Day 1: Welcome to Uganda!
Arriving to a new and foreign place can be overwhelming. All your senses are operating in overdrive as you take in the unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells of your new surroundings. This is certainly the case for a first visit to Uganda. Your driver from the guesthouse will be at the airport to welcome you and expertly navigate you through the lively traffic, while you can lean back and watch your new world go by. If this is your first time traveling to Africa, you will never forget your first acquaintance with her.
The drive to your accommodation is no longer than 20 minutes. Along the way you will catch a glimpse of the shimmering waters of Lake Victoria on your right, see several matatus and boda bodas (local 4-wheel and 2-wheel taxis) weave daringly through traffic, smartly dressed residents in colorful fabrics negotiating the pot-holed streets, food stalls serving delicious Rolex and wooden carts heavily laden with our favorite staple food, the Matoke.
If time allows, you are free to explore the town today. There are many activities in Entebbe that are easily organized through the reception of your guesthouse, for example a visit to the Botanical gardens or the Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC). Please note, all activities and extra transportation today are at your own cost.
Day 2: Kibale Forest
Your journey to Kibale Forest is incredibly scenic, taking you through tea plantations, lively village markets and over rolling hills of lush green countryside that is so characteristic of western Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park itself is an extensive tract of dense tropical rainforest located just south of the town Fort Portal. The various ecosystems in this space are reputed to harbor the highest density of primates in all of Africa. The rare red colobus monkey as well as the black-and-white colobus are just some of the primates you may encounter on your forest walks here. The highlight of a trip to Kibale Forest is of course to spend some time observing the wonderfully entertaining chimpanzees.
Your lodge for the next two nights offers a unique jungle experience near the boundaries of the park. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature in one of the property’s beautifully decorated cottages, each set in a private nook in the forest. The rooms are spacious and have large terraces from where you can watch the activities of the forest inhabitants. The main lodge building offers stunning views of the forest canopy below and on a clear day you can see all the way to the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.
||Breakfast and dinner
Day 3: Chimpanzee Trekking
No other animal reminds us so much of ourselves as the chimpanzee. Besides many common features and mannerisms, chimpanzees also share 98% of our human DNA, making them our closest living relatives. It is not so surprising then that we find the habits and biology of these primates so fascinating to study.
While chimpanzees can be found in 21 countries throughout Africa, they are most easily sighted in Uganda due to the high concentration of the species here. On a Chimpanzee Tracking experience in Kibale Forest you will have the opportunity to follow an experienced guide into the forest to observe these fascinating creatures at a close range. Watching them interact with each other and go about their daily routine of grooming, playing and foraging is an incredible experience.
While your chances of encountering chimpanzees are high during your tracking excursion, it is never 100% guaranteed. These are, after all, wild animals with wills and minds of their own!
After socializing with the chimps you will be invited to engage in the human custom of a hot lunch. Served by local residents you will learn about the traditional cuisine of the region and its preparation. This meal will offer a nice insight into the local culture, as well as giving a real taste of Uganda!
In the afternoon you can choose whether you would like to spend more time with the local communities and learn more about their day-to-day lives on a Community Walk or go deeper into the forest on a Swamp Walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is home to 8 primate species, over 200 bird species, butterflies and various reptiles. For bird lovers the highlight of the afternoon is spotting the beautiful great blue turaco.
Both the Community Walk and Swamp Walk are operated by KAFRED, a registered community-based organization. The income from the walk is used for community development projects such as schools and hospitals.
Please let your Matoke Tours Travel Consultant know which walk you prefer at the time of booking.
||15 minutes each way
||Breakfast and dinner
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most visited game reserve and arguably the most scenic. The national park protects the vast savannah plains, bushland, wetlands and forests that lie at the base of the Rwenzori mountain range. Kazinga Channel, which flows through the park and connects Lake George in the east to Lake Edward in the west, attracts a rich array of birds and animals, including the infamous Nile crocodile and one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos. On your first game drive you will explore the park along a 200 kilometre network of well-maintained game viewing tracks.
Day 5: Park Game Drive & Boat Safari
Safari breakfasts are traditionally served before the day breaks so that you can start your morning game drive as the sun comes up. Sunrise is the best time for wildlife spotting as animals tend to be the most active during the “golden hours”, when the first rays of sunshine come to rest on the savannah. Elephants, buffalo and several species of antelope are some of the characters you may come across today, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a lion or leopard.
Later in the day when the sun is high in the sky and the animals make their way to the river for a drink, we will head to Kazinga Channel for an exciting boat safari. You will spot more hippos today than you can possibly imagine. Herds of elephants and buffalo will also wander down to the shoreline to bathe in the cooling waters. A boat safari is a fantastic way to get close to wildlife and for many visitors the boat safari is the highlight of their visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Join a research team and track the majestic lions of QENP
For visitors who yearn to get a closer look at African wildlife, while contributing to an important conservation initiative at the same time, a Lion Tracking research trip can be a rewarding adventure. This unique experience allows visitors to join a research team who track and monitor some of lions in the park though locator devices. The data collected will further the conservation program, while you get a unique and intimate insight into the lives and habits of these fascinating predators.
The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 100 per person
Do you want to explore the Valley of the Apes?
If you find safaris to be a bit too sedentary for your taste, then a hike in the Kyambura Gorge is what you need to get your heart rate up. This stunning geological feature is known as “the Valley of Apes” and is another world unto itself. The view from the top is incredibly impressive with a deep sunken gorge covered in lush tropical vegetation. As its nick-name reveals, the gorge is home to several primate species including chimpanzees, the red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus, baboons and vervet monkeys. You will also see your fair share of colorful bird species. While the chances of spotting chimpanzees are not as high here as in Kibale Forest or Budongo Forest, this landscape is among the most impressive in Uganda and absolutely worth visiting.
The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 50 per person
Day 6: To Lake Mutanda
Your journey today will continue south-west toward Kisoro, a bustling town to the south of Bwindi Forest, near the borders to Rwanda and Congo. This is one of our favorite drives in Uganda. The serpentine roads wind through lush rainforests, skirting hill tops (keep your eyes open for the volcanos!) and dipping into lively villages in the valley before arriving to the serene waters of Lake Mutanda.
Offering some of the best views in Uganda, Mutanda Lake Resort is perched on a peninsula overlooking a series of small islands scattered across the water and the volcanoes from the Virunga Range rising out of the mist in the distance.
Gorilla Tracking is the main highlight of a visit to the southern parts of Bwindi Forest, but you are also in the perfect place for volcano hikes, birding, nature and culture walks and canoe and paddle board excursions. The sunset scenes are unforgettable so make sure to find your way to the veranda in time for sundowners.
Optional upgrade: Luxury Cottage
The spacious Luxury Cottages at Mutanda Lake Resort boast the best views of the lake and the volcanoes. From the comfort of your private veranda you can enjoy the seclusion and tranquility of this beautiful spot on the lake.
Optional on day 6 and 7 at an additional cost of USD 40 per person per night.
Day 7: Gorilla Tracking
Encountering the rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an experience of a lifetime.
Half of the world’s population of gorillas live under the mist-covered canopies of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest. In the company of an experienced park ranger you will be tracking the whereabouts of one of the nine habituated family groups who reside here.
Your tracking experience will be an exciting, yet challenging, journey along forested (often muddy and slippery) slopes, tangled vines, thick vegetation and bamboo forests before you reach the territory of these gentle giants. En-route, your ranger will point out telltale signs of previous gorilla activity like dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. Depending on the location of the gorillas on any given day the walk can take anything from 2 to 7 hours. Once the family of gorillas has been located, settle in to your surroundings and enjoy the hour you have to quietly observe these fascinating primates whose habits and mannerisms remind us so much of our own.
Encountering the mountain gorillas in the wild is a truly humbling and emotional experience, one that you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
||1 - 1,5 h each way
||Mutanda Lake Resort
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8: Travel to Kigali
Enjoy your last sunrise in this beautiful corner of Uganda and take a rejuvenating swim in the lake before a hearty Mutanda breakfast. The morning is yours to enjoy as you wish.
After breakfast a representative from Mutanda Lake Resort will drive you back across the border to Rwanda and drop you off at Kigali International Airport 3 hours before your evening flight to Nairobi.
Departure: 7.20 PM
Arrival: 9.50 PM
On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta international airport a Matoke Tours representative will be waiting to pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel for the night.
||4-5 hrs to Kigali
Day 9: Game Drive in Lake Nakuru National Park
Your Matoke Tours guide will pick you up at the hotel today at 8 am. That's the safari cycle, early to bed and early to rise, to make the most out of your day!
Today's destination is Lake Nakuru National Park. The drive is spectacular with scenic stops along the way at Thomson Falls and the Rift Valley view point.
On the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland, lies the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park. You will enjoy the ecological diversity and varied habitats that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for game drives, bird watching and hiking.
At the lodge you can enjoy lunch and some relaxation before you head out on an afternoon safari when the temperatures are slightly cooler and the light at its most beautiful. Be on the lookout for lions, buffalos, antelopes, warthogs and other wildlife.
Note: Lake Nakuru is well-known for the abundance of flamingos who come to the lake to mate and feed. In later years however, the number of lesser flamingos around the lake have decreased. This is due to water levels rising and the increase of fresh water in the lake. With the lake being less alkaline, the main food group of the flamingo, the spirulina algea, cannot survive which has led to the flamingos moving on to other lakes like Lake Magadi or Lake Natron and Lake Manyara in Tanzania in search of food. There is still plenty of other wildlife that you are sure to enjoy in this national park.
Day 10: To the Masai Mara
After an early breakfast you will head to the world-renowned Masai Mara Game Reserve. Located in southwestern Kenya, on the border with Tanzania, the Masai Mara is a land of breathtaking views, endless plains and an excellent year-round concentration of wildlife. In the months of July-October it is also home to over two million Wildebeest making their yearly trek north from the Serengeti in Tanzania.
The next three nights you will spend at the sublime Amani Mara Camp. Strategically located in a remote area of the Masai Mara, this beautiful lodge promises spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes and possibilities of spotting diverse wildlife, from herds of wildebeest and zebra to majestic lions and elegant cheetahs.
After lunch you will have the opportunity to explore your new surroundings on foot. Led by a professional and highly knowledgeable guide, your nature walk will teach you the intricate workings of the micro ecosystems of the bush, from exotic flora to the region's plentiful birdlife.
||Amani Mara Camp
||Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 11 & 12: Full Day Game Drives in Masai Mara
Sunrise is a great time for wildlife spotting as animals tend to be the most active during the “golden hours”, when the first rays of sunshine come to rest on the savannah. Few predators hunt during the heat of the day, so the early morning is the best time to observe the thrill of the chase, or at least the aftermath of a hunt.
For your safari adventure over the next two days you can decide if you want to take a packed lunch for a full day game drive or come back to the camp for a hot lunch before returning to the bush in the afternoon.
||depending on game drive
||Amani Mara Camp
||Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Want to go on a Hot Air Balloon Safari?
A hot air balloon safari launches in the early morning, just in time for sunrise. For about one hour you will be floating peacefully above the ground, with a bird’s eye view of the African bush below. The capacity for this activity is limited making this a very special and exclusive experience. Please note that this activity is weather dependent and may need to be rescheduled due to poor weather.
The additional cost for this optional activity is USD 490 per person.
Day 13: Boat Safari on Lake Naivasha
Before departing the Masai Mara today you will be invited by the lodge to plant a tree. The nature around the lodge used to be dry and desert like. With sustainable practices and dedication to nature this family-owned lodge has managed to grow a whole forest, eventually bringing water and wildlife back to the area. Planting your own tree is a nice way to give back to the land that has given you a piece of itself over the past couple of days.
After breakfast your journey continues east toward Lake Naivasha. The lake is home to a wide variety of wildlife including a sizeable population of hippos and being a freshwater lake, it also has a healthy fish population including Black bass, Tilapia and Crayfish which attract a variety of fish-eating birds such as Long-tailed and Great Cormorants, Fish Eagles, Pelicans, and various types of Kingfishers. You will get the chance to explore the lake and its inhabitants today on a boat safari.
Tonight you will spend the night in the beautiful Naivasha Sopa Lodge. Set in one hundred and fifty acres of grassland studded with Acacia bushes and trees, the resort is not only home to the resident giraffe, waterbuck and both Vervet and Colobus monkeys, but it is also a nightly stop for hippos who come up to graze on the nice property lawns.
Optional accommodation for the history buffs!
Elsamere Lodge is located on the shores of Lake Naivasha and is the former home of Joy and George Adamson, who settled in Kenya in the late 1930's. Joy later founded the Elsa Conservation Trust, whose work in wildlife education and conservation projects has had a significant impact in the region. The lodge contains a museum housing the Adamson's collection of books, paintings, and memorabilia from the movie "Born Free" based on Joy's international bestselling book about Elsa the Lioness. The museum gives a fascinating insight to the lives of the pioneering couple who brought wildlife in Africa to a worldwide audience.
This lodge is a bit off the beaten track and quite unique. Should you want to stay here during your visit to Lake Naivasha, instead of Naivasha Sopa Lodge, please let your Travel Consultant know at the time of booking.
Day 14: Return to Nairobi
Enjoy your last African sunrise today and the tranquility of nature all around you. Depending on the departure time of your international flight, there may be some time to do an optional activity near Lake Naivasha or in Nairobi. All activities today are at your own expense. Your driver/guide will take care of your transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
||No accommodation included today
Click here, for the rates of this tour.
Did we hit all the items on your travel bucket list for Uganda & Kenya?
If not, don’t worry. We specialize in tailor-made tours and can customize this program to create your dream trip. Get in touch with your personal Travel Consultant to create your personalized program.
Don't want the fun to end?
Why not combine this tour with a beach holiday on the Kenyan coast? We take care of everything from flights to transfers and accommodation so that you can relax and enjoy your holiday. Explore our other destinations or speak with your personal Travel Consultant for some expert advice on suitable combinations.