16-Day Exploring Uganda Including Rwenzori and Gorilla Trekking
16 days Itinerary
1:Arrive Entebbe, pick up and transfer to the booked accommodation.
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, a Home to Africa assigned driver (guide) will receive and welcome you to Uganda – the Pearl of Africa. Thereafter, you will transfer to the booked accommodation (Entebbe). In case you have had an early landing in Uganda, you can proceed to visit the Entebbe Botanical Garden. The Garden is one of the places around Entebbe where you can spot many species of birds and a few primates such as: the black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys. It is also a place of tranquility and peace, a feast for the eyes with notable absence of people and you simply immerse in nature, the sounds of birds breaking the stillness of the moment.
Accommodation: Lake Victoria View Guesthouse Meals: Dinner Drive Time: about 15 minutes.
2:Transfer to Murchison Falls NP with rhino tracking in Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
After breakfast, the assigned driver (guide) will pick you from the hotel and hit the road to Murchison Falls National Park. The highlights of this park include the roaring rapids of the Murchison, the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park where you will have the chance of viewing lions, giraffes, hartebeest, buffalo, and elephants. Then surely, the concentration of hippos and the Nile crocodiles here will fascinate you.
En route, make a visit to Zziwa Rhino sanctuary for your first Big 5 experience where you will have an hour of rhino tracking. Another stop will be in Masindi in order to enjoy your lunch. Continue to the park and check in to your accommodation to relax for the Evening.
3:Murchison game drive and afternoon boat trip to the base of the falls.
Have your breakfast, depart for an early morning game drive across the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park and be on the look for wildlife including: lions, leopards (though hard to spot) among others. For any birder, there are quite a number of birds to sight too during the drive. Return to the accommodation for some rest time and lunch. OPTIONAL: If interested, you may opt for the hot air balloon safari (instead) at an extra cost (on ground).
After lunch, you will head out for the boat trip to the base of Murchison Falls where you will also be able to catch sight of more animals including Hippos and Crocodiles and several water birds. Continue with a hike (if you like) to the top of the falls. The hike may be a strenuous one but the thrill on reaching the top is unforgettable. Miss it only if you must. Return to your accommodation and have a relaxed evening.
4:Exit Murchison Falls National Park and transfer to Kibale Forest National Park.
After breakfast at your accommodation, depart right away for Kibale Forest National Park. The drive is quite long but incredibly scenic – passing through villages, lush green countryside and hills dotted with tea plantations that characterize this part of Uganda. The beautiful scenery will amaze you all the way.
Kibale NP is popular for its primates like the chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, L'Hoest's monkey, Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae). While on your chimpanzee trails, you will see them swinging in the forest trees and others feeding on the wild fruits. You will reach and do little but check into your accommodation where you will have dinner and the overnight rest.
5:Chimp tracking Kibale Forest and (afternoon) explore the Kibale crater lakes.
Have breakfast and head to the rangers’ post where you will receive some briefing on the dos and don’ts during chimp trekking. Thereafter, you will proceed to trek the chimps in the Kibale Forest. An experienced ranger guide will take you chimp tracking (Kibale Forest) and you will be amazed by the presence of primates here. Once you locate the chimpanzees, you will have a full hour in their presence. You will return to the lodge for some rest time and lunch.
Later (after lunch), proceed to explore the crater lakes, crowned with a hike to the “top of the world”. You will enjoy the beauty of the numerous small lakes, surrounded by gentle hills, and the stunning views. Take a hike to Lake Nkuruba where you will encounter different species of primates and birds. Meet and interact with the local people as you walk through their villages and enjoy the panoramic views of the Kibale area.
6:Bigodi swamp excursion and transfer to Kasese at the foot of the Rwenzori.
Have breakfast and head out for the Bigodi swamp walk. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a fascinating area, located in Magombe swamp. This area boasts of extensive array of biodiversity among which are several primates’ species like the baboon, black & white colobus monkey. The Bigodi is also a paradise for bird watchers. Among the major bird species within the sanctuary is the Great Blue Turaco. Return to the lodge for lunch and then embark on a transfer to Kasese Town situated at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountain. You will arrive and do little but just check-in, relax and overnight at the booked accommodation.
7:Stage 1: Breakfast, head to the starting point and Trek Rwenzori to Sine Hut.
Have breakfast and drive to the rangers’ point (starting point for your trek). You will receive some briefing and then proceed with the hike to Sine Camp (at 2596m). The hike will take you through the tall forest trees of the Afro montane forest zone. This is a steady climb for about 6 kilometers then along a steep climb towards Sine hut. The hike will offer you many plant and flower species to view, birds and a chance of seeing some animal species like colobus monkeys and the blue monkeys swinging in the trees. While here, some clients prefer to sit outside enjoying the warmth of the campfire and chat to the guides about the mountains and life in their community. You will be served the dinner and spend the night.
Accommodation: Sine Hut Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time:
8:Stage 2: Trekking Rwenzori to Mutinda Camp (3.688m) via Kalalama Camp (3.147m).
After breakfast, trekking starts at 8.30am and you soon enter the bamboo-mimulopsis zone which is a steep climb with many high steps. After about 1.8 kilometers you reach Kalalama Camp (3.147m) which is located in the heather–rapanea zone. Here you will have a rest and a cup of tea.
From this point (Kalalama Camp), you proceed along the heather zone passing by several streams and even waterfalls – all covered by the typical green moss vegetation. You will see a lot of Giant Heather trees, sometimes in a misty atmosphere. The arrival point of the day is Mutinda Camp at (3.688m) named after the Mutinda Peaks. From this point, you can climb further to Mutinda Lookout 3.925m which is about one hour and half walk plus one hour to descend back to the camp. The place is worth a visit as you stand on moss covered rocks with views across the Rwenzori Mountains, down to Kasese town and Lake George.
9:Stage 3: Trekking Rwenzori from Mutinda Camp (3.688m) to Bugata Camp (4.062 m).
The trail from Mutinda Camp is a bit boggy with the typical wet vegetation and tussocks. You will enter the Alpine vegetation zone with the presence of the giant lobelias (Lobellia gibberoa), the groundsel (Senecio adnivalis) and the everlasting flowers as you cross the Mutinda valley. Later, climb a steep section up to Namusangi Valley (3.840 m) where you will enjoy the best view of the Mutinda Peaks.
Along the Namusangi Valley, you cross various bogs as you climb to Bugata Camp at 4.062 m – the arrival point of the day. You will have a view of the Weismann’s Peak of Mount Luigi of Savoy which is often covered by snow. The vegetation area is covered with tussock grass, everlasting flowers, giant groundsel and giant lobelia. From the nearby Plozza Rock you will get fantastic views of nine lakes down the valley and Lake Nusuranja.
10:Stage 4: Trekking Rwenzori to Weismann’s Peak (4,620m) and descend to Kiharo camp (3460m).
Have breakfast and proceed for the Weismann peak. The trek starts by walking across the hillside below high cliffs above Bugata Lake. Continue around a ridge point to Lake Kopello where you will walk along the edge of the lake which according to researchers the water temperature averages 2˚C. As you climb, you will get excellent views of the four lakes along the valley below.
The last section to the peak is steep on solid rock and can be difficult when snowing (iced up) and it may be necessary to use ropes for safety. On a clear day, you get fantastic views of all the main peaks, Mt Stanley, Mt Speke and Mt Baker. The top of Weismann’s Peak is relativity flat or dome shaped with deep moss growing on the rocks creating a beautiful atmosphere. For those who want to climb the highest point we can take a gentle walk across the moss covered domed shaped ridge to Stella Peak at (4,626m). Thereafter, you start to descend through a different route which makes the loop. Thus, you will descend down the Nyamwamba valley to Kiharo Camp (at 3460m) for the night.
11:Stage 5: Trekking down Rwenzori (Kiharo – Trekkers) and proceed to Queen Elizabeth NP.
Have breakfast and proceed down to the base camp where you will find the driver-guide waiting for you. Thereafter, you will transfer to the booked accommodation inside Queen Elizabeth NP. Queen, one of the country’s most frequented tourist destinations. The park features diverse ecosystems called home by a variety of wildlife species - ten primate species (including chimpanzees), more than 600 bird species, and classic big games. You will arrive and just check-in and have some good rest after (of course) very strenuous days trekking the Rwenzori mountain.
12:Undertake morning game drive and later go on a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel.
Be up early and have your breakfast. Proceed for a morning game drive to the Kasenyi plains and be on the look for Cape buffalos, herds of elephants plus the big cats: lions, leopard (but very hard to spot) among others. Return to the accommodation for some rest time and lunch.
After lunch, you will go for a 2-hour boat trip on the Kazinga Channel that connects Lakes George and Edward. During the trip, the sight of wildlife including giant hippos, elephants and crocodiles among others will fascinate you. You will also see many varieties of birds at the water shores. You will have dinner and overnight at your accommodation.
13:Exit Queen, transfer to Bwindi NP with en route game viewing in Ishasha (South).
Have breakfast then set off for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park – famously known for its resident tree-climbing lions. The chance of spotting these lions is about 70% though sometimes they are hard to spot (most especially when they are down in the grassland looking for prey). Hoping you get the chance to spot them, the sight will be spectacular!
Continue to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi is a big habitat for mountain gorillas in Uganda (harboring an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population) including several habituated groups, which you will trek. With a strenuous day ahead, you will do less on arrival but just check in your accommodation, relax as you prepare for the Bwindi gorilla trekking experience the following day.
14:Gorilla trekking Bwindi & Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation, sightseeing.
After an early breakfast and a briefing by a ranger guide, you will enter the gorilla sanctuary for your adventure. The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular! The area offers dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of these great primates. Once you locate a gorilla group, you will be allowed an hour in their presence. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered giants is unforgettable.
Thereafter, you will return to the accommodation for checkout then drive off to Lake Bunyonyi. The lake is framed by lush, green-terraced hills that reach a height of (2,200 – 2,478m) but it’s the 29 islands of various shapes and sizes scattered across the water that make it most magical — you could admire them all day.
Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time: about 2 hours.
15:Transfer to Lake Mburo NP and enjoy afternoon (evening) game viewing.
Have breakfast and set off to Lake Mburo NP via Mbarara town. You will arrive in the early afternoon and take some rest before proceeding out for the late afternoon (evening) game viewing. On the game drive, expect to see the gigantic eland antelopes, zebras, topis, impalas, Uganda kob and Cape buffalos among others. Later, relax at the accommodation where you will spend the night. OPTIONAL: In case you are interested, you may go out for the breathtaking Mburo night game drive (at an extra cost on the ground). During the night game drive, expect to sight nocturnal creatures including huge snakes, python, hyena, owls and the elusive leopard (on a lucky day) among others.
16:Mburo park (bush) walk and transfer to Entebbe Airport for your flight out.
Enjoy your early breakfast and proceed for the Mburo morning park (bush) walk in the presence of an armed Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger/guide. On this early morning guided walk; you will have the opportunity to encounter (at close range): Zebras, Giraffes and Eland, Topi and other antelope, Cape buffaloes among others.
Take the Trail to the top of the hills and see Lake Mburo and beyond. From this vantage point, you will have a great view of 9 of the twelve lakes surrounding Lake Mburo NP. Thereafter, return to the accommodation for checkout and then hit the road to Entebbe airport for your flight out (recommended for 18:00 onward). We hope to see you (or any referral) when next, you visit and thanks for choosing Home to Africa!