8 – Day Gorilla, Chimp Tracking, Explosive Wildlife andCulture

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8 Days 7 Nights
Min Age : 15+

8 – Day Gorilla, Chimp Tracking, Explosive Wildlife andCulture

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Our fascinating 8- day safari takes you to one of the most beautiful places on earth- Lake Bunyonyi and a face to face encounter with the Giants of the wild- the Mountain Gorilla and the Chimpanzee. See Crater Lake and big game in Queen Elizabeth, cruise the River Nile and traverse the tranquil savannah countryside. Also, sight Africa’s third-highest and most rugged Mountain Rwenzori. But it all begins with a visit to the world’s most powerful waterfalls in Murchison Falls National Park!

Itinerary

Day 1Departure & Cruise in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls N.P. is Uganda’s largest national park famous for the incredible savannah landscape and the breathtaking waterfalls where visitors marvel at how the world’s longest river, the Nile forces itself through a seven-meter crack and thunders 45 meters downwards in a series of cascade creating an incomparable powerful sight.

7 AM: Depart Kampala and drive northwards along the Kampala- Gulu highway through the undulating and sometimes flat landscape of Luwero and Nakasongola Districts. Continue to Murchison Falls National Park for lunch and check-in.

After a mid-afternoon relaxation, proceed to a sunset cruise on the Nile (optional). Enjoy the glorious African sunset away in the open savannah.

Day 2Scaling to the top of Murchison Falls

Start the day with an early morning breakfast against the backdrop of the glorious African sun!
Embark on a memorable game drive where you will see Rothschild’s giraffe, buffaloes, hartebeest, Uganda Kob and warthogs among others in the open savannah plains.

After lunch, embark on a boat cruise down to the base of the Murchison Falls, where you will trek to the top of the falls. This is the highlight of your visit to Murchison which comes with the most dramatic view of the waterfalls at Top of Falls where the sight and sound of the Nile crashing down the falls makes an everlasting impression. Enroute you will encounter wildlife (hippos, crocodiles, etc and other bird species) coming down to drink and bathe.

You can opt for leaving the boat at Fajao Gorge, climb to the top of the falls, and ask your driver to pick you up.
It is at this point that you will have a great opportunity to take memorable photos.

Return to the Lodge for Dinner and overnight

Day 3Depart Murchison Falls en route to Kibale NP

Depart Murchison Falls NP at 6.30 AM for the 6 to 7- hour drive and head to Kibale National Park- home of the Chimpanzee. The journey takes you through the cool undulating tea plantations along Kabarole District and later onto Fort Portal town, also known as Uganda’s tourism town.

In the afternoon, the option of taking a nature walk at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary or just staying, relaxing and enjoying the fascinating countryside terrain.

Day 4Chimpanzee tracking

In the morning, begin the chimp tracking at Kibale National Park, the primate’s capital of the world. Search through the forested area as a move towards your prized target. Enjoy the sometimes tough adventure of the African rainforest.

Kibale is known for Chimpanzee tracking. The park is also home to 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primates including the famous chimpanzee. It also contains over 375 species of birds.

Return to the lodge for Lunch.

In the afternoon, depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park through Fort Portal town. Drive past the imposing Rwenzori Mountains in the distance.
Arrive at the park and use the opportunity for a boat cruise and viewing some big water beasts like hippos and crocodiles.

Day 5Game Safari & beyond- Crater Lake

At Queen Elizabeth NP, we want to treat you to a different experience with and beyond the traditional safari.

Start the morning with a cool, wild breakfast and head off to any of the dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills. This segment of the safari powerful combines both game and the unique Crater Lake that straddle along the great East African Rift Valley.
End your drive with a visit to the Kazinga Channel which is a wide 32-kilometer long natural channel connecting the two Lakes; Lake George and Lake Edward.

Day 6 Ishasha and Tree Climbing lions

Today you will drive south to Ishasha, home of the tree-climbing lions which requires early morning departure.
Start your day with an early morning breakfast.
Arrive at Ishasha. If you are lucky, you will see the lion had made an early morning kill.

Catch glimpses of the mighty snow-capped Rwenzori Mountain in the distance through Kasese town as you depart for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the late afternoon and arrive at Bwindi in the early afternoon.

It is here that the combination of the towering Bwindi impenetrable forest welcomes you as you prepare for the great ape tracking the next day.
Sit by the imposing forest and enjoy the tranquil sounds of nature from forest insects to animals which give you the relaxing chance to reconnect with nature peacefully.

Day 7 Face to Face with the Mountain Gorillas

It is D-day!
Preparations begin early with a quick breakfast to enable you to catch up with the tracking groups. The 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 Giant.”
The gentle habits of these incredible creatures defy their size. They will guide you on how to behave in their presence and capture your lifetime memorable photos. They restrict you to only one hour because of safety and habituation reasons. But it is all worth it.

After tracking, depart for Lake Bunyonyi, described by some as the most beautiful on earth.

After a short rest in the afternoon, hike the hilly landscape to spot the over 30 islands connected like dots in the Garden of Eden!
Lake Bunyonyi is also Africa’s second deepest lake.

Day 8 Bunyonyi and Departure

After a relaxed morning breakfast still savoring the scenery, depart Lake Bunyonyi and head off towards Kampala. This is a 6-7 hour journey through the cool and beautiful Western Uganda.

Stopover in Mbarara/ Igongo for lunch (for an optional detour of the Igongo cultural museum)
Transfer to Kampala and onwards to Entebbe depending on your departure schedule.

End of safari!
We hope you enjoy your holiday in this very gifted country that you are about to experience.

Inclusions

Price Includes

  • Entrance fees to the tourist sites Including protected areas mentioned.
  • Full board accommodation on safari.
  • Transportation in either 4x4 Safari Van or 4x4 Safari Land Cruiser, all with popup roof and AC
  • Chimpanzee permit (for chimpanzee trekking safaris)
  • Gorilla permit (for gorilla trekking safaris)
  • A professional English speaking driver/ guide. Other foreign languages can be arranged on request
  • Bottled water when on safari.
  • Fees for tourists activities mentioned

Price Excludes

  • Laundry services
  • Beverages/drinks of personal nature like alcohol.
  • Airport transfers arranged on request.
  • Optional activity fees
  • Visas
  • Other activity fees that are not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Tips for drivers/guides and other staff members.
  • International flights (Arranged on request.)
  • Domestic flights (Arranged on request.)
  • Any other extras not mentioned in the itinerary.
FAQ

Do I need a visa to enter Uganda?

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.

Are vaccinations required for my Uganda safari?

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).

What is cancellation policy?

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.

I'm a solo traveller, is there a single supplement?

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.

How can I pay for my safari?

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.

What is the Safari accommodation like?

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.

How many people are in your group safaris?

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.

What is the best time to travel to Uganda?

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!