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Uganda Active Safari

Entebbe - Entebbe - Example 11 Day Tour
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Explore the main highlights of Uganda on this active 11-day tour. Trek into the depths of the lush green forest of Kibale to search for chimpanzees. Enjoy the fresh river breeze while observing a wide variety of bird life and animals in the Kazinga Channel. Ride on a gamedrive in Queen Elizabeth National Park and witness chimpanzees, hippos, antelope, and a huge variety of both forest and plains bird species. Hike on the Ivy trail that ascends and descends gently through beautiful areas of the Bwindi rainforest. 
Highlights
  • Track lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Paddle a canoe on the picturesque Lake Mutanda
  • Experience the fresh river breeze and variety if wildlife in Kazinga channel
  • Have a close encounter with gorillas
Places Visited
Activity Level: Moderate
Activities that provide a reasonable level of physical challenge and elevate the heart rate. Focused on more active pursuits including multisport tours. Travelers may be active 5-7 hours total each day. Recommended for travelers with active lifestyles.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Entebbe

After arriving in Entebbe, you will be greeted and taken to the Karibu Guesthouse (10 min transfer). Entebbe is a calm, 35 kilometers from the busy Kampala is a green community.

Day 2: Kibale Forest Area

 After a nice breakfast, make your way to Entebbe to catch your scheduled aircraft to Kasese. Your driver guide and private 4x4 safari vehicle will be waiting for you when you arrive for a scenic transfer to the Fort Portal/Kibale Forest area. You will ascend and enter a stunning rural area where tea is cultivated in the lower foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, also known as the Mountains of the Moon, after leaving Kasese in the Rift Valley. Arrive at the lodge, which is situated on a thriving vanilla estate and at the edge of Nyinambuga crater lake, after driving past lovely tea estates in Kyenjojo, in the lower foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, the Mountains of the Moon.

Day 3: Kibale Forest Area

Take your breakfast early and prepare yourself for your first trek. The Kibale Forest is 50 minutes away, and the drive there is really beautiful. A guided forest trip brings us in search of one of the most well-known primate species in the world, the chimpanzee, which is one of the 13 kinds of primates that call the forest home. The likelihood of seeing chimpanzees is more than 95%, but sightings are not guaranteed. Bird music can be heard as you go through the dense, verdant forest that abounds, and the black and white colobus, red-tailed monkey, and gray-cheeked mangabey are frequently seen. Because of the well-maintained pathways and the mostly flat landscape, walking is rather simple. Spend an hour observing the chimps after you've found them, taking pictures, and quietly asking the UWA ranger about their behaviors.

Continue to Mr. John Tinka's neighboring house after returning to the park's administrative center. He and his family lovingly prepare a lunch of several Ugandan delicacies for guests at their property. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, the Bigodi Community Walk, and lunch at Tinka's house are examples of his efforts to promote sustainable tourism in his community. Tinka is a well-known community leader in the Bigodi neighborhood, close to Kibale Forest National Park. At his home, Tinka hosts a well-prepared traditional Ugandan lunch in an outdoor banda. You will not only be able to sample a traditional Ugandan meal, but Tinka will also describe each dish and provide background information on the farming practices, harvesting practices, and culinary skills used to make the meal. 

Day 4: Active Adventures at Ndali Lodge

Today, leave early to embark on a guided trek around the rim of the Nyinambuga crater lake. While on your hike, keep an eye out for various birds and take in the spectacular views of the lake below. This walk lasts around an hour and a half, depending on your pace, and in addition to the stunning views, there are good chances of seeing vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, and a variety of birds. A stroll around the neighborhood and back to the lodge at the end of the hike offers the perfect glimpse into local life.

Enjoy a guided farm walk on the nearby Ndali Estate after a hearty, fresh lunch overlooking the lake. It also grows coffee, vanilla, cardamom, and other items. Alternatively, if you'd like, use the stand-up paddle boards on the lake. The trail down to the lake is a workout in and of itself; just ask the staff or your guide for assistance!

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park | Kazinga Channel

Make your way to the Great African Rift Valley after breakfast, then continue on to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is situated in a fertile tropical valley. The size of Uganda's most well-known and accessible savannah reserve is 78 km2. Green savannahs, lush papyrus marshes, a naturally occurring volcanic crater, and lakes surrounded by rain forests line its borders. With 95 known mammal species in the biggest game reserve in the world, it consequently has one of the highest ratings for biodiversity of any, with about 610 distinct bird species.

Savor a sumptuous lunch at the famous Mweya Safari Lodge before the launch of a private boat on the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon. A highlight of any safari in Uganda, the launch excursion offers the chance to unwind and take it all in while taking in the cool river breeze and a variety of birds and animals.

 

Day 6: Kyambura Gorge

Rise early this morning for your hike to Kyambura Gorge, another physical adventure. The Gorge, which is located on the eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is roughly 16 km long and reaches a maximum depth of 100 m. The stunning, steep Kyambura Gorge was made possible by the Kyambura River. In the direction of the Kazinga Channel, the gorge transitions from savannah grassland to a riverine virgin forest. The "Lost Chimps of Kyambura" colony, together with numerous other primates, hippos, antelope, and a great variety of both forest and plains bird species, can be found in Kyambura Gorge. The greatest time to hike the chimpanzees is in the morning, but those who want to delve deeper into the Gorge experience can also trek in the afternoon (those trekking in the afternoon should be prepared for higher temperatures). Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge is thought to be more difficult than in Kibale Forest National Park. The trails are well-kept, and once you're within the gorge, the ascents are rather simple. However, if you're not ready, climbing out of the gorge can be challenging.

Day 7: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Eat your breakfast and get ready for a day filled of activities. You will join the Uganda Carnivore Project (UCP), a devoted to the research and conservation of Uganda’s large carnivores, including lions, leopards, and hyenas for a morning tracking of lions in the northern Kasenyi plains of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). You will ride a safari vehicle and a UCP researcher will join you in your safari vehicle (this is not a private excursion and we cannot guarantee the researcher in your vehicle). They use a radio-telemetry to track and locate the collared lions being researched. Vehicles must stay on designated tracks in QENP, but one of the distinct advantages of the lion tracking activity is the ability to drive off-road in search of the lion and affords the privilege of essentially a private lion observation experience.

Continue south through the Ishasha Sector after tracking lions, keeping an eye out for any lions that could be capable of climbing trees. Take advantage of a packed lunch on the way, then go to Kihihi town and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Our cozy lodging for the night is situated with a view of the river and the forest in the distance.

This majestic, luxuriant forest, known as Bwindi, sprawls across the Albertine Rife Valley's steep slopes. One of the few ecosystems in Africa that survived the previous Ice Age was the rainforest, which is regarded as one of the woodlands of Africa that have the most biological variety. At least 90 species are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. One of the greatest in Uganda for forest birding, with 23 species of birds and a variety of animal species, including 11 primates, Albertine Rift endemics with a narrow range. Mountain gorillas are recognized for inhabiting Bwindi; there are thought to be 480 of them residing there, making it home to little more than half of the world's population and more than 15 groupings. An experience unmatched, most possibly across all of Africa, is gazing deeply into the expressive brown eyes of these gentle giants.

 

Day 8: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

You will next meet your hiking group, which will include park rangers, a knowledgeable hiking leader, and a local Batwa guide. Visit the Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters in Buhoma for our annual meeting, briefing and share the mysteries of the forest. Have a packed lunch and be prepared with rain gear, gaiters, and plenty of water. You can purchase hiking sticks at the headquarters, but if you would rather use your own adjustable trekking pole, we advise bringing it from home. Make sure to bring a fresh set of clothes with you since your safari vehicle will transfer your stuff around Bwindi on the way, and may arrive after you do.

This trek begins with a 7km walk along an old "road," which is now more of a pathway with the river on the left and the rainforest on the right. Once in the jungle, the track slowly climbs and lowers amid stunning rainforest scenery. Throughout the trip, a vast variety of species can be seen, including monkeys, duikers, birds, and several vibrant butterflies. It takes roughly 6.5 hours to complete the Ivy River trail. A lodge vehicle will be waiting for us when we arrive in the Nteko settlement, and it will take us to Chameleon Hill Lodge, where we will spend the next three nights.

 

Day 9: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

After enjoying your breakfast, you will proceed to the Park Headquarters at Rushaga for a 45 minute drive and meet with excellent local UWA guides and trackers who will give share a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. Afterwards, you will hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trek can last anywhere between one and six hours, and the highest point won't be higher than 7,500 feet. The ground is occasionally muddy and rocky. Despite the hike's strenuous physical requirements, the beauty of surrounding nature and vistas makes the journey worthwhile.

All tiredness is forgotten once the gorillas are found, since the experience is commonly quoted as the most dramatic natural history encounter in the entire world. There are provided picnic meals, but it's always a good idea to pack lots of water. Lots of memory cards, spare batteries, and cameras or lenses with good low-light performance are strongly advised. Since rain can fall at any time, waterproof clothing is a smart idea, along with zip-top dry bags for cameras and other equipment.

 

Day 10: Lake Mutanda

After a pleasant breakfast this morning overlooking the lake, go to the lake's edge beneath the lodge where we will receive a briefing before our canoe journey on Lake Mutanda. Enjoy a leisurely paddle on this gorgeous lake with views of the volcano and serpentine islands. Bring a dry bag for your camera and your waterproof binoculars. The afternoon is free after lunch at the lodge. You can choose to get a massage to ease your aching muscles or return to the lake on kayaks. You can even learn to weave a basket or carve a wooden gorilla with local craftsmen (afternoon activities upon request, at an additional cost to be settled directly). Enjoy your final afternoon in this unique location.

Day 11: Return to Entebbe

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Leave the lodge this morning at 7:30 in order to make the approximately one-hour drive to Kisoro airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Entebbe, where you may then depart for home after enjoying a nice lunch in town (or packing a lunch depending on departure schedules).
 
Note: For departures in the evening, day rooms may be booked for an extra fee. There are also day trips offered to places like the Botanical Gardens, Mabmaba Wetlands, and more.

Accommodations

Ndali Lodge

Ndali Lodge
Ndali Lodge
Ndali Hotel

Karibu Guesthouse

Twin Lakes Safari Lodge

Chameleon Hill Lodge

Mahogany Springs Lodge

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$7,163 2-3 travelers

Notes

Select a Date
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Entrance Fee
  • Professional, experienced drivers, and guides
  • Emergency International communications
  • Courtesy bag which includes tea, coffee, biscuits, and paper napkins
  • Drinking water in vehicles ONLY
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Insurance (AMREF is available in Uganda for $30 per person, please request in advance)
  • These excursions are non-refundable:
    Chimp habituation: $300 per permit
    Chimp trek (AM or PM): $250 per permit, per trek
    Kyambura Gorge hike: $100 per permit
    Gorilla trek: $800 per permit, per trek
    Golden monkey hike: $100 per permit
    Optional pre-paid gorilla trekking porters: $30 per porter, per hike (salary + tip included)
    UCP: $220 per lion tracking
  • EBB-Kasese flight: $273 per person
    Kisoro-EBB flight: $364 per person
    (85 kgs body weight limit and 15 kgs luggage weight limit per seat) *subject to fuel surcharges/levies

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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