savanna plains, grasslands, woodlands and riverine forest. The park is also home to lions, chimpanzees and the famous Uganda Kob.

Uganda once had a large number of rhinos roaming freely in some of her national parks. Unfortunately, they were hunted down by poachers for their valuable horns. The few that remained where taken to the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary. There is hope that they will be reintroduced into the wild after their numbers increase. Rhino tracking takes about one and a half hours and presents birding and primate viewing opportunities. After visiting the sanctuary, you will continue the journey to Masindi town for lunch and finally to the National Park. The Driver will take you to visit the top of the Murchison falls once you arrive. This will be a great opportunity to observe the Nile River squeezing through a narrow gorge before falling 40 meter down in a thunderous roar/explosion. The river then continues flowing peacefully after the fall. This calm section teams with life in all its glory from giant land mammals to aquatic birds and reptiles.

Dinner and overnight will be at Paraa Safari Lodge or Nile Safari Lodge for Luxury accommodation. If you choose mid-range accommodation, the lodge will be either Fort Murchison or Pakuba Safari Lodge. The budget hotels are Red Chilli Hideaway and Murchison River Lodge.

Day 2: Morning Game drive – After Boat Cruise along the great River Nile

Wake at 5.00am and take your shower as well as breakfast. The driver will pick you up at 6.00 am to take you into the savanna plains for a morning game drive. The game drive will be done at the Nyamsika plateau to spot giraffes, buffaloes, waterbucks, hartebeest and the Uganda Kob. Other animals to look out for are the rare sitatunga, oribi, bush duikers, warthogs, Bohor reedbuck, bush pigs, hyenas, lions and leopards. Baboons are very common in Uganda and the Murchison Falls National Park.

After the morning game drive, you will go back to your lodge for lunch and refreshment as you wait to go for the afternoon oat cruise on the Nile. The Nile river is home to a large number of hippos and crocodiles. It is also one of the best places to spot birds in Uganda. Birders will be greatly impressed with the variety on display including the addle-bill stork, cormorants, Egyptian geese, goliath heron, hornbills, kingfishers, pelican, bee-eaters and the amazing shoebill stork. The boat will go close to a place known as the “Devil’s Cauldron” to allow tourist take photos of the beautiful Murchison Falls.

Day 3: Transfer to Kibale National Park – Visit the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary

Wake up early to begin the long journey to Kibale National Park. The journey will involve driving through unique African countryside with traditional farms, homesteads, and small towns like Hoima and Fort Portal. As you reach Fort Portal you will be amazed by the scenery and breathtaking views of the Rwenzori Mountains.

Kibale National park is home to 13 primate species including chimpanzees, baboons, vervet monkeys, red Colobus monkeys, grey mangabeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, blue monkeys, bush babies and pottos. Over 335 species of birds have been recorded in the park with the Prirogrine’s ground thrush the only one endemic to the forest. The forest is also home to the small and hairy forest Elephant, buffaloes, antelopes and giant forest hogs. Some parts of the park receive lions from Queen Elizabeth National Park occasionally. Once you reach Kibale National Park, you will check in to your hotel and refreshment. The driver will take you for a late afternoon visit of the Bigodi wetlands sanctuary.

Dinner and overnight at either Kibale forest Camp (budget and mid-range) or Primate lodge for luxury.

Day 4: Chimpanzee Trekking – Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Wake up early for breakfast and prepare to be taken to the tourist center for briefing. The park rangers will share information about the chimps and how to act around them. Kibale has the highest population of habituated chimpanzees in Africa. About 12 other species of primate live in the forest. You should therefore expect to encounter other birds, butterflies, other primates and forest creatures. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park takes between 2 to 3 hours. After spending time with the primates, you will be taken back to the hotel for lunch and refreshment. The Driver will then begin the journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Queen Elizabeth is Uganda’s most visited park. It is also a park with incredible biodiversity but what really separates it from other parks is the landscape, physical features and landscape. The result of millions of years of earth movements has led to the creation of crater lakes, amazing gorges like Kyambura, savanna plains, escarpments, valleys, dense forests like Maramagambo, swamps and so much more. Queen Elizabeth National Park  is home to the rare tree climbing lions, chimpanzees, hippos, leopards, hyenas, giant forest pigs, Colobus Monkeys, Blue monkeys, baboons and Red-Tailed monkeys just to mention a few.

Day 5: Morning Game drive at the Kasenyi Plains – Afternoon Boat Cruise at the Kazinga Channel

Wake up early as usual and take breakfast as you wait for our driver to take you for the early morning game drive. This game drive is carried out at the Kasenyi plains and provides opportunities to spot predators like lions, hyenas and leopards as they go back to their dens after hunting during the night. You will also see elephants, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Defassa waterbucks, bushbucks and topis. After the game drive, the driver will take you back to the hotel for lunch and refreshment. You will then go for an afternoon boat cruise at the Kazinga Channel. The channel is 42 kilometers long and separates Lake George from Lake Edward. The channel has one of the highest concentration of hippos in Africa. It attracts most of the park animals and is a birders paradise.

Dinner and overnight at Jacana Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge for luxury travelers. Mid-range or moderate travelers may find Bush Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, Ihamba Safari Lodge, Buffalo Safari Resort and Enganzi Lodge interesting. The budget lodges are Simba Safari Camp, Kazinga Channel View Lodge and Bush Lodge.

Day 6: Game drive at Ishasha to see tree climbing lions – Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable forest

Wake up early and wait for the Guide to start the journey to Bwindi. On your way, you will drive through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the famous tree climbing lions of Uganda and many of the other park animals.  Uganda is arguably the best country to see tree climbing lions. They can be found resting on top of large fig trees after an active night of hunting. Queen Elizabeth National Park also allows tourist to take part in lion tracking and other carnivores at the Kasenyi sector. The Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is relatively less explored but presents different landscape and vegetation.

After spotting the lions and other park animals, you will continue the journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi hosts the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world. The park is also home to 120 species of mammals, 346 birds, 202 of butterflies and 400 species of plants.

Dinner and Overnight will be at Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge and Buhoma community Rest camp for the budget traveler. The midrange lodges are Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Resort Bwindi, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Lake Kitandara Camp, Lake Mutanda Resort, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp and Silver Back Lodge. If you are looking at the luxury lodges then we will consider Buhoma Lodge and Mahogany Springs Lodge.

Day 7: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi – Visit the Batwa Pygmies

Have breakfast early and wait for the driver to take you to the park office for briefing. The briefing starts at about 7:30am and covers facts about mountain gorillas, the history of the park, gorilla trekking rules and more. After the briefing, the Rangers will offer you hiking sticks. The allocation of gorilla groups occurs after the briefing and is based on overall fitness of  hikers. When all is set, you will be led to the forest in search of the primates. Gorilla tracking can take between 1 to 6 hours depending on which gorilla group you are assigned. You will hike through thick undergrowth, valleys, hills and several forest trails before you find the primates. The trek offers opportunities to observe forest creatures, butterflies and birds. Once you find the primates, you are only allowed one hour with them.  A certificate of participation is offered to all participants at the end of the trek.

Once you finish spending time with the gorillas, you will get back to the starting point where you will find our Guide/Driver Waiting. You will then go back to the hotel for lunch and refreshment. The driver will take you to visit the Batwa pygmies later in the evening. The Batwa were the original inhabitants of most parts of the forests in Bwindi, Mgahinga, Volcanoes and Virunga National Park. When these parks were gazzeted, most of the Batwa found themselves displaced with little to no compensation. The Batwa had lived as hunters and gatherers for thousands of years in the forests. The forests protected them from neighboring tribes and gave them all that they required. To this day, most have not fully adapted to a new life of toil and sweat outside the plentiful forest. Several programs have been initiated to help them adapt to a new and fast changing world but they have not been a complete success. Visiting the Batwa people might make you question some government policies and leave you wondering if it was the right decision to evict the Batwa from the forest.

Day 8: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi – Relaxation, boat cruise

After breakfast, the Driver/Guide will start the journey to Lake Bunyonyi. The Lake, islands and surrounding regions are one of the most romantic places to visit in Uganda. The lake is one of the deepest in Africa and lies close to the Border with Rwanda. Lake Bunyonyi is located close to several national parks in Uganda and Rwanda. It is there an excellent place to stop for relaxation after or during a long safari in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. The main activities in Lake Bunyonyi are relaxation, birding, island hopping, swimming, canoeing and nature walks.

Day 9: Full day Canoeing and hiking on Lake Bunyonyi

Wake up at your own time and discuss with the driver about the day’s activities. You can go for walk along the hills surrounding the lake. The Lake is surrounded by ever green vegetation and is suitable for birding, primates viewing and nature walks. After the walks, you can go for canoeing and visiting the different islands in the lake. Most are inhabited by humans and some even have schools. This is an excellent way to interact with the people around and find out how they are making ends meet in the island.

Dinner and overnight at Bunyonyi Overland Resort (Budget), Bunyonyi Resort (Mid-range) and Acadia cottages (Luxury).

Day 10: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park – Boat cruise on Lake Mburo

After having enough of Lake Bunyonyi and the beautiful scenery, the Driver will transfer you to Lake Mburo National Park with lunch to be taken in Mbarara town. Lake Mburo National park covers an area of 371 sq. km and is Uganda’s smallest savanna national park. The park is known for its large antelope population because of fewer predators to check their numbers. Lake Mburo is the only park where one can go for walking, quad bike and horseback safaris. The park offers the best chances of spotting Leopards and has the highest number of Zebras in Uganda. Once you arrive at the park, you will check into your hotel and prepare to go for the 2-hour afternoon boat cruise on Lake Mburo. During the boat ride, you will the opportunity to spot water birds, crocodiles and hippos from the safety of the boat.

Dinner and overnight will be at Arcadia Cottages, Mantana Lake Mburo Camp or Mihingo Lodge for luxury travelers. Mid-range travelers can choose between Rwakobo rock and Lake Mburo Safari Lodge. The budget lodge will be Eagles Nest Camp or Rwonya rest camp.

Day 11: Morning Game drive or walking safari and Transfer back to Kampala with a Stop at the Equator Crossing

Wake up and prepare for the last major activity of your tour. You will be handed over to the experienced park rangers to go out for a game drive and walking safari. The Rangers will show you around the park and share information about the different park animals. If you are on the walking safari, the Rangers will take you to track antelopes and predators by following information given away by their droppings and footprints. Expect to encounter Impala, warthogs, Zebras and Elands among many other park animals.

After the walking safari or Game drive, you will be taken back to the lodge for lunch before starting the journey back to Kampala or Entebbe. There will be a stopover at the Equator crossing which separates the Northern and Southern Hemisphere in Kayabwe center. Use the opportunity to take photos of yourself at this key landmark and check out the crafts shops. If time permits, the driver will stop at the Royal Drum Makers center in Mpigi. This is where large ceremonial drums of the Buganda Kingdom are crafted by local craftsmen. They use skills, materials and methods that that have been passed on for hundreds of years. Arrival in Kampala or Entebbe will be late in the Afternoon.

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