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Uganda’s Chimp, Community and Wildlife Safari

12 days
4.9 /5
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Highlights

  • Explore Uganda’s premier safari destinations
  • See the famous tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park
  • Mountain biking, hiking, game drives and boating
  • Be a long-horned Ankole cattle herdsman for a day
  • Variety of cultural experiences, including visiting local villages

Overview

Spend 12 days exploring the ‘Pearl of Africa’ from a different angle. Uganda is renowned for being one of the world’s top gorilla trekking destinations, but that’s not all this East African country has to offer. This itinerary promises to show you the lesser-known gems of Uganda’s premier safari destinations.

First on your list is Entebbe. Spend your time exploring the city and experiencing all that it has to offer, from visits to the location of the Hollywood classic, Tarzan, to tracking down the shoebill stork in Mbamba Swamp.

The next stop on your itinerary is the heart of Uganda’s gorilla trekking operations, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Explore this beautiful rainforest through hikes and mountain biking before trekking for the rare golden monkey. End your visit off with cultural experiences that includes learning traditional crafts from local communities.

Uganda’s premier wildlife destination, Queen Elizabeth National Park is up next. Game drives through this region are an epic affair – especially when the famous tree-climbing lions take up residence here. After giving a traditional safari a spin, switch over to a boating safari on the Kazinga Channel.

Kibale Forest National Park is sure to provide the highlight of your trip. It’s here that you’ll embark on a trek through the rainforest in search of habituated chimpanzee families. Spend an hour watching these fascinating primates in their natural habitat.

Last but not least, your journey ends off in Rushere, where you’ll learn to be a traditional long-horned Ankole cattle herdsman for a day. Your duties include everything, from checking the cows for injuries and cleaning them to sitting with them as they feed and leading them back to the kraal (enclosure) once the day is done.

Summary

  • Tour Duration: 12 Days

Accommodations Visited

Day to day

Itinerary

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Day 1-2: Arrival in Uganda, Entebbe

Entebbe, Uganda
Detailed breakdown

Day 1-2: Arrival in Uganda, Entebbe | 2 Nights

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Entebbe, Uganda

The first two nights of your trip are spent at Karibu Guesthouse Entebbe, a charming boutique hotel nestled in the lush green hillside of the town. Once a presidential residence, you can expect to be treated like a VIP from the minute you arrive at Karibu. The guesthouse is renowned for its second-to-none personalised service, friendly staff, world-class cuisine, and gorgeous gardens (dubbed the ‘Garden of Eden’).

There’s plenty to see and do in the beautiful city of Entebbe. Visit Entebbe Botanical Gardens to admire the black-and-white colobus monkeys and see the rainforest zone, which was the location used in the filming of the original 1940 Hollywood classic, Tarzan. Then head off to the Jane Goodall Institute’s Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary before teeing off at Entebbe’s well-maintained golf course and enjoying a sunset boat cruise on Lake Victoria. And, of course, you can’t leave the city without exploring Mbamba Swamp in search of the rare shoebill stork.

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Day 3-4: Explore Lake Mutanda | 3 Nights

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Bwindi National Park, Uganda

Your day begins with an early wake up to catch your shuttle back to Entebbe International Airport. From here, a light aircraft flight takes you to Kisoro Airfield, where you’ll be met by your Naturalist driver/guide. By lunch, you’ll arrive at your next home-away-from-home, Chameleon Hill Lodge. Bold, colourful and vibrant, Chameleon Hill is a charismatic lodge overlooking an unspoilt Rift Valley Lake and the Virunga Volcanoes.

Explore the extinct volcanoes, pristine lakes, and forested areas of this region on foot, mountain bike or boating. Meet the local Batwa community and learn how to weave a traditional basket and carve a mask. And you can’t leave Bwindi without taking up the chance to track mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in their natural habitat.

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Day 5: Cycling Experience to Mutanda Island

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The path to your next destination sees you transferred to the western sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Your Professional Walking Guide will lead you to the National Parks Headquarters, where a National Parks Ranger-Guide escorts you’re the rest of the way to the northern sector of Bwindi. From here, you’ll be transferred to Ishasha Wilderness Camp in Queen Elizabeth National Park, making it in time to watch the sunset with a sundowner in hand before enjoying dinner.

During your stay at this intimate, private, and peaceful camp, you’ll enjoy attentive, helpful staff that provide personalised service, as well as breath-taking views of the Ntungwe River. After a peaceful night’s rest, you’ll start the day with an early morning game drive on the Ishasha Plains, watching the resident wildlife forage or hunt for food, before enjoying a delicious bush breakfast in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You will then depart Ishasha Wilderness Camp for your next stop.

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Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park | 1 Night

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Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

You’ll reach Katara Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park just in time for lunch. Fuel up on a tasty meal before embarking on a thrilling evening game drive through one of Uganda’s prime wildlife destinations. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous tree-climbing lions that inhabit the park, as well as elephants, hippo, crocodiles, buffalo, and a variety of antelope species. And if you like the game viewing on land, you’ll love watching the animals while out on the water. The Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise takes you down the Kazinga Channel – a popular watering hole for the wildlife.

When not out exploring the park, there’s plenty to keep you entertained at Katara Lodge – the views alone will have you entranced for hours. The lodge’s location on the Great Rift Valley escarpment affords it incredible, uninterrupted views of the savanna, Lake Edward and the Virunga and Rwenzori mountain ranges in the distance. Be sure to take in the scenes while cooling off in the saltwater swimming pool.

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Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park | 2 Nights

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One last breakfast at Katara Lodge sees you off on the next leg of your adventure. You’ll depart for Turaco Treetops Lodge and arrive in time for lunch – which is perfect seeing as you’ll need your energy for your first activity here – chimpanzee trekking.

Kibale Forest is renowned for its high population and wide variety of primates in East Africa, with often reliable sightings (over 90% chance) of chimps. This incredible opportunity sees you embarking on a hike through Kyambura Gorge, led by an expert guide, in search of habituated chimpanzee families. You’ll track these remarkable creatures deep into the forest and spend an hour with the chimps, learning about their lifestyle and behaviour as they interact with one another.

Chimp trekking is not the only activity on offer at Turaco Treetops. The luxury lodge also offers birding tours, night forest walks, cultural visits to the local Nkingo and Bigodi villages, as well as hiking and mountain biking tours to the crater lakes and tea plantations. And when you’re not venturing beyond the perimeter of the lodge, you can take in the wonderful views of Kibale Forest, Rwenzori Mountains and Mount Stanley from the comfort of the elevated first-floor lounge. Or take a dip in the pool, while the kids entertain themselves in the kids’ room or on the outdoor playground.

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Day 8: Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kazinga Channel

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After breakfast, grab your walking shoes and participate in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary Community Walk – a community-run initiative that aims to conserve the unique biodiversity and environmental values of the wetland. Your walk will break around midday, at which you’ll be hosted by the Tinka family for a traditional Kitooro lunch. The adventure continues as you head to the final stop on your itinerary in Rushere.

Ishaazi Farm Lodge is your home for the final two nights of your trip. This charming four-star lodge promises a unique stay that blends a luxury stay with its love and passion for the Ankole Long horned cattle. It’s the only destination of its kind for cultural and domestic conservation tourism centred around the Ankole cow.

It’s here at Ishaazi where you’ll learn how to be an Ankole herdsman for a day. Help in the rearing of the cattle, as well as several activities, such as checking for injuries, spending the day with them as they feed, and separating the calves from their mothers at the end of the day to ensure they do not finish all the milk overnight. Your day ends once you close the kraal (enclosure).

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Day 9: Kibale Forest National Park | 1 Night

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Kibale Forest, Uganda

Enjoy one last leisurely breakfast before departing for Entebbe. You have quite a long journey ahead of you, so make sure you have your snacks and water handy. You’ll arrive in Entebbe by early afternoon and have a Day Room to yourself until 9pm. Closer to your departure time, you’ll be transferred to Entebbe International Airport to catch your flight back home.

Day 10: Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary Community Walk | 2 Nights

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Day 12: End of tour depart Entebbe

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Inclusions tick icon

Inclusions

  • Bigodi Wetlands Community Walk
  • Bush Breakfast in Queen Elizabeth National Park (Ishasha)
  • Meals mentioned in itinerary
  • Private 4WD Vehicle with Experienced Naturalist Guide throughout the entire Safari
  • Private Airport Transfer on Day of Arrival (4WD Vehicle)
  • Private Lodge Vehicle Transfer from Chameleon Hill Lodge to Nkuringo
  • Scheduled Boat Cruise on Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Scheduled Light Aircraft Flight Kisoro-Entebbe
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Exclusions

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