Gorillas & Wildlife (8 nights)

Endangered mountain gorillaRef: SP03

This Venture Uganda gorilla tracking safari takes you first to Lake Mburo national park for some amazing game viewing. Then you head south for gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest – a memorable experience. You then spend time searching for game in the popular Queen Elizabeth national park before traveling up to the beautiful Kibale forest region for chimp tracking. A tour which takes in all the highlights of Uganda.

SummaryFull itineraryOptional activitiesGuide PricesTransport

Day 1: Spend the night in Entebbe, close to the airport.
Day 2: Drive to Lake Mburo national park and take a boat cruise.
Day 3: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable national park and either relax or visit the community.
Day 4: Go gorilla tracking.
Day 5: Drive to Queen Elizabeth national park via Ishasha, home of the tree-climbing lion.
Day 6: Do a game drive on Kasenyi Plains and boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel.
Day 7: Do the Explosion Crater drive.
Day 8: Go on a crater lake drive and then go chimpanzee tracking.
Day 9: Drive back to Entebbe.

Day 1: We will welcome you from your flight and you will spend the first night in Entebbe.  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: 8:00am – Depart for Lake Mburo national park. Lake Mburo sits in a rain shadow between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Victoria. Stop en route and astride the equator. On arrival in the park, enjoy a boat cruise on the lake seeking hippos, crocodile and birds.

Accommodation – budget: Rwonyo rest Camp, mid-range Rwakobo Rock, high-end: Mihingo Lodge

Day 3: 07:00 – Rise early and do a game drive on your way out of the park. Look out for hippos and leopard. Other wildlife that can be seen includes aardvark, warthog, Burchell’s zebra, buffalo and spotted-hyaena. You will then drive on to Bwindi Impenetrable national park (approximately 6 hours) through this rapidly changing green land. Relax in the evening at your accommodation, anticipating tomorrow’s 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 then finally coming across the gorillas camouflaged in the vegetation is an awe-inspiring moment. You will 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: 9:00am – Today you will drive on to Queen Elizabeth via Ishasha where you should keep your eyes peeled for one of Uganda’s icons; the tree climbing lion. Arrive in the late afternoon and relax at your accommodation. Along the route, you are likely to spot buffalo, African elephant, and an astonishing number of butterflies.

Accommodation: budget: Mweya Hostel, mid-range: Ihamba Safari Lodge, high-end: Katara Lodge

Day 6: 7:00am – Rise early today for a dawn game drive to seek lion and other game on the Kasenyi Plains. Queen Elizabeth is an excellent park for a variety of wildlife including elephants, warthog, and Uganda kob. The Kasenyi Plains are the best spot in the park to try and spot lions. In the afternoon, take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel with its abundance of wildlife. This two hour boat journey is a birders paradise. Other wildlife that you are likely to spot is crocodiles, hippos, elephants, buffalo and warthogs. If you are lucky you may see lions and leopards.

Accommodation: budget: Mweya Hostel, mid-range: Ihamba Safari Lodge, high-end: Katara Lodge

Day 7: 9:00am – This morning you will drive through the explosion craters, north of the Mweya peninsula en route to Kibale Forest national park. The 27km drive between Kabatoro gate and Queen’s Pavilion takes in views of the enormous craters, circular lakes, the Rift Valley escarpment and the Kazinga channel – all in front of the mighty backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains. Relax during the late afternoon at your accommodation or opt for an additional activity (see optional activities).

Accommodation: budget: Kibale Forest Camp, mid-range: Primate Lodge, high-end: Ndali Lodge

Day 8: 9:00am – After breakfast, drive around the marvelous crater lakes. In the afternoon you will track the fast moving, noisy and illusive chimpanzees. If you are lucky you will get to watch them swinging from the forest canopy high up above the forest floor. Whilst they are sometimes difficult to track, this will be a very memorable (and noisy!) experience. The forest is not only home to the chimpanzees. Other primates that can be found are Guereza colobus, Olive baboon, Grey-cheeked mangabey, L’hoest’s gentle (blue) and red-tailed monkeys. With a bit of luck you may find elephant, bush pig and buffalo on your trek, whilst bushbuck and duiker are also sometimes found hiding beneath the forest canopy.

Accommodation: budget: Kibale Forest Camp, mid-range: Primate Lodge, high-end: Ndali Lodge

Day 9: 8am – Today you will head back to Entebbe on the green and winding roads passing the tea fields with views of Africa’s largest mountain range, the Rwenzoris.

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

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

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: $4,150  US Dollars, per person

Mid-range: $5,350  US Dollars, per person

High-end: $6,100  US Dollars, per person

Inclusions

  • One gorilla and one chimp 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.

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 safari packages for details.