On this Uganda Fly-in Safari you get the opportunity to go gorilla trekking - twice! A rare chance to see mountain gorillas in the wild on two treks into the rainforest, on one safari!
Another major perk of this safari is that you fly from Entebbe to Bwindi and back to Entebbe again - cutting out the long drives! In addition to the magical gorilla encounters, you also go game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda's top wildlife destination.
When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda, you will be collected and driven to your family-run guest house in the suburbs.
If your flight arrives early enough you can take an optional tour of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The sanctuary tour is a half-day outing that can be arranged at extra cost, and can be done either at the start or end of the safari. To visit the sanctuary you take a motorized boat or canoe out to Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. Here you learn more about chimpanzees and conservation of these primates, getting up close to the rescued chimpanzees. The fees for the guided tour are used to run the sanctuary, which is home to over 45 rescued chimpanzees.
Alternatively, when booking your safari you can arrange to go to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe and spend some time helping out with the rescued animals. You can also relax at the quiet guest house, take a swim in the pool set in a lovely garden and enjoy the views out to Lake Victoria. Explore the small town of Entebbe on foot, or by local "boda boda" (motobike taxi). Visit the local markets, mingle with the friendly Ugandan people and walk along the scenic shores of Lake Victoria, looking out for monkeys and indigenous birds in trees of the Botanical Gardens. Eat out at one of the Entebbe's variety of restaurants and unwind at one of the bars or clubs in the evening.
This morning you are collected from the guesthouse in Entebbe after breakfast. We transfer you to the nearby domestic airport of Entebbe, where you catch a scheduled flight to the Kihihi airstrip. The flight from Entebbe to Kihihi airstrip takes over an hour, bringing you within easy reach of Bwindi National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
You are collected from the airstrip and transferred to Buhoma Lodge, travelling through rural Uganda. We pass small villages and drive along scenic roads in the mountains to reach our lodge, right at Bwindi National Park. The solar-powered lodge is on a mountainside, looking out over the Bwindi Forest, offering a comfortable retreat in the wild. The exclusive lodge serves as our base for gorilla trekking in Bwindi, the highlight of this Uganda safari. Gorilla tracking must be pre-booked when you book the safari. You will have the chance to book two gorilla treks - a unique feature of this safari.
There are also some optional activities that you can enjoy at Bwindi, while not gorilla trekking. One forest walk or village visit is included in the price of your tour, but you can participate in more activities (extra cost), such as curio shopping and cultural activities.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park protects an incredibly rich forest ecosystem made up of more that 120 mammal species, 345 bird species and an amazing 200 hundred species of butterflies, along with hundreds of plant and tree species, and other creatures. Located on the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, this biodiverse rainforest is home to about half of the wild mountain gorilla population in the world.
Day three starts with breakfast at the lodge before we walk to the head office of Bwindi National Park. The gorilla trekking guides brief you on the trekking procedures and then you off into the national park in search of the mountain gorillas. The guides have ample experience with trekking in the rainforests and finding the gorillas. The trek can take as long as six hours of strenuous walking, so a good level of fitness is recommended. The tough trek is worth it, however, as chances of seeing a gorilla group are high, with an over 95% track record.
Reaching a family of wild mountain gorillas we spend an hour with the great apes, watching them go about their daily activities at close range. With only around 850 mountain gorillas left in the wild, this is an incredibly rare and special wildlife encounter. Gorillas and humans share about 98% of the same genes, which makes the gorilla experience all the more moving, but also means that the primates are susceptible to human illnesses. To go mountain trekking you need to be free of communicable diseases - if you have so much as a cold or the flu, you are not permitted to visit the gorillas which are critically endangered.
After the trek, if there is time and you have enough energy, you can enjoy optional activities, or you can just rest at the comfortable lodge.
If you have booked a second gorilla trek then today you head back out into the lush rainforest to see the mountain gorillas in their natural environment. If the gorillas are further away from the park headquarters we may drive to a closer starting point before continuing on foot. This is a very rare opportunity to go gorilla trekking, considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a second time on the same safari! The unforgettable gorilla encounter on day four follows the same procedure as before, giving you more time to observe and photograph these endangered apes in the wild.
For those who are not doing the second gorilla trek you can take a guided forest walk to experience the rich variety of creatures in the forest and take in the beautiful scenery. Walking with an experienced guide you may spot all kinds of birds, monkeys and other animals in the biodiverse tropical rainforest. You also have the option of taking a guided walk in a Batwa pygmy village near Bwindi National Park. The village visit offers you the chance to see a local homestead, meet a traditional medicine man, watch banana beer being brewed and stop in at a school or orphanage, depending on your choices. One forest or village walk is included in the price of the safari, but you can do more activities at extra cost.
Today we move on from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, having experienced the magic of being with gorillas in the rainforest.
Our drive north to Queen Elizabeth National Park takes about three hours, and if we have time we stop at a community project along the way. This community initiative is on the fringes of the national park, where elephant trenches are being dug to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The trenches help keep the elephants from roaming into the villages and damaging crops. We also visit homesteads and have a chance to buy local arts and crafts.
Then we arrive at the southern Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth National Park, where our luxury tented camp is set. In the afternoon we embark on the first game drive of this Uganda Fly-in Safari. Ishasha incorporates Maramagambo, one of the biggest natural forests in Uganda, as well as grasslands. Ishasha is, however, best known for its lions which are often seen resting in the trees - unusual behaviour for these felines. Wildlife sightings in Ishasha include buffalos, elephants, and various antelopes, including the Ugandan Kob. With both a riverine and savannah habitat, the park includes the southern Ishasha area with the massive Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda.
The 1978 km² Queen Elizabeth National Park is the top game viewing destination in Uganda, hosting an array of wildlife and birds in this part of the Great Rift Valley.
After breakfast at the exclusive Ishasha Wilderness Camp at Queen Elizabeth National Park you are transferred to the local airstrip for a scheduled flight back to Entebbe. Arriving in Entebbe this remarkable Uganda gorilla and wildlife adventure comes to a close. A transfer to the international airport is included in the safari, either direct or from your post-tour accommodation in Entebbe.
The rest of the day is free for you to explore Entebbe, volunteer at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre or take a trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
If you plan to spend time in Entebbe after the safari you can book optional extra nights (additional cost) for after the safari. We recommend staying on for an extra day or two after the safari, to explore Kampala and enjoy optional activities such as visiting Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and giong to Jinja for Grade 5 white water rafting on the Nile or bungee jumping and more.
Bed & Breakfast (day 1) / Full Board (day 2 - 5) / Breakfast (day 6).
All visitors participating in gorilla and chimpanzee trekking are required to be free of contagious diseases, even colds or flu. If any signs of communicable illnesses are detected you will not be permitted on the treks. For volunteering at UWEC additional inoculations and health clearances may be required, so please check when booking these before your safari.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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