21 Days Uganda’s Cultures, Primates and Wildlife

Visit three of Uganda’s diverse national parks and encounter a range of wildlife, including mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. This trip will also immerse you in the unique cultures of the area, through community visits and activities that you can participate in. A great way to experience the culture and wildlife of the Pearl of Africa.

HighlightsItineraryOptions & ExtensionsPricesAccommodation & TransportTravel advice

 

  • Meet the Batwa community and learn about their traditional forest-dwelling life
  • Experience a traditional homestay
  • Track mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys
  • Take a canoe ride on Lake Bunyonyi
  • Encounter wildlife on game drives
Day 1: Arrive at Entebbe International Airport
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be met by your guide who will take you to your accommodation, a short drive away.
Day 2: Travel to Fort Portal and visit Amabere ga’nyinamwiru
Drive to Fort Portal for lunch, then visit the stalactites and stalagmites which are of historical importance to the people of Tooro Kingdom.  You will see waterfalls and crater lakes and visit the nearby Amabere ga’nyinamwiru which is of cultural importance
Day 3: Visit the local community and on to Queen Elizabeth National Park
On your way towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, stop at the Rubona community and learn how they produce their crafts. Feel free to participate in raffia dying and basket weaving. Also learn about the honey harvesting process and how they make candles.
Day 4: Game drive and boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel
Get up early for a game drive to spot a host of wildlife, including elephants, lions and warthogs. After lunch, take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, linking Lakes George and Edward, for a great view of the animals and birds that inhabit the riverbanks
Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking in Kalinzu Forest, and on to Rukungiri
Head to Kalinzu Forest to trek chimpanzees. Spend an hour with the chimps before heading on to Rukungiri for a traditional homestay experience
Days 6 to 8: Traditional homestay to learn about village life
Spend the next three nights with your host family, learning how to cook local dishes and becoming immersed in the culture and heritage of the area. Join the family in daily activities like gardening, rearing domestic animals, going to the market and fetching water, visiting the local school and enjoying storytelling time.
Day 9: Travel to Kisoro
Drive to Kisoro district on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes, stopping at the Great Lakes Museum to learn more about local culture and history. At Kisoro, check in and relax.
Day 10: Track mountain gorillas
Following an early briefing, trek through the forest in search of mountain gorillas. This may take between 2 and 6 hours. Once you have found them, you watch them during their daily activities. Afterwards, you relax at your lodge or stroll around the town and meet the locals.
Day 11: Visit the Batwa community and Garamba Cave
Visit the Batwa pygmy tribe, the traditional ‘forest keepers’. You will spend time with them, learning about how they live their life in harmony with the forest and its animals. Visit Garamba Cave and learn of its significance to the Batwa.
  Day 12: Track golden monkeys and drive to Lake Bunyonyi
Hike to the mountains and search for the rare golden monkeys, only to be seen in this Park in Uganda. Return to your lodge for lunch. Drive to Lake Bunyonyi.
Day 13: Boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi to explore the islands
Take a canoe out on the second deepest lake in Africa, Lake Bunyonyi. Explore its 29 small islands and look out for birds. After, you may go on a nature walk or have a cycling trip.
Day 14: Travel to Igongo and enjoy a cultural experience with the local community
Drive to Igongo Cultural Centre, via the Ankole Corridor, to learn the history of the Ankole Kingdom. After lunch, experience the local Bahima culture and learn how to milk cows and process and preserve their milk.
Day 15: Hike to the eclipse monument of Biharwe; Boat ride on Lake Mburo
Drive to your starting point then hike to the eclipse monument in Biharwe. Learn about the local community’s lifestyle. Return to the hotel and have lunch. Drive to Lake Mburo National Park and go on a boat cruise to spot more wildlife.
Day 16: Savannah nature walk and lunch; travel to Kalisizo
Start your day with a guided nature talk as you walk for about 2 hours among animals including impalas and defasa waterbucks. After lunch, drive to Kalisizo.
Day 17: Visit to a school; drive to the colonial bunkers (British War Graves)
Visit Little Flowers Primary School as part of a village walk. In the afternoon, drive to the colonial bunkers and explore the British War Graves.
Day 18: Learn how to make bark cloth and process coffee with the community
Take a tour of a coffee farm and learn how coffee is planted, managed and harvested. Participate in processing the coffee cherries and make a cup of coffee for yourself. In the afternoon, join a community group to experience bark cloth making.
Day 19: Return to Kampala via the equator, drum makers and crocodile farm
On your way back to Kampala you can stop at the equator for crafts and a photo opportunity. You will also visit the drum makers of Mpambire and watch how their drums are made. Stop off at Buwama Crocodile Farm before continuing to Kampala and your hotel.
Day 20: City tour of Kampala

Take a tour of one of Kampala’s slum communities with a local organisation that raises money to train local young people. Spend the afternoon exploring the craft markets, then in the evening enjoy a local music and dance performance at Kampala’s urban cultural centre.

Day 21: Visit Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and return home

Drive to Entebbe and enjoy a local lunch. Spend the afternoon at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre to see the animals, learn about conservation education and go behind the scenes as a caretaker. Your guide will take you to the airport for your flight home.

NB: wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.

Responsible tourism: where possible, we use locally owned accommodation with good environmental credentials.

Any of the activities below can be swapped for activities in this itinerary or you can extend this itinerary to add any of them. This may involve additional costs. We will be pleased to advise you about options and extensions.

  1. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park
  2. Visit to twin Sempaya hotsprings in Semiliki National Park
  3. Visit to Katwe Salt Lake near Queen Elizabeth National Park
  4. Go behind the scenes with feeding animals in Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
  5. Visit Kasubi Royal Tombs in Kampala
  6. Visit to Buganda Kings Palace in Kampala

Guide price

USD 4,650 per person based on a group of 6 people travelling.

Price includes:

  • 1 gorilla permit and 1 chimp permit each
  • A private 4×4 safari vehicle (with pop-up roof) with driver/guide and fuel for this itinerary
  • Full-board, budget accommodation
  • All entrance and other fees for the activities included in the itinerary
  • Mineral water in transit
  • All government taxes
Price does not include:

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as bar bills, phone calls, laundry services, gifts, crafts and personal shopping
  • Tips and gratuities (normally 5–10% and around $100 for your guide).

Why do we use guide prices?
The price for every safari depends on the number of people travelling, their ages, the time of year, whether or not international flights are included, the type of transport and accommodation used and the activities undertaken.

We calculate according to the specific dates of your booking because after we publish our itineraries some things may change. For example, hotels may increase their prices, the government may introduce new taxes or some discounts may become available. Unfortunately, we also have to pass on surcharges imposed on us by, for example, airlines when fuel prices or airport taxes are unexpectedly increased.

We would be happy to prepare a quotation, based on your requirements. We normally include most costs in the price so all you need to bring with you is ‘pocket money’ for items like drinks, tips and personal shopping e.g. souvenirs.

Insurance

AMREF flying doctors provide a medevac service in case of illness or injury during your safari. This costs $25pp for 31 days. We recommend this service and can include it in your package price.

Booking

Once you have selected one of our safari packages you need to send us a booking form. When we receive this we will check availability and inform you if any changes are necessary and issue an invoice for a 50% deposit plus the full cost of any tracking permits (in case of cancellation permit fees are non-refundable). Only once this payment is received can we guarantee availability and issue a booking confirmation. Full payment is required 70 days before travel.

Payments and cancellation

We charge in US dollars. Payment is by bank transfer into our Standard Chartered USD bank account in Uganda. You can also pay by credit card although there is a 5% administration charge. For those booking from within Uganda, cash payments are possible at our office.

When we book your safari, we have to pay non-refundable deposits on your behalf, for example to hotels. Therefore, we charge cancellation fees as follows:

30% of reservation costs if you cancel more than 50 days before your arrival date

100% of reservation costs if you cancel less than 50 days before your arrival date

We strongly recommend that you include cancellation cover in your travel insurance.

Disclaimer: We enter into an agreement with you in good faith but we sometimes encounter unexpected changes in local conditions which can affect your itinerary or price. These changes are beyond our control and we are not liable for them. While we endeavour to protect you against the effects of these changes, we reserve the right to amend the agreed itinerary and price in response to them. Such changes include but are not limited to weather conditions, road conditions, supplier price increases, fuel increases, government tax increases, supplier service changes e.g. cancellation of ferry services for river crossings or national park operations (track maintenance, animal translocations). We assure you that, we will always give you as much notice as possible of changes, suggest alternative plans and keep additional charges to a minimum.

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Accommodation

To help us select the right accommodation for your safari (and in the absence of a complete national hotel classification system e.g. 1* – 5*) we use four levels: high-end, mid-range, budget and backpackers. These terms can mean different things to different people but are helpful to an extent.

Air-conditioned rooms are not available in all hotels. Where AC is available, there is usually an extra charge.

Some locations have a limited choice of accommodation and so, to stay there, you must accept what is available. Where possible we prefer to work with responsible accommodation providers. This means hotels and lodges which are locally owned, employ local staff, support their community and protect the local environment.

  

 

Transport

As standard, we use a spacious 7-seater, 4×4 safari Land Cruiser, with pop-up roof, fridge and phone/camera charging facilities. This is the perfect safari vehicle.

 

Alternatively, we offer a slightly cheaper 7-seater, 4×4 safari van with a pop-up roof.

  

5 -seater versions of both Land Cruisers and vans are also available.

For large group tours we use small buses called Coasters. These usually seat around 28 people, including 5 jump (fold-down) seats in the aisle. They do not have a boot/trunk so luggage is carried on the back seats which reduces the seating capacity. The overhead luggage shelves are small and can only accommodate small bags. Therefore, we recommend you do not over pack.

All vehicles include a driver/guide and fuel for your itinerary. Additional activities, not included in your itinerary, may incur an additional fuel charge. Our vehicles are comprehensively insured, in good mechanical condition and have seat belts fitted.

Please let us know if you have any special travel requirements. For example, if your group has disabled members we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Fly-in safaris

Fancy a fly-in safari, hopping from one location to another by small plane? Or save time by travelling to one of the farther destinations on your itinerary by air instead of road? Domestic flights are available to a variety of locations in Uganda so you can visit all or some of the places in your itinerary by plane, enjoying stunning aerial views of the countryside and wildlife below. Scheduled and charter flights are available.

Scheduled flights have some limitations in terms of routings and days of operation and in some cases minimum numbers are required. We will be pleased to advise you if you wish to fly.

Note: The luggage limit on small aircraft is 15kg per person, including both hand and hold luggage. This must be in soft bags not hard suitcases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

See our Responsible Tourism pages for information about our approach to tourism and advice on how to travel responsibly.

For general advice please see our travel advice webpage.

Specific advice for this safari

See our information about gorilla and chimp tracking and habituation experiences in our primates section.

This safari can be done at any time of the year, however low season discounts are given for gorilla and chimp tracking in April and November.