6 days Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzee and Big Five – Primates and Wildlife Uganda Safari

With the Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and the “Big Five”, this trip covers Uganda’s biggest wildlife highlights within only a week.

Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest park and contains the biggest volume and variety of animals in Uganda, of which includes 4 of the famed big five, and that is Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo…only the Rhinos are missing, but they will also be found in the Ziwa Wildlife Sanctuary which is located along the way to Murchison Falls.

After the wildlife safaris in Murchison, next are the primates, starting with man’s closest relatives – the Chimpanzees. There are over 5000 Chimpanzees in Uganda and the biggest population of these is found in Kibale Forest National Park. It is not only the Chimps but also the highest concentration and diversity of primates in the world where up to 13 species have been recorded is found in Kibale Forest.

The best is saved for the last, and so after the Chimpanzee tour in Kibale, next are the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mountain Gorilla trekking is arguably the best wildlife adventure in the world! Only about 800 Mountains Gorillas are left in the world and nearly half of these are found in the Bwindi Forest.

Trip specifications

  • Group size: minimum 1 (one) traveler
  • Age limit: must be at least 15 years to do Chimpanzee tracking and Mountain Gorilla trekking, no exceptions
  • To reserve your Chimpanzee and Gorilla permit (s) we need your full names as they appear in your passport, your nationality and passport number
  • Since only 8 people can track a gorilla group in one day, permits get sold out way in advance we therefore advise you book and confirm your tour well in advance
  • Lodges selected for level of comfort, high standard of hospitality, views, eco-friendliness and nearness to the activity places
  • Professional driver/safari guide and 4by4 tour vehicle
  • Tour on full-board accommodation basis

Highlights

  • Rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Game drive in Murchison Falls National Park
  • Boat Safari on River Nile in the Murchison
  • Hiking at the Murchison Falls
  • Nature Walk in Bigodi Wetland
  • Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest
  • Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable

Day 1: Kampala – Ziwa Rhinos – Murchison Falls National Park

Leave Kampala at 7.00am, driving northwards on the Kampala – Gulu highway. After roughly 2 hours you will be in Nakasongola where you shall turn off to the Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a breeding ground for Rhinos which eventually will be released into Uganda’s wild. Rhinos went extinct in Uganda in the early 1980’s after they were massively poached and killed during the wars. Currently the sanctuary supports 13 rhinos and 25 other mammals which as Leopards, Oribi, Bushbuck, Uganda Kob, Hippos, and Monkeys among others. Over 351 bird species have been recorded on the sanctuary. Transfer to the visitors’ center to meet the rangers and then set out for a 1 -2 hour trek to find the Rhinos and observe a range of other wildlife. Return and continue the journey before stopping in Masindi town for lunch. Thereafter proceed to Murchison Falls National Park arriving at your accommodation in the evening. Dine and overnight.

Journey time: 6 hours

Meal plan: Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:

Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge (cottages)

Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents)

Day 2: Game Drive, Boat Safari, Murchison Falls Hike – Budongo Forest

Wake up for an early cup of tea with a snack to warm up and then head out for the early morning game drive by 6.30am. The River Nile crosses Murchison Falls National Park dividing it into two regions, the south and north. The savanna grasslands of the northern region of the park support the biggest number of animals and therefore the game drive will be conducted there. wildlife murchison falls ugandaExpect to see plenty of animals such as Lions, Hyenas, Buffaloes, Elephants, Giraffes, Patas Monkeys, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Uganda Kob, Oribi, Jackson’s Hartebeests, and Baboons among others. Birds are plenty and some of the common species include Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Saddle-billed Stork, wood doves, lapwings, and so many others. At a glance, the park has a mammal checklist of 87 and bird list of over 650 species. After 4 hours, return to the lodge for breakfast and relax. After lunch, you shall go for the Boat Safari on River Nile that starts from Paraa and goes upstream for 2 hours to the base of the Murchison Falls.boat safari uganda The boat safari exposes you to plenty of wildlife along the Nile including Hippos, Crocodiles, Elephants and plenty of water birds. When you reach the base of the Murchison Falls, you shall leave the boat, meet a ranger and hike a trail along these spectacular falls to the top the entire Nile squeezes through a tiny space between the rocks of about 7 meters wide, exploding with a roar and plunges 40 meters down into the whirlpool at the base…the sun’s rays cut through the splashes creating rainbows…it is a breathtaking sight! murchison-fallsThe Murchison are also the world’s strongest waterfall. It will take about 45 minutes to the top, the driver shall be there waiting and you travel to Budongo Forest and spend the night at Budongo Eco Lodge.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Budongo – Kibale Forest National Park

After breakfast, check out and travel to southwest to Kibale National Park, driving along the escarpment of the Albertine Rift valley. You shall stopover in Hoima for lunch. Arrive in the afternoon, checking it at your accommodation located outside the park. In the evening you shall do a nature walk in the Bigodi Wetlands border the park on the eastern edge. The wetlands have plenty wildlife which include over 200 species of birds and up to 8 primate species which include Red-tailed, Vervet, and L’Hoest Monkeys, Red Colobus, Mangabeys, Black-and-white Colobus, and Baboons. Occasionally the Chimps do crossover into the wetlands. There are other small mammals but are quite elusive as some are nocturnal such as bush pigs, civet cats, mongoose, and sitatungas. Observe the many plants, shrubs, beautiful flowers, grasses. This is a good tour for the nature lovers. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight.

Journey time: 6 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:

Luxury: Kyaninga Lodge

Moderate: Primates Lodge

Budget: Kibale Forest Camp

Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking, Kibale – Bwindi National Park

Have early breakfast and transfer to the briefing point at 7.00am, meet the rangers and set off for the trek into the forest to track 1 of the 3 communities of Chimps that have been habituated in Kibale Forest. Kibale Forest supports plenty of wildlife including the biggest concentration of primates in the world. Other than the Chimps, other primates include Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, Red Colobus Monkey, and L’Hoest Monkey among others. Birdlife is very impressive too as over 335 species have been recorded including a good number of forest specials such as Green-breasted Pitta, African Grey Parrot, and African Pitta. Chimpanzee UgandaFind the Chimps and observe them for an hour. The Chimps are different from the Gorillas, as they are constantly running and swinging through the forest while they feed, so you are constantly pursing them. This makes photographing them a challenge, a good lens is in order. Their vocalizations of loud screams, pant-hoots and thunderous slapping of the buttress roots and barks of trees won’t fail to give you Goosebumps. It is quite a thrilling adventure and one of the most adrenaline giving wildlife experiences. Return to find the driver and transfer back to the lodge, check out and leave for Bwindi National Park, southwest of Uganda. You shall stopover in Fort Portal for lunch. Arrive in the evening amidst beautiful views of the terraced highlands. Check in at you lodge, for dinner and overnight.

Journey time: 4 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:

Luxury: Buhoma Lodge

Moderate: Silverback Lodge

Budget: Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Day 5: Gorilla Tracking

Be up as early as 6.30am for breakfast, and transfer to the briefing station by 7.00am, not forgetting to take packed lunch (from the lodge), enough drinking water (1 liter), and a rain jacket. After you are allotted to one of the habituated Gorilla groups (12), meet the rangers for briefing and thereafter transfer to the start of the trek and set off into the forest to find the Gorillas. mountain gorillas bwindi ugandaBwindi harbors about 400 Mountain Gorillas, accounting for nearly half of the remaining population in the world. The rest of the Mountain Gorillas are found in the rainforests of the Virunga Mountains that are shared between the neighboring countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The toughness to find the Gorillas depends on the location of the gorillas, as some groups may be just at the edge of the park while others deep into the forest and other high up the mountains. During allocation of the groups, traveler’s age is taken into account with the elderly being assigned to the closer groups. On finding the Gorillas, you have only one hour to view them. Good thing is the Gorillas do not run around like the Chimpanzee, hence you have the time relax and enjoy this special moment. You will return to the briefing station to get a Gorilla trekking certificate after having successful ‘graduated’ in this memorable experience. Transfer to the lodge and relax away the day enjoying the spectacular views across the forest. Dine and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Bwindi – Kampala

After breakfast check out and leave for Kampala. You shall stopover in Mbarara town for lunch. Another stopover is made at the Uganda Equator for some picture moments and buy some souvenirs at the crafts shop. Continue to Kampala, arriving in the evening.

Journey time: 7 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Tour includes

  • One Gorilla permit per person
  • One Chimpanzee permit person
  • Transport in 4WD safari van with pop-up roof
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Accommodation and meals as mentioned in the tour description
  • Bottled water
  • All activities included on the itinerary
  • Taxes and park fees

Tour excludes

  • Visa fees
  • Air fairs
  • Luxury drinks
  • Tips and porterage
  • Travel insurance
  • Other personal items

What to bring

  • Rain jacket
  • Hiking shoes
  • Long trousers & shirt to protect from stinging plants
  • Gaiters
  • Gloves
  • Cap/hut
Share This!
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr