Arrival at Entebbe International Airport. The company driver will be there waiting for you with a sign post of either your names on it or the names of the company. The drive from the airport to your place of accommodation is almost 7 minutes. You will be welcomed warmly and then asked to fill out a check-in form. Before you go to your room, our driver/guide will give you a small briefing about tomorrow’s program.
Drive to Murchison Falls national park with a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for the Rhino experience. This is the only place in Uganda where one can see the white rhinos in the wild and on foot with a ranger. As a project managed by Rhino Fund Uganda, it has been successful with now about 32 white rhinos in the sanctuary. After being briefed by a ranger about the sanctuary and how these animals were re-introduced in Uganda, you will embark on a rhino trekking experience with information about the behaviour of the rhinos, which can be seen in a short distance on foot with a ranger. The experience takes like an hour depending on your interests and how much you would like to know about the rhinos.
After lunch, you will continue in the direction of Murchison Falls national park. As you enter the park, you will be welcomed and entertained by olive baboons who usually sit either in the middle or at the edge the road doing their grooming stuff. Do not be surprised when you don’t see many animals in this southern side of the park, as part of it is covered in trees, shrubs and a dense forest. You will reach the lodge in the evening.
Wake up with the birds for an early morning game drive in the national park. After breakfast, you will drive from the lodge in a safari vehicle which has an open roof for better viewing of wildlife. When the weather is good, you will get a treat of a sunrise over the waters of the Victoria-Nile. Sometimes you get this sunrise between acacia trees. As you carry on with the game drive, you will see animals like the lions, leopards, Nubian giraffes, buffalos, Jackson’s hartebeests, oribis, Uganda cobs, hyenas, waterbucks, patas monkeys, warthogs, African elephants and a variety of different bird species. The park is blessed with over 144 mammals, 556 bird species, 51 reptiles and amphibians. Having almost 4,000 square kilometres makes it the largest national park in Uganda. A game drive in this northern part of the park can never be a disappointment as you will see wildlife everywhere you turn.
In the afternoon, you will embark on a 3-hour boat ride to the bottom of the falls. The water falls being the goal doesn’t mean there is nothing else to see along the way. As the boat roles upstream, you will be entertained with ‘schools’ of hippos in the waters of the Victoria-Nile and other animals that come to assuage their thirst. Different bird species like the kingfishers, bee-eaters and African fish eagles will entertain your ride as the guide labours to identify them for you. Monkeys like the black and white colobus monkeys have also been sited on this boat ride, swinging between tree branches at the shores.
As you drive southwards towards Kibale Forest National Park, you will not miss the beautiful landscape and tea plantations, passing through small towns with fully active people. Kibale Forest National park is the home of Chimpanzees in addition to other 12 primate species like the red-tail monkey, blue monkey, and black-and-white colobus monkeys. You will make stopovers for pictures of landscape.
The chimpanzee experience awaits you early in the morning. Though living in the wild, some chimpanzee families have been habituated. This means that they are used to humans. A national park ranger will take you through this wonderful tracking experience in the forest, giving you prior detailed information about the forest where the chimpanzees live, the chimpanzees themselves and other primates in the forest. Usually it takes 3 hours on average for the whole experience, with one hour dedicated to being with the chimpanzees when you meet them. A 7-meter distance is recommended away from the chimpanzees. Even when such a distance is recommended, these animals have no idea about it. The ranger will labour to give you guidance all the time. Since it is a forest, you might find yourself viewing the chimpanzees from up the tree branches or on the ground. These animals have the freedom to do what they want since that is their space, giving you the opportunity to watch their behaviour in the wild.
The afternoon you will visit the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. It is a project dedicated for the protection of this wetland, being a habitat for primates, birds and different species of medicinal plants. A local guide will take you through this wetland area showing you different primate and bird species. He will also inform you about this sanctuary and how it has helped to support the local people in the area. It is a wonderful 2-3 hour experience.
You will leave Kibale national park and drive southwest towards Queen Elizabeth National park, viewing the Rwenzori mountain ranges at a distance. When the weather clear, you will be able to see snow on top of one of the summits. You will check in to your place of accommodation, have lunch and thereafter go for an evening game drive. This park is the second largest in Uganda after Murchison Falls NP and is known for big herds of elephants along the Kazinga Channel. Besides that, you will also be able to see large herds of Uganda cobs, warthogs, buffalos, water bucks, lions and leopards.
Wake up early in the morning for another game drive to view Uganda cobs, elephants, lions and leopards (based on luck), hippos, buffaloes, warthogs and different bird species. The afternoon 2 hour boat ride on Kazinga Channel is among the highlights of this trip with its different bird species, crocodiles, buffaloes, and waterbucks, elephants coming to assuage their thirst, schools of hippos and a village of fishermen at the park boundary.
It is time to leave the savannah landscape and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home of the Mountain Gorillas. The drive takes you through Ishasha, the southern sector of Queen Elisabeth National Park with chances of seeing the tree-climbing lions hanging from branches of fig trees besides the road. They always climb up these trees when it becomes hot, when they have eaten to their satisfaction and when they want to view their prey. They have also been sighted on acacia trees. Seeing them is based on luck since these are wild animals.
The long-awaited Gorilla experience day is here. After breakfast, you will be driven to the briefing point to know how to behave with the gorillas in the jungle. This briefing is done by a ranger who is also ready for any questions before you set off. Dressed properly with hiking shoes, you set off with a ranger to the place where the trackers have located the amazing apes. You can also hire a porter at a small fee to help carrying your rucksack for ease of movement. Meeting the Gorillas is an amazing experience. Since we are all different, our reactions will also vary. But trust me; it is a wonderful one-hour experience.
Depending on your condition after Gorilla trekking, you can as well go for another nature walk to see the water falls and the pygmies who once lived in the forest where gorillas still live. (Optional). These will show you how they lived there and the activities they carried out.
Drive to Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale while viewing the beautiful landscape making it worthwhile to make several stopovers for pictures. The name ‘Bunyonyi’ means a place of many small birds. This place is called the ‘Switzerland of Africa’ because of its idyllic hills. The lake, with its 29 Islands, is said to be the second deepest in Africa. A boat ride around some of these Islands is worth the experience. See how people use canoes as transport between Islands.
Drive to Lake Mburo national park, the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks with 370 square kilometres. This is where you will see zebras, impalas, elands, buffalos, oribis, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topis and reedbuck. Bushbucks can be seen standing majestically on termite mounds. You will also get chance to see the Nubian giraffes introduced into this park all the way from Murchison Falls National Park. Right from the main road, there are chances of seeing wildlife up to the reception of the lodge. Not only wildlife but also the Ankole long-horned cows.
After lunch, you will go for an evening game drive to look for Zebras, Impalas, elands, buffalos, waterbucks, topis, reedbucks and giraffes. For those who are interested in birds, this park is home to 350 bird species. Towards the end of the game drive, you will not miss the sun setting between either acacia or cactus trees which is a rare moment for photographers.
Wake up for an early morning nature walk in the national park with a ranger before you take your breakfast, but after a simple cup of coffee. This will give you a chance to walk through the wild on foot without the noise from the car engine. This way, you get closer to the animals without scaring them away. No cause for alarm, the ranger is well equipped in case of anything. Enjoy the morning cool breeze as the ranger explains to you about nature and wildlife. The walk will take you like 2 hours before you go back to take breakfast.
On the afternoon boat ride, you will see hippos and crocodiles, and the African fish eagles among other bird species. You will have a short game drive as you drive back the lodge.
Drive back to Entebbe with a stopover at the equator for a water experiment and craft shops.
Visit the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe rich with its tree species and plant life. While in the Botanical Gardens, the local guide will show you both the flora and fauna of that place. The fauna includes different monkey species and birds. He will also take you to the place where the original Tarzan movie was acted from.
After dinner (not included), continue to the airport to catch your flight.