The 15 Days Uganda wildlife safari and Mount Rwenzori expedition is a memorable vacation; allowing you to explore and re-discover endowments that Uganda has to offer. The pleasant adventure is quite unique in that it involves an encounter with the Big 5 including Rhinos is Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards in Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth national parks respectively.
15 Days Uganda Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park
Early morning at 8am, our safari guide will be waiting for you to embark on this long day journey to Murchison Fall national park, definitely the largest conservation area in Uganda and arguably the most beautiful as it overlooks the alluring Albertine escarpments as well as home to the most powerful water falls in the world.
On the way, spare some two hours and visit the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary located in Nakasongola district. It is the only place in Uganda where you can track to see white rhinos, plus many other mammal and bird species.
Take Enroute lunch at one of the restaurants in Ziwa sanctuary or at Kabalega dinners and proceed through Masindi town to Murchison falls national park. Upon reaching the park, you will drive to the top of Murchison falls where you have a chance to view the raging falls as they force their way through a 7 meter gorge, forming a cold splash of water in the area and a permanent rainbow.
Take pictures and get to know comprehensive history of these powerful waterfalls. After this encounter, proceed on the drive to your lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2: Game drive and boat cruise
Today’s game drive begins early morning, before dusk to be able to see elusive park residents such as leopards, lions, dotted hyena, etc. The safari drive traverses through the interesting Buligi track, to the Albertine Delta and other surrounding areas that teem with abundant fauna.
This game experience lasts for about 3-4 hours and numerous families of animals can be seen, including elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and water bucks, Topis, Warthogs and Uganda Kobs along with predators like lions, leopards and jackals. Abundant species of birds can also be encountered during this activity.
Retire back to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. After lunch, you continue to Paraa jetty to catch up with a boat trip that begins at 2:00pm.
A 3 hour boat trip along the Victoria Nile is among the highlights of the park, and anyone who undertakes it is rewarded with amazing sightings of fauna and flora species at a much closer range.
The shores of Victoria Nile up-stream teem with numerous wild game including buffaloes, elephants, antelopes, schools of hippos, Nile crocodiles and abundant bird species.
As you sail up stream, you soon come to a point where Ernest Hemingway’s plane crashed, and at this place the views of Murchison falls appear quite closer at a distance of about 200m and are impressive and offer an opportunity for amazing pictures.
There is an option of hiking to top of the falls for a closer encounter with the waterfalls or return to the jetty on a boat, arriving at around 5pm, join your guide and proceed to the lodge.
Day 3: Transfer to Kibale National Park
After breakfast, leave Uganda’s most famous and beautiful park, exiting through a southern gate and embark on a 7 hour drive south westwards to Kibale National park, through Hoima, Kagadi and Kyenjojo districts.
The journey is filled with verdant and green countryside, hanging Albertine Escarpments, extensive plantations, sweeping savannah, lush forests and local homesteads. Arrive in Kibale national park in the evening, check in and get ready for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: Chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi wetland tour
In the morning, take an early breakfast and embark on an exhilarating experience to re-discover man’s closest relatives, the chimpanzees which dwell within Kibale forest. The experience is simply unforgettable as you watch these interesting primates jump from one tree to the other, foliage, mothers grooming, babies playing.
During the trek, also other primates can be encountered, including baboons, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, patas monkeys, etc. Mammals may also be seen, including forest elephants, forest hogs, bush pigs and more.
Return to the lodge for lunch, relax and in the afternoon, visit the Bigodi community to learn more about how tourism has been a back bone of community development in this community. Buy a souvenir from a local crafts shop, made by the Bigodi women’s group.
Day 5: Tour Fort Portal town, crater lakes and transfer to the foothills of Mount Rwenzori for overnight stay
Wake up for a morning breakfast, and take a short city tour in Fort portal – a historical, colonial town, known to be Uganda’s tourism capital, marked with evergreen vegetation, conical hills, an array of crater lakes, romantic scenery, friendly people and popular for its all year cool weather.
Visit the scenic crater lakes, with some viewed from within the town plus other ancient cultural features, such as the Amabere Ga’nyinamwiru caves found in the outskirts of fort portal.
After this excursion, embark on a scenic journey to the foothills of Rwenzori Mountains, time allowing you undertake a short nature walk in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Spend this night on a camp/lodge at the base of Mount Rwenzori ahead of the following day’s adventure.
Day 6: Sine Hut at 2,596M
On this first day of adventure, begin at an altitude of 1,450 meters above sea level, and spend a night at 2,596 meters above sea level at Sine Hut or at Kalalama hut at an altitude of 3,134 meters for the fit hikers. This section of the hike presents unequalled views of the lowlands, Lake Edward and the plains of Queen Elizabeth national park.
The trek begins by ascending through the floor of the valley which is an afro-montane forest zone characterized with tall gigantic trees typical of the altitude here. This forest presents chances of spotting blue monkeys, several bird species and primate species, plus the splendid views of Enock’s falls. It is a steady hike of about 6 kilometers, until you cross a river to the Sine hut.
At 2,596 meters is Sine camp set amidst tall afro-montane trees along a narrow ridge, and trekkers have an opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the pleasant views of the forest, waterfalls and a campfire in the night where various stories and legends can be told by guides about this historical mountain.
Day 7: Mutinda Camp at 3.582M
Hiking to Mutinda camp commences at 8:30am, with a steep climb through a bamboo-mimulopsis zone. During the wet season, this zone tends to get slippery and muddy making the trek rather hard and slow. However, as you climb to Kalalama camp at 3,147 meters above sea level for coffee break and relaxation, you will pass through a very beautiful forest characterized by conducive weather.
Proceed on the trek through meandering trails, small streams, moss covered waterfalls and numerous small knolls aiming for Mutinda camp at 3,582m. The trail later twists and turns as you hike up the valley which is marked with numerous plants and flowers.
You can continue to Mutinda lookout this afternoon, which is a 2-3 hours two-way climb offering amazing views of moss covered waterfalls at 3,925m, as well as views of the Rwenzori mountains, Kasese town and Lake George. Overnight stay at Mutinda camp at 3,582 meters.
Day 8: Bugata Camp at 4,100M
This is a boggy path especially during rainy season but to make the going easier, trekkers are advised to step on the small patches of grass along the trail. Cross the Mutinda valley, marked with everlasting flowers distributed among many giant lobelias before hiking further across a steep section through to Namusangi valley at 3,840m. Here you will find exciting views of waterfalls as well as Mutinda peaks. The trail up to the Bugata camp (4,100 meters) is quite steep and wide with many twists and turns.
Day 9: Hunwick’s Camp
Climb to Hunwick’s hut through Bamwanjara trail. From Bugata camp, 4,100 meters, cross through a ridge and then down through Bamwanjara pass and ascend later at 4,450 meters. At this point, there’s a hut where trekkers can relax, take a cup of coffee or seek refuge in case of much rains.
On a clear day, you can have panoramic views of the three main summits – Mt. Baker, Weismann’s peak and McConnell’s prong all from this trail. Pass through a thick lush vegetation which is home to moss, giant groundsel and lobelia. There is also a possibility to spot the famous malachite sunbirds which feed and breed from the lobelia flowers. Hunwick’s camp is located right on top of the valley offering unrivaled views of Mount Stanley, Weismann’s peak, McConnell’s prong and Mount Baker.
Day 10: Margherita Camp 4,485M
On this day, begin the climb at 6:30am anticipating it to take approximately 4-6 hours of ascent and 2-3 hours of descent. First hike to Mount Baker (4,842m) through McConnell’s camp taking about 3-4 hours and 3 hours in ascent and descent respectively.
However steep the climb to Mount Baker may seem, it is considered non-technical apart from during the rainy season months (April-May and September – November). This is considered as a snow season and the ice covered rocks tend to be slippery, which demands for safety ropes to be used all the time.
A 300m walk will soon bring you to the peak after climbing through the glacier and along a crack. On a clear day, you will have the views of the main summits – Margherita, Alexandria and Stanley as well as the plateaus, glaciers, and the snow-capped peaks. After this experience, trek back to McConnell’s camp and have an overnight stay here.
Day 11: Climb to the peak at Mt Stanley (5109M). Descend back to Hunwick’s camp
The trek starts as early as 2:00am with an early breakfast at the camp and by 2:30am the hike to Mount Stanley begins. This early rise is necessary due to weather changes on Mount Rwenzori, which has caused heavy snow falls to happen from 1pm-4pm caused by the clouds which rise up from extensive Congo rainforests.
Therefore, due to such weather changes, trekkers are required to reach Margherita peak by 10am short of which the trek can’t continue for purposes of safety of climbers. Global warming has also affected the Margherita glacier which has caused the outer edges of the glacier to become steeper with one part of around 200 meters more than 60% grade.
For climbers with less mountaineering expertise, it is advisable that they stay on Stanley Glacier and find a perfect vantage point on a rock outcrop on the edge of Alexandria peak where they can enjoy fine views of D.R. Congo and lower Rwenzori mountain ranges. Ascend to Margherita peak (5,109m) and then afterwards descend back to Hunwick’s camp (3,874m) for an overnight stay.
Day 12: To Kiharo camp
Begin the day by hiking up a ridge to the McConnell’s prong which offers best views of all the 3 peaks as well as Scott Elliot’s pass before arriving at Oliver’s pass at 4,505m. The trek cuts across Weismann’s peak to River Nyamwamba confluence which flows down through Kasese, Kilembe and Lake George.
You can climb further to Weismann’s peak at 4,620 meters from Oliver’s pass, where you can clearly spot the Margherita, Mount Stanley and Mount Baker. The trail further meanders to Kiharo camp after the confluence and characterized with high cliffs, dense vegetation and a ridge of stones which were piled there by slow moving glaciers which suddenly stopped moving, melted and created piles of debris and rocks.
Day 13: Descend to the park headquarters
The trek from Kiharo camp to park headquarters is about 12.2km, walking for about 5-8 hours. For those who may need to connect to Kampala or continue to other destinations on the same day need to leave the camp as early as possible.
The pass down Nyamwamba valley is downhill and definitely pleasant with great views, cascading waterfalls, lush forests and deep valleys. Arrive at the base camp, and immediately transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 14: Drive to Queen Elizabeth national park. Afternoon boat cruise along Kazinga channel
Have a relaxed breakfast and leave the foothills of Mount Rwenzori heading for Queen Elizabeth national park. Pass the equator line in Kikorongo where you can take memorable photos, visit Kasese town for a short town tour, and a visit to the Rwenzori bronze casting center – the only one of its kind in the entire East Africa.
Arrive in Queen Elizabeth national park just in time for boat cruise along Kazinga channel. A two hour boat trip along the Kazinga channel is a highlight of the park, and anyone who undertakes it is lucky to see abundant fauna and faunal species at a much closer range.
The shores of Kazinga channel teem with numerous wild game including buffaloes, elephants, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles and abundant bird species. Return from this boat trip at around 4pm, join your guide at the jetty and proceed to the lodge.
Day 15: Morning game drive and transfer back to Kampala
Today’s game drive begins early morning, before dusk to be able to see elusive park residents such as leopards, lions, dotted hyena and more. The safari drive traverses through the sweeping Kasenyi plains, Katwe salty lake and other surrounding crater lakes plus the Queen’s pavilion.
This game experience lasts for about 3-4 hours and numerous families of fauna can be seen, including elephants, buffaloes, water bucks, Topis, Warthogs, and Kobs along with predators like lions, leopards and jackals. Abundant species of birds can also be encountered during this activity. Retire from this experience, return to the lodge for a cup of coffee, refresh and check out to begin your journey back to Kampala or Entebbe airport to catch up with your departure flight.