This 6-day safari takes you to one of the most beautiful places on earth- Lake Bunyonyi and a face to face encounter with the giant of the wild- the mountain gorilla. You will glide past crater Lakes and tranquil countryside while Africa’s third-highest and most rugged mountain impose itself in the background. You may also spot the tree-climbing lion and then immerse yourself into some cultural experiences along the way. Enjoy!
Our guide will be on hand to pick you from the airport. You will head straight to Kampala with the journey outside the airport offering you the first opportunity to see Africa’s largest fresh-water Lake-the Victoria. It will take you about one hour to reach Kampala city center.
Check-in and dinner in Kampala with an optional chance to take a leisurely walk in this peaceful and tranquil city or even do a full city tour.
Depart Kampala at 6.00 AM for the 6 to 7- hour drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The journey takes you through the cool undulating tea plantations along Kabarole District onto Fort Portal town also known as Uganda’s tourism town. Stopover for lunch at Gardens Restaurant in Fort portal town.
You then descend into the Great Rift Valley with glimpses of the mighty snow-capped Rwenzori Mountain in the distance through Kasese town.
Arrive at Queen Elizabeth National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda is home to the world-famous tree-climbing lions and the Great Crater Lake of the East African Rift Valley.
After settling in the lodge, you will take an evening boat cruise across the Kazinga channel which is an oasis for many of the fascinating species that inhabit this huge park. The boat ride will give you the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffaloes while elephants linger on the shoreline in some playful gesture.
After an early breakfast, you will drive to Kasenyi- the open savannah grassland. Kasenyi is the stereotypical African landscape and is the most popular area to search for big cats.
Here, you will see large herds of common herbivores including warthogs, waterbuck, Uganda kob and topi, and the sitatunga antelope which attracts predators. If you are lucky, you will find the “big bosses”- lions feeding on them creating a captivating sight of game hunting and survival. There is also a large concentration of hippos, crocodiles plus herds of elephants, buffalo, and other wildlife that come to drink from the river.
Lions are found all over the park, but the most famous live in the southern sector of Ishasha, where they rest on the limbs of fig trees thus the name- tree-climbing lions. Solitary leopards are nocturnal and well camouflaged, making a glimpse even more rewarding!
After your packed lunch, depart the lodge for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Preparations begin early with a quick breakfast to enable you to catch up with the other tracking groups for general pre-tracking briefing. The actual hiking and tracking are both beautiful, tiresome and adventurous.
The terrain can be treacherous and muddy while the tracking can take anywhere from two hours to eight hours. But it is all worth it as you come face to face with these dinosaurs of the wild described as the amazing gentle giants.
The gentle habits of these incredible creatures defy their size. They will guide you on how to behave in their presence and how to capture your lifetime memorable photos while in their presence. They restrict you to only one hour with the gorillas because of safety and habituation reasons. But again, it is all worth it.
You may also see other primates and monkeys, butterflies birds and the incredible mist-covered terrain.
After tracking, depart for Bunyonyi and see the 30 islands.
Enjoy the refreshing cool breeze and the awesome undulating terrain as you exit for Kampala.
The first stopover on your return journey will be at the Igongo Cultural Museum, where you will take a 30-minute detour of the cultural activities of the Ankole people. Across the road, you will site the great Biharwe monument erected in commemoration of the “Biharwe Eclipse” which was dated by astronomers and historians to have taken place in the year 1520 AD.
As the only scientifically dated event in the early history of the Great Lakes Region, the eclipse, which was acknowledged in legends of Bunyoro, Buganda and Nkole, became the key benchmark historians used to determine the royal genealogies of those kingdoms.
Proceed to the Equator crossing- the imaginary line that divides the earth into two hemispheres. Watch water swirl into two different directions in a rare scientific experience.
Lunch and transfer to Kampala.
Transfer from Kampala and onwards to Entebbe depending on your departure schedule.
Optional activities include city tour/ Source of the Nile/ UWEC).
We do hope you enjoy your safari in this beautiful country.
You are required to purchase a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. Tourist visas can be bought in advance via the embassy or consulate in your country or simply purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Photos are not required and a single entry tourist visa costs US$ 100 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.
If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows 90-days multiple entries to Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.
A number of different vaccinations are recommended and/or required before entering Uganda. A certificate proving you have had the Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into Uganda. Immunizations against DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio) and Hepatitis A are recommended as well.
Besides bringing mosquito repellent, we also advise you to take malaria ‘prophylactics’ (prevention medication).
The following cancellation charges apply to the basic program rate:
60 days or more prior to arrival 10% charge
59 – 32 days prior to arrival 25% charge
31 – 8 days prior to arrival 50% charge
7 – 3 days prior to arrival 75% charge
48 hours or less prior to arrival 100% charge
Empathy Tours reserves the right to deduct all expenses incurred from money paid.
Gorilla & Chimpanzee permits and air tickets are 100% non-refundable.
No refunds will be made for any unused services, late arrival or no-show of any of the members of the tour.
Solo travelers are very welcome! However, to minimize your costs we would suggest joining a group. Although we can try and arrange this for you, we cannot guarantee we can find a group whose interests, budget and preferred route correspond to yours, especially during the low season.
If you would like to stay in a single room please notify us well in advance and we will try to meet your request. Please bear in mind that single rooms are not common and it is more likely that you will be offered single occupancy of a double room. A single room supplement will apply.
Once you have confirmed the final itinerary with us, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 30%. Gorilla permits must be paid for in full at the time of booking. Note that the availability of accommodation and permits is not guaranteed until officially confirmed by Empathy Tours. Accommodation, permit and activity reservations will be made as soon as payment has been received on our account.
For your convenience, the balance payment of 70% should be settled before the start of your safari. We accept payment by bank transfer in either dollar to our bank account in Uganda. Please note that all bank charges are at the expense of the client.
Accommodation falls into three categories: budget, mid-range or luxury.
Budget accommodation may be simple and basic rooms, bandas or tents, with double/twin beds and mosquito nets when necessary. Private bathrooms are not always available and you may have to share bathroom facilities.
3-star, 4-star and 5-star accommodation offer comfortable rooms or luxury furnished safari tents with a private bathroom. Flush toilets and hot and cold running water are available. Mosquito nets will be provided where necessary.
All Uganda lodges are carefully selected and frequently visited by Empathy Tours staff, to monitor quality and service levels. The majority of safari lodges and hotels are small-scale, offering a unique location and ambiance, and usually have a maximum of eight rooms.
We offer tailor-made safaris for any number of participants. There is no minimum number for a group tour, although the bigger the group, the more attractive the price will be.
Officially, Uganda’s dry seasons are from December/January through to mid-March and from June through mid-September. These dry months are the most popular with tourists, with July and August and Christmas and New Year being the peak seasons.
The most rain falls in October-November and April-May. However, this doesn’t mean that it rains all day, nor does it mean it will rain every day. Usually, there’s a tropical shower at night or a shorter shower during the day, but in Uganda, you can trust that after rain comes sunshine!
The weather is no reason to avoid traveling in the wet season – you might even consider it because of the easy availability of gorilla permits.
As in the rest of the world, the East African climate is changing, making it more difficult for us to predict the weather during your safari. However, in Uganda, the temperature is very stable and pleasant, with sunshine almost 365 days a year. During the day, the temperature averages between 23 and 27°C, although in some places it can be quite cool at night.
One remarkable aspect of Uganda safaris is: whether you travel in the dry, dusty months or in the wet season, you will never find the crowded tourism like in Kenya or Tanzania. If you spot a lion or leopard, it is very likely that you will be the only one to see it – even in peak season!