Day 1: Entebbe or Kampala - Mabamba Swamp & Shoebill Stork Search
After arriving at night, you can rest till the late morning or early afternoon. The 16 day Uganda safari begins; we pick you up at your Entebbe or Kampala hotel any time before 13.00hr and drive to Mabamba swamp to search for the most sought after bird in Africa, the ancient looking Shoebill Stork along with many other birds in the Swamp. It takes about 1 hour to drive from Entebbe to the boat / Canoe, mainly on dirt roads - about 50km (1½ hour) west of Kampala. Mabamba Swamp is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the western main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi District. You will then access the swamp in local fishing boat / Canoe with a local guide.
Pack a nice lunch, take some bottled water take along a good pair of Binoculars, hat, sun protection, insect repellent, light rain jacket. long-sleeved shirt, and long trousers – all in your backpack.
Mabamba Swamp is a large tract of marshlands with various channels through it and it provides the perfect habitat for countless of water -birds away from the Shoebill Stork such as Swamp flycatcher, African purple swamp hen, African water rail, Pallid Harrier, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and the Blue Swallow Common moorhen, lesser jacana, African jacana, African pygym Goose, White-faced whistling duck, Squacco heron, Blue reasted Bee-eater, Winding cisticola, Goliath Heron and many others
Back in the day, the Shoebill Storks were being killed in Uganda by superstitious fisherman who saw their sighting as a bad omen, meaning no success during fishing once found.
We end our day with a drive and check into your Kampala preferred lodging.
Day 2: Kampala to Ziwa Rhinos - Gulu or Kitgum
We pick you up at your accommodation in Kampala for your African Adventure Safari after breakfast. We drive through the middle of Uganda on the way to Gulu with a stop off at Ziwa for a visit to the Rhino Sanctuary. Here Rhinos are bred and prepared for reintroduction. The sanctuary ranger will meet you upon arrival and give you an introduction to our sanctuary and some information about our rhinos. Depending on where the rhinos are, you will drive to the closest point and approach the rhinos on while walking.
You will then have a chance to watch the rhinos in their habitat at a very close and very safe, point. This is another wonderful 1-2 hour African experience. There is decent basic but nice and clean lodging with a restaurant serving tasty food and drinks for those wanting to spend a night on their way up or from Murchison Falls NP. So we’ll probably just have lunch here and proceed to Gulu or Kitgum (less than 2 hours away from Gulu town).
Check in at your preferred lodge, dinner and a good night sleep. There is a whole bunch of decent nice and not very basic hotels in Gulu and rooms can be arranged on a short notice but Churchill Courts Hotel is recommended while in Kitgum we will stays at Acholi Pride Guest House and... Kitgum does not have a lot of accommodation options, especially not if you're looking for something high end. These are basic guest house style, where you will feel like one in the family. Adjacent restaurants serves good breakfast, lunch and dinner they are both walking distance to the heart of Kitgum town, and to the bar district. These are great places to stop and sleep the way up or from Kidepo Valley National Park, and to experience a town that is finally getting back to its former self after 21 years of the Joseph Kony’s LRA war.
Day 3: Drive From Gulu/Kitgum to Kidepo Valley National Park
Early morning breakfast at your Lodge then we are off to Kidepo Valley and the Karamajong region of North Eastern Uganda, close to the border of Kenya and Sudan is the Kidepo Valley National Park. This is a region where not people come to, much less drive to, simply too long of a drive, but those who come are simply astounded by what they discover even during the drive. You will drive through the Karamajong region. The Karamajong are pastoralists who cling to their ancient ways, a culture where cattle is supreme, lots of interesting things to see and do while you are on your way. Lunch along the journey or at your Kidepo lodge...depends on where you stayed the previous night.
Arrive in late afternoon and check in to Apoka Lodge...an amazing place in the remotest part of Uganda. Have a refreshing drink, take in the stillness of the place with the distant sounds of wildlife around you. Prepare for an incredible dinner and enjoy the African Night.
Day 4: Kidepo Game Safari & afternoon Karamojong people Cultural Tour
Arise to a fabulous breakfast and a cup of coffee or tea while you peruse the landscape and wildlife around you in the remotest corner of Uganda and yet it is in class and style. The perfect African dream vacation. An early Morning Game Drive through the Narus Valley where you will sight massive herds of buffalos are passing the grassland. “Bullbull” the elephant, is a daily visitor at your lodge/camp. Also, expect to see some lions, leopard and the elusive cheetah. Even zebras, giraffes, waterbucks, monkeys and jackals are coming very close to the huts. This park is a very special one in East Africa. – In the middle of the bush you will have the right Africa feeling.
Besides that there are the many birds you might find along the way. This is a slow drive so that you do not miss anything, stopping wherever you desire to take pictures of the fabulous wildlife and birds, fauna and flora along the way. Most likely the only thing you will find is wildlife, birds and scenery and no people in this remote part of Uganda.
Return to your Lodge for a delightful lunch, if you are staying at the Apoka lodge, this is a good time for a dip into the pool and enjoy luxury comfort in remote Africa.
In the afternoon, we go for walking safari with a ranger and a visit of a local village of the Karamojong people,... its a cultural tour. See how this proud tribe that has refused most influences for change. Their love for cattle is comparable to the better known Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania. Their ways are unique to them and they are a proud warrior like people who believe that is their God given right to cattle, even cattle belonging to others. You will see how they live, how they prepare food, dance, enjoy life and what their cattle means to them.
Return to your lodge for dinner and a quiet night in the wilderness, or should one say, a night where the only music are the sounds of the African night in Kidepo Park.
Day 5 Game Safari & Drive to Gulu
Breakfast and morning game drive as we head back to Gulu. No game drive is the same even if you took the same route twice, there is always something new to be seen and found. The scenery, animals, birds will amaze you and it is best to keep the camera close at hand to get the best shots along the way. Once again, many traditional villages and sorghum fields on your way. – Lunch along the way and dinner at you Gulu proffered lodging.
Day 6: Gulu - Murhison & Game Safari
An early morning breakfast then drive to Murchison Falls National Park. You will again see how the people are live and work, the Historic Nile River, and many animals along the road. We drive into the back of Murchison Falls Park instead of the usual entrance as coming from Kampala. Arrive at Paraa Lodge in time for lunch and check-in. Your room overlooks the River Nile, there is a lovely swimming pool and a great view. You may consider checking on other lodging options at Murchison Falls National Park as Paraa lodge seems to be nice with great location but more up-market.
Late afternoon game drive seeing Lions, Elephants, Giraffe, birds in abundance, warthogs and once in a while a leopard getting ready for a night's hunt...simply fantastic.
Enjoy Dinner at Paraa Lodge overlooking the Nile below. After dinner sit on your balcony and listen to the sounds of the African Wilderness.
Day 7: Game Drive and Afternoon Nile Boat Safari
Early morning breakfast and off you are for another game drive across the savannah, along Lake Albert Delta, abundant wildlife as you move slowly as the sun rises. Welcome to Africa. What you are sensing and feeling, seeing around you cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world, this is Murchison Falls with its birds, lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, buffaloes, warthogs, giraffes, humorous appearing warthogs. This is Africa and you are on safari in the heart of it - Uganda.
After lunch it is one of the highlights of your Murchison Falls National Park Safari, the boat launch trip up the Nile River. Slowly moving along the river bank viewing crocodiles, an abundance of hippos, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, lots of birds including the fish eagle, storks and so much more. The boat moves gently up the river and stay on the left hand side so that you see most of the animals who come to the river. Herds of Elephants cooling off, Hippopotamus frolicking, crocodiles just dozing in the African sun.
Close by there is a bank on the river filled with Nile crocodiles basking in the afternoon sun, just down from there you can see a group of hippos frolicking in the water of the Nile. There are literally thousands of hippopotamus to be found here, birds in abundance.
The journey down river slowly begins and more opportunity for viewing animals before you return to your lodging for dinner and an evening of rest and relaxations, don't miss spotting some storks, eagles, egrets and many other birds, there are also a variety of primates to be found on the shores. Enjoy the Nile.
Dinner and another night in the wilds of Africa with its peculiar night sounds that are quite different from Berlin, London or New York.
Day 8: Drive to Fort Portal - Kibale Chimpanzee Forest Park
Breakfast early and we move on to Kibale Forest, driving to some beautiful countryside which is a bonus along the way.
We reach Fort Portal area where you can stay either at budget, moderate or up-scale lodging facilities as you have selected. We check in and have dinner and rest for the night after a long day of travel. Recommended for the experience, is the Chimps' Nest Tree House in the jungle.
Day 9: Kibale Forest Chimp Tracking
Early Breakfast and leave the lodging for chimpanzee tracking (trekking). Other primates that may be observed are Red tailed monkeys, L’Hoest's Monkeys and lots of Baboons. This is a fabulous forest that you will absolutely love, imagine an African Rainforest filled with wildlife and primates, exotic plants and trees, butterflies, birds in abundance and you are in it.
Afternoon Walk – Bigodi Swamp Wetlands which is next to Kibale Forest and you just might see chimpanzees again and of course lots of birds are found there including the Shoebill Stork, the great Blue turaco, Blue monkeys, Baboons, otters, Mongoose, Bush bucks, Bush pigs and many more. Kibale Forest is also home to Forest Elephants who are hairier and smaller than their savannah cousins. They also have smaller tusks which allows them to roam the forests. You can also find Forest Buffaloes which are redder in color than the ones on the savannah. Kibale Forest is a part of a migration corridor that extends through Queen Elizabeth Park into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Look at the toes of a forest Elephants if you have time. they have one more toe than do its savannah cousins.
Bigodi Swamp Wetlands is a community project that has been put together quite well and entrance and guide fees benefit the local community.
You may consider spending more time (probably all day) with the Chimps, and not just a 3 hour chimp trek of which just one is spent with the chimps. You can do an all day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience at US$ 220 per person. Confirm this price by checking on the Current UWA entry and visiting fees. ... this is possible any time at the Kibale Forest. – may be you want to think about it and let us know? ...the choice is yours, ...just me being curious to your thoughts but its an incredible experience.
Day 10: Shifit to Queen Elizabeth Wildlife Park & Game Drive.
An early morning breakfast and leave for Queen Elizabeth National Park (about 2½ - 3 hrs hours ). Driving through Fort Portal town, you turn enter Queen Elizabeth National Park while in a game drive. QENP is surrounded by snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains, and in the north, "Mountains of the Moon". The park is 767-square-miles of conservation area and is bordered on the North East by Lake George, and Lake Edward on the South West; its western border adjoins the Zaire Parc Du Virunga. Arrive at your lodging choice, check in, lunch and relax.
Later in the afternoon, we'll for for our first game drive in this park. Look out for 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. Dinner and rest
Day 11: Queen Elizabeth National Park; Safari/game drive, the Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise and so much more
Early morning breakfast and we set out for the morning game drive north of the park on the Kasenyi Track, look out for lions, elephants, solitary buffaloes. This is the best chance for you to see the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kobs. We have a great 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 real close: hippo’s huff and spray at mere feet away from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. 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. Then it is off to an evening game drive, dinner and rest at your lodging place.
Day 12: Drive to Bwindi for Mountain Gorilla tracking (trekking), forest walk and Rest
Mid-morning after breakfast we drive further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking adventures of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Either (roads permitting) we will pass the southern sector of the park – Ishasha, a remote and beautiful extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park that is host to a large variety and volume of wildlife. (It is a fabulous to spot the lions draped from the trees and nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig tree of Ishasha). Or take the alternative route through cultivated expanses. Check into the Lodging of your choice at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. In the afternoon we take a forest walk the location depending on where we have the permits for the gorillas. Lots of opportunities for other mammals and birds to be seen as we are guided by a Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger. We return to the lodging facility for a break, dinner and sleep for the night.
Day 13: Mountain Gorilla tracking (trekking) - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Early morning breakfast and proceed to the briefing point. Enjoy the highlight of your trip- Gorilla trekking, which may last from 2 to 8 hours depending on the group you are visiting. We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide and other 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. The gorillas move to a new location daily and never stay in the same place, twice. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 5 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for not more than one hour while gazing into their big round eyes. A party of not more than 8 will be allowed to visit a gorilla family each day. Children under 15 are not permitted. 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.
After your tracking (trekking) experience return to your accommodation for a well deserved rest.
Day 14: Bwindi – Lake Bunyonyi:
You can go for an optional guided nature walk in Bwindi after breakfast then head to Lake Bunyonyi. But this should depend on whether you should use the village trial or one of the five trails. After lunch break, we depart for Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi is another major tourist stopover that is undeniably amazing. The area, known as "little Switzerland", is a good place to relax. A lot of Overland Campers think so too! Scenic Lake and hills. Swimmable water if careful to avoid reedy bits.
Undoubtedly Lake Bunyonyi is a different experience. It is not a Wildlife destination although you may see Otters and will see Birds. It's an R&R stopover. Many of our guests/customers and travel agents think its a good to break up the long drives.
It is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa, it contains lots of the tasty crayfish, so get set for a culinary delight. Bunyonyi is a local word that means “many small birds” in direct translation. Its a must stop for committed birders and besides that its serpentine shape and the 29 Islands other highlights one must look out for. Check in at your preferred Lake Bunyonyi lodging. There are many things to do here; you can do a canoe ride, check out islands like Bwama Island good for birders or you could take a nature walk along shore on one of the islands helping you to appreciate a variety of small birds or simply relax. Well deserved after a day of gorilla tracking the day before,....dinner at your lodging.
Day 15: Lake Bunyonyi – Lake Mburo & afternoon Boat Ride
Breakfast, and head to Lake Mburo Park that is nearby and another beautiful Park. Check out the lovely Kigezi highlands, the scenery is simply soothing to the eye in the evergreen state of Africa. You can stay at one of the classy up-market tented camps that are eco-friendly and simply one of the nicest places you have ever stayed at or the budget. – Go here for Lake Mburo Park lodging choices. Arrive for lunch at your choice of lodging at Lake Mburo.
After lunch go for the afternoon Boat Safari on Lake Mburo where you will see several other lakes such as Kazuma, Lake Bwa. Gaze at the huge hippos, crocodiles and buffaloes as they drink water. There are attractive birds to check out like Abyssinian ground hornbill, the crested crane (Uganda’s national emblem), saddle bill storks among others. You can do an optional guided nature walk. Return to the lodge for dinner and a quiet overnight in the midst of the African savannah.
Day 16 morning Game Drive & Return to Kampala
Breakfast and a morning Game Drive through the savannah or an ultimate treat. Check out Uganda’s wildlife besides the mountain gorillas in Bwindi such as zebra, warthog, buffalo, klipspringer, eland, oribi and waterbuck. Lake Mburo national Park, a haven for "impalas" small antelopes and herbivorous are most concentrated in Lake Mburo of all the Ugandan national Parks. There is more to impalas, Kampala; Uganda’s capital derives its name from here, it’s beautiful animal. A horseback safari, ATV quad safari tour is also possible. The choice is yours.
Checkout afterwards and a journey back to Kampala, on the way we stop at Masaka for lunch, back toward Kampala stopping at Nabusanke Trading Center where you can stand on the equator, take pictures and also buy some souvenirs and crafts then on to Mpambire where you can observe the Buganda Royal Drum Makers and even buy a few, back on our homeward journey where we arrive in Kampala in the late afternoon. 16 Days of Uganda's best wildlife and Game Parks, Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking end.Below is what we offer as Safari Company
Lodging and Food, Gorilla tracking (trekking) permits, Chimpanzee tracking permits, 4 Wheel Drive Safari Vehicle, Fuel, English Speaking Driver, Bottled Drinking Water on all Drives, Mabamba Shoebill Stork tour, Park Entrance fees and cultural site entrance fees, visit to the Mabamba wetland swamp for shoebill Stork, Visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary & Guide for Tracking, Game Drives, UWA armed expert Ranger guide.
Not included in Safari price: Air Travel to and from Uganda, Uganda Visa Costs, Laundry, Tips, Drinks, except those included in lodging meal price
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