5 Night Gorilla Express – Uganda
Gorillas, gorillas and a little game…..
This new, improved safari is aimed at those who are a little short on time, but nevertheless keen to see some game as well as gorillas on their safari. We have ample time to trek gorillas twice, as well as spending a night in Queen Elizabeth National park – enjoying some game viewing – before heading back to Entebbe.
On this safari we include your domestic flights – to save those long journeys by vehicle – but you will still have time to see some of the local culture, and beautiful forests on your safari.
Uganda boasts some of the best bird watching in Africa, with over 1000 different species, including the remarkable grey crowned crane and a host of endemic forest birds.
Luxury accommodation, professional guides and custom made safari vehicles – this safari will be the trip of a lifetime. Please note – two gorilla trekking options are available on this itinerary. Please make your request at the time of booking.
Arrive at Entebbe International Airport where you will be met by a Wild Frontiers representative and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, a half day trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary may be arranged at an additional cost. This could also be arranged at the end of your safari if you prefer.
Other options include the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe, where there are a variety of visitors’ programmes including behind the scenes ‘work’ with the animals. Let us know when you book if you are keen on this.
Entebbe is a small, quiet town located on the shores of Lake Victoria and is easy to explore on foot or perhaps use local transport e.g. motorbikes known as “boda bodas” or local taxis. There are local markets where you may buy clothes and crafts, curio shops for souvenirs, and the Botanical Gardens on Lake Victoria where you can walk among beautiful trees, watch monkeys moving through the canopy above, and spot many indigenous bird species. Entebbe has a wide variety of restaurants serving many different cuisines as well as several bars and clubs where you can sample the local beer, catch a game of football and chat with the local Ugandans, known for their open and friendly nature.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary – (optional extra)
Leaving from Entebbe, travel by speed boat or traditional motorized canoe to Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary located on beautiful Lake Victoria.
Officially opened in 1999, Ngamba Island was created to offer a permanent sanctuary to orphaned chimpanzees, which are victims of illegal trade and habitat destruction. Now home to more than 45 chimps, the island serves as a tourist destination for local and international travellers offering an opportunity to learn about the species and the importance of conserving their fragile forest habitat. Enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary and a close up experience with the chimpanzees as they come to the boundary area for their morning or afternoon feeding. Cold drinks, tea and coffee are available at Ngamba and the island has a unique gift shop with a wide range of local crafts and sanctuary related t-shirts and products. Your visit and purchases directly support the project with proceeds going towards operating costs of the sanctuary, ensuring the well-being of the chimpanzees.
The Boma Guest House
The Boma is a small, family run guest house located in the suburbs of Entebbe. A converted residential home, The Boma offers quiet, relaxed accommodation and a peaceful atmosphere. Each en suite room is uniquely decorated, with many having their own veranda. Wonderful meals are prepared upon request and guests can enjoy the welcoming bar area any time of day as well as the guest house’s large garden, private swimming pool and large patio boasting a beautiful views toward Lake Victoria.
We will collect you from your lodge, for the short drive to the Entebbe domestic airport for your scheduled flight to Kihihi airstrip, near Bwindi/Queen Elizabeth National parks.
The flight takes just over an hour (depending on the plane used) and on arrival you will be met by a Wild Frontiers’ representative and driven to Buhoma Lodge, located at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The drive to the lodge is through local villages and mountain roads – lovely scenery and very interesting en route!
Guests will have the opportunity for two days of gorilla tracking (pre-booking essential). Other activities that can be enjoyed in and around the park include forest walks, visits to a local school or orphanage or Batwa pygmy village, and curio shopping.
Bwindi National Park, located in south western Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda. The area, one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa, where lowland and mountain habitats meet, contains a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs. Home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site. Bwindi is also home to several endangered bird species with very limited ranges, and acts as an important catchment area for many rivers, supplying water for agriculture in the surrounding region.
Situated on the slopes of the Forests of Bwindi, adjacent to the national park, this exclusive lodge offers uninterrupted views of the pristine rain forest canopy. The lodge has ten beautifully appointed and spacious cottages situated along the mountainside, each with its own private veranda. Large comfortable beds ensure a good night’s rest following an exhilarating day of gorilla tracking. En suite bathrooms are spacious and equipped with flushing toilets and piping hot showers, with the honeymoon cottage boasting a ‘cuddle-tub’. Meals are wholesome and freshly prepared with a variety of international dishes and local specialties such as matoke and g-nut sauce. Unlimited hot beverages are available all day on a self-serve basis and are delivered to your cottage with early morning wake up calls upon request, allowing guests to watch the sun rise over the forest from their own private verandas. Lighting and heating throughout the lodge is solar powered and the lodge’s inviting upper level lounge, bar and dining area, where guests can relax, dine and discuss the day’s events, offers a cozy fireplaces providing warmth and comfort in the cool evenings.
DAY 3 – Gorilla Tracking – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Following breakfast at the lodge, you will walk down to National Park Headquarters to meet your guides for the day and begin your gorilla tracking experience. Experienced guides and trackers will accompany your party on an early morning trek into the dense rain forest on the mountain slopes. The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, is abundantly rewarded with the lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. You will have an opportunity to be within meters of these magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Mountain gorillas are extremely rare with only an estimated 850 remaining in the wild. This is an experience you won’t soon forget! Some of the gorilla families are located in an area which you will need to travel to by vehicle, but don’t worry – we will transport you there!
Following the trek, return to your accommodation and, if time allows, take a guided afternoon forest or community walk. Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous with treks up to six hours or longer, at high altitudes, not uncommon. Also, mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 95%.
Those with pre-purchased permits will depart for a second gorilla tracking experience following breakfast at the lodge. Depending upon individual itinerary schedules, guests not tracking gorillas may wish to enjoy other activities available in the area such as a forest walk, a visit to a local school/orphanage or Batwa pygmy village, and curio shopping.
Forest Walk (Optional)
Embark on a walk through tropical rainforest with experienced wildlife guides. Enjoy scenic views, the sights and sounds of the rain forest, ample opportunities for bird watching and glimpses of the many monkey species living in the park as they move through the forest canopy.
Village Community Walk (Optional)
Embark on a community walk through the local villages surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Optional activities include visits to a traditional home, local orphanage or school, banana brewing demonstrations and even meeting traditional medicinal healers. This three to four hour walk is easily tailored to your individual schedule and interests.
This morning we depart Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and travel (2-3 hours) to Ishasha in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Time permitting, during our drive from Bwindi to Ishasha, we may visit a Community Project on the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here the local people allow you to enjoy some time in their homesteads, as well as see some of the crops and curios they produce, and visit the local elephant trench project – which stops elephants coming into the village and raiding crops.
Afternoon game drives will be enjoyed in the Ishasha area, looking for the huge herds of buffalo, elephant, Uganda kob and of course the famous tree-climbing lion typically found in the area.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp
This exclusive tented camp offers the only luxury accommodation in the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is ideally located between Bwindi and the Mweya area of the park. The camp has ten luxurious safari tents, with each spacious en suite tent offering its own private dressing area, hot water “bush” shower and eco-friendly flush toilet. A central traditionally thatched dining and lounge area provides guests with a relaxing environment in which to enjoy sundowners, meals and after dinner chats around the fire.
Queen Elizabeth National Park spreads over 1,978 sq km in the western arm of the Great Rift Valley and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephants, leopard, lions, hippos, buffalo, Uganda kob, baboon, and many species of birds. With both a riverine and savannah habitat, the park includes the southern Ishasha area with the massive Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda. The northern Mweya area, traversed by the equator and dominated by the scenery of crater lakes, is often occupied by large flocks of flamingos.
Transfer to the airstrip for your return flight to Entebbe. Rest of the afternoon/evening is at leisure.
An airport transfer has been included after your safari has been completed – from your Entebbe hotel, or directly after the safari.
If staying in Entebbe, please request assistance at time of booking safari. If departing Entebbe the same night, please note your vehicle returns to Entebbe late afternoon (approximately 16h00/17h00) so DO NOT book flights departing prior to 20h00 in order to allow time for security, check in and any unforeseen delays.
If you plan to spend additional time in Uganda please feel free to speak with a Wild Frontiers representative at the time of booking or upon your return about the many activities available in Entebbe and throughout Uganda. You can explore Kampala, spend a night on Ngamba Island, or take a short trip to Jinja, the adventure centre of Uganda, offering grade 5 white-water rafting, quad biking and bungee jumping, or possibly a safari to Murchison Falls with some optional fishing!
***END OF ARRANGEMENTS***
- Gorilla Permit of USD 600 per trek Bwindi – must be pre-booked/prepaid (low season permits available in April/May & November at USD350
- All international flights and airport taxes
- Personal expenses such as porters, drinks, tips, visas and travel insurance
- Services/activities/meals not included above
Please contact email@example.com for further information on larger groups and private lodge safari rates.