12 days Ugandan Safari: Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park (incl Tree Climbing Lions), Rhinos at Ziwa and Gorilla Tracking

All Inclusive 12 days Uganda tour and holiday to mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees in Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest, and Game drives in Queen Elizabeth N.Park and, Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest plus golden monkey

Safari tour package:
A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Price per person*:
$3066 - $5545
Includes internal flights:
No
Length of safari:
12 days
Best months:
January - March, June - December
Countries visited:
Parks visited:
Activity level:
Easy - Game drives, bush dinners
Safari type:
Birding safaris Birding Boating safaris Boating
*Prices are estimates and used as guidelines only. Please contact the tour operator for an exact quote.
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Day 1: Briefing on the safari. Start for Murchison Falls National Park safari with a chance to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Day 2: Safari game drives Murchison Falls National Park looking for giraffes, elephants, lions, leopard, hippos, crocodiles, etc
Day 3: drive to Kibale National Park for Chimps, primates tracking
Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking, tracking over 12 primates in Kibale National Park
Day 5: drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Game drive, boat trip on Kazinga Channel
Day 7: Game drive searching for lions and other wildlife
Day 8: Ishasha Sector, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 9: Gorilla trekking (Bwindi Impenetrable NP) other primates
Day 10: Drive to Kisoro
Day 11: Golden Monkey Tracking.
Day 12: Drive to Kampala/ Entebbe

Day 1: Briefing on the safari. Start for Murchison Falls National Park safari with a chance to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
After your breakfast, we drive through the famous Luwero triangle. You can choose to visit and track White Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary at $40/ per person. This sanctuary has now been established to breed black and white rhino, and restore Rhino populations in Uganda's protected areas in a later stage.) Take a stopover at Masindi hotel for lunch. We will continue through the park stopping at the top of the falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters. From here we will continue onto our accommodation place along the Nile river

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest in Uganda at 3840 square kilometres. Here is the awe inspiring Murchison Falls where the River Nile hurls itself in convulsions through a narrow crevice and then plunges 40 metres in one breathtaking leap. The park has a variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamp lands to broad savannah, and provides visitors the opportunity of seeing large concentrations of wildlife including lion, leopard, civet, hyena, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, a host of smaller game, small primates and many bird species, including the rare shoebill stork. The park is especially famous for crocodiles and hippos. Apart from game viewing, the launch trip to the bottom of the Falls is another memorable adventure giving you the experience of the mighty Biblical Nile. On the launch you may see schools of crocodiles and hippos basking on the river banks as well as a variety of birds.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Paraa Safari Lodge or Nile Safari Lodge
Moderate: Sambiya River Lodge / Fort Murchison Lodge / Murchison River Lodge/ Pakuba Lodge
Low Budget: Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 2: Safari game drives Murchison Falls National Park looking for giraffes, elephants, lions, leopard, hippos, crocodiles, etc
After break fast head to the Delta in search for bird life and enjoy the game drive to look for lions, giraffes, herds of elephants, buffaloes and many more. We will drive back to the lodge for lunch before taking an afternoon boat cruise to the foot of Murchison Falls. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles. The bird life is stunning with brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks. If lucky, you may see the rare and prehistoric looking shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.
all on full board basis)
Up-market: Paraa Safari Lodge or Nile Safari Lodge
Moderate: Sambiya River Lodge / Fort Murchison Lodge / Murchison River Lodge/ Pakuba Lodge
Low Budget: Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 3: drive to Kibale National Park for Chimps, primates tracking
Leave Murchison falls N.P for Kibale Forest N.P via the Lake Albert escarpment, having a good view of the lake. Stopover at Kolping Hotel in Hoima for lunch and after drive across the interesting river Nkusi (flowing from the southern end of L. Albert, through the villages of Kagadi, joining Victoria Nile). Both rivers join L.Kyoga and flow through the Murchison Falls continue to L. Albert and north to the Mediterranean sea.

Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan Villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good "photo opportunities". As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed. You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a terrific area for birds. This rural Ugandan town (Fort Portal) is locally famous for its weaving and basketry, and we can spend some time briefly to examine some of this local art.

Fort Portal is a small and attractive city. The fort was built between 1891 and 1893 and named after Sir Gerald Portal, the British Consul General of Zanzibar who arrived in Uganda in 1892 to formalise the protectorate of Uganda. He died of malaria a few months after the fort was completed.
During the afternoon we have time to visit the scenic crater lakes region, checking out the superbly terraced tea estates. In the south of Fort Portal is Kasenda Crater Lakes region. It sits on the rim of Lake Nyinambuga—the back of the main building looks down over the lake, while the other side of the lodge looks out over another lake in the distance and, further off, the Rwenzori Mountains, which were perpetually shrouded in the clouds, except early in the morning. There’s plenty to do in this area and we can also take an hour’s walk around Lake Nyinambuga.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge or Primate Lodge Kibale or Ndali Lodge
Moderate: Kibale Forest Camp
Low Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

 

Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking, tracking over 12 primates in Kibale National Park
 Assemble at Kanyankyu River camp at 0800hours to go for the most popular activity in this park which is Chimpanzee tracking. Chimpanzees are man’s closet cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate’s species. More primates like Black and white Columbus monkeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Grey cheecked Mangabey, Red tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, Little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee eater and mammals like Elephants can be seen in this walk.
 Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.
 Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge or Primate Lodge Kibale or Ndali Lodge
Moderate: Kibale Forest Camp
Low Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse


Meals Included on Day 2: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

 

Day 5: drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park
afterwards, we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (about 3 hours driving). Leaving through Fort Portal town, you turn south and early this afternoon enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains-the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the South West by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Zaire Parc Du Virunga. You will expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda Kob, as well as topi, elephant and lion, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market/ Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge
Mid-range: Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge or Engazi Lodge
Budget price: Mweya Albertine Hostels or Simba Safari Camp

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Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Game drive, boat trip on Kazinga Channel
 We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park on the Kasenyi Track in search of lions, elephants, solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for opportunities of viewing the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kobs. We have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range. In the afternoon we will go for a launch trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray very close from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallow; elephants watering, and many other wildlife. At least 80% of the wildlife in Queen Elizabeth national park can be found along this Channel. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others. Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market/ Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge
Mid-range: Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge or Engazi Lodge
Budget price: Mweya Albertine Hostels or Simba Safari Camp

 (Game Drive takes about  3 hours, boat trip takes 3 hours)

Day 7: Game drive searching for lions and other wildlife
After early morning breakfast, embark on another game drive in search of lions, elephants, buffalo, kobs, elands, and other antelope species.
Have some time to relax after breakfast. In the afternoon enjoy a game drive in the northern part of the park, visiting the Baboon Cliff famous for its nice scenery, and good views of the shadows of the mountains of the moon – the Rwenzoris.
We expect to spot more wildlife along through large expanses of savannah grasslands. If the tracks are not so bad, we may do one other drive through the Edward's flats to see more elephants, large herds of buffalo and different water-birds. Occasionally we might find in this area the shoebill stork and by surprise some hunting lions. Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market/ Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge
Mid-range: Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge or Engazi Lodge
Budget price: Mweya Albertine Hostels or Simba Safari Camp

Day 8: Ishasha Sector, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Seasons allowing, you will drive through the Ishasha sector in search for the tree-climbing lions. Nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha. This game drive en route will expose you to some of the animals that you might have missed seeing while on your game drives in Kasenyi and Queens Mile. Arrival in Bwindi is in the late afternoon. Once you are checked-in, you could rather be interested in rural African culture and we suggest you take a guided village walk in Buhoma Village– see how Ugandans live, visit a local bar and meet the local medicine man! Please speak to your guide about the various options.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Lodge
Moderate: Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel, or Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp or Buhoma Community Campground

 

Day 9: Gorilla trekking (Bwindi Impenetrable NP) other primates
You will surely enjoy these two days! After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip- Gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day. We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.
 Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk along distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.
 
 While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles over at least 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterfly, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 types of mammal including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla. Bwindi is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics, species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Lodge
Moderate: Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel, or Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp or Buhoma Community Campground

 

Day 10: Drive to Kisoro
After the trek, we drive to Kisoro.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Clouds Lodge
Moderate: Gorilla safari lodge

Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel,

Day 11: Golden Monkey Tracking.
After breakfast we will trek the scenic Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and our target this morning will be to track a troop of golden monkeys. Mgahinga is more famous for mountain gorillas but also the only place in Uganda where the rare golden monkeys can be found. Apart from primates, the park has rare bird species, some endemic to the Albertine rift area such as Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Turaco, Archers Robin Chat and many more. Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Clouds Lodge
Moderate: Gorilla safari lodge

Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel,

Day 12: Drive to Kampala/ Entebbe
Early breakfast before embarking on our return to Kampala, driving down the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’. This area is a highly fertile, mountainous region with steep sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced cultivated rows.
A remarkable highlight of this journey is the Equator line and surely you will cross it as we have a brief stop here. We will be in Kampala in the evening.
 

Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.

  • Paraa Safari Lodge or Nile Safari Lodge
  • Sambiya River Lodge / Fort Murchison Lodge / Murchison River Lodge/ Pakuba Lodge
  • Red Chilli Rest Camp
  • Kyaninga Lodge or Primate Lodge Kibale or Ndali Lodge
  • Kibale Forest Camp
  • Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse
  • Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara Lodge
  • Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge or Engazi Lodge
  • Mweya Albertine Hostels or Simba Safari Camp
  • Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Lodge
  • Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
  • Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp or Buhoma Community Campground
  • Clouds Lodge
  • Gorilla safari lodge
  • Travellers Rest Hotel,

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Since: Oct 2009

Parks you will visit

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Animals you will see

African buffalo
African buffalo
Baboon
Baboon
Bushbaby
Bushbaby
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Elephant
Elephant
Giraffe
Giraffe
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Activities you can do

Bird watching
Bird watching
Boating / canoeing
Boating / canoeing
Bush walks
Bush walks
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Fishing
Fishing
Game drives
Game drives
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