Luxury Uganda Gorilla Trekking & Horseback Safari

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Total Trip:

11 Days
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Countries Visited:

Uganda
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Places Visited:

Entebbe, Jinja, Lake Victoria, Mabira Forest, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Travel is as much about the journey as it is the destination, and that is the mantra for this charming 11-day Ugandan safari. Spend seven days on horseback to ride through the rich landscapes of the River Nile and Lake Victoria, and then canter through the rural charms of the country. Explore next on two feet as you trek through the wild rainforest to find mountain gorilla troops. Every moment will be blissful and yet there is a thrill to each step you take in Uganda as it is a country untouched

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Jinja – First Horse Ride Along the Nile

Arrive in Jinja and the colors of Uganda will immediately impress. The red tones of the earth flood your eyes with a redolent and raw tone that clings to the bottom of your shoes and rises in wisps as you canter along. You are next taken in by the greens as a thousand contrasting tones swirl across the rising hills. Next the mighty River Nile as it dissects the landscape with a deep blue. These colors collide to create a dreamy panorama and one that symbolizes a country mostly untouched by modernity.

It will feel as if you are in the heart of Africa, setting off on a journey like those of early explorers. That will certainly be your feeling as you are on horseback, trotting along the River Nile and becoming accustomed to your horses. After landing at Entebbe International, you will be greeted and transferred to the town of Jinja, a two-hour journey that will be followed by a sumptuous lunch. You will then meet your horses and take your first exploratory ride with a journey through Uganda's colors and rural atmosphere. Return to your lodge and spend your evening cruising along the River Nile, with drinks served as the water glistens gold in the sunset light.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Dinner

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Day 2

Jinja – Exploring the Lush Landscapes of Lake Victoria

An enormous peninsula juts out into Lake Victoria, dominated by lush hills and small villages. The horses walk along narrow trails and rise to viewpoints with fabulous views over sugar plantations, the lakeshore, and traditional villages. Open plateaus provide a great place to canter, and then there are opportunities to gallop with the horses as you approach the edge of the lake. Stop for a picnic lunch on hills that overlook the lake and then take the horses into the water and feel their glee as they go in for a swim. You will return to the lodge late in the afternoon, where your evening will be spent watching sunset over the lake and dining on exquisite local cuisine.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 3

Mabira Forest – Through Plantations and Villages

Ride through rural Uganda, starting on trails of red dirt and then winding across vast plantations of tea and sugar. Villages cling to the hills, and they are a haven of tradition; women carry baskets of fruit on their heads, colorful home-dyed fabrics are hung out to dry, and circular huts are faded by the sun. Locals wave hello as you walk past on your horse and continue to admire the incredible panoramas. Today's destination is the Mabira Forest, and you will arrive in time for lunch at the Rainforest Lodge. In the afternoon, you will be free to take any of the forest's hiking trails, including the one that goes down to some hidden pools that are perfect for a refreshing swim.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 4

Mabira Forest – Rare Forest Primates Spotted From Horseback

Strange call echoes through the Mabira Forest and bounce off the trees and linger in the air. These are the calls of monkeys and mangabeys as individuals send welcoming messages and troops hoot a message power. Some of the world's rarest species dance through these trees, and by following the sounds you can see them on horseback. Walk slowly beneath a troop of grey-cheeked mangabeys and admire their unusual smiles. Spot colobus monkeys high in the branches, their elegant tails curling down. Ride past more abundant species like the vervet monkey with their mischievous faces glimmering in the dark depths of the forest. It will be a mystical ride as your journey through the indigenous forest has an amazing perspective from horseback with a chance to connect with the charms of the trees. A picnic lunch will be enjoyed by the canopy, and you will return to your luxury lodge later in the afternoon.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5

Jinja – Through Tea Plantations and Jungle Terrain

By now you will have settled into the rhythm of the ride that reflects the rhythm of Uganda. Slow and serene, you will spend time moving at a pace that appreciates the full beauty of the environment. You will also have moments of incredible excitement as the spurts of speed, and the injection of surprise keeps everything in Uganda so entertaining. Each day's ride is flexible, and while the guides know certain routes, they are also keen to discuss your interests and tailor the day accordingly. Your horses are responsive and forward-moving, making them a safe ride even with only a little horseback experience. There is a full paddock of choice so that you can get a ride that suits your style, whether that's an excited runner or a leisurely dame that moves elegantly across the hills.

Today's ride will take you back towards the Nile, traversing large tea plantations and then crossing uneven terrain. Like always, there will be exceptional lookout points, and it will be hard to resist the temptation to keep jumping down to take photos. You will ride to The Haven, a luxury lodge on the banks of the Nile where the afternoon will at your leisure with some great spots to swim in the river within easy reach of the lodge.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 6

Jinja – White-Water Rafting on the Nile

Hippos grunt a morning greeting as their calls reverberates across the water to create a dreamy alarm call. You will soon see them as you spend the morning in a raft, following the rapids down the river. Some are gentle stretches of water that are easy to navigate as they create the first curve of the Nile. Others are exhilarating with gushing stretches of white water that make for quite an adventure. This region is widely regarded as the best white-water rafting in Africa and an iconic experience on the Nile. After a late lunch, you will continue your experience with the Nile as you take your horses in for a swim in a place with a sandy bottom and no hippos.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 7

Jinja – Riding Along the Nile to a Hidden Island

Your final ride is exceptional as it brings you along the banks of the Nile and through small villages that rise up on the hilly banks. Canter on the sandy shore with hooves splashing up water and the odd hippo bellowing in the distance. You will pass islands and marooned places where monkeys shout and then you will take the horses into the water and continue to a hidden island in the heart of the Nile. The lodge on the island has a breathtaking location, surrounded by rapids and enveloped by the enchantment of Africa's most famous river. Your time here makes for a stunning final stop along the water, a place that celebrates the beauty of rural Uganda.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 8

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Arriving in the Misty Rainforest

Say goodbye to your horses and then transfer to Entebbe, where you will connect with your scheduled flight to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. New shades of green will greet you, a thick dark canopy dappled by the swirls of mist. You can immediately see that the phrase gorillas in the mist is not just a work of fiction. Check into Mahogany Springs and savor the views as the rainforest stretches across the volcanic hills before you. This view is one that will match your preconceptions as the forest looks exactly how anyone would picture the home of wild mountain gorillas. Tomorrow you will be going beneath the canopy, but today you are watching the forest change color with the setting sun.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 9

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Uganda's Gorilla Trekking

Through the trees you will go, first on human-made trails and then on the narrow trails created by forest elephants. The canopy closes in, and your guides will use machetes to clear a path. The foliage gets thicker and thicker, and your visibility is reduced as you move slowly into the realm of the mountain gorillas. Almost two-thirds of the world's mountain gorilla population occupy this rainforest, and they are shy creatures, preferring the peace of the remote hills. Sometimes you can reach a troop in 30 minutes, but it could take three or four hours. Do not be put off by the duration as there are not many places in the world where you can journey through such untamed indigenous rainforest. Excitement builds and then you will see a distant glimpse of black fur indicating that you are almost there.

You may set your sights first on a female gorilla as she wraps her arms around the tree trunk as she gnaws away at the bark. She will stop to consider her visitors, and then continue with her chewing. Keep approaching, and the rest of the troop is revealed, feeding on their favorite branches. Soon the nearby giant silverback sends shudders through the earth as he bounds across a clearing on jet-black knuckles. He will stop and stare, and time will seem to slow, and it will feel as if it is just the two of you. And then he will continue towards a female that will lead him deeper into the trees. There are few wildlife experiences that rival being just seven meters from a huge silverback, the biggest of all the primates. Spend an hour with the troop and then return through the trees, where your lodge will be an ideal place to unwind and recall the intimacy of the day.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Second Uganda Gorilla Trek

Gorilla trekking once is special, but gorilla trekking twice is even better as you can compare troops and appreciate the subtleties of the great apes. Your second experience is also more relaxing and encourages you to put the camera away and really take in the wonder of the experience. You already have an idea of what the trek and encounter will be like, and there is something mystical about the expectancy as you wonder just how this troop will be. You may not know which way to look, as the gorillas will begin feeding and end up surrounding you. Their movements are not malicious in any way as they are just going about their day and you happen to be in the middle of their feeding grounds.

Follow an infant with your eyes and watch the emotion that shimmers in their every move. Admire the powerful blackback males that crawl past just meters away. Listen and hear the snap of a branch and quickly turn to watch a junior gorilla crash down from the canopy as he continues to refine his climbing skills. To the left, there are another five gorillas with each feeding happily in the green with nimble fingers picking at berries and communication shared through gestures. Look to the right, and you will see another half a dozen scattered around, some playing, another feeding, a mother looking out for her excitable infant. Your trekking permit gives you an hour with the troop, and it is leisurely observed as most people find it is more than enough time to enjoy the wildlife show.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 11

Entebbe – Departure

After breakfast, you will transfer to the airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Entebbe, where you will connect with your international departure. For late flights out of Entebbe, you can enjoy full day use of a nearby guesthouse with spa.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Savor one of the world's most intimate wildlife experiences as you gorilla trek twice in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Explore the lush beauty of Uganda on a 7-day horse riding expedition along the River Nile and Lake Victoria
  • Trek through virgin rainforest to a mountain gorilla troop, spend an hour admiring their life and behavior
  • Ride along the famous river and take the horses swimming to a remote island and spend a night in the heart of the Nile
  • Visit two gorilla troops that will bring you a detailed perspective on the world's largest primates
  • Explore the thick forests as you ride your horse through regions that are alive with unusual monkeys, including the rare grey-cheeked mangabey
  • Cross the lavish landscapes of Uganda on horseback to wind through tea plantations, remote villages, and a rural world untouched by modernity
  • Feel the thrills of the River Nile with a day of white water rafting 
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Detailed Description

Uganda's landscapes seem to come from a fairytale as vibrant colors merge and unusual characters fill the trees. The earth is a rustic red, the eternal color of an untouched continent. A thousand shades of green rise above the dusty trails to suggest a land that is always in bloom. Hiding in thick rainforests you will find wild mountain gorillas as over half of the world's population lurk beneath the virgin canopy. Along the river, there are other unusual primates such as the grey-cheeked mangabeys that send echoed calls across the water. These waters are the mighty Nile, the legendary river that cascades all the way from the Ugandan Highlands to the Mediterranean Sea.

This 11-day safari will take you into the fairytale landscapes using the concept of slow travel to unearth the raw beauty of this mystical country. Seven days are on horseback as you canter through forests and gallop along the shores of the river. You will take the horses through tea plantations and across valleys of spectacular color, and then onwards through the trees to tiny villages and remote hideaways. Go swimming with the horses and cross the river to an island lodge surrounded by rapids. Travel slowly into mystical forests where monkeys call from above, and you feel the allure of nature.

This itinerary is a journey into Africa's heart and one that will take you far from modernity to unravel the beauty of rural Uganda. You will ride along the River Nile and Lake Victoria, and then stay at luxurious hideaways in the hills to get an authentic feel for the country. One of the days is spent in the Mabira Forest, another is enjoyed on Lake Victoria's peninsula, and then there is a day where you will swap the horses for a raft and cruise down the River Nile. This 7-day horseback safari is suitable for almost all riders, with forward-moving responsive horses.

After the Nile horseback safari, you will explore on two feet as you tre deep into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will be on the trail of wild mountain gorilla troops, the largest of the primates and some of the most endangered. Only around 1,000 remain and you will be seeing around 30 of them on two separate treks. Exhilarating and enchanting, your journey through the forest will raise your heart rate. Creating your own trails and moving slowly along the muddy banks, you will sense the gorillas' presence before you ever meet them.

First, you will see one gorilla, and then you will see the whole troop with a dozen massive primates going about their day. You will stop and watch to admire their emotion and behavior as you take in the beauty of the animals and their surroundings. Then comes the silverback, a powerful male that will cause you to put down your camera and stare in astonishment. There are few wildlife experiences on the planet with such intimacy or exclusivity, and you will be overwhelmed by the experience. After an hour with the troop, you must wander away from them, but you can return the next day to visit a second troop and explore the world of another wild gorilla family.

Exquisite accommodation is included throughout your trip with each lodge handpicked for its luxury and its connection with nature. After a memorable day in the saddle or a thrilling walk through the forest, these lodges will offer a peaceful base to return to as you wind away your evenings. These lodges also maintain the charm of the land, providing sweeping views and a sense of being in the heart of remote Africa. 

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Starting Price

$5495 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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