Inspiration Itinerary

Gorillas

& Game, Uganda

Once in a lifetime adventure

For many, sitting in front of a family of Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat is one of those “must do’s” in life. Such a dream will come to life in this action-packed 12 night itinerary which also offers magical encounters with chimpanzees, spotting lots of game, more bird species than you thought were possible and all the while being warmly welcomed with the biggest smiles in Africa. Spilling over the equator, Uganda is one of the most diverse and unspoiled wildlife destinations in Africa and you would be wrong if you thought visiting it is just about the Gorillas!

An overnight stay in Entebbe at the start will be required and we recommend a couple of nights at least as there are lots of things to do including a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria’s Ngamba Island or even get up close and personal with young chimps at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, a spot of Nile Perch fishing or go in search of the rare Shoebill Stork.

Then it is up and out early with your private guide and 4×4, who will remain with you throughout your stay in Uganda and thus offers the flexibility to structure your days as you wish.  Easing in gently en route to the gorillas, you will pass through traditional farming and village life and spend a night by the shores of Lake Mburo where you will get out and explore the enormous birdlife variety by motorboat. You will then start to pass through what is often referred to as the Scotland of Africa as you drive up through the lush green mountains and escarpments and into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Over three magical nights you will have the opportunity to track magnificent mountain gorillas, a life changing moment for some. This area also lends itself to meeting the fascinating Batwa (pygmy) tribe and putting yourself out there by taking a local community village walk.

From Bwindi drive through stunning countryside from the mountains and forests, villages and amazing farming properties to Queen Elizabeth National Park that has some of the best wildlife on offer in Uganda and one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world. Stay in two contrasting locations over 4-nights so you can go in search of the tree climbing lion, enjoy a boat trip along the enormous Kazinga Channel where masses of wildlife, birdlife and fishing villages intermix, and explore & sample the product of a community coffee plantation.

Heading north over the equator to Kibale Forest National Park, the drive will offer amazing views over the Ruwenzori Mountains and volcanic lakes that are picture perfect. Here you have the chance to trek for Chimpanzees in Kibale forest. Bird lovers will be in heaven in the Bigodi Wetlands where you can go in search of the Great Blue Turaco.  Spend some time soaking up the magnificence of the scenery, explore the beauty of the surrounding crater lakes, visit a local Bigodi Village or tour a nearby tea estate. From here return to Entebbe for departure or talk with us about extending your stay in the Pearl of Africa.

You will love

  • Gorillas and chimps galore
  • Wildlife without the crowds
  • Birding paradise
  • Privately guided
  • Exquisite green and fertile landscapes
  • Warmest smiles in Africa

13 UNFORGETTABLE DAYS

DAY 1 | ENTEBBE | 1 NIGHT

Welcome to Uganda. Your professional local guide, who will remain with you for entire safari, will collect you from the airport and take you the short distance to your boutique hotel accommodation for your overnight stay. Time to unwind after your journey. We recommend you add another night to enjoy some of the activities on offer here, such as a behind-the-scenes close-up encounter at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre where you can join younger rescued chimps during their daily exercise routine.

DAY 2 | LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK | 1 NIGHT

Depart by road with your guide and 4×4 bound for Lake Mburo, a drive of approx. 4-5 hours passing through traditional villages & farmland en route. Take an afternoon game drive upon arrival in Uganda’s smallest national park or take to the lake for a motorboat excursion on the lake to discover the breadth of bird species in the shores and within the reeds. Plenty of hippo and crocodile reside in the lake whilst on land you might find zebra, eland and impala. Enjoy a three course dinner before retiring for the evening.

DAY 3 | BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST | 3 NIGHTS

Take a leisurely game walk before departing by road to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a beautifully scenic drive of about 5-6 hours. Along the way you will pass tea plantations and lush green mountain ranges before ascending towards Bwindi. Farmlands & villages dot the landscape, it is magical. Arrive at Buhoma Village and to your nearby lodge which sits close to the park entrance for the start of your gorilla trekking. If you arrive early enough take a walk through the local community, even try a local brew. Dinner and an early night before your big day ahead.

DAY 4 | BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

Depart from the lodge first thing and assemble at the Park HQ to meet your gorilla trackers & National Park Guide. Carrying a packed lunch, you will set off into the forest in search of the magnificent mountain gorillas. Porters are available to assist you if required. Once you have located a family of gorillas you will have one hour to spend in their company, witnessing them interacting with each other. Then it is sadly time to retrace your steps and return to the lodge for a celebratory dinner and reflect on the incredible experience of today!

DAY 5 | BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

Today you have the opportunity to undertake a second gorilla trek. This is at additional cost and must also be pre-booked. Alternatively, you might wish to join the Bwindi Local Community Village Walk and visit a local homestead, Womens’ Collective, traditional healer, banana brewery and the Mukono Primary School, or spend the day on a hike in the rainforest with local Batwa guides. The Batwa pygmies will reveal how they once lived & hunted whilst teaching you all about medicinal plants and pointing out the abundant birdlife. Enjoy a sunset drink at the lodge before dinner.

DAY 6 | QUEEN ELIZABETH NP (ISHASHA) | 4 NIGHTS

After breakfast depart Bwindi bound for the southern end of Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). Along the way visit two Ishasha Community Projects ‐ Deo’s farm and Agartha’s homestead ‐ both run by inspiring local people who will give a unique insight into everyday life, growing crops and providing for a family in rural Uganda. Continue to your safari camp in the wildlife rich Ishasha (southern) section of QENP. Arrive in time for lunch and a siesta before heading on a game drive to see what resident wildlife you can find. Sunset drinks before dinner and relaxing by the campfire under the stars.

DAY 7 | QUEEN ELIZABETH NP (ISHASHA)

Today you will enjoy a bush breakfast with morning and afternoon game drives on offer. There will be hardly another vehicle in sight in the Ishasha region but what you will see is plenty of wildlife. Here you will be looking for the vast herds of elephant, perhaps watch hyenas hunt or spying on some of the area’s famous tree-climbing lions.

DAY 8 | QUEEN ELIZABETH NP (Mweya)

After a morning game drive and breakfast, you will depart with your guide heading north to the Mweya section of QENP. In this region you will start to observe panoramic Rift Valley scenery, the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, volcanic craters, and lakes. You will arrive at your accommodation close to Kyambura Gorge in time for lunch. Spend the afternoon either relaxing by the swimming pool or taking a coffee plantation walking tour, where you get to enjoy the delicious final product, or a walk into Maramagambo Forest.

DAY 9 | QUEEN ELIZABETH NP (Mweya)

Primate enthusiasts might wish to trek the habituated chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge this morning. Alternatively you could spend the day in QENP by accompanying predator researchers to go lion tracking in the morning followed by lunch and then an afternoon wildlife viewing boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel which is home to 600+ bird species, huge pods of hippo, plenty of elephant & buffalo, and a variety of antelope such as sitatunga, topi and waterbuck.

DAY 10 | KIBALE FOREST | 3 NIGHTS

The transfer north to Kibali National Park will take you over the equator and into some of Uganda’s most breathtaking scenery. The drive will take approx. 4 hours and you will arrive in time for lunch at your lodge offering stunning views over the Rwenzoris and the picture-perfect volcanic lakes. The afternoon can be spent taking a scenic drive through the region or you might like to walk about the property and enjoy the natural environment & the plentiful array of birdlife, or hike around the beautiful crater lakes.

DAY 11 | KIBALE FOREST

This morning you will be taken to the Kibali Forest National Park HQ to start your chimpanzee trekking activity. This is the best destination in Uganda to see them. How long it will take to find the chimps with your expert guide is uncertain but once you do, a full hour will be allowed to sit amongst the habituated family and observe how close their behaviour is to humans. Along the way you might spot other primates such as Red-Colobus Monkeys, Mangabeys and Baboons. The rest of the day can be spent at leisure. Alternatively, you can book a full day habituation experience where you accompany the forest’s researchers and assist in their daily habituation research, following the chimp’s through the forest and recording their behaviour and movement.

DAY 12 | KIBALE FOREST

Today you will visit the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary for a guided walk around this community-run conservation project. The variety of birdlife here is phenomenal. You might also like to explore the area further by visiting waterfalls, tea plantations, visit a local primary school and community projects, or simply enjoy the sanctuary of the lodge and reflect on all of your experiences in Uganda.

DAY 13 | RETURN TO ENTEBBE

Bid farewell to your lodge and start the day drive over about 7 to 8 hours back to Entebbe stopping along the way for refreshments and a leg stretch. Continue to onward arrangements. Note – it is possible to fly back to Entebbe in order to meet onward flight connections.

Note

This itinerary is a suggestion only and can be amended in terms of length, destination and properties to be included.

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

A selection of the finest safari camps

Private: No. 5 Boutique Lodge

Hotel No. 5 is a luxury, boutique style hotel ‐ the first of its kind in Entebbe. Located just ten minutes from the airport, it’s a great option for anyone looking for a relaxing, fuss‐free stopover, or for those with a little more time to stay and explore the local area. Read More

Mihingo Lodge

Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive retreat situated on 200 acres of private land, on a rocky bluff overlooking Lake Mburo National Park in Western Uganda. The lodge features ten luxury tented rooms which are built on wooden platforms covered by a thatched roof. Aside from lounging by the pool and watching wildlife at the waterhole, guests can also opt for boat trips on Lake Mburo, walks on the savannah, game drives in Lake Mburo National Park and horseback safaris. Read More

Buhoma Lodge

Buhoma Lodge commands uninterrupted views of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, home to the rare mountain gorilla. Ten comfortable, rustic cottages have been carefully deigned to afford views of the forest canopy and the lodge has been built using sustainable local materials. Buhoma Lodge is just a short distance from the meeting point for gorilla tracking and visits to nearby villages can be organised for those who are interested in the lodge’s social responsibility programmes. Read More

Ishasha Tented Camp

Ishasha Wilderness Camp is situated in the Queen Elizabeth National Park beside the idyllic Ntungwe river. Its remote location is famous for tree climbing lions, which can sometimes be spotted resting in the branches of the fig trees. Elephant sightings are also very good here, and the birding is excellent. The camp is comfortable but unpretentious and each of the ten spacious canvas tented rooms has a private verandah overlooking the river. Activities include game drives, boat excursions, bush dining, community visits and chimpanzee trekking. Read More

Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Kyambura Lodge is situated at the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park, close to Kyambura Gorge, with fantastic views over the national park and the Rwenzori Mountains. Seven spacious and tastefully designed thatched cottages perch on the hillside and the main lodge, originally a coffee store, boasts quirky contemporary design. The lodge places you perfectly for tracking chimpanzees in the gorge’s sunken forests, but the park also hosts almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 606 bird species! Read More

Ndali Lodge

Perched on the rim of an extinct volcano overlooking a flooded caldera, Ndali Lodge is set on a working tea estate close to Kibale Forest. The lodge is cosy and traditional and the eight comfortable cottages afford panoramic views of the dramatic Rwenzori Mountains. Kibale Forest is home to five habituated groups of chimpanzees and tracking these charismatic creatures on foot is a incredible experience. As a longstanding supporter of the local community, the lodge is also able to offer visits to a local school, vanilla factory or tea estate. Read More

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Milford family

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Kim & Brad Balance

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Buckingham Family

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Classic Safari Company has done it again! A unique experience that ticked all the boxes - wildlife, culture and dining experience. A dream come true!

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The McGowan Tribe

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