18 Day African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari

18 Day African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari

Destinations:

Overview

The 18 Day African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari is an all-inclusive great Uganda Safari that takes you on a dreamy experience of Africa. There’s no where else in Africa you’ll get an experience like what this safari package offers and this is because you get to enjoy a jungle gorilla safari and a savannah game drive on the same trip.

The African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari takes you to Mt. Elgon, renowned for the scenic beauty of its cliffs, waterfalls, caves, and unique flora. You will visit Jinja to see the spot where the Mighty River Nile starts the 6,700 Km journey through Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Jinja is also the hot spot for adventures that include white water rafting, bungee jumping and quad biking.

This safari will take you to the magnificent Murchison Falls where the Mighty River Nile forces its way into a seven meter crevice and plunges 40 meters below. The view is spectacular and the variety of wildlife and birds in this national park is awesome! You will visit Kibale Forest National Park, the primate capital of the world famous for its wild but habituated chimpanzee, other primates and colourful birds. You will have game drives and Boat cruise at Queen Elizabeth National Park to see the incredible endowment of this park in terms of wildlife birds and scenery. The climax of this safari will be an encounter with the elusive Mountain Gorillas in the famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, an experience of a lifetime! You will explore Lake Bunyonyi “the Switzerland of Uganda” which is dotted with 20 islands protruding from the lake for canoe rides and to hike the steep terraced hills encircling the lake for a scenic view of the beautiful surroundings whose birdlife is prolific. The safari does not miss out on Lake Mburo National Park for wild nature walks; the only park in Uganda where a wildlife safari can be conducted on foot. 

Safari Highlights

  • Visit to Sipi Falls
  • Hiking and abseiling
  • Visit to Source of the Nile
  • White water rafting/bungee jumping/ quad biking/cultural tour
  • Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Scenic view of the Murchison falls
  • Boat launches on 3 lakes
  • Game drives in 6 National Parks
  • Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking
  • Nature walks
  • Tree climbing lions in Ishasha
  • Canoe ride on Lake Bunyonyi
  • Village walk around Lake Bunyonyi
  • Volcano hiking / Golden monkey trek
  • Cultural visit
  • Equator experience

Activity Schedule

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda
Day 2: Travel to Mt Elgon
Day 3: Exploration of Mt. Elgon
Day 4: Transfer to Jinja
Day 5: Adventure on the Nile
Day 6: Travel to Murchison Falls National Park
Day 7: Game drive and Boat launch on the Nile
Day 8: Visit to the top of the fall and travel to Kibale Forest National Park
Day 9: Chimp tracking and nature walk in Kibale Forest
Day 10: Game drive and boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 11: Game Drive and travel to Lake Bunyonyi
Day 12: Canoeing and hiking on Lake Bunyonyi and transfer to Kisoro
Day 13: African Gorilla Tour – the Gorilla trekking Experience in Bwindi
Day 14: Cultural Village Walk
Day 15: Game drive in the Lake Mburo Park and Boat cruise on the Lake
Day 16: Travel to Kampala
Day 17: Visit to the chimp sanctuary on Ngamba Island
Day 18: Departure


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Detailed Safari Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda

Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport you will be met by your assigned African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari guide who will transfer you to the hotel of your booking and brief you on the safari plan.

Luxury Lodge: Serena Hotel/ Imperial Hotel 
Moderate:  Emin Pasha Hotel/ Speke Resort Hotel
Budget facility: Acardia Cottages/ Namirembe Guest house
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 2: Travel to Mt Elgon

You will after an early breakfast drive eastwards to Mt. Elgon. You will have a stopover at Ssezibwa Falls for a cultural feel and continue to Mbale town located on the foothills of Mt. Elgon. En-route you will drive past tea and sugarcane plantations, lush green forests and grasslands, colorful fruits beautifully displayed by the roadsides and enjoy a varied display of landscapes and local communities. You will have lunch in Mbale and proceed to Sipi village located between beautiful hills and waterfalls.

Your dinner and overnight will be at one of the selected African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari lodges adjacent to the Sipi falls.

Luxury: Mbale Resort hotel/ Sipi River Lodge
Mid-range: Lacam Lodge / Masha Hotel/ Noah’s Ark Hotels/ Sipi Falls Resort
Budget: Crow’s Nest Rest Camp/ Moses camp site / Suam Guest House
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 3: Exploration of Mt. Elgon

Mt Elgon - The Peak of Mount Elgon - Safari

You will have breakfast and thereafter hike to the Mt. Elgon Forest Exploration Center for a briefing on the activities of the day. There are two hike option areas to choose one from. The popular forest exploration center trail loop site makes one enjoy the cool mist at Chebonet falls, Kapkwai cave, the talking tree and a spectacular viewpoint of the low land areas below. The other is the long ‘arm’ of Mt. Elgon that bears the Wanale trails loop with vertical cliffs of ridge and several cascading waterfalls that make a very scenic drive. These two-day hike areas have short walk trails ranging between 3km and 11km that offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon’s unique plants and wildlife in a short period. In both, you will enjoy views of regenerating forests, fields of colourful flowers, extensive stands of bamboo and a variety of birds and wild animals.

You will retire to a dinner and overnight at your African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari lodge in the Sipi areas.

Luxury: Mbale Resort hotel/ Sipi River Lodge
Mid-range: Lacam Lodge / Masha Hotel/ Noah’s Ark Hotels/ Sipi Falls Resort
Budget: Crow’s Nest Rest Camp/ Moses camp site/ Suam Guest House
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 4: Transfer to Jinja

The African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari party will leave early in the morning and head to Jinja to visit the source of the Nile and to enjoy some of the adventurous activities whose options include white water rafting, jet boating, horse riding, mountain biking, quad biking or bungee jumping. En-route, you will have a stopover at the Equator where you will have an opportunity to stand in two hemispheres at the same time and take some photos.

You will arrive in the late afternoon and relax at the hotel of your African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari booking till dinner and overnight.

Luxury: Jinja Nile Resort/ Signature Hotel Apartments
Mid-range: 2 Friends Guest House / Bilkon Hotel/ Brisk Hotel Triangle Jinja/ Gately on the Nile
Budget: Hotel Triangle/ Jinja Safari Lodge
Meal Plan:
Full Board Basis

Day 5: Adventure on the Nile

White water rafting

You will, after breakfast, go for the adventurous white water rafting on the Nile River. The rafting begins at the Source of the Nile at 09:30am with a comprehensive briefing and being fitted with the special rafting gear. The rafting is done on an 18 kilometer stretch of the Nile River and no prior experience of rafting is required. The first few rapids are of low grade (1, 2) to build the confidence of the participants before guiding them gradually into the more challenging grades. A total of eight major rapids are rafted to maximize the adrenaline rush of this adventure. You will, after the rafting adventure, be treated to a barbecue lunch and drinks before returning to Kampala.

Luxury Lodge: Serena Hotel/ Imperial Hotel
Moderate:  Emin Pasha Hotel/ Speke Resort Hotel 
Budget facility: Acardia Cottages/ Namirembe Guest house 
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

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

Uganda Safari - Murchison Falls National Park Safari

You will have an early breakfast and drive to Murchison Falls National Park via the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you will have the opportunity to trek the Rhinos. The sanctuary houses Uganda’s Rhino reintroduction project. There are 17 white rhinos and tracking is done on foot for 1 and half hours. You will continue to Masindi Town for lunch and later drive to Murchison Falls National Park.

This part of the African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari journey takes about 6-7 hours. You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.

Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge/ Nile Safari Lodge/ Bakers Lodge
Mid-range: Fort Murchison (in rooms)/ Murchison River Lodge
Budget: Fort Murchison in tents/ Murchison River Lodge in tents / Red Chili
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 7: Game drive and Boat launch on the Nile

game drive in Murchison Falls

You will have an early start (6.30am) and set off at 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 rare 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/ Bakers Lodge
Mid-range: Fort Murchison (in rooms)/ Murchison River Lodge
Budget: Fort Murchison in tents/ Murchison River Lodge in tents / Red Chili
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 8: Visit to the top of the fall and travel to Kibale Forest National Park

African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari

You will after your African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari breakfast visit the “top of the thunderous Murchison falls”, 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 an 8 hour journey to Kibale Forest National Park.  The drive is through verdant countryside dotted with 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”. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.

Luxury: Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kyaninga lodge
Moderate: Mountains of the moon/Kibale forest camp/crater safari lodge/ Primate Lodge
Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Kibale forest camp/Chimpanzee forest guest house
Meal plan: Full Board Basis 

Day 9: Chimp tracking and nature walk in Kibale Forest

Kibale chimps, Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest national Park

You will, after breakfast, head to Kibale Forest National Park to view the primates. This African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari activity begins at 8.00am with a briefing of the rule for trekking the chimpanzees after which you set off to search for them in the forest. The exercise takes half a day and along the way you will see other primates such as Grey cheeked Mangabeys, Phoestes, Red-Colobus and the Blue tailed and the Red-tailed monkeys swinging in the braches of this thick forest.

Your guide will give you informative briefings on the lifestyles of the primates you will be coming across and on the plants as well as on the insects and butterflies in this forest to ensure that the trek is not only enjoyable but informative as well. In the afternoon you will go for a guided nature walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The sanctuary offers great birding opportunities and nature walks. Besides birding, Bigodi village has a rich cultural heritage site where you can mix with the local people and enjoy the African traditions in terms of lifestyle and entertainment.

Later the African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari party will be transferred to Queen Elizabeth National Park (3 hours).

Luxury: Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kyaninga lodge
Moderate: Mountains of the moon/Kibale forest camp/crater safari lodge/ Primate Lodge
Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Kibale forest camp/Chimpanzee forest guest house
Meal plan: Full Board Basis 

Day 10: Game drive and boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park

game drive in Queen Elizabeth National park

After your morning breakfast, you will have an early morning African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari Game drive where you will see the lion, leopard, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo, elephant, defassa waterbuck, Uganda Kob, topi and bushbuck among others. You will return to your lodge for lunch and in the afternoon go for a 2-hour boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. It is a 42kms channel that joins Lake Edward and Lake George. This safari trip passes through possibly the highest concentration of hippos and offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. The prolific bird life is colorful, with well over 550 resident species. Dinner and overnight will be spent at your reserved lodge.

Luxury Lodge: Mweya Safari Lodge: Katara Lodge/ Jacana Lodge 
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: Full Board Basis

Day 11: Game Drive and travel to Lake Bunyonyi

Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari

Tree Climbing Lions in QENP

You will wake up early for a morning African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari game drive in the park during which you will see Lions, Elephants, Topis, Leopards, Bush bucks, Cape Buffaloes, Defassa Waterbucks, Giant Forest Hogs, Uganda Kobs, among others. You will return to your lodge for a late breakfast after which you will travel to Lake Bunyonyi. The lake is said to be the second deepest lake in Africa and one of the most beautiful places in western Uganda. From glistening backwaters and palm-fringed beaches to colourful villages, wildlife and tropical scenery, Bunyonyi is a truly exotic retreat place, perfect for adventure and relaxation.

It is also one of the few places in the country where it is considered safe to swim as it is bilharzias free. The journey takes 3-4 hours and you will have your lunch en-route. Dinner and overnight will be at one of the many lodges near the lake.

Budget: Bushara Island Camp
Moderate: 
Bird’s Nest
Up-market:
Bird’s Nest/ Archadia Cottages
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 12: Canoeing and hiking on Lake Bunyonyi and transfer to Kisoro

canoeing on lake bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

This morning you can choose to either have a canoe-ride on Lake Bunyonyior a walk through the surrounding hills. The landscape around the lake is made up of steep slopes covered with lush green vegetation protruding from the water’s edge. Bunyonyi means “place of little birds” and as the name suggests, there is plenty of birdlife around the lake. You can get to know the seven islands, visit the local families and admire views of volcanoes. In the afternoon you will drive to Kisoro in the south-western part of Uganda; close to the borders with Rwanda and Congo.

The African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari guide will take you through a beautiful part of the country often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Africa’. You will see a great country-side, bamboo forests and have great views of the Virunga Mountains and if it is a Monday or Thursday you will see a large colourful market in Kisoro. You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.

Day 13: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi

African gorilla trekking in Bwindi

This is the biggest African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari day highlight where you get to meet the gentle giants of Africa. Have an early morning breakfast and move to the Park headquarters to join other trackers in a briefing about the gorilla trekking rules at 7:30am. You will trek through thick creepers and undergrowth with your guides to find the Gorillas, which can take you 2-8 hours. The steeply forested landscape is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access by tourists. You will have one hour to stay with the Gorillas once sighted before returning to your lodge to rest. You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.

Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Gorilla Valley Lodge
Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort/ Gorilla Mist Camp.
Up market: Mahogang Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Satari Lodge.
Meal plan: Full Board Basis

Day 14: Cultural Village Walk

Uganda cultural tour

You will, after breakfast, go for an African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari guided 3-5 hour community walk through the farms and villages of the Bufumbira and Bakiga tribes to experience the livelihoods of these local communities. You will visit a traditional herbalist to see how he prepares native medicine to treat a wide array of human sicknesses, see how local beer is brewed using local methods and be entertained by the traditional dances offered by the local community entertainment groups. You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.

Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Gorilla Valley Lodge
Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort/ Gorilla Mist Camp.
Up market: Mahogang Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Satari Lodge.
Meal plan: Full Board Basis

Day 15: Game drive in the Lake Mburo Park and Boat cruise on the Lake

6 Days Lake Mburo, QENP & Gorilla Trekking Safari

You will have an early breakfast and travel to Lake Mburo National Park centered on a series of swamp-fringed lakes rich in bird life while its green acacia woodland harbors wildlife like the Zebra, warthog, Elands, Impala among others. You will have lunch in Mbarara town and continue the drive to the park. In the afternoon you will go for a 2 hour boat ride on Lake Mburo and get quite close to the water animals that include crocodiles and hippos. You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari booking.

Luxury: Mihingo Lodge/ Mantana Lake Mburo Camp/ Arcadia Cottages
Moderate:
Lake Mburo Safari Lodge/ Rakobo Rock
Budget:
Eagles Nest Camp
Meal Plan:
Full Board Basis

Day 16: Travel to Kampala

4 Days Batwa Trail & Gorilla Trekking Safari - Western Uganda Road Drive

After breakfast go for a African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari tour of the park on foot with an experienced game ranger who will explain to you which animals have left behind footprints and droppings and how long ago. Mburo is one of the two parks in Uganda where it is permitted to go for tour on foot. You will after the game walk return to the lodge for lunch and later set off on your return journey to Kampala. You will have a stopover at the Equator where you will have an opportunity to stand in two hemispheres at the same time and take some photos. You will arrive in Kampala in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel of your booking.

Luxury Lodge: Serena Hotel/ Imperial Hotel 
Moderate:  Emin Pasha Hotel/ Speke Resort Hotel
Budget facility: Acardia Cottages/ Namirembe Guest house
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 17: Visit to the chimp sanctuary on Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island - Islands in Uganda

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the pier on Lake Victoria pier for you to take a boat cruise to Ngamba Island. The boat cruise will be for one hour. You will arrive at the chimpanzee sanctuary and be briefed about the sanctuary after which you will proceed to spend time with the chimps as they feed, relax and do acrobatic swings in the tree branches. Later you will go for a walking safari on the island with the young chimps and cruise back to Entebbe. Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel of your booking.

Luxury Lodge: Serena Hotel/ Imperial Hotel
Moderate:  Emin Pasha Hotel/ Speke Resort Hotel
Budget facility: Acardia Cottages/ Namirembe Guest house
Meal Plan: Full Board Basis

Day 18: Departure

In line with the timing of your departure flight you will be transferred to the Airport for your scheduled flight back home.

End of the African Gorilla Tour & Savannah Safari

Requirements for this Safari:

  • A Visa – you can apply for the visa online or very easily get one at the point of entry into the country (airport)
  • Yellow fever vaccination card.
  • Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking permits – You can apply and secure these on line but experience has shown that it is better coordinated when you send money to the tour firm to handle it for you at no extra cost to the standard fee (USD600)
  • Travel &Health insurance – This should be arranged by you in your home country before you travel.
  • Physical fitness

The Safari package includes:

  • Full board accommodation as per the itinerary
  • 4WD with popup roof safari vehicle
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Game drives
  • Boat trips
  • Ferry crossing fees
  • Rhino trekking fees
  • Chimpanzee trekking permit
  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Services of an English Speaking Driver/guide.
  • Community visit fees
  • Guided nature walks
  • Pickup and Return airport transfers.

The Safari package excludes expenses of a personal nature such as:

  • Other drinks
  • Laundry
  • Tips to local guides
  • Telephone expenses
  • Porter fees while trekking Gorillas and chimpanzees
  • Personal insurance
  • Cigarettes

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