Entebbe, Volcanoes National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Ssese Islands
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Uganda inspires, especially for teenagers, an adventure into the wild that goes beyond the norm. Gorilla trekking, being surrounded by chimpanzees, walking with the zebra and, game drives that follow giants are just some of the experiences on offer. Uganda is not a destination for young children, as the famous wildlife activities have a 15-year minimum age. But for older children, it is a great journey into the unknown, this handcrafted safari a wonderful collection of wildlife connections followed...
Entebbe – Lake Victoria Sunset Cruise
Touch down in Entebbe, and you start to explore. Crumbling colonial houses paint a portrait of East Africa in the early part of the 20th century, their facades scattered with the ochre-hued dust of Uganda. The guide arranges closed-door access to some of the buildings, giving a very personal perspective on a city that looks and feels like it is in the past. After the relaxed walking tour, you journey to Lake Victoria, where a private sunset cruise is a good way to see a part of Africa while recovering from the flight. As with most parts of this itinerary, today involves private transfers and private guiding throughout, along with the opportunity to tailor the rhythm to your energy levels. Your accommodation is on the shores of Lake Victoria, with dinner at the hotel’s restaurant included.
Volcanoes National Park – Light Aircraft Adventure
Flights are thrilling in Uganda. Light aircraft connect remote destinations, small planes with sublime views over landscapes you cannot picture in advance. These flights also keep your actual traveling to a minimum. You touch down next to the wilderness, and the short transfers to the lodge are part of the adventure. Head out in the afternoon, meeting one of the legends of the forest. Batwa pygmies have inhabited the Congo Basin trees for centuries, a tribe of hunter-gatherers that have never had a need for money. For centuries, they traded and only took what they needed from the forest they inhabited.
You meet a whole community, sharing stories with people who have a culture so different from your own. Learn the basics of tracking and hunting in the forest, discover survival skills, find out about what and how they traded, and explore the customs that have been passed down from the ancestors. While there are opportunities for photos, the experience is centered around connections with the tribe, rather than taking snapshots for home. You will find that these connections can easily transcend differences of language and culture.
Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking
Reaching the gorillas is always an adventure. You are following forest elephant trails, the guide slicing a path with a machete. Radio messages come in from the trackers, and you start ascending through even narrower trails, sensing that the gorillas are close. The trekking group size is capped at eight, and you are on the trail of a habituated troop. The world’s largest primates are typically shy and reserved, with the human habituation process taking researchers more than five years. A ball of fur. A jet of black. Up ahead, you see one of the gorillas, and it starts coming toward you. Arms waving and eyes staring, an adult female comes to say hello. It is a powerful first impression, one that shows that you are welcomed, but indicates that you are merely a visitor.
The guide pushes you closer. It is not good to back away from gorillas, and you start counting the rest of the troop. You count 11, then 12 and then, wait, there are another two behind that tree. Suddenly a cracked branch comes down, and you see three more in the trees above you. Then a giant silverback barrels out on his knuckles, He has a look around, then keeps going. You spend an hour with this troop, the gorillas just seven meters away, so much going on it is hard to know where to look. At first, you admire their difference. But spend longer, and you realize that this family of primates shares so many similarities with yourself.
Queen Elizabeth National Park – Tracking the Tree-Climbing Lions
Driving north, you cross the Ishasha Sector in an open-roofed safari vehicle. A great savanna expands, and it feels like the animals are everywhere. Zebras skip past, Uganda kob cluster in giant herds, and an elephant swings its trunk and flaps its ears on a bulldozing route into the trees. Stop for a picnic lunch, and continue the slow game drive, searching for the lions that climb trees. From up high, they watch the grazers. And they watch you with one eye open. Stop at the lodge for snacks and drinks, then explore at night. It is a different landscape under cover of darkness. Leopards prowl, buffalos grunt, hippos barge around, and nocturnal creatures emerge from their burrows. Sometimes haunting, and always atmospheric, a nighttime drive is a great complement to discovery during the day.
Queen Elizabeth National Park – Boating and Walking
Uganda excels in the diversity of the safari experience. You do not need to repeat any activities, with every morning and afternoon offering a new way to discover. Everything stays fresh, and the new angles are great for keeping teenage children fully entertained. This morning, you are on a boat, cruising the Kazinga Channel, enjoying the antics of the quarrelsome hippos. There is charm along the banks, herds coming for a drink, and predators hiding in the high grass, found by the alert eyes of the guide. In the afternoon, you take a walk, a walk into the land of the giants, a walk across the plains of East Africa.
You move slowly, the guide showing the clues that enable you to track animals. And you follow, tracing the path of the ungulates until you are a few meters away from zebra, Ugandan kob, and other antelopes found in the country. Throughout the safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you have a private guide customizing the program. If the mood suits you, spend more hours on an adventure or you could intersperse the activities with more time at the lodge, sitting back on the terrace and watching the animals wander past.
Kibale Forest National Park – Morning Safari
On your final morning in Uganda’s premier big-game park, you can choose from the activities, your private guide leading an adventure of your choosing. After lunch at the lodge, you continue northward, the road taking you through the forested foothills of Africa’s highest mountain chain. Monkeys look on, baboons sometimes scamper across the road, and as you enter Kibale, you sense a mystique similar to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Tomorrow, you will go to meet a troop of wild chimpanzees. The rest of today is downtime, and a chance to relax and get ready for another exhilarating trek tomorrow. As always, today’s transfer is private for your family, and there are a number of viewpoints and villages that you could stop at en route.
Kibale Forest National Park - Chimpanzee Trekking
Stop walking, and you hear them. Rustling, yapping, foraging, in the distance, you see one swinging, and within a minute, the chimpanzees are above your head. They turn and stare in unison, an immense look of curiosity in their grins. Then, they continue their day. Fingers and toes curl around the branches, eyes seem to speak through silence, and mouths have an expression that is impossible to replicate. Chimpanzees live in large troops, sometimes 70 or more in a single troop. But like most extended primate families, they regularly separate, splintering into smaller family troops. It is impossible to predict how many chimps you will see on this habituation experience. With the entire troop, there are obviously more animals to admire and observe, but when there are less, their heightened sense of curiosity adds another dimension to the experience.
Like the gorillas, you go on an inspiring trek through the untouched forest, a tracker radioing in the location of the troop. Then, you have an hour, watching but also listening and smelling and delighting in the movements of the chimpanzees. They occupy the trees above you, but some come down to the forest floor, standing upright to create an image that is almost impossibly human. These are our closest relatives, and it is an experience that can live with you for eternity. Returning to the lodge, you pass other primates, the forest alive with monkeys and mangabeys that you will struggle to see outside Uganda. The minimum age for this chimpanzee habituation experience is 15, and you are in groups with a maximum size of six.
Entebbe to Ssese Islands – Private Island Getaway on Lake Victoria
With the volcanic mountains rising behind, you fly back to Entebbe, crossing the open red landscapes of Uganda’s interior. Touching down in the old capital, you transfer onto a private speedboat bound for the Ssese Islands, a blissful archipelago in Lake Victoria. The island you stop at is uninhabited, other than for the staff working at your small luxury lodge. Palm trees send shadows across golden sands, the wind brings the subtle sound of waves, and you are quickly enveloped by the escapist atmosphere. After a week of safari adventure, you have four days of relaxed family time, lounging on a private island with endless views of the water.
Day 9 - 11
Ssese Islands – Lounging in Tropical Paradise
Take a kayak and paddle around the island or explore in one of the traditional boats, much harder to steer with the long wooden paddle but plenty of fun. Explore the interior, and search for strange birds. Take a boat trip to one of the neighboring islands, where horse riding and mountain biking are possible. Cruise at sunset, swim in the fresh waters, try out fishing or do what the Ssese Islands are all about, lying back and relaxing in the sun. On this small island, you enjoy a huge amount of privacy, and there is hardly anybody else on the beach. But the boat captain can transfer you or just your children to neighboring islands for different activities. Note that various local activities are included in your stay, but those on other islands are not.
Entebbe – Departure
A speedboat transfers you back to Entebbe, and the port is just a ten-minute transfer from the airport. There will be time to stop at a local market should you want to shop for souvenirs before departure.
- Savor the intimacy of gorilla trekking as your family treks into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and spends an hour with a wild mountain gorilla troop
- Game drive across the savannah during the day and the night, tracking the movement of tree-climbing lions and other prowling predators
- Discover the beautiful diversity of safari by combining the activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including boat cruises with the hippos and a private walking safari
- Spend time with more rare primates in Kibale Forest, a chimpanzee habituation experience creating wonderful memories for the whole family
- Escape to a remote island in Lake Victoria for four days of tranquility on the water’s edge, the Ssese Islands a dreamy destination to follow the safari adventure
- Cruise across Uganda by light aircraft, the small planes minimizing travel time while offering stunning views over a mysterious landscape
- Share stories with the locals and enjoy the chance for your teenagers to meet those of similar age, including an afternoon with a tribe of Batwa Pygmies near Volcanoes National Park
$6,955 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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