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16 Days the Pearl of Africa

tree climbing lions uganda

Overview

Overview

Looking for a once in a lifetime experience? Stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to visit the reintroduced white rhino. Have game drives on the large savannah at Murchison Falls National Park and boat trips to the Murchison Falls and the Victoria Nile delta. In the delta there is a fair chance to see the strange shoebill. Meet a close relative in Kibale Forest during a chimp walk and see lots of birds and smaller primate species when walking through Bigodi Swamp. Look for lion, leopard and the unique Uganda kob during game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park. See lots of African buffalo, hippo, bush elephant and other mammals when sailing the Kazinga Channel, but don’t forget to look for birds and large Nile crocodiles. Meet a small group of chimpanzees in the untouched Kyambura Gorge and look for tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha Sector. Have a relaxing day at Lake Bunyonyi or rent a canoe and watch for otters and birdlife.

Enjoy one of the highlights of this tour: gorilla tracking. 

Visit the last mountain gorillas in the afromontane forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and spend an hour amongst these gentle giants. Have an extra day to explore Kisoro and surroundings. Spend time at a coffee tour or climb for example Mount Gahinga. Have to complete this great tour several game drives in Lake Mburo and watch for impala, plains zebra, eland antelope and topi, but don’t forget the wide variety of birds. Have a relaxing boat trip on Lake Mburo and look for the elusive African finfoot and wonder yourself about the large numbers of African fish eagle.

Summarized itinerary

Day 1: To Murchison Falls NP

Day 2: In Murchison Falls NP

Day 3: In Murchison Falls NP

Day 4: To Kibale NP

Day 5: Chimp walk and Swamp walk

Day 6: To Queen Elizabeth NP

Day 7: In Queen Elizabeth NP

Day 8: In Queen Elizabeth NP

Day 9: To Lake Bunyonyi

Day 10: To Bwindi Impenetrable NP

Day 11: Gorilla tracking

Day 12: To Kisoro

Day 13: In Kisoro

Day 14: To Lake Mburo NP

Day 15: In Lake Mburo NP

Day 16: To Kampala

Day 1: To Murchison Falls NP

Early morning, we will pick you from the hotel or guesthouse of your choice and take you to Murchison Falls National Park. We will stop for lunch in Masindi and then drive for 90 kms through the park, aiming for Paraa. On the way we will visit the Top of the Falls, with a wonderful view over Murchison Falls NP and the Nile. We will reach Paraa late in the afternoon, and Luxury Tour participants will cross the Nile by ferry to reach Paraa Safari Lodge. For Budget Tour clients, we will stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for tracking the Rhinos and also have Lunch here before continuing via Karuma Bridge to reach later in the afternoon at Fort Murchison just outside the park boundaries.”” The day will close with a cool drink and a fabulous view over the river Nile, and the evening coming with all the noise of an African night.

Driving time: ± 7,5 hours

Day 1, 2 and 3

Budget Tour: Fort Murchison – “Lazy” camping

Comfortable Tour: Fort Murchison

 

Day 2: In Murchison Falls NP

The day will be spent viewing game around the park and along the Nile. We will leave early in the morning (if staying at Nile Safari Lodge or Red Chili, Paraa we will cross the Nile with the ferry at 7.00am) and go on a game drive from 8.00am to 12.00noon, seeing several animals including lions and giraffes. In the afternoon (2.00pm to 5.00 pm) we will go on the impressive launch trip on the Nile, up to the Falls, giving you a chance to see hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants and many many different birds!

Day 3: In Murchison Falls NP

Early in the morning the boat will take us downstream to the delta, where the Nile enters Lake Albert. This trip of 5-6 hours will show us all the beauty of this national park especially the delta with all the different birds. This is a good chance to see the elusive Shoebill Stork! In the afternoon you can relax, and if you are on the Luxury Tour you can swim at your respective Lodges.

Day 4: To Kibale NP

Early in the morning we will leave for Kibale Forest NP. We will pass close to Lake Albert: on a clear day the view from the top of the Albert rift is spectacular. In the afternoon we will arrive at Kibale Forest Camp, where we will stay sleeping with the noises of the tropical rainforest. Sometimes we stay at Chimpanzee Guesthouse, overlooking Nyabikere Crater Lake, where we will stay. The lake is famous for the frogs: at night they always give a beautiful concert.

Driving time: ± 9 hours

Day 4 and 5

Budget Tour: Kibale Forest Camp – “Lazy” camping

Comfortable Tour: Kibale Forest Camp

 

Day 5: Chimp walk and Swamp walk

At 8.00am we will start with the 4-hour chimp walk – during which you may also get to see 10 other primates! Kibale NP is also known for all the butterflies and birds. In the afternoon we will walk through Bigodi Swamp (home to a community-based project).

 

Day 6: To Queen Elizabeth NP

Early morning, we will leave for Queen Elizabeth NP. We will travel through Fort Portal and reach Mweya in Queen Elizabeth NP at midday, with a stunningly beautiful view over Kazinga Channel. You will check in at your accommodation and have lunch, and in the late afternoon (4.00-7.00pm) we will go on a game drive.

Driving time: ± 4,5 hours

Day 6, 7 and 8

Budget Tour: The Bush Lodge – “Lazy” camping

Comfortable Tour: The Bush Lodge

 

Day 7: In Queen Elizabeth NP

This day is for a game drive on the plains of Queen Elizabeth NP, with thousands of Ugandan kobs, lions, elephants etc. Also, on the programme is two hours launch trip on the Kazinga channel where we will see all the animals from the waterside.

 

Day 8: In Queen Elizabeth NP

Our second day in this beautiful park. Very early in the morning after breakfast we will go to Kyambura Gorge. Here people can go for a 3-4 hour walk into the Gorge to meet the chimpanzees. After Lunch at Jacana Safari Lodge, we will drive for 2 hours to the Southern sector of Queen Elizabeth NP called Ishasha Sector, famous for its tree climbing lions. Game drive in the afternoon to search for the tree climbing lions.

Day 9: To Lake Bunyonyi

After breakfast we will drive to Lake Bunyonyi, a beautiful place surrounded by the hills of Western Uganda. The road takes us through a beautiful landscape called the “Switzerland of Africa”. Lake Bunyonyi is famous for birds, otters and delicious crayfish. We will spend the rest of the day here, have a swim if you want, try a canoe, or simply relax looking at the over 300 bird’s species you can sometimes see from the veranda (bring your binoculars)!

Driving time: ± 4,5 hours

Day 9

Budget Tour: Crater bay Cottages

Comfortable Tour: Crater bay Cottages

 

Day 10: To Bwindi Impenetrable NP

In the morning we leave for South of Bwindi. For people who like to walk, the first 14 km is a stunning beautiful walk along the lakeshore and above on the hills. The road takes us through a beautiful landscape called the “Switzerland of Africa”. We pass mountains, hills and lakes with cultivated terraces and tropical rainforest and bamboo forest.

Driving time: ± 4,5 hours

Day 10 and 11

Budget Tour: Gorilla Valley Lodge

Comfortable Tour: Gorilla Valley Lodge

 

Day 11: Gorilla tracking

This is the day of Gorilla tracking. From Gorilla Valley Lodge or Gorilla Safari Lodge it is 30 minutes by car to Nkuringo/Nshongi/Mishaya/Kahungye group in South Bwindi. At 7:45 A:M you will be at the Offices of Bwindi Impenetrable NP for pre-briefing and at 8:30 you will start the trek after finding the Gorillas you will spend with maximum 1 hour. All visitors are expected back to the starting point by 7:00 PM. Being physically fit is recommended.

Day 12: To Kisoro

Early in the morning we will leave for Kisoro, travelling through a beautiful landscape also defined as the “Switzerland of Africa”: mountains, lakes, hills with cultivated terraces, tropical rainforest and bamboo forest. On the last hill the landscape unfolds beneath us, taking in the vast planes between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, with the Virunga volcanoes dominating the view. At the bottom of the valley is Kisoro, where we will stay at the famous Traveler’s Rest Hotel.

In the sixties the famous American ‘gorilla-woman’ Dian Fossey visited the Traveler’s Rest Hotel many, many times to do paperwork, relax or meet people. Fossey said about the hotel: “It was my second home”. Traveler’s Rest Hotel is just outside Kisoro and offers a cozy stay for the tourists coming to see the endangered mountain gorilla. The hotel, built in a somewhat colonial style, and entirely renovated in 1999, has a comfortable ambiance.

Driving time: ± 3,5 hours

Day 12 and 13

Budget Tour: Traveler’s Rest Hotel

Comfortable Tour: Traveler’s Rest Hotel

 

Day 13: In Kisoro

Days 12 and 13 will be spent in and around Kisoro, with Traveler’s Rest Hotel as the home base.

In Kisoro you can undertake several very interesting activities, all of which can be done individually or in groups.

They include:

Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga (1 day). NB: the gorilla in Mgahinga move around so the Uganda Wildlife Authority doesn’t sell permits in advance – you have to take your chance once you are in Kisoro.

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda. NB: if you are going for the 2nd gorilla trek in Rwanda you will be transferring to Rwanda on day 2 after trekking in Uganda, and spend a night there. After the trekking you will cross back to Kisoro (1 day).

Climbing Muhavura Volcano (± 8 hrs; distance 12km; height 4127m; elevation gain 1700m).

Climbing Gahinga Volcano (± 6 hrs; distance 8km; height 3474m; elevation gain 1100m).

Visit to Sabinyo Gorge (± 4 hrs; distance 6km, no elevation gain).

Climbing Sabinyo Volcano (Sabinyo has three peaks, you can climb all three in the same walk, but you need to be fit!! ± 8 hrs; distance 14 km; height 3669m, elevation gain 1300 m).

Hiking in Mgahinga to the viewpoint and Garama Cave (pygmy cave) (± 4 hrs; distance 1 and 4 km).

Bird walk in Mgahinga (start at 10am, it can last until 4-5pm).

Cultural village walk (with a local guide walking through the land of the Bufumbira tribe)

Walk to Lake Mutanda. Visit Python island and go canoeing on this beautiful lake.

Batwa Trail: It starts at the base of Mt Muhavura at 8.00 am and finishes by 3-4 pm. You’ll need walking shoes, hat, and raingear, and a packed lunch with sufficient drinks.The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the Muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife but the Batwa Trail is far from being a conventional nature walk. With the help of Batwa guides, you’ll see the forest as a larder, pharmacy, builder’s yard, tool kit and, above all a home. Along the trail, you’ll fire a bow and arrow, check hives for wild honey, help repair a Batwa shelter, harvest plants for medicine and food, light a fire without a matches, listen to legends and learn about Batwa traditions.The highlight of the trail is a descent into the Garama cave, a 200m-long lava tube beneath Mt. gahinga. The Batwa are famed for their music and dance and their historic, subterranean council chamber in Garama Cave provides the setting for an unforgettable performance.The Batwa trail is celebration of the forest culture of the “‘first people.”It is impossible, however, to ignore the fact that Batwa life has greatly changed. The day’s events conclude with a discussion about the Batwa’s current situation; how it can be improved; and progress to date towards doing so.

Or just sit and relax or read a book in the garden of Travellers Rest Hotel!

Day 14: To Lake Mburo NP

Early in the morning we will leave for Lake Mburo National Park. You will have lunch in Mbarara before you continue to Lake Mburo, a smaller but unique park, and the only one in the Western part of Uganda with impalas and zebras. In the afternoon will be make a village/cultural walk.

Driving time: ± 5,5 hours

Day 14 and 15

Budget accommodation: Mburo Eagle’s Nest – “Lazy” camping

Comfortable Tour: Mburo Eagle’s Nest

 

Day 15: In Lake Mburo NP

Early morning, we will go for a game walk. In the afternoon a boat trip on Lake Mburo followed by a game drive in the afternoon / early evening. This little park hosts a variety of animals, that is to say 68 mammal species, including a large number of Impalas (the antelope from which “Kampala” is named after), plains zebras, Uganda kobs, duikers, bushbucks, topis, buffaloes, leopards, spotted hyenas, Defassa waterbucks, warthogs, oribi. There are 315 bird species. The vegetation is mainly open savannah of acacia trees, olea and boscia. Lake Mburo NP is a natural haven for fauna and flora. The bank teems with animals and birds. Crocodiles and hippopotami are permanent residents, and buffaloes come to drink during the dry season. The wide variety of resident birds includes finfoots, malachite kingfishers, pied kingfishers, African fish eagles, Rüppell’s long-tailed starlings, blue-headed coucals, tambourine doves, hammerkops, pelicans, herons, cormorants, red-faced barbets, grey crowned cranes, papyrus yellow warblers and even rare shoebills.

Day 16: To Kampala

After breakfast the last part of the journey will bring us back to Kampala. On the way back you will have lunch in Mbarara town, and after Masaka there will be an opportunity to stop at the Equator for photo shoots and buying souvenirs and have tea or coffee. We will then bring you to a guesthouse, campsite or hotel of your choice in Kampala or Entebbe – or, if you continue your holiday somewhere else or back home, we will bring you directly to Entebbe airport for an onwards flight.

Driving time: ± 5 hours

Return flight or an extra night in our Airport Guesthouse for just $82 Double / $ 70 Single (including BB and airport transfer).

Safari inclusions

  • Entrance fees to the tourist sites Including  protected areas mentioned.
  • Full board accommodation on safari.
  • Chimpanzee tracking permit.
  • A professional English speaking driver/ guide.
  • Bottled water when on safari.
  • Fees for activities of tourists.

Safari Exclusions

  • Laundry services
  •  Beverages/drinks of personal nature like alcohol.
  •  Airport transfers arranged on request.
  • Visas
  • Other activity fees that are not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Tips for drivers/guides and other staff members.
  • International flights arranged on request.
  • Domestic flights arranged on request.
  • Any other extras not mentioned in the itinerary.

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The deposit is fully refunded if the booking is canceled up to 45 days before arrival.
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