15 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari

Uganda Wildlife Safari - QENP Lions chilling

15 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari: Golden Monkey, Gorilla Trekking, Chimp Habituation Safari and Game Viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Overview

Uganda is all about its friendly people and the diversity in landscapes and activities.  This Uganda Wildlife safari will take you to Kidepo National Park for game drives, Murchison Falls National Park for wildlife viewing through game drives and boat launches and to Kibale Forest National Park, the primate capital of the world, for a chimp trek habituation and to see various species of monkeys and birds. You will have a walk in the Bigodi swamp renowned for rare bird species and crown the safari with a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park for more wildlife viewing through game drives and boat launches. Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga National. You will relax at Lake Bunyonyi and also have a guided walk safari in Lake Mburo National Park before you return to Kampala.

The Uganda Wildlife Safari Itinerary

DAY 1: Kampala to Kitgum

Early morning, the driver will pick you from your hotel and brief you before heading out to Kitgum which is in the northern part of Uganda. You will have a quick lunch stop along the way and then get back on the road to Kitgum. Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

  • Budget: Fugly’s Hotel – Kitgum
  • Meal Plan: Dinner

DAY 2: Kitgum to Kidepo National Park

After an early breakfast you will head off to Kidepo Valley National Park passing through villages and farm fields. Upon arrival in the park, you will check in and have lunch thereafter. Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the national park, a savanna landscape extends in all directions, far beyond the gazetted area of 1442km2, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. Later you will go for an evening game drive. . Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

  • Budget Tour: UWA banda’s
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: Game drive in Kidepo National Park

Start with an early breakfast and then go for a game drive along the trails of Kidepo Valley. The park inhabits one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan parks, with over 80 species of mammals several of which are endermic to Kidepo National Park like the cheetah, the striped hyena the caracal and over 465 bird species including the ostriches. Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

  • Budget Tour: UWA banda’s
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: Visit the Karamajong homestead and head to kitgum

After a late breakfast, you will drive to a Karamojong village to learn more about their culture, music and dance. After lunch, you will proceed to Kitgum town. Karamoja has a cattle culture and the Karamojong are notorious as cattle raiders. Unlike most other Ugandans, many Karamojong shun western-style clothes and instead wear “traditional” dress of a blanket -like shawl, often in red and black. The women wear elaborate beadwork.

Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking

  • Budget: Fugly’s Hotel – Kitgum
  • Meal Plan: Dinner

DAY 5: Travel to Murchison Falls National Park (5-6hrs)

Early in the morning after breakfast, you shall head out to Gulu and then to Murchison falls national park through the northern sector with lunch along the way. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. There are a lot of animals to see on your way to the hotel through the park such as elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents. Dinner and overnight will at your lodge of booking

  • Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge/ Nile Safari Lodge
  • Mid range: Fort Murchison (in rooms)/ Murchison River Lodge
  • Budget: Fort Murchison in tents/ Murchison River Lodge in tents / Red Chili
  • Meal Plan: Dinner

DAY 6: Game drive and Boat launch on the Nile

You will wake up very early and set off at 6.30am for a sunrise game drive in the Nyamsika plateau to see the Cape buffaloes, Rothschild’s giraffes, Uganda kob, hartebeest and waterbucks. You may also spot oribi, bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, shy sitatunga, bush duiker, warthog and bush pig plus large carnivores including lions, leopards and spotted hyenas. Chimpanzees and olive baboons head the list of six species of primates found in the park. Crocodiles and hippos will be seen along the banks of the Nile. Some of the more common birds that can be seen include goliath heron, Egyptian geese, pelican, bee-eaters, kingfishers, hornbill, cormorant, saddle-bill stork and the rare shoebill stork. You will return to your lodge for a late breakfast and some relaxation before you set off in the afternoon for a boat cruise on the placid Victoria Nile, upstream, to the base of the falls. En route you will see hippos, crocodiles, water buck and a wide variety of birds like the unusual shoebill stork. The boat stops just tens of meters from the “Devil’s Cauldron” for pictures to be taken of the photogenic and majestic Murchison Falls.

  • Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge/ Nile Safari Lodge
  • Mid range: Fort Murchison (in rooms)/ Murchison River Lodge
  • Budget: Fort Murchison in tents/ Murchison River Lodge in tents / Red Chili
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: Visit to the top of the fall and travel to Kibale Forest National Park

You will after your breakfast visit the “top of the thunderous Murchison falls”, where you will observe the River Nile squeezing itself in a 7 meter gorge before tumbling 40 meters down in a thunderous explosion and then flows down into a very peaceful river whose water banks are swarmed with a profusion of water and land animals as well as birds. You will thereafter set off on a 9 hour journey to Kibale Forest National Park.  The drive is through verdant countryside interpassing traditional homesteads and farms and via the towns of Hoima and Fort portal which rests in the shadow of the fabled Mountains of the Moon. You will have an opportunity to do a swamp walk upon reaching Kibale.  You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.

  • Luxury: Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kyaninga lodge                                                                          
  • Moderate: Mountains of the moon/Kibale forest camp
  • Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Kibale forest camp/Chimpanzee forest guest house
  • Meal plan: Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: Kibale – Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Today we’ll accompany Kibale’s researchers in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to a “soft” habituation project with chimpanzees. You’ll learn to safely observe the chimps during their daily activities, so they get comfortable with human presence without changing their natural behaviors. You will be able to experience the chimp families as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed. Guided by biologists and researchers, we will enjoy unprecedented intimate access to these wild chimps for the entire day until they build their nests at bed time.
Kibale Forest hosts at least 1,500 chimpanzees out of the 4,950 found in Uganda, making this the largest concentration of chimps in Africa. The park is also home to 10 other primates including diurnal species like the Red Colobus Monkey, Blue Monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Gray Checked Mangabeys, and Vervet Monkey, as well as many other animals. Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

  • Luxury: Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kyaninga lodge                                                                          
  • Moderate: Mountains of the moon/Kibale forest camp
  • Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Kibale forest camp/Chimpanzee forest guest house
  • Meal plan: Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: Mountains of the Moon, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mongoose Tracking

At 09:00 AM, we begin our drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, enjoying the majestic views en route of the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains – the famed “Mountains of the Moon”.

Queen Elizabeth National Park holds huge concentrations of wildlife including predators such as the famous tree-climbing Lions, Leopard, Serval cats and Spotted hyena. Other mammals include elephant, cape buffalo, hippo, a variety of antelope, warthog, giant forest hog and 10 species of primates including vervet monkeys, black and white colobus and olive baboon. The park’s bird species number more than 600, amongst the highest in Africa. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon we’ll join a research team from the Uganda Wildlife Authority to track banded mongoose, a highly social mongoose which are closely related to the better known meerkat. As the research team embark on their daily monitoring activities, you are awarded plenty of time to observe the mongoose troupes as they normally go about life. See how they engage teamwork, hunt prey and defend each other. Observe family/group hierarchy among other amazingly interesting mongoose behaviors.

Like meerkats, each mongoose group or family sleeps together in a communal underground den, changing between den sites every 3-5 days. They emerge at sunrise and forage together in the morning and afternoon before returning to the den at sunset. Take as many photos as you wish before heading back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

  • Luxury Lodge: Mweya Safari Lodge: Katara Lodge/ Jacana Lodge 
  • Mid-range /moderate: Bush Lodge (in rooms) / Simba Safari Camp in rooms/ Buffalo Safari Resort/ Enganzi Lodge/ Ihamba Safari Lodge 
  • Budget facility: Kazinga Channel View Lodge/ Simba Safari Camp in tents/ Bush Lodge in tents  
  • Meal Plan: Lunch, Dinner.

DAY 10: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Game drive and Lion Experiential, Boat Safari

See a different face of the park as we venture off road with a research team to track lions and contribute to a valuable lion research project in the Ishasha Sector. The researchers’ Landcruiser is fitted with radio-collar-receiving equipment. You get a full briefing on the animals with opportunity for as much lion photography as you can manage.

After a leisurely lunch on the Mweya Peninsula we’ll enjoy a two hour boat safari along the Kazinga Channel. This affords the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray and 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.

  • Luxury Lodge: Mweya Safari Lodge: Katara Lodge/ Jacana Lodge 
  • Mid-range /moderate: Bush Lodge (in rooms) / Simba Safari Camp in rooms/ Buffalo Safari Resort/ Enganzi Lodge/ Ihamba Safari Lodge  
  • Budget facility: Kazinga Channel View Lodge/ Simba Safari Camp in tents/ Bush Lodge in tents  
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

DAY 11: Queen Elizabeth / Ishasha – Tree Climbing Lions / Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

After breakfast we drive further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head to the southern sector of the park – Ishasha. This is the best area to see the famous tree-climbing lions draped from low hanging limbs of fig trees. Next we visit the Kob Mating Ground—a defined area specifically used by these stunning antelopes for challenging other males, enticing females and mating. Finally we’ll pass through beautiful savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

While most of today’s forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi’s vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles for over 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 species of mammals including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi’s most famous resident, the mountain gorilla. Bwindi is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics – species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

  • Lower Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Travellers Rest Hotel Kisolo / Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Silver Back Lodge / Lake Kitandara Camp / Chameleon Hill Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort.
  • Up market: Mahogang Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Satari Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Dinner.  

DAY 9: Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

We have an early morning entry into the mountain gorillas’ sanctuary. The rainforest is spectacular, and heavily vegetated with dense landscapes crisscrossed by numerous animal trails, allowing access for trekkers. This park is best known for the fascinating gorillas, where the time taken and terrain varies according to the movements of these fantastic apes.

Our intimate gorilla experience allows you to accompany the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Bwindi gorilla habituation team for the entire day, allowing you to have a minimum 4 hours in the presence of a mountain gorilla family – since regular permits only allow 1 hour, this is 4 times the amount of time spent up close with Gorillas – more than any other safari operator!  During this time you will be able to experience the gorilla family as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed until they build their nests at bed time.

The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving adventure that will leave you with long lasting memories. Spending more time with them than the norm means you are assured of the best possible experience, with 4 full hours for better photography, researcher access for more questions, and enough time to experience more intimate and unusual behaviors. The gorillas are shy and peaceful animals and it is an unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact with each other.

The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. Once the gorillas are sighted, you will be guided to within 6 meters of the gorillas, and be able to sit all around them while gazing into their big round eyes as the researchers note health, behavior and other characteristics. Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

  • Lower Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Travellers Rest Hotel Kisolo / Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Silver Back Lodge / Lake Kitandara Camp / Chameleon Hill Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort.
  • Up market: Mahogang Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Satari Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Lunch, Dinner. 

Day 12: Golden Monkey Habituation in Mgahinga National Park.
After breakfast transfer to the Mgahinga National Park headquarters for briefing and later begin the hike over the volcanic terrain in search for Golden Monkeys in the bamboo forests. Mgahinga National Park shares boarders with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo. The park is also the most scenic as it stands at three volcanoes of Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo. Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

  • Budget: Mount Gahinga Rest Camp or The Travellers Rest
  • Meal Plan: Lunch, Dinner. 

Day 13: Lake Bunyonyi:
Given the inevitable rigorous day at Mgahinga, You will cherish some relaxing moments on the shores of this peaceful lake. You will choose among the various tour activities. You can either choose to go birding, cycling, and sun bathing, swimming or even canoeing. Dinner and overnight will at your lodge of booking.

  • Lower Budget: Bushara Island Camp
  • Moderate: Bird’s Nest
  • Up-market: Bird’s Nest/ Archadia Cottage
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Game drive in the Mburo National Park

You will head to Lake Mburo National Park where you will have your lunch and in the evening you will do a game drive where you will have a chance to see a variety of animal species. Dinners and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking

  • Luxury: Mihingo Lodge/ Mantana Lake Mburo Camp/ Arcadia Cottages
  • Moderate: Lake Mburo Safari Lodge/ Rakobo Rock
  • Budget: Eagles Nest Camp
  • Meal Plan: Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Walking safari in Lake Mburo and transfer to Kampala

Unusually, the whole park is open to walkers as long as they are accompanied by a ranger guide. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks.

Walks on the western side of the lake begin at 7am and take two hours. At this time of day, you may encounter hyenas returning to their dens and hippos retreating to the lake. Hikes through the woodland provide an opportunity to sight forest birds and mammals, while the walk to the top of the hill rewards visitors with a spectacular view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes. Your driver/guide will take you to the airport in time for your flight home

 

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