Classical Uganda Safari – 12 Day

GORILLAS, CHIMPANZEES & GAME – FORESTS, SAVANNAH AND RIVERS

Uganda boasts some of the best bird watching in Africa, with over 1000 different species, including the rare shoebill stork and the remarkable grey crowned crane. This ten day safari includes a thrilling visit with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, chimpanzee tracking in both Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge, multiple game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park with its wide array of wildlife, including the famous tree climbing lions, a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel, and an optional visit to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on the beautiful Lake Victoria.

Accommodation, professional guides and custom made safari vehicles – this safari will be the trip of a lifetime. Please note – two gorilla trekking options are available with this itinerary based on availability. Please make your request at the time of booking.

Itinerary

Arrive at Entebbe International Airport where you will be met by a Legend Safaris representative and transferred to the Boma Guest Lodge (or similar) to overnight. Depending on your arrival time, a half day trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary may be arranged at an additional cost. This could also be arranged at the end of your safari if you prefer.

Other options include the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe, where there are a variety of visitor’s programmes including behind the scenes ‘work’ with the animals. Ask when you book, if you are keen on this.

Entebbe is a small, quiet town located on the shores of Lake Victoria and is easy to explore on foot or local transport ie motorbikes known as “boda bodas” or local taxis. Visit local markets to buy clothes and crafts, curio shops for souvenirs, and the Botanical Gardens on Lake Victoria where you can walk among beautiful trees, watch monkeys moving through the canopy above, and spot many indigenous bird species. Entebbe has a wide variety of restaurants serving many different cuisines as well as several bars and clubs where you can sample the local beer, catch a game of football and chat with the local Ugandans, known for their open and friendly nature.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Leaving from Entebbe, travel by speed boat or traditional motorized canoe to Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary located on the beautiful Lake Victoria.

Officially opened in 1999, Ngamba Island was created to offer a permanent sanctuary to orphaned chimpanzees, which are victims of illegal trade and habitat destruction. Now home to more than 45 chimps, the island serves as a tourist destination for local and international travellers offering an opportunity to learn about the species and the importance of conserving their fragile forest habitat. Enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary and a close up experience with the chimpanzees as they come to the boundary area for their morning or afternoon feeding. Cold drinks, tea and coffee are available at Ngamba and the island has a unique gift shop with a wide range of local crafts and sanctuary related t-shirts and products. Your visit and purchases directly support the project with proceeds going towards operating costs of the sanctuary, ensuring the well-being of the chimpanzees.

The Boma Guest House Full Board.

Depart your lodge, after breakfast driver to part way between Bwindi/Queen Elizabeth National parks.

Takes just over a six to seven hours (depending on the road traffic) driven to Buhoma Lodge, located at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The drive to the lodge is through local villages and mountain roads – lovely scenery and very interesting en route!

Guests will have the opportunity for two days of gorilla tracking (pre-booking essential). Other activities that can be enjoyed in and around the park include forest walks, visits to a local school or orphanage or Batwa pygmy village, and curio shopping.

Bwindi National Park, located in south western Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda. The area, one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa, where lowland and mountain habitats meet, contains a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs. Home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site. Bwindi is also home to several endangered bird species with very limited ranges, and acts as an important catchment area for many rivers, supplying water for agriculture in the surrounding region.

Buhoma Lodge Full board.

Gorilla Tracking – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Following breakfast at the lodge, you will walk down to National Park Headquarters to meet your guides for the day and begin your gorilla tracking experience. Experienced guides and trackers will accompany your party on an early morning trek into the dense rain forest on the mountain slopes*. The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, is abundantly rewarded with the lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. You will have an opportunity to be within meters of these magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Mountain gorillas are extremely rare with only an estimated 850 remaining in the wild. This is an experience you won’t easily forget!
*Some of the gorilla families are located in an area which you will need to travel to by vehicle, but don’t worry – we will transport you there!

Following the trek, return to your accommodation and, if time allows, take a guided afternoon forest or community walk. Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous with treks up to six hours or longer, at high altitudes, not uncommon. Also, mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 95%.

Please refer to our detailed information sheet for more detailed information on Gorilla Tracking requirements, conditions, and considerations.

Buhoma Lodge Full board.

Those with pre-purchased permits will depart for a second gorilla tracking experience following breakfast at the lodge. Depending upon individual itinerary schedules, guests not tracking gorillas may wish to enjoy other activities available in the area such as a forest walk, a visit to a local school/orphanage or Batwa pygmy village, and curio shopping.

Forest Walk (Optional)
Embark on a walk through tropical rainforest with experienced wildlife guides. Enjoy scenic views, the sights and sounds of the rain forest, ample opportunities for bird watching and glimpses of the many monkey species living in the park as they move through the forest canopy.

Village Community Walk (Optional)
Enjoy a community walk through the local villages surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Optional activities include visits to a traditional home, local orphanage or school, banana brewing demonstrations and even meeting traditional medicinal healers. This three to four hour walk is easily tailored to your individual schedule and interests.

Batwa Pygmies Community Visit (Optional)
This is a day activity and can be added into itineraries easily. You may visit the Batwa tribe, and see their traditional lifestyle in terms of living arrangements, day to day life, and also the opportunity to go on a “forest hunt”.

Buhoma Lodge Full board.

This morning we depart Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and travel (2-3 hours) to Ishasha in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Time permitting, during our drive from Bwindi to Ishasha, we may visit a Community Project on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here the local people allow you to enjoy some time in their homesteads, as well as see some of the crops and curios they produce, and visit the local elephant trench project – which stops elephants coming into the village and raiding crops.

Afternoon game drives will be enjoyed in the Ishasha area, looking for the huge herds of buffalo, elephant, Uganda kob and of course the famous tree-climbing lion typically found in the area.

Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp Full board.

Spend the day enjoying game drives in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park spreads over 1,978sq km in the western arm of the Great Rift Valley and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and many species of birds. With both a riverine and savannah habitat, the park includes the southern Ishasha area with the massive Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda. The northern Mweya area, traversed by the equator and dominated by the scenery of crater lakes, is often occupied by large flocks of flamingos.

 

The Ishasha area is rich with wildlife including warthog, water buck, bush buck, leopard, Ugandan kob, elephants, countless bird species and even the rare giant forest hog. It’s also known for its famous tree climbing lions sometimes found lying about in the branches of the large, native fig trees.

Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp Full board.

In the Mweya area of Queen Elizabeth National Park, also rich with wildlife, visitors will find vast numbers of Uganda’s unique and strange Euphorbia, or “candelabra” tree. The many nearby crater lakes and mountain ranges provide a beautiful backdrop for your journey.

Boat Cruise – Kazinga Channel

Enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You may encounter herds of elephant, buffalos and antelopes, families of warthogs, large groups of hippos, and crocodiles basking on the shore. Kazinga’s shores are a haven for numerous birds, including many migratory species as they make their way south to warmer climates. The cruise also provides a spectacular view of the beautiful Mweya Peninsula and life in local fishing villages set along the banks.

 

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge Full board

This morning we will travel to the Chamburu Gorge (Kyamaburu) to enjoy Chimpanzee trekking. After this activity, we travel back to the lodge and pack ready to depart to Kibale Forest.

Kibale Forest – is a 2-3 hour drive from QENP (north) on good roads. On a clear day you may get views of the Rwenzoris in the distance.

Two nights will be spent in the area to allow time for chimpanzee tracking in the forest, (permits must be pre purchased). You can also do a forest walk (guided) during your stay, or simply enjoy the area and perhaps visit the Bigodi Swamps, or the Vanilla Farm nearby. All meals included.

Kibale Forest

Kibale, 766 km2 is one of Uganda’s enchanting forested parks. Here, you can hike in the park for hours observing the drama of life in a rain forest. The park contains pristine lowland tropical rain forest, montane forest, and mixed tropical deciduous forest. In addition to forest, you will also notice areas of grassland and of swamp. The forest is rich in wildlife. It is most noted for its primate population. Some of these are red-tailed monkey, diademed monkey, olive baboon, chimpanzee, black and white colobus. Some of the other mammals you might see are bushbuck, Harvey’s red duiker, blue duiker, bush pig, and African civet. More difficult to spot are buffalo, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, and giant forest hog. Herds of elephant once travelled back and forth through the area. These elephants have become more and more rare, and now are seldom seen. The birdlike in the forest and grasslands of the forest is abundant. There are almost 300 species, which have been identified here. One particularly worth noting is the endemic to Kibale forest. There are 144 species of butterfly in the park and a diverse population of moths and other insects. A system of trails has been developed within the park, and tour guides are available to guide visitors.

Chimpanzee Tracking

This activity will generally take place in the morning. You will either be driven or walk down to the Kibale Forest National Parks’ headquarters to meet your guides for your morning’s chimp tracking experience. The forest is alive with noise and you should be lucky enough to see the habituated chimps during your trek. Sometimes they move quickly through the forest, other days you may be lucky enough to catch them resting, interacting or eating near the forest floor. Overnight at Primate

Lodge Full board

Depart after an early breakfast for the drive back to Entebbe, stopping for curio shopping on the roadside and a quick photo stop at the Equator. Arriving back in Entebbe, late afternoon. Rest of the afternoon/evening is at leisure.

Rates:

HIGH SEASON
JUNE | JULY | AUGUST | SEPTEMBER | DECEMBER| FEBRUARY
$5407 Per Person
$ 500 Single Supplement

LOW SEASON
OCT | NOV | JAN | MARCH | APRIL | MAY
$4241 Per Person
$ 400 Single supplement

 

More Information

Included

  • Airport transfers (Entebbe/return)
  • 4×4 transport with English speaking local driver/guide as above
  • Accommodation and meals as above (full board on safari, bed and breakfast in Entebbe)
  • Bottled water in safari vehicle
  • Community visit en route from Bwindi to Ishasha
  • All park entrance fees
  • Boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel
  • Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Full liability insurance cover
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Excluded:        

  • Gorilla Permit of USD 600 per trek Bwindi – must be pre-booked/prepaid (low season permits available in April/May & November at USD 350
  • Chamburu (Kyamburu Gorge) chimpanzee permits USD 50 each
  • Kibale Chimpanzee trekking permits USD 150 each
  • Optional extra of Forest Walk Bwindi (USD 70 pp including park fees)
  • Optional extra of Community Visit Bwindi (USD 30)
  • Optional extra of Batwa Pygmies Community Visit (USD 85)
  • Optional additional permits including trek transfer and facilitation USD 670 high/USD 420 low season
  • All international flights and airport taxes
  • Personal expenses such as porters, drinks, tips, visas and travel insurance
  • Services/activities/meals not included above

Health:   Yellow fever & malaria prophylactics are required.

For gorilla/chimp trekking it is imperative that you are healthy and free of any disease or virus – officials do have the right to refuse entry if you are found to have or show any signs of communicable illnesses.

Should you opt to spend time participating in the UWEC Wildlife Integration programmers, you may require additional inoculations and health clearances.  Please enquire at the time of booking. These activities must be booked well in advance.

Visas:  Most nationalities require a visa to enter Uganda which can be obtained on arrival for USD 50 per person, single entry.  Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months or 12 months in the case of UK nationals.  The newly established EAC Visa allows entry into Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya for one fee of USD 100 – handy if you are visiting all three regions.

Flights: It is imperative that you reconfirm your onward/return flights.  Our office in Uganda can assist you with this.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all guests travelling with Legend Safaris.

 

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