9 Days Gorilla, Chimpanzees and culture and over 12 other primates, lions, elephants, hippos, primates; over 1000 bird species, etc

 
 

DETAILED ITENERARY

Day 1: Drive to Kibale National Park

We meet and there after we drive westwards towards Fort Portal to the Kibale Forest National Park (about 5 hours). 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.  Overnight at
Up-market option: Kyaninga Lodge or Ndali Lodge
Moderate option: Kibale Forest Camp
Low Budget option: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse;
Meals Included today: Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

(Driving time ± 5hrs on mainly surfaced roads)

 

Day 2: Chimpanzee Trekking & Bigodi Walk After breakfast, head to the park headquarters for briefing in search of chimpanzees and other primates. This park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. Kibale 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. Chimps tend to forage in small parties, or even as individuals. They usually travel on the ground, but being primarily fruit eaters, they mostly feed in trees. They coalesce into larger groups when they find an abundant source of food, such as a fruiting fig tree.

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 visit a nearby forest swamp that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. At the Eastern edge of Kibale forest is Bigodi Wetland sanctuary which is maintained by the local community. You will expect birds like the great Blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bush bucks, bush pigs and among others. Dinner and overnight as above, meal plan: F/B

 

Day 3:Tour Fort Portal Crater Lakes, AmabeeregaNyinamwiru Caves, transfer to Ruboni community

Leave the National Park after breakfast and drive to Fort Portal. You will visit the Amabere caves in Nyakasura area. This is the traditional home of the Bachwezi who were believed to be demi-gods. This area still has historical regalia of the Bachwezi that helps one in understanding the life they lived while still on earth (they later disappeared). You will then take a nature walk to the crater lakes whose history is associated with the mysterious Bachwezi. We incorporate some crater lake hikes into our this program.  You will be simply by amazed by the beauty of these ancient and not ancient crater lakes found in the Fort Portal area

 Afterwards, we drive to Ruboni Community Camp the gateway to Rwenzori Mountains National Park; the camp offers guided nature/ cultural walks. When at Ruboni community camp you can experience stunning views of the mountains and witness the extraordinary wildlife unique to this region. You will be warmly welcomed by the Bakonzo community, which has inhabited the foothills of the “Mountains of the Moon” for over 300 years. The Rwenzoris were inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1995, with tourism becoming a prime source of revenue that has helped the Bakonzo tribe improve living standards through reinvestments in community programs.Overnight at
Ruboni community camp
Meals included today: Bed &Breakfast at the camp.

 (Driving time to Bush Lodge ± 1½hrs on mainly surfaced and muram roads)

 

Day 4: we leave Ruboni to Queen Elizabeth National Park
after taking breakfast; we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (about 3 hours driving). Leaving through Fort Portal town, you turn south and early this afternoon enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains-the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the South West by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Zaire Parc Du Virunga. You will expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda Kob, as well as topi, elephant and lion, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.Have some time to relax at our lodge. In the afternoon enjoy a game drive in the northern part of the park, visiting the Baboon Cliff famous for its nice scenery, and good views of the shadows of the mountains of the moon – the Rwenzoris.
We expect to spot more wildlife along through large expanses of savannah grasslands. If the tracks are not so bad, we may do one other drive through the Edward's flats to see more elephants, large herds of buffalo and different water-birds. Occasionally we might find in this area the shoebill stork and by surprise some hunting lions.Overnight at
Up-market option: Mweya Safari Lodge Katara Lodge or Jacana Lodge (luxury) 
Moderate option: Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge  or Simba Safari Camp
Low Budget option: Mweya Hostels or Kazinga Channel Lodge;
Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

(Driving time to Bush Lodge ± 1hrs on mainly surfaced roads)

 

Day 5: Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Game drive, boat trip on Kazinga Channel
 We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park on the Kasenyi Track in search of lions, elephants, solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for opportunities of viewing the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kobs. We have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range. In the afternoon we will go for a launch trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray very close from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallow; elephants watering, and many other wildlife. At least 80% of the wildlife in Queen Elizabeth national park can be found along this Channel. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others. Overnight at
Up-market option: Mweya Safari Lodge Katara Lodge or Jacana Lodge (luxury) 
Moderate option: Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge  or Simba Safari Camp
Low Budget option: Mweya Hostels or Kazinga Channel Lodge;
Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

(Game Drive takes about 3 hours, boat trip takes 3 hours)

 

Day 6:Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha Sector for tree-climbing lions, and transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Take breakfast to warm up in the morning and then go chimp tracking in Kyamburagorge .  The gorge 100mtres profound is a habitat to habituated chimpanzees. It is imprinted by Kyamburariver which flows across the rift valley floor towards the Kazinga channel. The guided walk to search for man’s closest cousins the chimpanzee begins at Kyambura Fig tree camp at 0800 hours and takes 2 – 5 hours.   You will encounter other primates in this gorge that include the red tailed monkeys, colobus monkeys, olive baboon among others.

We drive through the Ishasha sector in search for the tree-climbing lions. Nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha. This game drive en route will expose you to some of the animals that you might have missed seeing while on your game drives in Kasenyi and Queens Mile. 
Afterwards, we head towards the breathtaking adventures of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.Overnight at

Up-market option: Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Springs Lodge
Moderate option: Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget option: Buhoma Community Restcamp or Ruhija Gorilla Friends
Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.
(Game Drive takes about 2 hours, driving to Bwindi 3 hours)

 

Day 7: Gorilla trekking (Bwindi Impenetrable NP) other primates
You will surely enjoy these two days! 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.
Up-market option: Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Springs Lodge
Moderate option: Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget option: Buhoma Community Restcamp or Ruhija Gorilla Friends
Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

 

Day 8: Batwa community visit
Today wake up to a leisurely breakfast and prepare for yet another adventure around the park as you visit these indigenous natives the Batwa. The Batwa are Uganda’s marginalized people and are view with derision by most of the Ugandan Nationals. The Batwa have lived their lives to current generations by hunting and gathering in the forest. The visit to the Batwa invariably involves songs and a dance demonstration, and once the music begins you can’t help but notice that they project a genuine pride in themselves.

You shall then return to the lodge for lunch and also relax. Enjoy your evening at leisure as you prepare yourselves for the next day’s journey back to Kampala. Return to your lodge for dinner and overnight. Overnight at

Up-market option: Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Springs Lodge
Moderate option: Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget option: Buhoma Community Restcamp or Ruhija Gorilla Friends
Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

 

Day 9:  Drive to Kampala
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 long horn 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.

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