Uganda Tours

Uganda Tours will bring you face to face with the famous mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park and Virunga Mountains as well as the scenic Murchison Falls.

Bwindi National Park is the most popular for gorilla trekking on your budget tour or Uganda Gorilla Safari. As it has a gorilla population of approximately 340 which accounts for almost half of all mountain gorillas in the world.

Uganda Gorillas Safari Tour (Comfort) (7 Days)

Day 1

Masindi – Murchison National Park, Uganda

You will be collected in Kampala and depart on route to Murchison National Park. The park is recognized as one of the best National Parks in Uganda. Once settled in at your accommodation, a briefing will be given on the various activities available for the upcoming day.

Accommodation: Two per room: Kabalega Resort Hotel
Facilities: Two Per Room Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Kampala
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Optional Activity: Ziwa Rhino Walk

Day 2

Masindi – Budongo Central Forest Reserve, Uganda

Today you will participate in a Chimpanzee trekking in the Budongo Forest as well as a boat cruise in the Murchison Falls Nation Park, which is known as the biggest Mahogany forest in the whole of East Africa. This is home to the largest number of chimpanzees in Uganda. A game drive will take you through the forest in search of the chimps and you can also spot other wildlife.

Note: As the Chimp trekking is limited to 12 guests per trek, should there be more than 12 guests on a tour and thus split over two days. Therefore you may find that you will first do the game drive activity followed by the Chimp trekking the following day or vice versa – Please allow for flexibility.

Accommodation: Two per room: Kabalega Resort
Facilities: En-suite Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Highlight: Chimp trekking (half day), Boat cruise (half day) in Murchison Falls National Park

Day 3

Lake Kikorongo Region, Uganda

We leave Masindi in the morning and are then transferred to the edges of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our overnight this evening is located at the top of a hill overlooking Lake Kiborongo.

Accommodation: Two per room: Simba Safari Camp
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Masindi to Lake Mburo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 - 5

Gorillas (Lake Bunyonyi), Uganda

Making our way across the Equator another time, we make our way to a small, but beautiful lake with steep banks and plentiful birdlife, Lake Bunyonyi which is surrounded by mountains and is most famous for it’s abundant otter population and picturesque surrounds. We take this day to unwind in this stunning spot the evening prior to our final drive to the gorillas.

Lake Bunyonyi, or ‘place of many little birds’, is situated on the Rwandan border. At 25 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide, the Lake spreads over 61 square kilometres, whilst it’s depth is said to deviate between 44 and 900 metres. If this were indeed true, it would make Lake Bunyonyi the second deepest lake in all of Africa. It is one of the rare lakes in the area that is bilharzia-free and safe for swimming. All 29 of its islands are clustered in the central part of the region.

The mountain gorilla is an extremely endangered animal and though the precise numbers of it’s population vary, it is believed that there are just around 650 of these gentle giants remaining. Paying a visit to the gorillas is a lovely way to support their future on earth as the money you spend on your gorilla permit goes towards their protection. A crucial part of conserving the gorillas that are still left lies within the community development work. As local communities adjust their attitudes toward nature and wildlife and begin to protect rather than poach, the future of the beautiful mountain gorilla looks brighter.

Because permits granted to visit the gorillas are extremely limited, we will require some flexibility on both our travel itinerary and the location where will actually get to see them. The mountain gorillas reside in man-made borders, therefore, their range includes Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. Whenever it is possible, we will be making use of the National Park in Uganda, but this is dependent upon the availability of permits. If we do not manage to obtain permits to go on our Gorilla Trek, then all passengers will be told beforehand that our journey will travel to Rwanda or the DRC.

On our free day spent in Bunyonyi, we will have the chance to partake in some Optional Activities. You can also opt to go hiking or to explore the region on mountain bike.

Accommodation: Two Per Room: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
Facilities: En-suites Per Room Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Kampala to Lake Bunyonyi ±420 km, Lake Bunyonyi National Park to the starting point of the gorilla trek ±125 km(in safari or smaller vehicles)
Meals: Breakfast x2, Lunch x2, Dinner x2
Optional
Activity: Gorilla Trekking, Pygmy Excursion, Rwanda Day Tour

Day 6

Gorillas (Lake Bunyonyi), Uganda

Please Note: Although two days have been allocated for the Gorilla Trekking, only one day will be spent on the trek. The next day is there to provide time in which to obtain permits and to allow the entire group to trek if there are more than 6 passengers on the tour. We travel to a village from the Bunyonyi Resort, and here you have an opportunity to be educated by the cultures of the people in the village.

Accommodation: Two Per Room: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
Facilities: En-suites Per Room Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Optional Activity: Gorilla Trekking, Pygmy Visit, Rwanda Day Tour

Day 7

Lake Bunyonyi – Kampala, Uganda

Today we head back from the Gorilla Trekking at Lake Bunyonyi to end in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

Accommodation: Own Arrangements
Facilities: En-suites Per Room Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered.
Meals: Breakfast

Onward Travel Plans

Due to circumstances beyond our control while on tour (such as border crossings, traffic, breakdowns and delays, etc), the end time on the last day cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we strongly recommend you stay the night and fly out the next day. Please consult with your booking consultant.

4 Day Uganda Gorillas & Wildlife Safari

Day 1: Kampala/Lake Mburo, Uganda

Ki Kati! Welcome to Uganda. Your adventure begins at 09:00 am at our joining point hotel. We then make our way to Lake Mburo National Park.

Lake Mburo National Park is defined by rolling grassland, acacia trees, wetland and five lakes of which the largest is Lake Mburo. The sweeping grasslands are home to large predators and their prey. Zebras, impalas, buffalo, leopards, hyenas and jackals cruise the savannah. At the swamps, huge hippos pods gather and grunt, whilst crocodiles hide beneath the water waiting for unsuspecting antelope to draw close.

Lake Mburu is a small park, less well-known to the tourist crowd. As a result, the game are tamer and there is more chance to get up close to the wildlife.

This afternoon we take a game drive through the park before settling into our accommodation in Mbarara for the night.

Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities: Lake Mburo National Park – 4×4 Game Drive
Travel Time: 3 hours

Day 2: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest. A place of mist and mountains, of skyscraper trees and abundant wildlife. In these mountainous jungles live leopard, elephant, antelope and most famously the mountain gorilla. Bwindi is one of the only places in the world where you can view gorillas. The small ape families live only in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC but Bwindi is home to over 50% of them.

Visiting Gorillas is the culmination of a dream for many people. Maintaining the gorilla’s habitats and reducing the risk of transmission of diseases is of the utmost importance so only small groups are allowed each day. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day or even over two days depending on the time of permit issue and group size. There’s a maximum group size of 8 on each gorilla visit and only 24 gorilla trekking permits available each day.

Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable and your hike may reach altitudes of almost 2000 metres above sea level in tough terrain. However, the sheer thrill in discovering a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours – up and downhill. Groups get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle. Once a trekking group encounters one of the gorilla families, your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.

Afterwards, retire to your lodge and soak up the incredible views.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities: Bwindi National Park – Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
Travel Time: 3 hours

Please Note: You will spend only one hour with the gorillas. There is an option to pre-purchase another gorilla permit to visit the gorillas for a second time on Day 3. However this will result in an altered itinerary. Lake Mburo will be replaced with an additional night in Bwindi.

Day 3: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

We will be trekking on either Day 2 or Day 3 depending on the availability of permits which gives you a free day to explore the area.

Travel into the rainforest to see the diverse wildlife that exists within the jungle. Take an easy guided nature walk to learn about flora and fauna in the area. Up for a challenge? Why not hike up Mt Sabinyo – one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans.

You could visit the Batwa, an indigenous community found throughout Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC or take a trip to Lake Mutanda. The day is yours to explore or rest as you wish.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Nature Walk – USD50, Kisoro – Village Visit – USD20, Lake Bunyonyi – Mokoro hire (per day) – USD20

Day 4: Kampala, Uganda

Return to Kampala stopping at the equator and to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Kampala, the capital of Uganda is a city of two parts. Its centre is a frenetic maelstrom of overladen matatus, streetside stalls and cows. Venture to its suburbs and you will find tree-lined streets, large houses and lush parks. Visit one of the largest markets in East Africa and don’t forget to haggle. Kampala is one of the safest cities in Africa so take a lazy stroll and absorb the sites of this fascinating city.

Kampala has all the places to eat, drink, visit and shop that you would expect in a city. The perfect place to end our tour.

We will drop you at our finish point hotel at approximately 4 pm. No accommodation is included tonight. If you would like to stay longer, we can book your post-tour accommodation at our finish point hotel if required. If you are planning to fly out tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9 pm to allow for any delays.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Travel Time: Approx. 8 hours

 

Onward Travel Plans

Due to circumstances beyond our control while on tour (such as border crossings, traffic, breakdowns and delays, etc), the end time on the last day cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we strongly recommend you stay the night and fly out the next day. Please consult with your booking consultant.

6 Day Gorillas in Uganda Overland Budget Safari

Day 1

Kampala – Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Leaving Kampala, we begin our journey towards the marvelous Queen Elizabeth National Park, crossing the Equator once more. Along the way you can expect to see lush green hillsides, flourishing banana plantations, steep mountains and dense forests. Herds of Ankole cattle boast astonishingly long and curving horns and roam the roads and paddocks freely. The area in which we stay tonight is just a short distance away from the Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you will have some leisure time and you could perhaps take a walk in the surrounding areas or mingle with the local community.

Trip Highlights: Equator crossing
Accommodation: Simba Camp – Twin share accommodation with en-suite facilities
Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
Wi-Fi: Yes
Distance Covered: +/- 400 kms
Approximate Driving Time: 8 hours

Day 2

Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

In the morning we enter the Queen Elizabeth National Park where we take in awe-inspiring views of the mountains that separate Uganda from Central Africa as well as Lake Edwards and Lake George. The Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts over 500 bird species and 100 mammal species, making it one of the most bio diverse national parks in the world.

Close to the park, we visit the Kyambura Gorge to begin our trek to seek out the chimpanzees. Unlike their bigger cousins, the mountain gorilla, chimps live predominantly in the trees. The experience of seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat is incredible. We spend another night at our accommodation before making our way to Lake Bunyonyi.

PLEASE NOTE: Trekking permits will be issued by the wildlife authority in groups of up to 8 people per group.

Trip Highlights: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Chimpanzee Trek
Accommodation: Simba Camp – Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wi-Fi: Yes

Day 3 - 5

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Lake Bunyonyi rest days or Gorilla trek day, Uganda

Our next destination is Lake Bunyonyi (‘Place of many little birds’). This lake is 900 metres deep and is the second deepest lake in Africa. When we are not trekking to see the mountain gorillas, there are 29 islands that can be explored by boat where you can spend the time at your leisure. You will be split into groups over the next three days, while each group takes turns trekking to see the gorillas while the rest explore Lake Bunyonyi.

Lake Bunyonyi

You will have time to hire canoes and row on the lake, visit some of the local tribes or spend some time with the children in the orphanages. There is also plenty of bird watching and walks that you can partake in. Or you may choose to sit back and relax.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Only 700 gorillas remain in this region of Africa, mostly within the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. (Occasionally we may travel to Rwanda to spot the gorillas.)

On the day of the trek, the group gathers early in the morning to be introduced to our local guide and tracker. Following this, we walk in small groups, trekking through the lush rainforest. This journey can be physically demanding at times due to the uneven terrain and the hilly forest itself, but the privilege of spending quality time with a family of these gentle and peaceful primates definitely makes the effort worthwhile. Even to people who live permanently in this area, this trek and encounter with the gorillas has proven to be one of the most exciting wildlife experiences in Africa.

The usual protocol once our group has located a gorilla family is to sit down and simply observe the magnificent creatures for about an hour, which is the time set strictly by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Gorillas are rather sociable, living in groups of between 12 and 20, each usually led by the alpha male – the ‘silverback’, named so due to the silver hair on his back that begins to grow once the male gorilla reaches maturity. You will find that the gorillas and their tendencies are remarkably human-like, especially in the social interaction that takes place between the gorilla family members and their play time, in which their children are encouraged to engage. Photographers may take as many photographs as they like, but are under strict instructions not to use any flashes. There are also certain restrictions to those who wish to use a video camera.

Your permit allows for one trek and gorilla viewing with your time limited to one hour. However, because the authorities maintain strict limits on the amount of visitors permitted to view the animals each day, we may spend several days in the area so as to allow for all members of the tour to complete their trek and viewing.

PLEASE NOTE: Depending on the availability of the gorilla permits the tour itinerary may vary in day to day running order which is based on the brochure itinerary. From time to time we may have to trek on different days. If at any reason our Gorilla trek should be in another neighbouring country, e.g. Rwanda (instead of Uganda) this may entail extra visa fees although we shall endeavour to advise you before departure of any significant changes to the tour itinerary. Please take the above itinerary as a guideline only. This applies to day 6 – 8 of this tour.

For those not trekking, the day is free to explore the surroundings or unwind and catch up on some well deserved rest and relaxation. On the last day in Lake Bunyonyi you could participate in a day of trekking or you could take part in the many optional activities on offer here.

Trip Highlights: Gorilla Trek, Lake Bunyonyi
Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Stop/ Gorilla Trek area – Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Wi-Fi: Yes
Distance Covered: +/- 240 kms
Approximate Driving Time: 5 hours
Optional Activities: Island boat trips US$25 – US$80, Village Walk US$10, Traditional Dance US$100, Bird watching US$15, Canoe hire US$10

Lake Bunyonyi (Gorillas)

Day 6

Lake Bunyonyi – Kampala

Saying goodbye to Lake Bunyonyi we make our way back across the Equator, stopping for photograph opportunities if we did not have any en route to Queen Elizabeth National Park . We pass lush pastures and the northern reaches of Lake Victoria – the largest lake in Africa, all on our way through to Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where we will spend the night. Kampala is known for it’s great food and entertainment and, if time allows, you are welcome to take the night out to sample some of the local cuisine, and enjoy the hospitality and friendliness of the locals.

Trip Highlights: Equator crossing, Kampala
Accommodation: Red Chilli Camp – Twin share accommodation with en-suite facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Wi-Fi: Yes
Distance Covered: +/-550kms
Approximate Driving Time: 10 hours

Onward Travel Plans

Due to circumstances beyond our control while on tour (such as border crossings, traffic, breakdowns and delays, etc), the end time on the last day cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we strongly recommend you stay the night and fly out the next day. Please consult with your booking consultant.

Nairobi to Kampala Tour (Uganda & Gorillas Express) (10 Days)

Day 1

Nairobi, Kenya

Upon arrival in this stunning geographical country, you will be greeted with the words of “jambo” (hello) or “hakuna matata” (no problem) by the friendly locals. With a population of almost 42 million and land area of more than 580 000 sq km Kenya is home to an abundance of animals and vibrant tribes, creating the perfect escape for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Meals Included: No meals

Day 2

Nairobi – Masai Mara, Kenya

Departing from the bustling Nairobi, we climb the escarpment to our first destination, a viewpoint that overlooks a portion of the remarkable Great Rift Valley. We then descend into the Rift Valley, entering the Masai territory where these habitual farmers are often seen tending to their livestock on the roadside. Passing through the town of Norak, we continue our drive possibly getting a glimpse of some gorgeous wildlife along the way. We arrive at our campsite in the late afternoon. Acacia Camp overlooks the Meguarra hills as well as the stream that creates a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Masai Mara, Kenya

We leave shortly after sunrise on a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. This reserve is famous for being one of East Africa’s top National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. It is perhaps most well-known for hosting the magnificent Annual Migration, consisting of massive herds of over one million wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; the Masai Mara is most visited between the months of July and October, when these impressive herds feast on the fresh grazing here. Africa’s predators are usually close behind these herbivores and are frequently seen at a kill during this period. We game drive some more through a section of the park in search of the ‘Big 5’ along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make this wilderness their home.

Following our day of game spotting, we have the opportunity to pay a visit to one of the close by Masai Manyattas. These are family compounds where the Masai live in their traditional way. The evening is spent sitting around an open campfire, watching the sun set over this ‘Garden of Eden’.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Activity: Masai Mara National Reserve

Masai Mara

Day 4

Masai Mara – Eldoret, Kenya

Departing early from the Masai Mara, we make our way out of Masai Land, passing through the picturesque tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau and arrive at Eldoret.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Eldoret – Kampala, Uganda

Today we cross the Ugandan border where we spend the night in the capital city of Kampala. Uganda is a small country with stunning scenery. The landscapes of Uganda vary, from the luscious green regions around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snowy-capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west as well as the desert-like area in the north. The unstable politics of Uganda has had a surprisingly positive effect in the country, leaving it free of the over commercialism so common in other areas of Africa. President Museveni’s administration has devoted a large amount of effort and funds in order to return Uganda to it’s former status as one of the continent’s most flourishing, and from a tourist’s perspective, one of the most attractive and intriguing countries to visit.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 - 9

Kampala – Lake Bunyonyi (optional Gorilla Trekking), Uganda

We leave Kampala early morning and head west to our base at the serene Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and is home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds. It is also the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Depending on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the DRC, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda.

Please Note:

The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice. Currently the permits are priced from about US $600 (subject to change) plus US $105 for bank fees and both amounts are to be prepaid. There is a local transport fee of about US $200 per vehicle (with a minimum of 8 people) to be paid on the day of the trekking (this covers the return public transfer the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre-departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed), we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.

Mountain Gorillas

Known to be highly sociable animals, Mountain Gorillas live in fairly stable groups, which are held together by long term bonds between the male and female. They are come across as strong and powerful creatures, yet they remain the shy and gentle giants of Africa.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still just around 700 remaining, are one of our nearest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a novel and superb experience – one you’ll always remember. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.

Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours (not including transfer time) and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.

You needn’t feel like you’re exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day play a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. 100% of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.

Depending on where the trek takes place you may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

GORILLA TREKKING IS OPTIONAL
Please note that the transfer fee is not included in the trekking price
Gorillas (Lake Bunyonyi)

Day 10

Lake Bunyonyi – Kampala, Uganda

Once we are finished admiring the encounters we have experienced with the gorillas and finished delighting in the tranquillity offered to us by the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, we commence our travels back to Kampala. Crossing the Equator for the second time on this trip, we pull over for the ‘one foot in each hemisphere’ photographic opportunity before your tour comes to an end. If you plan to stay overnight and want to head out and experience the city’s nightlife scene, you have the opportunity before saying your goodbyes to the group.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Onward Travel Plans

Due to circumstances beyond our control while on tour (such as border crossings, traffic, breakdowns and delays, etc), the end time on the last day cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we strongly recommend you stay the night and fly out the next day. Please consult with your booking consultant.

Nairobi to Kampala Tour (Uganda & Gorillas Express) (10 Days)

Day 1

Nairobi, Kenya

Upon arrival in this stunning geographical country, you will be greeted with the words of “jambo” (hello) or “hakuna matata” (no problem) by the friendly locals. With a population of almost 42 million and land area of more than 580 000 sq km Kenya is home to an abundance of animals and vibrant tribes, creating the perfect escape for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Meals Included: No meals

Day 2

Nairobi – Masai Mara, Kenya

Departing from the bustling Nairobi, we climb the escarpment to our first destination, a viewpoint that overlooks a portion of the remarkable Great Rift Valley. We then descend into the Rift Valley, entering the Masai territory where these habitual farmers are often seen tending to their livestock on the roadside. Passing through the town of Norak, we continue our drive possibly getting a glimpse of some gorgeous wildlife along the way. We arrive at our campsite in the late afternoon. Acacia Camp overlooks the Meguarra hills as well as the stream that creates a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Masai Mara, Kenya

We leave shortly after sunrise on a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. This reserve is famous for being one of East Africa’s top National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. It is perhaps most well-known for hosting the magnificent Annual Migration, consisting of massive herds of over one million wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; the Masai Mara is most visited between the months of July and October, when these impressive herds feast on the fresh grazing here. Africa’s predators are usually close behind these herbivores and are frequently seen at a kill during this period. We game drive some more through a section of the park in search of the ‘Big 5’ along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make this wilderness their home.

Following our day of game spotting, we have the opportunity to pay a visit to one of the close by Masai Manyattas. These are family compounds where the Masai live in their traditional way. The evening is spent sitting around an open campfire, watching the sun set over this ‘Garden of Eden’.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Activity: Masai Mara National Reserve

Masai Mara

Day 4

Masai Mara – Eldoret, Kenya

Departing early from the Masai Mara, we make our way out of Masai Land, passing through the picturesque tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau and arrive at Eldoret.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Eldoret – Kampala, Uganda

Today we cross the Ugandan border where we spend the night in the capital city of Kampala. Uganda is a small country with stunning scenery. The landscapes of Uganda vary, from the luscious green regions around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snowy-capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west as well as the desert-like area in the north. The unstable politics of Uganda has had a surprisingly positive effect in the country, leaving it free of the over commercialism so common in other areas of Africa. President Museveni’s administration has devoted a large amount of effort and funds in order to return Uganda to it’s former status as one of the continent’s most flourishing, and from a tourist’s perspective, one of the most attractive and intriguing countries to visit.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 - 9

Kampala – Lake Bunyonyi (optional Gorilla Trekking), Uganda

We leave Kampala early morning and head west to our base at the serene Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and is home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds. It is also the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Depending on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the DRC, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda.

Please Note:

The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice. Currently the permits are priced from about US $600 (subject to change) plus US $105 for bank fees and both amounts are to be prepaid. There is a local transport fee of about US $200 per vehicle (with a minimum of 8 people) to be paid on the day of the trekking (this covers the return public transfer the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre-departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed), we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.

Mountain Gorillas

Known to be highly sociable animals, Mountain Gorillas live in fairly stable groups, which are held together by long term bonds between the male and female. They are come across as strong and powerful creatures, yet they remain the shy and gentle giants of Africa.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still just around 700 remaining, are one of our nearest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a novel and superb experience – one you’ll always remember. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.

Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours (not including transfer time) and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.

You needn’t feel like you’re exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day play a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. 100% of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.

Depending on where the trek takes place you may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

GORILLA TREKKING IS OPTIONAL
Please note that the transfer fee is not included in the trekking price
Gorillas (Lake Bunyonyi)

Day 10

Lake Bunyonyi – Kampala, Uganda

Once we are finished admiring the encounters we have experienced with the gorillas and finished delighting in the tranquillity offered to us by the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, we commence our travels back to Kampala. Crossing the Equator for the second time on this trip, we pull over for the ‘one foot in each hemisphere’ photographic opportunity before your tour comes to an end. If you plan to stay overnight and want to head out and experience the city’s nightlife scene, you have the opportunity before saying your goodbyes to the group.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Onward Travel Plans

Due to circumstances beyond our control while on tour (such as border crossings, traffic, breakdowns and delays, etc), the end time on the last day cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we strongly recommend you stay the night and fly out the next day. Please consult with your booking consultant.

Uganda Gorillas Safari Tour (Camping) (7 Days)

Day 1

Masindi – Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

We start the day making our way to Murchison National Park – Recognized as one of the best National Parks in Uganda. Once settled in at your accommodation, a briefing will be given on the various activities available for the upcoming day.

Accommodation: Camp: Kabalega Resort Hotel
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered.
Route: Jinja to Masindi
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Optional Activity: Ziwa Rhino Walk

Day 2

Masindi – Budongo Central Forest Reserve, Uganda

Today you will participate in a Chimpanzee trek in the Budongo Forest as well as a boat cruise in the Murchison Falls Nation Park. The Budongo forest is the biggest Mahogany forest found in the whole of East Africa. Enjoy a game drive through the forest where you can spot other wildlife.

Note: If there are more than 12 guests on the tour, the group will be split into two between the morning and the evening. We ask that you please allow for flexibility.

Accommodation: Camp: Kabalega Resort Hotel
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Highlight: Chimp trekking (half day) / Nile River Cruise

Day 3

Lake Kikorongo Region, Uganda

We leave Masindi in the morning and are then transferred to the edges of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our overnight this evening is located at the top of a hill overlooking Lake Kiborongo.

Accommodation: Camp: Simba Safari Camp
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Masindi to Lake Mburo ± 435 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Gorillas (Lake Bunyonyi), Uganda

A small, but beautiful lake with steep banks and plentiful birdlife, Lake Bunyonyi is circled by mountains and is most famous for its abundant otter population and picturesque surrounds. We take this day to unwind in this stunning spot the evening prior to our drive to the gorillas.

Lake Bunyonyi, or ‘place of many little birds’, is situated on the Rwandan border. At 25 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide, the Lake spreads over 61 square kilometres, whilst it’s depth is said to deviate between 44 and 900 metres. It is one of the rare lakes in the area that is bilharzia-free and safe for swimming. All 29 of its islands are clustered in the central part of the region.

Accommodation: Camp: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Kampala to Lake Bunyonyi ±420 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 - 6

Gorillas (Lake Bunyonyi), Uganda

The mountain gorilla is extremely endangered and although the precise numbers of it’s population vary, it is largely believed that there are just around 650 of the gentle giants remaining. Paying a visit to the gorillas is a lovely way to support their future on earth as the money you spend on your gorilla permit contributes towards their protection. A crucial part of conserving the gorillas that are still left lies within the community development work. As local communities adjust their attitude towards nature and wildlife, and begin to protect rather than poach, the future of the beautiful mountain gorilla looks promising.

Because permits granted to visit the gorillas are extremely limited, we will require some flexibility on both our travel itinerary and the location where will actually get to see them. The mountain gorillas reside in man-made borders, therefore, their range includes Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. Whenever it is possible, we will be making use of the National Park in Uganda, but this is dependent upon the availability of permits. If we do not manage to obtain permits for our Gorilla Trek, all passengers will be notified beforehand that our journey will travel to Rwanda or the DRC.

On our free day spent in Bunyonyi, we will have the chance to partake in Optional Activities. You can opt to go hiking or to explore the region via mountain bike.

PLEASE NOTE: Although there are 2 days allocated to Gorilla Trekking you only spend one day on the trek. The other day is there to provide a time period in which to obtain permits and to allow the group to trek if there are more than 6 of you on the tour.

Accommodation: Camp: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Lake Bunyonyi National Park to the starting point of the gorilla trek ±125 km (in safari or smaller vehicles)
Meals: Breakfast x2, Lunch x2, Dinner x2
Optional Activity: Gorilla Trekking, Pygmy visit, Rwanda day tour

Day 7

Lake Bunyonyi – Kampala, Uganda

Today we head back from the Gorilla Trekking at Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala. Your tour ends today but we suggest you book post tour accommodation as your arrival in Kampala will be in the early evening.

Accommodation: Own Arrangements / Post tour accommodation can be booked through us
Route: Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala
Meals: Breakfast

Onward Travel Plans

Due to circumstances beyond our control while on tour (such as border crossings, traffic, breakdowns and delays, etc), the end time on the last day cannot be guaranteed. Therefore we strongly recommend you stay the night and fly out the next day. Please consult with your booking consultant.

Last Minute

  • Mountain Climbing

    Kilimanjaro

  • Baloon Safari

    At Serengeti

  • Wildbeast Migration

    At Ngorongoro

30%

Discount on safaris
Tours