This itinerary combines visits to 4 national parks in Uganda. These include Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery with 2 lakes connected by a channel overlooking a high peninsula. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible savannah reserve.
On your arrival at Entebbe Airport, meet and greet and then transfer to the Lake Victoria Hotel. If time permits, visit the famous Entebbe Botanical Gardens and discover amazing flora species. You can also enjoy seeing a variety of bird species like the pink-backed pelican, yellow-billed stork, Eastern grey plantain-eater, yellow white-eye, purple-banded sunbird, African jacana, lesser jacana, yellow-billed duck, glossy ibis and many others.
The drive to the Kibale Forest area is a full day of approximately 7 hours. After leaving the Lake Victoria Basin, you pass through the beautiful agricultural countryside where every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable is grown. Upon reaching Kyanjojo, in the lower foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains (mountains of the moon), we drive through beautiful tea plantations and into the Kibale tropical rainforest. Check in at your hotel for an overnight stay.
This morning we get the opportunity to explore Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale Forest is home to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek can be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world – the chimpanzee. There are 9 diurnal primates which include the vervet monkey, red‐tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, blue monkey, grey‐cheeked mangabey, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon, and the most famous of all, the chimpanzee. In the afternoon, we go on a swamp walk.
The drive passes through Fort Portal and then south along the Eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains with the hope of viewing the glaciated peaks. We gently descend to the Great African Rift Valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park and arrive at Mweya Lodge. The lodge is situated on a peninsula overlooking Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel, offering beautiful views of the park with the Rwenzori Mountains in the background. As a result, it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds.
In the afternoon, we will explore the park and its wonders on a game drive.
Today, we go on game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park including a launch trip of about 2 hours on the Kazinga Channel. You’ll view some of the largest concentrations of hippos in the world (reported to be about 30,000) and other game, as well as excellent birding. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best birding parks in Africa, with more than 560 recorded species and a record of 296 bird species seen in a 24-hour period.
Today we drive through the park to the Ishasha region. During the game drive, we search for the tree-climbing lions (75% success rate) and other game. In the afternoon, we drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a World Heritage Site, passing through the scenic area known as the “Switzerland of East Africa”. The driving today is about 5.5 hours (excluding the game drives).
After breakfast, we take a short drive to the park headquarters and meet the excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and muddy at times. Although the hike is physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile.
Once the gorillas are located, all fatigue is forgotten. This experience is often described as being the most profound, natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast-speed films are also recommended. It can rain at any time, hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including ziplock bags for cameras and film.
NB: We cannot guarantee that you will see the gorillas.
We drive to Mbarara passing through the “Switzerland of East Africa” area and eventually into the Ankole cattle country around Mbarara. These cattle are incredible with horns larger than one can imagine. Continue to Lake Mburo National Park for a game drive. The drive today is 6 to 7 hours.
Lake Mburo National Park is a small park, excellent for birding, antelope, and other grazers, and one of the only places to easily see impala and zebra in Uganda. Buffalo, waterbuck, and eland are amongst the variety of wildlife to be seen. Game drives offer particularly picturesque game viewing with the parkʹs mixture of savannah, acacia woodlands, grassy valleys, rocky outcrops, swamps, lakes, and rolling hills.
After breakfast will drive through the park for our morning game drive where you will be able to see the zebra, giraffe, antelope, impalas and many more wildlife. After the game drive you will have a boat cruise to explore more wildlife. Our guide will take you through different route in the park for the best views.
We have an early morning game drive before heading back to Entebbe. The drive back takes approximately 5 hours, depending on the road and weather. If time permits, it is possible to stop in Kampala for shopping and lunch and to visit the Mpigi Royal Drum Makers.
You are then transferred to Entebbe International Airport to connect with your flight. Please note the departure must be in the late afternoon or evening, alternatively, we can arrange another overnight stay in Entebbe.