This magnificent 18 days Uganda holiday tour will take 18 days incorporating 9 major national parks and other popular tourism hot spots in Uganda such as, Amabere Ga’nyinamwiru caves in Fort portal, Sipi falls, Uganda museum, among others. Visit the towering Rwenzori and Elgon mountain ranges for adventurous nature treks, mix and mingle with traditional communities for great cultural experiences. The Uganda safari trip starts from Kigali, Rwanda and ends in the bustling Kampala, Uganda.
18 Days Uganda Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive via Kigali. Travel to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, Meet and greet and pick up by your experienced driver guide who will first drive you to a nearby restaurant for refreshments and an optional city tour. Thereafter, your transfer to Uganda’s southern based Mgahinga Gorilla national park begins.
Drive across the nature-dotted landscapes of Northern Rwanda, enter Uganda through Kisoro at Cyanika boarder, until you arrive at your pre-booked place of accommodation on the fringes of Mgahinga Gorilla N/Park.
Refresh, take dinner and slumber at the lodge.
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking & Batwa Community Tour
After a pre-sunrise breakfast, be briefed by the park’s head ranger and start your gorilla trekking right away. Mgahinga gorilla national park is home to only family, Nyakagezi that is historically known to be nomadic, moving from Uganda to D. R. Congo back and forth. The family is now settled and it has made Mgahinga its permanent home.
The Nyakagezi inhabits the lower of slopes of Virunga Mountains and viewing them is extremely magical, as it is the only mountain gorilla group with more than one silverback, all living in harmony. Along the trek, you have endless chances of spotting other forest dwellers such as primates, forest mammals, ancient trees, extinct volcanoes, golden monkeys among others.
Dedicate this evening to a community tour and reach out to the indigenous Batwa pygmies who live at the base of Gahinga Mountain. These were previously forest dwellers who were re-settled from the impenetrable forest of Bwindi and Mgahinga and they now live on the peripheries, but are still attached to their traditional lifestyle.
Mix and mingle with them, listen to their stories, watch them dance to their cultural songs and purchase at least a souvenir for memories and to support their handicraft businesses.
Day 3: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP
On this day after breakfast, get on the road for a 4 hours’ drive to Queen Elizabeth national park via the famous Ishasha sector. Ishasha is situated in the south of Queen Elizabeth national park, and a popular hub of the tree climbing lions. You will have lunch enroute and continue to your lodge in the heart of Queen Elizabeth National park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 600 species of birds and presents amazing opportunities for game viewing since a number of big mammals have made it their home like elephants, lions, water-bucks, warthogs, buffaloes among others. Upon arrival at your lodge, refresh and have an overnight stay after dinner.
Day 4: Morning Game Drive & Evening Boat Cruise
Early in the morning after breakfast, you will go for a game drive via the Kasenyi region in the center of the park, the Queen’s pavilion in search of rare cat species like lions, leopards, and other wild game such as elephants, cheaters, buffalos, and antelopes, Uganda Kobs, among others. This will take 3 to 4 hours and after you will be transferred back to the lodge for lunch or have a picnic lunch.
Transfer to Mweya jetty, along Kazinga channel waiting go for an afternoon boat cruise at Kazinga channel where you will spot a number of animals and birds such as crocodiles, hippos, elephants, buffalos, antelopes among others. This will take 2-4hours and after you will be transferred to the lodge for dinner.
Day 5: Transfer to Rwenzori Mountains, Bakonzo Community Tour
After breakfast, your safari guide will drive you to Rwenzori national park from Ishasha and immediately check in at the lodge or camp at the foothills of Rwenzoris. Afternoon relaxation and refreshment, have lunch and in the evening undertake a cultural excursion to the Bakonzo communities in the neighborhood. While here, you will enjoy fantastic folklore, cultural performances, cuisine and drama for the Bakonzo people.
Have a chance to taste on the Bakonzo’s staple food, fish and cassava flour.
Day 6: Mountaineering & Nature Walk
Morning cup of hot coffee to shake the cold temperatures of this region, attend a 30 minutes’ briefing session by the park rangers. During this briefing, Rwenzori trekking procedures will be well stipulated, including the expectations. One day nature trek in Mount Rwenzori National park brings hikers to the lower ranges of this mountain and vividly exposes them to exciting mammals, rare primates and beautiful amphibians and vast species of birds.
The hike also gives you chances to sight or visit lush montane forests, three honored chameleons – endemic to Rwenzoris, elusive leopards, bushbucks, blue monkeys, hyenas, olive baboons and varied bird species.
Day 7: Rwenzori – Kibale NP. Evening Nature Walk
Take breakfast and immediately travel to Kibale national park through Fortportal, check in at the lodge and have lunch. Relax and in the evening, take part in one of the nature treks under the guidance by an onsite tour leader. Trek to the neighboring tea plantations, meet the farmers and participate in processes of tea harvesting and preservation. Move on to visit the beautiful crater lakes which are synonymous with Fortportal / Kibale region.
Day 8: Morning Chimpanzee Experience & Relax at the lodge
After an early breakfast, leave the lodge to the park ranger station for briefing about chimpanzee trekking rules by one of the park officials. Straight away be taken for trekking. During this activity you will spot a number of animals such as blue monkeys, baboons, red tailed monkeys, elephants and also different bird species. You will be able to see tropical rain forested trees which have spent more than 150 years. After 5 hours, trek back to the trail head and afterwards be driven to you lodge, have lunch and refresh the entire afternoon, or take a leisurely walk to the nearby craters.
Day 9: Transfer to Semuliki NP with stopover at Amabere Caves
At around 8am after your breakfast, transfer from Kibale NP to Semuliki NP enroute the historic Amabere Ga’nyinamwiru caves in the out skirts of Fort portal. Here you will be told the story about the Chwezi dynasty, and you will spot a number of other breathtaking sites such as the Nyakasura falls, crater lakes, and the caves among others and have picnic lunch at this place. This activity takes 3 -4 hours and after you will head to semliki national park.
Enroute, one is able to sight a number of physical endowments such as rivers, Albertine rift escapements, Rwenzori ranges among others.
Day 10: Nature Walk & Hot-springs Visit
At around 9:00am after breakfast, you will be briefed by the head ranger about Semuliki national park and head to the hot springs. Here two stories will be told to you about the two hot springs basing on a traditional story and geographic scientific story. Nature walks in Semuliki will bring you closer to a number of birds, primates and mammal species, such as baboons, monkeys, butterflies, and bird species such as White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued Wattled Horbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, African Piculet, and Yellow-throated Nicator, among others. After this long day excursion, you will drive back to the lodge for a night stay.
Day 11: Travel to Murchison Falls National Park
Following an early morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Murchison national park. Enroute Hoima town for lunch stop. This journey will take around 8-9 hours and you will check in at the lodge, have lunch and take on an evening game drive (if you have time). Here you will spot a number of attractions such as elephants, buffalos and bird species. And later in the evening, retire back to the lodge for dinner.
Day 12: Game Drive & Boat Cruise
Pre-sunrise breakfast is followed by a game drive. Murchison falls national park is home to 4 of the big five mammals and contains one of the largest herds of buffaloes and elephants and other lesser mammals. Murchison game drive exposes one to beautiful mammals such as giraffes, hartebeests, water bucks, elephants, warthogs, Uganda Kobs and big cats like leopards, lions, spotted hyenas, and others.
Murchion falls national park alone inhabits up to 400 species of birds, including migratory and endemic species and most of these can be seen during an early morning game safari. Some of these include the rare shoebill stork which inhabits the lower wetlands of Lake Albert near the delta point. Other common sightings are; Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Black-headed Gonolek, Speckle-fronted Weaver, African Quail-Finch, Black-billed Barbet, Piapiac and so much more.
Retire in the mid morning, head back to the lodge for refreshment, have lunch and later drive to Paraa jetty to wait for the 2pm boat cruise. The Victoria Nile launch cruise sails to the bottom of the water falls at a point where you can get off the boat and hike to top of the falls. This is another interesting undertaking where you view the world’s most powerful falls at a much closer distance. Take pictures, and afterwards transfer back to your lodge for evening relaxation and night stay.
Day 13: Transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park
After breakfast, depart from Murchison Falls National park and begin your drive to Kidepo national park. Located in the north-east; at a point where Uganda borders with Kenya and South Sudan, this wildlife-filled game park is Africa’s most virgin and wilderness areas.
Its unique climate and sprawling savannah attract a wide range of animals and birds to find a permanent shelter. Upon arrival, check in at the lodge and if there’s time, you can proceed to the park savannah ranges for a sunset game safari or visit the neighboring Karamajong communities to explore their unique and spectacular lifestyle.
Day 14: Kidepo N/Park: Game Drive & Karamojong Community visit in the afternoon.
This is your second day in Kidepo national park. It begins with an early breakfast, and depending on your place of accommodation you can begin the game drive before sunrise to be able to see the most elusive species of Kidepo valley.
With the park ranger, you will be taken to Narus valley which is a hub for all animals in this park; including African elephants, leopards, lions, bush-bucks, Duikers, Jackals, giraffes, bush pig, ostrich, herds of buffaloes and so much more.
For approximately 3-4 hours, the game drive will come to a close, after which you will return to your lodge, either for late breakfast or an early lunch.
Relax and later in the evening, transfer to the communities to see the Manyatta huts, kraals and enjoy the epic traditional lifestyle of the Karamajong people. If you are lucky and it’s a market day, you can shop as many traditional craft items as you can.
A Karamajong community visit will unveil to you the traditions, norms, culture, dress code and food of the Karamajong people. Learn about their rich history, and be entertained through their traditional performance, songs, recitations and drama.
In the evening, be transferred back to your lodge for dinner and night stay.
Day 15: Transfer to Mount Elgon National Park
Have breakfast, and thereafter transfer southwards to Mt. Elgon in the eastern part of Uganda and the journey will take between 5-6 hours. You will check in your hotel, have lunch and relax.
Day 16: Nature Walk & Sipi Falls Visit
At around 8:00am you will hike mountain Elgon and view the longest volcanic base in the whole world mt. elgon is located on the Uganda-Kenya border. During this trek, encounter numerous bird species most of them endemic to this place including African Blue Fly-catcher, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Luhders Bush-shrikes, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, and Hartloub’s Turaco, Baglafecht Weaver, Mustached Tinker-bird, Chinspot Batis, etc.
Other resident mammals include forest buffaloes, forest elephants, Defassa waterbuck, duikers, forest hogs, bush pigs, etc. You will have lunch at the hotel and in the evening you will go for Sipi falls tour where you will be able to see the three water falls plummeting from a high cliff creating one of the spectacular scenery in this region.
Day 17: Transfer to Kampala
After morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Kampala city which is located in the central Uganda. Upon arrival, visit the Uganda museum; here there’s plenty to interest you with a varied and well-captioned ethnographic collection displaying ancient dress code, hunting tools, ancient kingdoms, African traditional religions, traditional medicine, recreation and sports, agriculture, and so many other archaeological displays. After this, you can drive to one of the city’s renowned craft markets to purchase some African souvenirs to take back home with you. Later, you will be transferred to your hotel for dinner and resting.
Day 18: Transfer to Entebbe Airport
Today, you will have a relaxed breakfast and depending on the flight time, you can undertake another city tour in Kampala and Entebbe towns. Later be transferred to Entebbe airport for your flight back home as you bid farewell to Uganda, marking the end of your 18 days safari in Uganda.
End of 18 days Uganda holiday.