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adventure travel trip to Uganda
Observe gentle giants in their jungle habitat
Dates
  • Sep 6-20, 2014
  • Privately on Request
  • Duration 15 days
    Group Size 2-10
    Land Cost $6,995 Details
    Single Supplement $820
    Lodging 2 stars-4 stars
    Grade II-III
    Best Time

    Uganda Wildlife Odyssey

    Mabamba Bay, Murchison Falls, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth NP, Bwindi and Lake Mburo

    Day 1      Arrive Entebbe

    Arrival in Entebbe, Uganda, and transfer to your accommodation with a panoramic view of Lake Victoria. Early arrivals will visit the Entebbe Wildlife Education Center or enjoy a first day of wildlife scouting at the botanical gardens, good for birds as well as several varieties of Colobus Monkeys.

    Meals: None
    Lodging: Garuga Resort or similar

    Gray-crowned Crane
    Day 2      Visit to Mabamba Bay -- Shoebill Storks

    We start early and drive to Mabamba Swamp, 50km west of Kampala. Stop en route at Mpigi Swamp for papyrus rarities. Look for warblers, gonoleks, weavers, and other swamp specialities. At the swamp, most of the birding is on a canoe, paddled by our local site guides. Look for the Shoebill, both in the sky and down on the marsh. Like nothing else on earth, this bizarre avian wonder is the only representative in its family. It is truly a life-changing moment looking at this bizarre bird as it preens, showing off its huge, grinning, wooden-looking, clog-like bill. You may also have marvelous views of it as it soars on broad wings. Also watch for many other bird secies, including several types of jacanas and ducks. Return to the Garuga Resort Hotel for your overnight.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: Garuga Resort or similar

    Seek out the Shoebill Stork (photo by Tom Tarrant)
    Day 3      Murchison Falls National Park

    After breakfast, drive north through the Luwero triangle to Murchison Falls conservation area with a stopover for lunch in Masindi. This park is the largest protected area in Uganda and is bisected by the Victoria Nile. Murchison Falls has three different ecosystems. This park has a variety of wildlife which includes, among others, the lion, leopard, reedbuck, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hartebeest, oribi, Uganda kob, chimpanzee, and many bird species, including the rare Shoebill. The African Bird Club lists this as one of the best birding sites on the continent.

    Cross the Nile by ferry and spend the night at beautiful, scenically sited Paraa Safari Lodge.

    Throughout this trip, there will be opportunities for additional hiking with our fantastic in-country naturalist guide, wildlife expert, and birder extraordinaire, Paul Tamwenya.  Ask us about options when you book your trip.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Paraa Safari Lodge or similar

    Murchison Falls
    Day 4      Game Safaris Murchinson Falls

    After an early breakfast, you begin your safari with a game drive up to the Lake Albert delta point. Be alert for lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hartebeest, oribi and kob.  A few of the many special birds found here include shoebills, bustards, lapwings and weavers.  In the afternoon, a boat trip on the Nile takes you to the roaring waters at the base of the Murchison Falls and the river's biggest concentration of  hippos and crocodiles, some more than 20 feet long. Scattered among the hippos and crocs, look for birds such as storks, plovers, bee-eaters, herons and more. Return to the Paraa Safari Lodge for dinner and overnight.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Paraa Safari Lodge or similar

    Ferry across the Nile
    Day 5      Drive to Masindi

    Today you will have one last morning safari in and around Murchison Falls. After lunch, depart for Masindi, visiting the Upper Falls en route.  This visit involves a short hike to the upper edge of the falls. Night at the relatively simple, but atmospheric and historic Masindi Hotel, Uganda’s oldest hotel.

     

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Masindi Hotel or similar

    Red-chested Sunbird
    Day 6      The Royal Mile and Busingiro

    Start early with a drive to the Royal Mile, one of the most famous primate and bird sanctuaries in Uganda. You will enjoy a slow hike through magnificent primary forest, searching carefully along the way for mammals and birds, including several varieties of monkeys, baboons and chimps, flycatchers, trogons, hornbills, sunbirds, cuckoos, malimbe, and turaco, among many others.

    Return to the lodge where you will have the evening to relax and enjoy a western Uganda dance called ‘Entogoro,’ performed by the Banyoro people living around Masindi.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Masindi Hotel or similar

    Elusive Narina Trogon (male breeding plumage, photo by Patty McGann)
    Day 7      Safari to Kibale National Park

    Today, start after an early breakfast for a long drive to Kibale National Park with lots of stops for animals, birds, and photos along the way. You may encounter large congregations of baboons and monkeys as Kibale National Park is a popular habitat for 13 known primate species, including the closest living cousin of man, the chimpanzee.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mountains of the Moon or similar

    Elephant crossing the road
    Day 8      Primate Tracking in Kibale

    After breakfast, go Chimpanzee tracking. Primates you may also encounter while seeking chimps include several varieties of baboon, the Gray-cheeked Mangabey, and others.

    In the afternoon, visit Bigodi wetland, a project started by an American Peace Corps volunteer who was seeking ways for local people to derive income by protecting their forest for ecotourism.  The wetland is now managed by the local community and serves as a successful model of stewardship and ecotourism, funding a school and employing local people who serve as guides, hosts and guards. Here you are likely to spot the elusive Sitatunga Antelope among the papyrus, as well as several interesting species of birds (warblers, gonoleks, and cisticola, among others). Today, we enjoy a traditionally-prepared lunch hosted by the local group that manages this wetland.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mountains of the Moon or similar

    Breakfast with Slender-billed and Yellow-backed Weavers
    Day 9      Queen Elizabeth National Park

    Journey through Uganda’s beautiful scenic areas with a potential clear view of the Mountains of the Moon, depending on the cloud cover. Nearing our destination, enjoy a game drive en route. Queen Elizabeth is the second largest national park in Uganda. In terms of diversity, this park is amazing, with 612 known species of birds. Special birds of this park include Harlequin Quail,  Martial Eagle, African Skimmer, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, and the Amur Falcon. Primates include Olive Baboon, Velvet Monkey, and the Tantalus Monkey.  In the afternoon, embark on a boat ride along the Kazinga Channel where you get close to hippo, buffalo, and crocodiles. Elephants often swim here as well. The bird life is very rich and quite approachable, including the Saddle-Billed Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, both species of Pink-backed and Great Pelicans, and other migratory species. Overnight at the very comfortable Mweya Safari Lodge.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mweya Safari Lodge or similar

    Queen Elizabeth National Park
    Day 10      Queen Elizabeth National Park

    Morning safari in Queen Elizabeth Park. Return to Mweya for lunch and exploring around the lodge.   Embark on an evening game drive in search of elephants, lions, buffalo, bushbuck.  As we drive back late in the evening, we keep our spot lights out in the open, looking out for nocturnal mammals like the leopard and aardvark and nocturnal birds such as the nightjar. Return to Mweya Safari Lodge for the night.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mweya Safari Lodge or similar

    Crocodile on the bank of the Nile
    Day 11      Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    After breakfast, begin our wildlife safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The seasonal Ishasha sector provides good chances for seeing tree-climbing lions, unique to this area. On a lucky day, you might also catch a glimpse of a leopard. Troupes of Olive Baboons also frequent the roads while we are on the lookout for interesting savannah animals and birds.  Overnight at the Bwindi Forest edge at Gorilla Resort for two nights.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Gorilla Resort or similar

    Look for the area's unique tree-climbing lions (photo by Cody Pope)
    Day 12 - 13      Gorilla Tracking and Birding in Bwindi

    Set off early, with packed lunch, to the park headquarters for a briefing prior to setting off to track and observe gorillas. It is an unforgettable experience to observe and photograph these highly-intelligent, gentle animals. Reaching the family group to which we are assigned may require walking anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours.  Game scouts are likely to have pre-located them and radioed back their location to your guide, but the animals are wide-ranging, they move their nests nightly, and they don’t stick to the trails. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards. You are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming, and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully-playful display. Gorilla tracking involves part or all of a day in the Impenetrable Forest. In rare instances, it can take an entire day of very hard trekking to locate, reach, observe, and return from a group.  You need to be physically fit if you wish to maximize your chances. Very occasionally, in spite of all efforts, the gorillas prove elusive. Depending on the time at which we return, we might have an optional visit to the communities around the gorillas' habitat or evening birding around Buhoma. Return to our lodge for dinner.

    A second, optional day of gorilla tracking is available at extra cost. Alternative second-day experiences include a local village trek, forest birding in Bwindi, a visit to a local hospital, or free time around Gorilla Resort.

    Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Gorilla Resort or similar

    Muhare Group 6 (large male)
    Day 14      Lake Mburo National Park

    Today after breakfast, drive to Lake Mburo National Park, one of the best savannah parks in Uganda, with a variety of game such as zebra, impala, topi, eland, buffalo, and more.  For birders there are many species usually associated with northern Tanzania (e.g., cisiticolas, barbets, francolins, weavers, woodpeckers, and many more).  Head to your lodge in the afternoon for your last evening in country.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Mantana Lodge or similar

    Zebra and other hoofed mammals are common in the park
    Day 15      Kampala-Entebbe Onwards

    After breakfast, you will depart for Kampala-Entebbe.  Depending on your the flight time, lots of craft shops await to help you pass the time.  Transfer to the airport in time for your homebound flight.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Say farewell to Uganda and its wild creatures


     
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