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12-Day Best of Uganda with Murchison Falls, Gorillas, and Chimps

12-Day Best of Uganda with Murchison Falls, Gorillas, and Chimps

12 days

12-Day Best of Uganda with Murchison Falls, Gorillas, and Chimps
from $6295 USD

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Our "Uganda Grand Tour" allows you to visit Uganda's most heralded protected areas including Murchsion Falls National Park, Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park (north and south) and Bwindi Impentrable Forest National Park. Besides beautiful scenery and meaningful encounters with the lovely Ugandan people, this itinerary includes plenty of classic African wildlife and endemic birds plus thrilling eye-to-eye encounters with chimpanzees and gorillas.

Days 1-11 take you on a memorable one-way journey through Uganda's most prized reserves that culiminates with your gorilla trek (Day 11). On Day 12, you'll fly back to Entebbe from Bwindi to dramatically reduce drive time. The internal flight is included in our prices.

For the keen primate enthusiast, a safari in Uganda is a must. Sitting with a gorilla family is surely one of the world's top 5 wildlife experiences. However, for more "general" nature and wildlife lovers, a safari in Tanzania or Botswana first would be the way to go, with Uganda a compelling second or third holiday to Africa.

*** Travelers can start this trip any day of the year

*** Please contact us for lower rates for parties of 4 or more travelers

*** Special lower rates apply for low season trips


Day 1: Arrive Entebbe Airport, transfer and overnight (D)

Welcome to Uganda! Meet and greet at the Entebbe Airport by your guide. From here, transfer to your hotel about 10 minutes away in Entebbe, which borders Kampala.

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda. With a population of about 2 million, Kampala city is the largest urban settlement in Uganda. Kampala was developed around a fort constructed by Frederick Lugard in 1890 for the British East Africa Company. In 1962, Kampala replaced Entebbe as the national capital.

Meals included: n/a
Mid-Range Accommodations: The Boma Lodge

Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park via Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (BLD)


Today depart for the most beautiful reserve in Uganda: Murchison Falls National Park. En route, we'll make an exciting stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The reserve was created to reintroduce rhinos in Uganda, where they had been extinct since 1982. Together with your local guide, track the rhinos on foot and see them up-close. After about an hour out in the field observing the rhinos, enjoy lunch at the Rhino sanctuary and continue the drive to Murchison Falls National Park.  If time allows, you will be able to visit to Top of the Falls for a first view of the magnificent waterfalls. Check in at your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Murchison River Lodge

Day 3: Morning game drive, afternoon boat trip upstream on the Nile (BLD)


After an early breakfast we start the day with a game drive on the northern bank of the Nile, with chances of seeing Rothschild giraffe, elephants, lions, Jackson hartebeest, oribis, waterbucks, various species of the savannah woodland birds, and if very lucky, even the elusive leopard.

In the afternoon enjoy an extensive exploration by boat on the Nile river, upstream towards the Falls. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river. You can admire on the slopes of the Nile river, the big number of hippos, elephants and the Nile crocodiles. January and February are especially rewarding for Nile crocodiles, since this is the breading season.  The launch trip is a unique adventure, full of activity and constant surprises. At the bottom of the falls, disembark and hike up to the top of the falls (approximately 1-hour) where you will be rewarded with amazing views of the Nile. Your safari guide will meet you at the top and after you are satisfied with the vistas, return to the lodge for dinner and your overnight. 

The spectacular Murchison Falls, were "discovered" by Sir Samuel White Baker in 1864. Baker spended some time to explore the Albert Nyanza (lake), during which he demonstrated that the Nile flowed through the Albert Nyanza (lake). The Falls were named after the President of the Royal Geographical Society. The Societey has been a key associate and supporter of many famous explorers and expeditions, including those of Darwin, Livingstone, Scott, John Hanning Speke, Henry Morton Stanley.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Murchison River Lodge

Day 4: Transfer to Hoima, afternoon guided rainforest walk (BLD)


After a leisure breakfast, check out and begin the long drive south, towards Fort Portal, with lunch (packed) en-route, to Hoima, about a 3-hour drive. This afternoon enjoy a guided nature walk in Bugoma. Bugoma provides a jungle home to a number of unique primates, forest elephant, buffalo, and a rich variety of birds.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Kontiki Hotel

Day 5: Transfer to Kibale National Park (BLD)


After a leisure breakfast, check out and start the drive to Fort Portal, about 5-hours away, with picnic lunch (packed) en-route. Fort Portal rests in the shadow of the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’ and is famous for her many bright green tea plantations blanketing the endless rolling hills. You will continue into Kibale National Park arriving at Primate Lodge Kibale in time for dinner and overnight.

The Rwenzori Mountains lie along the western border of Uganda and rise to a height of 5100 metres. They form a magnificent landscape of non-volcanic mountains, 120 kilometres long and 48 kilometres wide. The so-called Mountains of the Moon were formed from a single block during the creation of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley (Albertine Rift). 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: The Primate Lodge

Day 6: Full day Chimpanzee Habituation (BLD)


After breakfast, enter the enchanting realm of Kibale Forest, a special reserve renowned for the largest variety and the highest concentration of primates in East Africa. The Visitor's Center is about a 5 minute walk from the Primate Lodge. At the Visitor's Center, the rangers are ready to escort different groups, each with a maximum of 6 people. They will brief you about your guided nature walk in the tropical forest in search of the wild chimpanzees. This is one of the great experiences of African travel!

The rangers are very knowledgeable and will answer all your questions about the forest and the chimps. The Jane Goodall Institute has been assisting Uganda Wildlife Authority with the training of the rangers. On sighting the chimpanzees, we'll watch them as they go about their daily life - feeding, playing, grooming, taking care of their young, howling and screeching, in their natural habitat.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: The Primate Lodge

Day 7: Morning transfer to Mweya, afternoon Kazinga Channel (BLD)


After an early breakfast, drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park with scenic views of the crater lakes region and the surrounding rolling hills along the way. Afterwards, you will proceed south alongside the majestic Rwenzori ‘Mountains of the Moon’ to the park.

On arrival here, enjoy a relaxed wildlife small boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel which many consider as a highlight of their Uganda safari. The launch trip takes about 2 hours. Buffalo, elephants, and more are routinely spotted right on shore and in the water.

The Kazinga Channel is a natural channel of 36 km long between Lake George and Lake Edward. The launch trip is the most popular activity at Mweya. From the safe boat you can see elephants, hippo, nile crocodile and many water birds. The water birds are plentyful along the channel: African skimmers, African fish eagles, cormorants, saddle-billed storks, pelicans, etc. The Kazinga Channel divides Queen Elizabteth in a northern (Mweya) and a southern part (Maramagambo, Kyambura, Ishasha). The landscapes are truly unique and different. The northern part is an euphorbia savannah while the southern sector is a typical accacia savannah.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Katara Lodge

Day 8: Morning and afternoon game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park (BLD)


After breakfast, we shall head out for a morning game drive and head to the mating ground of the Uganda Kobs, the national animal of Uganda. We'll search for lions, elephants, buffaloes, spotted hyena. bushbuck, warthog and more as we drive. Satisfied, we'll depart the northern part of QENP and drive to the southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park in search of the park's famous tree climbing lions. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Ishasha Jungle Lodge

Day 9: Game drives in Ishasha with sundowner (BLD)


Morning and afternoon game drives in Ishasha in search of the park’s beautiful tree climbing lions, with a game drive through the Ishasha side in search of the lions. It is a beautiful route with the Rwenzori Mountains on your right side and the green valley on the left, creating one of the more scenic game drive locations in East Africa. While scouting for the lions, we’ll enjoy time with the other resident species in the park as well. After our search for the lions is over, we’ll return in time for a beautiful sundowner at the lodge as you watch the sun go down.

Optional – spend time with a lion researcher: contact us if you would like to spend the morning on a game drive with the area’s main lion researcher. For a nominal cost, it’s an excellent way to improve your chances of spotting lions and learn more about the art of lion research.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Ishasha Jungle Lodge

Day 10: Transfer to Bwindi Impentrable National Park (BLD)


Wake early for a final game drive in the wilderness while enjoying the sunrise and fresh air of the park. After your drive, enjoy breakfast and check out of the lodge then head further south to Bwindi National Park, home of the gorillas.

On arrival here, check into your lodge and enjoy lunch. After some time to rest and take in the mountain views, embark on a pleasant village walk with your guide, meeting the locals and engaging with the community. Later return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Haven Lodge Buhoma

Day 11: Gorilla Trek (BLD)


Arise early today and prepare for an amazing adventure: an unforgettable encounter with the gentle giants of Bwindi. Following breakfast, transfer to the park offices where trekkers are divided into groups of 8 and allocated a specific gorilla family to visit as well as a tracking guide.

After a pre-trek briefing by your guide (which touches on the gorillas generally, your assigned gorilla family as well as appropriate safety precautions), you drive to the trailhead for the start of your thrilling adventure – participants should prepare to walk long distances in steep and sometimes muddy conditions with rain overhead, which can be tough and require a degree of fitness. Granted, the time taken can be variable, taking anywhere from 3 to 8-hours (or rarely, longer) however the thrill of coming face to face with a giant mountain gorilla silverback will more than compensate for the effort.

Once you've arrived at the gorilla family, you spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life; feeding, moving, playing, raising their young and sometimes wrestling by the juveniles – it is a totally unique and unforgettable experience!

Note: Please remember to bring your passport for registration, appropriate, waterproof hiking boots and a light rain coat. To protect from stinging nettles, we recommend long pants and long sleeved tops. A pair of old gardening gloves can help grabbing onto the vegetation while most hotels/lodges provide a walking stick that come in very handy especially when hiking downhill.  A small waterproof backpack is an excellent idea to carry a light snack, bottled water as well as protection for your camera. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Haven Lodge Buhoma

Day 12: Fly back to Entebbe, depart (B)


This morning, transfer to Kihihi Airstrip (about 1 hour from the lodge) for your departure flight out of Impenetrable forest of Bwindi and back to Entebbe. If time allows, we'll arrange a guided visit of the Mabamba swamp (home of the massive shoebill stork) and later help you connect with your international flight back home.

Meals included: Breakfast


12-Day Best of Uganda with Murchison Falls, Gorillas, and Chimps
from $6295 USD
*** Contact Us for other itinerary and lodging options! ***

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • Private Land Cruiser with removable top for wildlife viewing
  • Private professional English-speaking Driver-guide
  • Internal one-way flight: Bwindi to Entebbe
  • High season supplement
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Gorilla permit: $700/person/day starting July 1, 2020
  • Chimpanzee Habituation permit (full-day): US$250/person
  • Flights Kihihi-Entebbe: $320/person one-way (estimate)
  • Tips for your park ranger gorilla guide ($10/person)
  • Tips for your driver/guide ($10/person/day)
  • Personal porter on the gorilla trek to help carry gear ($10/person)
  • Drinks except mineral water in the vehicle and coffee/tea at lodges
  • Uganda Visa ($50/person)

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