Ngamba – Murchison Falls – Kibale – Queen Elizabeth – Bwindi – Lake Mburo – Jinja
This tour brings you the best of Uganda’s variety, splendour and intimacy in 14 days.
We visit open plains and rain forest, lakes and acacia forests, track chimpanzees and mountain gorillas and cruise to the base of the mighty Murchison Falls.
Visit the major savannah and forest parks, a cultural tour of the Buganda kingdom and an adrenalin rush down the rapids at Jinja.
Day 1: Ngamba
We begin the tour with a visit to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Lake Victoria. Thirty rescued chimps inhabit the island, most of which have been rescued from the illegal pet trade. This is a great opportunity to observe the chimps in an almost natural environment without the restrictions of forest viewing.
Set in beautiful surroundings, this is a pleasant and easy start to two weeks of incredible safari.
Day 2: Kampala – Murchison Falls National Park
We make an early start on the long drive to Murchison Falls National Park, and arrive in mid-afternoon. This is the largest park in Uganda, covering almost 4000 km2, and is one of the most spectacular parks in all of Africa. There are the incredible falls from which the park takes its name, rugged savannah, dense woodland and spectacular wildlife.
We settle into our base and investigate the surrounding area on foot. Nothing too strenuous after the long drive.
Day 3: Murchison Falls National Park
A full day of game viewing at Murchison. We begin with a morning game drive, on the look out for elephant, buffalo, giraffe, antelope, lion, leopard and jackal. If luck is really on our side, we may encounter one of Murchison’s few cheetahs.
In the afternoon we take a boat trip to the base of the 43m high falls. This is also a good opportunity to spot a few of Murchison’s 460 bird species including the shoebill stork and goliath heron. You will also see one of Africa’s densest hippo and crocodile populations.
Day 4: Murchison Falls National Park – Kibale National Park
After breakfast it’s a 7 hour journey to Kibale National Park. Our destination is Fort Portal; the safari headquarters of western Uganda. To stretch our legs and recover from the drive, we take a leisurely late afternoon hike around the town and return in time for an evening’s entertainment.
Day 5: Kibale National Park
Day 5 is spent in Uganda’s most accessible rainforest, Kibale. With 13 primate species (the highest concentration and variety of primates in Africa), viewing here is fantastic. Look out for L’Hoest’s monkeys, red colobus, black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys.
Our main activity however is chimpanzee tracking, which will take us into the forest as we follow the rapidly moving chimps for most of the morning.
The afternoon is focused on the great birdlife in Kibale, hoping to spot some of its endemic species as we visit the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Day 6: Kibale National Park – Queen Elizabeth National Park
We transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park and straight on to a late morning game drive. This incredible park hosts over 100 mammal and 600 bird species and is the pride of Ugandan safari. Our drive through the northern sector will typically encounter elephant, lion, Uganda kob, topi and hyena.
In the afternoon we cruise down the Kazinga Channel for some more incredible game viewing. You will see countless hippos, buffalos and a vast array of birds, perhaps including the African Fish Eagle and shoebill stork.
Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kyambura
After breakfast we visit Queen Elizabeth’s Kyambura Gorge for chimpanzee tracking. The walk takes 3 – 4 hours depending on the weather and is also a great opportunity to spot black-and-white colobus monkeys and a few more of those 600 bird species that have been registered in the park.
In the afternoon we take another game drive along the Mweya peninsula.
Day 8: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha
We transfer to Queen Elizabeth’s southern Ishasha sector in the morning. This is a dry and wild savannah region, much less developed than the Mweya peninsula. The game viewing is very good and in particular the region is famed for its tree-climbing lions.
Day 9: Ishasha – Bwindi National Park
We make a morning tour of the Ishaha sector, in hope of seeing more lions and the elusive leopard. Then we say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth and head down to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and prepare for the next day.
Day 10: Bwindi National Park
The highlight of many safaris – gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park (subject to permit availability at the time of booking). This can take up the whole day and can be very tiring – the ground is steep and densely forested – but it really is worth it.
Treks can take an hour or they can take four – it all depends on where the gorillas are. And so the time remaining after visiting the gorillas can either be spent relaxing and remembering the trek or hiking in the foothills and visiting local communities – its up to you.
Day 11: Bwindi National Park – Lake Mburo National Park
Today is perhaps the only lie-in of the tour, and you have a chance to recuperate your energies a little before we set off to Lake Mburo.
This beautiful drive takes approximately 5 hours and allows time for an afternoon game drive in the splendour of Lake Mburo. The acacia forests and wetlands are home to an impressive variety of antelope including the giant eland and impala.
Day 12: Lake Mburo National Park – Kampala
Our morning game drive through the humid and haunting acacia forests gives yet another aspect to Uganda’s beauty and will hopefully provide us with zebra, hippo, leopard, bushbuck and oribi.
In the afternoon we take a splendid boat trip across Lake Mburo and enjoy some excellent bird watching. There are also chances to see crocodiles, waterbuck and the rare sitatunga before we make the two hour trip back to Kampala.
Day 13: Kampala – Jinja
The main attraction of today is white water rafting at Jinja. But don’t worry if that sounds too much – there is still the fascinating local culture, birdlife and scenery to keep you enthralled while the more reckless hurtle down grade 4/5 rapids. On the way to Jinja we make a whistle stop tour of the Namugongo Martyrs Shrine and Ssezibwa Falls, visit the source of the River Nile and see the spectacular Bujagali Falls.
Top this off with a late afternoon tour around beautiful colonial Jinja and its bustling market.
Day 14: Kampala
We finish the tour with a look at the culture and history that make up this incredible country. It’s a chance to meet local people and to perhaps understand the past problems of Uganda and its remarkable recovery. We visit villages, make a quick tour of Kampala and have the opportunity to see local dancers and musicians in action.