Deeper Africa - vacations and travel

Wildlife of Uganda

Uganda

from $5,199* per person 12 Days Year-round
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Deeper Africa 8 people max
  • Entebbe, uganda
  • Culture & Nature trips
Uganda is packed with premier wildlife viewing in a variety of ecosystems. Our Wildlife of Uganda safari allows you to see it all. Spend two days with two different gorilla families in the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and a third day observing chimpanzees in Kibale Forest.  There is nothing more spectacular than looking into the eyes of a gorilla and having him look right back at you.

Wildlife species change dramatically as you move into the wetlands and savannah ecosystems of the famous Queen Elizabeth Park. Expect sightings of hippo, Ugandan kob, buffalo, elephant, bushbuck, waterbuck, as well as a great diversity of bird species drawn to the water. As you move south into the savannah ecosystem of Queen Elizabeth, you will also have the opportunity to observe "tree climbing lions," topi, eland, and elephant.

Locations visited/nearby

Uganda

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.

Itinerary

Day 1   
Travel day   
International flight
 
Day 2
Lake Victoria Hotel
Entebbe, Uganda   
Arrive Entebbe International Airport.  Pickup by Deeper Africa guide after clearing customs.   Your Deeper Africa guide will have a sign that has your name on it. Transport to the Lake Victoria Hotel.
 
Dinner and overnight at Lake Victoria Hotel.  Swimming pool available. 
  
Day 3
Primate Lodge
Kibale National Park
Breakfast at the Lake Victoria Hotel. Begin your drive after breakfast to Primate Lodge in Kibale Forest National Park. This small lodge is committed to sustainability, using solar power for electricity, and construction from local materials.

Activities available at Primate Lodge include:

Exploration of the Crater Lakes region and hiking to Mahoma Falls;
Bird watching from the cottages or out on the trails;
Nocturnal walk to look for bush babies, pottos, and other nocturnal animals;
Visiting the surrounding tea estates.

Dinner and overnight at Primate Lodge.

Day 4
Primate Lodge
Kibale National Park   
Breakfast at Primate Lodge.  Up early after breakfast to prepare for chimp tracking in Kibale Forest National Park.  You will meet with rangers from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority who are actively engaged in the primate research at Kibale.  Trek out in search of the park’s chimpanzees and other primates.  Several families of chimpanzees have been habituated by the researchers.  Over 325 bird species are reported in the Kibale area.  Kibale Forest supports one of the highest primate densities in the world, including chimpanzees, red colubus, black and white colubus, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoests monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, and olive baboons.  

It is a short drive to the home of Tinka John, a community leader of the Bigodi Community Project.  You’ll join Tinka for a traditional lunch served in typical Ugandan fashion.  Tinka will tell you about his work in the local community, which involves getting tourism projects started and sharing the profits from those projects with the local farming people in the area. These ecotourism efforts have built a local library and a new secondary school.   This grassroots community project run by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development is a successful conservation and tourism endeavor. 

After lunch, you will hike around the Bigodi Swamp with one of the community guides.  You’ll walk through local crop lands at the edge of the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary trails are considered some of the finest birding trails in Uganda.  With luck, you will see one of the forest’s great blue touraco. The wetlands also support many small primates, including vervets, colubus, and blue monkeys.  Late afternoon activities at Primate Lodge, as you choose.         

Dinner and overnight at Primate Lodge.
 
Day 5
Kyambura  Lodge
Queen Elizabeth National Park   
Breakfast at Primate Lodge.  Drive out after breakfast for the famous savannahs and lakes of Queen Elizabeth National Park - home to herds of the Ugandan national animal, the Ugandan kob.  You’ll be right at the equator and the foot of the snowcapped Rwenzoris, the “Mountains of the Moon”, once thought to be the source of the Nile.  Queen Elizabeth National Park is split into distinct sectors by water, the most important being the Kazinga Channel, Lake Edward, and Lake George.   Today you will be exploring the savannah and wetlands ecosystems in the north sector of the park.  Populations of Ugandan kob, buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck, elephant, giant forest hogs and warthog were hit hard by poaching in Uganda, but wildlife populations are rapidly increasing.

Dinner and overnight at Kyambura Lodge.  Swimming pool available. 
  
Day 6
Kyambura Lodge
Queen Elizabeth National Park   
Breakfast at Kyambura Lodge.  Set your wildlife viewing schedule in Queen Elizabeth National Park with your guide. You’ll also enjoy a private boat trip of about two hours on the Kazinga Channel, viewing some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world, along with good sightings of waterbuck, buffalo, and other game that come to the water to drink.  There are many fish in the channel which attract substantial populations of aquatic birds.   

Dinner and overnight at Kyambura Lodge.
  
Day 7
Mahogany Springs Lodge
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest   
After breakfast, you’ll move to the northern end of the park near Maramagambo Forest.  In this area the biodiversity and animals show greater affinity to Central African than East African forests.  After visiting the Maramagambo Forest area, you’ll drive south into the remote and open Ishasha plains in the southwest of Queen Elizabeth National Park.  Famous for tree-climbing lions in the fig trees, the Ishasha plains are also home to elephants, Ugandan kob, topi, eland, buffalo, wart hogs, and other savannah wildlife.  The Ishasha River supports a healthy hippo population.  Wildlife view with a picnic lunch. After lunch, you will continue the drive south into the Bwinidi Impenetrable Forest region.  Late afternoon arrival at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest park gate.

Dinner and overnight at Mahogany Springs Lodge.
 
Day 8
Mahogany Springs Lodge
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest   
Breakfast at the Mahogany Springs Lodge.  After breakfast you’ll attend an introductory session at the park headquarters to learn about forest and gorilla trekking etiquette.  Ugandan park guides will be taking you into the rain forest and there will be park guides in your party who work daily with the gorillas in Bwindi.  You’ll hike to the point where the gorillas were seen the day before and track from that point.  Trekking can range from 1 to 5 hours as you move into the gorilla’s home range.  The terrain is rough and sometimes muddy.  Picnic lunches are provided.   Birds abound with over 350 species sighted. 

Close to half of the world’s mountain gorilla populations (approximately 320) reside in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.  Mountain gorillas’ larger size and thicker fur coats distinguish them from their lowland counterparts.  Seeing mountain gorillas is considered to be the most profound wildlife viewing experience in the world.  
   
•    No more than eight guests are allowed to view each of the three habituated gorilla families at any one time.
•    You should maintain a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas.  Do not touch the gorillas or try to make contact.  The gorillas will break the rules occasionally.  In such cases, don’t increase the distance between you and them, but drop back as soon as you can without disturbing them.
•    Do not use flash cameras.
•    Do not eat or smoke.
•    Do not do anything that may cause the gorillas stress or exhibit any behavior that they may see as a challenge.  Respect their space, speak very quietly, and avoid unnecessary movement. 
•    Keep in a small group and never surround the gorillas.
•    Leave nothing behind but footprints.    
 
If time allows, afternoon activities can include:
Relaxing on the verandah after gorilla trekking;
Hiking on the Waterfall Trail, which follows the Munyaga River; or
Community Village Cultural Walk through the local Buhoma Village.  This walk is led by a community guide who will take you through the Buhoma market area and out on the local trails to meet the village banana brewer and a traditional medicinal healer.  Along the way, notice the traditional farms and homes.  Villagers may come out to greet you. 

Dinner and overnight at Mahogany Springs Lodge.

Day 9
Mahogany Springs Lodge
Bwindi Forest   
Breakfast at Mahogany Springs Lodge, followed by Batwa cultural visit. Bwindi Forest is home to a fantastic diversity of flora and fauna, including some exotic plants and rare and endangered animals. The forest is also home to the Batwa pygmies, the original dwellers of the ancient forest, known as the ‘keepers of the forest.’

The Batwa lived in harmony with the forest and survived by hunting small game using bows and arrows and gathering plants for both food and medicinal purposes. In 1992, the lives of the Batwa changed forever, when the forest became a national park and World Heritage Site in order to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that reside within its boundaries. The Batwa were evicted from the park and became conservation refugees in a world that was very unfamiliar to them. Their skills and means of subsistence were not useful in this modern environment and they began to suffer.

In 2001, when the Batwa tribe was on the edge of extinction, American medical missionaries, Dr. Scott and Carol Kellermann came to their rescue. They purchased land and established programs to improve the conditions and lives of the Batwa. This included building a school, hospital and housing. The Kellermanns also developed water and sanitation projects and found ways that the Batwa could generate income and sustain themselves. These projects are now managed and operated by the Batwa Development Program (BDP). BDP works closely with the Batwa community to ensure that their indigenous rights are respected and they also benefit from the forest being a national park and tourist attraction.

The Batwa Cultural Experience was created by the displaced Batwa pygmies with the help of BDP to educate their children and to share their amazing heritage and traditions with the world. A day spent with the Batwa gives you the opportunity to enjoy the following:

•    Hike through the forest with the people of the forest. You will have a Batwa guide and he will provide you with the chance to see the forest and its habitants through his eyes.
•    See how the Batwa lived and hunted in the traditional manner. Enjoy trying out your hunting techniques as the Batwa teach you how to shoot with a bow and arrow.
•    Visit a traditional Batwa homestead and learn from the women how to prepare, cook, and serve a meal. You will also have the opportunity to sample the dishes.
•    Hear ancient legends and traditional songs.

Dinner and overnight at Mahogany Springs Lodge.

Day 10
Mihingo Lodge
Lake Mburo National Park   
Breakfast at Mahogany Springs Lodge.  Drive eastward toward Lake Mburo National Park. Pass through beautiful agricultural countryside where fruits and vegetables grow in abundance. Turn off the main road to look for herds of Ankole cattle famous for their long horns, raised by the Banyankore people.   You will do traditional wildlife viewing throughout the park’s ecosystems which include savannah, acacia woodland, swamp, and lake environments.  This Ugandan park is the only reserve in Uganda to support a population of impalas.  There are plentiful topi, bushbuck, zebra, buffalo, eland, reedbuck, and warthogs.  Viewings of predators are rarer, but the water environments bring abundant sightings of hippos.  At least 315 bird species have been recorded in Lake Mburo National Park with many East African bird species present at the very northern limit of their range.  Your lodge is set in a series of rugged hills on the west side of the park with majestic views of Lake Mburo and the undulating grassy valleys that hold wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities.   Hiking and walking are available from the lodge.     

Dinner and overnight at Mihingo Lodge.  Swimming pool available.     

Day 11
Transit to Entebbe   
Breakfast at Mihingo Lodge.  Morning for wildlife viewing in the park or hiking, as you choose.   Drive out in the morning for Kampala and Entebbe.  If time permits, stop in Kampala for lunch, shopping and a visit with the Mpigi Royal Drum Makers.

Dinner and transport to the Entebbe Airport for connection to your international flight. 
  
Day 12   
Travel day  
 International flight

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