Gorillas & Wildlife (5 nights)

Ref: SP01

This Venture Uganda gorilla tracking safari takes you swamp birding in search of the famous Shoebill and then on to Lake Mburo national park for some amazing game viewing. The highlight however, is gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest where you have the chance to observe these enchanting creatures in the wild – an experience you’ll never forget.

Summary

Day 1: Spend the night in Entebbe, close to the airport
Day 2: Take a canoe trip on Mbamba Swamp and evening game drive at Lake Mburo national park
Day 3: Take a morning boat cruise on Lake Mburo and then drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park
Day 4: Go gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park
Day 5: Relax in Bwindi for the day, overlooking the forest
Day 6: Return to Entebbe via the equator

Full itinerary

Day 1: We will meet you from your flight and you will spend your first night in Entebbe, close to the international airport. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can relax in your hotel or take a stroll around the botanical gardens (optional activity) or the Uganda Wildlife education Centre (zoo) (optional activity) which has a lovely forest walk which is good for primates and birding.

Accommodation: budget Entebbe backpackers, mid-range: Airport Guest House, high-end: The Boma

 

 

 

Day 2: 7:30am – After breakfast, you will drive to Mbamba Swamp which will take approximately two hours. Mabamba has been surveyed in recent years and now boasts of over 260 species of birds. Mabamba bay is one of only two places where you can spot the elusive Shoebill stork at any one time of the day. You will spend two hours exploring this wetland in an authexntic traditional canoe before driving on to Lake Mburo national park where you will do a short game drive en route to your accommodation. Look out for leopard, Burchell’s zebra, hippos, and other mammals and birds.

Accommodation – budget: Rwonyo rest Camp, mid-range Mburo Safari Lodge, high-end: Mihingo Lodge

 

Day 3: 8:00am – After breakfast, enjoy a boat cruise on the Lake Mburo, which sits in a rain shadow between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Victoria, seeking hippos, crocodile and birds. Later drive to Bwindi Impenetrable national park (approximately 6 hours) through this rapidly changing green land. Relax in the evening at your accommodation, anticipating tomorrow’s big adventure.

Accommodation – budget: Buhoma Community Rest Camp, mid-range:  Silverback Lodge, high-end: Engagi Lodge

 

 

Day 4: 8:00am – You will set off early to go gorilla tracking. Trekking through the steep, densely forested hills and coming across the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation is an awe-inspiring moment. You spend one hour observing your assigned gorilla group in their natural forested habitat. Tracking in the impenetrable forest requires a good level of fitness and can sometimes take most of the day but it’s absolutely worth it. Time permitting in the afternoon; you could take a cultural stroll through the village of Buhoma.

Accommodation – budget: Buhoma Community Rest Camp, mid-range:  Silverback Lodge, high-end: Engagi Lodge

 

Day 5:: Today you may relax and enjoy the surroundings of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or opt for an optional activity (see below).

Accommodation – budget: Buhoma Community Rest Camp, mid-range:  Mahogany Springs, high-end: Engagi Lodge

 

 

 

Day 6: 8:00am – Today you will drive back to Entebbe. Keep an eye out for Burchell’s zebra as you pass by Lake Mburo.  On your way, you will be able to stand astride the equator and pay a visit to the royal drum makers.

 

 

 

 

 

Optional activities

Optional activities can be added into your itinerary, usually for an additional cost

  1. Community Walk
  2. Forest Walk
  3. Birding

Extensions

  1. An extra day gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park
  2. Two days cultural/community tourism near Masaka (bark cloth production, medicinal plant tour, coffee experience, craft group, school visit, village walk, Rwandan genocide memorial, birding)
  3. One extra day in Lake Mburo national park
  4. Three nights to Queen Elizabeth and Kibale forest national parks including chimp tracking
  5. Extra time in Kampala or Entebbe for activities such as a city tour, shopping at craft markets, botanical gardens, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (former zoo), swimming in a hotel pool

Guide Prices

Venture Uganda offers this safari at three different levels: budget, mid-range and high-end. The difference between them depends mainly on the class of accommodation and restaurants used. Please note that in some locations accommodation is limited and only one class may be available. These are only guide prices; we will provide an exact quote upon enquiry when we know the number of people, chosen dates, preferred accommodation and transport, and changes to the itinerary e.g. options and extensions.

Budget: $3,000  US Dollars, per person

Mid-range: $3,490  US Dollars, per person

High-end: $4,000  US Dollars, per person

Inclusions

  • One gorilla tracking permit per person
  • Uganda airport transfers
  • A fully insured, standard safari vehicle with guide & fuel for itinerary
  • Accommodation (non-air conditioned)
  • Breakfast, lunch and supper, each with a soft drink
  • All entrance and other fees for the activities included in the itinerary
  • Mineral water during safari
  • All government taxes

Exclusions

  • Flights
  • Entry and/or transit visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal items such as bar drinks and laundry services
  • Gifts, crafts & other personal shopping
  • Tips and gratuities (5-10% is normal in restaurants/lodges. The level of tips for guides is up to you.)

Accommodation: Prices are based on two people sharing twin/double rooms on a full-board basis. We are happy to quote for groups. A single room supplement will apply.

If available, most hotels and lodges charge extra for air-conditioned rooms so if you would like AC please note this on your booking form.

The hotels included in this package depend upon availability. Once we receive your booking we will check availability and should we find them fully booked we will offer you an alternative of the same standard for your approval.

Discounts may be available for Ugandan/East African citizens, children or for low season bookings (Apr, May, Oct, Nov).

Bookings can be made on our Booking Form and are subject to our Booking Conditions including our cancellation policy.

Payment: a 50% deposit is required upon booking, along with full payment for gorilla and chimp permits, with the final payment due 70 days before the start of the trip. Prices are charged in USD.

Payment can be made by bank transfer. Beware of email fraudsters – we will never ask you to pay by any other means such as Western Union or Money Transfer.

Gorilla and chimp tracking permits are subject to availability. We recommend very early booking if possible, especially in peak season (Dec–Mar and June–Sept). If permits are not available on your chosen dates, we may be able to run the trip in reverse order or alter the
itinerary to fit.

Note: The Uganda Wildlife Authority does not allow children under the age of 15 years to track gorillas and children under 12 years to track chimpanzees.

Transport

 

Choose between our touring vans which are used as standard in our safaris and short breaks or upgrade to a Land Cruiser for an extra USD $900 (divided by the number of people travelling).

  1. Standard: ‘Super Custom’ van (max 5-seater). A very comfortable 4×4 touring van
  2. Standard: ‘Hiace’ van (max 7-seater). A practical, tough touring van
  3. High-end: extended Land Cruiser (max 7-seater). A comfortable safari vehicle

All vehicles are 4×4 and have a pop-up roof. All passengers have window seats and seat belts. Expenses for the guide/fuel/park entrance/washing/parking are included in the price.

For your own comfort, we request you pack carefully and do not bring too much luggage.

Alternative Venture Uganda safaris

We provide a range of safaris with differing activities, durations and locations. Please see our website for details.