Cultural and Wildlife Safari to Uganda

Go off the beaten track to gain a deeper insight into the traditional and modern culture of Uganda. This trip combines discovering the country’s rich heritage and culture with opportunities to experience some outstanding wildlife and scenery. A great way to get a true flavour of this incredible country.

HighlightsItineraryOptions & ExtensionsPricesAccommodation & TransportTravel advice
  • Experience life with the Batwa (forest pygmies)
  • Participate in traditional activities with local communities
  • Experience a traditional homestay
  • Track mountain gorillas and chimpanzees
  • Discover some of Uganda’s heritage
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.
Day 2: Travel to Mabamba Swamp and on to Kalisizo
Drive to the Mabamba Wetlands on the shores of Lake Victoria, protected by the local community. Go on a local fishing boat through the channels in search of the elusive Shoebill and many other swamp residents. Continue your journey to Kalisizo, via the equator.
Day 3: Visit a coffee farm and drive to colonial bunkers/British war graves
Enjoy a full coffee experience at a coffee farm. Tour the nursery beds, mother garden and the plantations. 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, explore the colonial bunkers and British war graves.
Day 4: Visit a community primary school, and participate in bark cloth making
Visit Little Flowers Primary School as part of a village walk. Meet the children who will entertain you with their traditional music and dance performances. In the afternoon, join a community group to try bark cloth making.
Day 5: Travel to Rukungiri for a homestay

Travel to Rukungiri district for your homestay experience. Spend two nights with your host family, learning how they cook local dishes, enjoy their local hospitality and get 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.

Day 6: Explore more of village life with a walk in the local hills
Enjoy a relaxed village walk past homes, schools, shops and into the local hills. Chat to the community and learn more about local plants and crops in people’s gardens. You can also drive down the valley to the river if you would like to.
Day 7: Travel to Kisoro district via the Great Lakes Museum

Drive to Kisoro district, located on the slopes of the stunning Virunga Volcanoes, stopping at the Great Lakes Museum on the way to learn more about local culture and history. Stay overnight at Kisoro.

Day 8: Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga National Park
Trek through the forest for 2 to 6 hours searching for the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Once you have found them, you spend time watching them doing their daily activities.
Day 9: Visit the Batwa tribe (forest pygmies) and travel to Lake Bunyonyi
Visit the Batwa pygmy tribe, the traditional ‘forest keepers’. Spend time with them and learn how they live in harmony with the forest. Later, drive to Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda’s deepest lake.
  Day 10: Explore Lake Bunyonyi.
Spend the day at your own pace, maybe choosing a canoe trip around the small islands in the lake, or going on a nature walk or a cycling trip.
Day 11: Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park; track chimps at Kalinzu Forest
Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and straight to Kalinzu Forest Reserve for chimpanzee tracking. Once you find the chimps, you an spend one hour watching them in their natural habitat. Continue to your lodge.
Day 12: Game drive and boat cruise along Kazinga Channel
A dawn game drive provides you with a chance to spot the early risers including elephant, buffalo, lions and leopards. After lunch, take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes George and Edward, for a great view of the animals and birds that inhabit the riverbanks.
Day 13: Travel to Fort Portal via the Rubona women basket weavers

Drive to Fort Portal and on the way visit a women’s basket weavers group and participate in raffia dying and basket weaving. Visit the neighbouring honey project where, as well as producing honey, the group make candles, propolis and other bee-related products.

Day 14: Sights and sounds of Fort Portal
Explore the attractions in Fort Portal. Visit the Tooro Kingdom Palace and cultural site, and tour the botanical gardens to learn about the different indigenous plants and trees. Drive to the nearby Amabere ga’nyinamwiru – an interesting cultural site and part of the crater lakes region with small waterfalls and beautiful scenery.
Day 15: Return to Kampala
Return to Kampala passing tea plantations and small trading centres on the way. On arrival, relax at your hotel or explore the local neighbourhood.
Day 16:  Slum tour, craft markets and an evening of traditional music and dance
Take a tour of one of Kampala’s slum with a local organisation which raises money to train local young people. Spend the afternoon exploring the craft markets. In the evening, enjoy a local music and dance performance representing some of the various tribes.
Day 17: Drive to Entebbe, visit Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and return home
Take a leisurely drive to Entebbe and enjoy a local lunch. Spend the afternoon at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre to see the animals and learn about conservation education. 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. Hiking the Virunga mountains
  2. A visit to Ngamba Island home to the rescued chimpanzee
  3. Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park
  4. Game viewing in Lake Mburo National Park

Guide price

USD 3,700 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.