Home / Scheduled Group Safari Trips / Explore Uganda, The Pearl of Africa (12-Day Small Group Safari)

Explore Uganda, The Pearl of Africa (Small Group Safari)

Explore Uganda, The Pearl of Africa (Small Group Safari)

Home / Scheduled Group Safari Trips / Explore Uganda, The Pearl of Africa (12-Day Small Group Safari)

12 DAYS
USD $5,711

Safari Type
Group Safari (6Pax)

Activity Level
Moderate

Service Level
Mid-range

Overview

  • Explore Uganda’s natural endowment on this 12-day Pearl of Africa Expedition with a small group of like-minded people. Experience hidden rich cultures, vast savannah plains, picturesque landscapes, verdant mountain jungles, giraffes, and acacia trees silhouetted against a savannah sunset,

  • Adventure into the untamed impenetrable jungles and spend memorable moments with a human-habituated mountain gorilla family group. This bucket-list African jungle experience will leave you forever connected with the primitive natural world.
  • Walk with chimpanzee troops in Kibale Forest trails and experience the daily life of chimpanzees in the natural habitat, the best chimp trekking experience in the world.
  • Take the oldest forest trail across the impenetrable forest from Nkuringo southern sector to Buhoma northern sector and get intimate with Africa’s richest and oldest eco-system.
  • Join the big game viewing adventures in Uganda’s greatest savannah parks on boat safaris and game drives.
  • Meet the locals and explore Batwa’s indigenous cultures around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
  • Stay in our best selection of serene lodges and camps, serving an exquisite gourmet selection with explosive amenities.

Price – Based on 6 people

Low Season$5,711 USD per person
High Season$6,282 USD per person
Single supplement$726 USD

Low Season Dates: Mar 8, 2022, May 15, 2022, Oct 23, 2022
High Season Dates: Feb 2, 2022, Aug 12, 2022, Jul 25, 2022, Dec 23, 2022

Local Experts

At Nkuringo Safaris we like to work with our customers to prepare a journey that will deliver maximum subjective experience. We understand that most guests will be traveling in places they have never been before that require skillful guidance from a local expert. These are the local experts that will help you plan this safari in your way!

LYDIA
CATHY

Itinerary

Explore Uganda, The Pearl of Africa, on this 12-day small group safari journey. The adventure explores Uganda’s western safari circuit, driving from Entebbe to Bwindi through picturesque landscapes, remote hamlets dotting the hilly green countryside, and fertile volcanic slopes neatly planted with dense rows of cowpea and string beans as far as the eye can see. In Bwindi, you’ll spend three nights at the enchanting eco-retreat Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge: your base to explore Bwindi forest and the mountain gorillas.

Trekking and spending peaceful yet electric (and well-chaperoned) time with mountain gorillas is a rare, heart-filling experience on this exploration trip. An exotic forest walk will complement that experience with Batwa cultural natives, where they’ll introduce you to local remote cultures.

More primate encounters with our closest cousin, chimpanzees, in the world-renowned Kibale National Park will be another highlight on this trip. You’ll walk with a human-habituated chimpanzee troop and spend another enchanting hour with the forest dwellers. Explosive game viewing drives and boat safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the far-flung Murchison Falls National Park will introduce you to Africa safari’s big game players like lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, buffalos, leopards, and crocodiles.

The explore Uganda trip is a small-group package centered around six people traveling together. You’ll be staying in mid-range safari lodges and camps. This trip is good-to-go as is! Meals, transportation in a four-by-four, and all permits and entry fees are included in the price.

Arrival, transfer to Papyrus Guest House, Mabamba Shoebill Tracking (Optional Activity)

When you arrive at the International Airport in Entebbe, airport procedures demand that you go through the COVID-19 travel restrictions check. Don’t be afraid because we’ll have prepped you on how to navigate through the entry points. Because these restrictions are dynamic and can change any day, please inquire with our consultants to give you the latest updates to avoid any inconveniences.

Papyrus Guest House is about a 15-minute drive from the airport in a tranquil suburban residential part of the Lake Victoria peninsula. Hugged into surreal nature gardens, birdsong, and freshness, the hotel is like a home to all our travelers from Entebbe International Airport.

You can relax back for your journey upcountry the next or get into the adventure right away with a canoe excursion on Lake Victoria to find the mystic shoebill waterbird. The shoebill is a big ancient waterbird that wades the Mabamba papyrus swamps on Lake Victoria. It’s one of the most sought-after birds in Africa and is endemic to East and Central Africa.

Meal Plan
Bed and Breakfast

Entebbe to Rwakobo Rock Lodge in Lake Mburo NP. Drive time: 5-7 hours

Enjoy an early breakfast, then journey to Western Uganda across the beautiful landscape of central Uganda with vast cultivated plains, banana plantations, and cattle farms. Briefly stop-over en-route at Mpambire and watch the making of traditional and local artifacts. The equator stop will be another excellent stop for a few Instagram moments. You’ll arrive in time for lunch at Rwakobo Rock Lodge.

Rwakobo Rock Lodge is a wilderness retreat secluded on a rocky outcrop at the edge of Lake Mburo National Park’s northern border. The lodge provides private getaways in the locally-styled cottages dotted around a massive granite outcrop, with stunning views over the wilderness plains.

After a hearty lunch at the lodge, take a game drive and meet resident favorites like buffalo, impala, zebra, eland, warthogs, and bushbuck. You can also take a one-hour boat safari to find crocodiles, hippos, and plenty of water birds or a horseback safari (not covered in the price.)

Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock Lodge (mid-range)
Meal Plan:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drive from Lake Mburo to Bwindi, encounter with the Batwa Tribe. Drive Time: 5-7 hours

Enjoy an early morning game drive in the park, then continue to Western Uganda across its rolling hills, tea plantations, tropical rainforest, and towards the Virunga Volcanoes majestic chain. Drive via Mbarara, Kabale, and Kisoro towns before heading onto the 32-km countryside dirt road to Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Keep your eyes out on the rugged Tuscany-like landscapes: the views are to-die-for!

On the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, on a magnificent ridge, sits Nkuringo Lodge’s ten luxurious cottages. The private cottages have a distinctive elegance and surprising luxury amid forest trees, flowers, and shrubs. Locally styled furnishings grace the spacious rooms, and light fills the space from your private viewing deck over the forest swath and beyond the entire Virunga Volcanoes chain.

After settling in, take a stroll around the community, encounter local cultures, and visit the Batwa indigenous tribe who once occupied Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, now a UNESCO world heritage site and gorilla home.

Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The Gorilla Trekking Adventure

After an early breakfast, a guide will drive you to the trailhead for briefing before hitting the jungles to find the mountain gorilla family. Trekking through the jungle could take 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on where the trackers last saw the mountain gorillas the previous evening. Make sure you are physically able to withstand the trek through uneven terrain, damp forest floors, and thick forest cover.

The beauty of this rainforest is spectacular. The area offers a dramatic, steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing tourists access. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered giants is an incredible, exciting experience to be long-savored. Many find it to be a rare and moving opportunity. As per your gorilla permit, the tracking can occur at Nkuringo or Rushaga (a 1 hr drive from Nkuringo).

When you meet the gorillas, your guide and rangers will allow you only 60 minutes before they escort you back. You can spend more time with the mountain gorillas only when you purchase the Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit that costs USD 1,500 per person. The experience allows a permit holder at least four hours with a semi-habituated gorilla family.

After your experience with the mountain giants, and if you still have the guts to explore the region, you can take an evening guided walk to meet the local tribespeople, the Batwa. You can also visit a single-family home, listen to their age-old tales and delve into their hidden cultures, song, and music.

Back at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, as the night cools down, you have a roaring campfire and local songs to look forward to, as well as a deep massage, perfect for soothing any aching muscles after a day of hiking.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

9-km hike to Lake Mutanda and 2-hour canoe experience

After an early breakfast this morning, drive to Rubuguri Junction (10k – 1 hour) to start a nice hike across beautiful landscapes and local communities – an excellent opportunity to experience authentic village life (9km – 2/3 hours). Upon arrival at Lake Mutanda, you then “settle” in a dugout canoe for 1.5-2 hours of gentle, relaxed cruising across the lake, enjoying the beautiful panorama.

Meet with your vehicle and drive back to Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge. Of course, 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: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Hike13 km across Bwindi and transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Our travelers’ favorite and pioneer activity is hiking on the ancient trails through the mystic Bwindi jungle, from the Nkuringo south side to Buhoma trailhead in the north. At the gates of the forest, the surprised traveler will be forced to forget their city estimates of great and small, wise and foolish, and wrap themselves in the majestic beauties of the ancient jungle.

For 4-5 hours, you’ll be guided by a local expert who’ll furnish you with ancient tales, incredible forest knowledge and bring you close to being one with the forest trails. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet some wild forest inhabitants like chimps, forest elephants, duikers, forest buffalo, and more.

At the other end, your driver will be ready to whisk you off to the Ishasha savannah plains, where he’ll lazily drive for you to catch sight of the incredible tree-climbing lions. You’ll be at Kasenyi Safari Camp in time for dinner.

Accommodation:  Kasenyi Safari Camp
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Big Game Viewing – Game Drives & Boat Safari

This part of the Explore Uganda itinerary will give you a chance to get close to Africa safari’s big game players on an early morning or evening game drive and a boat safari on Kazinga Channel, famous for hosting the largest population of hippos. Games drives on Kasenyi tracks will encounter animals like enormous herds of elephants and buffalo. You’ll also spot out many interesting antelope species such as Uganda kob, topi, and bushbuck. The giant forest hog is unusually easy to spot. Search around the Kasenyi tracks for the elusive leopard.

On the Kazinga Channel boat safari trip that will set off at 14:00, you’re able to catch sight of elephants, buffalo, waterbuck, Uganda kob, and large hippo pods daily. Keep an eye open for the enormous water monitor lizard, which is common in the riverine scrub, as well as crocodiles. You’ll also see the giant forest hog, leopard, and lion. The odds of seeing predators and other nocturnal creatures coming to drink are highest in the late afternoon.

We’ll be back at Kasenyi Safari Camp for another overnight.

Accommodation: Kasenyi Safari Camp
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Morning game drive, transfer to Kibale National Park

If you’re up for another explore Uganda game-viewing adventure, you’ll take a morning game drive in the Kasenyi northern tracks to catch sight of what you could have missed before we head to the primate capital in Kibale.

Driving with Rwenzori ranges backdrop, you’ll drive for 2-3 hours into Kibale Forest and check-in at Primate Lodge.
In the afternoon, trek to the ‘Top of the World’ to enjoy fantastic views of the Rwenzori Mountains, crater lakes, tea plantations, and local villages.

Primate Lodge’s rustic style affords beautiful views of the dense ethereal rainforest and is quietly secluded, offering an authentic experience. The main open lounge area features comfortable armchairs and sofas, making it a lovely spot to unwind after a day in the forest while listening to the red-tailed monkeys in the surrounding trees. Fires are lit on cool evenings, creating a cozy atmosphere, while colorful traditional dance performances give you a real insight into the local culture. However, the lodge’s highlight is the jungle hikes to track and spot chimpanzees in their natural setting.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Chimpanzee Tracking and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Wake early and be at the visitors’ center by 8:00 to embark on another primate viewing adventure in Kibale Forest. Kibale is commonly known for the diversity and density of primates in Africa. Its stands out as the best place to watch chimpanzees up-close in their natural setting, with over 1500 chimpanzees under the park’s rainforest canopy and a dozen other primate species.

On your morning trek to find the chimps, it’s prevalent for other primates to cross your paths, like the rare L’Hoest’s monkey and red colobus monkey. Other primates you may encounter include the black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, and grey-cheeked mangabey. However, your primary goal will be to find a troop of human-habituated chimpanzees.

Guided by an expert tracker, you’ll head into the jungle in small groups, looking out for tale-tale signs of the chimp’s direction and listening for loud calls. The experience usually lasts 2 to 6 hours, depending on the location of the habituated chimpanzee troop. Visitors are allowed from 1 hr to almost the whole day with the chimpanzees, and the quality and intimacy of each sighting can vary highly.

Afternoon excursion to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

This sanctuary is a paradise for bird watchers; skilled birders can spot up to 50 species on an afternoon nature walk. On a good day, you may see more than seven primate species in Bigodi treetops. It’s one of the best places to find the other primate species because of the abundance of fruit trees. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is an excellent example of a community-based approach to natural resources management that has greatly benefited the residents living within the area.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Driving Kibale to Murchison Falls National Park. Drive Time: 7-8 Hours

After an early breakfast, you’ll drive 400 km north to Murchison Falls National Park for about 7 – 8 hours. MFN sits in the remote northwestern Ugandan region bisected by the Victoria Nile River. The “mythical” river plunges here 45m from the rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and final “event” in an 80km stretch of 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. You’ll check in at Murchison River Camp in time for dinner.

Located in one of Uganda’s remotest regions, the concept and design of Murchison River Lodge encourage gentle engagement with nature without compromising safari comfort. The rooms are spread out within 30 acres of natural bush with views from the main bar and restaurant across the Nile River and over the expansive Murchison Falls National Park’s savannah plains. From the vantage point of the lodge bar and restaurant, guests can relish the spectacular panoramic views of the park and the early journey of the famous River Nile as it flows downstream between papyrus islands and hippo pods.

Accommodation: Murchison River Lodge
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Game Drives and Boat Safari to Bottom of Falls.

Murchison River Lodge’s vantage point provides access to a wide range of guided safari activities. You’ll be out on an 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.

If lucky, you may catch sight of four of the BIG FIVE: rhinos are absent. Common sightings will include buffalo, and elephants are particularly common. There’s a healthy population of lions; your guide will be challenged to track on the morning drive. Many antelope species decorate the park’s plains, including Uganda kob, oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest, Defassa waterbuck, grey duiker, and bushbuck. Rothschild’s giraffe, leopard, and troops of the rare Pata’s monkey will also be spotted on the grassy plains.

In the afternoon, scheduled boat trip to the Murchison Waterfalls, with the possibility of hiking to the top of the falls and catching that fantastic panoramic view of the falls.

Accommodation: Murchison River Lodge
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Murchison to Ziwa, Rhino Tracking, Entebbe – End of Tour

After an early breakfast, your party will drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, just outside Murchison Falls Conservation Area, to track Uganda’s only rhinos in the wild. More than 19 southern white rhinos are roaming the sanctuary’s savannah and wetland, many of which were born in the wild in Uganda. A guide will lead you on foot to get an up-close encounter.

While tracking rhinos on foot sounds a bit foolhardy, the fact that they’re in the company of armed anti-poaching rangers 24 hours means they’re well and indeed used to human presence.

The sanctuary is also home to 350 bird species, with highlights including giant kingfishers, Ross’s turacos, and the mystical shoebill. Other animals living inside the 6ft-tall electric fence include leopards, hippos, crocodiles, bushbucks, and oribis. The time to spot the shoebill will be early-morning on shoebill canoe trips to an adjoining swamp, where you have an excellent chance of spotting them.

You’ll head directly to Entebbe to prepare for your flight back home. Last night in Entebbe is not included in the itinerary, though.

Accommodation: Papyrus Guest House (Not included in the price)
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch.

The Explore Uganda Safari has an activity rating of moderate; travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of walking or hiking over uneven terrain on some days. You’ll be trekking mountain gorillas for about 1 to 6 hours through the thick jungle at elevations that may reach 8,000 feet. Treks can be arduous, and the terrain can be steep, uneven, wet, and muddy. Travelers must be at least 15 years old. The journey also involves several long driving trips between destinations for up to ten hours with multiple stops.

Accommodations
Throughout the Pearl of Africa safari Expedition, we stay in ideally located, mid-ranged forest lodges with amenities to deliver an authentic African experience. In Entebbe, our property Papyrus Guest House will welcome you into the country and, in the end, give you a good send-off. We also operate a multi-award-winning property in Bwindi, where you’ll spend two nights. To ensure our guest’s safety, we have vatted and checked with all lodges for Covid-19 standards of operation and have found that they comply.

Covid-19 Standards
Please take and carry a NEGATIVE PCR COVID-19 TEST certificate. 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.

Safari Team
Nkuringo Safaris Expert and a Trip Leader will accompany this trip, and local guides will join us along the way.

Transportation
As specified in your trip itinerary, we have arranged all of your transportation needs during your Uganda Gorillas in The Wild Adventure. When spending time on your own, you may choose to visit a site that requires transportation. If this is the case, your Trip Leader will happily recommend convenient transportation options.

The open savannah and remote forest jungle are the safest places from COVID-19 infections and our primary concern is your health.

Uganda COVID-19 entry questions and answers

Is Uganda really a safe destination to travel to?

How Nkuringo Safaris intends to keep you safe

HELPING KEEP YOU SAFE

Our health and safety protocols will consider the latest guidance and recommendations by the Government of Uganda, international and local health agencies, and destination partners. Learn More

UPDATED BOOKING POLICY

To provide you more flexibility, we have modified our booking policies. Through June 30, 2021, guests can book this itinerary with fully refundable deposits up until 60 days prior to departure. Learn More

Trip Prices

Low SeasonUSD 5,711 USD per person
High SeasonUSD 6,282 USD per person
Single suppl.USD $726

Set Dates

Low Season Dates: Mar 8, 2022, May 15, 2022, Oct 23, 2022
High Season Dates: Feb 2, 2022, Aug 12, 2022, Jul 25, 2022, Dec 23, 2022

Supplement for flights

Entebbe — Kisoro — USD 353 per person

Kasese – Entebbe — USD 283 per person

 

Prices are per person based on the number of travelers and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. Included in the price are the Gorilla & chimps permits and park entry fees at $1140 per person in 2021/22, transportation, accommodation, and meals. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and are subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

INCLUDED

  • All accommodation and meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinking water in the vehicle (1 liter per person per day) and while at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
  • 1 Gorilla tracking permit and park entrance to all National Parks ($1140)
  • All the excursions and activities indicated in the itinerary (canoe ride, walks, etc.) under the supervision of an experienced English-speaking Walking Guide
  • Support of a private 4×4 vehicle with a professional English-speaking driver guide, from the morning of day 2 to the late afternoon of day 6.
  • Transfer to Entebbe upon arrival
  • AMREF Evacuation Insurance cover
  • Government taxes

NOT INCLUDED

  • Uganda Entry Visa fee
  • PCR COVID TEST
  • International air flights
  • Any optional activity not indicated in the itinerary.
  • Laundry Services
  • Gratuities and Tips
  • Airfare to and from destination
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages

BOOK IT NOW

This trip is good-to-go on the set dates; please fill out the form to get a free quote from our local experts. If you want to take this trip privately, please go ahead and fill out the form stating clearly in the inquiry your expectations on the trip.


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