Best of Uganda and Tanzania Safari

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Total Trip:

13 Days
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Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Uganda
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Places Visited:

Entebbe, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kazinga Channel, Ishasha Sector, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Serengeti National

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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Authentic and atmospheric, the safari highlights of Uganda and Tanzania are a perfect complement. Chimpanzees and gorillas admired in the forests, big cats chasing herds across the Serengeti, big-game safari from a boat on the Kazinga Channel and the big-five wonder of Ngorongoro. Both countries also love to surprise, like Uganda’s crater lakes and villages, plus Tanzania’s elephant-rich Tarangire. Uncover it all on this exclusive 13-day safari that’s connected by air. 

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Entebbe – Relaxed Afternoon on the Shores of Lake Victoria

As the afternoon sun fades, the waters of Lake Victoria start to glow from red to orange, and finally a soft golden hue. It is the first of many African sunsets, and you immediately sense the difference from elsewhere. The sun seems to burn bigger, brighter and redder on the African continent. You are on a Lake Victoria boat cruise, traveling slowly around the shoreline of Africa’s largest lake. Earlier in the day, you were greeted at the airport and transferred to a hotel with a view over the water. Your guide takes you on a short walking tour of Entebbe before the sunset cruise and a welcome dinner at the hotel’s lakefront restaurant.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Dinner

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Day 2

Kibale Forest National Park – Walking to the Crater Lakes and Local Villages

The views from the plane can be stupendous, with so many colors swirling on the open landscape below. There is the rustic orange of the earth, so unique to Uganda, and the rainbow of greens as the forests rise up Africa’s highest mountain chain. Landing in the midmorning, you are met by a private guide who customizes a day of adventure in the foothills and forests. One option is to hike to the crater lakes, a journey that imbues a sense of wilderness. Another option takes you to a series of small villages, where you are invited into the culture and lifestyles of rural life. Even a short 30-minute hike in the forest encounters primates, a series of monkeys and mangabeys starting your expedition with East Africa’s wildlife.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 3

Kibale Forest National Park – A Sublime Chimpanzee Trekking Experience

Today, you will journey into the depths of the forest on the trail of a wild troop of chimpanzees. A tracker is ahead of you, radioing in a GPS location. Getting closer, you can sense their presence, and you can practically smell it in the change of atmosphere. Only after another 100 meters of walking do you realize that they have already spotted you. Through the branches come pairs of inquisitive eyes, then expressive faces, grins, and frowns revealing what each chimp thinks about you. As you walk into a forest clearing, the troop comes into view. Nimble toes wrap around branches, fingers skillfully open seeds, every face conveys emotion, and you quickly get lost in the details. Even though there may be 40 or more chimpanzees in the troop you are visiting, it is easy to spend 20 minutes watching just two. Enjoy an hour with the chimpanzees, then return to the lodge where there are monkeys jumping about.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 4

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Game Drive and Boat Safari with the Hippos

Weaving out of the forest, you swap primates for antelope, a game drive taking you through the lush landscapes of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ugandan kobs cluster in large herds watched over by hyenas. An elephant rumbles past, followed by a herd of buffalo. This is just part the journey, a stop en route to Uganda’s next most iconic attraction, the gorillas. Take a late lunch at the lodge, then the afternoon safari is along the river, a boat cruising past wildlife congregating on the banks. Hippos are plentiful, clusters of them barreling around the shallows as they assert their authority. In the reeds, you spot lurking eyes, a lioness lying in wait. Not far away, you see the gazelle, the sentinels straining to hear, then alerting the herd to gallop away. Your accommodation is at a lodge on the river, a perfect viewing platform for the hippos coming out of the water.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5

Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Tracking the Lions on the Plains and into the Volcanic Forest

Continue south at dawn, onto the Ishasha Sector, where lions are prowling in the cool morning air. They move silently, skipping a few steps before dipping lower into the grass. It is tense, your elevated position allowing a prime view of both the hunter and the hunted. But the sentinel raises the alarm and the antelope skip off. Safari is always about surprise, so on another day, you might watch the hunt to completion. Or you may spot lions chomping into a carcass. Other lions are high in the trees, resting on the branches as they inspect the breakfast menu. More than a dozen other mammals are part of the safari, as you continue south towards Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, stopping for a picnic lunch overlooking Queen Elizabeth National Park. The afternoon is leisurely at the lodge, offering some needed downtime before the gorilla trekking tomorrow.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 6

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Stunning Gorilla Trek

At the first glimpse of a gorilla, you are excited, almost falling over yourself to get closer. But then an adult primate jumps out and waves her arms, causing you to stand still and silent. Such power, such elegance, such ability to hold your attention. The guides push you forward, goosebumps covering arms as the whole troop comes into view. Now it feels like all the gorillas are looking at you, including a silverback who gives a glance that will live with you for eternity. Calming down, you take photos, every second something new to capture. Then you put the camera down and relax into the awe of your surroundings, the world’s largest primates playing just a few meters away. You have been with one of the world’s final wild troops, an experience only possible in two African parks. Back at the lodge, there is a warm bath waiting, soothing your legs after the hike through the muddy forest.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 7

Entebbe to Serengeti – From Gorillas to the Grasslands in a Day

After a relaxed breakfast and morning at the lodge, you drive out of the park to a small airport where a light aircraft takes you back to Entebbe. You are greeted by a guide who takes you to a nearby restaurant, a much better stop for food than what is available at the airport. You board the one daily flight from Uganda to the Serengeti, coasting over Lake Victoria and watching the grasslands start to extend. The airstrip is dusty and often surrounded by life, wildebeest and elephants are never far away from wherever you are in the Serengeti. The game drive starts as soon as you land, looping around the plains for your first thrilling impressions of the world’s most famous grasslands.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Flight

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 8 - 9

Serengeti – Enchantment of a Serengeti Safari

From a distance, it is a lump of gray. Getting closer, it becomes a mass of black and white stripes. Get closer still, and you admire all the intricacies of the zebra herd, honing in on the individuals of a 5,000-strong herd. Close-by are the wildebeests, virile males bucking and galloping in a show of authority, spreading their enthusiasm to the herd. A cheetah is perched on a rock, surveying the scene for later. On a kopje, a large rocky outcrop, is a pride of lions, ten draped across the scorched yellow granite. Elephants and giraffes are also constants here where the flat grasslands make it easy to spot their giant frames. Hyenas are another species that always seem to be around, scurrying past with a look that combines mischief with intent.

Over these two days, you enjoy private game drives in the Serengeti. Dawn and dusk hours should be maximized as this is when the cats are more active, and the chances of seeing a hunt are elevated. You could stay out all day, exploring vast swathes of the Serengeti. Or you can return to the camp for lunch where you sit in the shade and watch the herds graze on the plains below. This safari is not about the animals. It’s about the interactions. It is not a zebra herd you see. It is the continual battle for survival and the drama that consumes everything when there are two-million wild mammals sharing the same space.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10

Serengeti to Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Completing the Journey on the Plains and Overlooking the Crater

Every journey is special in East Africa. Traveling south, you cross the grasslands, losing track of the animals you see, completely compelled by the intensity that exists in the Serengeti. An elephant bull dwarfs the vehicle, a wildebeest herd is scattered by a prowling leopard, and a dozen hyenas make their way towards swirling vultures. The odd bone dots the grass, and at some point on the journey, you find a lion with blood smeared all over his mane. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route, probably overlooking a pool of hippos, then ascend out of the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where your lodge is perched on the edge of the caldera rim. Even now, the safari does not stop, migratory zebras and elephants regularly wandering past.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 11

Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Tarangire National Park – A Morning in the Crater and Afternoon with the Elephants

It’s best to descend into Ngorongoro Crater at dawn when the lions are active, and the black rhinos are out in the open before their bashful midmorning retreat to the bushes. At this early hour, the world’s largest intact caldera has few vehicles, and it almost feels like you have Africa’s great Eden all to yourself. Pass some of the planet’s largest elephant bulls, their tusks curling above the vehicle. Watch the hyenas scurry to a lake tinged pink by flamingos. Admire the shy and elegant rhinos, then come across lions tossing away shredded zebra limbs. For downtime, you watch over another lake, this one packed with hippos.

On the ascent out of the crater around midday, you see how many vehicles are here now, just as the animals are starting to snooze. The full Big Five and 25,000 animals occupy this old volcanic hole. But it is the atmosphere that makes Ngorongoro such a special and remarkable place. After lunch at the lodge, it is a two to three-hour drive to Tarangire National Park, the final of your safari destinations. The best introduction comes when relaxing at the lodge, watching the elephant herds wander past from your veranda.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 12

Tarangire National Park – Final Safari Memories

Like all the highlights on this East Africa safari, it is the intensity of the experience that most impresses. You do not see an elephant in the distance. You are on a dusty trail, watching one herd of elephants slowly amble past, as another slowly approaches from behind. Waiting on a cliff, you are watching the giraffe, oblivious to the baboons that start to congregate just a few meters away. The checklist has long been thrown out, and you have lost count of all the animals you have encountered. By now, you are tuned into the safari rhythm, and the slow pace of the game drives enables you to embrace surprise and soak up all the atmosphere that makes these destinations so special.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 13

Tarangire National Park to Kilimanjaro – Departure, Including Hotel Day-Room Use

Tarangire completes your expedition, a fitting final piece in the jigsaw of East Africa experiences. From here, you drive towards Kilimanjaro International Airport for your outbound flight, making a stop in Arusha for lunch. You have day-room use at a local hotel before your departure from the continent.

See what else our top Uganda travel specialists can do for you on your custom Uganda vacation.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore Africa’s most iconic forest and spend an hour with a troop of wild mountain gorillas
  • Descend into Ngorongoro Crater to discover Africa’s ultimate Eden, the complete Big Five just the start of the attractions in the world’s largest intact caldera
  • Marvel at the inimitability of a chimpanzee trek, the legendary primates just a few meters away
  • Every journey is special in Africa, none more so than the one between Kibale and Bwindi, which includes an afternoon and morning of game driving on the mammal-dappled plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • There are more wild mammals in the Serengeti than anywhere in the world, and you have three days of safari in this pristine and world-renowned landscape
  • Make a journey into rural Uganda and celebrate the traditions of the region, visiting a local village and reaching volcanic crater lakes above the forest
  • Complete the safari in Tarangire National Park, surrounded by elephants and amazed by the vibrancy of nature
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda provides a safari perspective that is not possible in Tanzania, a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel completing your journey 
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Detailed Description

East Africa’s highlights have an almost baffling diversity, one that reflects the etymology of safari. In local Swahili, the word translates into English as “long journey.” However, the Swahili meaning is more akin to the word, expedition. It is only on an expedition that you can uncover the region’s atmospheric authenticity. You delve into volcanic forests, where troops of chimpanzees swing before your eyes. In another forest, you are surrounded by elephants, babies swinging their trunks beneath mothers’ adoring eyes. You discover one big-game-filled plain from a boat, admiring the life along the banks. Then you will explore on full-day game drives, looping around the waterholes and watching predatory scenes play out.

You will discover gorillas, leopards, and wildebeest herds, then drive past tens of thousands of zebras. Gray-cheeked mangabeys, volcanic crater lakes, charging buffalos, and villages invite you into their world. All of East Africa’s highlights have their own allure. On a true safari, you can connect the dazzling range of experiences and encounters. Crossing Uganda and Tanzania, you celebrate the breadth of wildlife and inimitability of landscape. And you discover that all the unique destinations have their own atmosphere, penetrating all the senses to provide the true feel of wild Africa.

Half of this safari will be spent in Uganda and the remaining time will be spent in Tanzania, with a flight between Entebbe and Serengeti connecting the two countries. First come the Ugandan highlights, crater lakes and local villages a precursor to a day of chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest. Travel by road to Bwindi, stopping off in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a great introduction to big-game safari. Then come the gorillas, tramping through the muddy forest to enjoy an hour with a wild yet habituated troop. With only around 1,000 of these giants left in the wild, it can be hard to comprehend the exclusiveness of the experience.

Fly back to Entebbe and board the light aircraft to the Serengeti, landing in the heart of the world’s most wild-mammal-rich landscape. The scale is staggering, and you spend the following days and nights on safari, stopping at beautiful camps as you make a journey across the grasslands from north to south. In particular, expect an abundance of predators at the home of the great wildebeest migration. The safari continues in Ngorongoro Crater, a picturesque marvel that pushes the boundaries of surreal. Then you will head onward into Tarangire National Park, the home of giant elephant herds, and a laid-back rhythm that suits the final days of safari. From here it is a four-hour drive to Kilimanjaro International Airport, and you have day-room use at a hotel before your flight. 

Click here for more ideas for traveling to Uganda that are available on our Uganda safaris page.

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Starting Price

$6170 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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