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Highlights

  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Tracking tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Scenic lunch in Rwenzori Mountains
  • Chimpanzee trekking in Murchison Falls National Park
  • See the Murchison Falls
  • Boat cruise on the Nile
  • Approach rhino on foot (optional)

Overview

Part of our Scheduled & Overland Tours collection, this 13-day road safari showcases the best experiences that Uganda has to offer. Known as ‘The Pearl of Africa’, Uganda is a unique country of incredible natural beauty delivering wildlife encounters that are second to none.

Start with a life-changing gorilla trekking adventure in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a lush green haven for half the world's population of mountain gorillas and an unbelievable number of bird species. After your jungle adventure, you’ll travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park to track its famous tree-climbing lions as well as big game like elephant, hippo and buffalo.

You will journey through the incredibly scenic Rwenzori Mountains – also known as ‘Mountains of the Moon’ – and make your way to Murchison Falls National Park. Here, you’ll spend time with a group of habituated chimpanzees and visit the park’s eponymous waterfall. Enjoy a relaxing boat cruise on Africa’s longest river, the Nile, watching animals like crocodile, hippo, Rothchild’s giraffe, buffalo and elephant, and, if you’re lucky, the rare shoebill stork.

Throughout this Overland Tour, you will camp in the most beautifully wild places Uganda has to offer, from montane rainforest to rolling savannahs and a rhino sanctuary.

Summary

  • Tour Duration: 13 Days

Day to day

Itinerary

Detailed breakdown

Day 1: Welcome to ‘The Pearl of Africa’ | 12 Nights

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Your adventure starts in Entebbe, a town in central Uganda situated on a beautiful peninsula in Lake Victoria. You’ll make your way through the outskirts of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, before visiting a traditional drum market and stopping at the equator. You will camp for the night in Lake Mburo National Park. Although the smallest of Uganda’s savannah parks, Lake Mburo is a refuge for plains game like zebra, impala, eland and buffalo, and is known for its huge hippo pods.

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Day 2: The road to Bwindi

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After an early morning game drive or guided walk, you’ll leave Lake Mburo and journey through Uganda’s meandering landscape of rolling hills and lush banana plantations – known as one of the most scenic roads in the country. Passing mystical villages often veiled in mist, exchanging waves with friendly locals and admiring the impressive Ankole cattle (their horns are unusually large), you’ll begin to understand just why Uganda is such a hidden gem of a destination. Your camp for the evening is set up on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. 

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Days 3-5: Encounter gorillas in the wild

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After breakfast, you will split up into smaller groups with local guides and start your hike into one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A sanctuary for half the world's population of mountain gorillas, an astonishing number of bird species and healthy populations of colobus monkeys, Bwindi delivers the most incredible jungle adventure. Spending time with a family of gorillas, observing their social interactions and sharing a gaze with a big silverback are moments that you’ll cherish for as long you as live. It makes trekking through the dense forest and uneven terrain incredibly rewarding. 

Because gorillas are endangered and fragile creatures, trekking permits are limited. Two days will be allocated for trekking to ensure that everyone gets to spend time with the gorillas. When you’re not gorilla trekking, you can visit Lake Bunyoni, go on a guided walk through a local village or tick off some of the 350+ species on a birdwatching excursion in the forest. 

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Days 5-7: Track tree-climbing lions

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Leave the pristine montane rainforests behind and head down to the extensive grasslands of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s premier conservation area. The park’s beautiful lakes, rolling savannah, emerald forests and fertile swamps make it a haven for big game like elephant, hippo, lion and buffalo, as well as ten primate species including chimpanzee. The region is also home to a whopping 600 bird species. 

You’ll spend the next few days camping in the Ishasha sector, a remote location within Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is famous for its population of tree-climbing lions. You’ll go on game drives trying to spot these cats lazing in the park’s tall fig trees. It is believed that lions climb into trees as a way of protecting themselves from biting insects like tsetse flies, or simply to get away from the heat on the ground – the breeze is much cooler up in the branches! 

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Day 7: Discover the ‘Mountains of the Moon’

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After breakfast, you’ll pack up camp and leave Queen Elizabeth National Park’s savannah for the tropical forests that cover the slopes of the alluring Rwenzori Mountains. Often described as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’, the Rwenzoris were formed about 3 million years ago and are one source of the Nile. Rising about 5 000 metres (16 400 feet) above sea level, its highest peaks are permanently snow-capped – a peculiar sight so close to the equator. You will stop for lunch at a very scenic spot from which you can soak in the majestic Rwenzori vistas, before continuing to your overnight campsite in Fort Portal.

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Day 8: Journey to Murchison Falls

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This is a full day of travelling through the lush tea plantations surrounding Fort Portal all the way to Murchison Falls National Park where you’ll spend the night.

Days 9-11: Spend time with chimpanzees

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An early morning guided walk will take you to a group of habituated chimpanzees deep in the forests of Murchison Falls National Park, and you will hopefully get to spend about an hour with them. Then it’s off to the park’s main attraction: a narrow gorge through which the Nile cascades 40 metres (130 feet) down into the Rift Valley. The views are magnificent and you may even spot animals like buffalo, crocodiles and hippos around the shores of the Falls. You’ll then travel downstream and cross the Nile to spend two nights camping in a section of the park that opens into wide savannah and rolling hills. 

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Day 11: A boat cruise on the Nile

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After breakfast, it’s time for a leisurely boat cruise down the Nile, spotting the river’s large populations of crocodile and hippo, as well as other animals like Rothchild’s giraffe, buffalo and elephant slaking their thirsts in Africa’s longest river. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the rare and prehistoric-looking shoebill stork or ‘whalehead’. Then say farewell to Murchison Falls National Park as your vehicle takes you to the Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch where you will camp for the night. 

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Day 12: Explore a rhino sanctuary on foot

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The Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch is a conservation project by Rhino Fund Uganda and the Uganda Wildlife Authority to reintroduce rhinos into their original habitats and protected areas. If you wish, you can join professional rangers on a walking safari and approach rhinos on foot this morning – this is an optional activity. After packing up camp, you will journey to Jinja on the shore of Lake Victoria and your accommodation at Adrift. 

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Day 13: Should you stay, or should you go?

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After breakfast, there will be a road transfer back to Entebbe. Alternatively, you can choose to stay and enjoy the adventure activities on offer at Adrift. This is one of Uganda’s most respected adventure operators, offering many levels of white-water rafting excursions as well as a popular ‘Source of the Nile’ boat cruise.

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Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Rates

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Dates Price
2020-01-01 — 2020-12-31 $2,250
Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently. Please treat all pricing as a guide only:
  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice.
  • Single supplements may apply.
  • Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.
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Traveller Reviews

Uganda Wildlife Explorer
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Christa Soltau

They say Uganda is the Pearl of Africa and I need to say it is the PEARL of Africa! Wonderful country, wonderful nature, great game reserves and wonderful people! I have travelled a lot all around the world but Uganda topped everything so far. The tr ip was tiring but I enjoyed every minute and the highlight of course was the trekking with the gorillas. What a moment when you see them the first time: Tears were running down my cheeks. These beautiful, peaceful, gentle creatures! We were lucky we only had to walk 1 hour through thick bush mountain up and down (sometimes it takes more than 3 hours) but the experience is worse any drop of sweat (not to mention any penny). The game resorts we visited were full of surprises: tree lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, plenty of birds and much more but hardly any people. The first night hippos were grazing around our tents (no sleep), second night a lion was roaring right next to the tents and then you could hear him snoring (no sleep for me), third night a group of elephants came close to the camp (I decided to sleep in the truck – needed some sleep). After some time you get used to the sounds and nearness of the animals a great experience and I survived and came back home in one piece. And we also had the chance in between to upgrade to a real bed (and a bathroom on my own!!!) in some of the lodges which made the trip more relaxing. The Uganda trip was high above my expectations but I need to mention, that due to the luck of only 2 guests we had flexibility, space and peace. I don’t want to do this trip with a full load of 14 people but I would always go back to Uganda! Camping in the wild is an adventure but also very tiring. It is not a relaxing holiday: Get up early, pack the tent, make breakfast, clean up and then off on the road for most of the day to arrive in the late afternoon, set up tent, make dinner, clean up and fall into a deep sleep (except you have hippos or lions next to you ). Nevertheless I am glad I have done both trips. It was a great experience and pretty adventures. The guides were very professional, knowledgeable, great organizers, safe driver and wonderful cooks! As a recommendation for people in my age: I would not do 2 trips one after another again. And I would look out for a more comfortable way such as lodges.
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Bernhard Bouzek

I am back from a great trip to Uganda. It was organized very well by Drifters and we had „Bucks“ as our driver and guide. The good thing was, that we were only three tourists instead of 13, so we had a lot of space on the truck and we were very f lexible. Thanks to our guide we chanched the programme and skipped the second chimp trekking and did an extra day with game driving in Murchison Falls North NP. Because there is not much game in the other parks, this was by far the best place to see elephants, giraffes, etc. I would not recommend the trip for „Africa First Timers“, but for those who have gained some Africa experience and want to see something special. We only met a few other tourists and you have the NP for your own. Roads, camps etc. is very basic and I realy loved to have a true Africa experience. But if you only want to tick off the BIG 5, Uganda is not the place to go. The gorilla trekking was the highlight and demanded 6 hours of serious hikking. I advise other tourists to give the day-pack (water, food, camera) to a porter (10 US $) otherways you will fail (and loose 500 US $, for not seeing the gorillas!) Drifters should also provide a second vehicle for Uganda, in case of a break down of the truck. Our truck was in serious trouble, but our guide fixed the cab with a big log. Uganda is definately a friendly and save country for travellers! Thank you for your help! Kind regards, Bernhard Bouzek
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