10 days Uganda wildlife exploration
Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe international airport
On your arrival at the Entebbe international airport the main gateway to Uganda, you will meet and get greeted by your assigned guide from Hamerkop Safaris who will later drive you to Kampala for your dinner and overnight.
Your accommodation for the night is set on the shores of Lake Victoria, about a 40-minute drive from Entebbe. Along the way you will catch a glimpse of the daily pulse of Uganda, like the matatus and bodabodas (local 4-wheel and 2-wheel taxis) weaving daringly through traffic, smartly dressed residents in colorful fabrics negotiating the pot-holed streets, food stalls serving with delicious Rolex and wooden carts heavily laden with our favorite staple food, the Matoke.
Day 2: To Murchison Falls national park
Your journey in Uganda will begin with one of the oldest conservation areas in the country; Murchison Falls National Park. The drive to Northern Uganda is long but rewarding, taking you through ever-changing landscapes, busy roadside markets, and quiet rural villages.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s best-known and biggest nature reserve. Its most memorable feature is the Victoria Nile which cuts through the park, running along with a series of rapids before shooting out of a narrow crack in an incredibly powerful waterfall. A boat safari during your stay will offer a closer look at the majestic falls while providing ample opportunity to see some of the incredible wildlife that the park is known for along the way.
Your accommodation will add to the safari experience as you will be spending your nights in en-suite furnished safari tents set by the Nile. This is the real African bush and you will need to be escorted by a ranger when you leave your tent after nightfall. There is nothing quite as exciting as your first night falling asleep to the sound of active wildlife around you. If you listen carefully you will hear the hippos singing to you to sleep with their charming laugh-like grunts. Accommodation Murchison River Lodge
Day 3: Murchison Falls National Park
On your morning game drive, a professional ranger with extensive knowledge of the park and its inhabitants will join you in your vehicle. As this is a private game drive you can ask your guide to tailor your trip towards specific birdlife and/or wildlife if you like.
The park is especially known for its massive elephant population, wide array of bird species, and big herds of buffalo. Giraffes, lions, antelope, and waterbucks can also be spotted here and if you search the trees carefully, you may even spot one of the elusive leopards.
The afternoon boat safari towards Murchison Falls is a special highlight of the day. On this 3-hour journey upstream on the Victoria Nile to the base of the falls, you will pass by breathtaking scenery, as well as many crocodiles, hundreds of hippos, buffaloes, water birds, monkeys, and other animals that come down to the Nile for a cool drink in the hot of the day. For humans, cold drinks are for sale on board. The boat will drop you near the waterfall for your hike (1-1.5 hrs) up to the top of the falls. Make sure you are properly hydrated for the walk and be prepared to be blown away by the amazing views from the top.
Accommodation Murchison River Lodge
Day 4: To Kibale forest N.P.
Your journey to Kibale Forest will be your longest drive on this tour, but possibly the most scenic. The drive will take you through tea plantations, lively village markets, and over rolling hills of the lush green countryside that is so characteristic of western Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park itself is an extensive tract of dense tropical rainforest located just south of the town of Fort Portal. The various ecosystems in this space are reputed to harbor the highest density of primates in all of Africa. The rare red colobus monkey as well as the black and white colobus are just some of the primates you may encounter on your forest walks here. The highlight of a trip to Kibale Forest is of course to spend some time observing the wonderfully entertaining chimpanzees.
Your lodge for the next two nights offers a unique jungle experience near the boundaries of the park. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature in one of the property’s beautifully decorated cottages, each set in a private nook in the forest. The rooms are spacious and have large terraces from where you can watch the activities of the forest inhabitants. The main lodge building offers stunning views of the forest canopy below and on a clear day, you can see all the way to the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.
Accommodation Turaco Treetops
Day 5: Chimpanzee Tracking & Swamp Walk
No other animal reminds us so much of ourselves as the chimpanzee. Besides many common features and mannerisms, chimpanzees also share 98% of our human DNA, making them our closest living relatives. It is not so surprising then that we find the habits and biology of these primates so fascinating to study.
While Chimpanzees can be found in 21 countries throughout Africa, they are most easily sighted in Uganda due to the high concentration of the species here. On a Chimpanzee Tracking experience in Kibale Forest, you will have the opportunity to follow an experienced guide into the forest to observe these fascinating creatures at a close range. Watching them interact with each other and go about their daily routine of grooming, playing and foraging is an incredible experience.
While your chances of encountering chimpanzees are high during your tracking excursion, it is never 100% guaranteed. These are, after all, wild animals with wills and minds of their own!
After socializing with the chimps you will be invited to engage in the human custom of a hot lunch. Served by local residents you will learn about the traditional cuisine of the region and its preparation. This meal will offer a nice insight into the local culture, as well as giving a real taste of Uganda!
In the afternoon you can choose whether you would like to spend more time with the local communities and learn more about their day-to-day lives on a Community Walk or go deeper into the forest on a Swamp Walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is home to 8 primate species, over 200 bird species, butterflies, and various reptiles. For bird lovers, the highlight of the afternoon is spotting the beautiful great blue turaco.
Both the Community Walk and Swamp Walk are operated by KAFRED, a registered community-based organization. The income from the walk is used for community development projects such as schools and hospitals.
Please let your Matoke Tours Travel Consultant know which walk you prefer at the time of booking.
Accommodation Turaco Treetops
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited game reserve and arguably the most scenic. The national park protects the vast savannah plains, bushland, wetlands, and forests that lie at the base of the Rwenzori mountain range. Kazinga Channel, which flows through the park and connects Lake George in the east to Lake Edward in the west, attracts a rich array of animals and birds, including the infamous Nile crocodile and one of the world’s largest concentrations of hippos. On your first game drive, you will explore the park along with a 200-kilometer network of well-maintained game viewing tracks.
Accommodation Marafiki Safari Lodge
Day 7: Park Game Drive & Boat Safari
Safari breakfasts are traditionally served before the day breaks so that you can start your morning game drive as the sun comes up. Sunrise is the best time for wildlife spotting as animals tend to be the most active during the “golden hours”, when the first rays of sunshine come to rest on the savannah. Elephants, buffalo, and several species of antelope are some of the characters you may come across today, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a lion or leopard.
Later in the day when the sun is high in the sky and the animals make their way to the river for a drink, we will head to Kazinga Channel for an exciting boat safari. You will spot more hippos today than you can possibly imagine. Herds of elephants and buffalo will also wander down to the shoreline to bathe in the cooling waters. A boat safari is a fantastic way to get close to wildlife and for many visitors, the boat safari is the highlight of their visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Accommodation Marafiki Safari lodge
Day 8: Travel to Lake Mutanda and Bwindi
Your journey today will continue south-west toward Kisoro, a bustling town to the south of Bwindi Forest, near the borders to Rwanda and Congo. This is one of our favorite drives in Uganda. The serpentine roads wind through lush rainforests, skirting hilltops (keep your eyes open for the volcanos!), and dipping into lively villages in the valley before arriving in the serene waters of Lake Mutanda.
Offering some of the best views in Uganda, Mutanda Lake Resort is perched on a peninsula overlooking a series of small islands scattered across the water and the volcanoes from the Virunga Range rising out of the mist in the distance.
Gorilla Tracking is the main highlight of a visit to the southern parts of Bwindi Forest, but you are also in the perfect place for volcano hikes, birding, nature and culture walks, and canoe and paddleboard excursions. The sunset scenes are unforgettable so make sure to find your way to the veranda in time for sundowners.
Accommodation Mutanda Lake Resort
Optional upgrade: Luxury Cottage
The spacious Luxury Cottages at Mutanda Lake Resort boast the best views of the lake and the volcanoes. From the comfort of your private veranda, you can enjoy the seclusion and tranquility of this beautiful spot on the lake.
Day 9: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest
Encountering the rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an experience of a lifetime.
Half of the world’s population of gorillas live under the mist-covered canopies of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest. In the company of an experienced park ranger, you will be tracking the whereabouts of one of the nine habituated family groups who live in the park.
Your tracking experience will be an exciting, yet challenging, journey along forested (often muddy and slippery) slopes, tangled vines, thick vegetation, and bamboo forests before you reach the territory of these gentle giants. En-route, your ranger will point out telltale signs of previous gorilla activity like dung, nests, and chewed bamboo shoots. Depending on the location of the gorillas on any given day the walk can take anything from 2 to 7 hours. Once the family of gorillas has been located, settle into your surroundings and enjoy the hour you have to quietly observe these fascinating primates whose habits and mannerisms remind us so much of our own.
Encountering the mountain gorillas in the wild is a truly humbling and emotional experience, one that you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
Journey Time 1 – 1,5 h each way
Accommodation Mutanda Lake Resort
Day 10: Drive to Kigali
Enjoy your last sunrise in this beautiful corner of Uganda and take a rejuvenating swim in the lake before tucking into a hearty Mutanda breakfast.
Your guide will drive you across the border to Rwanda, and drop you off at Kigali International Airport 3 hours before your departure time. Please make sure your flight departure is after 4 pm at the very earliest. For flights departing before 4 pm, you will need an extra night in Kigali, which we can help arrange for you at an additional cost.
Accommodation: Not Included
Optional departure routes:
There is more than one way to get home! Discuss your preferred option and the additional costs involved with your personal Travel Consultant.
- Fly to Entebbe
Domestic flights from Kisoro to Entebbe operate on a daily basis and take about 2-3 hours, depending on the routing and number of stops. Contact your Travel Consultant for details and prices.
- Drive to Entebbe via Lake Mburo
If you add a day to the program you can stop over in the beautiful Lake Mburo National Park, which is located about halfway between Bwindi Forest and Entebbe. With activities like bush walks, mountain biking, and night game drives this is the perfect extension for those who don’t want their safari to end.