Day 1: Pick up and head west to the Kibale Forest Chimpanzee Park
After breakfast at your preferred Kampala or Entebbe lodging, the 7 days of Uganda memorable Experience begin with a Westward 5 – 6 hour drive to the Kibale Chimpanzee Park. The journey is a pleasant one and our 4-wheel drive vehicle, your English speaking driver will do his best so that you will enjoy the journey through the Ugandan countryside. It is a scenic drive and once again you will be reminded why Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. Depending on the schedule, we may stop off at Fort Portal town for lunch or just continue and have it at your preferred Kibale Forest National Park lodging. – There is the Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge, Moderately priced: Kibale Forest Camp, and Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, go here for the entire list of options. Fort Portal is named for Sir Gerald Portal, a British Special Commissioner for Uganda, whose statue graces the main road of the town. Kibale Forest is one of the great African rainforest research reserves, famous for the variety of primates and it is a terrific area for birds.
After lunch/check in, whichever comes last, it’s the afternoon Bigodi Swamp guided walk. You are taken into the world of a jungle swamp, a rather unique experience. The wetland is a birder’s paradise with about 138 species and is best known for being home to the Great Blue Turaco. This is a 2½ - 3 hour walk and is a must for bird lovers. Bigodi Sanctuary is located outside the park in Magombe Swamp it also hosts eight species of primates including the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses and many more can also be found here. Return to the lodge for dinner relaxation and overnight.
Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking - Kibale Forest
Have an early morning breakfast and drive to the Kanyanchu park headquarters for the chimpanzee pre-track briefing by the forest guide. Kanyanchu in the central part of Kibale, is the main trailhead for the park's famous forest walks, the most popular of which is the regular Primate Walk.
Chimpanzee tracking (trekking) can take up to 3 hours. Chimpanzees are our closet cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate species. Unlike other Uganda chimpanzee locations, we are over 98% certain that you will see the find them here. We find the chimps by listening to their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. Also, expect to see other primates such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Black faced Red Colobus, Red Tailed Monkeys, Olive Baboons and an incredible array of bird life, including the Great Blue Turaco. You are with the chimpanzees for one hour and get to observe them up close allowing you to take some close-up pictures. The chimpanzees are habituated, a process that takes up to two years and gets the chimpanzees used to human presence so that they continue with their regular activities while you are present.
The things you need for the day include long trousers preferably jeans, long-sleeved shirts, light hiking boots, daypack with a liter of bottled water, wide-brimmed hat and a light rain-jacket.
Kibale National park, is about 3,300 feet in elevation, it's an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large "communities" of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups. Return to your lodge for lunch and relaxation in the afternoon. Dinner in evening as you arrange for the next day. You may consider learning more about the Chimpanzees of Uganda,..go here
You may consider spending more time with the Chimps and not just the 3-hour chimp trek of which just one is spent with them. You can do the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) and spend 4 hours watching and following the chimpanzees through the forest.
Common Question; What is the difference between regular Chimpanzee Trekking and Chimpanzee Habituation Experience?
Habituation here is simply a process of getting the chimpanzee oriented to human presence while in thier natural habitat. When you go for Chimpanzee Trekking, you are one hour with a fully habituated Chimpanzee Group after finding them. That means they are used to human beings. When you go on a 4-hour Habituation Experience, you are observing a Chimpanzee Group that is in the process of being habituated, – a process that takes up to two years long and you are a participant in the process. You go down in to the rainforest with a guide in a small group - max of 4 plus ranger. Once you find the chimps, you watch and follow them through the rainforest for a few hours. Expect the experience to differ each day as these are wild animals who are not trained to perform as if they are in a circus. On some days the trek may however be hard as you are often moving fast through dense forest so as to not lose the chimps. Learn more about Chimp Habituation Experience Vs. regular chimp trek.
Please Note – As of July 1, 2020, the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience increased in price from $200 to $250. Regular Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale Forest increased from $150 to $200. Advance planning is necessary as this is not something you are going to decide on ground.
Day 3: Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park; Safari/game drive and Kazinga Channel Boat Safari.
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. 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. Arrive at your lodging choice, check in, lunch and relax.
At 1600hr, it’s the afternoon boat safari. We leave or the boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to see wildlife real close; there are hippos, hippos and more hippos. In between are hundreds of birds of all kinds, some crocodiles and of course more hippos, and elephants and buffaloes. It is simply a fabulous, slow boat ride that usually is one of the highlights of a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Return to the lodge for dinner and rest.
Day 4: 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 through the southern sector of the park – Ishasha, a remote and beautiful extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park that is home for 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 5: 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. If there is time you might do an afternoon walkabout in a pigmy village and give you some cultural insights into the local Batwa culture. Further Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Information.
Day 6: We move to Lake Mburo National Park:
It is early breakfast and off to Lake Mburo National Park. The perfect place to break a long journey at one of the most delightful places in Uganda. 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 you can stay at the budget facility.
We arrive for an afternoon lunch and check-in and then it is off to leisurely cruise around the lake. There is much wildlife to be seen from hippos to crocodiles, birds of all kinds, buffaloes, zebras, antelopes and much more. You will also see several other lakes such as Kazuma, Lake Bwa.
Day 7: 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.
Drive to Kampala with stops at Mbarara for lunch, along the equator if you missed on the first day and at the Buganda Royal Drum Makers. Arrive in Kampala in late afternoon....Creating everlasting memories of the Pearl of Africa.
Feel free to contact us any time and enquire about this 7-Day Chimpanzee-Gorilla Trek, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo Park Wildlife Uganda Mini-Loop Safari. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Whether its safari itineraries, competitive pricing or general information on any of our services/tours, we are just a phone call or few clicks away, shoot us an e-mail today, ...we look forward to hearing from you.
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