Primates & Uganda Highlights Safari.

11 Days | Primates & Uganda Highlights Safari

This Primates & Uganda Highlights Safari takes you to appreciate nature, primates and diverse cultures! See the chimpanzees and 12 other monkey species in kalinzu forests. see firsthand ancient salt extraction at lake katwe crater, Go gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest and Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga, experience local people traditions.

Highlights

  • Tracking chimpanzees & 12 other primates species in Kibale.
  • Unique host springs boiling up to 1000c & primates in Semliki
  • Centuries old lake Katwe salt tour in Queen Elizabeth.
  • The ultimate gorilla-trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable
  • Golden Monkey Tracking in Mgahinga
  • Indigenous batwa ‘Pygmy’ experience!
  • How traditional medicine meets modern medicine at local village.
  • Long-horned-cow milking experience!

Need To Know

Please note that this tour ( at the time of booking) The last day ( return transfer ) of this tour you have the freedom to choose between options; either to fly back from Bwindi or drive back on a road trip.

You might want to drive by road ( 4-5 hours) and depart from Kigali airport ( Rwanda). The choice is all yours. Please inform tour consultant at the time of booking your preferred the option.

At the time of booking in the event that the listed hotel is fully booked or room unavailable, we will do our best to inform you and book a similar hotel of the same class available.

Detailed Itinerary

Primates & Uganda Highlights Safari

This Primates & Uganda Highlights Safari takes you to appreciate nature, primates and diverse cultures! See the chimpanzees and 12 other monkey species in  kalinzu forests. see firsthand ancient salt extraction at lake katwe crater, Go gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest and Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga, experience local people traditions.

Our driver will pick you up from your hotel in Kampala or Entebbe, drive to Kibale forest, stop in Fort portal. Traveling on both paved and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan Villages where you see native people in their farmlands. The lush  green rolling hills will end up into viewing Uganda’s expansive tea plantations offering you great photo opportunities. You eventually begin to view Rwenzori Mountains ranges, plenty of matooke (Plantain) bicycle riders on the roadside – on a scenic drive as you get Fort Portal town. Drive time 5 hours.. Proceed to Kibale forest . Kibale National Park is the world’s primate capital and is home to 13 species of monkeys and man’s closest cousins; the Chimpanzees and a very dense population of butterflies. Keep an eye out for guereza colobus monkeys and baboons by the road side.

LUXURY: Kibale Guest Cottages – Rooms (B,L,D)
Budget:  Kibale Forest Camp – Tents (BB)

Today you will do Chimpanzee ‘tracking’. This activity can takes between 4 to 5 hours. Today you will wake up early, transfer to park offices at kanyanchu,  for orientation about your chimpanzee tracking etiquette. An experienced ranger will take you chimp tracking; Remember to carry water, rain gear, and walking/hiking boots plus backpack.

Approximately 5,000 chimpanzees live in the wild in Uganda. In Kibale you will find one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa – about 1450 individuals. Kibale National park is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, each with over 120 individuals.

You will also have chances of seeing other monkey species that live here; the guereza colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, and olive baboons as well as the red colobus monkey considered Endangered and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey that are considered Vulnerable  and…plentiful of forest bird life. Remember to carry water, rain gear, and walking/hiking boots plus backpack.

Once you locate the chimpanzees you will have a full hour of eye-to-eye contact with them. Since they are wild animals, we can never guarantee you to see them close enough.  might have to settle with hearing their hoots and hollers.

It will be perfect opportunity to listen to the chimps as the grumble and feed. Only one community is allowed to be visited by tourists.  Chimpanzees live in communities. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against other male intruders; the females usually wander in small family groups. Rangers locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, following their eating trails. A chance to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees,  and socialize with each other. on a lucky day people have witnessed chimpanzees hunting.

In the afternoon after lunch, you will go for the guided swamp walk. The walk (2-3 hours) will take you through grassland, small communities and some beautiful scenery, where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves. It is usual to spot three to four different primate species during this walk, through the highlight is catching a glimpse of the great blue turaco!

Optional activity : Chimpanzee habituation tracking experience

where you can follow chimpanzee for all day in the forest.  At an additional fee of only $70 US Dollar per person, you can do the chimpanzee habituation tracking. This will take all day and you will be 100% sure to have a very close encounter with our cousins. Book this in time because only 6 persons per day are allowed to go.

Luxury: Kibale Guest Cottages – Rooms (B,L,D)
Budget: Kibale Forest Camp – Tents (BB)

Today morning you will go to experience tea harvesting experience. Have lunch  and a relaxed evening.

Optional activity: Crater walk

Crater walk to fort portal crater area. Explore this scenic walking route, a chance to see three crater lakes in one spot. This region ( 1814Km2) has 52 crater lakes, ranked with the highest biodiversity in Africa. Formed by ancient volcanic activity, the crater lakes of Uganda are located near Fort Portal, and are a great hiking option. Typical hikes take you through local villages to the base of several of these incredibly serene and beautiful lakes. With the Rwenzori Mountains in the background, this is by far one of Uganda’s most peaceful and extraordinary sights.

After breakfast, we transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park on time for 2pm boat/lunch trip ( 2 hrs) on the Kazinga Channel, watching for a unique combination of brilliant colored birdlife and wildlife as they come to drink and take a shower.

Optional activity: Salt lake tour

Driving to lake Katwe salt  crater lake. This unusual crater lake – too salty to support any wildlife – though since the 16th Century it has ensured the survival of village community, who spend their days under the sun, harvesting salt from its milky waters. This tour gives you a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for people. on the tour you will see  local community at work, cross the mud walkways with lots of traditional grass huts, used as shelter.

Luxury: Mazike Lodge – Rooms (B,LD)
Budget: Bush Lodge – tents or Irunga forest safari camp (B&B)

Transfer  to Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park. This park is about 330sq kms forest, with spectacular scenery, impressive forest views. Altitude ranges between 1200m to about 2600m. The whole geographical scenery is basically hilly and mountainous.

There are 14 gorilla families which have been habituated for gorilla viewing, all of which can be accessed from specific locations/sectors of the forest. Eight people are permitted to view a single family per day. To trek gorillas you need a gorilla permit/license. Gorilla licenses are booked by location not by the name of a gorilla family. There are 4 starting gates namely; in North at BUHOMA, in the East at RUHIJA and in the South at RUSHAGA & south west at NKURINGO. Please note the choice of lodging will be determined by location of Gorilla family available at time of booking!

Budget:  Trekkers Tervan/ Ride4woman ( B&B)
Luxury: Bakiga Lodge/  Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge (B, L,D))

After early breakfast, your guide will take you to park gate. The trekking adventure will begin with a orientation by the park ranger guide on rules and how to handle yourself once you enter the trekking journey!.

Pre – tracking orientation starts at 8.00am.Trekking through the thick jungle, traversing canopies of thick undergrowth can be tough, wet, arduous but not impossible – the tracking can last from as little as 45 minutes to as much as 10 hours. The activity depends on location of gorillas the previous day. Visitors therefore are supposed to move along with packed/picnic lunch and water, and should be equipped with strong waterproof clothing and must be averagely healthy. It can rain at any minute’s notice; hence waterproof clothing is essential including ZIP bags for cameras. Porters are available at an additional small fee.  After gorilla tracking we transfer to little town of Kisoro for overnight.

Luxury: Travellers Rest Hotel (B, L,D))

Your driver will transfer for 1 hour to Mgahinga national park gate. This trekking will take you to trek the golden monkeys, an endemic species of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The trip will take your through the jungles which consists of bamboo and a variety of indigenous plants like giant lobelia  During the trip, your guide will tell you about the history of the national park and the fauna and flora that the park holds.

Luxury: Travellers Rest Hotel (B, L,D))

Go to experience native pygmies – ‘Batwa’ way of life. At the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes  were home to the Batwa people: hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine thanks to ancient knowledge passed down for generations.

When Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was established, the Batwa were suddenly evicted from the forest and forced to abandon their low-impact, nomadic lifestyle. During this moving tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups. Guests are finally invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform songs which echoes harshly around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture. After lunch get on road trip, transfer to lake Bunyonyi.

Budget: Bunyonyi Overland Resort.( B&B)
Luxury: Birds nest@bunyonyi (B,LD)

Did you know? Lake Bunyonyi is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa, free from Bilharzia and featuring a stunning narrow stretch of water with tiny islands overlooked by volcanoes in Uganda.

Optional activities at lake Bunyonyi

  1. Boat ride to punishment island – Look out  for “akampene” – the punishment Island – where until 1940’s unmarried pregnant girls were dropped and left to die helplessly or starve to death, some drown trying to swim ashore; they were often saved my poor men who could not afford pride price. It was a taboo to  pregnant before the recommended marriage age. costs $15 per person
  2. Boat ride to traditional healer’s village.  Experience how traditional african medicine is integrated into modern medicine. The healer not only treats the sick, but uses his knowledge to conserve and educate about the various medicinal plants if time. costs $40 per person.
  3. Hiking to  view islands of lake Bunyonyi ($10) per person
  4. Self canoeing, ($5) depends one skill
  5. Guided Canoeing, ($18) takes 1 hour,
  6. High ropes course and zip lining, ($30) per person, takes 1.5 to 2hrs
  7. Guided Bird watching, learn about common bird species of the lake. ($20 per person)

lake Bunyonyi is a known to be a place of so many little small birds. It’s possible to have an early morning guided bird watching.

After lunch we transfer to lake mburo national park.

Luxury: Rwakobo Rook / Mihingo lodge (B,L,D
Budget: Eagles Nest – tents ( B,D)

Do morning game drive. Popular sightings include Zebras, Impalas, Topis, baboons.

Luxury: Rwakobo Rock / Mihingo lodge (B,L,D
Budget: Eagles Nest – tents ( B,D)

What we’ll be doing today: Today early morning you will visit Bahima local homestead participate in milking of local Ankole-long- horned cows!, learn how these Pastrolists live with their cows. The Bahima are local nomadic pastoralists bordering Lake mburo national park. Return to lodge for breakfast, drive to Kampala.

Meals: Breakfast, No Lunch, No Dinner

To go on a gorilla trek, you need a gorilla permit/license which we can arrange for you.  We can only purchase your Gorilla permit after you have made a down-payment to us. Gorilla permits are competitive on a daily basis, advance booking is always preferred.

Please note the gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Bwindi and or Mgahinga national parks. Gorilla tracking is dependent on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible.

  • Gorilla trekking can be strenuous activity and Minimum gorilla tracking age is 15 years.
  • What to bring: Hiking shoes/walking shoes, long socks to tuck-in long pants , rain wear, warm clothing, evenings can be cold/chilly, gloves preferably gardening type are very helpful and  insect repellant.
  • Anyone with signs of communicable diseases will NOT be allowed to track.
  • While possession of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking and
  • Maximum time allowed with the gorillas will NOT exceed ONE hour, you are kindly requested to practice different modes of using your camera in different light situations. Gorillas can sometimes be moving, Forest vegetation can at times obstruct visibility, and hence taking photos of these creatures can be very challenging!

Transport:
Our standard offering is a 4WD with pop-up roof for easy safari viewing.  All passengers will have a dedicated window seat. Your driver/guide will be at your disposal for questions.

Extension:
If you want to extend your tour to one of our other destinations or if you’d like to add a few side trips to the itinerary, kindly let us know.

Difficulty:
Gorilla trekking takes place at altitudes 1160 to 2607m (3806 to 8553ft) above sea level. This means that moderate/average physical fitness is required. The slowest member will determine the groups’ speed. The pace will be moderate, with plenty stops to rest, ask questions, re-hydrate and enjoy the forest and views.

Booking and payment details:
Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need  to contact us for booking form  which will include details relating to deposit and final payments etc.

Trip Price Includes:

  • Pick up from your hotel in Entebbe/Kampala
  • 1 chimpanzee tracking permit,  Bigodi wetland walk
  • Golden monkey tracking
  • Boat cruise on Kazinga channel, salt Lake katwe tour, Semliki Hot springs tour
  • Visit to traditional medicine man village
  • Milking long horned cow experience
  • Accommodations with meals mentioned on itinerary
  • Water, 1 litre per person per day on the van
  • 4×4 custom built safari open-roof vehicle with gas (Toyota, Hiace Van, or similar) with knowledgeable and English-speaking driver/guide
  • English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance fees to parks.

Trip Price excludes:

  • International flights
  • Visa for Uganda and/or Rwanda
  • Gorilla trek permit/pass
  • Batwa Community trail (optional) $80 per person
  • All optional activities mentioned on itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals not mentioned on itinerary and beverages, Lunches.
  • Tips and personal expenses such as laundry and communication.
  • All drinks and personal entertainment.

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