16-Day Pearl of Africa Wildlife and Nature Sighting Safari
16 days Itinerary
1:Arrive Entebbe, pick up and transfer to Kampala (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 (Kampala). In case you have had an early landing into Uganda, you can proceed for a ride around the city. Places to visit may include the Buganda Royal Mile, the Gaddafi National Mosque, the Uganda Museum and with enough time the Bahai Temple and Namugongo Martyrs’ shrine among others. Else, just relax at the accommodation.
2:Drive to Jinja, visit Source of the Nile and then continue to Sipi for overnight stay.
Have breakfast and then drive off to Jinja. En route, you will drive through Mabira Forest then head to Jinja where the Nile begins its flow to the Mediterranean Sea. Visit the Source of the Nile then proceed to Sipi (lodge) where you will have an overnight stay. OPTIONAL: While in Jinja & depending on interest, you may proceed to enjoy half-day water rafting (at an extra cost). What better way to start your safari? Than to experience this most exciting, exhilarating adventure firsthand? Get wet! Get wild! Get rafting! In fact, no experience is required to undertake this unforgettable adventure on the Nile.
Accommodation: Sipi River Lodge Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time: 5-6hrs exclude time in Jinja.
3:Sipi Falls walk/hiking experience and afternoon coffee tour plus community encounter.
You will have breakfast and thereafter proceed out to explore the Sipi falls. The hiking (about 2½ - 3 hours) takes you to explore the nearby Sipi falls which is a set of 3 falls. The views are breathtaking and make for a great excursion while in Sipi. The (afternoon) coffee tour on the other hand will enable you to trace the story of coffee from seed to that in the cup and you don’t want to miss this informative experience. Later, just relax at the accommodation with some spectacular view of Sipi right in front of you.
Accommodation: Sipi River Lodge Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time:
4:Go explore Pian Upe Game Reserve then proceed to Kara-tunga Safari Camp.
Be up early and have your breakfast then proceed for game viewing in the pristine Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. Pian Upe is located between Mt. Elgon NP and Kidepo Valley NP, established as a game (wildlife) reserve in the 1960s. The Reserve is part of the Mount Elgon Conservation Area (MECA).
While in Pian Upe, look out for its inhabitants such as ostriches, common elands, plain zebras, the greater kudu, savanna monitor lizards and the only remaining numbers of roan antelope in the whole of Uganda. It is also only in Pian Upe that you may have the chance to see cheetahs while on a Uganda safari. After the game viewing and of course (packed) lunch, exit Pian Upe then head to Kara-tunga Safari Camp where you will have your dinner and the overnight stay.
Accommodation: Kara-tunga Safari Camp Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time: 3-4hrs exclude time in Pian Upe.
5:Transfer to Kidepo Valley NP and undertake afternoon (evening) game viewing.
Have breakfast and drive off to Kidepo Valley National Park, arriving early for some rest and lunch before going out for game viewing. You will proceed for game viewing in the Narus Valley in the south sector of Kidepo. Narus is the sector of Kidepo that has savannah grasslands mixed with acacia woodland. It is also the area of the park with permanent water sources throughout the year and for that matter, most of the animals are in this part of the park. Be on the look for large herds of Buffaloes, many Zebras, antelope species and the lions. You will return to the accommodation for dinner and overnight stay.
6:Morning game drive and (optional) Karamojong community, cultural encounter.
Enjoy your breakfast then embark on yet another game drive into the park but this time head to Kidepo Valley in the northern sector. The biggest highlight in this area is the famous sand bed of River Kidepo – a seasonal river that does not flow during the long dry spell. There are lush Borassus palms, creating a sight akin to an oasis in a desert. Also, be on the look for ostriches, leopards (but hard to spot) and tortoises along the way.
You may choose to have packed lunch or return for lunch at the accommodation. Later (if interested), you may proceed out for the (optional) Karamojong community, cultural encounter. You will spend a wonderful afternoon (evening) with the Karamojong people and have an insight of their way of life and beliefs. At the end of the day, you will retire to your accommodation where you will enjoy your dinner and overnight rest.
7:Early morning game drive then transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.
Be up early, have breakfast and proceed for another morning game drive. Thereafter, exit Kidepo 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. You will reach Murchison and do little but check into your accommodation then have some rest, dinner and overnight stay.
8:Murchison morning game drive & the 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.
9: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.
10:Chimp tracking Kibale Forest and afternoon transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP.
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 left 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 lunch and thereafter you will head out for Queen Elizabeth National Park. You will arrive in the evening and overnight at your booked accommodation.
11:Undertake morning game drive and 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, leopards (though 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.
12: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.
Accommodation: Broadbill Forest Camp Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time: 4-5hrs exclude time in Ishasha.
13: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 for lunch 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: 2-3 hours.
14:Go explore Lake Bunyonyi: enjoy a canoe ride, interact with the community etc.
After breakfast, you will have the option of visiting and interacting with the local community who inhabit areas surrounding Lake Bunyonyi. Alternatively, you could opt for a canoe trek on Lake Bunyonyi which will introduce you to the major islands and their rich history but also there will be some great time spent in the traditional dugout canoe. Return to your accommodation for lunch and relaxation probably reflecting on your trip so far…
Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drive Time:
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!