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adventure travel trip to Uganda
Get up close and personal with Mountain Gorillas
Dates
  • Privately on Request
  • Duration 11 days
    Group Size 2-12
    Land Cost $6,450 Details
    Single Supplement $550
    Lodging 2 stars-3 stars
    Grade II
    Best Time

    Uganda Custom Gorilla Trekking

    Your own private Uganda gorilla safari with JOURNEYS' guide, Paul Tamwenya

    Day 1      Arrive Uganda

    Upon arrival at the international airport in the capital of Kampala, you will be met and transferred to your nearby country hotel in the attractive lakeshore town of Entebbe to get settled and rest up from your international flight.  The Entebbe property, while close to Kampala (within an hour's drive) is quiet, relaxing, with views of nearby Lake Victoria.

    Meals: None
    Lodging: Lindsay Cottages (or similar)

    Meet Paul, and welcome to Uganda!
    Day 2      Mabira Forest Reserve

    After breakfast, drive to Mabira Forest Reserve.  Only about 35 miles outside Kampala and one of the most accessible birding sites in the country, Mabira is an ecologically important site for Uganda, providing a habitat for many species of plants and animals, including 312 trees and shrub species, 287 species of birds, 16 small mammals, 199 species of butterflies, and 97 species of large moths. Mabira has wild robusta coffee, dioscoria tubers, yams, and other plants with historical as well as current economic value.
     
    In this water-distressed area, Mabira is the only large forest and only watershed in the bio-geographical zone of the Lake Victoria Crescent. The watershed feeds the streams that flow into Lake Victoria and the Ssezibwa River and also is an important source of water for neighboring communities. We will hike various trails around the forest, following our imagination and interests throughout the day.  After a full day, head to our forest lodge for the night.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Luxury Mabira Rain Forest Lodge (or similar)

    Seek out myriad bird life (Augur Buzzard)
    Day 3      Lake Mburo National Park

    Today after breakast, drive to Uganda’s only savannah park that can be explored on foot. Lake Mburo National Park is a very special place -- every part of it is alive with variety, interest, and color. The park contains an extensive area of wetland and is home to several species of mammals, including zebra, impala, eland, topi, and buffalo. There are also many spectacular bird species, some of which we will search for en route to our lodge at Mihingo, our base for the next two nights.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mihingo Lodge (or similar)

    Search for zebra on the savannah
    Day 4      Walking Safari and Game Drive

    After a hearty breakfast at the lodge, it's time to hike.  We'll follow a nature trail that affords the opportunity to enjoy the park on foot, at a casual pace, in the company of your JOURNEYS guide, Paul, and a local escort. A highlight is the nearby salt lick where a strategically-located wooden platform offers a chance to see several different species of animals at any one time while they lick the salty soil. The observation point is located in such a way that close observation and photography can be done without distracting the animals from their salty snacking.  Walks in this park are always rewarding and may last for three or four hours, depending on the group and what we see. After a break for lunch, later in the afternoon, take a boat ride on Lake Mburo for great views of hippos and crocs. Afterward, it's back to our lodge for dinner and overnight.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mihingo Lodge (or similar)

    Enjoy a walk -- or a game drive -- in search of wildlife
    Day 5 - 8      Kisoro / Gorilla Treks / Volcano Hikes

    In the morning after breakfast and check-out, drive to Kisoro, gateway to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.  This will be your base for three days of explorations, including your choice of gorilla trekking, volcano hiking, and searching for Golden Monkeys and other primates and the many bird species in the area.  In addition to Mgahinga's gorillas, which sometimes move out of trekking reach, we have access to three reliably-located groups in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest that are acclimated to visitors.
     
    A few possibilities for hiking, depending on your fitness, goals, and ambition include:

    Mount Sabyinyo volcano (12,000 ft, 8 hours, 9 miles), which offers three peaks to climb with views of breathtaking gorges in both Uganda and Rwanda and excellent birding along the way.   The third peak sits physically over Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
     
    Mount Gahinga (11,400 ft, 6 hrs), a mountain hike that goes through a bamboo forest on the way to the top, once a crater lake, but now a lush swampland.
     
    Other exploration options include Garama Cave where the Batwa, or pygmies, who were formerly hunters and fruit gatherers, lived and fought their neighbors, the Bantu. Here we see how the Batwa lived and fought out of the cave.

    You could also hike the Border Trail (5 hrs, 6 miles), which climbs up the base of Sabinyo through forest before turning toward the Congo with great gorge and peak views along the way. The return leg is great for birding, golden monkeys, and signs of elephants.

    Another option is to focus on the park's amazing bird life, with about 80 bird species within the park, and 295 species overall in the broader Virunga Conservation Area.  We will look for Dusky Turtle Dove, Rwenzori Turaco, Cape Robin-Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, White-eyed Slaty, White Tailed Blue Flycatcher, Olive Wood-pecker, White-starred Robin, Mountain Yellow Warbler, White-napped Raven, Lagden's Bush-Shrike, Yellow-crowned Canary, Streaky and Thick Billed Seedeater, and the shy Shelley's Crimson-wing, among other birds.

    Our base for these three days is Kisoro Travellers Rest Hotel, one of the area's oldest and most classic hotels, where Dian Fossey stayed while doing her gorilla conservation work.  Small (12 rooms) and convenient to wildlife activities, this is the perfect base for our time in the area.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Kisoro Travellers Rest Hotel (or similar)

    Encounter rare Mountain Gorillas, a highlight of the trip
    Day 9      Queen Elizabeth National Park

    Get an early start as we head out from Kisoro through Ruhizha, an area which the African Bird Club has named one of Africa’s Top Ten Birding sites, and a great place to see anything we missed in Mgahinga. Pass either through Ishasha in southern Queen Elizabeth National Park, looking for the area's tree-climbing lions, or take the alternative route through cultivated farm areas.  Arrrival at your safari lodge, home for the next two nights, and settle in.

     

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mweye Safari Lodge (or similar)

    Look for tree-climbing lions
    Day 10      Walking Safari in Immaramagambo

    After breakfast, visit nearby Kyambura Gorge to track fast-moving and elusive chimpanzees, one of man's closest relatives. The chimp population is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable; however, the walk in this "lost world" is still enchanting.  Later, many surprises await in the extensive Maramagambo rain forest. Choose from a variety of short, medium, and long guided nature walks.   Visit Bat Cave, where pythons are often observed in floor crevices awaiting a bat meal. The cave is near Blue Lake and Hunters Cave. Other trails lead into the heart of the forest that surrounds tranquil crater lakes. You may encounter wild chimps, other primates, and many forest birds. Another option for this day is doing a small boat cruise along the natural Kazinga Channel, home to huge schools of hippos and over 100 species of water birds.  Return to your safari lodge for the night.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mweye Safari Lodge (or similar)

    Spot chimpanzees if we're lucky
    Day 11      Kampala / Entebbe / Onward

    Transfer back to Kampala and the international airport at Entebbe for your return to the U.S.  Or, if your schedule permits, allow us to extend your time in Uganda or add some time in nearby Rwanda.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Say goodbye to this unique, very special corner of the world


     
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