16 Days Uganda Safari – Gorilla, Chimps, Wildlife, Scenery, Culture, & Source of the Nile Tour

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Kazinga Channel Hippos in Uganda

Safari Overview

On this 16 Days Uganda Safari, you will track wild Chimps in Kibale Forest and Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where half of the world’s remaining 1063 mountain gorillas live. Encountering these Great Apes is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, never to be forgotten!

In between, you’ll enjoy a thrilling game drives and boat cruises in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Parks, and track wild rhinos on foot in Ziwa Sanctuary.

You’ll also relax at scenic Lake Bunyonyi. Here you can enjoy activities like boat cruise, canoe ride, hiking, and zip ling.

To make sure that you also interact with the local communities, we have several village and community walks that will take you to the nearby villages to learn more about the people and their cultures in Uganda.

You’ll finish your 16 days Uganda safari in Jinja to see the source of the Nile – the point at which the world’s longest river exits Africa’s largest lake to begin an epic 6700km journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Jinja is a hot spot for adventures: white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, mountain biking, quad biking, etc.

Main Safari Activities

  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest
  • On-foot rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Searching for rare tree-climbing lions
  • Thrilling safari goat cruises and game drives
  • Visiting the top of the powerful Murchison Falls
  • Relaxation on the scenic and serene Lake Bunyonyi
  • Interactive village community walks/tours
  • Game walk in Lake Mburo National Park
  • Photo-shoot at the Uganda Equator crossing
  • Relaxation at the source of Nile River, Jinja
  • Optional white-water rafting along the Nile River
  • Optional sunset boat cruise to the source of the Nile River
  • Optional Kampala city tour
  • Optional canoe ride on Lake Bunyonyi

Safari Highlights

Day 1: Arrive at Entebbe International Airport & Transfer to Your Hotel.

Day 2: Travel to Murchison Falls National Park, Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Enroute.

Day 3: Morning Game Drives in the Northern Savannah Plains & Afternoon Boat Cruise to the Bottom of Murchison Falls.

Day 4: Nile Delta Boat Cruise with a Bush Breakfast & Game Drive.

Day 5: Visit the top of the falls & transfer to Kibale Forest National Park

Day 6: Morning Chimpanzee Trekking & Afternoon Bigodi Community Walk.

Day 7: Travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park, late afternoon game drive

Day 8: Morning game drive in Kasenyi Sector & afternoon Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise.

Day 9: Crater Lake Drive with a Visit to Katwe Salt Lake Community. Transfer to Ishasha Sector, the home of tree-climbing lions.

Day 10: Game Drive in Ishasha Sector & transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Day 11: Do Gorilla trekking in Bwindi & travel to the nearby Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation.

Day 12: Whole day Relaxation at Lake Bunyonyi; Optional Activities: Boat Cruise, Canoeing, Hiking, or Community village walk.

Day 13: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park. Have a Lunch stop at Igongo Cultural Centre, and an evening game drive on arrival.

Day 14: Morning game walks in Lake Mburo National Park. Visit the Uganda Equator at Kayabwe & Drive to Jinja – the Source of the Nile River.

Day 15: Whole Day at Leisure. Optional Adventure Activities: White Water Rafting, Sunset boat cruise, Kayaking, Bungee Jumping, Spot Fishing, mountain biking, quad biking, and horseback safari.

Day 16: Drive back to Kampala/Entebbe; Optional Kampala City Tour.

Detailed Safari Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive At Entebbe International Airport & Transfer To Your Hotel.

On days one of your 16 days Uganda safari, you’ll be arriving in Uganda via Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Our safari company representative will be at the airport to meet you and welcome you.

From the airport you’ll be transferred to your hotel in Entebbe to get settled in.

This small peaceful town sits on the shores of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake), about 40km southwest of the capital, Kampala. It is the perfect spot to rest, relax, and adjust to your first day in Uganda.

If your flight lands early enough in the day, then your guide can take you for a tour of one or more Entebbe attractions.

You can visit the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre to see and learn about the native wildlife of Uganda or take a nature walk in the beautiful Entebbe Botanical Gardens to see more than 300 species of exotic plants and a variety of Uganda birds and the beautiful colobus monkeys.

You can also explore the local markets to buy souvenirs, Mabamba Swamp to see the rare Shoebill birds or visit the orphaned chimpanzees at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Lake Victoria.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Hotel No.5/Serena Lake Victoria Resort/Protea Hotel Entebbe

Mid-range: 2 Friends Beach Hotel Entebbe/Boma Hotel Entebbe

Budget: Airport Guest House

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 2: Travel To Murchison Falls National Park, Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary En route.

On day two of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, you will rise with the bright, beautiful Ugandan sun and enjoy a delicious breakfast.

After that, you will embark on a drive of approximately 6 hours northwest to Murchison Falls National Park – a gorgeous haven of nature and wildlife.

Along the way, you will make a stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place where you can see and photograph wild rhinos in Uganda.

You will be briefed by an expert local ranger and then take a 2 hour rhino tracking adventure on foot. The ranger will guide you safely to within about 70-100 feet of these powerful pre-historic looking creatures for the best views.

After encountering the white rhinos, you will have lunch at nearby Kabalega Dinners before continuing on to Murchison Falls NP to spend the night.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Nile Safari lodge/Bakers Lodge/Paraa Safari Lodge

Mid-range: Murchison River Lodge/Pakuba Safari Lodge

Budget: Heritage Safari Lodge/Hornbill Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 311 km (6 hours)

Day 3: Morning Game Drives In The Northern Savannah Plains & Afternoon Boat Cruise To The Bottom of Murchison Falls.

After an early breakfast on day 3 of your 16 days Uganda safari, you’ll set off on a sunrise game drive in the northern savannah plains of the Murchison Falls NP.

There are over 76 mammal species in the park including African Elephant, African Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Spotted hyena, Hippo, Rothschild’s giraffes, Crocodiles, Uganda kob, Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Oribi, Warthog, Olive Baboon, and Patas Monkey.

Apart from the fantastic mammals, Murchison is also a must-visit destination for birders, with over 450 species. After a 3 to 4 hour game drive, return to your lodge for lunch and relaxation.

In the afternoon, go for a leisurely boat cruise on Nile to the base of Murchison Falls, the world’s strongest waterfall. You marvel at the toothsome hippos, huge Nile crocodiles and see many other animals like Buffalo, Elephant, and Giraffe quenching their thirsts on the world’s longest river.

You will also spot many bird species like Goliath heron, Egyptian goose, Bee-eaters, kingfishers, Fish eagles, cormorants and if lucky, the rare prehistoric-looking shoebill stork. After taking shots of photogenic Murchison Falls, you head back to your lodge for relaxation, dinner, and overnight.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Nile Safari lodge/Paraa Safari Lodge/Bakers Lodge

Mid-range: Pakuba Safari Lodge/Murchison River Lodge

Budget: Hornbill Safari Lodge/Heritage Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Nile Delta Boat Cruise With A Bush Breakfast & Game Drive.

On day four of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, you’ll have another full day to enjoy all that Murchison Falls National Park has to offer. You’ll enjoy a thrilling boat cruise to the Nile Delta, where the Nile River flows into Lake Albert.

The banks of the delta are home to many bird species, including shoebill stork. This 20km boat excursion is a “must-do” if you are a bird lover, but it also a great opportunity to see beautiful landscapes, and of course some animals.

Hippos, African Buffalos, and African Elephants frequently bathe in the river, while Nile Crocodiles frequently lay down on the banks. In the treetops, you may see the first signs of life from the lively Olive Baboons.

One of the highlights of the 5-hour boat tour is a stop along the banks of River Nile for a bush breakfast. In the afternoon or evening, you can opt to enjoy another wildlife game drive in Murchison Falls NP, or to just relax at the lodge and enjoy your last afternoon. It’s your day.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Nile Safari lodge/Bakers Lodge/Paraa Safari Lodge

Mid-range: Murchison River Lodge/Pakuba Safari Lodge

Budget: Heritage Safari Lodge/Hornbill Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 5: Visit The Top Of The Murchison Falls & Transfer To Kibale Forest National Park.

After a relaxed breakfast on day four of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, you’ll visit the top of majestic falls.

Here, the 50m wide Nile River squeezes through a tiny gorge of 8m at a rate of 300,000 liters per second, emerging with a powerful explosion and plunging 45m to what has been termed the “devil’s cauldron” below, forming a plume of spray marked by a thunderous roar and permanent rainbow.

Several scenic viewpoints here are a photographers’ delight. After observing the falls, you will take a scenic drive of about 6 hours south to Kibale Forest, home to the greatest density and diversity of primates in Africa.

You will arrive in beautiful town of Fort Portal in time for lunch.

Fort Portal lies in the shadow of the fabled Mountains of the Moon and is known for its many tea plantations. After lunch, you continue on a drive of about 1 hour to your overnight lodge/camp at Kibale Forest.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Crater Safari Lodge/Primate Lodge Kibale/Kyaninga Lodge

Mid-range: Kibale Forest Camp/Chimpanzee Forest Guest House

Budget: Chimpanzee Forest Guest House/Kibale Forest Camp

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 366km or 6-7 hours

Day 6: Morning Chimpanzee Trekking & Afternoon Bigodi Community Walk.

On day 6 of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, enjoy an early breakfast and then head to the Kanyanchu Visitor Center for your chimpanzee tracking expedition, which starts at 8 am prompt.

The activity begins with a briefing from expert local ranger guides. You then enter the lush rainforest on foot in search of wild chimps.

A chimpanzee trek in Kibale Forest takes between 2 to 5 hours.

You’ll see several of the park’s 375 bird species and you’ll also have a chance to see a several other primate species like Baboons, Mangabeys, Vervet, L’Hoest’s, Red Colobus, and Black-and-white Colobus, Red-tailed, and Blue monkeys.

On encountering the chimps, you have 1 hour to enjoy these precious creatures. Kibale Forest offers a 95% chance of seeing some of its 1,500 chimpanzees.

Chimps are more closely related to us than any other living creature and they are a delight to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. After you time with them, return to the lodge for lunch and leisure. In the afternoon, go for walk in Bigodi Village to get a real feel for African rural life in Uganda.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Crater Safari Lodge/Kyaninga Lodge/Primate Lodge Kibale

Mid-range: Kibale Forest Camp/Chimpanzee Forest Guest House

Budget: Kibale Forest Camp/Chimpanzee Forest Guest House

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Optional Activities:-

  • Full day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
  • Nature walk in the community-run Bigodi Wetland

Day 7: Travel To Queen Elizabeth National Park, Late Afternoon Game Drive.

You’ll start your day 7 of the 16 Days Uganda Safari with a leisurely breakfast at the lodge. You tour driver guide will then take you on a scenic slow drive of about 2-3 hours south to Uganda’s most popular safari destination, Queen Elizabeth NP.

Set in the Great Rift Valley, in the shadow of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fantastic variety of habitats, ranging from tropical rainforest, savannah grasslands, freshwater lakes, rivers, wetlands, to extinct volcanic crater cones with lakes.

Here, you have a chance to see the handsome Ugandan Kob, Tree-climbing lions, ground-dwelling lions, Giant forest hogs, warthogs, elephants, buffalos, waterbucks, Hippos, Crocodiles, and Hyenas. And there are over 610 bird species’.

On arrival, you’ll enjoy lunch, relax and then head out on a game drive in search of the varied wildlife within the park. You’ll return to your lodge at sunset.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge/Katara Safari Lodge/Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Mid-range: Enganzi Game Lodge/Bush Lodge/Marafiki Safari Lodge

Budget: Bush Lodge/Pumba Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 157km (3-4 hours)

Optional Activity: Night game drive

Day 8: Morning Game Drive in Kasenyi Sector & Afternoon Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise.

On your eight day of the 16 Days Uganda Safari, grab a coffee (or tea), get your packed breakfast, and get ready for sunrise game drive.

Drive through the beautiful Kasenyi savannah plains – known for its lions and Uganda Kob – antelope. If you are lucky, you could even spot the elusive leopard or a Giant forest hog, the largest wild member of the pig family, Suidae.

After a game drive, head back to the lodge for a rest and a hearty lunch. In afternoon at around 2 pm, you go for a 2 hour boat tour on Kazinga Channel, which connects Lakes Edward and George. You cruise past one of the largest populations of hippos in Africa.

Nile crocodiles bask in the sun on the shores and elephants and buffalos often come to the water for a drink. You’ll see countless waterbirds like the skimmers, pelican, fish eagles, storks, spoonbills, and bee-eaters. This is one of the most photo-rich opportunities of the trip – so don’t forget your camera!

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Katara Safari Lodge/Mweya Safari Lodge/Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Mid-range: Bush Lodge/ Enganzi Game Lodge/Marafiki Safari Lodge

Budget: Pumba Safari Lodge/Bush Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: Crater Lake Drive, Visit To Katwe Salt Lake Community & Transfer To Ishasha Sector, The home Of Tree-climbing lions.

After breakfast at 7.00 am, check out, and embark on a crater drive. You’ll follow a scenic route around the rims of extinct volcanic explosion craters filled, variously, with lakes, forest, and grassland.

You’ll explore the Katwe Salt Lake where a local community has been extracting salt for over 600 years. Learn about the traditional salt mining process before heading to the Ishasha Plains. This area is famous for its tree-climbing lions.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Mid-range: Enjonjo Lodge

Budget: Enjonjo Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Optional Activities:

  • Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge/Kalinzu Forest
  • Tracking collared lions
  • Coffee tour around Kyambura
  • Sundowners

Day 10: Game Drive In Ishasha Sector & Transfer To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

After an early breakfast on day ten of your 16 days Uganda safari, you will undertake a 3-hour morning game drive in the Ishasha Sector for an opportunity to see the rare tree-climbing lions and other wildlife as you enjoy the beautiful wilderness sceneries of Africa which is amazing

After the game drive, embark on a four-hour drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

This UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is one of Africa’s richest biological and botanical regions. Its rainforest is over 25,000 years old and contains almost 400 species of plants. It’s also the best place on the planet to see wild mountain gorillas.

Only 1063 wild mountain gorillas remain on the planet, and Bwindi is home to over half of them. A visit to the park – particularly one focused on meeting these great apes – supports conservation efforts by incentivizing ecological protection as a part of the local economy. In addition to gorillas, Bwindi is home to about 120 mammal species.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Haven Lodge Buhoma/Gorilla Forest Camp/Buhoma Lodge

Mid-range: Gorilla Mist Camp/Ichumbi Lodge/Agandi Uganda Lodge

Budget: Trekkers Tavern Cottages

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 218km (4 hours)

Day 11: Do Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi & Travel To The Nearby Lake Bunyonyi For Relaxation.

On day eleven of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, you’ll wake up early for the tour’s main highlight, gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest! The activity starts at 8:00 am with a briefing by the local park ranger guides.

Your ranger guides will lead you inside the jungle to see the family of gentle Mountain Gorillas, as well as look for other forest residents, smaller primates, exotic birds, and flocks of colorful butterflies.

The mountain gorilla trek takes 2 to 6 hours and can be relatively difficult.

However, on successfully tracking them down, you’re generously rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime sighting of these endangered apes interacting, playing, eating, grooming, and going about their daily lives in their natural habitat.

You spend one hour observing them, a truly privileged experience. You then have a picnic lunch and return to the park offices for your Gorilla trekking certificate.

After that, you’ll go relax on the nearby beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, driving through fascinating Highlands of Kigezi where locals apply terracing methods to cultivate their slopes deriving impressive scenery.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Birdnest @Bunyonyi Resort

Midrange: Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 52km (90 minutes)

Day 12: Whole Day Relaxation At Lake Bunyonyi; Optional Activities: Boat Cruise, Canoeing, Hiking, Or Community Walk.

Lovely Lake Bunyonyi, often known as “Place of Many Little Birds,” is encircled by the steep, terraced Kigezi Hills.

There are 29 islands in the lake, many of which are populated. It is a magical area to wake up in, especially with the lake still covered in early morning mist.

At this time you can see school children paddling the traditional dugout canoes to school and farmers transporting their goods to the marketplace.

Here you can fill your time swimming, hiking, zip lining, bird watching, and taking boat rides to any of the islands on the lake. You can also have a cultural walking tour in the area and learn about the legends, traditions, and customs of the people who make a home on the shores of the lake.

You can visit a craft group, a traditional healer, take in stunning views from one of the high points on the lake or try your hand at paddling one of the traditional dugout canoes. Bunyonyi is the ideal place for relaxation.

The only chatter you’ll hear in this location is that coming from the many birds.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Birdnest @Bunyonyi Resort

Midrange: Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13: Transfer To Lake Mburo National Park, Game Drive.

After a relaxed breakfast on day thirteen of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, embark on a drive northeast to Lake Mburo NP. This peaceful park of 260km2 is home to over 68 mammal species and 350 species of birds.

It’s the only places in western Uganda where you can see Zebras, Elands and Impalas. There are 5 lakes in the park which are home to Crocs, hippos, and numerous Waterbirds, while the swamps provide cover for rare Sitatunga.

The journey to Mburo will take around 4 hours. You pass small villages, coffee farms, and banana plantations.

You’ll make a stop at Igongo Cultural Centre in Mbarara town for lunch. After lunch, you proceed to the park and look out for the herds of Ankole cattle on the way to the entrance.

You’ll check in your lodge, have some time to relax and then embark on an evening game drive. You will return to the lodge at sunset to freshen up and have dinner after an amazing 16 days tour through the “Pearl of Africa”.

Accommodation:

Luxury: Mihingo Safari Lodge

Mid-range: Rwakobo Rock

Budget: Eagles Nest Mburo

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 199km/3-4 hours

Day 14: Morning Game Walks In Lake Mburo National Park & Drive To Jinja Via The Uganda Equator.

On the final day of your 16 days Uganda safari, enjoy an early breakfast at 6 am and join a local park ranger guide who knows the area better than anyone.

You will explore the park on foot (there are no elephants or lions to worry about in Mburo, so you are safe without a vehicle!).

After the walk, set off on a 6 hour drive back to Jinja; en route, stop at Uganda Equator at Kayabwe, where you can stand in the middle of the Earth and pose for a photo! It is also an impressive site for purchasing souvenirs to take back home.

From here continue to Jinja, arriving at your lodge for relaxation, dinner, and overnight. Jinja is famous for being the Adrenaline Capital of East Africa and the Source of the Nile – the point at which the world’s longest river exits Africa’s largest lake to commence an epic 6700km journey to the Mediterranean Sea.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Lemala Wildwaters Lodge

Mid-range: Haven Lodge Jinja/2 Friends Hotel Jinja

Budget: Source of the Smile Guesthouse

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & Time: Approx. 320km/6 hours

Day 15: Whole Day At Leisure.

On day 15 of your 16 Days Uganda Safari, you’re free relaxed in the tranquil environment at the lodge listening to the flowing waters of the world’s longest river.

You will take a rest in your lush eco-friendly room, private balcony, or the lush garden setting the body just like new!

The sumptuous meals served according to your preference also add spice to the experience. You can choose to undertake a challenging half-day white-water-rafting adventure along the historic Nile River.

The source of the Nile is one of the world’s most spectacular white-water rafting destinations. Expect long, rollicking strings of Grade IV and V rapids, with plenty of thrills and spills.

Accommodation Options:

Luxury: Lemala Wildwaters Lodge

Mid-range: Haven Lodge Jinja/2 Friends Hotel Jinja

Budget: Source of the Smile Guesthouse

Meal Plan: Breakfast

Optional Adventure Activities:

  • White water wafting
  • Kayaking
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Spot Fishing
  • Mountain biking
  • Quad biking
  • Horseback safari
  • Sunset boat cruise

Day 16: Drive Back To Entebbe; Optional Kampala City Tour.

After breakfast at the lodge, you will embark on a 4-5 hour drive back to Entebbe (approximately 120km/4-5 hour drive).

Depending on flight departure time, you can choose to do a city tour of Kampala, the capital and commercial city of the Republic of Uganda.

End of the 16 Days Uganda Safari

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