9 – Day Chimps, Gorillas & Lions

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9 Days 8 Nights
Min Age : 15+

9 – Day Chimps, Gorillas & Lions

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This scenic safari will offer you an opportunity to explore all the primates of Uganda, with a glimpse at the amazing tree-climbing lions of Ishasha sector to the Home of the gentle apes in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, after a game drive & boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Depart for Kampala after a gorilla tracking experience & take a quick tour of Kampala City to the stunning landmarks with souvenir shopping at the largest craft market, prior to your transfer to the airport.

Itinerary

Day 1Arrival, transfer to the hotel & stay at leisure

Upon arrival at Entebbe Int. Airport, your tour guide will receive you & transfer to the hotel in Kampala City. Arrive & stay at leisure or opt for a City Tour.

Kampala
Bordering Lake Victoria, Kampala sprawls out over a series of undulating hills & despite the development, the city is known for its tree-lined avenues & serves as a commercial hub of the country boasting a blend of African markets, modern skyscrapers, international hotels, bars & casinos. Visitors can learn about the country’s rich history at the Uganda National Museum; with activities on Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) & the Namugongo Martyrs Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Kampala City Tour
By taking a guided tour guests can enjoy the rich cultural history & tourist attractions of this beautiful city built across seven famous hills. Visitors will visit popular historic cultural & religious sites including Kabaka’s Palace, Martyrs Shrine & Uganda National Museum.

Day 2Transfer to Kibale National Park

Early breakfast & your journey to Kibale National Park kicks off past Mubende & Fort Portal, composed of a scenic view of the Rwenzori Mountains, large green tea estates, the Toro Palace & Fort Portal Town attractions. Arrive at the lodge & stay at leisure to relax after a long journey; While at leisure, you may have a sun-downer walk.

Kibale National Park
In western Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park is known to be home to the highest density of primates in Africa. Although the highlight of the park is the habituated chimpanzees, the treetops are alive with many monkeys including red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, grey-cheeked Mangabey, red colobus & black & white colobus monkeys can all be spotted here. When you’re not searching for monkeys, there are over 300 bird species & an incredible 250 species of butterfly to keep you busy. Visitors can look forward to chimpanzee tracking, birding tours & guided nature walks.

Day 3Adventure in the World’s Primate Capital

Go Chimp tracking & also see various bird species, plus more primates like the black & white colobus monkey including other animals like bushbucks & mongoose. Return to the lodge for lunch & refreshment.
Afternoon: Visit Bigodi Community & the Wetland Sanctuary; see birds like the African hobby, great blue turaco, Black kite, & more. Return to the lodge for leisure & dinner.

Activities
*Kibale Forest Chimp Tracking
*Tour Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
*Birding

Kibale Chimpanzee Tracking
Kibale’s walks start from Kanyanchu Visitor Center (08.00 & 15.00), lasting 2 to 3 hours. Chimps are the most sought after primates by visitors, with the black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey or grey cheeked Mangabey. Your guides will show you pittas & different bird species & avail details of the traits of the plant species within the forest.

Day 4 Depart Kibale for Queen Elizabeth National Park “A medley of Wonders”

Queen Elizabeth N. Park is famous for diverse ecosystems including sprawling Savannah, shady humid forests, sparkling lakes, wetlands & amazing craters. Ideal for the big game, primates including Chimps & over 600 bird species. It is a scenic view of Kazinga Channel, the Rwenzori Mountains & crater lakes.

Have breakfast on a leisurely morning & travel to ‘’a medley of wonders’’, whereupon arrival you will check-in at the lodge for lunch & stay leisure. Evening: Go for a Game Drive with a chance to see animals like bushbucks, elephants, warthogs, hippos & more.

Queen Elizabeth National Park
Surrounded by other wonderful parks in western Uganda, this park is known for its rich biodiversity, wildlife & history. In the southern part, there is the Ishasha sector, home to tree-climbing lions that spend most time dozing in the fig trees. Around Lake Edward, enjoy fishing & game watching – remember to look out for elephants, crocodiles, & perennial & migratory bird species.

Day 5Explore the wonders of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Early breakfast & go explore the park’s flora & fauna including several bird species & various animals such as elephants, buffaloes, hippos, impalas, waterbucks, Kobs & more. Enjoy a scenic view of several crater lakes including Lake Nyamunuka (medicinal to the animals) & Lake Munyanyange (birds’ haven)

Proceed to Lake Katwe & learn about traditional salt mining, interact with the locals. Thereafter return to the lodge for lunch & refreshment.

Go for a boat cruise (afternoon) & see various birds; the African fish eagle, pelicans, flamingos, vultures, kites & more with animals; hippos, buffaloes, warthogs, crocodiles & waterbucks as most come to water & cool off.

Enjoy views of the Mweya peninsular & a fishing village, with a visit to Mweya Museum; learn about the park’s history, animals & physical features, returning to the lodge for leisure & dinner in a peaceful atmosphere.

Activities
* Game drives
* Boat Cruise
* Cultural encounter
* Salt works tour
* Crater lakes exploration.

Day 6Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park via the Ishasha Sector

Breakfast on a leisurely morning & travel to Bwindi via Ishasha Sector. On arrival, check-in at the lodge & have lunch.
At 331 sq. km this park is home to half the world’s mountain gorillas, over 346 birds, 202 butterflies, 400 plants, 63 trees, 120 mammals & 27 frog species.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
In south-western Uganda, the park is Africa’s oldest rain-forest famous for its gorilla-sighting opportunities. The rugged landscape has a dense jungle, waterfalls & sparkling mountain streams, deep valleys & steep ridges & they declared it a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its natural beauty & unique ecological significance. Aside from gorilla interactions, there are other features; a network of forest walks, over 340 bird species & various butterflies.

Ishasha Sector
Ishasha is famed for its tree-climbing lions & near the south-western edge of the national park. The landscape is composed of Savannah woodland, acacia & cactus trees.

Day 7Bwindi Gorilla Tracking & the Batwa Cultural Trail

After an early breakfast, head to the park headquarters for a briefing at exactly 8:00 am & tracking will start in the next 30 minutes after registration & briefing by the ranger guides.

Gorilla tracking is a very captivating & unforgettable experience which more than repays the effort needed to reach Bwindi. This starts at 8:30 am & can last a few hours to a whole day depending on where the gorillas were left the previous day. After gorilla tracking, return to the lodge & have your lunch with a storytelling campfire at night.

In the evening, you may opt for a community tour where you will meet and interact with the shortest people (Batwa) of the mountains; learn about their lifestyle; hunting skills, cultural dances, medicinal knowledge, child upbringing, cuisines together with art & crafts (shop of souvenirs).

Activities
* Gorilla tracking
* Bird watching
* Community walk
* Cultural encounter & entertainment
* The Batwa Cultural trail
* Souvenir shopping.

Day 8Depart Bwindi back to Kampala City

Day 9Half City Tour, Souvenir Shopping & Outbound Departure

On this final day of your safari enjoy breakfast at the hotel, followed by a checkout & go for a brief tour of Kampala City with visits to the city’s highlights such as
* Buganda palace
* Uganda National Museum
* Nakasero Market
* Historical monuments
* Bahai Temple & Hindu Temples
* Gaddafi National Mosque
* The city’s largest craft village

You will later be transferred to Entebbe International Airport to check-in for your outbound departure in time.
End of Safari

Disclaimer
1. the journey time(s) stated in the itinerary is an estimation and it is subject to variation depending on traffic & road conditions.
2. Listed accommodation options are subject to availability at the time of booking. If not available, we will consider similar properties.

Basis
Bed & Breakfast.

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!