10 Days western Uganda wildlife safari
Day 1: Kampala-Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – Murchison Falls National Park
Our adventure begins at 8 am when we will transfer from Entebbe Old Town or downtown Kampala to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. Rhinos became extinct in Uganda in the early 1980s and the Ziwa site is being used as a breeding site for black and white rhinos. During our 2 hours at the sanctuary, we will see these creatures roaming around the 7,000 hectares of land and see their daily interactions.
As we leave the rhinos behind, we will proceed to Murchison Falls National Park, on the shore of Lake Albert where the River Nile roars through a narrow gap creating the Murchison Falls. We will enjoy dinner and an overnight stay at the lodge.
Day 2: Game Drive, Boat Trip, & Top of the Falls Hike at Murchison Falls National Park
Wake up to an exhilarating start to the day as we embark on a game drive in the park to spot elephants, lions, giraffe, and other wildlife. This Murchison Falls safari does not stop on the land because, in the afternoon, we will take a relaxing boat trip on the iconic River Nile where, if we’re lucky, we’ll have a chance to see crocodiles, hippos, and an array of rare birds. We will see for ourselves the point where the River Nile joins Lake Albert, which is one of the major highlights of this trip. Feel the immense power and force of the falls as the spray hits your face and you listen to the deafening roar of the water. At the end of the boat trip, we will hike the famous ‘Top of the Falls’ where we have spectacular views of the Murchison Falls along the Nile River, a perfect photo opportunity for the budding photographers. We will return to our lodge for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 3: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park (7-8 hours of driving)
Day 3 is a day of driving, but fear not, you will still be entertained! On our journey, we will pass the time by marvelling at the scenic views of the Ugandan countryside, leaving Murchison Falls National Park behind and driving southwards to Kibale Forest National Park. The drive to Kibale will go through major western towns of Hoima and Fort Portal. We will arrive at Kibale in the early evening.
Day 4: Chimpanzee Trekking Kibale Forest National Park
Day 4 starts with us heading to the Kibale forest immediately after breakfast to track the chimpanzees in their forest home. If we are lucky on the trek, we may encounter other different species of monkeys in the Kibale forest. These include colobus monkeys, olive baboons, and red-tailed monkeys. In the afternoon, you can choose to join our optional activity and visit Bigodi Swamp Sanctuary known as a ‘birder’s paradise’.
Day 5: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park via Fort Portal
In the morning we will drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park via Fort Portal Crater Lakes, perhaps Uganda’s most iconic sight. These volcanic craters formed some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago and they provide an idyllic backdrop to the extensive hiking trail network in the area. Here, you will be able to enjoy the amazing views of western Uganda’s tea farmlands and plantations. If the weather is good, we’ll get a chance to spot the Rwenzori Mountain Escarpment in the distance. After a day full of spectacular views, we’ll check in to the lodge and relax in preparation for the following day’s game drives.
Day 6: Kasenyi Plains Game Drive and Kazinga Channel Boat Trip, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Once again, we will start our morning with a game drive where we can expect to spot wildlife species such as elephants, buffaloes, side-striped jackals, hyena, leopards, lions, warthogs, Uganda kobs, and giant forest hogs. What a way to start the day!
After lunch, we’ll take a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel where we will continue our wildlife spotting, this time we will see hippos, buffalo, crocodiles, bathing elephants, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be another highlight of your tour.
Day 7: Tree-Climbing Lions at the Ishasha Sector and Transfer to Bwindi National Park
On the way to Bwindi National Park, we will drive through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, popularly known for the tree-climbing lions. Unlike their counterparts at the Kasenyi plains, the lions at Ishasha have found a way to climb the fig trees to enjoy the warm temperatures. While the sighting of the tree-climbing lions is not 100% guaranteed, a stopover at Ishasha is worth a visit! We will spend the night at Bwindi National Park.
Day 8: Gorilla Trekking at Bwindi National Park
Today is the day that many of you will have been waiting for. We will embark on a full-day adventure to track the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park. The trek will commence with a short briefing on gorillas trekking rules to ensure the safety of both the guests and the gorillas. We will then start the trek into the Impenetrable Forest to encounter the gentle giants of Bwindi National Park. We will follow the expert guides, looking for signs of the gorillas and changing direction accordingly until we find them. After this rare and memorable experience is over, we will spend the rest of the day and night in Bwindi National Park.
Day 9: Community Activities in Kisoro & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Today is a unique opportunity to learn about the tragic history of these local communities through a variety of activities. Choose between the Batwa cultural experience where you visit a local community and learn about their way of life, a Sabyinyo Volcano hiking tour, and/or a golden monkey trekking experience in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Other activities include canoe trekking at Lake Mutanda and a coffee-making experience, where you can try your hand at the local industry. We will spend the night in a lodge close to Lake Mutanda.
Day 10: End of the Trip & Departure
We will drive from Kisoro/Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to Kampala or Entebbe. There are two scheduled stopovers: one at Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara for lunch and the second at the equator crossing at Kayabwe for a coffee break and handicraft shopping. It is also possible to end the tour in the nearby Kigali city in Rwanda. Kigali is a 4-hour drive from Kisoro town compared to the 8 to 9-hour drive to Kampala.