15 days: Hiking Special

This amazing 15-day hiking holiday takes you off the beaten track to some of Uganda’s exceptional natural places and provides some challenging hiking. As you walk, gain an insight into the traditional cultures of Uganda, meet some of the warm, friendly people; enjoy excellent wildlife viewing and admire some  outstanding scenery. This holiday is suitable for all levels, as more challenging hikes can be replaced by more gentle walks, in the same areas, to suit all abilities.

HighlightsItineraryOptions & extensionsGuide priceAccommodation & TransportTravel advice
  • Some outstanding walks in stunning locations
  • Opportunities to meet people and learn about Ugandan culture along the way
  • An amazing mountain gorilla tracking experience and other wildlife encounters
Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
Upon arrival at the Entebbe international airport your guide, who will be with you throughout your holiday, will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel for an overnight in the quiet surroundings of this sleepy town. 


Day 2: Travel to Fort Portal. Visit Botanical Gardens
After breakfast, drive (approx 4 hours) west to Fort Portal town. Enjoy a local lunch and later visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens to learn about organic farming practices and growing herbs, dyes, medicinal and other interesting plants.

Day 3: Nature walk in Semuliki National Park. Palace visit
7: 00 a.m., you will drive to Semuliki National Park and take a nature walk reaching the Sempaya hot springs, the famous attraction of this park (2-4 hours). Return to Fort Portal town for lunch. Visit the Tooro Palace grounds to learn about the traditions of the Kingdom.
Day 4:  Amabere ga’nyinamwiru cultural site. Bigodi wetlands
Travel to Amabere: a series of caves featuring many stalagmites and stalactites. Hike to the site, through the local community and countryside. Your guide will tell you all about the history, geograhy and culture of the region. Later, visit Bigodi: a conservation project run by the local community which protects the wetlands and their inhabitants including various primates and birds.
Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking. Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
At 8:00 a.m., join your group for your briefing and then enter the forest and begin your search for the chimpanzees; ‘our closest relatives’. After the spending a thrilling hour with them, return for lunch. After, drive to Queen Elizabeth national park through the Kasenda crater field, an area of outstanding beauty with numerous natural lakes created in volcanic craters.
Day 6: Game drive and boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel
Go for a dawn game drive and search for predators like lion, hyena and, if lucky, leopard along with other resident wildlife. After lunch, enjoy a relaxing 3-hour boat ride on along the Kazinga Channel famous for birds like the Pied kingfisher and Goliath Heron and wildlife such as hippos and crocodiles as well as visitors to the riverbanks like elephant and buffalo.
Day 7: Travel to Kisoro. Visit Great Lakes Museum en route
Travel further south west in Uganda, through the beautiful countryside and past lush, green tea plantations, to Kisoro district located at the foothills of scenic Virunga Volcanoes. En route, stop to visit the Great Lakes museum to learn more about his region.

Day 8: Full day hike to the peak of Mt Muhabura
At 7:00 a.m., meet your guide and, taking a packed lunch, begin the hike up Mt. Muhabura (approx. 8 hours). The hike will not only reward you with spectacular views of the Virungas but also an opportunity to stand at the border of two countries – Uganda and Rwanda. Keep your eyes peeled for chances to see some of the the wildlife present in the park.
Day 9: Thrilling moments with the enchanting mountain gorillas
Today presents a rare and privileged opportunity to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Join your group for a briefing and trek through the forest in search of your gorilla family (anything from 2-6 hrs). Once you find them, watch these enchanting creatures as they eat, play, groom and even snooze. If yours is a shorter trek, enjoy an afternoon’s relaxation at your lodge or a stroll around the local town.
Day 10: Explore the islands of Lake Bunyonyi by dugout canoe
After breakfast, transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, a local name for “little birds”. Take a canoe trip and explore some of the 29 little islands (many of which have a traditional story connected to them). Upon your return, sit and admire the beautiful views of the lake from the comfort of your lodge.
Day 11: Drive to Igongo Cultural Centre. Hike to the Eclipse Monument
Depart after breakfast and drive for about 3 hours to reach Igongo Cultural Centre and enjoy a traditional lunch. Hike to the hill top eclipse monument while learning about the culture of the local communities.
Day 12: Cultural experience at Enyemebwa
Today is your chance to experience a day-in-the-life of a tribal cattle-keeper. Join the Bahima herdsmen as they take their cows to the bush for grazing and watering. As you walk, learn all about their way of life. Bring the cows back to the kraal for evening milking and see how the milk is processed into ghee. Visit the calves and learn more about the cultural significance of the wooden milk pots.
Day 13: Morning safari walk and an afternoon game drive
Search for the early grazers of the park on a safari walk. Get closer to the animals including buffaloes, impalas, elands, zebras and the newly introduced Rothschild giraffes and watch as they go about their daily activities. Later, after lunch, go for a game drive in other parts of the park for more game viewing opportunities and some spectacular views.
Day 14: Travel to Kampala. Cultural dance performances
Today you will travel back to Kampala (approx. 5 hours) plus a stop at the equator for lunch: check out the craft shops before you continue your journey. Arrive and head down town to explore the city or just relax in your hotel. In the evening, visit the famous Ndere Centre for a performance of traditional dance and music from Uganda’s various tribes.
 Day 15: Visit the crafts market before your transfer to the Airport
On your final day in Uganda, transfer to the Entebbe crafts village for shopping. Feel free to explore the neighbouring Botanical Gardens or relax by the beach enjoying views of the lake. Your driver will transfer you to the airport to check-in for your flight home in the evening.

Wildlife sightings cannot be 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. Experience the Batwa (oldest tribe of  forest pygmies of the great lakes region).
  2. Golden monkey tracking or habituation experience
  3. Bird watching at Lake Bunyonyi

Please see our activities & experiences page for more information.

Guide price: USD 4,950 per person, based on 2 people travelling (full board, permits included)

Price includes:

  • 1 gorilla & 1 chimp tracking permit each
  • Full-board, mid-range, non air-conditioned accommodation
  • Private safari vehicle with driver and fuel for this itinerary
  • 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: alcohol, laundry services and souvenirs
  • Tips (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.

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Transport

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

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

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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

Permits are required to track gorillas. The minimum ages is 15 years.  Gorilla permits are limited to eight people per gorilla family. Permits are also required to track chimps and the minimum age is 12 years.

Please read the information about primate tracking on our primates web page and remember to look at our suggested packing list.