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8 Day Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust

Created with Sketch. Lake Mburo, Bwindi Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale Forest
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Duration

8 Days, 7 Nights

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

6 people

Languages

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Overview

The 8 Day Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust adventure is a classic African safari trip that takes place in Western Uganda, a small eastern Africa country; one of the only three nations (sharing borders) where mountain gorillas have survived extinction.

This wanderlust safari trip starts from Entebbe (where you jet in) and visits a small and easy to access game reserve, Lake Mburo National Park, for a classic African savanna wildlife game drive and then continue the wanderlust route to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where you’ll trek into the rainforest jungle to find a mountain gorilla family, spend some precious and unforgettable time in their presence. The safari trip also takes you visiting the native tribesmen around the park and then hike across the misty impenetrable jungle for close to 6 hours, an African jungle experience that will change your experience with nature forever.

The Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust safari tri continues to Queen Elizabeth NP where you’ll take another classic savanna wildlife game drive, see some of the wildest and popular big African animals at their survival games, take a boat cruise on Kazinga Channel for another wildlife galore encounter.

The wanderlust tour ends in yet another rainforest jungle, the ‘primate capital’ of Africa, Kibale Forest. In Kibale you’ll meet up with our closest cousins and spend precious moments with them. Look out for various species within the forest, this forest has been propagated for over 2 million years, there’s plenty to keep your gaze active.

Dates

Since this is a private tours, travel in your own style and make your own dates. Accommodation and permits will be based on availability at the time your book and you can reschedule your trip for up-to 12 months without extra fees. See Coronavirus travel requirements for your trip.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe – Optional Ext. to Mabamba Swamps – Papyrus Guest House (B&B)
  • Day 2: Drive Entebbe to Lake Mburu NP — Rwakobo Rock Lodge (B, L, D)
  • Day 3: Savanna Game Drive — Kisoro, Bwindi — Buninga Forest Trail Walk — Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge  (B, L, D)
  • Day 4: Mountain Gorilla Tracking — Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (B, L, D)
  • Day 5: Hike across Bwindi, Nkuringo to Buhoma — QENP — Kasenyi Safari Camp (B, L, D)
  • Day 6: Classic Savanna Game Drive and Boat Safari in Kazinga Channel — Kibale Forest NP — Primate Lodge (B, L, D)
  • Day 7: Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale NP and excursion to Bigodi Wetlands — Primate Lodge (B, L, D)
  • Day 8: Transfer to Entebbe airport for the flight out  (B, L)
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel well protected from Coronavirus and stay in Covid compliant facility
  • Discover the stunning beauty of Uganda's countryside on a road trip journey
  • Unforgettable encounter with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP
  • See the wildlife roam the African savannah plains
  • Meet the primates of Kibale Forest
  • Hike through local communities and experience local culture
  • Support sustainable tourism initiatives

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe & Mabamba Swamps (Optional)
Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe & Mabamba Swamps (Optional)

Arrival in Entebbe as per your international flights and transfer to Papyrus Guest House.

Optional Extra: in the afternoon (departure from the hotel must be max at 14.30/15.00 hours) departure by car and local canoe to Mabamba Swamp, one of the best places for spotting the rare shoebill storks. Of course some fortune is needed but rarely does one leave the swamp without seeing one! Many other water birds have chosen this area as their home so birding is always very interesting. Enjoy a relaxing sundowner on Lake Victoria and then return to the Guest House.

Accommodation: Papyrus Guest House (Garden Room)
Meal Plan: Bed & Breakfast basis; Lunch & Dinner on own’s account

Day 2: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
Day 2: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

After an early morning breakfast at Papyrus Guesthouse, start your Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust safari with countryside road trip to Western Uganda across the beautiful landscapes of central Uganda, hundreds of miles of flat land, rolling hills and cultivated terraces, a sight you'll very much want to savor.

Stop-over en-route at Mpambire, to watch the make of African musical instruments, especially the African drum, made using old traditional methods. You'll also stop over at the Uganda Equator line in Kayabwe to have that equator experiment experience of standing in both north & south earth's hemispheres.

Arrive at Rwakobo Lodge in time for lunch. After lunch, take an afternoon African savanna game drive in the park and 1-hour boat ride on Lake Mburo.

Lake Mburo National Park has a good variety of wildlife; several antelope species can be seen, including topi, duiker, oribi, Bohor reedbuck and klipspringer. Elephant are absent, but herds of buffalo are quite common, and Rothschild's giraffe can now been seen ruling the park's sky shrubs and trees. A healthy population of leopard is present, although mostly seen at night. Hippo and crocodile can be found in the lake. The savanna game drive takes about 5-7 hours.

• Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock Lodge (Cottage) on the edge of the national park
• Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 3: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Day 3: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

At the break of dawn in Lake Mburo NP, have your breakfast, check out your room and get into your Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust safari truck for an early African savanna game drive in the park on your way out of the park.

Get onto the south western highway via Mbarara city and head towards Kabale's undisputed beauty. Winding roads like Switzerland, hundreds of acres of tea plantations, forests, hills, valleys and fresh water lakes, a blanket of green towards the majestic chain of Virunga Volcanoes that some travellers have considered the most beautiful part of Africa.

You'll pass via the towns of Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro before reaching Nkuringo, on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. With lunch enroute, you'll arrive with enough evening time to spare before sundown.

The drive takes about 5-7 hours.

In the afternoon, opt in for a stroll down to the Buniga Forest Trail Walk, an informative project run by USAID and the local Batwa community.

The Batwa tribe was forced to leave their home in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in 1991 when it was declared a UNESCO Heritage site for gorillas only. They had been living in the forest as nomadic hunter-gatherers for millennia, in perfect balance with the flora and fauna around. Moving out and suddenly living in communities with a completely different way of life has proven to be a huge challenge. They now survive as best as they can and earn a living explaining their previous life in the forest and their rich heritage.

Continuation of the walk through the community to visit the traditional herbalist and the black smith.

Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (Private Cottage)
Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 4: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Day 4: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

After a sumptuous breakfast, at around 7:45 am, with packed lunch and drinking water, your private Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust Safari driver will transfer you to the gorilla Park Head Quarters trailhead for the briefing on the gorilla trekking dos and the don’ts. After the briefing, you'll be escorted by a guide and ranger with 7 other travelers into the African jungle for your gorilla adventure.

The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular. The area offers a dramatic, steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary as per the movements of these great primates.

Hiking through the misty jungle, encountering different animal and plant species on the trail will keep you on the edge until you finally find the gorilla family. You'll be allowed one precious hour with the gentle giants, this is why you are there, make sure you savor every second in that jungle because a lot of emotions will be triggered. M

The tracking will be done at Nkuringo or at Rushaga (1 hr drive from Nkuringo), as per the gorilla permits obtained.

After your Gorilla encounter and out of the jungle, relax at the lodge and, for those who like, at 5.00 pm either stroll through the natives community center or drive up to the “Top of the World” - the name given to the football field, high up in Nkuringo which offers amazing 360 views over the peaks and forests around Nkuringo. A great way to stretch your legs after the gorilla tracking and to enjoy a sundowner.

Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (Private Cottage)
Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 5: Hike Across Bwindi & Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 5: Hike Across Bwindi & Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

After an early breakfast, start your unforgettable jungle hike (19km - 7-9 hours) directly from Nkuringo Lodge, following the Kashasha River Trail.

This is a full day walk where there would also be the opportunity to visit the Munyaga River Falls, hidden in the forest. However, if you prefer, you can also opt for the shorter jungle hiking and in this case you will be taken by vehicle along the Nteko Ridge till the junction of the Ivy River Trail with the forest (7 km) and they then start their hike from here (13km - 4-5 hours).

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a vast unique natural reserve - monkeys, duikers, bush pigs and some of Bwindi's world renowned bird species plus many butterflies can be sighted. If you are very lucky you may even encounter gorillas! Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighboring Rwanda, the park is nowadays an ecological island within a sea of villages and farmland, its conservation importance is immense.

The emphasis of this activity is for your walking guide to share his knowledge of the forest with you, it is not simply an A to B hike. The trail is also an important footpath for local people, particularly on market days, travelling from Nkuringo and Nteko to Buhoma, on the northern boundary of the park.

There is no road through Bwindi so vehicles driving between the two locations have an incredible 170 km bone jarring journey taking 6 to 8 hours.

Upon arrival at the park headquarters in Buhoma (the northern Bwindi side), meet with the Gorillas Chimps & Wildlife Wanderlust safari driver who will transfer you to Queen Elizabeth National Park for your African savanna adventure experience.

As you enter the southern part of the savanna park, look out the window to catch sight of some evening savanna dwellers. The southern area of Ishasha is notably recognized for its resident ‘tree climbing’ lions that are an exceptional attraction and one of the highlights of all African safaris taken within the park. The lions can be spotted hanging on branches of huge fig trees whereas the Uganda Kob (which is the major food to these lions) graze on the plains below.

The drive takes about 4 hours (182kms).

Accommodation: Kasenyi Safari Camp (Safari Tent)
Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Morning dedicated to game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park and to the boat trip on the Kazinga Channel - the 36 km waterway which connects Lake George and Lake Edward which allows special viewing of game and birds on the river banks, as the boat passes through pods of hippos. Crocodiles have only recently been seen in the Channel, they disappeared for 8,000 years after they were eliminated from Lake Edward by toxic ash from local volcanoes.

QENP is one of Uganda’s oldest parks being formed officially in 1952. The park was initially known as ‘Kazinga National Park’ before it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. QENP hosts 95 species of mammals, more than any other park in Uganda, and 619 bird species, the second highest of any park in Africa – the sixth highest of any park worldwide.

In the afternoon continuation to the lodge in Kibale National Park via the town of Fort Portal. Time permitting late afternoon trek to the ‘Top of the World’ to enjoy fantastic views of the Rwenzori Mountains, crater lakes, tea plantations and local villages.

The drive takes about 3hours (180kms)

Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Luxury Cottage)
Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 7: Chimpanzee tracking and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Day 7: Chimpanzee tracking and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Morning chimpanzee trek. The density and diversity of primates in Kibale National Park is the highest in the whole of Africa. The most well-known of its 13 species are the chimpanzees, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee population of this threatened primate is Uganda’s biggest. Additionally, Kibale is home to the uncommon I’Hoest’s monkey as well as East Africa’s biggest population of the endangered red colobus monkey. The black & white colobus, red tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey cheeked mangabey, bush baby and potto are among the other primates.

Afternoon excursion to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, a great example of a community-based approach to the natural resources management which can be of good economic benefit to the local residents living within this area and to the tourism industry. This sanctuary is a paradise for bird watchers and skilled birders can spot up to 50 new species on a bird list. At today 138 species of birds have been recognized within the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, among which the Great Blue Turaco. Bigodi is also regularly visited by a diverse number of primate species from the nearby national park.


Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Luxury Cottage)
Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 8: Transfer to Entebbe
Day 8: Transfer to Entebbe

After a relaxed breakfast departure back, with a lunch break en-route. In the afternoon continuation to Entebbe where arrival is expected around 17.00. Transfer to the airport in time for the evening flight out. End of services.
The drive takes about 5 - 6 hours (315 km).

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Packed Lunch; Dinner on own’s account.

Depending on your departure flight possibility to book a day-use or an overnight at Papyrus Guest House. Kindly note that to be on the safe side we recommend to book only night flights or to overnight in Entebbe.

Included/Excluded

  • Face mask and small bottle of sanitizer
  • Specialized English speaking driver/guide
  • Custom 4x4 Private Transport and all transfers
  • Park Entrance & Tracking Permit Fees
  • Accommodation & Meals, Full Board as shown in itinerary
  • Trekking Lunch box, banana, apple & drinking water
  • Coronavirus Tests
  • Insurance
  • Visa
  • Gifts & Gratuities
  • Additional Services

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Lake Mburo, Bwindi Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale Forest

FAQs

Gorilla permits & cancellation policy
Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permits will be guaranteed ONLY upon receipt of the deposit (US$900 for both permits) since we need to immediately pay Uganda Wildlife Authority Offices in order to secure the permits.

Most of our safaris are private/tailor-made. Which means that anyone can book and craft a safari in their own personal style. That also means, you can change your style anytime it threatens to rain. In the even that your Africa safari trip gets interrupted by natural disasters like the Covid pandemic, we will readjust your trip accordingly. We can reschedule your trip for up-to 24 months ahead to help you adjust to a calamity.

For cancelation, our local tour operator that will help you plan your Uganda safari trip will advise.
Tour terms and conditions?
A 30% deposit of the total tour price will be required to secure a booking, the balance being due 45 days before the tour departure date.

Bookings not secured by the appropriate deposit will be released.

Cancellation between 90 and 45 days of tour departure will incur a 30% of tour price penalty charge. Confirmed bookings cancelled within 45 days of the tour departure date or no show will incur 100% of tour price penalty charge.

Availability of accommodation and activities is not guaranteed; reservations will be made after receiving confirmation of the final itinerary and the payment of the requested deposit.

Should any of the quoted accommodations not be available, we reserve the right to substitute it with an alternative suitable option, which might affect the final quoted price.

All clients who participate in this tour must be adequately covered by medical insurance as well as travel insurance to protect them in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Rates specified for this tour are subject to change without notice, however every effort will be made to maintain them. In the event of any change of Government taxes or operating conditions that affect the rates we reserve the right to pass on these charges.
What are the Coronavirus entry requirements?
On arrival, tourists and business visitors will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test dated no more than 72 hours before their arrival into Uganda. Same applies to outbound. A covid-19 test for exiting travelers can be done at a number of hospitals in Kampala & Entebbe with results given within 8-24 hours at about $65.

After finishing with immigration and health desk, your driver or Uganda tour manager will have to ensure that you proceed directly to your place of stay and do not mix with Ugandans.

There will be no requirement to self-isolate on arrival. If found with coronavirus symptoms however, you’ll be isolated, handed over to health officials and taken to a designated place for treatment.

Each tourist vehicle should not carry more than 6 people. Overland trucks will move at half capacity. The vehicle will be cleaned and disinfected at every stop. Driver will have his mask on at all times when with tourists.

For more Coronavirus details for travelers into Uganda see: Coronavirus (Covid) Information for Travelers to Uganda
When is the low and high seasons?
Lodges Low Season: March, April, May, October, November
Lodges High Season: January, February, June, July, August, September, December
What is the minimum age requirement for this trip
Important: the minimum age required for gorilla trekking is 15 years whereas for the chimps the minimum age required is 12 years; in case of flu or of any other airborne disease the visitor will be not allowed to meet with the gorillas or the chimps. Otherwise, 5 years and above can visit all national parks
Are the hotels you book me in safe from Covid?
Yes, we can accurately assure you of your safety in the facilities we book you in. We work with our local ground handler, hand-in-hand, to ensure our guests safety. Our operator has vetted and checked with all the suppliers for Covid-19 standards of operation. Those that we find that have not complied with WHO, MoH and GoU standards, we have suspended from our booking sheet. We will continue to vet for operational standards in facilities we take our clients to, especially facilities owned by our local operator.
Will you process my entry visa?
No but visa processing is done so easily online before you get into the country. Check out this link. https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

Alternatively what most visitors do is to get the visa at the immigration desk at the Airport after you land into the country. For US$100, it takes you just 5 minutes to do that.

Make sure you have a valid passport, a yellow fever vaccination card and anything your consulate would advise you.
Does this trip include agency fees?
No. You'll be dealing directly with a local expert that has been vetted, meets international safari standards and owns cars and safari lodges you'll be staying in. When you send us your enquiry, the local operator gets your email immediately and the first reply you get is from a safari expert on the group. No Agency, no hidden fees. That way you get the lowest price possible for your gorilla safari trip in Bwindi and also get the expertise knowledge of the destination.
What should I carry for this trip?
Good question. Quickly, you need to cover yourself when in the jungle. Long boots, long sleeved shirt, trousers to avoid bug bites, you need a rain jacket (rainforest, remember?), a carryon bag to keep your staff and garbage (not allowed to litter) and something for the cold nights. That's more like it.

For a full list, please check out this guide: Packing list for tracking gorillas and Packing list for tracking gorillas
Should I be concerned about security?
Noooo! You're are very safe in these parts of the country. You'll have rangers when you enter the jungles and gorillas are commonly known to be really gentle giants. They're habituated for your presences, remember?! But of course, there are some rules you'll be briefed about before you enter the jungle. Talk to our consultants to get a comprehensive briefing before you come.

Read this wonderful post form one of our guests that more than enjoyed this gorilla safari trip: Is The Gorilla Trekking Experience Worth it?

For your personal security, I can assure you Uganda is one of the safest African safari destination. Read our post on Uganda's security

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