10 Days Ugandan Highlights
DAY 1: TO MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Early morning we will pick you from the hotel or guesthouse of your choice and take you to Murchison Falls. We will stop for lunch in Masindi and then drive for 90 kms through the park, aiming for Paraa. On the way we will visit the Top of the Falls, with a wonderful view over Murchison Falls and the Nile. We will reach Paraa late in the afternoon, and Luxury Tour participants will cross the Nile by ferry to reach Paraa Safari Lodge. For Budget tour clients we do not pass Masindi, “”We will stop at Ziwa Rhinos Sanctuary for tracking the Rhinos and also have Lunch here before contuining via Karuma Bridge to reach later in the afternoon at Fort Murchison just outside the park boundaries.”” The day will close With a cool drink and a fabulous view over the river Nile, and the evening coming with all the noise of an African night.
DAY 2: IN MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
The day will be spent viewing game around the park and along the Nile. We will leave early in the morning (if staying at Nile Safari Lodge or Red Chilli Paraa we will cross the Nile with the ferry at 7.00am) and go on a game drive from 8.00am to 12.00noon, seeing several animals including lions and giraffes. In the afternoon (2.00pm to 5.00 pm) we will go on the impressive launch trip on the Nile, up to the Falls, giving you a chance to see hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants and many many different birds!
DAY 3: TO KIBALE FOREST
Early in the morning we will leave for Kibale Forest. We will pass close to Lake Albert: on a clear day the view from the top of the Albert rift is spectacular. In the afternoon we will arrive at Kibale Forest Camp, where we will stay sleeping with the noises of the tropical rainforest. Sometimes we stay at Chimpanzee Guesthouse, overlooking Nyabikere Crater Lake, where we will stay. The lake is famous for the frogs: at night they always give a beautiful concert.
DAY 4: CHIMP WALK
At 8.00am we will start with the 4 hour chimp walk – during which you may also get to see 10 other primates! Kibale park is also known for all the butterflies and birds. In the afternoon we will walk through Bigodi Swamp (home to a community based project).
DAY 5: TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Early morning we will leave for Queen Elizabeth NP. We will travel through Fort Portal and reach Mweya in Queen Elizabeth NP at midday, with a stunningly beautiful view over Kazinga Channel. You will check in at your accommodation and have lunch, and in the late afternoon (4.00-7.00pm) we will go on a game drive.
DAY 6: IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
This day is for a game drive on the plains of Queen Elizabeth NP, with thousands of Ugandan kobs, lions, elephants etc. Also on the programme is a two hours launch trip on the Kazinga channel where we will see all the animals from the waterside. In the evening we will go on a game drive to the mating grounds of the Uganda Kobs. The day ends back at Mweya peninsula, enjoying a great view of the park.
DAY 7: TO KISORO
Early in the morning we will leave for Kisoro. We will travel via Kabale and continue through a beautiful landscape also defined as the “Switzerland of Africa”: mountains, lakes, hills with cultivated terraces, tropical rainforest and bamboo forest. On the last hill the landscape unfolds beneath us, taking in the vast planes between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, with the Virunga volcanoes dominating the view. At the bottom of the valley is Kisoro, where we will stay at the famous Travellers Rest Hotel.
In the sixties the famous American ‘gorilla-woman’ Dian Fossey visited the Travellers Rest Hotel many, many times to do paperwork, relax or meet people. Fossey said about the hotel: “It was my second home”. Travellers Rest Hotel is just outside Kisoro and offers a cozy stay for the tourists coming to see the endangered mountain gorilla. The hotel, built in a somewhat colonial style, and entirely renovated in 1999, has a comfortable ambiance.
DAY 8: GORILLA TRACKING
The day of Gorilla tracking (NB: this can also be on Day 9 depending on the availability of the permits) You will travel by car from Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro to Nkuringo, in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP (1hr), or to Mgahinga National Park (40min). Once there you will first receive a briefing (7.45am) and at 8.30am you will start the tracking. Once you have found the gorillas, you will be able to spend up to one hour with them! You will be expected back to the starting point by 7.00pm at the latest. Being physically fit is recommended.
DAY 9: IN KISORO
In Kisoro we have developed a number of very interesting activities in close collaboration with local organizations and the National Park. All the activities can be done individually or in groups. They include:
1. Gorilla tracking in Mgahinga (1 day). NB: the gorilla in Mgahinga move around so the Uganda Wildlife Authority doesn’t sell permits in advance – you have to take your chance once you are in Kisoro.
2. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda. NB: if you are going for the 2nd gorilla trek in Rwanda you will be transferring to Rwanda on day 8 after trekking in Uganda, and spend a night there. After the trekking you will cross back to Kisoro (1 day).
3. Climbing Muhavura Volcano (± 8 hrs; distance 12km; height 4127m; elevation gain 1700m).
4. Climbing Gahinga Volcano (± 6 hrs; distance 8km; height 3474m; elevation gain 1100m).
5. Visit to Sabinyo Gorge (± 4 hrs; distance 6km, no elevation gain).
6. Climbing Sabinyo Volcano (Sabinyo has three peaks, you can climb all three in the same walk, but you need to be fit!! ± 8 hrs; distance 14 km; height 3669m, elevation gain 1300 m).
7. Hiking in Mgahinga to the viewpoint and Garama Cave (pygmy cave) (± 4 hrs; distance 1 and 4 km).
8. Bird walk in Mgahinga (start at 10am, it can last until 4-5pm).
9. Cultural village walk (with a local guide walking through the land of the Bufumbira tribe).
10. Walk to Lake Mutanda. Visit Python island and go canoeing on this beautiful lake.
11. Batwa Trail:-
It starts at the base of Mt Muhavura at 8.00 am and finishes by 3-4 pm. You’ll need walking shoes, hat, and raingear, and a packed lunch with sufficient drinks.
The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the Muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife but the Batwa Trail is far from being a conventional nature walk. With the help of Batwa guides, you’ll see the forest as a larder, pharmacy, builder’s yard, tool kit and, above all a home. Along the trail, you’ll fire a bow and arrow, check hives for wild honey, help repair a Batwa shelter, harvest plants for medicine and food, light a fire without a matches, listen to legends and learn about Batwa traditions. The highlight of the trail is a descent into the Garama cave, a 200m-long lava tube beneath Mt. gahinga. The Batwa are famed for their music and dance and their historic, subterranean council chamber in Garama Cave provides the setting for an unforgettable performance.
The Batwa trail is celebration of the forest culture of the “‘first people.”It is impossible, however, to ignore the fact that Batwa life has greatly changed. The day’s events conclude with a discussion about the Batwa’s current situation; how it can be improved; and progress to date towards doing so.
12. Or just sit and relax or read a book in the garden of Travellers Rest Hotel!
DAY 10: TO KAMPALA
Early in the morning after breakfast you will travel back to Kampala. On the way back to the city you will have lunch in Mbarara town, and after Masaka there will be an opportunity to a stop at the Equator for photo shoots and buying souvenirs and have tea or coffee. We will then bring you to a guesthouse, campsite or hotel of your choice in Kampala or Entebbe – or, if you continue your holiday somewhere else or back home, we will bring you directly to Entebbe airport for an onwards flight.