Day 1: Welcome to Uganda!
Your driver/guide will pick you up from Entebbe airport and transfers you to Via Via Guesthouse, only a 10 minute drive. This is where your Matoke Tours driver/ guide will find you tomorrow morning for the start of your tour after a good breakfast.
ViaVia Entebbe is a very cosy accommodation in Entebbe, only 10 minutes away from the airport. All the rooms are self-contained and have a private terrace overlooking the dazzling garden. Relax in one of the hammocks while the resident monkeys play around in the trees, you can bath in your hot-tub, enjoy a romantic sunset and sit aside the campfire at night. The restaurant serves you fresh and healthy food, spiced with world flavours for a well-balanced international and local menu. ViaVia will give you a truly heartwarming experience that’s very hard to beat!
Day 2: To Murchison Falls national park
Today you continue your journey to Murchison Falls National Park one of the oldest conservation areas in Uganda. This is a long but rewarding journey through various landscapes of Northern Uganda.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's best-known and biggest nature reserve. With the impressive and powerful Murchison waterfall and its remarkable animal populations, this is a must visit in the Pearl of Africa. There are superb activities on offer such as a boat safari or Delta safari on the Nile. The river divides the park between a Northern and Southern section as it makes its way through multiple rapids and waterfalls to Lake Albert. Unfortunately, during the war years poachers and troops wiped out the majority of wildlife. Except for the park's rhino population, fortunately all other wildlife has recovered fast since. A game drive in the park allows you to be eye-to-eye with the African animal kingdom and you will be amazed by the amount of elephants. Also giraffes, lions, antelope, waterbucks, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles can all be spotted. Game drives take place on the tracks in the northern section which you reach by taking a ferry across the river. This park guarantees adventure!
Your accommodation for the coming three nights is at Murchison River Lodge. This lodge has been built on the edge of the mighty River Nile overlooking pods of hippos and stunning Murchison Falls National Park. Here you can expect ultimate comfort and relaxation in en-suite safari tents in a beautiful bush-location. Enjoy the swimming pool and the great hospitality! If you have binoculars, bring them! The bird life is incredible. The main lodge area provides a bar and restaurant and sits on a raised bank providing magical panoramic views of the magical River Nile as well as the park. You know that you are really in the bush having a guide leading you back to your safari tent after dinner because of the active wildlife at night.
Day 3: Murchison Falls National Park
After an early breakfast, it is time to explore the park. On your Game Drives you of course need a fair share of luck and very good eyes to try and spot as many animals as possible. While driving through the park you can come eye-to-eye with the African animal kingdom. Hopefully you see them all; elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, leopards, different species of antelope and many tropical birds. They are all there! A professional ranger with extensive knowledge on the park and its inhabitants will join you in your car. The park is especially known for its massive elephant population, huge array of bird species and big herds of buffalo. You will discover some of the parks ecosystems and different scenery with dense woodland, extensive savannahs and rolling grasslands. As this is a private game drive you can ask your guide to tailor your trip towards specific birdlife and/or wildlife if you like.
The afternoon boat safari towards the Murchison Falls is a very special activity, it takes approximately 3 hours and goes along the Victoria Nile to the base of the Falls. You can imagine; this boat safari will show you breathtaking scenery. Cold drinks are for sale on board for when you get thirsty for a local beer or a soda. Carefully watched by crocodiles, hundreds of hippos, buffaloes, water birds, monkeys and all the other (also thirsty) wildlife that the Nile attracts you go to the bottom of the powerful Murchison Falls. If you like hiking, the boat can drop you near the waterfalls and you can hike up to the top (this takes around 1 or 1,5 hours). The views are amazing!
Day 4: Travel to Kibale Forest
Today, you will undertake the journey to green Kibale Forest. The drive is incredibly scenic, passing through tea plantations and the lush green countryside which characterizes so much of Uganda. On arrival at the forest, you will enter a completely different world… some serious monkey business!
Kibale Forest National Park lies just outside the colonial town of Fort Portal and is made up of dense tropical rainforest. This park is considered one of the big highlights of Uganda due to some serious monkey business going on here. A big number of primates residing can be found here and particularly a visit to one of the habituated chimpanzee groups is a very memorable experience. The rare red colobus as well as the black and white colobus, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, the blue Monkey and l’hoest’s monkeys are also regularly seen here. Where would you find a better spot to experience encounters with nature; smelling the forest and listening to the many sounds. Your safari tent or cottage is surrounded by lush green diversity filled with countless bird species and butterflies.
This brand new Lodge offers you a unique jungle experience at the border of Kibale Forest National Park with the most stunning view over the forest canopy and the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. You will stay at a modern and comfortable cottage at quiet locations in the forest. This lodge is all about a relaxing atmosphere, family friendly and with a refreshing swimming pool. In the restaurant and lounge areas you’ll be welcome to try tasty meals meanwhile you have high chances of spotting the Red Colobus and Grey Cheeked Mangabey monkeys on the premises.
||Breakfast and dinner
Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking and swamp walk
Chimpanzees share 98% of human genes making them our closest living relatives. They are found in 21 countries throughout Africa, but are most easily sighted in Uganda due to their dense populations. Today, in Uganda, there are approximately 5,000 chimpanzees left in the wild. The Chimpanzee Trekking experience here is done on several well maintained walking trails. There is also a wonderfully diverse concentration of other primates, more than any other forest in East Africa, in fact. Besides our delightful cousins, the chimpanzees, you can find red colobus, red-tailed guenon, white-nosed monkey, gray-cheeked mangabey, blue monkey, L'Hoest's monkey, and the black and white colobus monkey. In addition, you may see olive baboons, bush babies and nocturnal pottos.
The aim for your trekking through the jungle under the care of professional guide, is 1 hour of eye to eye contact with the chimpanzees. We can however cannot guarantee 100% for you to see them as they are still wild animals, nevertheless your chances are very good.
Your next activity will take you to the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary which features 8 primate species, over 200 bird species and many reptiles. During the walk – which takes 2 to 3 hours - you have a chance to many animals but the highlight is catching a glimpse of a famous bird; the Great Blue Turaco. The sanctuary is operated by KAFRED, a registered community based organization. The income from the walk is used for community development projects such as schools and hospitals.
||15 minutes each way
||Breakfast and dinner
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Scenic Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in south western Uganda and is most often included in visitors’ itineraries. It is the second largest park in the country and located at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountain range, next to Lake Edward and Lake George which are joined by the Kazinga channel. Few reserves in the world have such a high biodiversity with landscapes including savannah, bushland, wetlands and lush forests. On your first game drive, it is time to explore the Queen Elizabeth National Park with her 200 kilometers of well-maintained game viewing tracks. We advise for you to be alert and pro-active on your game drive to help the ranger spot as many animals as possible.
Marafiki Safari Lodge is set in a unique location and has been designed using local materials fitted by artisans from the local community. This lodge offers private safari tents on raised wooden floors with canvas walls, which can be rolled up. You can sit comfortably when watching the savannah plains with breath taking views across the park, the Rwenzori- and Virunga Mountains. With an en-suit open-air shower, you can experience an African sunrise properly or shower in the moonlight under the stars. Enjoy your delicious meals (made with fresh and local produce) on the restaurant veranda or next to the campfire. There is a new swimming pool which really invites for a refreshing dip in between game drives on a sunny day in this beautiful setting.
Optional upgrade : Kasenyi Safari Camp
For a more luxurious and exclusive stay you can sleep in one of the en-suite safari tents on the rim of lake Bunyampaka inside the game drive area of Queen Elizabeth National Park. This small camp only has 4 tents where lion prides and other animals might accompany you during your stay. So keep your eyes open while enjoying this true Africa-experience!
Optional for day 6 & 7 at an additional costs of $40 per person per night
Day 7: Game drive & boat safari
After an early breakfast, you go for a long game drive in time to see the sun rise. The morning is the best time for a game drive as the African animal kingdom tends to me most active when during the golden hours of the first sunlight touching the savannah. You will continue the search for all the wildlife; elephant, buffalo, lion, waterbuck, leopard, Uganda kob, warthog and do not forget about the birds and the primates.
After lunch, you will take a boat safari along the Kazinga Channel. Here, you will see a lot of hippos (more than you can possibly imagine), as well as a variety of other animals which come to the waterhole to drink or bathe. You can expect to see: Buffalo, Crocodile, bathing Elephant, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour. After the boat-safari you game drive back to the lodge.
Optional activity: Lion Tracking
For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African fauna, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of lions in the park, using locator devices.
The additional cost for this optional activity is $100 per person
Optional activity: Chimp tracking Kyambura Gorge
Early in the morning you will go for a hike in the Kyambura gorge; another gem in the far eastern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park. This gorge is also called the “Valley of Apes” and is another world on its own. Drained by River Kayambura it now has a rich wildlife bio-diversity, including a family of 16 chimpanzees and many bird species. The view from the top is very impressive as you look down a gorge filled with lush green tropical vegetation amidst an impressive valley. A hike through the gorge gives you the opportunity to see chimpanzees and other types of primates including red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus, baboons and vervet monkeys. This green-riverine forest also offers shelter to several forest birds. Although the chance of spotting chimpanzees is not as high as on an official trekking in Kibale or Budongo forest, this landscape is among the most impressive in Uganda and absolutely worth visiting.
The additional cost for this optional activity is $50 per person
Day 8: Ishasha area and its tree-climbing lions
After the hike you will drive in about 2,5 hours to the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. This part is famous for its’ tree-climbing lions. While lion cubs around the world frequently climb trees for fun, adults rarely do. However, these lionesses enjoy spending the hot afternoons snoozing in fig trees to get away from the tsetse flies and to enjoy a cool breeze. This is the most memorable sight in the park as you have never seen such photogenic lions posing for your camera before. During a game drive you will try your luck! Meanwhile don't miss the stunning scenery and superb birdlife in this southern remote section of the park either.
Enjojo lodge is bordering the Ishasha sector of Queen Elisabeth National Park. Birdlife is amazing and herds of elephants, buffaloes and antelopes are regularly spotted. Vervet monkeys, baboons, black- and white colobus have become residents to the lodge. From the grass-thatched restaurant and bar you can enjoy the tasty homemade food and the view on a small scenic natural lake in front of you. The thatched cottages at have an en-suite bathroom and an outdoor shower. On the wide verandas you can really take a moment to enjoy the tranquil environment overlooking the surrounding bush and savanna.
||Breakfast and dinner
Day 9: Lake Mutanda
Today you drive to Kisoro in the south-western part of Uganda; close to the borders with Rwanda and Congo. You cross a beautiful part of the country often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Africa’. You will see a great country-side, bamboo forest and have great views over the Virunga Mountains. For lunch you will stop at a local restaurant on the road (lunch is not inclusive).
Mutanda Lake Resort offers one of the best views in Uganda! Perched on a peninsula in Lake Mutanda, isolated in the shadow of the Virunga Mountain Range, this lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a very unique corner of the country. Situated between Kisoro town, Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks the Resort makes a perfect base for a gorilla trekking, volcano hikers, bird-lovers as well for those looking for a secluded magical place in nature. Don’t forget to take your chance to dip in the lake as it is Bilharzia free, so safe to swim, peddle board or canoe amongst the locals going about their daily business on the lake! The sunset scenes are spectacular so make sure to be on one of the verandas (with a sundowner drink in hand) at that time.
Optional upgrade : Luxury Cottage
The spacious Luxury Cottages at Mutanda Lake resort in combination with the serene environment and outstanding views will make your stay unforgettable. With small islands dotting the surrounding lake and a backdrop of misty volcanoes this setting is a beautiful hide-away. Be mesmerized by the starry sky on a clear night from your private veranda and enjoy ultimate relaxation.
Optional on day 9 and 10 at an additional cost of $40 per person per night.
Day 10: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest
Today is the big day… Prepare yourself for an encounter with one of Bwindi’s gentle giants: the rare Mountain Gorilla. For most people this is the absolute highlight of their tour in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a highlight for many visitors as this is where they will be visiting the home of the gentle giants. The park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Uganda's oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests lies on the mist-covered hillsides. This magnificent forest dates back over 25,000 years, even surviving the last Ice Age (most forests disappeared). Bwindi forest has an incredible diversity of flora and fauna and is the only forest in Africa which can make claim to host both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. In fact, half the worlds’ population of gorillas live here divided over nine habituated family groups. Also 5 other primate species, 120 species of mammal, over 220 butterflies and 360 birds species call Bwindi home. This it THE place to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas up close for your very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ moment.
The gorillas you will trek belong to one of nine family groups who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day. Your trek will be an exciting (for some also challenging) journey along forested (sometimes slippery) slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gentle giants. En-route, your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity. Think of dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. The time to complete the gorilla trekking can be as little as 2 hours to as much as 7 hours! Once the the family of gorillas has been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour observing them. Coming face-to-face with the mountain gorillas is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic part of your tour you will definitely remember for the rest of your life.
||1 - 1,5 h each way
||Mutanda Lake Resort
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 11: Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo is a small national Park (on the route from Bwindi National Park back to Entebbe) but should certainly not be underestimated. This is the only place in southern Uganda to see zebras and the only park in the country with impalas, slender mongoose and giant bush rats. You can also look for hyenas, leopards, topis, elands and the beautiful Rothschild's giraffes, not to mention the lake itself which is teeming with hippos and crocodiles!. There are a lot of wonderful activities on offer, such as horse-riding, bush walks, boat safari on the lake and a mountain bike safari. It is exciting to approach the wildlife at such close range, especially combining the fresh air with the beautiful scenery of Lake Mburo National Park.
Rwakobo Rock is the ultimate place to breath in the essence of wild Uganda. This lodge’s aim it to ensure responsible tourism in every way. The secluded and peaceful retreat has spacious private cottages which are strategically placed around the hill to ensure a magical sunset view. The cottages celebrate the natural lines of surrounding wilderness, providing comfort and luxury in an eco-friendly way. The zebras, warthogs, impalas and bushbucks often gather around the lodge to drink water beneath the dining area. At night you can sit at the campfire while enjoying the beautiful starlit sky or hang around in the restaurant with an dining area overlooking an expanse of rock that borders the park. It does not get more ‘Africa’ than this..
||Breakfast and dinner
Optional activity: Night game drive
A whole new world of animal species (nocturnal) await you on a night game drive. It gives you a different perspective of the park and wildlife. You probably already know that it is not a common occurrence to spot the elusive and solitary Leopards. However, you should keep your eyes peeled on the night game drive because whenever you find eyes glowing in the dark this could be one of those rare cats! Your night safari is either just before dinner or just after dinner and takes about 2 hours.
This activity is optional at an additional cost. Please get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Day 12: Bush walk, to Entebbe
Lake Mburo N.P. is one of the two parks in Uganda where it is permitted to go for a safari walk with an experienced ranger. Footprints and animal droppings tell which animal has been here and how long ago. It is exciting to approach the wildlife at such close range. This activity is included this morning.
If you prefer to explore Lake Mburo by mountain bike instead of walking, you can choose to upgrade this activity. It’s very exciting to make a safari by mountain bike. Get active and get close to zebra, gazelle, Eland and sometimes even giraffe!
You can upgrade your walking safari to a mountainbike safari. Please get in touch through email@example.com to find out more.
After your activity you will get back to the lodge (between 9 and 10 am). From here you will have breakfast and then time has come to head back to Kampala or Entebbe (Airport). Of course you stop at the equator, the best place for your souvenir shopping.
Your driver/guide will take you to your accommodation in Kampala/Entebbe or to Entebbe Airport (this is only possible if your departure flight leaves at 8 pm or later). Accommodation for tonight is not inclusive in the itinerary. In case you wish us to include one (or more) nights in Kampala and/or Entebbe, please let us know.
||5 hours to Kampala / 6 hours to Entebbe
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