6 Days Primate Safari and Wildlife Murchison

Day 1: Murchison Falls National Park (Optional Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary along the way)

After your breakfast you start your safari with a 5 hour drive northwards to Murchison Falls National Park through the famous Luwero triangle.

You can choose to visit and track white rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary at $45/per person (not included in your tour price). This sanctuary has now been established to breed black and white rhino, and restore rhino populations in Uganda's protected areas in a later stage.

We will continue through the park stopping at the top of the falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters. From here we will continue onto our accommodation place along the Nile River.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Bakers Lodge or Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge | Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge

Low Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 2: Safari Game Drives in Murchison Falls National Park

After break fasthead to the delta in search for bird life and enjoy the game drive to look for lions, giraffes, herds of elephants, buffaloes and many more.

We will drive back to the lodge for lunch before taking an afternoon boat cruise to the foot of Murchison Falls. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals.

Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles. The bird life is stunning with brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks. If lucky, you may see the rare and prehistoric looking shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Baker’s Lodge | Paraa Safari Lodge | Chobe Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge | Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge

Low Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 3: Kibale Forest National Park- East Africa's Primate Capital

Leave Murchison Falls National Park for Kibale Forest National Park via the Lake Albert escarpment, having a good view of the lake.

Stop over at Kolping Hotel in Hoima for lunch and after drive across the interesting river Nkusi (flowing from the southern end of Lake Albert, through the villages of Kagadi, joining Victoria Nile). Both rivers join Lake Kyoga and flow through the Murchison Falls continue to Lake Albert and north to the Mediterranean Sea.

Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good photo opportunities.

As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.

You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a terrific area for birds. This rural Ugandan town (Fort Portal) is locally famous for its weaving and basketry, and we can spend some time briefly to examine some of this local art.

Fort Portal is a small and attractive city. The fort was built between 1891 and 1893 and named after Sir Gerald Portal, the British Consul General of Zanzibar who arrived in Uganda in 1892 to formalise the protectorate of Uganda. He died of malaria a few months after the fort was completed.

During the afternoon we have time to visit the scenic crater lakes region, checking out the superbly terraced tea estates. In the south of Fort Portal is Kasenda Crater Lakes region. It sits on the rim of Lake Nyinambuga—the back of the main building looks down over the lake, while the other side of the lodge looks out over another lake in the distance and, further off, the Rwenzori Mountains, which were perpetually shrouded in the clouds, except early in the morning. There’s plenty to do in this area and we can also take an hour’s walk around Lake Nyinambuga.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market:Kyaninga Lodge | Primate Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge

Moderate:  Kibale Forest Camp

Low Budget: Kibale Forest Camp (tents) | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park; Transfer to Bwindi NP for Gorilla Trek

Assemble at Kanyankyu River camp at 08:00 hours to go for the most popular activity in this park which is chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzees are man’s closest cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate species. More primates like black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bush babies,pottos and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee-eater and mammals like elephants can be seen in this walk.

Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large communities of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.

Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.

In the afternoon we drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park via Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

We drive through stunning volcanic landscape adorned with steep sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced plantations of bananas, tea and thick montane forests to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

The Bwindi area is a highly fertile, mountainous region with steep sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced rows of cultivation. You are really driving through the “Banana Republic” with banana plantations all around you, steep hills, small rivers……just amazing scenery.

Accommodation options available in Bwindi (all on full board basis)

 

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge

Moderate:Engagi Lodge | Silverback Lodge | Gorilla Safari Lodge | Lake Kitandara Camp

Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Community Campground

 

 

Day 5: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip - gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day.

We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.

Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk along distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.

While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles over at least 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterfly, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 types of mammal including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.

Bwindi is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics, species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Buhoma Lodge | Mahogany Lodge | Chameleon Hill Lodge

Moderate:Engagi Lodge | Silverback Lodge | Gorilla Mist Camp

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp | Buhoma Community Campground

Day 6: Return to Kampala / Entebbe

Early breakfast before embarking on our return to Kampala, driving down the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’. This area is a highly fertile, mountainous region with steep sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced cultivated rows. Not to miss as we traverse Mbarara are the impressing longhorn Ankole cattle.

A remarkable highlight of this journey is the Equator line and surely you will cross it as we have a brief stop here.

We will be in Kampala in the evening before for your flight back home.