15 DAYS GORILLA & WILDLIFE SAFARIS (1 FREE GORILLA PERMITS) | Budget Travel Experts-Hamerkop Safaris

15 DAYS GORILLA & WILDLIFE SAFARIS (1 FREE GORILLA PERMITS)

 

15 DAYS GORILLA & WILDLIFE SAFARIS (1 FREE GORILLA PERMITS)

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.

However, if you arrived earlier before you have had breakfast, then get ready to start your tour to the most isolated national park in Uganda and we will drive you through the plain and remote vegetation to the northern part of the country.

Within about three hours we arrive at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you will be tracking the white rhinos

The Rhino revival project is an initiative of two organizations, Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is situated about one hundred and seventy-six kilometers (approximately 100 miles) north of Kampala on the Gulu highway as you are heading towards Murchison Falls National Park.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you will get the opportunity to see rhinos in the wild.

At the moment the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a habitat to sixteen southern white rhinos. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary has become very popular with tourists in recent years. It’s a perfect spot for rhino trekking, nature walks, bird watching, and relaxation.

Accommodation

Luxury: Amuka Safari Lodge

Midrange: Amuka Safari Lodge

Low Budget: Ziwa Rhino Camp

Day 2: Onwards to Kidepo Valley National Park, Traditional Karimajong  Tribe Cultural Experience

Today you will travel to Kidepo Valley N.P. A long but rewarding drive will take you past one of the most beautiful sceneries in Uganda.

If you can plan today on a Wednesday you’ll have the chance to experience an authentic Karamajong cattle market (that is today in this tour). Some herders walk for 5 hours to be able to buy or sell their goats, cows, or chicken here. It’s a colorful and stunning sight and one of the few remaining authentic experiences. Don’t miss this!

The Karamojong are related to the Maasai in Kenya and live and dress similarly. The main difference is that not any other tourist is going here. Only a few years ago, tourism in Karamoja would not have been possible due to armed inter-tribal conflict but nowadays it’s safe.

After this thrilling experience, it is time to enter into the most remote and pristine national park in the country, Kidepo Valley National Park. The park has some of the most amazing scenery in the country! For many people, this is the most beautiful park in Uganda. Here you will find almost no tourists leaving you free to enjoy the park and its unique combination of wildlife without distraction

Accommodation

Luxury: Adere Safari Lodge

Midrange: Kidepo Savannah Lodge (ensuite)

Low Budget: Kidepo Savannah Lodge (sheltered tents with bedding and mosquito nets)

Day 3: Safari in Kidepo Valley National Park

Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park

In Kidepo Valley National Park you will find zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, and leopards. This is also the only place in Uganda where you can find the cheetah and ostrich.

Kidepo is famous for its lions relaxing on the rocks – a scene which may remind you of a certain Disney film. You might even be very lucky to spot a leopard or cheetah! Besides the 4×4 safaris, you can also take a bushwalk in the park with an armed ranger.

You will start your morning with a guided nature walk around the Sabiny community and a few Bagishu people, walk around the Sipi River with the 3-Sipi waterfalls. Get to the viewpoint and view the Mt. Elgon National Park, plus the second highest peak of Mt. Elgon-Jackson Summits.

Return later and drive to Jinja overnight and to cut short the distance to Murchison Falls National Park.

Accommodation

Luxury: Adere Safari Lodge

Midrange: Kidepo Savannah Lodge (ensuite)

Low Budget: Kidepo Savannah Lodge (sheltered tents with bedding and mosquito nets)

Day 4: Murchison Falls National Park

We set off from Kidepo at 7 a.m. after our morning breakfast and drive to Murchison Falls National Park.

This route gives you an opportunity to enjoy the scenery of Labwor hills and in particular the massive and bare Alerek (Kidi Rwot) rock about 55 km from Kotido.

On arrival at the park, you will relax at your lodge for the rest of the day/evening, dinner and overnight.

Murchison Falls National Park is the largest in Uganda at 3,840 square kilometers. Here is the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls where the River Nile hurls itself in convulsions through a narrow crevice and then plunges 40 meters in one breathtaking leap.

The park has a variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamplands to broad savannah and provides visitors the opportunity of seeing large concentrations of wildlife including lion, leopard, civet, hyena, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, a host of smaller game, small primates and many bird species, including the rare shoebill stork. The park is especially famous for crocodiles and hippos.

Once we enter the park, you will be stopping at the top of the falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters.

Accommodation Options

Up-market:   Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate:  Pakuba Lodge

Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 5: Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls – Uganda Habituation Tours gorilla habituation, chimps habituation golden monkeys primate habituation tour

Boat Trip to the Bottom of Murchison Falls

After breakfast head to the Delta in search of birdlife and enjoy the game drive to look for lions, giraffes, herds of elephants, buffaloes, and many more.

We will then go for an afternoon boat cruise to the foot of Murchison Falls. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison since it allows you to get up close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles. The birdlife is stunning with brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks. If lucky, you may see the rare and prehistoric-looking shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.

Up-market: Baker’s Lodge | Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge | Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge

Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 6: Fort Portal & Kibale National Park

Leave Murchison Falls National Park for Kibale Forest National Park via the Lake Albert escarpment, having a good view of the lake.

Stopover at Kolping Hotel in Hoima for lunch and after a drive across the interesting river Nkusi (flowing from the southern end of Lake Albert, through the villages of Kagadi, joining Victoria Nile). Both rivers join Lake Kyoga and flow through the Murchison Falls continue to Lake Albert and north to the Mediterranean Sea.

This is a great day as the drive takes you through the community and forests with chances of seeing vervet monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys jumping up in the trees as you advance into the Kyenjonjo on a rocky road.

Accommodation Options

Upscale: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge

Midrange: Isunga Lodge| ensuite tents at Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp (with bedding and mosquito nets, shared bathroom) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 7: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Chimp, Kibale Forest chimpanzee habituation experience gorilla tour Uganda

Assemble at Kanyankyu River camp at 08:00 hours to go for the most popular activity in this park which is chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzees are man’s closest cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate species. More primates like black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos, and many bird species like the yellow-spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee-eater, and mammals like elephants can be seen in this walk.

Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large communities of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.

Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.

In the afternoon we visit a nearby forest swamp that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. At the eastern edge of Kibale Forest is Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is maintained by the local community. You will expect birds like the great blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bushbucks, bush pigs, and among others.

Accommodation Options

Upscale: Kyaninga Lodge | Ndali Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge

Midrange: Isunga Lodge| ensuite tents at Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp (with bedding and mosquito nets, shared bathroom) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 8:  Queen Elizabeth National Park

Crater Lake, Uganda tour habituation gorilla primate chimp Queen Elizabeth National Park

Leave the national park after breakfast and drive to Fort Portal.

We incorporate some Crater Lake hikes into this program. You will be simply amazed by the beauty of these ancient and not ancient crater lakes found in the Fort Portal area.

After you have witnessed all these amazing landscapes, you will be transferred to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Accommodation Options

Up-market/Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge |  Katara Lodge

Mid-range: Ihamba Safari Lodge| Enganzi Lodge | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge

Budget: Bush Lodge (tents)|  Simba Safari Camp (tents) | Pumba Cottages

Day 9: Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park  -BIG 5 Game drives and Kazinga boat trip

Uganda gorilla habituation experience, intimate habituation experience for chimps habituation & golden monkey habituation, lions &rhino tracking, Chimp Caregiver. After breakfast, we depart to Queen Elizabeth National Park which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains – the famed “Mountains of the Moon”. This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the northeast by Lake George and on the southwest by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Congo Parc du Virunga.

As we drive through the park, expect to spot teeming herds of impala-like Uganda kob, as well as topi, elephant, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon we will go on a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at very close range from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink-backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle-billed stork, and many others.

Accommodation Options

Up-market/Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge |  Katara Lodge

Mid-range: Ihamba Safari Lodge| Enganzi Lodge | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge

Budget: Bush Lodge (tents)|  Simba Safari Camp (tents) | Pumba Cottages

The experiential tourism activities currently available are Mongoose Tracking, Lion Tracking, Hippo Census, and Bird Counts. The number of people on each outing is limited in order to reduce stress on the animals and to increase the quality of the experience for visitors.

Experiential tours last between one and three hours. They usually take place in the early morning or evening, or occasionally at night. All activities must be booked through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya at least 24 hours in advance.

Costing: $110 us dollar p.p.

Day 10: Tree climbing lions in Ishasha & Maramagambo Forest Bush Walk

Another early start for a bushwalk through the Maramagambo Forest.

This is one of the largest forests in Uganda and forms a habitat for a number of primates and forest dwellers. Due to its location, Maramagambo also has a great diversity of butterflies and birds. The walk culminates in a visit to volcanic caves that are home to thousands of bats. Pythons are often observed in the crevices of the bat’s cave as they prey on bats. In this walk, you will see the picturesque blue lake Kimeranjojo which got its name after swallowing an elephant. Other trails will lead you to Crater Lake and habitats of the wild chimps and forest birds.

In the afternoon you will proceed to Ishasha Sector. Drive along the deep and wide dry craters that are occupied by savanna grasses and acacia. The drive takes you through the unique western rift valley escarpment and the (southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park) Ishasha sector where you will take on yet another game drive in search of tree climbing lions in the afternoon and evening.

Accommodation Options

Up-market/Luxury: Ishasha Wilderness Campsite

Mid-range: Enjojo Lodge | Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp

Budget: @ the River

Day 11: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Early morning guided bush walk for a closer interaction with nature in Ishasha. The mid-morning will be spent on a game drive for the tree-climbing lions, elephants, and other Big Mammals, thereafter proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The journey takes about 2-3 hours but driving through interesting features. We shall be arriving in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the evening. This park is home to the rare mountain gorillas plus 11 other primates species including the blue and red-tailed monkeys. The forest itself is lush and green and there are streams running through it.

Accommodation Options

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge |  Mahogany Lodge | Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge |Chameleon Hill Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge |Gorilla Mist Camp | Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Gorilla Conservation Camp

Day 12: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip – gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day.

We trek through the rainforest and bamboo-covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 meters from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.

Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It’s difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk a long distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.

Accommodation options

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Nkuringo Gorilla Camp | Chameleon Hill Lodge

Moderate: Engagi Lodge | Silverback Lodge | Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Gorilla Conservation Camp

Day 13: Canoe Trek or Batwa Pygmies Experience, Transfer to Rwanda

Either Lake Bunyonyi  or Lake Mutanda Canoe Trekking

After having breakfast, we shall take a scenic drive to Lake Bunyonyi taking you through the beautiful terrain of the rolling hills with terraced landscape. A short drive leads us to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi where we can relax and enjoy some reflection time. With its freshwater, bilharzia-free, and beautiful landscapes, Lake Bunyonyi is a small paradise for travelers.

After meeting our local guide for the day, we are led out for a canoe trek as well as bird watching on the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, traversing to the gorgeous Kyabahinga peninsula. Here you will be gladly welcomed with songs plus dances by the resident school children. You will enjoy with the locals at least a cup of “Obushera” which is a local brew. You will ascend the Kyabahinga slopes having a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the birdlife and the verdant terrain. The view is very breathtaking! The guide will certainly brief you about the history of the area.

Among the bird species, you will see are the Dusky Turtle Dove, the Handsome Francolin, and Alpine Chat. A renowned herbalist who is a traditional healer -Omugurusi Jeremiah, based on the hilltop will disclose to you some of the secrets about the flora on the tropical highland.

Or BATWA EXPERIENCE –  BWINDI

The exciting Batwa Cultural Experience isn’t too strenuous. It is a one-hour hike through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, that will reward you with stunning vistas and the serenity of this ancient rain forest. Along the way, you will learn about the healing plants and the delicate fare offered from the forest, and how the Batwa collected wild honey, wild yams, and mushrooms. You will inspect the traditional dwellings and participate in the traditional dances. Hear stories and learn the folklore of the Batwa pygmies from the elders, practice shooting their bow and arrows, and join in a mock hunting party.

After your chosen activity, we will cross the border via Kisoro or Kabale then clear at the border – Rwanda is 1 hour behind Uganda.

Located in the far north-west of Rwanda, Parc des Volcans is home to the steep slopes of this wonderful mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which cuddles evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp, and heath.

Accommodation options available

Up-market: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Five Volcanoes Lodge

Moderate: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget:  Muhavura Lodge.

Day 14: Either Golden Monkey tracking or Gorilla Trekking in Parc des Volcanoes

You could opt for a second gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park (extra $1500 per person). Have breakfast and go to ORTPN offices for briefing after that set off in the forest for gorilla trekking.

A thrilling trek through the refined foothills of the Virungas provides inspiring views in all directions. Then, suddenly, the trail enters the national park, engrossing trekkers in the strange closeness of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and besieged with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the marvelous peaks are sighted, easily easy to get to, and among the uppermost in Africa, indicating an ascent.

Gorilla trekking is quite strenuous but a worthwhile encounter of these gentle giants. The enthusiasm of your coming across with these apes will wipe away your intricacy of the strenuous trek. Spend time watching gorillas, watch the adults feeding their young ones, brushing, and resting as the youngsters play from vines in a pleasurably playful display.

Golden Monkey Tracking in Volcanoes National Park

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