10-day Uganda Wildlife, culture, and primate safari

March 19, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Entebbe International Airport is where the 10-day Uganda Wildlife and Primate Safari begins and ends. Exclusive primate experiences like up close and personal interactions with the enchanting mountain gorillas and tracking chimpanzees, along with common animal sightings, boat cruises, and wilderness horseback rides, are all part of this Uganda safari. It takes you to the following places: Queen Elizabeth National Park for wildlife encounters; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for encounters with the gentle mountain gorilla; Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation; and Lake Mburo National Park for night game drives hence viewing nocturnal species. You can monitor rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, learn about the famous Murchison Falls, and go on a boat safari on the Nile River. The trip offers an incredible adventure combining encounters with majestic wildlife, lush forests and vibrant cultures.

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival for the Uganda Wildlife, Culture and Primate Safari

When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, a Journeys Uganda representative will be there to greet you warmly along with your professional and experienced safari guide. After that, you will be transferred to the hotel reserved in Entebbe Town, where you can check in, freshen up, and later meet a Journeys Uganda representative to receive an overview of your 10-Day Uganda Wildlife and Primate Safari. The hotel is located on the banks of Lake Victoria, approximately a 10 to 20-minute drive from Entebbe International Airport.

Drive to the Entebbe Botanical Gardens later, if time permits, for a walking safari along the edge of Lake Victoria. Numerous bird species and various primates, including; Black and White Colobus, Red-tailed and Velvet monkeys, can be seen in the botanical gardens. You can see some aquatic birds and take in the lake’s cool breezes while strolling around Lake Victoria’s shoreline, where you can also get a feel for Uganda’s stunning natural surroundings. Lake Victoria, which is shared by Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, is the largest freshwater body in Africa and the second largest in the world. As the longest river on Earth, the Nile originates from Lake Victoria and flows through various African nations, including Uganda, Egypt, Sudan, and South Sudan, before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea in the north. Later, spend the night and dinner back at your hotel.

Accommodation: Friends Beach Resort or Papyrus Guest House.

Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park with an en route to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Get up extremely early (6:30 am) to have breakfast, then leave your hotel and begin the 320-kilometer trip to Murchison Falls National Park in northwestern Uganda. You will stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in the Nakasongola district en route to follow white rhinos. Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only location where you can encounter white rhinos in their natural habitat. Once abundant in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls national parks, Uganda’s rhino population was driven nearly extinct in the early 1970s by a variety of illicit human activities, including poaching and civil instability. To reintroduce rhinos into Uganda’s wildlife inventory, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was founded in 2005. With the assistance of the local site guide, you will be able to witness rhinos up close during rhino tracking. You will have an hour maximum to snap as many pictures as you like, so make sure your camera is ready to go so you don’t miss any amazing moments. Once your encounter with rhinos has left you with amazing memories, unwind with a bottle of water and head to KabalegaDinerr for lunch. Later, continue your journey to Murchison Falls National Park and stop by the falls to take in the breathtaking vista and the sound of the cascading water falling into a pool.

Drive to your reserved lodge after viewing the Murchison Falls. Check in and enjoy a relaxing evening before your exciting night game drive safari, which will increase your chances of seeing nocturnal park animals and birds like lions, leopards, porcupines, civets, spotted hyenas, and grazing hippos, among others. This is not so much to hear the beautiful sounds of wildlife but also to see how wildlife animals spend their nights in the jungle. One of the best wildlife experiences in the savannah is the possibility of seeing predators in the act of hunting on a fortunate day. For a nighttime game drive in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is the best savannah national.

Approximately 450 recorded bird species, including the rare Shoebill Stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Papyrus Gonolek, Marabou Stork, Black-bellied Bustard, and Open billed Stork, can be found in Murchison Falls National Park. There are also 76 recorded mammal species, including Jackson’s hartebeest, Waterbucks, Hippopotamuses, Nile crocodiles, and some primates, such as chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, giraffes, Uganda kobs, Elephants, Caped buffaloes, Lions, Leopards, Spotted hyenas, Civets, Warthogs, Oribis, and Topis.

Accommodation: Paraa or Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day 3: Game Drive and Boat Cruise at Murchison Falls National Park

Get up early, get yourself a cup of coffee, prepare your packed breakfast, and drive to the park’s northern area, which offers excellent game drive safaris. A short break to enjoy a hearty breakfast is followed by a game drive to fully explore the park and be able to spot several wildlife species. During the game drive, your safari guide will assist you in spotting several animals and share a wealth of information regarding various wildlife species that you will spot, such as Cape buffalo, African Elephants, Uganda Kobs, Jackson Hartebeest, Rothchild Giraffes, Oribis, Reedbuck, Lion, Common warthogs, some primates species like Olive Baboon, Patas Monkey and on a lucky day, you may spot a leopard. Later in the afternoon, depart from the jungle and head back for the exciting evening boat cruise. The boat cruise safari leaves from the serene Victoria Nile and travels upstream to the base of the Murchison Falls, halting a short distance from the falls’ “Devil’s Cauldron,” where you can get breathtaking views of the falls and observe the River Nile’s descent into a pool. The boat ride will take you past areas home to a variety of aquatic and avian species, including bloats, crocodiles in the Nile, Egyptian Geese, Goliath Herons, kingfishers, Pelicans, Hornbills, and Cormorants. You might even spot some land creatures that are swimming and drinking water. Drive back to your accommodation after the boat ride and unwind for the rest of the evening.

Accommodation: Paraa or Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day 4: Murchison Falls National Park-Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park and Bigodi Sanctuary

After a delicious breakfast today, depart from your lodge and make your way to Kibale Forest National Park by leisurely driving through the park and over the Nile River. With about 1500 unique chimpanzees, Kibale Forest National Park is renowned for having the largest chimpanzee population in the world, some of which are well-suited for tourist and scientific study. With more recorded monkey species than any other national park or wildlife reserve in Africa, the park is also known as “Africa’s primate capital.” As a result, it is a sanctuary for those who adore primates. The greatest concentration of rare and endangered L’hoest’s monkeys and red colobus monkeys in East Africa may be found in this park. In Kibale Forest National Park, you can witness a variety of primates, including the black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys, red-tailed olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and over 375 species of birds, can be seen at Kibale Forest National Park. Enjoy breathtaking views of tea gardens, several forests, and the shadow of the fabled Rwenzori Mountain, which creates a mystical backdrop to the stunning volcanic environment, as you travel to Kibale Forest National Park. Make a pit break at Fort Portal City for lunch, explore the city on foot, and then carry on to the park to check into the lodge that you have reserved. After that, drive to Bigodi Swamp for a community experience and a nature walk.

With over 138 bird species and eight different species of primates, including the grey-cheeked mangabey, black-and-white colobus, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and olive baboons, in addition to other mammals like bushbucks and mongooses, Bigodi Sanctuary Swamp is a haven for avian enthusiasts. The neighbouring community manages the swamp to protect both the wetland and its unique environmental qualities for future generations. You may therefore see a variety of bird species and monkeys throughout this trip. The Bigodi community walk will lead you through the neighbourhood so you can talk to locals and see how they coexist peacefully with animals. They also show you how they incorporate local, handmade products, delectable coffee, and gins made from bananas into their everyday routines without using contemporary technology. After the stroll, head back to your resort to unwind, have dinner, and spend the night.

Accommodation: Crater Safari or Chimpanzee Forest Lodge

Day 5: Chimp Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park-Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Following breakfast, rendezvous with your safari guide and head to the park information offices to join other visitors for training on appropriate behaviour around chimpanzees and the dos and don’ts of chimpanzee viewing. After that, set out on a guided woodland walk to look for the highly intelligent chimpanzees, who are the closest living cousins of humans with 98.8% of our DNA. You may come across various mammal and avian species on your forest walk, including monkeys and bush pigs, among others. Your guide will be able to provide you with a wealth of fascinating knowledge about everything you come across, adding to the excitement of your walk. You will have a maximum of one hour to spend with chimpanzees after you have met them, during which you can watch them play in the tree branches, feed and tend to their young, and take as many pictures as you like. Following an hour-long visit with the chimpanzees, head back to the starting location for some relaxation, lunch, and refreshments before making your way to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a “medley of wonders.” With over 95 mammal species—including four large mammals, big cats, and other predators—10 species of primates, aquatic mammals, and approximately 600 documented bird species, Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife. The Kazinga Channel, the main water stream that connects Lake Edward and George, is also a feature of the park. Visit the Katwe settlement, which is located around the saline Lake Katwe and whose primary industry is the extraction of salt from the lake, before checking into the lodge you have reserved. Because salt mining has been done in this community since the sixteenth century, it is one of the most well-known. You will have the opportunity to participate in salt mining at the Katwe Salt Mining Community, and your local safari guide will provide you with a wealth of information on how they have been able to continue their salt mining operations for many years. Drive to your reserved lodge after the neighbourhood tour and check-in. Spend the evening at leisure until it’s time for dinner and an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari  or Buffalo Lodge

Day 6: Chimp Tracking in Kalinzu forest, Boat cruise at Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Once you’ve spent an hour with the chimpanzees in the Kalinzu Forest Reserve, drive back to your resort for lunch, unwind, and then leave for two hours. On the way back, grab a bottle of water to refresh yourself. An afternoon boat safari along the Kazinga Channel, the primary waterway that traverses the park and links Lake George and Lake Edward, is offered. One of the most exciting activities that visitors to Queen Elizabeth National Park are highly recommended to do is a boat cruise safari on the Kazinga Channel. A variety of aquatic birds and mammals, including hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles in the Nile, elephants, and many more, will be up close and personal on the tour. Every visitor to Queen Elizabeth National Park should take advantage of the amazing 2-hour boat trip safari along the Kazinga canal. Return to your lodge to unwind for the evening after the boat trip safari across the Kazinga channel. Dinner and a return overnight stay.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari or Buffalo Lodge

Day 7: Game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park; Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

You will get up very early in the morning (5:30 am) and pack your bags. At 6:00 am, you will be served a delicious breakfast, and your luggage will be loaded into the car. At 0630 am, you will check out of your lodge and head to the Kasenyi Plains, which are located in the northeastern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park, for a morning game drive safari in search of various wildlife species. Understandably, one of Uganda’s most well-known national parks is Queen Elizabeth, which provides an excellent home for traditional large game, including various antelope species, monkeys, and the four members of the African savannah’s “big five” family of animals (elephants, lions, buffaloes, and leopards). Throughout your game drive, your safari guide will make sure you see as many different species of wildlife as possible and provide you with extensive information about everything you might come across. After the game, drive a safari, and unwind before beginning the journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park via the Ishasha sector in the southern parts of Queen Elizabeth National Park. During the game drive safari, keep an eye out for the rare tree-climbing lions, which are only found in Kruger National Park in South Africa, Lake Manyara in Tanzania, and the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, where there are four prides. Following your game drive safari, eat lunch and continue your journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park is renowned for being home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and for being one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, dating back over 25,000 years and containing nearly 400 different species of trees that combine to form the vast, evergreen, impenetrable forest. About 350 different species of birds, 120 animal species, including several primate species, and 500 mountain gorillas call it home.

Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge or Broadbill Forest Camp

Day 8: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and a Drive to Lake Bunyonyi

On the eighth day of your ten-day Uganda wildlife and primate safari, get up early (0600 ) to get ready and set up the gear you’ll need for your mountain gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, including a camera, binoculars, and bug repellent. Put on appropriate clothing for your mountain gorilla trekking experience, such as long sleeve shirts, water-resistant hiking boots, khaki or jean pants, a rain jacket, heavy-duty gloves, and round caps. Eat a hearty breakfast, prepare your lunch, get plenty of water, and meet your safari guide to be taken to the park information offices, where you will be given a briefing about expectations and dos and don’ts for trekking with mountain gorillas. You will be assigned a family of mountain gorillas to track, together with a forest guide and a UWA ranger. You should employ a porter to assist you in transporting your accoutrements and other necessary goods for your mountain gorilla experience. Begin your forest stroll after the pre-mountain gorilla trekking session to look for the critically endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environments.

You should be physically and mentally prepared to walk a long distance through the hilly forest with no designated walking trails that are only made during that specific time of tracking by your guide based on the direction that can easily lead you to the location of the gorilla family. The amount of time it takes to encounter your assigned mountain gorilla family is unknown, but it could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the movements and location of the gorilla family. You therefore need to bring enough water to stay hydrated and snacks to sustain your energy levels because searching for information in the wilderness takes a lot of energy.

The thrill of witnessing the mountain gorillas in their natural setting will surpass the difficulties encountered during the search for them if you come across their family. A family of mountain gorillas can consist of multiple individuals, including the enormous silverback, who serves as the family’s guardian and leader, as well as mothers, young children, and juveniles. During your time with the mountain gorillas, you will learn a great deal about their socialization and excitement, as demonstrated by their playful antics, mothers tending to their young, and the Silverback, which stands silently by to watch over the family and defend them from any threat. The greatest amount of time you can spend with the mountain gorillas is one hour.

Accommodation: Bunyonyo Lake Resort or Arcadia Cottages.

Day 9: Lake Bunyonyi experience

Get up whenever it’s convenient for you, have breakfast, and then head out for a morning boat canoeing safari on Lake Bunyonyi. This adventure lasts about two hours and involves exploring the lake and visiting various islands with a local canoe guide who is knowledgeable about the area. The most breathtaking view is of Lake Bunyonyi, which is framed by 29 islands of varying sizes spread out over the water. During the canoeing safari, your local guide will tell you the fascinating history of each of the 29 islands on Lake Bunyonyi. For example, Akampene Island, commonly known as the “punishment island,” was used by the Biga community to punish ladies who would get pregnant before marriage. Therefore, from among those who might have been banished to this island, impoverished men who could not afford to pay the bride price would come here to obtain free wives. Parents in Africa tend to be harsh with their girl children as a means of safeguarding them, as it is considered a shame for a girl to become pregnant before her legal marriage, which would result in the family losing the respect of the community.

Following your canoeing experience on Lake Bunyonyi, head back to your lodge for a check-out before continuing to Lake Mburo National Park. En route, make a stop at the Igongo Cultural Center for lunch and a tour of the museum, which features artefacts from the Ankole people’s history and way of life in southwest Uganda that will transport you back hundreds of years. After that, travel to the park to check into the lodge you have reserved. Then, drive to the park for your evening and nighttime game drives to see some of the park’s animals, including the stunning zebras, impalas, elands, topis, other antelope species, warthogs, caped buffaloes, and giraffes. After taking a brief break to unwind, continue with the night game drive safari to increase your chances of seeing nocturnal Savannah mammals that are very difficult to see during daytime game drives, such as spotted hyenas, leopards, civets, African rock pythons, porcupines, and bush babies. One of the greatest parks for a nighttime wildlife drive safari is Lake Mburo. It’s an interesting sensation to be outside at night.

Accommodation: Mihingo Safari Lodge or Rwakobo Rock

Day 10: Horse ride in Lake Mburo National Park-Airport Transfer

After a light breakfast on this day, you will head to the park for an early morning horseback ride in the forest. Seeing wildlife and taking a nature walk while mounted on a horse is perhaps one of the most incredible experiences offered to tourists to Lake Mburo National Park through a horseback riding safari. Some of the creatures you may see on a horseback riding safari in the park are zebras, impalas, and elands, which are shy animals that are interested in seeing their close cousins without the black and white stripes. The quietest way to visit the park is on horseback since it doesn’t leave any trace, generates noise, and pollutes the air like when using other means. After having a hearty breakfast at your lodge, check out, and begin the drive back to Entebbe International Airport to get ready for your next journey. The Uganda equator line, which is located near Kayabwe and is thought to divide the world into the northern and southern hemispheres, will be your stopover on your route to Entebbe International Airport.

You can observe the water experiment at the Equator Landmark, which demonstrates how forces act differently on opposite sides of the Earth and establishes the differences between the two hemispheres. For instance, water descends from the funnel in a clockwise manner in the northern hemisphere and an anticlockwise manner in the southern hemisphere. Take some memorial photos with one foot in the southern and another in the northern hemispheres to capture the opportunity to take a picture while standing in both directions of the globe at the same time. Here, the sun rises and sets quickly, and the temperatures and weather are generally consistent throughout the year. You will have the opportunity to verify or refute the claim that standing at the equator causes your body weight to decrease by roughly 3 kg. After the water experiment, eat lunch and browse various craft stores to get mementos that are entirely created using indigenous Ugandan artwork. Once you’ve spent some time at the Ugandan equator, continue to Entebbe International Airport to be ready for your flight back. Your 10-day Uganda Wildlife and Primate Safari will come to an end at this point.