Africa… the way it should be
Uganda is a land of contrasts. In half a day you can drive from mist-shrouded volcanic mountains to hot hazy savannah, dappled with wildlife. Serene undulating hills of tea plantations, lush but ordered, give way to tangled jungle and rainforest with the musical accompaniment of chaotic, cacophonous birdlife. Uganda is alive with these contrasts: The tiniest sunbirds, iridescent in the morning light, the massive lumbering yet silent elephant, disappearing like a vapor behind the trees, the chimpanzees crashing about the forest canopy, the lugubrious gorilla, chewing thoughtfully in the bamboo thicket. There’s the Nile, twisting its way north like a shimmering ribbon, through arid semi-desert scattered about with rocky kopjes. Snow capped peaks, tropical, sandy, freshwater beaches, and smiling faces everywhere. It’s all here, a feast for all the senses.
Let us show you the Uganda we know and love.
This is Africa the way it should be!
arrival at the Entebbe International Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Kampala.
The Emin Pasha Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel nestled in two acres of beautifully landscape gardens of Kampala. Centrally located and within walking distance of Kampala’s business district, it is amazingly tranquil and peaceful. The Hotel is in a lovingly restored old colonial building and features 20 bedrooms. The Fez Brasserie and Wine Bar offers eclectic cuisine and a selection of South African’s finest wines. Other amenities include a pool, massages, a small library and two private lounges.
Overnight at Emin Pasha Hotel (BB)
Day 2, 3, 4
Transfer to Entebbe International Airport for you to catch your 11.30 pm scheduled flight to Kidepo Valley National Park.
Transfer to Kajjansi for your charter flight to Kidepo National Park.
You will be met by staff of our lodge at the airstrip. The drive to the lodge takes only 5 minutes.
Please talk to our lodge managers about the many places you can visit and activities you can do. They will be in the best position to advise you which areas to venture out to for the best game viewing and also weather conditions might cause a change of your itinerary. Let the explorer awake in you and take you to the best locations at the best time!
Game drives and walks at Apoka are directed by nature not time! Take a walking safari along a sandy dry river bed fringed with palm trees, climb to the top of a rocky outcrop and take in the views! We move slowly along isolated tracks to fully appreciate all around us, looking for tracks and signs of the animals movements we can stop at any point to investigate further. We may take a walk to track the lions, or even cheetah, always surrounded by Zebra, Waterbuck, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Warthogs, Patas monkeys and BIG herds of Buffalo.
Afterwards, relax in your outdoor bathtub under the stars, take a dip in our big rock swimming pool overlooking the savannah and a waterhole frequently visited by animals before having dinner at the main building.
Apoka Safari Lodge is located in the middle of Kidepo Valley National Park. It offers ten big tented rooms with hardwood floors, hot running water (solar heated) and comfy furniture located around a dramatic rocky kopje each with the most astounding views out across the plains to the jagged mountains in the distance. Outdoor bathtubs are carved out of the rock face, the furniture is handmade, the staff is from the local community – the Apoka experience is truly unique, indigenous and natural. While the décor is uncluttered – a minimal aesthetic that uses the dramatic scenery and light as its inspiration and adornment – comfort is de riguer. Oversized armchairs, king size beds, cushions in little private nooks, soft summer weight duvets, Egyptian cotton towels and wonderful fusion cuisine. It is just a short drive from the airstrip to the lodge. From the pool, carved into the rocks, you can observe animals at the below waterhole. Meals are served from a set menu but please do speak with our chef should you have special wishes.
Overnight at Apoka Safari Lodge 3 nights (FB)
Enjoy brunch at the lodge prior to your onward flight back to Entebbe. On arrival at Entebbe International Airport you will be met by your Chapter representative who will transfer you back to your accommodation in Kampala.
Overnight at The Emin Pasha (BB)
Charter flight to Murchison and overnight
This morning, you will depart by road to Murchison Falls National Park. This scenic drive will take approximately 6 hours. Before checking in the Lodge, you will visit the top of the Murchison Falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters. Relax at the lodge in the afternoon or venture out for an afternoon game drive.
Uganda’s largest park (3840 sq km) protects a chunk of untamed African savannah bisected by the mighty river Nile, covering an altitude from 600 – 1300 meters. It is named for the dramatic Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. The Nile itself hosts one of Africa’s densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of water birds including the world’s most accessible wild population of the rare shoebill stork. A total of 76 mammal species and roughly 460 bird species have been recorded.
Landscapes range from savannah ecosystems and grassland to riverine woodlands. The South of the park is characterized by dense woodlands.
Paraa Safari Lodge is a large lodge, which has recently been refurbished and is very well located for game viewing within Murchison National Park. The Lodge has 54 rooms, 4 which are double rooms and 50 twin rooms, all of which have en-suite bathrooms and mosquito nets. They have a large swimming pool looking out over the Victoria Nile with a bar, at which you sit while in the water. They have a boutique from which you can purchase clothing, local crafts, basic necessities and souvenirs. The meals are generally served as a buffet.
Overnight at Para Safari Lodge (FB)
Up early for a morning game drive. Your drive will take you across to Lake Albert and the Nile Delta where you are most likely to see a lot of animals. Murchison Falls National Park is well cited for the best wildlife viewing – giraffe, buffalo, lion, elephant, Nile crocodile, hippo, orib, bush buck, waterbuck.
Return to the lodge for lunch and the chance to relax before taking a boat trip in the afternoon which takes around 3 hours. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison Falls National Park since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles. The birdlife is stunning with eagles, brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the river banks. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.
Overnight at Para Safari Lodge (FB)
Your guide will take you to the nearby airstrip for you to catch your charter plane to the Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve. This flight is a short hop and will take you about an hour.
Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve, the oldest protected area in Uganda and home to a staggering array of flora and fauna. The Reserve is situated in the basin of the Western Rift Valley. It is one of the most diverse habitats in Africa with wonderful examples of Riparian forest, gallery rain forest, borassus palm forest, and short and high grass savannas. Chimps exist next to elephant, lion and buffalo as well as the usual Western Uganda species.
Nestled on the crest of the beautiful Wasa River Valley is the small and luxurious Semliki Safari Lodge. The eight rooms are tented with large four-poster beds, Persian carpets and en-suite bathrooms. At night through the canvas you can hear the animals moving, the lions roaring and often the leopards harsh sawing as it hunts baboons. We have a lovely swimming pool area, ideal for relaxing, while still feeling as though you are truly in the heart of Africa. The food prepared by our chefs could best be described as ‘fusion food’, and we endeavor to use as much local, fresh produce as possible.
There are a number of activities on offer at Semliki Safari Lodge – our motto is ‘that you can do as much or as little as you want’.
An early morning rise, tea in your tent and a good breakfast before you depart on A Boat Trip on Lake Albert to try and see the incredible and rare shoebill, visually a cross between a dodo and a dinosaur. The lake is superb: there are sand cliffs where brightly coloured colonies of red-throated bee-eaters dart in an out of their burrows, there are several fishing villages along the way, virtually untouched by the ‘western world’. Then drive back to the Lodge through the borassus palm forest and the acacia savannah reveals different species of raptors and passerines.
A spot light night game drive will give you the chance to see fantastic nocturnal species. This is the only place in Uganda where you can do a night drive! You never know what you may see. Sometimes the big cats (lions and leopards) are sighted as well as the diminutive genet and serval cats. Unusual nocturnal dwellers also show themselves such as forest elephants, white tailed mongoose and slender mongoose, standard and pennant winged nightjars depending on the time of year. There are always surprises on the night drives.
An early morning rise, tea in your tent, and then you will go down into the beautiful gallery rainforest to track wild chimpanzees. Chimps are tracked by researchers in Semliki at dawn and dusk, as they tend to disappear in the middle of the day. The Semliki Chimp Project is jointly run by The Uganda Safari Chapter and the University of Indiana. The project was initiated to study bipedalism and the rare geography of Semliki makes ideal to study this important stage in man’s development. There are also a number of bird species which are found in this picturesque forest. The time of this walk is hard to predict – please seek information previous to the walk from our lodge managers and the researchers to find out more about the current location of the chimpanzee groups and the likeliness of finding them.
Guests can choose to relax, either by the pool or in the main lodge:
Overnight at Semliki Safari Lodge (FB) 3 nights
This morning after breakfast we will depart by car for Queen Elizabeth National park.
This National Park covers 1,978 sq km and lies north and south of the equator in southwestern Uganda. From open savannah to rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world. Almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 606 bird species makes this superb safari territory, with elephant, a profusion of hippos, the elusive giant forest hog and handsome Uganda kob all regularly sighted around the tourist village on the Mweya Peninsula – which also boasts a marvelous waterfront setting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains. Bird species include the martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail, Verreaux’s eagle owl and African skimmer to name but a few.
Mweya Safari Lodge is a large, first class lodge overlooking the famous Kazinga Channel of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Lodge comprises of 49 rooms, all of which have en-suite bathrooms and mosquito nets. They have a swimming pool sunk into the large deck, looking out over the Kazinga Channel. They have a boutique from which you can purchase clothing, local crafts, basic necessities and souvenirs. The meals are generally served as a buffet.
Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge (FB)
This morning we will leave for the 8.00 am forest walk in Kyambura Gorge. You are likely to encounter primate species, sight birds and with a bit of luck find a group of chimpanzees who reside in the gorge. These delightful apes, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are tremendous fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. We will return to the lodge for lunch.
Head back to the lodge for lunch and later in the afternoon embark one of the boats for a boat trip. This will allow you to experience wildlife up close where hippos huff and spray mere feet away, buffalo linger in the shallows and a tremendous variety of birds grace the grasses on the river’s edge. Amongst those you will see are the malachite and pied kingfishers, great white and pink-backed pelicans and the open-billed stork. With some luck you will even spot elephants on the river banks coming for a drink and a bath. We return to the lodge for dinner.
Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge (FB)
Today we exit the park via the southern sector of the park, known as Ishasha. This remote and beautiful extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park is famed for its tree-climbing lions. It is a fabulous sight to see the lions draped from the trees and nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha.
Ishasha Wilderness Tented Camp offers quality accommodation in this remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for it’s tree climbing lions. Combined with excellent game viewing opportunities for buffalo, elephants, kob, topi and other species of antelope, the camp provides ideal accommodation. It is currently catering for up to twelve guests in 6 large twin bedded, East African meru styled tents which are situated in the wooded area besides the Ntungwe River. Each tent has its own private en suite bathroom and dressing area providing hot water “bush” showers and an eco friendly toilet. A central dining area and an outdoor lounge beside the river provide a comfortable environment for meal and drinks.
Overnight at Ishasha Camp (FB)
Up early for breakfast and then we will depart for a morning game drive. We will take a bush picnic with us and stop before continuing to Bwindi, home of the mountain gorillas, where we will arrive in the late afternoon.
The journey offers excellent views including mountain lakes and the triangular peaks of the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda and the Congo. The road then climbs up towards Nkuringo, which looks down onto Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home of the mountain gorilla. We will stay in the Nkuringo Village prior to tomorrow’s gorilla trek in the park.
This rainforest is said to be 25.000 years old, making it one of Africa’s most biodiverse habitat. The altitude of this mountain park ranges from 1200 – 2600 meters. Five rivers and a high annual rainfall make it rather humid. Besides its mayor attraction, the mountain gorillas (gorilla gorilla berengeri) the National Park is also home to an amazing 120 mammal species, 350 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies and over 200 species of trees.
It is believed that about 350 gorillas remain in several stable groups in the park. The great protection over the last years has lead to a steady increase of the population.
Although best know for its mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest also attracts spectacular birds. There are 23 of the 24 Albertine rift endemics including the African green broadbill, bar tailed trogan and other beautiful forest species.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge high up on Nteko Ridge, on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the views are breathtaking, In the shadow of three volcanoes, looking down into the thick treetop canopy of Bwindi and beyond to the golden grasses of the Western Rift Valley.
8 Stone cottages with fireplaces, soft armchairs, warm duvets, excellent meals made from local produce, good wine, a lush botanical garden, a cosy library and sheltered verandas with views to the volcanoes.
Clouds, with the ultimate goal of protecting the natural habitat of the mountain gorilla, will also directly benefit the community of Nkuringo who also have a significant stake in the venture.
Guests will be able to walk from the lodge to the Gorilla tracking starting point.
Overnight Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (FB) 3 nights
Up relatively early for a hearty breakfast to give you the energy needed for your gorilla trek. Before 8 am report to the ranger station for registration and a talk by one of the rangers; the guides will then take you through the bush pushing your way through the undergrowth, parting thick creepers, to track the gorillas. The trek can take from half an hour to 7 hours – a reasonable degree of fitness is required as well as a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
Once you are close to the group the guides will ask you to leave behind your bags as no food items should be carried close to the gorillas. Just take your cameras with you as you are about to meet the gentle giants! Sit in the forest amongst the gorillas, listening to them grumble to each other and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant male; the silverback. It is an extraordinary feeling sitting in the dense rainforest knowing you are with a few of the last remaining mountain gorillas – sadly enough there are only about 650 of these beautiful creatures left. You are allowed exactly one hour with the gorillas before returning to the base station.
Please note: please listen to the instructions of the local rangers at all times. It is forbidden to approach the gorillas closer than 5 meters, to feed them or to use flash photography. Likewise for your and their safety! You will be accompanied by armed guards which guarantee your safety in an area where wild buffaloes are sighted. While walking, please feel free to ask guides to slow down if they are going too fast and if you need a rest. There is the additional option to hire porters on site.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority does not allow a trekking when you are sick as gorillas are very susceptible of human diseases. Should you feel sick the day of the trek we urgently advise you to abide this rule. In order to receive a 50% refund of the permit cost you MUST get a doctor’s report that day (please ask your guide to arrange this for you).
We must also stress that, while you have a very good chance of seeing gorillas, success is NOT guaranteed. They are wild creatures with no fixed routine and finding them requires the skills and experience of your tracker sand guides, as well as luck. The trackers and guides have helped to habituate the gorilla groups and know them intimately. They will take you to the area where they left the gorillas the day before. Before leaving they may be able to suggest how long the hike might be.
This morning we will take a guided walk and experience the local community in the Ntungamo village. The people of Nteko are largely self sufficient. The community experience discovers how they rely on local producers to provide commodities such as medicine, tools, soap, beer, baskets and food.
Overnight Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (FB)
This morning after breakfast we will depart for Lake Mburo National park.
Lake Mburo National Park is located between Kampala and Bwindi National Park, making it a great location for a stop over on your way to the gorilla trek. It extends over 260 km2 and its altitude ranges from 1220 to 1800 meters above sea level. There are several large lakes in the park which are fed by the Rwizi River with Lake Mburo being the largest of them. The park mainly consists of open savannah and acacia woodland while papyrus swamps line the verges of the lakes. The park offers a harbor for some of the rarer species of Uganda such as impalas and zebras. Furthermore, there are several antelope species, hyenas, buffalos, leopards, jackals, wild pigs, hippos and around 300 species of birds to be seen in the park. Especially bird viewing opportunities are excellent – for birders, this is one of the best places to find African fin foot, papyrus bush shrike.
Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. It features ten tents which are built on wooden platforms with stilts, covered by a thatched roof. Suspended under the thatched roof is a spacious and comfortable tent equipped with en-suite bathrooms.
The main dining area is a large thatched structure built out of rocks, the wood of dead weathered
olive trees found on the land, and native grasses. Below the dining area, an infinity swimming pool stretches out from the rocks; guests can enjoy the view over Lake Mburo National Park.
Overnight at Mihingo Lodge (FB) night
Activities in the park include game drives, boat ride, guided nature walk and horse safaris.
Over night at Mihingo lodge.
After breakfast your guide will transfer you to Kampala and transfer you to your hotel in Kampala.
Overnight at the Emin Pasha Hotel (BB)
Your Chapter Safari Guide will collect you from your hotel to go and explore Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The Kasubi Tombs and the National Museum are well worth a visit as it gives the visitor an interesting insight into Uganda culture. There are also a number of very good Craft Markets where you will find crafts and souvenirs. Should you wish to buy local material to take home there is an excellent weaving school near Makerere University that makes and sells colorful quality cloth at very reasonable prices. There is also a local Market called Nakasero where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables or simply have a look around. The Garden City Shopping Mall has everything from supermarkets to bowling alley, craft shops and cinema.
Overnight at the Emin Pasha Hotel (BB)