21-Day Wildlife Trip Exploring and Experiencing the Pearl of Africa
21 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: Rafiki 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.
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:Full day hiking Morungole Mountains including the IK community encounter.
Be up early, have breakfast and set off to hike Mount Morungole, located in the northern hills of Karamoja. You will find stunningly beautiful Scenery the higher your climb takes you, simply breathtaking scenes in the valleys below you and into the Eastern Rift Valley of Kenya and over to Southern Sudan. While in Morungole, expect to encounter the smallest tribe of Uganda called the Ik. The Ik have always lived in nowadays Kidepo Valley National Park but have been displaced 50 years ago whereby they now live on the mountain ridges. Visiting the IK gives you a rare insight of a very unique tribe in Africa. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
8: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.
9: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.
10:Another morning game drive and transfer to Hoima with an en route overnight.
Be up early, have breakfast and then proceed out for another morning game drive. Thereafter, embark on the transfer to Hoima Town (en route Kibale) where you will take rest and have an overnight stay at the booked accommodation. The drive time is 3-4 hours.
11:Continue to Kibale NP and later proceed to explore the Kibale crater lakes.
After breakfast at the accommodation, depart right away for Kibale Forest National Park. The drive time is 3-4 hours, arriving in time for lunch and some rest at the booked accommodation. Later, proceed out 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.
12:Chimp trekking Kibale Forest and the afternoon (evening) Bigodi swamp walk.
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 the presence of primates here will surely amaze you. Once you locate the chimpanzees, you will have a full hour in their presence.
Return to your accommodation for some rest time and lunch. Later, go 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.
13:Drive to Queen Elizabeth NP, relax and go for an afternoon (evening) game drive.
Have a relaxed breakfast at the accommodation and drive off to Queen Elizabeth NP. You will reach Queen early enough to relax, have lunch and in the afternoon proceed out for game viewing. During the game drive, look out for wild animals like reedbuck, bushbuck, kob, warthogs, elephants, lions and buffaloes to mention but a few.
Alternatively, you could choose to go for the Queen’s breathtaking explosion crater drive (instead). The drive is sightseeing with very spectacular view of the breathtaking scenery in and around Queen. There are also some wildlife to see along the drive although commonest are sights of Cape Buffaloes plus Elephants. Return to the accommodation for relaxation, dinner and the overnight stay.
14: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.
15:Proceed to Ishasha sector plus game viewing in search of tree-climbing lions.
Have breakfast then set off (about 2 hours) for a breathtaking game viewing experience in the Ishasha area 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! You will also be able to see other wildlife such as the Uganda kob, Cape buffalos, elephants and warthogs in addition to the tree-climbing lions. Thereafter, head to the accommodation for relaxation, dinner and later overnight.
16:More Ishasha game viewing and transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable NP (Ruhija).
Be up and have your breakfast served. Go for more tree-climbing lions’ sighting and thereafter transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (about 3 hours’ drive). 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.
17:Gorilla trekking Bwindi and transfer to Kisoro for overnight at (booked lodge).
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. Return for some rest at the accommodation and then drive off to Kisoro (booked lodge) for an overnight stay awaiting next day’s activity.
18:Golden Monkey trekking Mgahinga & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation.
Although not well known by most travelers, golden monkeys are yet the second, most interesting attraction in Mgahinga after the mountain gorillas. Scientifically, these species are (Cercopithecus Kandti) and exploring them is what makes a full tourism package in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The activity starts with a briefing by the ranger guide and thereafter you continue to trek this awesome but endangered species of monkeys.
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: 2-3 hours.
19: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:
20: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.
21: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!