Chimp and Gorilla Tracking Adventure

Duration: 9 days

Highlights: Entebbe, Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This is an ideal itinerary for first time visitors to Uganda. They will explore both the Kibale and Bwindi forests tracking chimpanzees and gorillas whilst also experiencing the open savannahs of Queen Elizabeth National Park and searching for the tree climbing lions that call this area their home.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - ARRIVE ENTEBBE

On arrival at Entebbe International airport and after clearing customs and immigration formalities, you will be transferred to Hotel No.5.

Nestled in the leafy suburbs of Entebbe, next to the shores of Lake Victoria is the stylish Hotel No. 5. Its ten rooms are tastefully furnished in pastel colors. Each room has a sliding glass door that opens to a small balcony where guests can enjoy views of the lush surroundings. Dining at Hotel No. 5 takes place at a chic, all-white restaurant which has an outdoor seating space that offers a perfect spot to enjoy a nightcap. A swimming pool and spa are available if you wish to burn off excess energy. The hotel is perfectly situated close to key attractions such as Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary and Mabamba Swamp.

Overnight: Hotel No.5

Meal Plan: 

 

Day 2 - ENTEBBE - KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, begin your drive to Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale National Park is a tropical rainforest located in the southwestern part of Uganda. The park is ranked as one of the best destinations in East Africa where tourists can see Chimpanzees. The park is also home to about 70 mammals including buffaloes, elephants, and antelopes. Guests can participate in a variety of activities including but not limited to Chimpanzee tracking, forest walks, swamp walks, and crater lake tours. 

Set against the stunning backdrop of the legendary Mountains of the Moon, Kyaninga is a luxury lodge on the rim of the Kyaninga Crater with a freshwater lake at the bottom. Centered around a main house, eight cottages branch out via raised wooden walkways, each a good distance from the next ensuring utter privacy. The view of the lake from the cottages is stunning! This is a good opportunity to make sure you are fit enough to track the chimpanzees as there are 95 steps from the carpark to the main house!

After lunch there is time to relax before indulging in one of the many activities on offer at the lodge including taking a guided walk round the crater rim or diving into the crystal-clear but chilly waters of the lake. 

Overnight: Kyaninga Lodge

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 3 - KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

This morning, after an early breakfast, you will drive to the Kibale Forest headquarters to begin your chimpanzee tracking adventure. The habituated chimps are great fun to watch as they squabble and play in trees. You can expect to see at least two or three other types of primates most probably the grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey. The forest is open however there will be porters on hand if you need assistance.

From here you will take a guided walk through the nearby Bigodi Swamp for some incredible bird watching. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is an important area of biodiversity situated at the western edge of Kibale National Park. The swamp is host to over 200 bird species, including the most popular, Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola Cristata).

Overnight: Kyaninga Lodge

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 4 - KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK - QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

After an early breakfast, fly to the southern end of Queen Elizabeth National Park, an area called Ishasha. Ishasha is a vast low-lying savannah plain lying south of the equator in the Albertine Rift Valley.

Ishasha Wilderness Camp is situated inside the southern Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Ntungwe River. This small and exclusive tented camp offers quality accommodation and services in this unspoilt remote southern sector of the park famous for its tree climbing lions that can sometimes be spotted resting in the branches of the large fig trees.

After lunch spend the afternoon game viewing, relaxing or exploring the area.

Overnight: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 5 - ISHASHA

Today you will explore the vast plains of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park on a game drive. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda's most popular game conservancies. Within its 2,000 square kilometers lie savannah, fertile forest and wetlands that offer refuge to a variety of species. It is the home of the popular tree-climbing lion, the Uganda Kob, gazelle species, elephant, monkeys, hippos, chimpanzees and buffaloes. There are more than 600 bird species, making the national park a bird watchers paradise.

Overnight: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 6 - ISHASHA - BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

After a leisurely breakfast, begin a three-hour drive to Bwindi National Park. Arrive at your lodge in time for lunch. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is nestled deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in Bwindi National Park. The camp is the only accommodation located within the National Park, offering guests an unrivalled location, including the best bird and wildlife viewing in the Bwindi area.

Bwindi is host to the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the majestic mountain gorilla, one of the rarest animals on the planet.  It is estimated that over 50% of the world’s surviving population of mountain gorillas, live within Bwindi’s boundaries. 

In the afternoon you can relax and make use of the lovely little spa or you can head out and explore the community, visiting one of the Philanthropy Projects (AKP) on the way which include:

Ebenezer Primary School which provides learning opportunities for children living in communities around Bwindi National Park, among the poorest people in the world. AKP’s support of the school focuses on helping build classrooms and administrative buildings, as well as providing resources vital to the students’ education.

The Bwindi Community Hospital which was started in 2003 as an outreach clinic under a tree; today it is a 122-bed hospital that serves over 100,000 people in the area. Nearby is the Uganda Nursing School Bwindi which was set up to battle the nursing deficit in the area. It invests in promising local students who will be the region’s future health care workers. Since one in three students can’t afford to pay the $750 annual tuition, AKP and our guests have come together to provide scholarships to ensure the success of the school.

And finally, to the Bwindi Women’s Bicycle Enterprise. The bike shop enterprise provides seven women with the opportunity to earn a much-needed income while also giving their community vital access to transportation. The bike shop serves as a social enterprise, setting aside a portion of the profits to be used in charitable initiatives in the community such as the school fee sponsorship of orphaned students, investments in local health care and conservation initiatives.

Overnight: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 7 - BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

After an early breakfast this morning, you will head to the start of your trail head where you receive a briefing from your gorilla tracking guide. Tracking commences every morning from the park headquarters at 08:30 am.

The gorillas you will track belong to one of the seventeen 'habituated' family groups in Bwindi. For several years each group has undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually made them used to the presence of humans. Experienced guides will accompany the tracking, many of who have been involved in the habituation process themselves. Once the gorillas are located, the group will be allowed a maximum of one hour to view the mountain gorilla family. A look into the deep and expressive brown eyes of these giants is surely one of the most unforgettable wildlife encounters that Africa has to offer. 

Overnight: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 8 - BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

Today you will head out on your second gorilla tracking adventure. This is a great opportunity to take a moment to put your camera down and really enjoy being in the presence of these magnificent creatures.

In the afternoon you can visit  the Batwa Pygmies, who are the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.  These hunter gatherers, whose existence was first recorded over 4000 years ago, have a rich, deep culture and history that they are very happy to share.  A visit to their community is a unique cultural experience unlike any other and will assist in helping conserve their community and way of life.

Or you could take a bird walk. Bwindi boasts over 300 bird species, including 24 that are endemic to these highlands straddling Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo – the “Albertine Rift Endemics”.  There are also over 200 species of butterflies found in the park.  A local expert will guide you on this fascinating walk.

Overnight: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 9 - ENTEBBE AND DEPARTURE

After breakfast, drive back to the airstrip and fly to Entebbe. You will have a day room to freshen up in before departing on your international flight home. 

Meal Plan: B

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