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Safari Brief

This 12-day safari takes you to Uganda's major parks except the less-visited Kidepo in the north east. The highlight of this safari is the encounter with the endangered Mountain Gorillas in the Bwindi mists. Before your date with the gentle giants however, you get to see what else Uganda has to offer with a visit to Murchison Falls National Park via Zziwa rhino sanctuary. From Murchison, you will travel west to Kibale Forest National Park - one of the best places to see our closest relatives the chimpanzees. You will continue to Queen Elizabeth National Park. On the last leg of your safari, you visit Lake Mburo National Park, where you can go on a nature walk to see game at close range.

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda

You arrive at Entebbe International Airport, located on a peninsula that juts out into the largest fresh water lake in Africa, where a representative from Uzuri Uganda Safaris will welcome you to the Pearl of Africa and transfer you to Cassia Lodge for overnight stay.

Meal Plan: No meals applicable

Day 2: Drive to Murchison Falls via Zziwa Rhinos

This morning, after your breakfast, you depart Kampala headed for Murchison Falls National Park via the Zziwa rhino sanctuary. You arrive at the Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary where rhinos that got wiped out in the Ugandan wild are being bred before they are re-introduced back into the national parks. When you arrive at the Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary, a guide and armed rangers will take you on a nature walk in search for the rhinos. If you don’t fancy the walk, you can still track the rhinos in your vehicle. Once you have spotted the rhinos, you will stay in their presence for a while and then you will have a picnic lunch at the place. After your lunch, you will continue to Murchison Falls National Park. On arrival, you will check-in at Murchison River Lodge for dinner and overnight stay. You can upgrade to Paara Safari Lodge for Luxury.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Game Drive & Boat launch to bottom of falls

This morning, before your breakfast, you will wake up early and head out for a game drive for a chance to view the glorious day-break from across the open savannah, birds and dotted woodland as well as riverine vegetation along the Nile. You will explore the park in search for game ranging from lion, buffalo, elephant, giraffes, antelope and a lot more. At between 10-11am, you will return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. After your lunch at 2.00pm, you will head out for the boat launch to the bottom of the powerful Murchison Falls. This three-hour boat cruise climaxes at the edge of the rift valley escarpment at which point you will get off the boat and trek to the top of the falls (wear sports shoes while on the boat for ease of trekking to the top). Having worked up a sweat, once at the top, get bathed in the misty spray that the Nile create as it forces itself into the 7-metre cleft to create the famous Murchison Falls. Your guides will be waiting up top to transfer you back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Drive to Kibale Forest National Park
This morning, wake up early and have breakfast at 6.30am. After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and depart Murchison Falls headed to Fort Portal. This part of the safari runs over a dirt road that is under construction in some sections. Along the way, you will traverse traditional homesteads surrounded by crop plantations in a very leafy and green area – arriving in Fort Portal in the mid-afternoon. You will continue to Kibale Forest National Park. On arrival, you will check-in at Kibale Forest Cottages. You get to relax and later dinner plus overnight stay. You can upgrade to Primate Lodge for Luxury.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Chimpanzee trekking & Bigodi Community Walk
Today you are in for some real monkey business! After breakfast, your guides will drive you to Kibale Forest National Park headquarters at Kanyanchu for a briefing before you commence your chimpanzee trek. Kibale Forest is reputed for having the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. You will go on a guided nature walk in the tropical rain forest in search of the wild chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and many others. Once you locate the chimpanzees, you will have a full hour with them at close quarters. After the mandatory 1 hour is finished, your guides/rangers will lead you back to the park headquarters or your lodge. You will either enjoy lunch at one of the lodges within the park or return to your lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon after your lunch, head for your Bigodi community walk (2-3 hours). This walk will take you through grassland, small communities and beautiful scenery to meet the people who live near the park. It is usual to spot three to four different primate species during this walk, though the highlight can be catching a glimpse of the great blue Turaco. After your walk, you will return to your lodge for relaxation, dinner and overnight stay.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Transfer to Queen, visit Katwe crater lake

Wake up at leisure and relax at your lodge and enjoy your breakfast at leisure. We are not in a hurry and so we will depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park at leisure. You will drive through Kasese town with the Rwenzori Mountains in the backdrop as you lose altitude to arrive in or around the Queen Elizabeth National Park. On arrival and after check-in, you enjoy lunch and relax. Later in the evening, After lunch, head to the Katwe Crater Lake where locals have mined salt through the ages. This lake – situated just north of the impressive Mweya peninsula, is far too salty to support any wildlife. However, since the 16th Century, it has ensured the survival of the Katwe residents, who spend their days under the equatorial sun, harvesting salt from its milky waters. Enjoy the spectacular drive to Katwe as you look out for wildlife including buffalos and elephants. Watch out for Lake Kitagata – fed by salty hot-springs with no wildlife around but the spectacular views. Once you arrive at the salt mines, marvel at the network of paths and huts that have been built across the lake to support hundreds of workers. The salt is sold to traders from across Uganda, and as far as Congo and Rwanda. This tour gives visitors a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe. During the tour of the lake you will see community members at work, cross the mud walkways. and have the rest of the day to yourself. Dinner and overnight at the Bush Lodge. You can upgrade to Mweya Safari Lodge for Luxury.
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Morning game drive & boat safari along Kazinga channel
Up at 6.00am, enjoy your breakfast and we are off for a day-break game drive on the park’s plains. We head straight for the mating grounds of the Uganda Kobs. We search for lions in their natural habitat, elephants, and buffalo and then we return to the lodge. Relax around the lodge and then lunch. At either 2.00pm or 3.00pm, we go on a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a natural channel that connects lakes Edward and George – one of the major highlights of your safari. On the cruise abundant bird life is sighted and perhaps the highest concentration of hippopotamus in Africa lives on this stretch of the channel. The boat launch – lasting 3 hours climaxes with you looking at stunning scenery in the distance. You return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Drive to Bwindi via Ishasha Sector
Up early, enjoy your breakfast. At 8.00am, we leave the Mweya (north) part of the park and head south to the Ishasha area as you transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The drive, which will serve as our morning game drive will last between 2-3 hours. Have your eyes peeled for more game. On arrival in the Ishasha area, we search for the famous and unique tree-climbing lions. If it is a hot day, be sure to find them atop the sycamore fig trees or the acacia trees that dominate this part of the park. There are about 4 Prides of lions in the area numbering more than 40 in total. Look out for the males with their black mane, which is a notable attribute. Also, there are about 1000+ elephants present in the area and you normally see large numbers. There are Topi and Uganda Kob antelopes in large numbers. The drive is a fantastic opportunity to take lots of pictures. You later exit the park at the Ishasha gate and continue to Buhoma, which is the northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You arrive and check-in at Silverback Lodge where you will enjoy a hot lunch. After lunch, you have the rest of the day to yourself as you prepare for the gorilla trek tomorrow. You can upgrade to Buhoma Lodge for Luxury.

Afternoon (Optional): After lunch, you can choose to go on a guided nature walk ($25 per person) to meet the Ugandans who neighbour the park. You get to learn a thing or two about the culture of the people, so depending on which nature trail you take, you will have a chance to meet the traditional healer and learn how the Bwindi forest (a UNESCO heritage site) is used as a pharmacy where herbs and tree back is used to treat people for various ailments. You could also visit a local school if the school term is in session.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Gorilla Tracking & Relax
Up early, have a quick breakfast preferably at 6.00am. After your breakfast, your guide will transfer you to the Buhoma gate of the park and lead you to the briefing point where park staff will brief you about what to expect before you are allocated the specific Gorilla family you will be tracking. With packed lunch in your carry-on, water and other personal effects that are allowed, the rangers/guides will then take you through the bush, pushing your way through the undergrowth, parting thick creepers, looking for where the family of gorillas you are tracking spent the night. (Tracking/trekking can take from half an hour to 5 hours – a reasonable degree of fitness is required as well as a sturdy pair of walking shoes). After you’ve finally tracked down the gorilla family that you were after, sit quietly in the forest where you’ll be able to hear the low grumbling sounds of gorillas besides admiring the humongous size of the Silverback, the male gorilla leader. It is an extraordinary feeling sitting in the dense rainforest in the knowledge that you are in the presence of the few remaining Mountain Gorillas in the wild. After the mandatory 1 hour is up, the rangers and guides will lead you back to the starting point where your guide will be waiting for you to transfer you back to the lodge for relaxation. Overnight at Silverback Lodge.

What to bring for gorilla tracking/trekking: light but sturdy hiking shoes, light rain jacket, a daypack, 2 litres of water, gardening gloves, long trousers either jeans/khakis, long-sleeved shirt/blouse, wide-brimmed hat, sun glasses, insect repellent and an energy bar.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
This morning, you transfer to Lake Mburo National Park – one of two parks in Uganda where it is allowed to go for a bush walk with an experienced ranger to see game at close range. You could choose a bush walk, horse-back safari or ride in the park on a mountain bike as you view game. You will stop for lunch in Mbarara town before completing your transfer to Lake Mburo National Park. Once you arrive in Mburo, you check-in at Eagles Nest Mburo Lodge. In the evening, you will go out for either a game drive or simply relax in and around the lodge. You can upgrade to Kimbla Mantana Tented Camp Mburo.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: View Game on Horseback in L. Mburo
Visitors can choose two optional activities including a mountain-bike safari ($15 p.p) or a horseback safari ($60 p.p) for 2 hours. Otherwise, you can choose to go on a game walk – accompanied with an armed ranger while you spot buffalo, zebra, gazelles etc. Should you choose to ride on horseback or cycle, you will equally enjoy the wonderful scenery along the way. After this morning’s activity, you will return to the lodge for lunch. For those who love to see birds, you can choose to go for a boat ride on the lake to see some of the major birds of the park. Otherwise, relax and have the rest of the day to yourself or you can head out in the vehicle for an evening game drive. Return later for dinner and overnight stay.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Transfer to Entebbe & Departure
This morning, wake up at leisure and enjoy your breakfast. Check-out of the lodge at 10.00am and commence your transfer to Kampala with a stop at the Equator crossing in Masaka. If there is a group that opted for gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park when you left Queen Elizabeth, they can rejoin you here or indeed in Kampala since they will be traveling some 400 plus kilometres from further south. You can take fun pictures at the Equator crossing, buy a souvenir for your Uganda safari and have a hot lunch. After your lunch, you will continue onto Entebbe – arriving in the evening in time for you to check-in for your departure flight home.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

 Package Includes

  • Accommodation in Standard Rooms or Deluxe Rooms as described above (or similar)
  • On the ground transport in air conditioned 7-seater safari mini-van or 4X4 extended Safari Land-cruiser with pop-up roofs for game viewing.
  • Game drives, excursions and sight-seeing activities (if any) as described above
  • Activities (if any) as outlined in detailed itinerary
  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Services of a German-speaking driver/guide
  • Services of a Medical Doctor on-board for the entire length of the safari
  • Chimpanzee permits
  • Gorilla Permits
  • Bottled water whilst on safari (2 half-litre bottles per person per day)

Package Excludes

  • Personal expenses such travel and medical insurance, excess baggage fee, communication charges that include, emails, faxes and phone calls beverages including water, soft drinks, luxury champagne, spirits or meals not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuity for porterage/ waiters at hotels, camps and airports
  • Gratuity for your professional driver guide
  • Cost of obtaining passport and Visas
  • Any optional tours and excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • International + Airfare
If you’d like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we’re very happy to help. Edris & team. +256 772 425 294 info@uzurisafaris.com