12 Day Explore Uganda the Pearl of Africa by road

  • 12 Days 11 Nights
  • Uganda, East Africa
  • Group
  • catherine@nkuringosafaris.com
Home / Scheduled Group Safari Trips / 12 Day Explore Uganda the Pearl of Africa by road

Africa Safari, Scheduled group tour, Classic Primate Safari

12 Day Explore Uganda the Pearl of Africa by road

Tour Overview

  • PriceFrom $3,817
  • Duration 12 Days 11 Nights
  • Dates Feb 20, Mar 8, May 15, 2021
  • Aug 25, Oct 23 and Dec 23 2021
  • LocationUganda
  • Departure CityEntebbe
  • End CityEntebbe
  • Contact nameCatherine
  • Contact phone+256 774 805580
  • Cancellation policyUp to 90 Days
  • AccommodationMid-range Sharing (single supp.)
  • Group TypeAnyone can join
  • Restriction No Children Bellow 15 years
  • LanguagesEnglish

Safari Overview

Explore Uganda, a great destination to experience wildlife viewing in both forest and Savannah. Not to be missed is mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; while chimps can easily be spotted in Kibale Forest. Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks offer wonderful Africa safari savanna game drives, not as huge as Kenya but small enough to explore the Africa Big game animals in an open roof safari truck. Ziwa rhino sanctuary and Buniga Batwa Trail are among the hotspots not to miss.

The Explore Uganda Safari takes you to one of the very few places to see endangered mountain gorillas, combines primate viewing with a classic savannah safari, gives you a good balance between vehicle, boat and walking activities and not leaving out the excellent birding experience and the scenic beauty.

Safari Highlights

  • Discover the southern, central and north-western regions of the Pearl of Africa
  • An unforgettable encounter with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and with the chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
  • Beautiful hike “across” Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, accompanied by a professional guide and armed rangers
  • Game drives and boat cruises in the main national parks of the country: Lake Mburu, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls
  • Encounter with white rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Meet, explore and learn from the local communities
  • Support sustainable tourism initiatives

Know before you go

  • You’ll be visiting Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Gorillas), Queen Elizabeth NP (Savanna) and Lake Mburo NP (Savanna), Kibale Forest (Chimps), Murchison Falls NP & Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (Big 5)
  • The tour is limited to a maximum of 6 travelers per vehicle, and 30% deposit on confirmation.

Safari Includes

  • Local guide
  • Permits ($1,140)
  • Food and drinks
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers in 4×4
  • Group tour
  • English guide
  • Gratuities
  • All activities
  • Visa & travel insurance

General FAQs

  • You can reschedule the Explore Uganda trip as a private Africa safari 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$900   for both permits in 2021) 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.

All accommodation has been specifically selected and all in strategic locations for the start of most of the activities in the Itinerary.

Papyrus Guesthouse – Entebbe

Located 10 minutes drive from Entebbe International Airport in the residential area of Upper Kiwafu. The fifteen bedroomed Guesthouse is like staying with friends. The rooms are comfortable and simple – they are all en-suite and fully supplied with high-quality mosquito nets, beds, cooling fans, safes and guest amenities.

There is a TV lounge, WiFi in the main areas and extends to most of the rooms, complimentary airport transfer.

Rwakobo Rock Lodge

Rwakobo is nestled on a scenic outcrop with breathtaking views. Animals such as zebra, warthog, impala and bushbuck abound around the lodge and often congregate at the water hole beneath the dining area. At night the sounds of the bush come to life and allow your imagination to run wild.

This idyllic spot is situated just over 1Km from the Nshara Gate of Lake Mburo National Park. Guided walks can be organized from the Lodge to include easy and challenging walks offering the chance to get close to nature.

Every night (weather permitting) the friendly Rwakobo staff stoke up a campfire so you can watch the sunset explode into a brilliant starlit sky

Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

The lodge – is situated on the Southwest of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with stunning views over the Bwindi Forest, the Magnificent Virunga Volcanoes and the Great Albertine Rift Valley. There are 12 hand-crafted cottages and 6  Virunga Terrace rooms, each offering all modern comforts, the tranquillity of the Rain forest, the atmosphere of a mountain chalet and the warm hospitality Ugandans are known for.

The lodge facilities include a cozy restaurant serving homemade meals and freshly baked loaves of bread, a bar and lounge with an amazing view, massage room and Complimentary WiFi.

Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge prides itself on its green Credentials and through its various initiatives including solar energy and rainwater harvesting, proudly operates with Carbon Neutral footprint.

The lodge is an ideal starting point for Gorilla tracking as well as many other interesting activities the area has to offer.

Kasenyi Safari Camp

Kasenyi Safari Camp is strategically located on the rim of lake Bunyampaka in the Kasenyi savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The camp has an elevated dining structure that is meticulously thatched. The tents are on platforms with a thatched canopy roof. There are four tents all with en-suite bathrooms, spacious living areas and private decks. Many animals frequent the camp during the day & at night. Lion prides, hippo, leopard, buffalo, elephant, waterbuck, kob, hyena and warthog are frequently seen. The night comes alive with sounds of hyenas howling and lions roaring.

Game Viewing in the Kasenyi Savannah – The most visited park in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park hosts cats in the Kasenyi savannah. Here the cats feed on the large numbers of Uganda kob. Some lions have learned to hunt buffalo and also climb trees.

Primate Lodge – Kibale

Primate Lodge is located in the heart of Kibale Rainforest National park, Uganda’s Primate Paradise and home to over 13 species of Primates, Mammals, butterflies and birds.

The location of the lodge is a perfect start point for chimpanzee tracking activity as well as the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, the briefing point is 5 minutes walking distance.

Features: 9 Luxury Cottages each secluded deep in the Forest with maximum Privacy.  7 Standard Cottages are private with en-suite facilities.

Amenities include, Spacious dinning and well stocked Bar, complementary room service, Free WiFi in Public areas.

Detailed Itinerary


Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe & Optional (Mabamba Swamps)

Arrival in Entebbe as per your international flights and your Explore Uganda Africa safari driver/guide will transfer your and your luggage to Papyrus Guest House for check-in.

Optional Excursion:

In the afternoon (depending on your arrival time), you have an option to prepare your Explore Uganda Africa safari with an afternoon excursion around Lake Victoria especially if you’re biding enthusiast. Departure hotel ((at 14.30/15.00 hours) by car and then take local canoe to Mabamba Swamp, one of the best places for spotting the rare shoebill storks. Of course, some fortune is needed but rarely does one leave the swamp without seeing one! Many other water birds have chosen this area as their home, so birding is always very interesting. Besides, this gives you chance to enjoy a relaxing sundowner on Lake Victoria and then return to the Guest House.

Accommodation & meals:

Papyrus Guest House (Garden Room) or similar
Bed & Breakfast basis; Lunch & Dinner on own’s account


Day 2: Travel to Lake Mburo National Park

After an early breakfast, you’ll embark on your first Explore Uganda Africa safari country trip to Western Uganda across the beautiful landscape of central Uganda made of rolling hills and cultivated terraces. Stop-over en-route at Mpambire, to watch the making of African drums using ancient local traditional methods, and get the experience of standing in both the earth’s hemispheres at the equator.

You’ll arrive at the lodge in Lake Mburo on time for lunch. After lunch at the lodge, take on your first Explore Uganda Africa safari challenge with a savanna game drive on the tracks on the park and a one-hour boat safari on Lake Mburo to catch sight of the beautiful landscapes and in search of close encounters with the local fauna: bushbucks, bush duikers, crocodiles, hippos, plenty of water birds, etc.

The drive between Entebbe and Lake Mburo usually takes about 5-7 hours but with the stunning country beauty through your safari truck window, that may seem like 45 minutes. The roads are newly paved and the emerald colors may tempt you to stop and stare!.

Accommodation & meals:
Rwakobo Rock Lodge (Cottage) on the edge of the national park or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 3: Mburo – Bwindi, Experience Batwa Natives Cultures

Day three of your Explore Uganda Africa safari get a little interesting with an early morning savanna game drive in the park’s tracks, then another countryside road trip through Uganda’s most beautiful districts up-to Bwindi Impenetrable where you’ll track the mountain gorilla the next day. The rolling hills, tea plantations, and tropical rainforest and towards the end the majestic chain of the Virunga Volcanoes will engulf your journey a Switz adventure never experienced before.

You’ll pass the towns of Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro before reaching Nkuringo, on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Arriving in the early evenings to check-in and take a stroll around the native Batwa villages down through the Buniga Forest Trail Walk. The local native tribe are always enthusiastic to see a foreigner walking by, very eager to greet “Mzungu” are the smiley little faces around the villages.

The Batwa tribe was forced to leave their home in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in 1991 when it was declared a UNESCO Heritage site for gorillas only. They had been living in the forest as nomadic hunter-gatherers for millennia, in perfect balance with the flora and fauna around. Moving out and suddenly living in communities with a completely different way of life has proven to be a huge challenge.

The drive from Lake Mburo to Nkuringo, Bwindi usually takes about 5-7 hours.

Accommodation & Meals:
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (Private Cottage) or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 4: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The fourth day is the biggest highlight of the Explore Uganda Africa safari because this is when you meet the elusive mountain gorillas. So, after an early breakfast, at around 7:45 am, with packed lunch and drinking water your private safari driver will transfer you the trailhead (National Park Head Quarters) for the briefing on the do’s and the don’ts while in the jungle with the gorillas. After the briefing, each group of 8 trackers, will be escorted by 2 game rangers and a guide into the African jungle to start your forest excursion.

The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular. The area offers a dramatic, steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken to find the mountain gorillas and the terrain varies as per the movements of these great apes.

The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered mountain giants is an awesome, exciting experience to be long savored. No one can give you that experience except yourself. Many find it to be a rare and moving opportunity. The tracking can take place at Nkuringo or at Rushaga (1 hr drive from Nkuringo), as per the gorilla permits obtained.

Upon return, relax at the lodge and, for those who like, at 5.00 pm either stroll through the community center or drive up to the “Top of the World” – the name given to the football field, high up in Nkuringo which offers amazing views over the peaks and forests around Nkuringo. A great way to stretch your legs after the gorilla tracking and to enjoy a sundowner.

Accommodation & meals:
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (private cottage) or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 5: Hike and canoe across Lake Mutanda

Your next Explore Uganda Africa safari challenge is on a canoe boat on Lake Mutanda, a beautiful spot around Bwindi Impenetrable. After an early breakfast, your driver will drive you to Rubuguri Junction (10km – 1 hour) to start a challenging hike across the beautiful landscapes and local Bwindi communities – a great opportunity to experience authentic African village life (9km – 2/3 hours).

Upon arrival at Lake Mutanda you then “settle” in a dugout canoe for 1-2 hours of gentle relaxed cruising across the lake, enjoying the beautiful panorama. After your relaxing African canoe trip, have lunch at Lake Mutanda Resort overlooking the impressive views of Lake Mutanda, then later meet with your driver and head back to Nkuringo.

Alternatively, you could also drive from the lodge directly to the lake (20k – 90 minutes), enjoy the canoe ride around the lake and drive all the way back to the lodge again. Guests decide!

Accommodation & meals:
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge or similar (Private Cottage)
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 6: Hike Across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (13 km)

So far the Explore Uganda Africa safari has had you well entertained, day six will require a bit of your fitness muscle. Prepare you backpack with lunch, energy bite and lots of water because you’ll be crossing the impenetrable forest from the southern to the northern trailhead.

After a very early breakfast with your packed lunch, water and energy bar, the driver will take you along the Nteko Ridge till the junction of the Ivy River Trail with the forest (7 km from the lodge), then he’ll hand you over to one guide and an armed ranger to take take you on an unforgettable hike across the Impenetrable forest (13km – 4-6 hours).

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a vast unique natural reserve – monkeys, duikers, bush pigs and some of Bwindi’s world renowned bird species plus many butterflies can be sighted. If you are very lucky you may even encounter gorillas! Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighbouring Rwanda, the park is nowadays an ecological island within a sea of villages and farmland, its conservation importance is immense.

The emphasis of this activity is for your walking guide to share his knowledge of the forest with you, it is not simply an A to B hike. The trail is also an important footpath for local people, particularly on market days, travelling from Nkuringo and Nteko to Buhoma, on the northern boundary of the park. There is no road through Bwindi so vehicles driving between the two locations have an incredible 170 km bone jarring journey of 6 to 8 hours.

You’ll have your lunch within the impenetrable forest.

Upon arrival at the park headquarters in Buhoma, meet with the vehicle driver, take your breath and view the rest of the journey to o Queen Elizabeth National Park through the window.

You’ll pass through the southern area of Ishasha, notably recognized for its resident tree climbing lions that are an exceptional attraction and one of the highlights of most Uganda Safaris taken within the park. The lions can be spotted hanging on branches of huge fig trees whereas the Uganda Kob (which is the major food to these lions) graze on the plains below.

The drive from Buhoma in Bwindi to Queen Elizabeth NP usually takes about 4 hours (180 km).

Accommodation & meals:
Kasenyi Safari Camp (Safari Tent) or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park

This Explore Uganda Africa Safari day is fully dedicated to savanna game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park and to the boat trip on the Kazinga Channel – the 36 km waterway which connects Lake George and Lake Edward which allows special viewing of African game and birds on the river banks, as the boat passes through pods of hippos. Crocodiles have only recently been seen in the Channel, they disappeared for 8,000 years after they were eliminated from Lake Edward by toxic ash from local volcanoes.

QENP is one of Uganda’s oldest parks officially established in 1952. The park was initially known as ‘Kazinga National Park’ before it was renamed in 1954 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. QENP hosts 95 species of mammals, more than any other park in Uganda, and 619 bird species, the second-highest of any park in Africa – the sixth-highest of any park worldwide.

Accommodation & meals:
Kasenyi Safari Camp (Safari Tent) or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 8: Queen Elizabeth NP, Game Drive & Boat Safari

You’ll take another day in Uganda’s savanna plains exploring the hidden gems. The Explore Uganda Africa Safari driver/guide will take you on another explosive game drive with your packed lunch, checking out some of the animals you missed the previous day.

In the afternoon you will continue to the lodge in Kibale National Park via the town of Fort Portal. Time permitting late afternoon trek to the ‘Top of the World’ to enjoy fantastic views of the Rwenzori Mountains, crater lakes, tea plantations and local villages.

The drive from QENP to Kibale ususlly takes about 3 hours (180kms).

Accommodation & meals:
Primate Lodge (Luxury Cottage) or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 9: Chimpanzee Tracking and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Get up early on this Explore Uganda Africa safari day and get to the trailhead for your Chimpanzee tracking experience.

The density and diversity of primates in Kibale National Park are the highest in the whole of Africa. The most well-known of its 13 species are the chimpanzees, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee population of this threatened primate is Uganda’s biggest. Additionally, Kibale is home to the uncommon I’Hoest’s monkey as well as East Africa’s biggest population of the endangered red colobus monkey. The black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby and potto are among the other primates.

Afternoon excursion to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, a great example of a community-based approach to the natural resources management which can be of good economic benefit to the local residents living within this area and to the tourism industry. This sanctuary is a paradise for bird watchers and skilled birders can spot up to 50 new species on a bird list. At today 138 species of birds have been recognized within the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, among which the Great Blue Turaco. Bigodi is also regularly visited by a diverse number of primate species from the nearby national park.

Accommodation & meals:
Primate Lodge (Luxury Cottage) or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 10: North Bound to Murchison Falls NP

Have your early breakfast, and prepare to take the northern circuit to Murchison Falls National Park.

Located at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into the vast palm-dotted savannah, Murchison Falls NP is bisected by the Victoria Nile. The “mythical” river plunges here 45 meters from the rift valley wall creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, centerpiece of the park and final “event” in an 80km stretch of the Nile river rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last energies from the river and transforms it into a broad placid stream flowing quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles.

The drive from Kibale forest to Murchison Falls usually takes about 8 hours (400 km).

Accommodation & meals:
Murchison River Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Packed Lunch; Dinner


Day 11: Murchison Falls National Park Game Drives 7 Boat Safari

Full day dedicated to the discovery of this unique national park.

Early morning game drive en route to the Victoria Nile Delta for a boat trip in this spectacular area teeming with birds and wildlife – several endemic species like the Rothschild’s giraffe, the Shoebill stork and the red-throated bee-eater. Water level permitting, short walk accompanied by the ranger guide.

In the afternoon, scheduled boat trip to the Murchison Waterfalls (with the possibility to disembark and walk to the top of the falls) – amazing for the panorama and the possible encounters with the local fauna: elephants, giraffes, buffalos, crocs, antelopes … Game drive on the way back to the lodge.

Accommodation & meals:
Murchison River Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 12: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and travel to Entebbe

On your last of the explosive Explore Uganda Africa Safari, after an early breakfast, departure to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – located in Nakasongola it is the only place in Uganda where southern white rhinos can be tracked. In 1983 both black rhinos and northern white rhinos were declared extinct throughout Uganda so the purpose of the NGO Rhino Fund Uganda is to return rhinos back into the country, through a program of breeding and release. The first 6 rhinos were translocated in 2005-06 (4 from Kenya and 2 from the USA) and it was 5 years before the first healthy calf was born, making him (“Obama” is the name) the first rhino born in Uganda in almost 30 years!

After lunch continuation to Entebbe where arrival is expected around 17.00. Transfer to the airport in time for the evening flight out. End of services.

The drive takes about 6 hours (390 km).

No accommodation
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch; Dinner on own’s account.

Depending on your departure flight possibility to book a day-use or an overnight at Papyrus Guest House. Kindly note that to be on the safe side we recommend to book only night flights or to overnight in Entebbe.

Number of ParticipantsCost
Based on 6 paxUS$ 3,817
Based on 4 paxUS$ 4,143
Based on 2 paxUS$ 5,120
Suppl. High SeasonUs$ 679
Single Suppl.US$ 838
Bookings not secured by the appropriate deposit will be released. Lodges Low Season: March, April, May, October, November
Lodges High Season: January, February, June, July, August, September, December

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