On day 1 of your safari, your experienced driver/ guide will pick you up at the airport and take you to your accommodation. You will be given a short briefing and answers to any additional questions you might have regarding your upcoming safari.
Today, you will take a domestic flight to the famous Kidepo Valley National Park in the northeastern border region between Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan. Kidepo has been consistently rated as one of the best national parks in Africa due to its remote wild charm and open lightly wooded savannahs, teeming with game. One of the highlights this park has to offer is the largest group of buffalos in Africa counting more than 2.000 animals.
Further opportunities for game drives and bush walks in one of the most spectacular national parks, famous for its remote ‘hard to get to’ location and wide open landscapes, dotted with rocky ridges and rolling grasslands and lions roaming the plains against the backdrop of distant hills. The park shares its name with the famous Kidepo and Narus valleys that stretch across the border into South Sudan and contain one of the most exciting diversity of wildlife of any national park in Uganda, including the greater and lesser kudu and eland. Carnivores include the lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and black-backed and side-striped jackals. Other large species regularly seen wandering into the park sometimes from as far as South Sudan are elephant, Burchell’s zebra, Rothschild’s giraffe, Cape buffalo and Jackson’s hartebeest.
The park also offers an extensive range of tropical birds to discover and with a total of 475 species identified to date, including 56 species of birds of prey, Kidepo Valley National Park is second only to Queen Elizabeth when it comes to the amazing variety of bird life to locate. Driving to the hot springs also gives you the opportunity to see ostriches.
Today, you will drive to Murchison Falls National Park, which is the largest national park in Uganda. The northern section of the park contains savanna and borassus palms, acacia trees and riverine woodland with the south dominated by woodland and forest patches that offer an amazing variety of wildlife such as buffalo, lion, elephant, kob as well as Rothschild’s giraffe. In the southern sector of the park, you can also venture on chimpanzee tracking in the Budongo forest. The park shares its name with the famous Murchison Falls, whose massive 43 meter falls of boiling water are forced through a 7 meter wide gap before crashing into the wooded country below.
After an early breakfast, you will be heading out for a morning game drive to find the best game viewing and photo opportunities in the park. In the afternoon, you will be going on an impressive tour of the River Nile to the spectacular base of the Murchison Falls, where you can observe hippos, Nile crocodiles and a magnificent variety of tropical birds with the roar of the falls as a backdrop. Once you reach the bottom part of the falls, you will depart the boat and venture on a trek to the top of the falls with a grand view of the mist covered landscape and a close-up view of the falls from above. The magic of Uganda comes alive in these natural marvels; an experience to remember forever. Time permitting, the following extra cost activities are available for today:
Option 1 - Chimpanzee Tracking: You can go on an exhilarating search for the chimpanzees in the dense jumble of the Budongo Forest with the further opportunity of observing a great number of tropical bird species in their natural habitat.
Option 2 - Nile Delta Cruise: You can participate in a Nile Delta Boat Cruise to visit the papyrus ecosystem that developed in the area where the river Nile joins Lake Albert. The delta is home to a range of rare wetland birds, including the famous shoebill stork. Other wildlife such as leopards can also be observed.
After breakfast we depart to the Semliki National Park, one of the oldest protected area in Uganda and home to a staggering array of flora and fauna. The Reserve is situated in the basin of the Western Rift Valley and is one of the most diverse habitats in Africa with wonderful examples of Riparian forest, and borassus palm forest, intersected with short and high grass savannas. Chimps exist next to rare forest elephants, lions, buffalos as well as a variety of other species recognised in Western Uganda.
Today, you will drive to the unique Kibale Forest National Park where you have the opportunity to track chimpanzees in their natural habitat and relish sensational views of lush green rainforests, alive with the cacophonous calls of varicoloured birds. There are now more than 1.000 chimpanzees living in the region, in addition to black and white as well as red Colobus monkeys. There is also the chance of observing the massive lumbering yet silent forest elephants and hundreds of tropical bird species.
In the morning you can go on an exhilarating search for the chimpanzees in the dense jumble of tropical forests with the further opportunity of observing a great number of tropical bird species in their natural habitat. Kibale Forest National Park is home to the largest population of primates in the world including our peaceful relatives, the chimpanzees. Time permitting, the following extra cost activities are available for today:
Option 1 - Bigodi Swamp Walk: In the afternoon, you can venture into the Bigodi swamp lands, past scenic villages and forest tracks where you will likely see several kinds of monkeys including black and white colobus, red Colobus, Mangabey, Vervet and the occasional chimpanzee. The wetland is community managed, known for its biodiversity and is also considered a birder's paradise with close to 140 identified species. Experienced bird watchers can add up to 50 new species to their list including the Great Blue Turaco.
Option 2 - Crater Lake Hike: Alternatively, you can bike or hike around the Kyaninga crater lake or spend the day at the Kyaninga Lodge with invigorating views of undisturbed landscapes and the opportunity to further experience the lush flora and fauna of this region. Meet local people and learn about their cultures and traditions.
Queen Elizabeth is one of the oldest National Parks in Uganda, and the early morning game drive through the park provides you with the exhilarating opportunity to see an amazing variety of wildlife up close. The park is home to 95 species of mammals and over 500 species of tropical birds as well as the world's largest concentration of hippos.
And then you will experience an exciting boat cruise on the famous Kazinga Channel, a 32 km long natural link between two of the largest lakes in the area, Lake Edward to Lake George, as it meanders through the lush park with its abundance of wildlife. Be assured that Kazinga will be one of the highlights of your safari. Time permitting, the following extra cost activities are available for today:
Option 1 - Balloon Safari: You have the optional opportunity to start the day early with a new and unique way to experience the wilderness of Queen Elizabeth National Park teaming with wildlife. Catch the sunrise, as you silently glide over the park in a large hot air balloon and enjoy a bush breakfast in the wild with the serene vistas of rolling green hills and savannahs as a backdrop.
Option 2 - Chimpanzee Tracking: Optionally, you can also go on an exhilarating search for the chimpanzees in the valley of the Kyambura Gorge with the further opportunity of observing a great number of tropical bird species in their natural habitat. The stunning Kyambura Gorge, also called the ‘Valley of Apes’, is located in the far eastern corner of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and is about 1 kilometre across at its broadest point and 100 meters deep.
Another highlight of your visit awaits you during a game drive to Ishasha which is in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and with that the opportunity to see the rare and unique tree climbing lions. Legends have been built around the tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park and spotting one of the cats is a very special experience indeed as there are only two places in the world where you can find tree climbing lions.
Today you make your way from Queen Elizabeth to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to the world famous Mountain Gorilla. Almost half of all Mountain Gorillas live in Bwindi and the park itself is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its expanse of ancient and undisturbed tropical forests dating back to the last ice age. The opportunities for exploration this park offers appear almost limitless.
In the morning, you venture out on a trek into the dense and tangled forests past beautiful water falls with sunlight filtering through the dense foliage of the jungle canopy. Today’s activity represent another major highlight of your Ugandan safari as you can visit the world famous Mountain Gorillas. On this tracking adventure, you will have the exhilarating opportunity to visit the Mountain Gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo thickets and relish sensational views of lush green rainforests, alive with the cacophonous calls of varicoloured birds. Nothing however can prepare one for the impact of encountering a mountain gorilla close up, twice the size of an average man, yet remarkably gentle and tolerant of human visitors.
The following extra cost activities are available for today:
Option 1 - Golden Monkey Tracking at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Venture into the forests of Mgahinga to track the rare Golden Monkeys. They are considered the smallest of the primates and are an endangered species. Named after their golden appearing colour, with black limbs and a crown on their head, these monkeys are a lovely species to observe and can only be found in three countries worldwide. While trekking along the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes, through the dense bamboo forests, keep your eyes up to help the rangers spot the red brown fur of these beautiful monkeys.
Option 2 - Batwa Trail: The Batwa Trail project was initiated by the Batwa Forest People of southwestern Uganda and has been implemented with support from the International Gorilla Conservation Programme in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Batwa guides take visitors on a day long hike along the mountain trails in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to share with them the secrets of this primeval forest and the opportunity to experience the extraordinary life and culture of the Batwa people.
Option 3 - Volcano Trekking: Alternatively, you can venture on an exhilarating climb on either one of the three Virunga Volcanoes that are situated on the Ugandan side of the border. The climbs vary in degrees of difficulty and lengths. Whichever you choose, the experience is bound to be a memorable event indeed:
Mount Muhabura: This is the second highest of the volcanoes and represents the border region between Rwanda and Uganda. It offers fantastic views of at least 5 of the volcanoes in the area and the climb itself is considered demanding, is often very steep and may take a day to achieve.
Mount Sabinyo: Should you choose to try your climbing luck on this volcano, this can be demanding and sometimes difficult, so you need to be fit for a good long climbing session. The volcano is about 3.645 meters high and the climb may take 7 to 8 hours.
Mount Gahinga: At 3.474 meters, Mount Gahinga is the smallest of three and therefore also the easiest and fastest to climb. Gahinga once had a crater lake on top which changed into a lush swamp over time.
Drive back from Bwindi to Entebbe with the additional opportunity to take a photo at the Equator crossing. Depedning on your time of departure, you may spent anotjer night in Entebbe / Kampala.
Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.