20 Days Gorilla, Chimpanzee & Wildlife Safari

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Overview

Gorillas, chimpanzees, and wildlife are significant adventures in Uganda. These 20 Days, Uganda gorillas, chimpanzees, and wildlife safari are among the best trip suggestions and routes. Expectations on this trip include gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey tracking, Virunga volcanic hiking, Batwa community visit, Lake Bunyonyi, tree climbing lions, experiential lion tracking, and boat cruise, horse riding, Crater Lake hikes, among others. The trip starts from Kampala to Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, Kibale National Park, and then back to Kampala.

Each day consists of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, this trip falls in the midrange category.

Safari highlights

  • Day 1: Arrival in Uganda via Entebbe International Airport
  • Day 2: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
  • Day 3: L. Mburo Wild Horse Riding and boat ride
  • Day 4: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 5: Mountain Gorilla Trekking (Rushaga)
  • Day 6: Golden Monkey Tracking and Batwa
  • Day 7: Virunga Volcanic Hiking (Mt. Mgahinga)
  • Day 8: Explore Lake Bunyonyi
  • Day 9: Transfer to Ishasha (Queen Elizabeth NP)
  • Day 10: Kyambura and Lake Katwe Visits
  • Day 11: Kasenyi Game Drive and Kazinga Boat Cruise
  • Day 12: Lion Tracking Experiential (Kasenyi)
  • Say 13: Transfer to Fort Portal (City Tour)
  • Day 14: Visiting and Hiking the Crater Lakes
  • Day 15: Chimpanzee Habituation
  • Day 16: Bigodi Sanctuary and Bigodi Community Visits
  • Day 17: Take a Forest Nature Walk and Rest at Your Lodge
  • Day 18: Transfer Back to Kampala (Visit the Walumbe Entanda)
  • Day 19: Kampala City Tour
  • Day 20: Visit Uganda Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe and Fly Back home.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda via Entebbe International Airport

Upon reaching Entebbe International Airport, an Early Trails Expedition driver guide will be ready to pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in Kampala. While there, you will rest until the next day when you start your journey—dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Accommodation (midrange): Golf Course Hotel

Day 2: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

Following your served breakfast, the driver guide will be ready to transfer you to the first destination on the trip. You will embark on the journey to Lake Mburo National Park in Western Uganda. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the park. When you arrive and check in at your lodge, you may go for an afternoon game drive to the golden savannahs that inhabit plentiful wildlife. The game drive exposes you to watching zebras, buffalos, lions, large herds of antelopes, and many other animals.

After having lunch,  you may rest for the remaining part of the day as you wait for the night hours for a night game drive. One of the rare cases in national parks is the rewarding unique encounters like finding predators actively hunting at night. The night game drive is done using a torch under the guidance of an armed park ranger.

Lastly, return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (midrange): Mburo Safari Lodge

Day 3: L. Mburo Wild Horse Riding and Boat Ride

This day will take an incredibly wild ride adventure. The adventure is organised and starts at the luxurious Mihingo Lodge. The horse ride takes you into the adventure hub to fetch wild encounters in close range. The absence of elephants in the parks makes it very easy to do a horse ride with guaranteed safety. A horse ride takes several trials, and the hours spent in the wilderness depend on the guest’s selection.

Then following the horse ride, we will take an afternoon boat ride on Lake Mburo. This incredible experience comes with sceneries of cliffs, hills, and various vegetation harbouring various wildlife species, including crocodiles and hippos, among others. Lastly, return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (midrange): Lake Mburo Safari Lodge

Day 4: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today take your relaxed served breakfast and embark on a long day drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With Lunch along the way, you will reach the park in the evening hours, enter the park through the Rushaga gate and check into your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (midrange): Four Gorillas Safari Lodge

Day 5: Mountain Gorilla Trekking (Rushaga)

After getting ready for the day, head out to the Rushaga tracking starting point and reach before 7:30 am for the briefing. You will be grouped into eight individuals per group and assigned to an armed, well-trained game ranger who will lead you into the forest to start a hunt for the giants. Gorilla trekking may take 30 minutes to 6 hours, walking and searching for the endangered creatures.

Gorillas are followed considering where they had their previous night and meeting them; trekkers will have only an hour in their presence. A close encounter with these gorillas is one of the most mesmerising moments in the wild. Coming face to face with the silverback, you will realise that these are humans’ closest relatives. After seeing the gorillas, you will return to the starting point and enjoy your relaxed lunch. After, you will have to refresh and take your drive to Kisoro for dinner and an overnight stay.

Accommodation (midrange): Travelers’ Rest Hotel

Day 6: Golden Monkey Tracking and Batwa trail

On this day, you will go and track the endangered golden monkeys. The golden monkeys are only endemic to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The golden monkey tracking starts as early as 8 am, so you must be at the centre in Mgahinga by 7:30 am for the morning session. The beautiful and nice-looking golden monkeys live in communities of over 30 individuals and more. These monkeys are habituated, meaning the tracker can have that close-up moment. The track in the volcanic forests of Mgahinga can last for about 30 minutes to 3 hours, and when you find the brownish monkeys, you will have an hour in their presence.

Afterwards, you will visit the Batwa community and explore the lifestyle of the Batwa people. The Batwa people are the forest pygmies who once co-lived with the gorillas in the same forest. These people narrate their emotionally touching stories and offer entertaining moments with songs and dances. You may also buy some of their handcraft to support their livelihood.

Accommodation (midrange): Travelers’ Rest Hotel

Day 7: Virunga Volcanic Hiking (Mt. Sabinyo)

This will be a long day of trekking the amazing Mt. Sabinyo. After taking your energising breakfast, you will take a trek alongside an experienced ranger guide who will lead you. This is the most famous trekked volcano in the Virunga Massif. The tour may take up to 8 hours and a distance of about 14 km. Upon reaching the peak, you will stand 3669m above sea level. The trek goes through hikes and slopes via hills and valleys until reaching the peak. Getting to the mountain, you will realise that you’re standing at the border of three countries, Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. After the Volcanic hike, you will take a relaxed drive to Lake Bunyonyi for dinner and Overnight.

Accommodation (midrange): Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort

Day 8: Explore Lake Bunyonyi

You will spend your day exploring and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Lake Bunyonyi. Take a boat ride to some of the islands, and the most exciting island is Punishment Island due to its story related to being an execution island for girls who got pregnant out of wedlock. Enjoy the sweet melodies of many small birds swinging around your lodge.

Accommodation (Midrange): Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort

Day 9: Transfer to Ishasha (Queen Elizabeth NP)

This morning, you will transfer to the Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This sector is famous for hosting extraordinary tree-climbing lions, usually found lying on the tree branches. A more expansive view of wildlife accompanies the tracking. Then, we will drive back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Accommodation: Elephant Plains Lodge

Day 10: Kyambura and Lake Katwe Visits

Today, you will take a morning drive to Kyambura Gorge. This is a thrilling tropical depression of the Albertine rift valley and closed up with the plain savannah that stretches. The gorge is a perfect place for breathtaking nature walks and another famous spot to track chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking here is cheaper, and the chimps are habituated for a close-up encounter. After, you will return to the lodge for lunch and relaxation as you prepare for the salt experience. Lake Katwe is the only salty lake in Uganda where salt crystals are mined and taken for processing to make salt. Learn about the mining activities done at the site. Then, you will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation midrange: Elephant Plains Lodge

Day 11: Kasenyi Game Drive and Kazinga Boat Cruise

Today early morning with your packed breakfast, you will drive to the Kasenyi section of Queen Elizabeth National Park for an incredible game drive. This is a rewarding experience with various wildlife species, including; elephants, Uganda Kobs, bushbucks, buffalos, lions, and warthogs, among so many species to watch, accompanied by several bird species.

In the afternoon hours, after lunch, we will drive to the Mweya peninsular for a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel. The wild boat cruise is an opening to watch more animals. Several animals are seen coming to the channel banks to draw water, and the aquatic life is seen either soaked in water or lousily relaxed at the water banks. Then, we will drive back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (Midrange): Elephant Plains Lodge

Day 12:  Experiential Lion Tracking (Kasenyi)

This adventure is unique to Elizabeth National Park. It is done alongside experienced park rangers who track lions with radio trackers (monitors). On this adventure, you can follow various prides of lions and stay with them for long hours. It’s all about lions, not other animals though it is done in the animal-rich Kasenyi section. The lion tracking experiential is done while in your 4×4 safari vehicle. After you exhaustively see the lions return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (Midrange): Elephant Plains Lodge

Day 13: Transfer to Fort Portal (City Tour)

Today take a drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park via Kasese to Fort Portal. Reaching this amazing city, take a city drive around and explore some of the notable sites like the gardens, visiting the Toro palace, and visiting local markets like the Mpanga market. Enjoy some of the fruits sold in the markets, and you may consider interacting with the local people.

Accommodation (Midrange): Mountain of the Moon Hotel

Day 14: Visiting and Hiking the Crater Lakes

Enjoy this day with a relaxed visit to explore the fantastic landscapes of Fort Portal. We will drive to Amabere caves, enclosed waterfalls with a rich history of the Bachwezi dynasty. On this trip, your driver will transfer you to the private cultural site, and you will then take a slope and hike to the caves. Afterwards, you will walk about 5km through hills and craters. This is one of the fantastic encounters when in Fort Portal.

Accommodation (Midrange): Mountain of the Moon Hotel

Day 15: Chimpanzee Habituation

Alongside your energising morning daybreak, packed with all your tracking gear, you will proceed to Kanyachu, the starting point for the day’s track. Chimpanzee habituation is a full-day adventure where travellers head into the forest, search and follow the chimpanzees. When the chimpanzees are found, trackers must spend about 4 hours with the apes. So, well prepared with energy snacks, enough drinking water, and wearing tracking gear, the chimpanzee habituation adventure is more than just a track but a full day spent with the apes. The habituation process is aimed at making the chimps used to human presence, and these are known to be shy mammals which, in most cases, shy away in case of uncertainties. After the track, you will return to the starting point, refresh and have your lunch. Then, you will rest at your lodge for the rest of the hours—dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (Midrange): Mountain of the Moon Hotel

Day 16: Bigodi Sanctuary and Bigodi Community Visits

Succeed on this day with a visit to Bigodi sanctuary to track various primates. Kibale Forest National Park is known for hosting the highest number of primate species, about 13 primates. This is almost the most significant record in the world for one forest to host. This makes Kibale Forest the world’s primate capital. Among the primates to track in the Kibale forest include; black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, Mangabey, baboons, bush babies, L’Hoest, Vevert monkeys, pattas, and pottos, among others. Several bird species, unique tree plantations, and severauniquels like bushbucks, among others, accompany the primate tracking.

En route to the Bigodi community, you will enjoy a special organic local dish for your lunch. Visiting Bigodi village makes you understand how the community conserves the protected areas around them. You can buy souvenirs made from local materials from the wetland. Then return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (Midrange): Mountain of the Moon Hotel

Day 17: Take a Forest Nature Walk and Rest at Your Lodge

Today, you will take a nature walk through Kibale Park. A drive from your lodge might take about 30 minutes to reach the Kanyachu information centre. Make a comeback to the forest and take this breathtaking nature walk, perfect for birders. Kibale, though it is known to be the primate capital with over 13 primate species and over 400 bird species, also calls the forest its home. So, for birder, there are several experienced rangers to take you for a forest walk through rewarding bird tracks. Then will return to your lodge and rest for the day.

Accommodation (Midrange): Mountain of the Moon Hotel

Day 18: Transfer Back to Kampala (Visit the Walumbe Entanda)

This morning will take a drive back home. It will be a relaxed morning, and we will drive via Mubende-Mityana. Advisably, you should take a cultural visit to one of the unique traditional sites along the way from Mityana to Walumbe Entanda. This site is known for being the base for the first Muganda Man, Kintu. And here, his brother-in-law became a spirit of death as the culture demands. Afterwards, continue driving back to Kampala, reaching the park and checking in at your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation (midrange): Golf Course Hotel

Day 19: Kampala City Tour

On this day, you will first master the art of excitement within the capital. Kampala’s capital is a more significant number of tourist spots; however, you will drive to the Uganda Museum, Kasubi tombs, and Old Kampala Mosque for an aerial view of Kampala. Can it be perfect for you to experience the Kampala night hours? Yes, but this depends on the guided trip to one of the clubs and casinos or even taking a simple night city walk.

Accommodation (midrange): Golf Course Hotel

Day 20: Visit Uganda Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe and Fly Back

This day takes your relaxed morning breaker, and it’s a day to meditate and prepare all that you still need and buy what you would not want to remain. You can go to one of the bookshops, buy a book about Uganda, or buy a souvenir at the cultural village centre. Then will drive to UWEC and watch these beautiful animals compared with their natural appearances in parks. Then your driver will drop you at Entebbe International Airport for your flight home.

Trip inclusive;

  • 4×4 safari vehicle with comprehensive insurance
  • All trip fuel with unlimited mileage
  • All meals and water
  • All Park entrances
  • All planned trip activities
  • One Gorilla permits
  • One Chimpanzee habituation permit
  • One Golden monkey permits
  • Community visit
  • Volcano hiking
  • Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Professional licensed driver’s guide
  • Community visits

Exclusive;

  • Visa and air ticket
  • Laundry
  • All hard drinks
  • Souvenirs
  • Tips
  • All international flights
  • Any additional service or activity not mentioned in this itinerary