Home / Scheduled Group Safari Trips / 8 Day Classic Primate Safari by Road (Scheduled Group Safari)

Classic Primate Safari by Road (Scheduled Group Safari)

Classic Primate Safari by Road (Scheduled Group Safari)

Home / Scheduled Group Safari Trips / 8 Day Classic Primate Safari by Road (Scheduled Group Safari)

8 DAYS
USD $2,593

Safari Type
Group Safari (6Pax)

Activity Level
Moderate

Service Level
Mid-range

Overview

  • Get off the beaten path and into the untamed remoteness of Uganda’s destinations with a small group of like-minded travelers on a scheduled 8-day classic Primate Safari Adventure.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Walk with chimpanzee troops on Kibale Forest jungle trails and get first-hand experience of the life of a wild chimpanzee.
  • Spend a day on the animal tracks and water channels searching for Africa’s big game animals in Uganda’s savannah parks.
  • Meet the locals as they tale and showcase their native cultures. Walkthrough remote communities and live a day in the life of a local.
  • Stay in our best selection of bush lodges and camps, serving an exquisite gourmet selection with enchanting amenities.

Trip Price

4 PaxUSD 2,593 USD per person
2 PaxUSD 3,660 USD per person
Single sup (High Season)USD $600
Single sup (Low Season)USD $507

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

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

The 8-Day Classic Primate Safari is an adventure by road to three of Uganda’s most rewarding attractions on the western circuit. The safari begins in Entebbe and drives the longest southwest but breaks the 10-hour drive to Bwindi with a night at Lake Mburo National Park. Though tiny and lacking big game, Lake Mburo is perfect for a relaxed safari and is plentiful with antelope, zebra, buffalo, hippo, and more than 300 bird species. Here, you can even take a walk to meet the grazers up close on foot. Take a guided evening walk on the plains and a short game drive the following day before continuing your journey southwest.

You’ll have two nights in Bwindi at the elegant Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge. Nestled on a ridge at a 7000-ft altitude, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla lodge brags of unequaled 360-degree views of the Virunga Mountains’ chain and the emerald swatch of the impenetrable gorilla jungle. It’s a perfect base for the off-the-beaten-path gorilla trekking adventure pared with warm-linen nights in spacious private cottages and hearty meals. Spare no emotions when you lock eyes with a silverback mountain gorilla and let the experience change you for the good of the natural world.

You’ll meet the local forest Batwa tribe, walk through local communities, and the oldest foot trails across the impenetrable jungle. From Bwindi, you’ll travel north to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a game drive and boat safari. Here, herds of elephants, buffalo, eland, lions, hippos, crocodiles, leopards, hogs, and mischievous monkeys. You’ll spend a night here and continue to the rainforest jungle of Kibale to meet the naughty, wild chimpanzee troops. Spend two nights at Primate Lodge, explore the scenic area, meet the locals and relax at your forest camp.

The 8-day classic primate safari is a scheduled small group adventure perfect for a solo traveler who wants to share costs with like-travelers, a family, or a group of friends dreaming of Africa. If you want to travel privately on this same trip, yes, you can customize for just yourself with the help of our local expert consultants. Inquire Now!

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

Arrive at Entebbe International Airport, and our driver will be there to pick and transfer you to your hotel in the Entebbe suburbs. If your flight arrives in the morning, you can opt-in for one of the introductory tourist activities in Entebbe, like Mabamba shoebill tracking on Lake Victoria, a visit to Ngamba Chimp Island, or downtown shopping. Otherwise, you can relax at the lodge and tone down the jetlag.

If you planned your itinerary to take the Mabamba shoebill tracking excursion on Lake Victoria, the departure is at 2:30 pm or 3:00 pm. A driver will pick you up from the lodge and transfer you to the jetty, where you’ll catch a speedboat or motorized canoe to Mabamba Swamps. The boat will slow down to spot the shoebill, usually wadding in the long swampy grass. The shoebill (aka whalehead) is a massive stork-like bird with a grotesque bill that looks like a shoe. It is believed to have lived through the dino age, occupying the East and Central African mashes. It’s a popular attraction among birding enthusiasts and the like.

The excursion can take 3-4 hours and is managed by an expert guide, who will show more swamp inhabitants, including the African Fish Eagle, Purple Swamphe, African Green Pigeon, African Jacana, African Marsh Harrier, African Pigmy Goose, Black Crake, Black Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-crowned Waxbill, Black-headed Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Blue Swallow, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.

Meal Plan
Bed and Breakfast

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

Start the Classic Primate Safari adventure with a country drive west of Kampala across dazzling landscapes, cattle farms, beautifully cultivated gardens, and banana plantations. Your next destination is Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda’s smallest game reserve great for buffering the arduous journey to the mountain gorilla destinations.

You’ll have a couple of brief stops along the highway at the Equator Stop and at the Mpambire crafts center to watch local experts use traditional skills to make musical instruments and artifacts. If your driver is keen on time, you’ll be at the lodge in Mburo for lunch.

After your first wilderness lunch in Uganda, your guide will take you on your first game viewing drive on the pack’s tracks to watch the resident buffalo, impala, and zebra herds. Eland, pushback, and warthog are also common sightings on these drives.

Because of the absence of ferocious predators in the park, you can also take a guided walking safari or horseback ride (both optional) among these carefree savannah dwellers.

If you have the time, a one-hour boat safari on the lake’s fringes will bring you the closest to crocodiles, hippos, and plenty of water birds.

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

Drive from Lake Mburo to Bwindi. Drive Time: 5-7 hours

An early start will get you on the sunrise game tracks to sight early risers like eland, Impala, zebra, and buffalo before you get on the long-stretch highway to the southwestern tip.

This part of the Classic Primate Safari drives through the most beautiful country likened to Tuscany with beautifully cultivated rolling hills, winding tea plantations, tropical rainforest, and the dark blue Virunga Volcanoes backdrop. The steep winding roads through the mountains will demand a smooth drive, allowing you to capture the landscape’s dreamy stillness.

You’ll drive via the towns of Mbarara, Kabale, and finally Kisoro before turning onto the 32-km country dirt road to Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, on the southern edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The road may seem bumpy, but the stress will be absorbed by revealing scenery enchantment as you drive deeper into the remote country to your forest lodge.

Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge sits at a 7000-ft altitude on a magnificent ridge with stunning views across the rugged landscapes and beyond to the Virunga Volcanoes chain. Ten luxurious cottages sit above the Bwindi Forest canopy with distinctive elegance and startling luxury amid forest trees, flowers, and shrubs. Locally styled furnishings grace the spacious rooms, and light fills the space from private viewing decks over the forest swath and beyond the entire Virunga Volcanoes chain.

After checking in, take a stroll in the Batwa communities, and get first-hand experience with the forest tribe that once occupied Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, now a UNESCO world heritage site. The walk will help you ease into the environment and stretch your legs after that long drive in the back of a four-by-four. Maybe, stay back at the lodge, troll through the healing gardens, and feed on the quintessential views. The following day in the jungle will be physically demanding.

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

The Gorilla Trekking Adventure

The gorilla trekking excursion in Bwindi sets off at exactly 8:00 am after briefing about the activity. Trekkers have to be at the trailhead by 7:30 am.

The lodge will prepare an early energy-giving breakfast of mostly fruits and give you a lunch pack. Your driver will transfer you to the visitor center, arriving in time for the briefing. The south has two trailheads, so depending on your trekking permit, you may trek at Nkuringo trailhead (10-minute walk) or Rushaga trailhead (30-minute drive).

After a short briefing, the warden groups all travelers and assigns a gorilla group based on their physical ability. Pick up a walking free walking stick and a porter (if you have to) and join rangers and an expert guide on the trekking trail.

The trek is physically demanding and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours to locate the gorilla group. Duration depends on the location of gorillas and how rangers can keep up with their daily movements. That is why some trekkers go with a porter to assist in carrying their backpacks and navigating tough terrain. Otherwise, most trekkers can take on the challenge.

You’ll be allowed to spend 60 minutes with the gorillas when you find them. That is for the regular gorilla trekking permit of $700. But to spend more time of up to 4 hours with the gorillas, you’ll pay $1500 for the Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit.

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.

After your experience with the great apes of Uganda, 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.

Accommodation: NKuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Hike 16 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 the Buhoma visitor center in the north. On the Kashasha (16km) or Ivy (7 km) walking trails, one will be forced to forget their city estimates of great and small, wise and foolish, and immerse themselves in the ancient jungle’s enchanting freshness.

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 the plethora of colorful butterflies that decorate the dark forest.

At the other end, your driver will be ready to whisk you off into 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:  Katara Lodge (mind-range)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Morning Game Drive, Afternoon Boat Safari on Kazinga Channel, then Transfer to Kibale

This part of the Classic Primate Safari is all bout watching wild game of the savannah plains with the first half of the day spend in the back of a four-by-four safari truck. You’ll break the dawn with a game drive on the Kasenyi Game Tracks, north of Kazinga Channel.

The best lion-watching expeditions in Uganda occur on the Kasenyi Plains, especially if you’re up early or late in the evening. Large numbers of lions here prey on the abundant Uganda Kobs around the Kob breeding grounds. Mention Africa Safari to anyone and the first images that come to mind are lions hunting or dawdling on the open plains. Be alert as not to miss out on the unfolding action as the golden sunlight perforates the steamy morning plains. Carry extra batteries for your camera, because you may spend the better half of the day on the beaten tracks.

Expect some Elephant, Buffalo, Waterbuck, and Warthog sightings on the drive. Giant Forest Hog, Hyena, and perhaps even a Leopard, with luck, may cross your vision. As the midday heat intensifies in the back of the truck, your driver will take you back to the lodge to have lunch and a short break before you embark on another wildlife viewing adventure on Kazinga Channel.

At the Mweya jetty, you’ll board the Kazinga Channel boat launch that will bring you the closest to the park’s famous game while floating in the comfort of the viewing deck. Hippos huff and spray a few feet away, elephant dip, and buffalo linger in the elephant shallows. The channel’s shores are spotted with riparian birds like pink-backed pelicans, yellow-billed stork, malachite kingfisher, pied kingfisher, saddle-billed stork, fish eagle, martial eagle, and many others.

The 25-mile long Kazinga Channel linking lakes Gorge and Edward bisect the park, feeding the grasslands and forests and creating an oasis in the Great Rift Valley stretching almost 1978 sq km (763 sq mi). The boat launch is one of the top highlights of this Classic Primate Safari—one of the top wildlife viewing experiences in Africa.

After the boat launch, your driver will get on the 3-4-hr drive to Kibale, check into your forest lodge in time for dinner, a hot shower, and warm bedding. The following morning is another adventure with the loud and cheeky apes.

Accommodation: Turaco Treetops Lodge
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Chimpanzee Tracking or Habituation Experience, and Bigodi Walking Trail

Your jungle breakfast will be ready by 6:00 am, and your trip manager will make sure you’re at the Kanyanchu visitor center by 7:30 am for the trekking briefing. Suppose you’re joining researchers on the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. In that case, you’ll have to be at the visitor’s center by 5:00 am to catch the chimps as they wake from their nightly nests and follow them on their foraging expeditions.

There’s no doubt that this part of the Classic Primate Safari brings you to the most endowed rainforest with the highest concentration of primates in Africa. You definitely will be magically swept away in the jungle’s freshness like a Disney character. With over 1,500 chimpanzees in this jungle, chimp sightings in Kibale are guaranteed 98% of the time.

All you have to worry about is if you can keep up with their swift movements. Unlike gorilla trekking, where you sit and observe nonchalant dark giants in silence, chimpanzee bands are hyper-active and will keep you on your toes, only stopping for a few minutes to hoot, eat, fornicate, fart, groom each other. You’ll be amazed at how similar they are to our very own race.

On this jungle adventure, it’s typical for other primates to cross your paths, like the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. Even though your primary goal is to find the chimps, you’re most like to see the black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, and grey-cheeked mangabey swinging under the forest canopy. Forest mammals like elephants and duikers may cross your path but are most unlikely because they usually shy away from aliens.

For those with an eye for colorful birds, carry your binoculars and look out for the great blue turaco, yellow-spotted nicator, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, and black bee-eater. Although, your spiked adrenaline to meet your primitive cousins may overshadow your concentration to other sightings.

Your security within these untamed jungles will be high on UWA’s watchlist. So you’ll have a bunch of armed rangers flanking your trekking group and an expert guide to lead and feed you with relevant information. Pay much attention to the guide; there’s so much you’ll learn from his jungle stories.

Return to the lodge for lunch and later in the late afternoon, you’ll join the expert guides on the Bigodi walking trail. The afternoon excursion to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is an excellent example of a community-based approach to natural resources management that can benefit the residents living within this area and 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. Today 138 bird species have been recognized within the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, the Great Blue Turaco. Bigodi is also regularly visited by many primate species from the nearby national park.

After that walking adventure, you need not do anything to disrupt your memory bank but jungle quietness, birdsong, and a meditational evening at your forest lodge. A good conversation with your mates about the day’s experience will bring home the revered experiences and end the Classic Primate Safari on a warm note!

Accommodation: Turaco Tree Tops
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Transfer from Kibale Forest to Entebbe via Mubende. Drive time is 4-6 hours.

After a relaxed Classic Primate Safari breakfast, you’ll depart for Entebbe, with a lunch break en-route. In the afternoon, 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 5 – 6 hours (315 km).

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

Accommodation: No Accommodation
Meal Plan: Breakfast and Packed Lunch.

The Classic Primate 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 Classic Primate Safari Expedition, we stay in ideally located, mid-ranged forest lodges with amenities to deliver an authentic African safari 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, 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.

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

Transportation
As specified in your trip itinerary, we have arranged all 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, and 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

4 PaxUSD 2,593 USD per person
2 PaxUSD 3,660 USD per person
Single sup (High Season)USD $600
Single sup (Low Season)USD $507

Set Dates

Low Season Dates: April 10, May 15, Nov 20, 2022/23
High Season Dates: July 18, Dec 16, 2022/23

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 8.
  • Airport transfers
  • 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. Fill out this form to get a free quote from a local expert. Also, if you want to take this trip privately, yes we can work it out. Go ahead and fill out the form and state it clearly in the inquiry text.


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