105: Wildlife & Cultural safari

Ref: 105, 19 days

105: Wildlife & Cultural safari

$6400 per person

Explore western Uganda’s rich wildlife and culture as you meet the friendly people, learn about their way of life and experience the region’s extraordinary flora and fauna.

Uganda’s spectacular wildlife, especially the mountain gorillas, draws many visitors. This wildlife and cultural safari combines the country’s extraordinary flora and fauna with rare insights into its fascinating culture. You’ll travel through the western region, at a leisurely pace. As you enjoy the stunning scenery, you’ll meet people, visit their villages and learn about their way of life. You’ll have the chance to participate in cooking, basket making, milking cows and much more. Anyone who has visited Uganda will tell you that what really makes it special is the warm, friendly people.

 

Highlights

  • Go behind the scenes with Uganda’s unique local communities
  • Spend time with the enchanting mountain gorillas
  • Game drive and boat cruise in the national park
  • Enjoy a memorable home stay hosted in the local community
  • Learn about making bark cloth and its cultural significance
  • Visit a farm to see how coffee is grown and processed
  • Spend time with the Ankole cattle keepers.

 

Overview

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
Day 2: Lazy start. Afternoon visit to the beautiful botanical gardens
Day 3: Transfer to Fort Portal. Visit a local cultural site
Day 4: Visit basket makers and bee keepers
Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking and relax at lodge
Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Visit Katwe salt lake
Day 7: Game drive. Boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel
Day 8: Transfer to Rukungiri. Begin your home stay with a tour of the home and gardens 
Day 9: 
Village walk. Activities around your host’s home 
Day 10:
Spend the morning with your hosts, preparing lunch. Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable forest
Day 11: Gorilla tracking; an unforgettable experience
Day 12: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi. Afternoon canoe ride to islands in the lake.
Day 13: Travel to Igongo Cultural Centre. Hike to the eclipse monument of Biharwe
Day 14: Morning safari walk and game drive. Boat Cruise on Lake Mburo
Day 15: Morning with the Bahima cattle-keepers. Travel to Kalisizo.
Day 16:  Bark cloth making experience. Coffee farm visit.
Day 17:  Return to Kampala and relax
Day 18:  City tour and visit to the national museum. Traditional dance performance
Day 19: Transfer to Entebbe.  Visit craft market. Departure

 

When is the best time of year to visit Uganda?

Although Ugandan seasons have become less predictable in recent years, peak tourist seasons usually coincide with dry seasons. When choosing your dates consider:

  • Uganda is an all-year round destination with a pleasant climate and temperatures averaging in the mid 20s0C. The huge variety in altitude means temperatures vary around the country (but this also means increased biodiversity)
  • Flight prices often increase in European/American holiday seasons
  • There are fewer tourists in low seasons so you can have the place to yourselves!
  • Many hotels offer all-year prices so the price of your visit may not change much between seasons
  • Most major roads going from the capital, Kampala, up-country are tarmac. Conditions on murram roads may worsen, to varying degrees, in rainy season
  • Rainy season can be good for birding as there is more food (bugs) available
  • If you are targeting certain birds, ask our advice on breeding and migration seasons
  • Should you plan to climb the Rwenzori mountains, dry seasons are best
  • Hiking may be better in rainy seasons when it is cooler

 

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1
Day 1: Arrival 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. Your guide will remain with you throughout your visit.
Accommodation: Boma Hotel – Entebbe Meal plan: dinner is available at your hotel up to 22:00
2
Day 2: Visit the Botanical Gardens
Ease yourself gently into your holiday with a relaxing start before visiting the town to change money and enjoy some lunch. You’ll then take a guided walk at the botanical gardens on the shores of Lake Victoria. Look out for Vervet and Black & White Colobus monkeys and many bird species and enjoy the beautiful lake views.
Accommodation: Boma Hotel – Entebbe Meal plan: B, L, D
3
Day 3: Transfer to Fort Portal. Visit a local cultural site
After an early start, you will travel to Fort Portal for lunch and a visit the Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru caves, a natural and cultural site which is of historical importance to the people of the Toro Kingdom. You will see waterfalls, crater lakes and the warm, welcoming local people as you take a guided walk.
Accommodation: Kluges Guest Farm - Fort Portal Meal plan: B, L, D
4
Day 4: Visit basket makers and bee keepers
Visit the ladies’ basket weaving group and participate in raffia dying and basket weaving before crossing the road to visit the honey company to learn about honey processing and beeswax products. Take a packed lunch.
Accommodation: Kluges Guest Farm - Fort Portal Meal plan: B, L, D
5
Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking and relax back at your accommodation
Join your group at 07:30 for a briefing, then your guide will take you through this beautiful forest in search of your chimp family. Spend an hour enjoying their antics in their forest home before returning to the lodge for lunch. Enjoy a free afternoon around the lodge visiting the gardens, farm, forest or swamp. Alternatively, just sit back and enjoy the birdlife and stunning views of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Accommodation: Kluges Guest Farm - Fort Portal Meal plan: B, L, D  
6
Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Visit salt lake
A 2 hour drive south, alongside the Mountains of the Moon, will take you to Queen Elizabeth National Park. If time allows, stop at the foundry along the way to see their beautiful bronze sculptures. After lunch, visit Katwe salt lake to witness the fascinating ancient art of salt extraction from this natural volcanic lake.
Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge - Queen Elizabeth National Park Meal plan: B, L, D
7
Day 7: Dawn game drive and afternoon boat cruise in the park
You’ll be richly rewarded for your early start with a dawn game drive, where you may spot a host of wildlife including some of the Big 5. After lunch, take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes George and Edward, and relax as you enjoy the great views of the animals and birds that inhabit the riverbanks.
Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge - Queen Elizabeth National Park Meal plan: B, L, D
8
Day 8: Transfer to Rukungiri and begin your home stay
Enjoy a scenic drive past beautiful tea plantations and on to Rukungiri. Settle in at your host's home and then take a tour of the gardens and visit the animals. If there is time, you might reach the church too. Enjoy supper with the family, hearing tales of village life and sharing a few stories of your own.
Accommodation: Home stay – Rukungiri Michael’s home Meal plan: B, L, D
9
Day 9: Village walk and activities at home
Venture a little further afield this morning on a community walk. Chat with the neighbours along the way and work up an appetite for more local food.  Enjoy other places of interest, like the school or market during the day.
 Accommodation: Home stay – Rukungiri Michael’s home Meal plan: B, L, D
10
Day 10: Spend the morning with your hosts. Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable forest
Spend your last morning at home helping with household chores and preparing lunch. After enjoying the fruits of your labour, it will be time to say goodbye. A 4 hour drive through more stunning Ugandan countryside will take you to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, home of the mountain gorillas.
Accommodation: Gorilla Safari Lodge– Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Meal plan: B, L, D
11
Day 11: Gorilla tracking
Following an early briefing, trek through the lush forest with your guides in search of mountain gorillas. This may take 2 to 6 hours, but once you have found them, you will spend a magical hour with them - a real privilege. Afterwards, relax at your lodge, wander down to the river or enjoy some birding.
Accommodation: Gorilla Safari Lodge – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Meal plan: B, L, D
12
Day 12: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi. Afternoon canoe ride
Transfer to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi 2 hours away and check-in to your lodge overlooking the lake. In the afternoon, take a canoe ride to visit the tiny islands dotted around the lake, like Punishment Island, and hear some of their fascinating history.
Accommodation: Birds Nest, Lake Bunyonyi Meal plan: B, L, D
13
Day 13: Hike to the eclipse monument of Biharwe
Drive north (approx. 5 hours) to the Igongo Cultural Centre to learn the history of the Ankole Kingdom and particularly the Bahima cattle-keepers. Visit the museum, palace, tombs and try your hand at beer brewing, pottery or millet grinding. Alternatively, hike up to the eclipse monument, which commemorates the 1520 AD eclipse, and learn about its cultural significance. Continue to your lodge just outside the park.
Accommodation:  Rwakobo Rock - Lake Mburo National Park Meal plan: B, L, D
14
Day 14: Morning safari walk. Boat Cruise on Lake Mburo
Enjoy a day in Lake Mburo National Park, starting with a guided nature walk amongst animals which include impalas, eland, giraffes and zebras, before venturing further by road. After lunch by the lake, take a relaxed boat cruise: this area is great for birding but look out for the hippos and crocodiles too.
Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock - Lake Mburo National Park Meal plan: B, L, D
15
Day 15: Morning with the Bahima cattle-keepers. Transfer to Kalisizo
Starting early, visit the Enyemebwa Centre, a community initiative set up to conserve Bahima culture and heritage. Learn about the Bahima way of life as you visit the calves, join in milking, talk to the cattle-keepers and discover how milk is processed into ghee as the cows graze nearby. Then continue your journey north up to Kalisizo.
Accommodation: Nabisere hotel - Kalisizo Meal plan: B, L, D
16
Day 16: Experience bark cloth making and visit a coffee farm
Spend time with a local community who produce bark cloth. Participate as the bark is stripped from the tree and processed and learn about its cultural and ceremonial uses. In the afternoon, visit a coffee farm to see how the coffee is grown and locally processed. Join in pounding and roasting before enjoying a cup.
Accommodation: Nabisere hotel - Kalisizo Meal plan: B, L, D
17
Day 17: Return to Kampala and relax at your lodge
Transfer back to Kampala stopping en route at the equator, where you can have your photo taken with one foot in each hemisphere! Then enjoy some down time at your lodge, admiring the amazing views over Lake Victoria and maybe reading a book by the pool. Watch the sun go down over the lake as you enjoy supper at your lodge.
Accommodation: Cassia Lodge - Kampala Meal plan: B, L, D
18
Day 18: City tour and visit the Uganda national museum
Today's the day to explore the city! Drive to various sites of interest to learn more about the history of Uganda's capital city, the religions of the people and the traditions of the Buganda Kingdom. Visit the Uganda National museum and learn how to play the drums, find out all about the cultural artefacts and visit the traditional huts in the gardens. In the evening enjoy a traditional performance with music and dances from around Uganda.
Accommodation: Cassia Lodge - Kampala Meal plan: B, L, D
19
Day 19: Transfer to Entebbe. Visit the crafts markets
At leisure, transfer to Entebbe. In the afternoon, explore the craft markets or relax and take in the gorgeous views over the lake before your guide drops you at the airport in time for your flight home.
Meal plan: B, L
Please note: all timings and routings are approximate and subject to change at short notice.

Guide price: US$ 6,400 per person

Based on 2 adults sharing a double room, in mid-range accommodation, in low season and travelling in a safari Land Cruiser (all our safaris and tours can be adapted to high-end, mid-range or budget versions)

 

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, exchange rates fluctuate, 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.

Price includes

1 gorilla and 1 chimp tracking permit each

A double room in mid-range, non-air-conditioned accommodation with a full board meal plan

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 $10 per day for your guide).