This 22-day Ultimate Uganda Cultural Safari is a cultural exploration that takes tourists through the extraordinary ways of life and traditions of Uganda’s various tribes. Enjoy farm visits, traditional performances, guided tours through banana plantations, local food preparations, overnight stays in homestays, traditional beer brewing demonstrations, and local milking processes, among other authentic cultural experiences on this Uganda cultural expedition.
Besides cultural and community experiences, take pleasure in the opportunity to visit a few vibrant national parks and enjoy Uganda’s noteworthy wildlife.
- Cultural and community experiences
- Boat cruises
- Game drives
- Cultural and historical sites
- Source of the Nile
- Equator Experience
Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport & Transfer to your Hotel in Kampala
When you arrive in Uganda via Entebbe Airport, our Company representative will be waiting for you. He will welcome you to the country and drive you to your hotel in Kampala. Have dinner at the hotel and rest as you prepare for your long cultural safari.
Day 2: Kampala City tour, including visits to the Buganda Kingdom Sites
Begin the day with breakfast at your hotel. The driver will then pick you up for your Kampala city tour. You will make your way to Mengo, one of Kampala's original seven hills and home to the Lubiri Royal Palace. Lubiri, established in 1885, is the historical/official residence of Buganda's King (Kabaka). Here, learn about the fascinating history of Uganda's largest Kingdom. You will also explore exploring Amin's torture chambers inside the Palace. If time allows, make a stop at Kabaka's Lake, which is just a short distance from the Palace.
Have lunch in the heart of the city and after visit, the Kasubi Royal Tombs. The tombs are the resting place of Buganda's Kings. The spiritual, historical, and traditional values of the site will captivate you. After a cultural dance performance at the Kasubi Royal Tombs, return to your hotel for a lovely dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Drive from Kampala to Nshenyi Cultural in Ntungamo District
Pick up from your hotel in the morning and drive to Nshenyi Cultural Village of the Banyankole, which is about 340 kilometers and 6 hours’ drive from Kampala. A stopover at the Uganda Equator to stretch your legs and enjoy breakfast. You will also have a brief equator experience and take photos of the historic landmark. Lunch will also be en route in Mbarara City. Also, take in the beautiful scenery and vibrant lifestyle of Ugandans in the countryside. Arrival in Nshenyi will be in the late afternoon. Check-in at the Farm Guest House for a traditional dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: Guided Nshenyi Cultural Village tour
After breakfast, take guided tours in Nshenyi Farm Village, which offers a variety of cultural activities. Explore hand-milking takes place in the morning as the cattle leave their kraals. Later, participate in traditional ghee making and enjoy a meal made with traditional ghee. After lunch, take a one-hour walk to the cattle watering area, where you will help water the animals with the assistance of local guides. The activity is so exciting that you will love and enjoy every minute of it.
In the evening, enjoy a performance by the Traditional dance group. Dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 5: Transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Kisoro
After breakfast, drive to Mgahinga forest to meet the indigenous Batwa tribe who live in this legendary forest. You will have the opportunity to enjoy views of the rolling hills of Kabale and Kisoro along the way. Check into your lodge on your arrival in Mgahinga and have lunch. After lunch, enjoy a canoe ride on the scenic Lake Mutanda. Later, dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Batwa Cultural Trail
After breakfast, head for the Batwa cultural trail to discover the traditional forest life of the Barwa. The Batwa cultural trail is only available in Mgahinga National Park. It portrays the past forest life of the Batwa people, who were traditional forest hunter-gatherers. This was before the introduction of conservation and tourism to the area. Supervised by the Batwa local guides, you will learn about the ancient Batwa forest life and how it originally comprised hunting, fruit gathering, honey collection, and rituals performed in the forest's caves. According to legend, the Batwa lived in harmony with wild animals such as mountain gorillas and depended entirely on the forest for food, shelter, fruits, and firewood.
Spending time with the very ancient, short people is undoubtedly a memorable experience. Enjoy seeing them dressed in hides while dancing and singing their ancient songs to entertain you. Meet the local traditional blacksmith and healer, who presumably heals various diseases using only local herbs. Enjoy demonstrations of their activities such as food preparation and hunting. Also, you will visit the legendary Ngarama cave which was formerly a Palace for the Batwa kings. After the trail, trek back to your lodge and rest. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Trek the Nyakagezi Gorilla Family of Mgahinga – Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Wake up early for breakfast, pack a lunch, and then transfer to the Mgahinga gorilla national park information office for gorilla trekking. You will meet other tourists for a briefing about gorilla trekking and the guidelines for trekking. At 08:00 am, along with your assigned guide and armed park ranger, begin trekking the Nyakagezi gorilla family. The Nyakagezi gorilla group is the only gorilla group open for tourism in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla trekking may take several hours ranging from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the movements of the gorilla family, your walking speed, as well as stopovers made during your forest trek.
Nonetheless, coming face to face with the giant apes is so exhilarating. After finding them, you will spend a maximum of one hour with the gorilla family. See how they spend their day, younger ones playing, mothers breastfeeding and Mr. Silverback resting in the thickets. You will be free to take as many photos as you want and ask questions about mountain gorillas. Thereafter, trek back to the offices and then return to your lodge for relaxation and lunch.
After lunch, drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, arriving through the southern sector of Ishasha, which is known for its tree-climbing lions. Expect to see them aggressively seeking prey and others relaxing in fig trees. Check into your lodge after driving there. Have dinner and then relax.
Day 8: Game Drive and Boat Cruise
Begin your day with a delicious cup of coffee or tea before embarking on a game drive through the park's various trails, including the Kasenyi trail. The trail offers a good chance of seeing water bucks, Uganda Kobs, elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs, and various bird species.
After the drive, return to your lodge for late breakfast and lunch. Later in the afternoon, you will enjoy a 2-hour boat safari along the Kazinga channel, which connects Lake George and Lake Edward. While on the boat, you will see a variety of animals, including hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, warthogs, elephants, and kobs, as well as a variety of birds, including kingfishers, egrets, pelicans, and fish eagles. Have dinner and relax
Day 9: Travel to Fort Portal – Visit Tooro Kingdom Sites
Drive to Fort Portal town after breakfast, passing through the crater lakes region. You'll arrive in the afternoon and have lunch there. After lunch, visit the king of Tooro's palace. The Tooro Kingdom was originally part of Bunyoro; it was founded by a prince who had gone against his father's wishes. If time allows, we get to go to a weekly village market day depending on the day of the week.
Day 10: Visit Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru and Crater Hike
Have breakfast and then go to Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru. Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru is a major tourist destination and cultural site. It also has an amazing history and is surrounded by amazing nature that will take your breath away. You will next trek up Nyakasura hill to witness the three crater lakes. The beautiful Rwenzori Mountain ranges can also be seen from the summit of the peak.
The hike will provide you with beautiful views of the crater lakes and surrounding area, as well as cool natural breezes and opportunities for photography. Return to your lodge after an amazing adventure
Day 11: Transfer to Bunyoro Kingdom – Cultural Tour
We leave Fort Portal this morning and transfer to the Bunyoro Kingdom with stopovers for lunch and visit cultural sites in Masindi. We will arrive in Hoima town later that afternoon to visit the palace and royal tombs where some of Bunyoro's Kings are buried. We then retire to the hotel to watch cultural dances performed by a group from the local community. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 12: Boomu Women's Group Cultural Experience – Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park
Following breakfast, go and visit the Boomu Women’s Group of Bunyoro. The group was founded in 1999 by subsistence farmers from the villages to alleviate poverty and malnutrition, in addition to providing an income for its members. The scenic village tour depicts daily rural life. You will explore various crops before heading to the village blacksmith. Storytellers will tell you stories about local customs and lifestyles. Depending on your interests and availability, a visit to the nursery, a cooking demonstration, or a basket weaving class can be arranged.
After the experience, drive to Murchison Falls National Park passing through the remarkable Budongo Forest. Enjoy the scenic drive to your lodge with vistas of Olive baboons by the roadsides. Check into your lodge and relax. Dinner and overnight.
Day 13: Early Morning Game Drive & Afternoon Boat Cruise
Wake up early and have a cup of coffee at 6:30 a.m., after which your driver and ranger guide will take you for your early morning game drive. Many animals, including elands, oribi, lions, buffaloes, waterbucks, kobs, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, warthogs, and birds, will be encountered during the drive.
After the game drive, around 11 a.m., return to the lodge to freshen up and have lunch before going for the afternoon boat cruise. On the boat, you will be able to see a variety of Nile crocodiles, hippos, monitor lizards, buffaloes, and elephants along the Nile’s shores. Various beautiful bird species such as Bee-eaters, Malachite kingfishers, African fish eagles, Shoebill stork, Colored kingfishers, and many others can also be seen. The boat ride will take you to the base/bottom of Murchison Falls, where you will be able to see the mighty waterfalls. After the boat cruise, drive you back to the lodge.
Day 14: Visit the top of the Falls – Transfer to Acholi land
Check out of your lodge after breakfast and drive to the top of the falls, where you will see various animals such as warthogs and Kobs, among others. The view from the top of the falls is breathtaking, with the magnificent falls squeezing through the rocks in a 7m gorge. Enjoy the scenery and photography at the falls.
Following that, we will say our goodbyes to Murchison Falls and transfer to experience the Acholi culture. This region of Uganda is home to the Acholi people, who have remained resilient despite having been tortured by the LRA. On arrival, drive to your lodge and relax.
Day 15: Learn about the Acholi culture and visit caves and hot springs
Today, prepare for a full-day cultural experience in the Acholi homesteads. You will visit one of the homesteads and participate in local household chores. Participate in the harvesting and cooking of food. Listen to traditional stories and dances performed by the Acholi natives. This will provide you with an insight into the Acholi culture
Day 16: Transfer to Moroto – Karamojong Cultural Encounter
After breakfast, we will travel to Moroto to visit the Karamojong manyatta communities and learn about their culture. The Karamojong are nomadic pastoralists who live in small huts called Manyattas. They depend on mostly cattle products for food and possess an incredible culture. Later that evening, arrive at your hotel in Moroto. Dinner and overnight.
Day 17: Visit the Karamojong Communities and then travel to Kidepo Valley National Park.
Today we spend the day with the Karamojong tribe in their community. The Karamojong are a distinct and fascinating culture, with extended families living in manyattas. They have a discrete way of life of nomadic pastoralism. They hold their elders in high regard as they decide on the affairs of the community and their word is the final word.
During this cultural tour, you will visit Karamojong homesteads (manyattas) and see cattle kraals, traditional costumes, stools, spears, headdresses, knives, bows and arrows, jewelry, grinding stones, and utensils all made locally by the natives. After lunch, drive to Kidepo Valley National Park. On arrival in the Park, drive to your lodge and check-in. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 18: Kidepo Valley National Park full-day game drive
Today we start with an early morning game drive through Kidepo Valley National Park. In Kidepo, our goal is to catch up with early risers and predators before they return to their hideouts as the sun rises. This park is recovering from years of war in this region and is largely untouched. Drive through the Kidepo valley and the Narus River for rare species found near this seasonal river. Localized carnivores such as the bat-eared fox, leopard, caracal, side-stripped hyena, lion, and cheetah can be found in this area. Elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and several antelopes are among the other animals in Kidepo.
Day 19: Hike up Mount Morungole to visit the IK People
Following your delicious breakfast, you will hike up Morungole Mountain to visit the Ik people. The Ik are Uganda's smallest ethnic group, living on Mount Morungole in Kidepo Valley. They are also thought to have migrated from Ethiopia. They used to be hunters, but now they do subsistence farming and honey production. A visit to these tribal cultures will give you a true sense of African culture. Later, return to the hotel or campsite to refresh, relax, and have time to enjoy your night in the wilderness. Dinner and overnight.
Day 20: Transfer to Sipi Falls – Visit Mutoto Circumcision Grounds
Wake up, have breakfast, and then transfer to Sipi Falls, stopping for lunch in Mbale. Visit the Mutoto Circumcision Grounds for the Bamasaba and Bagisu people after lunch. These groups live on the slopes of Mt Elgon and have a tradition in which boys must go through circumcision before being recognized as men. The circumcision occurs once every two years in the 'even' years. Furthermore, learn how to cook dishes such as malewa and enjoy this Bagisu delicacy. After that, drive to your lodge in Sipi and check in. Have dinner and then relax.
Day 21: Hike Sipi Falls & Sabiny Cultural Encounter
After breakfast, go on a hike to see the three massive waterfalls at Sipi Falls. This area is known for its beautiful hanging valleys and stunning views of the Karamoja plains below. It provides views of the three falls and surrounding landscapes, as well as plain farmlands in the Bugishu region.
In the afternoon, visit the Sabiny, who live on the slopes of Mt Elgon. The Sabiny are currently engaged in coffee growing, thus producing some of the best coffee in east Africa. While visiting the Sabiny, we tour a coffee plantation and walk through the coffee-making process, right from how it is grown, harvested, and stored, to how it is crashed to make a cup of coffee.
Day 22: Transfer back to Kampala & Boat Cruise on the Nile
Check out of your lodge and drive back to Kampala after an early breakfast. We'll make a stop in Jinja to take a boat ride to the source of the Nile – the world’s longest river. After that, have lunch before continuing to Kampala.
Before arriving in Kampala, we stop at Sezibwa Falls for a cultural experience. The Sezibwa River has an interesting legend related to the Baganda people, which the tour guide will tell you about. Several people will be paying pilgrimage to the various Buganda gods who are believed to heal diseases, cast out curses, and bestow riches. Following that experience, we travel to Kampala. This concludes our 22-day ultimate Uganda cultural safari.
• Full-board accommodation
• Ground transport in a 4x4 custom safari vehicle
• All park entry fees
• Gorilla trekking permits
• All activities included in the safari itinerary
• Service of a fully English-speaking safari driver/guide
• Bottled drinking water in the safari vehicle
• Travel insurance
• Flight air tickets
• All optional activities excluded in the itinerary
• Tips to guides
• Telephone costs
• Alcoholic drinks, and any other personal expenses