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Safari Brief

This 21-day safari takes you to all of Uganda's national parks and one nature reserve. Over the 21 days, you will visit the source of the Nile, white water raft on the Nile, take in sights like Sipi Falls, the pre-historic Nyero rock paintings, one of the best national parks in Africa in Kidepo Valley, a slave trade relic in Fort Patiko and Murchison Falls National Park where you will find the endangered Rothschild giraffe.
You arrive in Kibale Forest National park – the ‘so called’ primate capital of East Africa where you will track chimpanzees. You will continue to scenic Queen Elizabeth National Park where you will go on an exciting boat safari along the Kazinga channel.
From here, you will arrive in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for your gorilla trek. But before you do meet the gorillas, take a nature walk in this verdant forest and meet the people who neighbour the park.
From your gorilla trek, you will make a transfer to Lake Bunyonyi – a destination that should be on the radar of every traveller to Africa given its beauty. From Bunyonyi, you will conclude your 21-day safari via Lake Mburo National Park for a chance to see game on horseback or on foot.

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda

You arrive at Entebbe airport, located on a peninsula that juts out into the largest fresh-water lake in Africa, where a representative/guide from Uzuri Uganda Safaris will welcome you and transfer you to Eureka Place Hotel in Kampala.

Meal Plan: No meals inclusive

Day 2: Drive to Jinja, zip-lining in Mabira Forest

After breakfast, you will leave Kampala headed to Jinja via Mabira Forest. Driving along the Kampala-Jinja road, our first stop is Ssezibwa Falls – a Buganda cultural heritage site that is rich with traditional folklore. Other than its cultural significance, the falls are quite spectacular, surrounded by beautiful lush scenery. There are plenty of birds and some wildlife such as monkeys that may be sighted in the nearby forest.

After Ssezibwa, your next stop is Mabira Forest. Here you’ll get a bit adventurous and soar through the tallest rainforest trees of the Mabira Forest in the canopy zip-line system of Mabira Forest Canopy Super Skyway. Escorted by experienced Sky captains/Sky guides, you’ll pass through the ancient trees across a network of 5 zip-lines stretched over 250 meters across River Musamya. From Mabira, you will continue on to Jinja. Overnight at Signature Hotel & Apartments.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 3: Rafting the Nile

After breakfast this morning, head to the Bujjagali area. Beside white water rafting, other activity options to choose from include bungee jumping, quad bike safaris beside the Nile.  Otherwise you can choose between either a full day or half-day rafting expedition – whichever fits your adventure spirit. Alternatively, if white water rafting does not appeal to your adventure spirit, you can choose to go on a Quad bike safari along trails that have been developed beside the young Nile in Jinja. At the end of this exciting day, you return to your hotel and get to relax. Later, you can check out the Jinja nightlife where you can enjoy a Nile beer. Overnight at Signature Hotel & Apartments.

 

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 4: Visit Source of the Nile & drive to Mbale

After your breakfast this morning, visit the source of the Nile (part of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were blown into the Nile at this point) where you will take a short boat ride to the exact spot where the Nile waters start to flow. After the boat ride, return and depart for Mbale. Driving through Jinja town where you could purchase some souvenirs such as crafts, you continue to Mbale. Overnight at Mbale Resort Hotel.

 

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 5: Visit Sipi Falls & Coffee community walk

After your breakfast this morning, you drive to Kapchorwa via the Sironko-Mbale road headed to Sipi. Sipi Falls is a Located in the district of Kapchorwa, northeast of Sironko and Mbale, there is a series of three waterfalls which is known as Sipi Falls. These waterfalls lying on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park near to the Kenyan border are usually the starting point for hikers looking to climb Mount Elgon. Then you’ll walk down to the foot of the fall and relax as you get bathed by the misty spray that the water falling from the top generates. If you do not mind, you can take a dip in the cool waters. You can enjoy lunch at the nearby Sipi River Lodge otherwise you will have carry-on lunch. In the afternoon you will go on a coffee community walk. Later, return to Mbale town. Overnight at Mbale Resort Hotel.

 

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 6: Drive to Pian Upe Game Reserve

Pian Upe Game Reserve is the second largest protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls National Park. Located north of Mountain Elgon, the reserve, which measures 2,788 square kilometres lies in a semi-arid area. The predominant cover of mixed acacia commipphara savannah is essentially Uganda’s extension of an eastern savannah encompassing much of northern Kenya and the Amboseli-tsavo-mkomazi complex of reserves on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Providing dramatic contrast to the dry scrubby plains of Pian Upe is Mountain Kadam, an isolated range of spectacularly tortured turrets and bleak volcanic plugs that rises to an altitude of 3068m on the reserve’s eastern boundary. Animals include Leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena are quite popular by ranger patrols and a small population of lions is present.  Among the ungulate species are bur hell’s zebra, buffalo, eland, Harte beast, greater kudu, topi, orib, dik-dik, and Uganda’s last population of roam antelope. In addition the vervet monkeys, olive baboons, the far localized patas monkey are quite popular in the savannah. The drive is 90 kilometres to Pian Upe. On arrival in Pian Upe, you will explore the place in search of game. You will have carried lunch in your backpacks. Later, you drive back to Mbale for dinner and overnight at Mbale Resort Hotel.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Drive to Gulu via the Nyero Rock paintings

After breakfast this morning, commence your drive to Gulu town. On your way, you will stop by the pre-historic Nyero rock paintings in or near Soroti town. The paintings date back to 1250 AD. You will have lunch en-route and continue to Gulu town.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Drive to Kidepo Valley National Park

After breakfast this morning, you complete your transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park. On arrival, you will check-in at your chosen accommodation and head out for either a game drive or a nature walk with an armed ranger to stretch your legs after a long drive. Dinner and overnight at Kidepo Savannah Lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Morning and Evening Game Drives

You will wake up to nature’s sounds and given the remoteness of the park, count on hearing the sounds of an authentic African morning. You will take a sunrise game-drive in and around Apoka Valley. You will then return to the lodge for breakfast after which you will embark on a mid-morning game-adventure that will take you to the Kanangorok hot springs.  Here, the so-called Big Five can be seen wandering around including Ostrich. The semi-arid section of the park is home to hot springs and the majestic Ostriches. This section also commands amazing scenery with savannah grassland and mountains from across the South Sudan border in the distance. Return to your lodge for lunch. After lunch, you can relax and wait for the sun to go down. In the evening, you can opt for a walk with an armed ranger guide near your accommodation. Dinner and overnight at Kidepo Savannah Lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Game drive & Community/cultural visit

After breakfast, with your packed lunch, you will visit the Lorokul Cultural Group and explore the fascinating, ancient culture of the Karamojong. You will also visit the traditional homesteads (Manyata) of the Karamojong to sample local dishes and hear stories of this remote tribe that has just started accepting traits of modernism. After interacting with the locals and learning a few things about this cattle-keeper people, you will return to your lodge where you have the rest of the day to yourself. In the evening, you can choose to stay relaxed at the lodge or go out for an evening game drive. Dinner and overnight at Kidepo Savannah Lodge.  

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Drive to Gulu

After breakfast this morning, you drive to Gulu town. You carry packed lunch for the long drive. Arriving late in the afternoon, check-in at Gulu Churchill Court Hotel and have the rest of the day to yourselves.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Visit Fort Patiko & transfer to Murchison Falls

Also known as explorer Sir Samuel Baker’s fort, Fort Patiko is located about 40 kilometres north of Gulu town. Patiko is a beauty – mountains and hills grace the place that was born out of slave trade in the 1800s by Arab slave traders. Take a tour of the place and listen to the Fort’s gruesome past. Slaves were a major trading item back then and were captured from northern Uganda, Gondokoro in Sudan along with other surrounding areas. Ocecu Hill where current Fort Patiko is situated was a sorting ground for slaves. Healthy-looking ones were forced to trek from Patiko, through Sudan across the Red Sea and sold in Egypt. After your visit to Fort Patiko, you transfer to Murchison Falls National Park – arriving in the late afternoon. You check-in at Red Chilli Rest Camp for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Game drive + boat safari to bottom of falls

Up at 6.00am, enjoy breakfast 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. As you explore the park, you will also be able to see game ranging from lion, buffalo, elephant, the endangered Rothschild giraffes, antelope and a lot more. At between 10 -11 am, you will return to the lodge for relaxation. After 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 where you get to see huge numbers of Nile crocodiles, hippos, birds and other animals that come to the river for a drink climaxes at the edge of the rift valley escarpment at which point you will get off the boat and trek (there are steps that lead up to the top) 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 guide will be waiting up top to transfer you back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

 

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park

Depart Murchison Falls after an early breakfast, headed for Fort Portal. This is the area where Semliki & Kibale Forest National Parks are situated; the drive is almost 8 hours over a dirt road that is under construction in some parts – so be ready to experience what we call ‘the African massage’. You will make a stop in Fort Portal for a hot lunch before completing your transfer to Kibale Forest National Park. Dinner and overnight at Kibale Forest Camp.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Chimpanzee tracking & Bigodi Community walk

Today you are in for some real monkey business! After breakfast, we visit Kibale Forest National Park, 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. The guides and rangers will provide detailed explanations, not only on primates, but also on all the forest fauna and flora and will ensure that your walk is both informative and enjoyable. 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 your lodge for lunch. Later in the afternoon or early evening, head for your Bigodi community walk (2-3 hours). This walk will take you through grassland, small communities and beautiful scenery. 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 dinner and overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Transfer to Queen & visit Katwe

This morning, after your breakfast, you visit the crater lakes area with some stunning views before transferring to Queen Elizabeth National Park. You travel on a beautiful route via Kasese town, with the Rwenzori Mountains on your right and the green valley on your left. You arrive and check into Mweya Safari Lodge and enjoy lunch. After lunch or later in the evening, head to the Katwe crater lake to meet the Ugandans who mine for salt in the lake. This lake, which is 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. Look 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.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Game drive + boat along Kazinga channel

After your breakfast at 6.30am, your day begins early, heading for the mating grounds of the Uganda Kobs. We search for the lions in their natural habitat, elephants, buffaloes etc. before returning for lunch. After your lunch, at 3.00pm, you head out for the boat launch along the Kazinga channel – a major highlight of a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. On the boat cruise, you will have the opportunity to view great numbers of wildlife including elephants, crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes and large numbers of birds like eagles, kingfishers, sparrows, doves, weaver birds, eaglets and sun birds converging at the channel waters to enjoy a sip of the natural waters. After the 3-hour boat cruise, you will then return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Transfer to Bwindi via Ishasha

Up early, enjoy your breakfast. At 7.00am, we leave the Mweya (north) part of the park and head south to the Ishasha area. 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, which December largely is, 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. After this drive, you exit the park and complete your transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (the southern sector). We arrive in the late afternoon or early evening and check-in at the Gorilla Valley Lodge or Buhoma Community Camp for dinner and overnight stay.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Gorilla tracking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

Up relatively early, enjoy breakfast to give you the energy you will need to track the famed Mountain Gorilla in the Bwindi mists. With your packed lunch in your rucksack, your guide will take you to the ranger station before 8:00 am for registration and briefing by one of the rangers. Once the formalities of what to do and not do while tracking the gentle giants are communicated, the guides will then take you through the bush, pushing your way through the undergrowth, to track the gorillas (the trek 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). Once you encounter the Mountain Gorillas, sit in the forest among the gorillas, listening to them grumble, and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant male; the Silverback. You’ll feel a tangible extraordinary feeling running through your veins knowing that you’re sitting amidst few of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas in the world. Mountain Gorillas. It’s important to note that there are only about 800 of these beautiful creatures left in the wild. Once back at the starting point, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to the beautiful and scenic Lake Bunyonyi where you will spend the night. Dinner and overnight at Overland Resort Bunyonyi.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

 Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 19: Drive to Lake Mburo

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 Mihingo Lodge or Kimbla Mantana Mburo Lodge. In the evening, you will go out for either a game drive or simply relax in and around the beautiful lodge.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20: Explore Lake Mburo National Park

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 21: 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 Entebbe with a stop at the Equator crossing in Kayabwe along the Kampala-Masaka road. 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 afternoon. In case you have time before your check-in, you can visit one of the beaches in Entebbe. Later, you will be dropped off at the airport in time for you to check-in for your flight back home.

Meal Plan: Breakfast

We hope you enjoyed your ultimate Uganda safari.

 

Package Includes:

  • Accommodation in Standard Rooms as described above (or similar) according to the option chosen
  • On the ground transport and game-drives in a 4X4 Toyota 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 an English speaking driver guide
  • Relevant park entrance fees
  • Chimpanzee Permits
  • Gorilla permits
  • Bottled water whilst on safari (One-litre per person per day)

Not included:

  • 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 Visas ($50)
  • Any optional tours or excursions not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • International or domestic airfare unless specified above
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