10-Day Gorilla Trekking & Rafting Safari in Bwindi
Day 1: Welcome to Uganda
Today you arrive in Uganda – famously known as the Pearl of Africa because of its great diversity and beauty. Your Ugandan safari starts here and now. Our representative and your private guide will receive you at the airport and then transfer you to your accommodation. Welcome to Uganda!
Day 2: Track Rhinos, Transfer to Murchison Falls
Today you transfer north to Murchison Falls National Park. You will make a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to walk with the rhinos – one of Africa’s Big Five. Thereafter continue to the park. Situated at the northern tip of the Albertine Rift Valley, Murchison Falls National Park boasts the grandeur of the Bunyoro escarpment meeting expansive, palm-studded savannas. Originally designated as a game reserve in 1926, it holds the distinction of being Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area. Murchison Falls is a haven for biodiversity, featuring over 144 mammal species, 556 bird species, 51 reptiles, and 51 amphibians. The park is intersected by the Nile, cascading 45m over the rift valley wall to form the spectacular Murchison Falls (also known as Kabalega Falls). Murchison Falls National Park has attracted notable visitors throughout history, including Idi Amin, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and various British royals.
Day 3: Wildlife Viewing and Safari Cruise on the Nile
Take the early morning game drive within the park for the chance to see a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. The day typically begins early with a sunrise game drive. As the sun paints the savanna with warm hues, embark on a safari vehicle to explore the northern sector of the park. Murchison Falls is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes, and various antelope species. Keep an eye out for these majestic creatures as they start their day, and listen to the symphony of bird calls that fill the air. The open savannah allows for excellent wildlife viewing.
After the game drive, head to the river for a boat safari along the Nile River. This unique experience provides an up-close view of hippos, Nile crocodiles, and a plethora of water birds. The boat journey culminates at the base of Murchison Falls, allowing you to witness the powerful rush of water through the narrow gorge.
Day 4: Transfer from Murchison Falls to Kibale along Scenic Rift Valley
The safari section road trip from Murchison Falls National Park to Kibale National Park in Uganda offers a transition from savanna landscapes to lush rainforests. Enjoy the amazing Albertine escarpment – the western Great Rift Valley of Africa, the landscapes, rolling hills of tea plantations, and Lake Albert. Pass through Masindi, a town known for its proximity to Budongo Forest and the Budongo Forest Reserve, famous for chimpanzee trekking. Arrive in Fort Portal, a charming town situated at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. This town serves as a gateway to various national parks, including Kibale. You will continue to the Kibale National Park area where your accommodation is.
Day 5: Track Chimpanzees along the paths of Kibale National Park
Tracking chimpanzees in Kibale National Park is a thrilling and immersive experience, offering you the chance to observe these intelligent and charismatic primates in their natural habitat. Kibale National Park is renowned for its high population of chimpanzees, making it one of the best places in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. The day typically starts with a pre-trek briefing by experienced guides. Once the chimpanzee community is located, visitors are allowed a limited time (usually one hour) to observe and enjoy the experience. Guides provide information about the chimpanzees’ behavior, social structure, and the surrounding ecosystem. You may witness various behaviors, including feeding, grooming, playing, and even vocalizations. Chimpanzees share a close genetic relationship with humans, and observing them can be a fascinating and sometimes emotional experience.
In the afternoon take a community tour to meet locals near the park.
Day 6: Transfer to Bwindi the home of mountain gorillas
Transfer to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Your transfer will take you through the Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of the most visited in Uganda. The road trip from Kibale to Bwindi not only takes you to the home of the endangered mountain gorillas but also allows you to appreciate the diverse and scenic landscapes of western Uganda. It provides an opportunity to witness the beauty of Uganda’s diverse landscapes while heading to one of the most iconic destinations for gorilla trekking in the world.
Arriving in Bwindi is the beginning of an unforgettable adventure, providing you with the chance to connect with nature, witness incredible wildlife, and experience the magic of gorilla trekking in one of Africa’s most remarkable national parks. Enjoy a relaxing evening taking in the jungle noises as you prepare for your gorilla trekking adventure.
Day 7: Trekking with Gorillas in Bwindi
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an extraordinary and unique experience that elicits a range of emotions, creating lasting memories for those fortunate enough to embark on this adventure. The journey begins with a sense of anticipation and excitement as you prepare to enter the dense and mystical forest that is Bwindi. As you start the trek, guided by experienced trackers, the anticipation builds with each step. The moment arrives when the guides signal a silent pause, and you catch the first glimpse of a gorilla family. The feeling of awe and wonder is palpable as you witness these magnificent creatures in their natural surroundings. For the hour you spend observing them, a sense of intimacy develops. The intricate social dynamics, the expressions on their faces, and the playful interactions among family members forge a magical connection. It’s not uncommon for participants to be moved to tears by the profound connection established during the encounter.
Day 8: Rafting in Bwindi
Today we bring you a new experience – rafting through the jungles and rivers of the Bwindi region. Rafting has been mostly on the Nile but this thrilling experience takes you through the lush green forests between Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our guides are certified professionals with years of experience on the Nile and around the world. At least 2 safety kayakers or more to accompany rafters.
Day 9: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
Transfer by road to the Lake Mburo National Park area. The road transfer takes you through a variety of terrains and landscapes, offering a visual feast of Uganda’s geographical diversity. You may traverse winding mountain roads, pass through lush greenery, and experience the changing scenery as you descend from the highlands. En route, you are likely to pass through or near local communities and villages, providing glimpses of everyday life in rural Uganda. This presents an opportunity to observe traditional architecture, and agriculture practices, and perhaps interact with locals along the way. Look out for the graceful longhorn Ankole cattle. The Ankole cattle are a distinctive breed of cattle native to Uganda and the East African region. Many communities in areas surrounding Lake Mburo National Park keep them as has been the tradition for hundreds of years. Take a community excursion to see how the locals keep and look after their beloved cattle.
Day 10: Safari Walk, Transfer to Entebbe
It is your last day. Crown it with a safari walk in Lake Mburo National Park. The walk offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore the park’s diverse ecosystems on foot. Visitors are accompanied by experienced and knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the park’s flora, fauna, and terrain. Walking safaris offer the opportunity for close encounters with wildlife. While larger predators are not common in Lake Mburo National Park, the walk may bring sightings of various herbivores, birds, and smaller mammals. The park is home to a variety of bird species, and a safari walk allows birdwatchers to spot and identify different birds in their natural habitat. The guided nature walk provides an educational experience, with guides sharing information about the park’s biodiversity, ecosystems, and conservation efforts.
After the walk, transfer to Entebbe with a stopover at the equator line dividing the northern and southern hemispheres.
Our lead rafting guide has all the international qualifications needed to be a river guide, including rescue and first aid certificates. Plus, the entire river crew has many years of experience rafting on the Nile.
There is no wildlife like crocodiles or hippos. However, be aware that there might be little monkeys swinging around! The river has grade IV rapids, but the majority is III+ and it is a very safe river.
3. SAFETY KAYAKERS / EQUIPMENT
All trips will have at least 2 safety kayakers (see pictures) in case people fall out of the boat – which usually does not happen unintentionally.
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