Gorillas and Serengeti — Tanzania & Uganda Photo Safari

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11 Day Gorillas & Serengeti Adventure — Tanzania & Uganda Photo Safari

  • Price
  • Duration 11 Days 10 Nights
  • Dates Open
  • Safari TypeGuided, Private Safari
  • Starts/End Arusha (TZ)/ Entebbe (UG)
  • Entry Requirements PCR COVID-19 Test, Visa
  • Important Fees Gorilla Permit
  • Contact nameLydia
  • Contact phone+256 774 805580
  • Cancellation policyUp to 30 Days
  • AccommodationAs shown in itinerary
  • Group TypeTraveler’s choice
  • Restriction No Children Bellow 15 for gorillas
  • LanguagesEnglish

Safari Overview

Take your wildlife photography to another level on this private gorillas & Serengeti photo safari adventure in Tanzania and Uganda. Learn to work your camera with moving wild scenes of dazzling zebra, wildebeest, big savanna cats, and giant forest apes.

This photo safari adventure offers you a rare chance to shoot unforgettable animal portraits of the BIG Five, the endangered mountain gorillas and native tribes of Tanzania and Uganda. Photograph the Batwa (in Uganda) peoples’ traditional way of life. Take a classical raw adventure into the untamed East African wilderness with your camera.

The gorillas & Serengeti expedition starts in Arusha, Tanzania and traverses through northern Tanzania, and it ends in Entebbe, Uganda. From Serengeti, you’ll fly into Uganda by local flight and continue your journey to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

You’ll spend three nights at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, a jungle-clutched forest lodge soaring above the jungle on a forested ridge. From here, you’ll trek the elusive, majestic mountain gorillas. This part of the photo safari trip will challenge your bush photography skills. Perfect your saturation and exposure adjustment skill by snapping the dark-fared gorillas within a thick, misty, green backdrop under low light. You’ll also hike across the ancient Bwindi forest from Nkuringo (higher south) to Buhoma (lower north) via the Kashasha river trail with a local walking safari guide.

With the help of a dedicated safari consultant, you can customize or tailor-make this Tanzania-Uganda safari trip in your travel style.

Safari Highlights

  • Fly-in Safari, local scheduled or chartered small plain between locations
  • Wildlife photography of the moving great migration and ‘big five” on the Serengeti-mara triangle
  • Take African village photos and portraits with the Masai people of Kenya and Batwa forest pygmies of Uganda
  • Photograph the elusive gorillas of the mountains in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
  • Sleep in the most exclusive camps and lodges selected for you by experts.
  • Observe destination standard operating procedures to avoid COVID19 transmission.

Know before you go

  • The Gorillas & Serengeti safari journey starts from Arusha, Tanzania. You drive across northern Tanzania into Serengeti, fly to Entebbe, transfer to Bwindi, and hike across the gorilla forest. In the end, you’ll take a local flight from Bwindi to Entebbe.
  • Please take and carry a NEGATIVE PCR COVID-19 TEST certificate, and you’ll be required to present it for entry. We’ll be keen to observe Covid-19 guidelines to ensure your safety during this trip. The lodges booked for you have been checked for Coronavirus standards of operation and have been found to comply.
  • The trip requires average fitness to trek the gorillas, and Covid operating procedures will be much observed to protect you and the animals.
  • The Tanzania-Uganda tour is limited to 6 travellers per vehicle and a 30% deposit on the confirmation.

Safari Includes

  • Local guide
  • Gorilla Permit ($700)
  • Food and drinks
  • Accommodation
  • Regional Flights & 4×4 Transfers
  • Private tour
  • English guide
  • Gratuities & tips
  • All activities
  • Visa & travel insurance

General FAQs

  • You can reschedule this trip as a private tour to any date up to 12 months at no cost.
  • A 30% deposit of the total tour price will be required to secure a booking, the balance being due 45 days before the tour departure date.
  • Bookings not secured by the appropriate deposit will be released.
  • Cancellation between 90 and 45 days of tour departure will incur a 20% of tour price penalty charge. Confirmed bookings cancelled within 45 days of the tour departure date or no show will incur 100% of tour price penalty charge.
  • Availability of accommodation and activities is not guaranteed; reservations will be made after receiving confirmation of the final itinerary and the payment of the requested deposit. Should any of the quoted accommodations not be available, we reserve the right to substitute it with an alternative suitable option, which might affect the final quoted price.
  • All clients who participate in this tour must be adequately covered by medical insurance as well as travel insurance to protect them in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Rates specified for this tour are subject to change without notice, however, every effort will be made to maintain them. In the event of any change of Government taxes or operating conditions that affect the rates we reserve the right to pass on these charges.

(different and separate from the tour cancellation policy)

Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permits will be guaranteed ONLY upon receipt of the deposit (US$750 for both permits in Jan to Jun 2020 and US$900 in Jul-Dec 2020) since we need to immediately pay Uganda Wildlife Authority Offices in order to secure the permits.

Cancellations received on full payment:

  • More than 90 days before the tracking date, 25% cancellation fee
  • 89 to 46 days before the tracking date, 50% cancellation fee
  • 45 to 9 days before the tracking date, 75% cancellation fee
  • 8 to 0 days before the tracking date, 100% cancellation fee

Important: the minimum age required for gorilla tracking is 15 years whereas for the chimps the minimum age required is 12 years; in case of flu or of any other airborne disease the visitor will be not allowed to meet with the gorillas or the chimps.

Detailed Itinerary

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and transfer to your booked hotel.

Accommodations: Rivertrees Country Inn
Meal Plan: Dinner

Fly Arusha to Serengeti National Park.

On your first day on the African dirt, you will take a local scheduled/chartered flight to Serengeti, lazily flying over the colourful Lake Manyara NP and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Flying over Ngorongoro’s creator will make you feel bad about your choice to fly. The conservation area is teaming with the big five games, predators stalking the vast herds of wildebeests and zebras traversing its plains on the ground. This is a photographer’s dream.

Drive From Arusha to Ngorongoro, Manayara, Serenegeti

Alternatively, you can take a four-by-four road drive from Arusha to Ngorongoro, passing Lake Manyara to capture incredible morning shots of this colourful safari park. Spend a night (or two) at Ngorongoro Crater and half the following day, then drive into Serengeti the next evening.

Remember, the Gorillas & Serengeti trip is a tailor-made private safari; we can move things around to create a great experience based on your preferences.

Whichever route you choose, we’ll drive to the lodge in the central Serengeti, looking for lions, cheetahs, and leopards along the way.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation choice:
Plantation Lodge (Ngorongoro Crater)
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (Ngorongoro Crater)
Serengeti Sopa Lodge (Serengeti)

Wake early and have breakfast. The first light out is always great for wildlife photography. We’ll take an early morning game drive and maybe capture a lion hunt with luck. But the real drama will be up north. The great wildebeests and zebra herds will have started their annual journey to the Mara, with the preditors following their meal. We’ll find the great photography spots and catch some action before the sun goes down on the golden savannah plains.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Rise early for a morning game drive before flying to the northern Serengeti, and with luck, witness the dramatic river crossings of the wildebeest migration. Great herds of wildebeests and zebras eye predators warily as crocodile snouts break the Mara River’s surface. Stay at the luxury tented camp and on morning and afternoon game drives, take in the region’s spectacular array of wildlife. On our last evening, gather for a candlelit farewell dinner in the bush.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Accommodation: Sayari Camp

Rise early for a morning game drive before you catch a quick flight to Entebbe International Airport. The flight from Serengeti to Entebbe Airport (Ebb) will take about two and a half hours. After check-in at our lodge in Entebbe, you can opt for a canoe ride on the massive Lake Victoria into the Mabamba swamps to photograph the most remarkable bird on the continent. The weird shoe-like beak on the shoebill stork makes you want to press that shutter into the camera, and it is quite an image.

Later relax in the quiet residential suburbs of Entebbe, awaiting your following day’s Gorillas & Serengeti expedition. You’ll take a short local flight early morning to misty mountain jungles.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Accommodation: Papyrus Guesthouse Entebbe

Flight from Entebbe to Kihihi Airstrip, Near Kisoro Town

We’ll take an early morning small flight from Entebbe to an airstrip near Kisoro town. Our Gorillas and Serengeti Photo Safari driver will pick you up in a 4×4 safari vehicle and drive you to Kisoro town. Have a cup of coffee in the town, then pick out light gear for the hike through local villages. Photo your way through the raw African village scene and capture untamed cultural settings. Carry some local change to tip the locals for taking their portraits; they like to be rewarded, very much! You’ll also take a 2-hour dug-out canoe right on Lake Mutanda’s calm waters with some of the most picturesque landscapes on this journey.

Have a hot lunch at the stunning Lake Mutanda Resort, overlooking one of those stunning mountain lakes around Bwindi. The driver will go round and pick you up at Lake Mutanda Resort. You can spend a night at the resort or hop on the four-by-four for a 45-minute countryside ride to the cosy Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Alternatively, spend a night at Mutanda Lake Resort

Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Jungle.

This part of the Gorillas & Serengeti Photo-safari will require you to hit the gym weeks before you come, just to get you comfortable enough to stay on your feet for more than 4 hours. You’ll be trekking a challenging terrain, climbing up and down the steep slops. We can’t accurately tell how long it could take to locate the gorillas, maybe about 30 mins to 4 hours. It’s all about the anticipation and walking challenge in unusual situations that make this an authentic jungle adventure!

Wake up early for a briefing at the visitor centre by 7:30 am. The park warden will detain you for about 30 mins briefing the trekking party about a couple of rules and verifying your trekking permit. They’ll then split you into small groups of eight tourists assign you two armed rangers and an expert tracker.

With the armed rangers and a tracker leading the way a walkie-talkie, you’re safer in these jungles than on the streets of London. The wilderness is a melee of tangled vines, musty orders and smoky mist under the dark canopy. There are no visible trails, so the tracker will be cutting for you a path using a fine-edged machete and communicating with other rangers to pinpoint the gorilla family’s location.

The best time to test your camera for forest light photography is when you’re tracking the gorillas; take a couple of shots and adjust your camera to eliminate anxiety when sitting with the gorillas. Remember, you only have one hour with the wild apes; that can pass you by like a cold summer wind. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells. Prepare yourself for how you’ll handle the excitement of seeing the gorillas while capturing the best images in light-demanding natural scenes.

We highly recommend the gorilla habituation experience over the regular gorilla trek for an extended photography time with the gorillas of about four hours. However, some photographers can’t handle the intense movement with the semi-habituated gorillas, and they prefer the calm bunch that is fully habituated with less movement.

You may be out of the jungle by 1:30 pm. Spend the rest of the afternoon at the lodge chatting about your experience with a drink and gorgeous landscape views.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

Visit the Batwa forest tribe.

Have a late breakfast and relax the morning away at the lodge. In the late hour after lunch, you’ll visit the Batwa people and get to experience their cultures and traditions. Capture some beautiful portraits for your collection in this 3-hour cultural experience.

At sundown, we’ll relax at the top of the world, a soccer pitch at the top of a mountain 7,000 ft high. Here you’ll sit is a 360-degree view of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes, the entire Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and miles beyond to the Rwenzori Ranges. Time to test your misty mountain landscape photography skills.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

Walk 7/14 Kilometers Across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

From the southern sector to the northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable forest are two trails that bisect somewhere in the jungle; Kasahsha Trail and Ivy Trail. The locals have been using the trails for centuries to connect trade between Buhoma and Nkuringo towns. They still use these trails because they are shorter than the 72-kilometre main road around the national park.

Taking one of these trails will introduce you to the peaceful serenity of the jungle that the local tribes have enjoyed for centuries. You could hike in this jungle for the whole day; the essence is you to take the most beautiful nature shots and get intimate with the ancient rainforest

If you accept this Gorillas & Serengeti Photo Safari challenge, you’ll take one of the trails across to Buhoma and check into your lodge the instant you walk out of the park gate, have a hotel shower, nice meal, and gaze at the star-decorated night sky while listening to the sound of the mighty forest you just conquered.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Accommodation:  Buhoma Lodge

Midday Flight from Kihihi  to Entebbe

After breakfast, drive 130 km to Kihihi Airstrip in time for your 14:30 flight to Entebbe. Spend the last of your day and night at the country house in Entebbe. You’ll catch your flight back home the next day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Papyrus Guest House