This 24-day Best of Uganda cultural and wildlife safari will introduce you to Africa’s beautiful Pearl – Uganda. Explore Uganda’s magnificent wildlife and birds in the most beautiful African bushes, as well as incredible cultural interactions. Below is our detailed itinerary, which will help you learn everything there is to know about the adventure that awaits you.
- Cultural encounters
- Game drives
- Boat cruises
- Bird watching
- Gorilla trekking
- Nature walks
- Golden monkey trekking
DAY 1:ARRIVE IN UGANDA
On arrival in Uganda, our company representative will greet you at Entebbe Airport and transfer you to your hotel. The tour guide will give you a brief overview of the forthcoming days' travels and activities. Have dinner at the hotel and relax.
Day 2: Kampala City Tour
After breakfast, you will go on a Kampala City tour, where you will see the best tourist attractions in the city. Visit Buganda kingdom's palace, Parliament (Bulange), and the Kasubi Royal Tombs. Other places to visit in the city include the Bahai Temple, the Gadhafi Mosque, and the Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, among others. Return to your hotel in the evening. Optional traditional performance at Ndere Cultural Center. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Travel to Lake Mburo National Park
After breakfast, you will travel westward to Lake Mburo National Park. The journey will take about 3-4 hours, with a stopover at the Equator where you will briefly experience standing in both hemispheres at the same time. You will also enjoy some photography at the monument. You will continue to Lake Mburo, where you will have lunch at your booked lodge.
In the afternoon, you will take a boat ride on the lake to see aquatic animals such as hippos and crocodiles, as well as bird species such as Pelicans, Black Crake, Heron, Cormorant, and Fish Eagle, which can only be seen clearly from a boat. You will retire to your lodge after. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Explore Lake Mburo National Park
After an early breakfast, you will depart for a sunrise game drive in the park, where you can expect to see a variety of wildlife including zebras, impalas, waterbucks, elands, buffaloes, hippos, topi, Bohor reedbuck, sitatunga antelope, klipspringer, vervet monkey, olive baboon, side-striped Jackal, spotted-hyena, leopard, etc.
After lunch, you'll take a nature walk in the Rubanga Forest. This forest provides excellent bird habitat, making it a popular spot for bird watching. Other optional activities include horseback riding or sports fishing at Lake Mburo.
Day 5: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi
After breakfast, we will drive to Lake Bunyonyi, passing through various villages, small towns, and rolling hills. You'll arrive at your lodge around noon and have lunch. Then rest or relax on the lakeshores while admiring the birds soaring in the skies above the lake. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6: Explore Lake Bunyonyi & Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
After breakfast, you will go exploring Lake Bunyonyi. A canoe ride on the lake to tour the lake's 29 islands or a walk through the surrounding hills are both options. The surrounding landscape is made up of steep hills covered in lush green vegetation that protrude from the lake's edge. Bunyonyi means "place of little birds," and the lake is teeming with birdlife, as the name suggests. You can also hike to a viewpoint in the hills to admire the Virunga volcano mountain ranges that border Uganda and Rwanda.
Return to your lodge, have lunch, and relax. Then drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the afternoon. When you arrive, check into your lodge and relax.
Day 7: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi & Batwa Cultural Experience
After an early breakfast, you will proceed to the park headquarters to begin your gorilla trekking adventure. The guides will brief you at the Headquarters before you begin your search for the giant gorillas in the dense Bwindi Forest. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is famous for its impressive mountain gorillas. After the briefing, you will embark on your search for the gorillas. How long you will have to trek these apes before finding them is unpredictable because it all depends on their location.
Though gorilla trekking takes an unpredictable amount of time, the thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giant gorillas is a rare, moving, and exciting adventure. It is bound to leave you with long-lasting memories of a truly unique experience. You will spend an hour in their company and then trek back to the Headquarters.
Rest at your lodge before going on a cultural walk to interact with the Batwa locals. The Batwa are a hunter-gatherer indigenous tribe who lived in the forest and relied on it for a living. They were forced out of the Park when the forest was gazetted for the conservation of mountain gorillas. The Batwa, on the other hand, struggled to survive because their livelihood was entirely dependent on the forest. As a result, the Uganda Wildlife Authority decided to rehabilitate them in smaller communities outside of the Park. Today, you can experience their way of life in the forest with the Batwa guides, who share their way of life in exchange for an income for themselves and their families.
Day 8: Travel to Queen Elizabeth NP – Tree Climbing Lions
After an early breakfast, drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, entering through the Ishasha southern sector. The Ishasha sector is the home of the famed tree climbing lions. However, the Park is home to 94 other mammal species and over 612 bird species. Other game includes large herds of buffaloes, elephants, Uganda kobs, topi, leopards, and hyenas, among others. Arrive at the lodge in the afternoon and have lunch.
Later, go on an afternoon game drive through the sector, where you'll see tree-climbing lions. Expect to find a range of them up in the acacia and fig trees. You will also see a variety of Uganda kobs and bushbucks. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Early Morning Game drive & Afternoon Boat Cruise
The day begins early in the morning with a game drive. We drive through the mating grounds for antelopes in the Kasenyi plains of the park. The plains also shelter large numbers of Lions, Leopards, Warthogs, Elephants, and Buffaloes, as well as Bushbucks and Waterbucks. After driving through the park, we head back to the lodge for lunch before heading to the jetty for our boat cruise.
In the afternoon, we go on a boat safari on the Kazinga Channel, where we will encounter Nile crocodiles, monitor lizards, and hippos basking in the sun. The Kazinga Channel is known for having a high concentration of hippos, as well as bird species, so bring your camera with you. After, return to your lodge. Dinner and overnight.
Day 10: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park
After breakfast, take a 4-hour drive to Kibale Forest National Park. On the way to Kibale, you will be able to catch vistas of the legendary "Mountains of the Moon.” Have lunch in Fort Portal – the tourist city of Uganda before proceeding to Kibale. On arrival in the Park, check into your lodge and relax.
Later, you will then visit the unique Bigodi Wetland sanctuary for a swamp walk. Expect to see unusual plants and rare bird species such as the Great Blue Turaco, Little Bulbul, Rwenzori Turaco, and Narina Trogon, among others. You also have the option of visiting the crater lakes area to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Dinner and overnight stay at your lodge.
Day 11: Chimpanzee Trekking Experience
After an early breakfast, you will meet at the Kanyanchu visitor center for a briefing on chimpanzee trekking and appropriate behaviors in their presence. The activity begins at 8 a.m. with a briefing on the guidelines for trekking the chimps, followed by a search for them in the forest. After the briefing, a ranger guide will lead you into the forest to meet the chimps.
Trekking can be shorter or longer depending on the chimps’ location, but the experience is always rewarding. When you find them, you will spend one hour in their company. Watch them interact with each other, feed and play, etc. Look out for other primates in the forest such as Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, Red-Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, and Red-tailed monkeys, among others swinging in the branches of this dense forest. Return to camp for lunch and a relaxing evening.
Day 12: Visit Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru & Crater Hike
After breakfast, go to Fort Portal to see Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru. The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru is an important tourist attraction as well as a cultural site for the Batoro people. It has an incredible history and is surrounded by incredible vegetation that will take your breath away.
You will then hike up Nyakasura hill to see the three crater lakes. The spectacular Rwenzori Mountain ranges can also be seen from the top of the hill. The hike will provide you with breathtaking 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. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 13: Travel to Murchison Falls National Park
After breakfast, embark on a 7-hour journey to Murchison Falls National Park. The route takes you through lush countryside, past traditional homesteads and farms, and the town of Hoima, where you will stop for lunch. You will continue your journey to Murchison Falls National Park, arriving late in the afternoon. After relaxing, drive to the top of the falls, coming across various animals such as warthogs and olive baboons.
The view from the top of the falls is incredible, with the magnificent falls squeezing through the rocks in a 7-meter gorge. Enjoy as much photography as you possibly can. Thereafter, drive back to the lodge. Dinner and overnight.
Day 14: Explore Murchison Falls National Park
Wake up at 06:30 a.m. and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. Following that, your driver and ranger guide will meet you at the lodge to begin your early morning game drive. Many animals, including lions, buffaloes, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, and waterbucks, will be expected during the drive. Return to your lodge for late breakfast and relax.
In the afternoon, take a boat ride on the Nile. On the boat, you will be able to see Nile crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, and elephants along the Nile's banks, as well as various beautiful birds chirping in the trees such as bee-eaters, pied kingfishers, shoe-billed storks, and many others. The boat ride will take you to the base/bottom of Murchison Falls, where you will be able to see the mighty waterfalls up close.
Day 15: Transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park
After breakfast, the journey to Kidepo Valley National Park begins. We drive to this true representation of African wilderness. This remote national park is located at Uganda’s border with Kenya and South Sudan. The park is home to over 80 animals and 475 bird species, the majority of which are endemic to this park. The drive to Kidepo Valley National Park takes us through the stunning northern countryside with views of Uganda's villages and people. Stop in Kitgum for lunch before continuing. Drive to your lodge through the vast open plains and small settlements along the way to the very distinct Karamoja people. Recharge and unwind.
Day 16: Game drive & Nature walk in Kidepo
Wake up early for a game drive in the park to catch up with the early predators returning to their habitats after a night hunt. Kidepo is home to zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, and leopards, and it is the only place in the Pearl of Africa where you can see cheetahs and ostriches. You'll return to the lodge for a late breakfast and some relaxation.
In the afternoon, go for a nature walk in the Narus Valley, which is home to a variety of Ostriches and other wild animals.
Day 17: Karamojong Cultural Tour
You will be taken on a guided cultural village tour where you will learn about the nomadic lifestyle of the people living around Karenga and Kidepo. During this cultural tour, you will visit the 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.
In the evening, you will be taken on a sunset game drive to explore more of Kidepo. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 18: Full-day Cultural Encounter with the Ik People
Hike up the Morungole Mountains after breakfast to visit the IK people. The Ik can only be reached by hiking up the mountains where they live. They are completely isolated from the rest of the world, with their way of life and a distinct language from the rest of Uganda. After that, return to your lodge. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 19: Travel to Sipi Falls
Today we leave after breakfast for Sipi Falls. These are a series of falls in the eastern district of Uganda, near the border with Kenya, on the outskirts of Mount Elgon National Park. After spending so much time in the car, going on a nature walk or hiking is well worth it. There are cave walks as well as a coffee tour. We arrive at the lodge for lunch, then go on afternoon and evening nature walks before returning to the lodge for dinner.
Day 20: Explore Sipi Falls
After breakfast, you will go on a hike to see the stunning Sipi falls, whose highest fall cascades over a 100-meter cliff. The difficult trail will lead you to two more waterfalls. On your way, you'll see maize fields, coffee gardens, banana plantations, and traditional African homesteads, as well as breathtaking views of the valley. Those who want to experience the thrill of watching the waterfalls up close will go abseiling down the mountain to the bottom of the falls. Also, enjoy the spectacular sunset before returning to your lodge at the end of the day.
Day 20: Transfer to Sipi Falls – Visit Mutoto Circumcision Grounds
After breakfast, we leave early in the morning for Jinja. Here, we will visit the Nile's source and participate in some of the adventurous activities, which include white water rafting, jet boating, horseback riding, mountain biking, quad biking, and bungee jumping. You will stop along the way at the Equator, where you will be able to stand in both hemispheres at the same time and take photos. You will arrive in the late afternoon and relax at your booked hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 22: Explore the source of the Nile & Visit Busowoko Falls
You will have a relaxing morning at the lodge, followed by lunch. After lunch, you will take a boat ride to the Nile's source. During the boat ride, you will get to see several cormorants, fish eagles, egrets, and many birds that soar in the sky above the Nile. At the source, marvel at the beginning of the world’s longest river. Enjoy some photography and thereafter drive to Busowoko Falls. The magnificent rapids are the last remaining waterfalls downstream River Nile. The falls are alive with sunset views and various bird species. You will have lunch at the falls and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Return to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay later.
Day 23: White water Rafting on the Nile
After breakfast, you will embark on an exciting white water rafting adventure on the Nile River. The rafting begins at 09:30 a.m. at the Nile's Source, with a thorough briefing and fitting with rafting equipment. The rafting takes place on an 18-kilometer stretch of the Nile River, and no prior rafting experience is required. The first few rapids are of low grades (1, 2) to build participants' confidence before gradually guiding them into the more difficult grades. To maximize the adrenaline rush of this adventure, 7 major rapids are rafted. After the experience, return to your lodge. Dinner and overnight.
Day 24: Return to Kampala
Our safari has come to an end. After breakfast, you will check out of your lodge and transfer to Kampala. The journey will take between 2 to 3 hours, depending on the traffic. Depending on the time of the flight, we can transfer you to Entebbe International Airport for your departure.
• Gorilla trekking permits
• Chimpanzee trekking permits
• All Park entry fees
• Golden monkey trekking permits
• Full-board accommodation
• Transportation in a 4x4 safari vehicle
• A professional English-speaking driver/guide
• All activities included in the itinerary
• Drinking water in the safari vehicle
• Travel insurance
• All costs of personal nature
• All optional activities excluded in the travel itinerary