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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 $5195 USD

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The "Uganda Grand Tour" allows you to visit Uganda's most important protected area 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 wildlife and endemic birds plus thrilling chimpanzee and gorilla viewing.

You will depart out of Kigali (Rwanda) to reduce drive time.  You can aslo add 2 days in Rwanda to see the gorillas a second time in a different environment.

Starting June 1, 2019, Air Kenya will offer service between Mara and Kisumu airports in the Maasi Mara and Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport, connecting with Aerolink’s early afternoon flights to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.

Full Itinerary expand all collapse all

Day 1: Arrive Entebbe Airport, Transfer to Kampala (D)

Meet and greet at the Entebbe Airport by your guide. You will be transfered to your hotel in 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: Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: The Boma Lodge

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


You will depart after breakfast for Murchison Falls NP and travel via Masindi and enter the Park from the south and through Kichumbanyobo gate. On the way to the park, you visit the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. You will take the ferry and cross the river Nile to the north bank where your hotel is located. Enjoy a late afternoon game drive.

Masindi Town lies in the Bunyoro Kingdom. Speke met the Bunyoro King in Kijura, now a Masindi suburb, and also met Emin Pasha in the district. Masindi was during the colonial period the gateway to the "hinterland of Africa", where goods from the Northern Congo and Southern Sudan found their way to European markets. Cargo was shipped across Lake Albert, trucked from Butiaba up to Masindi.From Masindi, goods were trucked on to Masindi Port on Lake Kyoga where it was shipped down to Soroti and then by railway to Mombasa.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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


After an early morning breakfast, you will have a full morning of spectacular game viewing!  The best area for game-viewing on the north bank is the peninsula between the Victoria and the Albert Niles. It is known for his abundant wildlife and has several tracks (Buligi track, Victoria track, Queen's track, and Albert Nile track). The Uganda kob is common here, but also the oribi and the Jackson’s hartebeest. North to the Nile you have the typical Borassus palm savannah which hosts his beautiful Rothschild giraffes plus large herds of buffalo and elephants.

The afternoon will be spent on 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!

Bird watchers will appreciate the rich bird life. The Red-throated bee-eaters breeds in large colonies along the Nile during January up to March. Overnight at your lodge.

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

Day 4: Morning visit the top of the falls, afternoon transfer to Hoima (BLD)


After an early breakfast, you will explore a second time the circuits and focus on  finding lions and leopard. The patas monkeys are also worth to look at as this is the only area where you have reasonable chances to see them.

After your game drive you will take the ferry and cross the Nile to the South ban to visit and explore the area around the top of the falls.  Transfer to Hoima for overnight.

The river Nile flows into Lake Albert and leaves the lake to the north end as the Albert Nile, flows afterwards through northern Uganda, and at the Sudan border becomes the Bahr al-Jabal or White Nile.

You will depart after lunch for Kibale and travel via Butiaba, Hoima and Fort Portal. On your way you will see the western escarpment of the Western Rift Valley (Albertine Rift) and explore lake Albert. Lake Albert is a typical Rift Valley lake lying at an altitude of 615 m between two parallel escarpments (Congo and Uganda).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Morning transfer to Kibale National Park, afternoon Bigodi Walk (BLD)


Morning transfer to Kibale National Park, afternoon Bigodi Walk.

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

Day 6: Full day Chimpanzee Habituation (BLD)


After breakfast, you will leave for Kibale Forest renowned for the greatest variety and the highest concentration of primates in East Africa. The Visitor's Center of Kanyanchu is 45 minutes away from your lodge. At the Visitor's Center, the rangers are ready to escort different groups of maximum 6 persons. 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 moments of your safari!

The rangers are very knowledgeable and will answer all your questions about the forest and the chimps. The Jan Goodall Institute has been assisting Uganda Wildlife Authority with the training of the rangers.

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

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


On the way to Mweya, you will pass Kasese town and stop at the equator for a traditional picture.  You will entrer the Queen Elizabeth National Park at the Kabatoro gate and have a short game drive on our way to Mweya which lies on a peninsula.

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).

You will have a launch trip on the Kazinga Channel which many consider as a highlight of the safari. The launch trip takes 2 hours.

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). Landscapes will be different. The northern part is an euphorbia savannah while the southern sector is a typical accacia savannah.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Morning Game Drive, afternoon transfer to Ishasha (BLD)


The best time for game-viewing is early in the morning. You will take the channel track which runs parallel with the Kazinga Channel, and we drive slowly towards the Katunguru gate. The channel track is particulrly rewarding with warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck and elephants. There are some chances in the morning hours to see the spotted hyena and leopard. We will cross the Mbarara-Kassese-Fort Portal road and drive to Kasenyi an area near to Lake George which is an interesting game viewing area. The wetlands surrounding the lake are of international importance protected by the Ramsar Convention.

You visit the Uganda Kob Mating Ground which is a defined area specifically used by Uganda Kobs for challenging, enticing and mating. Adult rams defend a circle territory (30 meters diameter) and depending on the season the mating ground can have 20 and more of this small terrirories each defended by a male. Ewes enter the terrirories for mating and move freely between rams.

Watch the spectacular fights as kobs defend their territories, look for lions as well because the high concentration of kobs attracts their predators. After the game drive, we also visit the fishing village and the salt works at Kasenyi village near to Lake George. Both sites are part of Queen Elizabeth National Park and local communities can develop some of their activities. It will be an opportunity for your guide to explain the conservation policies and the relationship with the local communities. Fishing is an important activity among the local residents.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Day 9: Full day game drive (BLD)


You will explore Ishasha, the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth considered by some experts as one of the most aluring game viewing area of East Africa. It is an off-the-beaten-track destination that you will surely enjoy.

We wake up early, of course, since this is the best time for observing nature.  You start from the southern circuit in search of the elephants and we will drive over the plains of Ishasha in the open savannah. The southern circuit has usually large herds of buffalo, Uganda kob and topi. Near to the swamps of the southern circuit you might see even leopard. We continue and drive to the northern circuit which is the area near the main road known for its tree climbing lions. We look particularly at the many fig trees where lions like to stay, but we also visit the Uganda kob mating ground which is their prefered hunting area.

After an initial scouting expedition, we return to the camp for a lunch, where we relax, observe the hippos, and we take time for a shower or siesta in the shadow of the woods.

In the afternoon, you will have another game drive and during the dry season, we will drive you to the Edward's flats to see elephants plus large herds of buffalo and different waterbirds. Occasionally, we might find in this area the shoebill stork and by surprise some hunting lions.

We return late in the afternoon to enjoy the last moments of the day on the Ntungwe River. After dinner, we sit around the campfire and enjoy the nature sounds of the woods.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mid-Range Accommodations: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

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


We depart to Bwindi, a journey that can take a maximum of 2 hours. We shall have a stop over at Kihihi for refueling and some shopping at the local stores. The Muzungu (the white visitors) are an attraction for the children of the village!

Bwindi is not far away and you will arrive at Buhoma in the afternoon. Time to have a cool drink, enjoy the sight and sounds of the rainforest. Overnight at your lodge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Gorilla Trekking at Bwindi (BLD)


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a natural world heritage site. Hikers will love it with the gorilla excursion as a high point of your safari!

Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It is 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.

Once you are back from trekking before 5 pm, you can be intertained by orphans of the Buhoma village, with their traditional Bakiga dances. For participants who want to contribute to the orphans, we advise them to bring some used clothes or school pensils/pens.

The Bwindi orphans group was created in 1998 with the main objective of taking care of the orphans dwelling on the streets of Buhoma. The high aim of the organization is to provide education, teaching agriculture and handcraft skills, teaching basic hygiene and the importance of sanitation. Today there are more than 160 children from all ages.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Transfer to Kigali (BL)


Transfer to Kigali.  Depending on your departure time you will now have your Kigali city trip including the Genocide Memorial centre at Gisozi. Transfer to the Airport for your departure.

Genocide Memorials: In Rwanda you will find all over the country Memorials to remember the genocide of 1994. The most important Genocide Memorials are those of Kigali (Gisozi) where the history of the genocide is explained. A visit to the genocide memorial is for most visitors an emotional event.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch


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

Prices are Per Person and Valid for Trips January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019

# People in Group: 2+
Budget Lodging: $5195
Mid-Range Lodging: $5995
4-Star Luxury Lodging: $8295

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
  • Driver-guide
  • All park and entry fees
  • 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 (priced separately)
  • Tips for your park ranger gorilla guide ($10/person)
  • Tips for your driver/guide ($10/person/day)
  • Personal porter to help carry gear ($10/person)
  • Drinks except mineral water during road transfers
  • $20/person for mandatory medical evacuation fee in Rwanda for 2018
  • Rwanda Visa at $30 and Uganda at $50

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