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Uganda Safari Holidays Uganda Holidays Gorillas Chimpanzees Tours

Pearl of Africa - Grand Uganda


UPD13E
13 NIGHTS
FROM £5,995
International flights quoted separately
This magnificent holiday has it all. A fly-in safari to Uganda's premier game reserve, Murchison Falls; tracking chimps in Kibale Rainforest; the wildlife of Queen Elizabeth Park; tree-climbing lions of Ishasha & the endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi. Then relax on the shores of beautiful Lake Victoria. English guide, light aircraft flights, gorilla permits & all game viewing included.
Murchison Falls Safari Uganda Gorillas Bwindi Queen Elizabeth Park
• 
Murchison Falls
• 
Kibale
• 
Chimpanzee Tracking
• 
Queen Elizabeth Park
• 
Kazinga Channel
• 
Kyambura Gorge
• 
Ishasha Plains
• 
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
• 
Gorilla Tracking
• 
Jinja
• 
Murchison Falls
• 
Kibale
• 
Chimpanzee Tracking
• 
Queen Elizabeth Park
• 
Kazinga Channel
• 
Kyambura Gorge
• 
Ishasha Plains
• 
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
• 
Gorilla Tracking
• 
Jinja
Day 1
You will be met at Entebbe Airport and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax at your hotel under warm blue Ugandan skies.
Day 2
Transfer to Entebbe Airport for your light aircraft flight to Murchison Falls National Park. This verdant reserve was favoured by Winston Churchill, who called Uganda the "Pearl of Africa".
 
You will be met at the airstrip and transferred to your game lodge. After lunch enjoy a thrilling game drive in this wildlife-rich game sanctuary situated on the banks of the River Nile, downstream from the famous waterfalls after which it was named.  It is the premier game reserve in Uganda and one of the best wildlife conservation areas in the whole of Africa.
Day 3
Today is devoted to exploring the wildlife of Murchison Falls National Park, with morning and afternoon game drives in this magnificent 3,893 square mile sanctuary that offers easy game viewing on its open plains.
 
Here you will see enormous herds of Ugandan kob (similar to impala) as well as huge herds of buffalo, elephant, giraffe, baboon and monkeys. You will see warthog, Jackson's hartebeest and hopefully also lion. If you are fortunate, you may see hyena and leopard. There are also numerous bird species, including the shoebill stork, goliath heron, woodland kingfisher, African fish eagle, African darter, Abyssinian ground hornbill, red-throated bee eater and the impressive crested crane - the national bird of Uganda.
 
On one afternoon enjoy a boat ride on the Nile River to the thundering waterfall. Along the way you will see huge pods of hippo, a few crocodile and abundant water birds, including pied kingfishers diving into the water. When you reach the bottom of the Murchison Falls, you can leave the boat and climb up to the top of the waterfall - where you will be rewarded with amazing views.
 
Note: Park opens at 6.30 am and closes at 7 pm. Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in Uganda.
Day 4
Transfer to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Entebbe Airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax under warm blue African skies.
Day 5
Transfer to Entebbe Airport for your light aircraft flight to Kasese, where you will be met and transferred 1-hour to the picturesque Crater Lakes region.
 
This is the gateway to Kibale National Park, a protected tropical rainforest that has the highest concentration and variety of primates in all of East Africa. The park is home to 13 different primates as well as the bushpig, duiker, otter, leopard and large herds of elephants that migrate between Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Park. The bird life is also outstanding.
 
Drive through tea plantations to your lodge and relax in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains (the 'Mountains of the Moon').
Day 6
This morning enjoy the amazing experience of Chimp Tracking, as you walk through the spectacular Kibale Rainforest with a guide, searching in the high rainforest canopy for these intelligent primates that are our closest relatives.
 
Kibali is home to 13 different primate species including the chimpanzee, black-and-white colobus, red colobus, red tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby, vervet and L’ Hoest’s monkey. Tracking a noisy chimp family is a thrilling experience and is best in the morning, when they come down to the forest floor to forage. The chimps are very mobile, so viewing can be quite unpredictable, but the walk itself is enchanting.
 
The birdlife is also outstanding, although the dense forest canopy does mean patience is needed. You can hope to see the huge crowned eagle, the black-and-white flycatcher, African grey parrot, black-necked and yellow-mantled weavers, the beautiful blue touraca and maybe the secretive black bee-eater.
 
In the afternoon enjoy a 2.5-hour guided nature walk in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, a local community initiative that is home to 8 different primate species, including black-and-white colobus and red colobus, over 200 bird species and numerous other small mammals and reptiles.
 
Note: Chimp tracking is limited to small groups, with a minimum age of 12 years. Please note the chimpanzees move a lot - sometimes far into the dense forest - so wear good walking shoes and expect to walk a lot today (up to 3 hours). Don’t forget your binoculars, as if the chimps don't come down from the trees you will need these.
Day 7
This morning we travel 3.5-hours through the scenic crater lakes region to Queen Elizabeth National Park - stopping for a photo opportunity as we cross the equator.
 
This enormous 764 square mile (1,978 square km) wildlife sanctuary is the second largest in Uganda. It extends from Lake George to Lake Edward, with the Kazinga Channel connecting these two great lakes.
 
This park is renowned for its river-based game viewing, but it also has a land-based game viewing area about 45-minutes from the river. Game is not plentiful here, especially during the dry season when most animals migrate to the river, but if you are patient you may be rewarded with good lion and leopard sightings. You can also hope to see buffalo, baboon, vervet monkey, waterhog, Ugandan kob, waterbuck and the elusive giant forest hog.
Day 8
Rise early today for a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park - the most visited national park in Uganda. It has 95 different species of mammal including lions, hippo, elephants, leopards and chimpanzees, as well as over 660 different bird species.
 
We drive to the game viewing area where we search for lion, elephant, buffalo and other animals in their natural habitat, before returning to our lodge for lunch.
 
In the afternoon enjoy a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. Thanks to the abundant wildlife that gathers along its shores - including huge herds of elephant, buffalo, Nile crocodile & hundreds of hippo - this cruise will be a highlight. The channel is also a magnet for great flocks of waterbirds and pink backed pelican, fish eagle, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, grey-headed kingfisher, African spoonbill, marabou stork, cormorants, yellow bill stork, hamerkop, hadada ibis, sacred ibis, vultures and many other species gather here on the shores of the channel.
 
Note: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in Uganda. The park opens at 6.30 am and closes at 7 pm.
Day 9
This morning we travel 3-hours through Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Ishasha Plains.
 
We drive through Maramagambo Forest Reserve - a tropical forest that is home to thousands of butterflies and at east 9 primate: the black and white colobus, red colobus, blue monkey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, Patas monkey, vervet monkey, L'Hoest's monkey and chimpanzees.
 
On arrival in Ishasha, enjoy a game drive on these open plains that are famous for their black maned tree-climbing lions. You will also see topi, a fast and highly social antelope that is not found in the more northerly parks, as well as a variety of plains game.
Day 10
After an early morning game drive on the Ishasha Plains, today we travel 3-hours to our lodge situated near the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park - home to over 50% of the world's population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, and also a sanctuary for colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.
 
This dense equatorial jungle is accessible only on foot and features one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, including 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species including hornbills and turacos, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species as well as chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species. It also boasts over 1,000 different flowering plants, ferns & trees.
 
Check into your lodge and enjoy the beautiful scenery of your remote forest surroundings.
Day 11
This morning we enter Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park - home to half the world's population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, and also a sanctuary for colobus monkeys and chimpanzees.
 
This dense equatorial rainforest is accessible only on foot and features one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, including 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species including hornbills and turacos, 220 butterfly species, 27 frog species as well as chameleons, geckos and many other endangered species. It also boasts over 1,000 different floral species.
 
After walking (or driving up to 1.5-hours) to your specified gate, rangers will allocate you to a small group of up to 8 people - with each gorilla family graded as a short, medium or long hike, based on their location the previous day. We recommend you ask your guide to request the appropriate category for you, although this cannot be guaranteed as the gorillas may have moved significantly overnight.
 
After a briefing, you will then track a family of endangered Mountain Gorillas, accompanied by two guides - one at the front and one at the back. The group will walk at the speed of the slowest member, so it is important to proceed at your own pace and enjoy the experience. We strongly recommend hiring a local porter at a cost of around $15 per person, as not only is this an important source of local employment, but they will carry your backpacks and give you a hand up (or a push) where necessary. Expect to walk 1 to 4-hours each way in steep, sometimes muddy and dense tropical jungle conditions to view a family of these enormous primates and observe their behavior up close - a rare privilege indeed.
 
You must take a copy of your passport with you today, as this will be required to trek. You must be over the age of 15 years to track gorillas and be sufficiently fit to walk for the period indicated. Ensure you arrange a packed lunch with your lodge and carry sufficient water in your backpack (at least 2 litres). You should wear long trousers, long sleeved top, long socks (tucked into your trousers to keep out biting ants), proper walking boots and gardening gloves to protect your hands from nettles and undergrowth. Start off wearing a light fleece, as it is cold in the forest in the morning and pack proper rain gear, including a rain jacket and waterproof trousers, as it can rain at any time. A walking stick to help with the steep ascents will be provided if you don’t have your own.
 
You cannot be sick or have any infectious disease and no eating or drinking is permitted in the vicinity of the gorillas. Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas and you have to keep a distance of at least 7 metres. No flash photography is allowed and no touching the gorillas (although they may decide to touch you)!
Day 12
At leisure to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
 
It is possible to participate in another optional gorilla trek today, but this must be booked in advance as gorilla permits are strictly limited.
 
Other optional activities include a Community Village Walk where you can learn more about the local inhabitants, as well as meet the forest-dwelling Batwa Pygmies. You can also enjoy a guided walk to a waterfall in the rainforest, where you can see endemic birds, butterflies and plants.
Day 13
Today we leave Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and travel 5-hours across the Rwanda border to Kigali.
 
Here we visit the Genocide Memorial, before checking into our hotel.
Day 14
Transfer to Kigali Airport for your flight home.
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