Uganda – Primates of Uganda Tour – a 12 day Small Group Tour.
Uganda’s rich wildlife is recognised by its people as one of the country’s major resources. As such efforts combining tourism and conservation are well developed.
Among its well-managed national parks, verdant landscapes of jungles, forests and rivers, plains game and birdlife are as rich as anywhere on the continent. However, for many the major draw is a chance to encounter primates.
Gorillas and chimpanzees are highlights of this tour, and if your goal is to get close to either of these great apes Uganda offers a professional experience with none of the essential wildness removed.
Uganda is known as one of the most stunning countries in Africa, and with good reason. On this tour we visit some of its most beautiful areas in search of incredible wildlife, much of which has long since disappeared from the rest of the continent.
From the bustling capital Kampala, we see the source of the Nile and then head north via Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to Murchison Falls National Park to search for elephant, lion and buffalo on game drives, then search for chimpanzees in the Kibale Forest. From there we head to the spectacular Queen Elizabeth National Park, with its plains, forest, swamps and lakes – a wide diversity of landscapes means that wildlife viewing here is varied.
But the highlight of this trip is perhaps one of the highlights of all of Africa – tracking a family of gorillas in their natural habitat through the forests of Bwindi National Park. Make no mistake; this is a truly astonishing wildlife experience that will leave you lost for words.
Day 1 – Arrive Entebbe – Kampala
(Approximate driving time: one-and-a-half-hours)
Arrive in Entebbe and transfer to hotel accommodation in Kampala. Overnight Urban by City Blue Kampala or similar. No meals or guided activities.
Day 2 - Source of the Nile and Sezibwe Falls
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
Today we drive to the source of the Nile at Jinja, with excursions to Sezibwe Falls and Mabira forest. Return to Kampala. Overnight Urban by City Blue Kampala or similar. (BL)
Day 3 - Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park via Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
(Approximate driving time: seven-hours)
The day begins with a drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to around 20 southern white rhinos which were reintroduced after their extinction in the wild through poaching in the 1970s. A local ranger guide will lead you on foot to an up-close encounter with the rhinos. This is no easy task, and it may take some time and patience. Continue to Masindi Town for lunch and then to Murchison Falls National Park, arriving at your lodge in the late afternoon. Overnight Pakuba Safari Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 4 - Murchison Falls National Park
Today sees an early start for a game drive on the northern bank of the Nile in an open-roof vehicle. Wildlife may include elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, Rothchild’s giraffe, hartebeest, waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, bohor reed buck, hyena and if you are lucky, leopard. After lunch, cruise 17km upstream on the calm Victoria Nile to the base of the falls, stopping just few of metres from the Devil’s Cauldron. Larger wildlife here includes, hippo, crocodile, elephant, waterbuck and Uganda kob. The area also has prolific birdlife such as goliath heron, Egyptian goose, pelican, bee-eater, kingfisher, hornbill, cormorant and the rare, and bizarre-looking, shoebill stork. We head to the top of the falls and admire the amazing views where the Nile, the world’s longest river, bursts violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. Overnight Pakuba Safari Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Alternative option: it is possible to organise a hot air balloon safari very early in the morning, including a bush breakfast, for a supplement of £400 per person, subject to availability.
Day 5 - Murchison Falls to Kibale Forest
(Approximate driving time: eight-hours)
After an early breakfast, we travel to Kibale Forest National Park. Driving south via Hoima to Fort Portal we pass through countryside punctuated by traditional homesteads, farms and tea estates. Lunch is taken en route, and arrival at Kibale is expected by late afternoon. Overnight Crater Safari Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Please Note: It is also possible to fly from Murchison Falls to Kibale by light aircraft. If interested in this option, please contact us for availability and prices.
Day 6 – Kibale Forest Chimpanzee tracking and Bigodi Swamp
After breakfast enjoy one of the trip’s highlights, Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park, reputed to have the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. Escorted by an expert guide we walk in the tropical rainforest searching out wild chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and many others. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, visitors stand a very good chance of hearing and seeing our distant cousins as they groom and bond with one another, a sight never to be forgotten. Later, for those wishing to keep active, there’s a rewarding but easy walk at Bigodi Swamp community project accompanied by a local community guide. The swamp is an oasis for birdlife and it is also common to see several primate species on the walk. If time allows, after the Bigodi swamp walk, visit the local community to disover how coffee is grown, harvested, roasted, and prepared to drink. There’s also a chance to learn how banana beer is brewed from bananas and sorghum – the bananas are mashed not so much by hand as by foot! Subject to permission it’s possible to visit a women’s group supported by the lodge, and the school where the kids will sing and dance for you. Overnight Crater Safari Lodge. (BLD)
Please Note: It may be possible to organise a chimpanzee habituation experience by paying a supplement of £100. The activity lasts most of the day and is limited to just six participants. It’s an opportunity to come face to face with the closest of man’s cousins. Advance booking is necessary for this option.
Please Note: Long sleeves and trousers and robust walking shoes/boots are recommended in Kibale Forest
Day 7 - Kibale Forest - Queen Elizabeth National Park
(Approximate driving time: thee-hours)
After breakfast we drive towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, and on arrival immediately set out on a game drive with the Rwenzori Mountains as a spectacular backdrop. After lunch at the lodge we cruise on the Kazinga Channel to view buffalo, hippo and other animals drawn to the water to drink and cool off. European migratory birds, including flocks of terns and gulls may also be observed in the area. Overnight Park View Safari Lodge. (BLD)
Day 8 - Queen Elizabeth National Park – Tree climbing lions
(Approximate driving time: two-hours)
This morning we explore a different part of the park, and later in the afternoon take a game drive in search of its famous tree climbing lions. Overnight Enjojo Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 9 - Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
(Approximate driving time: five-hours)
After breakfast a morning game drive through the Ishasha plains allows another chance to spot the tree climbing lions and other wildlife before we leave Queen Elizabeth National Park bound for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. En route we pass through mountain scenery often referred to as ‘little Switzerland’. Overnight Gorilla Safari Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 10 - Gorilla Tracking at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
After an early breakfast we travel the short distance to park HQ for an important briefing about your gorilla trekking adventure. Small groups, led by highly experienced gorilla trackers, head out across the slopes of the volcanoes in search of the gorillas. Although the hike can be physically demanding anticipation ensures that adrenaline levels remain high, and the beauty of the forest itself is memorable. One of Africa’s major wildlife highlights, encountering gorillas at close quarters is a humbling experience. Time spent just metres from our not-too-distant relatives as they eat, rest, play and bond with young, passes all too quickly. Although it’s natural to want to take photographs, some minutes simply absorbing the scene without wanting to frame it are highly recommended. One hour is the maximum time permitted with the gorillas in any encounter. If your trek was relatively short, you may have time for a guided nature walk around the lodge and the surrounding communities. Overnight Gorilla Safari Lodge. (BLD)
Please Note: Subject to availability, and for a supplement of approximately £850 per person, you may opt for a Gorilla Habituation experience occupying the whole day and enabling you to be with the gorillas for up to four-hours.
Please Note: Long sleeves, trousers and robust walking boots are recommended in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Day 11 – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Lake Mburo National Park
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
This morning we start early, heading to Lake Mburo National Park for lunch with views over the savannah. After some relaxation time, at mid-afternoon we take a boat cruise, afterwards setting out on a sundowner drive, spotting giraffe, zebra and various species of antelope along the way. Overnight Rwakobo Rock Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 12 – Lake Mburo National Park – Entebbe
(Approximate driving time: five-hours)
After breakfast, there’s a walking safari with an armed national park ranger. The Kopjes are particularly interesting, hiding in their midst camouflaged kilspringers and topis, and it’s certainly exciting to approach wildlife at close range on foot. Later, we drive steadily towards Entebbe with a stopover as we cross the Equator. We also call in at the Mpigi Royal Drum Makers to observe ceremonial drums being crafted using methods passed down through the generations. We arrive in Entebbe in the afternoon and transfer to the airport for onward flights. (BL).
Dates & Price.
New booking - Deposit required
Kindly note that a deposit of GBP 1,000 per person is required at the time of booking to confirm your place on this tour. This is necessary to arrange the permits required as part of the itinerary.
Minimum Group Size
This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 2 travellers.
Heading on from Uganda?
After this wonderful safari experience, perhaps you may wish to relax on the shores of Lake Victoria or head onward to Kenya or Tanzania for more safari. Whatever your requirements, contact us and we will be happy to facilitate your onward arrangements.
Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.
Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Kampala costs from £52 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £87 per person in a solo occupancy room.
Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.
Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?
Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Airport transfers
- All accommodation as per itinerary or similar
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- 1 Gorilla permit per person
- 1 Chimpanzee permit per person
- International flights
- Items of a personal nature
- Supplements for Chimpanzee and/or Gorilla habituation experiences
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Visas if applicable
- Tips (discretionary)