21 Days Rwenzori, Primates & Wildlife Safari in Uganda

This 21 days mountaineering and wildlife tour is a fantastic way to rediscover the magnificent wonders of the pearl of Africa. It combines encounters with the mighty mountain gorillas found in Bwindi national park, Mgahinga’s Golden monkeys, chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park, nature walks in Semliki reserve, epic wildlife viewing and luxurious boat safaris on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park, Lake Mburo national park the Zebra sanctuary as well as R&R sessions on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi.

21 Days Rwenzori, Primates & Wildlife Safari in Uganda

21 Days Safari in Uganda: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Lake Mburo National park. An evening boat safari.

Pick up from Kampala after your well deserving breakfast, drive off to the south west. Located only 240km away from Kampala, between Mbarara and Masaka towns, Lake Mburo national park is doubtlessly the nearest Savannah park to Kampala.

Make a brief stop at the equator in Kayabwe, take memorable pictures and an experiment that proves the earth’s division into south and north poles. Have a cup of coffee and off you continue on the drive to Lake Mburo National park, entering through either Nshara gate or Sange gate.

Immediately continue to the Rwonyo jetty on the shores of legendary Lake Mburo, having lunch at an onsite restaurant as you wait for the 2pm boat. Proceed on the 3 hour boat along Lake Mburo which takes you to the most scenic areas of the lake, filled with abundant animals, bird life and unique flora.

Return to the lodge after the boat cruise in the evening, have dinner and a night stay.

Day 2: Game drive and evening cultural tour.

Have breakfast, proceed on 3 hour game drive in Uganda’s smallest Savannah National Park, though so rich with a variety of wildlife, ranging from Zebras, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes and a few cats including lions, spotted hyenas and some leopards, all which can be sighted during a morning game drive.

Retire from this game safari, and return to the lodge for late breakfast and relaxation till late in the evening. 4-5pm is the appropriate time to undertake an interesting cultural excursion which takes you to the inner insights of Ankole traditional lifestyle, their day-to-day activities, participate in some of the activities like grazing, milking and so much more.

After this excursion in the evening, return to the lodge for overnight stay and dinner.

Day 3: Travel to Lake Bunyonyi. Sunset canoe cruise.

Begin your drive further southwest after breakfast. The journey which takes you across Mbarara and Ntungamo scenic highlands, you soon come to a halt at the Satelite museum for a short cultural excursion, maybe a coffee or lunch depending on the time.

Located only 8km on the outskirts of Kabale town, the magnificent Lake Bunyonyi is doubtlessly the most beautiful place in Uganda, and it hosts up to 29 islands each with a unique history. The sunset cruise will unveil some of the popular islands and their rich history, life of the islanders who reside here, the scenery, etc.

Day 4: Boat trip and drive to Mgahinga Gorilla National park.

Delicious breakfast at the lake shores, or take a pre-breakfast cruise on a traditional motor boat. A sunrise boat trip is one of the most beautiful experiences on this lake, and a great way to view the fog disappearing from the lake, and the waters becoming more clearer.

The boat takes you to some of the inner islands that you might have perhaps missed during a canoe cruise. Each of these islands has a peculiar story, name and uniqueness in terms of the kind of species it inhabits.

After this boat trip, return to the lodge, have late breakfast and off you begin the journey to Mgahinga Gorilla National park. Located in Kisoro district, Mgahinga is one of Uganda’s home to the endangered mountain gorillas, as well as elusive golden monkeys.

Arrive at the lodge for relaxation, dinner and night stay.

Day 5: Golden monkey trekking. Transfer to Bwindi national park

This is a day of discovering Mgahinga’s only endemic wildlife residents; rare golden monkeys. These are some of the critically endangered primates of Blue monkey species which are endemic to the larger Virunga conversation region but only restricted to the Virunga region, and can only be found in Mgahinga gorilla national park and Volcanoes National park in Uganda and Rwanda respectively.

The briefing of golden monkey trekking starts from 7:00am to 8:00am and thereafter trekkers get into the jungles to start the search for these mighty apes. The experience lasts for about 2-5 hours, after which you’ll return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch.

In the evening check out of the lodge and transfer to Ruhija – the eastern sector of Bwindi national park where you’ll spend the night, awaiting gorilla trekking the following day.

Day 6: Gorilla trekking and evening community walk

Early morning breakfast and later assemble at Ruhija briefing point for a session of pre-trekking briefing by the head guide. It is during this session that gorilla families to be trekked are allocated and trekkers are told about what to do and what not to do while trekking the gorillas.

Head to the starting point and enter the impenetrable forest to begin a search for man’s closest relatives. This experience lasts for about 2 to 6 hours, moving through slippery, foggy and rocky jungles, until you finally meet the destined gorilla group. You are only given one hour to be with the group, as you watch the members feed, jump from one branch to the other tree branch.

After the one hour has elapsed, descend back to the starting point from the forests, join the driver and transfer to the lodge for your lunch. Relax and in the evening, get on a cultural tour with the Batwa natives who are known to be the historical residents of Bwindi Impenetrable forest together with the mighty mountain gorillas. During this experience, enjoy the Batwa’s traditional songs, performances, listen to the elders’ tales and so much more.

Day 7: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Via Ishasha Sector.

Begin the trip to Queen Elizabeth national park after breakfast. Along this transfer, undertake a brief game drive in Ishasha sector to meet the mighty elusive tree climbing lions as well as exploring a variety of other animals, resident in this region, such as buffaloes, elephants, several antelopes and birdlife.

Continue on the transfer after this encounter, until you arrive at your lodge in Queen Elizabeth NP for overnight stay and dinner.

Day 8: Queen Elizabeth National park: Game drive and boat cruise.

This morning game drive starts after breakfast or even before depending on where you spent the night (for lodges inside the park game drives begin early before breakfast). Traverse the sweeping plains of Kasenyi , a renowned area for numerous antelopes, big herds of elephants as well as cats, especially lions which wait in hiding to pounce on unsuspecting antelopes.

Visit the Katwe salty lake, where locals mine salt traditionally and so many other crater lakes that are famous hosts for both migratory and resident bird species, totaling to over 500 species in number.

The experience of game viewing goes for 3-4 hours and other than animals and bird species, one can view abundant flora, both savannah and woodland, and even wetlands especially on the shores of big water bodies like Lakes George, Edward and Kazinga channel.

In the afternoon, embark on a 2 hour boat trip along the mesmerizing Kazinga channel. This is one of the high lights in the park, and perfect complementary of a game safari in Queen Elizabeth National park. While on this cruise, be sure to spot among others numerous schools of hippos lining up on the shores (Kazinga channel is the hippo capital of the world), huge population of crocodiles can be seen as well, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, Jackals and abundant bird life.

After this experience, return to Mweya jetty to join your guide who will drive you back with enroute game viewing opportunities, arrive at the lodge in the evening for dinner and a night stay.

Day 9: Travel to the base of Mount Rwenzori. Visit Rwenzori Bronze casting center enroute.

Leisurely breakfast at the lodge, and later drive to the Rwenzoris, located a few kilometers west of Kasese town. Stop at the equator monument just outside of the park and take pictures for memories, an optional town tour in Kasese and later proceed to Rwenzori bronze casting center to purchase for your self historical artifacts made of bronze.

Day 10: Begin the hike: Nyakalengija (1600m) – Nyabitaba camp (2650m).

In the morning, begin the trek from Rwenzori Mountains national park ranger station located in Nyakalengija. Drive from your overnight camp as early as 7:300am for a pre-hike briefing session conducted by the mountain rangers and it is from this place that you can hire some hiking gear as well as as getting porters to carry your luggage.

The trek begins with a community walk in the nearby villages, planattions, and learn about the native Bakonzho people. Follow Mobuku River, passing via R. Mahoma, through open fern slopes and podorcapus plantation up to Nyabitaba camp (2,652m ASL).

Accommodation at Nyabitaba hut.

This hike lasts for about 5-6 hours and offers unmatched panoramic views of Mount Kyniangoma and Portal summits at 4,627m ASL, primate species like chimpanzees, Rwenzori Turaco and various monkey species.

Day 11: Trek from 2650 meters (Nyabitaba camp) – John Matte Hut (3380 meters).

Nyabitaba-John Matte camp trek takes about 4-5 hours and it starts with a sharp descent along a ridge to R. Mobuku, followed by an ascent through a thick forest of bamboo until you arrive at John Matte camp (3,380m).

Day 12: John Matte camp (3380m) – Bujuku camp (3972m).

Trek to Bujuku camp at 3972m above sea level from John Matte Hut at 3380m. The hikers encounter the first of the toughest bogs during this trail and it is here that the Uganda approach to the summits is famous. You trek through Bigo Bog along L. Bujuku where you’ll be shown an “everlasting flower” which is known to stay on plants for up to forty years.

Today you’ll stay at Bujuku camp (3972m)

Day 13: Trek from Bujuku Hut (3972m) – Elena Hut (4541m).

Depart Bujuku camp and trek aiming for Scott Elliot Pass (4372). Hike through the moss covered groundsel vegetation until Scot Elliot located in the midst of Mount Stanley and Mount Baker. Divert to Elena camp at 4372m where you will have an overnight stay.

Day 14: Elena camp (4,541 m) to Margherita peak (5,109m).

Rise up on this day anticipating to conquer Uganda’s highest point, the Margherita summit (5109m). The day begins from Elena camp and trails via the Elena glacier up to Stanley plateau. This path requires crampons. The next three hours are spent hiking towards north west direction along the Margherita glacier, until the peak at 5,109m.

Take memorable pictures at the peak, and later descend back to Elena camp and further to Upper L. Kitandara at 4023m, rest for a cup of coffee or warm snack and overnight stay at Kitandara camp.

Day 15: Kitandara camp (4023m) – Guy Yeoman camp (3261m).

Traversing an extended flat of high montane mossy glades from Kitandara hut, you later descend the circuit through boggy and rocky areas. At this point, the scenery is dominated by Mount Stanely views as well as Mount Baker and Savoy glaciers. A muddy path leads to Bujongolo, Kabamba and Akendahi rock shelters. Cross through Kabamba valley descending down to 3,261m at Guy Yeoman camp. This is a half day trek lasts for about 6 hours.

Day 16: Guy Yeoman Hut (3261m) – Nyabitaba camp (2650m).

The trek between Guy Yeoman and Nyabitaba camps lasts for about 3 hours,and it drops steeply via R. Mobuku, across Kichuchu rock shelter, until you join the main trail near R. Bujuku confluence.

Overnight stay at Nyabitaba camp (2650m).

Day 17: Nyamitaba camp (2650m) to Nyakalengija base camp.

This is the last trek descending steeply from Nyabitaba to Nyakalengija camp lasting for about 2 hours. It slopes off a sharp ridge and through a montane forest. This section is home to numerous bird species endemic to Rwenzori tropical forests and a variety of primates like monkeys, baboons, etc.

Descend until you reach at the  Nyakalengija base camp, meet with your guide who will immediately drive you to Fort Portal for dinner and a night stay.

Day 18: Fort portal tour and transfer to Semuliki National park. Visit the Sempaya hot springs and evening nature walks.

After a morning breakfast, take a simple tour through Uganda’s tourism capital and epitome of beauty. The beauty of Fort portal ranges from a clean town, Toro kingdom palace, the people, and culinary, local market and Amabere Ganyinamwiru caves in the outskirts of the town.

Proceed to the less visited Semuliki national park which is one of the few undisturbed destinations that has a lot to offer to her visitors. Upon arrival, visit the Sempaya hot springs to see the magic and science behind formation of these world treasures.

Day 19: Nature walks and travel to Kibale Forest National Park

After breakfast, take morning nature walks through Semliki national park to explore its wildlife, flora and bird species. Resident mammals in Semliki include Buffaloes, forest elephants, some antelopes and a myriad of bird species including the shoebill stork within Lake Albert. After the nature walk, drive to Kibale forest national park for overnight stay.

Day 20: Chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi wetland walk in the afternoon

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 21: Return to Kampala/Entebbe airport.

Check out from your lodge in the morning as you embark on a 6 hour journey back to Kampala. Drive through Mubende – Mityana road or through Kasese-Mbarara-Masaka highway with a stop at the equator for amazing pictures. Be dropped off at Entebbe International airport for departure flight or at hotel for a night stay.