Not a usual short Uganda safari; this is a comprehensive 20 days Uganda safari that begins from Kigali and departs in Entebbe airport. The trip literally takes you to all the major national parks in Uganda, visit local communities and live like a local for a day, traverse the Albertine rift escarpments to feel the beauty of an African landscape and take romantic boat trips along Uganda’s most scenic lakes and rivers.
Visit the Kidepo national park, Africa’s top wilderness destination filled with lovely and unique wildlife species, lively Karamojong cultural encounters, to the Sipi falls on the foothills of Mount Elgon, and later end the trip from Entebbe airport.
20 Days Uganda Safari Package
Day 1: Arrive at Kigali airport, meet and greet & transfer to the Hotel.
Welcome to Kigali! Meet and greet with your safari guide at Kigali International Airport, who will pick you up and drive to your pre booked place of accommodation in the heart of Kigali city for refreshments, dinner and night stay.
Day 2: Kigali to Mgahinga N/Park.
Have your morning breakfast, and if time allows take a city tour through Kigali city – arguably Africa’s cleanest and one of the safest cities in Africa. Visit different spots, such as the Genocide Museum in Gisozi, monuments, presidential palace, craft markets, shopping malls, etc.
The tour guide will later drive you out of Kigali and head for southern Uganda’s based Mgahinga national park. Transfer via the remarkable landscapes of Rwanda, dubbed “land of a thousand hills”. Cross into Uganda via Kisoro district at Cyanika boarder post, and drive to your lodge situated on the outskirts of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Refresh, have dinner and night stay.
Day 3: Golden Monkey Trekking & Evening Cultural Tour
Wake up at 6:30am, take an early breakfast, and drive to Ntebeko park headquarters for briefing ahead of your golden monkey trek. Thereafter, penetrate into the Mgahinga forest and begin your search for these great primates, usually harboring the bamboo forest zones on the foothills of Gahinga Mountain.
This national park harbors only two habituated troops of Golden Monkeys, one troop has a total of 80 – 100 members and inhabits the foot of Mt Gahinga. Just like gorilla trekking, treks to meet Golden Monkeys also happen in the mornings, at 8:00am and travelers are allowed to stay for 1 hour with these rare monkeys. After the Golden monkey trekking adventure, go back to your lodge for lunch.
Spend the early afternoon relaxing, and as the sun begins to set in the evening, head out to the neighboruing Batwa communities. These forest people dwell on the foothills of Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo, where they have lived for over 1000 years.
Since their resettlement to the outskirts of the park, the Batwa have now embraced a new life outside the forest. Listen and get to understand their unique history about their time in the forests and how depended on it together with other forest inhabitants like mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and other inhabitants.
Day 4: Travel to Lake Bunyonyi. Boat excursion & Proceed to Bwindi National park.
Have an early breakfast in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, check out, transfer to Lake Bunyonyi – Uganda’s deepest lake and most scenic of all lakes, due to its overhanging terraced hills. Upon arrival on Lake Bunyonyi, immediately go on a 3 hour boat cruise to visit the numerous 29 islands and communities that call this lake home.
Take lunch on a resort perched on the exterior banks of Lake Bunyonyi and later drive to your lodge in Ruhija sector for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
Bwindi impenetrable national Park is a proud host to Uganda’s popular and most endangered primates, the mountain gorillas and accounts for 50% of the world’s total population of these endangered species. Wake up to an early breakfast at 7:00am, with your trekking gear, head out to a pre-trek briefing session at Ruhija sector ranger station. After briefing, continue to the gorilla trek starting point depending on the allocated gorilla family.
You will be assigned a ranger guide and porter (hired to carry luggage) and together with trackers, set off to the smokey forests of Bwindi to start the search for the mighty apes.
A typical gorilla tour in Bwindi lasts between one to eight hours, but it is unpredictable since the gorilla movements are never the same each day. The trek is soon rewarded with a one-on-one encounter with the allocated gorilla family. The playing juveniles, caring mothers and tough but humble silverbacks all in one group is such an unforgettable moment.
Retreat from this experience, and trek to the trail head, and meet your driver to drive you back to the lodge. Rest the whole afternoon, or take an optional community experience to visit the Batwa pygmies who inhabit the fringes of Bwindi forest.
Day 6: Transfer to Lake Mburo, Afternoon Boat Cruise
Have an early breakfast in Ruhija and immediately embark on a trip to Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo is known to be the smallest savannah national park in Uganda, but nevertheless it still ranks as a top wildlife destination in the region. Arrive in the afternoon, ready to take on a relaxed boat trip along the region’s largest lake, Mburo. The boat allows you to get really up close with the water animals such as Crocodiles, Hippos, and the shores are marked with numerous mammals such as buffaloes, elephants, and numerous bird species. Overnight stay in Lake Mburo National Park.
Day 7: Walking Safari & drive to Queen Elizabeth N/Park.
Today you leave the lodge early morning after breakfast to begin a walking safari experience in Lake Mburo National Park. Despite the park’s small size, it presents diverse remarkable vegetation, ranging from marshes / extensive wetlands, savanna grassland to the acacia woodland for which the park is well known for.
This diverse vegetation enables Lake Mburo national park to contain a notable population of inhabitants. In addition to an impressive setting and eye-catching surroundings, Lake Mburo national park’s notable attractions are its dazzling birdlife, huge herds of buffaloes, recently introduced Rothschild giraffes, elusive lions, leopards, hyenas, hippos which can be seen in Lake Mburo, and so many antelope species.
All these can be encountered at closer range during a morning walking safari amidst Lake Mburo National Park. Retreat from this experience, check out of the lodge and start the drive south wards to the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park. Arrive at your lodge in late afternoon, and spend the evening relaxing and admiring a beautiful scenery from the balcony of your room.
Day 8: Game Viewing drive & Boat Safari
You will wake up very early in the morning to go for a morning game drive where you will have a chance to spot early risers and nocturnal species before they return to their hideouts. Traverse the rolling plains of Uganda’s second largest National Park and its scenic sectors like Kasenyi and Queen’s Pavilion which are among the best places to view abundant wildlife in the park. Return later to the lodge for breakfast.
Uganda’s most premier and popular protected area is home to numerous species of animals, and visitors usually have many chances of seeing some of the park’s residents including elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, and antelopes. For avid birders, you will enjoy a cock tail of them as the park harbors the highest population of bird species in Uganda.
Embark on a leisurely boat trip along the Kazinga channel in the afternoon. Lots of bird diversity can be spotted and numerous animals resting and drinking water along the banks of the Nile. The most sighted ones are – hippos, Nile crocodiles, cape buffaloes, and abundant bird life including, the African fish eagle, Malachite kingfisher, Egyptian goose, Yellow billed stork, cattle and lesser Egrets and among others. Remain on the boat and sail back to Mweya jetty where your driver will be waiting to drive you back to the lodge.
Day 9: Transfer to Mount Rwenzori, Evening Community Walk
Following your breakfast, the driver will immediately transfer you to Rwenzori Mountains National park.Upon arrival, check in at your hotel situated downhill of Rwenzori mountain ranges. Spend the afternoon relaxing and in the evening visit nearby Bakonzo communities, enjoy their music, traditional perfomances, story telling about their origin, and entertaining drama.
Taste on their tasty cuisines, like cassava flour and fish, and retire to the lodge for a night stay.
Day 10: Full Day Nature Walk in Rwenzori Mountains national park.
Have an early cup of warm coffee, attend a briefing at 7:30am by the park rangers who will highlight various procedures and guidelines as far as hiking Mount Rwenzori is concerned.
This full day nature trek on the lower slopes of Mount Rwenzori exposes one to a variety of birds, mammals, amphibians, primates and abundant flora. Common sights include the dense alpine forests, three horned chameleon, leopards, bushbacks, blue monkeys, olive baboons, etc.
Day 11: Mount Rwenzori to Kibale Forest NP. Crater Lakes Tour.
After breakfast, be driven northwards to Kibale Forest national park – the famous primate capital not only in Uganda but also Africa at large. Drive through undulating tea plantations and arrive at your lodge in the afternoon.
Have lunch and rest in the afternoon; in the evening, head out with a local guide to engage in one of the nature walks, which takes you to the nearby crater lakes, view these magnificent features that are unique and some of the wonders in Fortportal region. Alternatively you can take a sunset canoe cruise on one of the small crater lakes, etc.
Day 12: Chimpanzee Trekking & Bigodi Wetland Tour
Wake up as early as 6:30am to prepare for this day’s adventure. Have breakfast, thereafter leave the lodge to Kanyanchu headquarters for pre-trek briefing. Commence the chimp trek with a walk to the interior of this forest. This will bring you closer to the adorable and lively chimpanzees in their natural shelter, get to understand their lifestyle as explained by the local ranger guides.
Chimpanzees are fun and amazing as they keep hopping from one tree to the other, which sometimes makes photography very difficult. A chimp trek is simply fun and memorable.
Trek back back to the lodge for lunch, or take your box lunch in the forest. Dedicate the entire afternoon to visiting Bigodi wetland. Bigodi is a hub to popular birds and other primates. Sight famous birds in this vast wetland, such as the Great Blue Turaco and Papyrus Gonolek and up to other 137 species. There are also abundant flowers, butterflies and insects.
Day 13: Transfer to Hoima, Evening Bunyoro Cultural Trail.
After breakfast, leave Kibale Forest National Park and travel to Hoima district passing the rolling landscapes and adorable vista of western Uganda. Reach Hoima for lunch and have on a short tour to Karuzika palace – the headquaters of Bunyoro kingdom and home of the current king of Bunyoro. This cultural tour will bring you closer to the traditions and rich history of the Banyoro people.
Tour the Mparo Royal tombs where Bunyoro Kings are laid including the famous Omukama Kabalega who rose to fame in the 18th century due to his involvement in numerous rebellions with different kingdoms and ardently rejected colonialism and staged many civil wars to resist colonialism until he was was sent into exile after a defeat. Time permitting, undertake a town tour in Hoima, before you return to your lodge for resting and a night stay.
Day 14: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park
Following a relaxed breakfast, undertake a 4 hour transfer towards Uganda’s largest conservation area, Murchison falls National Park. Take an en route tour to the historic Kibiro salt gardens which was Uganda’s and Bunyoro kingdom’s source of salt, both for export and subsistence use. Visit the salt mines and see the locals mine salt using rudimentary tools and how many of them still earn a living from this dilapidated salt mine.
Proceed with the drive passing through picturesque countryside and well-designed traditional home steads and extensive farms. Murchison falls National Park is a historic conservation area that was gazetted in 1952. Traverse the Albertine rift escarpments, sight the scenic Lake Albert from a distance and Congo Blue mountains, numerous tea plantations and feel free to stop at any of the plantations for memorable photo opportunities.
Day 15: Morning Game Drive & Boat trip.
Early breakfast, head out for a sunrise game drive in the park’s most scenic trucks including Buligi that takes you to the delta. Spot different mammal species including Jackson’s hartebeests, giraffes, buffaloes, lions and elephants together with birds such as African jacana, stock, among others.
Undertake the 2pm boat trip upstream the Victoria Nile that takes you to the bottom of the falls. Along the river, you will view numerous reptiles, such as Crocodiles, hippos and other mammal and bird species. Optional hiking to view Murchison falls from the top. After these activities, you will relax at your lodge where you will have an overnight and dinner.
Day 16: Transfer to Kidepo Valley NP.
Have breakfast, and immediately leave Murchison falls National park, exiting the northern Tangi gate near Pakwach. Begin the road transfer to Kidepo National park which is perched in the extreme corner on the border of Uganda and Kenya.
This journey may take between 6-7 hours but it is ideally breathtaking traversing Northern Uganda’s city of Gulu where you will have a lunch break. Continue through Kitgum district until you arrive at your lodge in Kidepo.
Spend the entire evening admiring the rolling landscape of Kidepo filled with unique and lively game.
Day 17: Game Drive & Karamojong Community visit in the afternoon.
Have breakfast and transfer to park headquarters early enough to undertake sunrise game drive. While on a game drive, expect to see such animals like giraffes, elephants, leopards, duikers, jackals, bush pigs, buffaloes, ostrich, etc. All these can be seen clearly grazing in the Narus valley.
A game drive in Kidepo lasts for about 3-4 hours and after return to the lodge for lunch and afternoon relaxation. In the evening, join a local Karimojong guide who will take you on a cultural tour through the community. Karimojong are predominantly cattle keepers and they share the boundary with the Turkana people of Kenya.
The community tour exposes visitors to the traditional Karamajong, deep insight into their way of life, history, and their unequalled hospitality coupled with entertaining traditional dances,drama, cuisine, etc. In the evening return to the lodge for dinner and a night stay.
Day 18: Transfer to Sipi Falls
Depart Kidepo national park after warm cup of coffee, proceed to the south heading for Sipi falls. Along the way, have a short game in the north-eastern based Pian Upe game reserve. This soft spoken and remote game reserve, Pian Upe Game Reserve boasts countless species of wildlife such as Jackals, Civets, Spotted hyenas, Serval cats, Leopards, Wildcats, Vervet monkeys, Patas monkeys. Furthermore, they include; Olive baboons, vervet monkeys, Topi, Cape buffalo, Common eland, blue and common duiker, Gunther’s dik-dik, Klipspringer, Waterbuck, Ugandan Kob and Bohor and mountain reedbuck among others. After the game drive, continue on the transfer to Sipi Area for dinner and overnight.
Day 19: Hike Sipi Falls, Afternoon Arabica Coffee Tour
After breakfast, take a hike to the romantic Sipi. The falls offer a picturesque view of 3 free falling streams of water, from an altitude of 100m. Refresh, relax, rewind and chill besides the soothing sound of Sipi falls.
After the hike, trek to the lodge for a delicious lunch and dedicate the entire evening to visiting neighboring villages, which are famous for growing coffee. Arabica coffee finds favorable conditions on the foothills of Mount Elgon. Take a tour to the plantations, participate in harvesting and tasting.
Day 20: Return to Kampala /Entebbe & Departure.
Have breakfast and depart from Sipi area. Drive through Jinja to Entebbe airport to catch your return flight, thus marking the end of this 20 days Uganda vacation safari.
End of 20 days vacation in Uganda.