Uganda - Land of the Great Apes

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Day 1: Arrive in Entebbe

You are met upon arrival in Entebbe and transferred to your hotel. Entebbe is a pleasant and convenient city in which to start our journey. Today we will meet in our hotel lobby at 3pm and set out to visit Abetavu Children's Village. Upon our return, we will enjoy the welcome dinner. Overnight in Entebbe.

 

Day 2: Entebbe to Lake Mburo

This morning, we journey by speed boat on Lake Victoria to Ngamba Island, a sanctuary for chimpanzees. We learn about one of our closest relatives, the chimpanzees and also about the work that is done on the island. We can see the chimpanzees at close range, watch their behavior and their playfulness. We will also observe one of their daily feedings. It is a real treat to see the chimps in this comfortable and intimate setting on Ngamba Island.

After lunch, we drive to Lake Mburo. Along the way, we will stop on the equator line for a few photo opportunities and visit a local market with time for a little shopping before we continue onwards to our destination: Lake Mburo National Park. This afternoon we will enjoy a cruise along Lake Mburo, an area well known for abundant wildlife. Dinner and overnight at Mhingo Lodge or similar.

 

Day 3: Lake Mburo

This morning we will enjoy a game drive. Have your camera ready for zebras, gazelles, Ugandan kop, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, oribi, and the largest antelope, the massive eland. Keep an eye out for the ever elusive leopard.

This afternoon we will explore another area of Lake Mburo by boat. Upon our return, we will have an opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery at Mhingo Lodge. Dinner and overnight at Mhingo Lodge or similar.

 

Day 4: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Pygmies

This morning we depart for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In the afternoon, we take a walk through a rural village, learning about the herbs and medicines from the local medicine man and also meet some of the Pygmies who live in the region. The Pygmies are the smallest people on earth with males averaging 4'8" and women averaging 4'6". Dinner and overnight in Bwindi.

 

Day 5: Gorilla Trekking

Today is easily one of the highlights of the entire journey as we trek up the side of the mountain to spend time with one of the resident gorilla families who make Bwindi forest their home. The reward is great, but there are certainly some challenges along the way.

We start in the morning with a briefing at the Park Headquarters about what the trek will involve and the etiquette of observing and photographing gorillas. Tracking wild animals can be a challenging physical activity. Eight people are permitted per group and a total of 24 people per day in Bwindi as there are 3 gorilla groups. Depending on which gorilla group you will visit, your trek may take anywhere from 1-7 hours. Local gorilla trackers follow the location of each of the gorilla groups. People are assigned to visit one of 3 groups based on their hiking abilities, the terrain and the distance the gorilla group is from park headquarters. Once we find the family group we will have 1 hour to observe and enjoy them.

Our trek starts by climbing along the switchbacks going up the side of the mountain. The climb may be upwards along relatively good paths or we may forge a new path. Every trek is different but be prepared for steep and dense areas, good paths or no paths. ElderTreks provides you with a local trekking guide/porter to assist you with your trek. Your local porter will be happy to carry your daypack, camera equipment or simply give you a hand along the way if needed. ElderTreks is happy to provide each of our travellers with a local guide/porter as this will surely make your trek more enjoyable and easier, while also supporting the local community. The local economic spin-off is important as it encourages the entire local community to support the efforts to protect the gorillas and their habitat. This education and support is important for both locals and visitors alike.

Today's visit with one of the Bwindi resident gorilla families will likely be one of the wildlife highlights in your life. Few things can compare with the playful fighting of the young gorillas, a mother gorilla caring for her baby, or the adrenaline rush of seeing the massive silverback giving the term 'alpha male' a whole new meaning.

After your gorilla encounter, return to your guesthouse and spend the rest of the day reliving your experience. Dinner and overnight in Bwindi.

 

Day 6: To Ishasha

We depart for Ishasha in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Upon our arrival in Ishasha, we shall visit a community project followed by an afternoon game drive in the region where you can search for the rare tree-climbing lions. Overnight in Ishasha.

 

Day 7: Ishasha

We enjoy 2 game drives today, including a drive to the delta, providing an opportunity to see the shoebill, and also the region where we hope to find the tree-climbing lions. After game viewing, relax at our luxury tents located at a beautiful spot on the banks of the river. Overnight in Ishasha.

 

Day 8: To Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. We enjoy our lunch at a hotel overlooking the Kazinga channel. We explore the Kazinga channel by boat, gliding past the banks full of birds, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, elephants and other park inhabitants. We continue on to Mweya Lodge for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 9: To Kibale

Today we have a long drive to the mountainous tea plantation area of Kibale. As the elevation increases, the scenery becomes ever more spectacular. Pass by the many tea plantations, small rural towns and several crater lakes. Overnight at Kibale/Ndali lodge or similar.

 

Day 10: Chimp Trekking and Swamp Walk

In the morning we set out to enjoy one of our great ape encounters. We hike in Kibale National Park and have a rare opportunity to see chimpanzees in the wild - truly a special experience.

Enroute we may see other inhabitants of the forest. After lunch, enjoy a swamp walk, where you 'may' see other primates and various bird species. Overnight in Kibale/Ndali lodge or similar.

 

Day 11: Kibale to Masindi

Today we make the long drive to Masindi where we will enjoy some free time in the afternoon to relax. Tonight we will dine at our hotel. Overnight at the Masindi Hotel or similar.

 

Day 12: Masindi To Murchison Falls

After breakfast we will make our way to Murchison Falls. See and feel the rage and thunder of these magnificent falls from close range. Enjoy a picnic lunch from the upper view of these falls, before they flow into the Nile.

After lunch we set out on a safari game drive. We take a ferry across the Nile before searching for elephants, lions, giraffes, hippos, baboons, several species of primate, numerous types of antelope and of course, excellent birding opportunities. We return to our lodge overlooking the Nile for dinner and a relaxing evening. Overnight at Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls National Park.

 

Day 13: Murchison Falls - Game Drives

Enjoy an afternoon boat journey along the Nile to the delta, passing hippos in the water; and gliding past riverbanks teaming with birdlife. At the delta, keep a watchful eye for the massive but elusive shoebill, we return to our lodge for lunch.

After lunch we enjoy a late afternoon game drive in Murchison Falls National Park. Dinner and overnight at Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls National Park.

 

Day 14: Murchison Falls - Morning Game Drive, Free Afternoon

Enjoy another morning game drive in Murchison Falls National Park to view the wild inhabitants who make this place their home. The park itself is part of the Great East Rift Valley. After our safari, we return to our lodge for lunch.

Enjoy a free afternoon to relax. Gaze out over the Nile from your luxury tent or relax by the pool. Dinner and overnight at Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls National Park.

 

Day 15: Murchison Falls to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Entebbe

Today we make our way back to Entebbe. Along the way we will stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. An experienced ranger will lead you on a hike to find the resident white rhinos. Unfortunately, rhinos were hunted to extinction in Uganda but are being re-introduced with the longterm goal of seeing them once again roam the grasslands of Uganda. It is a truly fascinating experience seeing these white rhinos up close. Following our rhino encounter, we continue on to Entebbe where you will have some free time to relax prior to the farewell dinner. Overnight in Entebbe.

 

Day 16: Depart Entebbe

Today we bid a fond farewell to this wildlife paradise as we transfer to the airport for our departure flight.

 
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