Classic Uganda in 9 Days

Highlights

  • Experience Chimpanzee, Lion and Gorilla tracking in their natural habitat
  • Explore the Kibale forest watching out for native primates and birds
  • Cruise down the beautiful Kazinga Channel
  • Visit a cultural conservation project
£4168 per person
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What you'll do

Welcome to Entebbe!

Your holiday begins as you step outside Entebbe International airport into the warm Ugandan sunshine. Your guide will be there to welcome you and will escort you as you tour Uganda, enriching your experience by sharing their knowledge and love of their country and perhaps adding a few surprises along the way.

If you arrive early, there are lots of nice things to see and do in Entebbe – we recommend you visit the beautiful botanical gardens on the shores of Lake Victoria, just relax by the pool in your lovely hotel.

This itinerary has a full-board meal plan meaning breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided every day, often at your lodge. There will be opportunities to have both local and international cuisine and both vegetarians and vegans can be catered for with advance notice. All meals come with a soft drink or drinking water and additional drinks, including alcohol, can be bought from the lodges and restaurants.  You will be given a reusable water bottle which can be topped-up from a big bottle inside the vehicle throughout your holiday. Tea, coffee and some small snacks will also be available in the vehicle during certain activities like game drives.

Accommodation: The Boma Hotel

Your accommodation for the night is set in the quiet environs of Entebbe. This Irish-owned, family-run, boutique hotel is full of personality and is definitely one of our favourite hotels in Entebbe. Although the hotel is conveniently sited in the middle of Entebbe, only 10 mins drive from the airport, this is a quiet, safe location and the well planned, lush tropical gardens are peaceful.  The décor boasts lots of personal touches and the attractive rooms are comfortable and thoughtfully furnished.

There is a pool area where you can enjoy a relaxing swim and delicious western food, using locally-sourced ingredients, is served in the restaurant.

Kibale Forest Tour

After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to Kibale national park in western Uganda (approx. 5 hours).

The journey to Kibale is scenic as you pass rolling hills, forests and tea plantations. You will stop in the busy town of Fort Portal for lunch before traveling the final hour to Kibale and checking-in to your lodge on the edge of the forest.

This is a stunning region, with lush green countryside, dotted with beautiful crater lakes, all set against the backdrop of the magnificent Rwenzori Mountains. Kibale forest, a tropical rainforest, is home to 13 species of primates, 120 mammal species and 370 bird species. This biodiversity makes it a nature lovers paradise.

In the late afternoon, visit a wetland conservation project run by the local community. This is a great example of responsible tourism and conservation working hand-in-hand. A community guide will take you on nature walk around the swamp in search of primates like the Black and White Colobus monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey and Red-tailed monkey. Also, look out for birds like the Great Blue Turaco, Hairy-breasted Barbet and various Sunbirds.

Then its back to your lodge to enjoy a delicious dinner and perhaps a drink by the fire or overlooking the pool.

Accommodation: Turaco TreeTops Lodge

Turaco Treetops is a lovely lodge adjacent to the forest. The comfortable, spacious cottages have a private deck, perfect for some time-out and there is an open-sided, first floor restaurant and a bar/lounge with a roaring fire on chilly evenings. Outside, in the gardens, there is a swimming pool, perfect for kids.

The Dutch managers give a warm welcome and provide some great food and local guides offer great community and nature walks.

Chimpanzee Tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today you have the exciting opportunity to walk through this beautiful tropical rainforest tracking a chimpanzee family. When you find them, you may spend one hour with them observing their natural behaviour, in their natural habitat. Your guide will tell you all about the chimps, the other flora and fauna in the forest, how they track forest animals and about the avifauna Kibale is famous for.

After lunch, relax and enjoy a scenic drive through the stunning crater lakes region and on to Queen Elizabeth National Park. (approx. 3 hours). The lakes were created as part of are part of the seismic activity in this region millions of years ago, processes which also created the Rift Valley, Kazinga Channel, salt lakes and explosion craters in Queen Elizabeth national park.

In the evening, you’ll take a night game drive from 19:00 – 21:00 to see the night life in the wilderness. Expect to see anything from big cats to buffalo.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge

Ihamba sits in the bush next to Lake George. It is great for birding if you have some down time or there is a pool where you can cool off. At night, staff will escort you to your cottage in case there is a hippo wandering around, keeping the grass trimmed! The cottages are nicely presented and spacious with all the facilities you need and a little verandah should you wish to sit outside. The large lodge building has a restaurant and a bar/lounge area and staff make every effort to ensure you have all you need.

Lion Tracking by Boat Cruise

Today provides another outstanding wildlife experience as you move out early to spend 2-3 hours with the big cat researchers. Participate in their activities on the day which may include monitoring species, climate and habitat, learning about tracking and how tracking devices are used and learning about the animals. This is an opportunity to go off-track, with experts, and get closer to the animals. You will obviously encounter other animals and birds along the way and are free to watch them too.

Then you’ll have the chance to join a community guide to visit a salt lake and see how locals continue to use traditional methods to extract salt to earn their living. The lake also has seasonal flamingos and is great for photography as the light is reflected from the individual salt pans.

Later in the afternoon, take a fabulous boat cruise for approx. 3 hours along the Kazinga Channel which links Lakes Edward and George. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the animals and birds that come to the riverbanks. Keep your eyes peeled for elephant, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles and a wide variety of birds.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Having enjoyed the northern sector of this park, it’s time to head south to Ishasha – a 2 hour drive on which you are likely to encounter more animals along the way.

Ishasha is famous for its tree-climbing lions and you can search for these on a 2-hour game drive. The sector has a rich biodiversity and is home to elephant, buffalo, many different species of antelope and a wide variety of birds. The river here marks the border with DR Congo and there are often hippo to be found resting in the river.

Later, continue your journey south, approx. 2 hours, through beautiful green countryside, to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – home of the endangered mountain gorillas and also a UNESCO world heritage site.

Accommodation: Engagi Lodge

Engagi is conveniently located near to the park headquarters. It sits on a gentle hillside with stunning views into the forest and provides great opportunities to watch the birds. There is a lovely open-sided restaurant and a lounge where you can enjoy a drink by the fire. The lounge also has the central charging point as the cottages have only solar lighting. The cottages are a short walk away and are comfortably furnished with en suite bathrooms. The staff are very friendly and helpful and there is an excellent local massage service for those with tired limbs!

Gorilla Tracking

Today brings one of the highlights of your safari: tracking the mountain gorillas.

At 07:30, you’ll receive a briefing at the Park HQ and then join your group, rangers and porters for a jungle walk, as you track your gorilla family. The rangers will go at your pace and always offer a helping hand, if necessary. Once you find your gorilla family, you have the privilege of spending an hour in their company; watching as they eat, groom, play or move through the forest. Memories you will surely treasure.

Gorilla numbers are slowly increasing and this is another a great example of tourism supporting conservation, as the local community benefits from tourism and, in turn, values, the gorillas which attract the tourists.

Depending on the duration of your trek (approx. 3-8 hours), you may have time afterwards to visit the local shops and craft sellers.

Accommodation: Engagi Lodge

Cultural Conservation Project

This morning you’ll travel towards Lake Mburo national park (approx. 4-5 hours) . This route passes tea, coffee, matooke and pineapple plantations, forests and rolling green hills making it a beautiful landscape to travel through. You’ll also see roadside fruit markets, bustling trading centres and all manner of things on the road from motorbikes carrying far too many passengers to lorries laden with bananas heading to Kampala.

After lunch, you’ll have the chance to visit the Bahima cattle-keepers who live in the areas surrounding the park. See the magnificent Ankole long-horn cows, including the very cute calves, and understand their importance to the Bahima tribe. The people’s love for, and dependence on, their cows is obvious and their entire culture is built around them. You will have the chance to try your hand at milking and visit a home to meet family members and see how milk is turned into products like ghee. Also see how cultural artefacts like the wooden milk pots are made and used in the home and in traditional ceremonies.

In the evening, there is a special session giving your group the chance to interact with the Park‘s Community Conservation Warden to hear about the challenges and successes of their work.

Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock

This popular lodge lies just outside the park boundary on a rocky outcrop with excellent views across the park. There is a beautiful lodge housing the lounge, bar and dining areas and you will often see animals grazing in the environs. The food served is tasty and the staff always provide a warm welcome. The cottages are comfortable and provide a real bush experience. There is also a rock pool where you can take a dip after a long, dusty day in the park.

Safari Walk and Game Drive

Today, you have a full day to explore the park – one of Uganda’s smallest but most interesting parks. Although it does not have elephant and lion, it has large populations of some species not found in many other Ugandan parks such as Eland, Zebra and Impala.

Start by exploring the park on foot: getting closer to the animals, make use of hides and viewing towers and see things that would not be visible from the road such as dens, carcasses and animal tracks.

Then, in the afternoon, travel further afield in the park on a game drive. Tour the park’s various tracks in search of game and visit locations such as the Lookout, mud holes and dam’s where the animals congregate to drink. Because there are no big predators here, you can enjoy experiences like walking with Giraffes, with the supervision of your ranger. This is also an excellent park for birding with a range of different habitats yielding a wide variety of species.

Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock

Transfer to Entebbe

Start your journey back to Entebbe (4-5 hours). There will be lots of opportunities to stop and stretch your legs along the way, including time at the equator where you can have a photo moment with a foot in each hemisphere! Depending on your time of arrival in Entebbe, you can enjoy some shopping or relax and have coffee and cake.

Your guide will drop you at the airport for your flight home.

You will have some cherished memories from this amazing safari and hopefully plenty of inspiration for your next visit!

What's included

Included

  • All meals are included, often at your lodge
  • Transfers from the airport to your accommodation
Your local host

Lesley Harris and Byaruhanga Michael

Our team provides you with a great local experience because we are on the ground in Uganda. We live here, speak the local languages, understand the cultures of the different tribes and regions and we are passionate about tourism. Between us, we have probably tried most of the tourism activities available throughout the country.

In addition, we actively work with community members to help them create tourism experiences like farm visits, home stays and boat trips with local fishermen. These provide our guests with an authentic insight into Ugandan life and ensure tourism supports community development.

We also employ the best professional guides who enrich holidays not only with their knowledge about wildlife but also their insights into culture, politics and history. They love their country and want to share it with you. And don’t forget, Uganda is famous for its friendly, welcoming people!

Lesley Harris and Byaruhanga Michael image

FAQs

What meals are included, and can you cater to dietary requirements?

This itinerary has a full-board meal plan meaning breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided every day, often at your lodge. There will be opportunities to have both local and international cuisine and both vegetarians and vegans can be catered for with advance notice. All meals come with a soft drink or drinking water and additional drinks, including alcohol, can be bought from the lodges and restaurants.  You will be given a reusable water bottle which can be topped-up from a big bottle inside the vehicle throughout your holiday. Tea, coffee and some small snacks will also be available in the vehicle during certain activities like game drives.

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