Ultimate Uganda: Exploring Wild Africa From Every Possible Angle

A 15 day trip to Uganda 
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Uganda is a beautiful showcase of wild Africa with every destination offering a new adventure. Chimpanzee trekking, nighttime game drives, intimate boat safaris, tracking zebra on game walks and then becoming part of the savannah on mountain bikes and horseback. Meeting mountain gorillas, an afternoon with Batwa Pygmies, whitewater rafting the Nile, and following the big cats on stunning game drives. All these diverse experiences and more are packed into six destinations and 15 days on this Uganda itinerary. 

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General Information

Photos
A lion on the prowl in Uganda.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Entebbe, River Nile, Lake Victoria, Jinga, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Lake Mburo National Park

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Entebbe to Jinga – The Source of the Nile and Lake Victoria Sunset Cruise

Two fables start your adventure. First comes the source of the Nile, the cause of much controversy as the explorers sought to find where the great waterway originated. You will stop at the point that Speke declared (and the majority of natural historians agree with him), then continue to the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s greatest body of water. A sunset cruise introduces both the lake and the atmosphere of this two-week Uganda safari. While exhilaration and adventure come naturally, there is also a wonderful serenity to Africa and the activities. You are cruising along, watching the waters turn golden in the fading light, breathing in the tranquility that only the wilderness can provide.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour, dinner

Day 2: Jinga to Entebbe – Thrilling Whitewater Rafting on the Nile

Thundering away from Lake Victoria, the Nile starts its nearly 7,000-kilometer-long journey dramatically. Water surges through a narrow canyon, crashing past sculptural boulders and precipitous banks. You are traveling in a raft, descending through grade IV and V rapids on what is Africa’s finest whitewater rafting. Established for more than two decades, this full-day adventure delivers moments of heart-racing thrill but also leisurely moments of drifting through nowhere, surrounded by the lavish green landscapes of Uganda. Later in the day, you return to Entebbe and a luxury hotel with a Colonial history, set on the shores of Lake Victoria.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Murchison Falls National Park – Aerial Safari and Walking with the Giants of the Savannah

Uganda is exquisite from the air, two unique hues dominating the vistas. There is the ochre of the earth, so prevalent anywhere you go in Uganda, and the green of the forests, lush and shimmering beneath the wingtips. The light aircraft touches down in Murchison Falls National Park, where a walking safari is a perfect introduction to the savannah. Elephants maraud in the distance, giraffes lope nearby, and you follow the prints left behind by antelope herds. On a game drive, you can see more animals, but on a walking safari, you can really absorb the atmosphere of the savannah, tuning all your senses into its nuances. Every glance, every expression, each change in the air; when you are on foot, you do not miss anything.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Murchison Falls National Park – First Game Drive and Serenity of a Boat Safari

Now a game drive, circling vultures offering the first clue as to where to look. A carcass lies battered, and blood is smeared on the faces of spotted hyenas. A jackal waits nearby, then impishly snatches a discarded femur. Drive a little further, and you find the killers, a pride of lions lounging with full bellies, sleeping with one eye open. In the vehicle, you get closer to other giants, elephants crossing the trail just a few meters from your camera. Spend the full morning on the game drive before lunch at the camp, watching the odd antelope herd grazing close-by. With a game drive, you follow the animals, but on a boat safari, the animals come to you, for everything must drink at some point. You sit back and watch the show unfold, joining the hippos in the water and allowing the enchantment to reveal itself along the banks.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Kibale Forest National Park – Trekking to the Volcanic Crater Lakes and Traditional Villages

You take a second aerial safari, every light aircraft flight in Uganda a feast for the eyes. Gazing out from the window, you watch the landscapes change as flat and arid savannah is replaced by the rolling green of volcanic western Uganda. Touch down and set off on foot, wandering beneath the Kibale Forest canopy and into the foothills, peculiar monkeys watching you from the trees. It is a privately-guided trek, and there are numerous routes to take, strange primates the constant throughout it all. Ascending out of the forest, you can trek to volcanic crater lakes where it feels like you are standing on the roof of Africa. Villages are close to the national park, places of tradition and fascinating welcomes. Whatever route you take, the sense of being in a remote and untouched land is inescapable.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Kibale Forest National Park – Full-Day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Watch a chimpanzee troop, and the experience is always very personal. You can interpret the expressions, whether one of the troop feels happy, despondent, mischievous or confused. You admire the interactions, immersed in the behavior of the family. With so much going on, what you see is completely different from everyone else. In a group of just six, you trek through the Kibale Forest to meet a habituated chimpanzee troop, spending an hour with them from just a few meters away. At first, the chimpanzees stare straight back at you. Once this welcome is over, they continue their day, presenting an hour of beautiful observation deep within the national park. Over 500 wild chimpanzees live in Kibale, the greatest stronghold for the species in Africa. Today you get to know an entire family troop.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Tracking Tree-Climbing Lions and Other Predators

A mostly unbroken corridor of wilderness runs across the west of Uganda. When the habitats change, so do the animals, primate-filled forest giving way to lion-dominated savannah. Here, the lions are different as they rest in the trees, draped across open branches with a perfect view of the plains. Sometimes, a whole pride occupies a single tree, ten or so lions perched for all to see. At other times, they are sneaky, hiding as a leopard does, inspecting the dinner menu. Spend today tracking the cats, prowling, hunting, searching for their meal. Ugandan kobs are the prime targets, a ubiquitous antelope near-endemic to the country. But in Uganda’s premier big-game safari destination, you will admire more than a dozen different four-legged species on this full-day game drive.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Walking with the Zebra and Exclusive Nighttime Safari

The same park but a different angle. Yesterday, you watched the drama from the predators’ perspective. Today, you come to understand more of their prey, joining the herds on a walking safari. Through the eyes of zebra and gazelle, you discover grazing and migratory patterns, developing your understanding of how these animals survive on the savannah. You have a choice of afternoon safari activities before another new angle. It is the same landscape, but when night falls, it feels very different. Tension dominates the air, predatory cats are on the move, strange nocturnal animals emerge from their hiding places, and the guide’s spotlight reveals how close you can get to the animals on a nighttime game drive.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Cruising Past the Hippos and Into the Land of the Gorillas

Queen Elizabeth National Park epitomizes the diverse appeal of a Ugandan safari, and you enjoy the fourth of its activities this morning. A boat cruise will take you past the hippos as antelope come down for their morning drink. Elephants skillfully use their trunks as snorkels as the herds bask in the river, far more elegant in how they drink than the giraffes that stand with sprawled legs. After lunch, you are transferred south to a knotted forest where mist swirls. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the home of more than half the world’s wild mountain gorillas, and the adjective in its name is more than fitting.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Sublime Gorilla Trekking

Deep-set black eyes are redolent with thought. Arms wave and you see muscles ripple, the power of the giants unmistakable. Two of the gorillas are gnawing at a tree, three are jumping through the canopy, and a silverback cracks a branch with effortless ease. Officially, you can come within seven meters of the troop. But there are no barriers in the wild, and the troop are almost surrounding you, including a playful infant picking seeds and throwing them from the tree above. Just reaching the gorillas is part of the adventure, an inspiring trek along elephant trails through the forest. Then you are in awe for an hour, almost baffled by the intimacy of the experience. When the silverback rises and beats on his chest, you understand that it is now time to leave this family troop to themselves.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Meeting the Batwa Pygmies of the Forest

Another fabled character occupies the trees around Bwindi. Batwa Pygmies are the old-world forest people, hunting and gathering through their incredible knowledge of the land. For centuries, they have traded with other Ugandan tribes and practiced an extremely sustainable method of survival. Parts of their culture have had to change as they have been driven from their lands, a story which the tribe members are quick to share. Spend an afternoon with the Batwa Pygmies, and you experience their ancient methods of survival, a hunter taking you through the basic techniques of tracking in the forest. You also share stories with one of Africa’s rarest people, and there is so much to learn from their traditional style.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Lake Mburo National Park – Relaxing While Surrounded by the Big Game

The winding road to Lake Mburo offers a window onto rural Uganda, with villages and pastoral landscapes seen on both sides. There are various places you can stop en route depending on what part of the local culture you would like to experience. It is a five-hour drive to Lake Mburo, one of Africa’s most relaxed safari destinations. Devoid of the big predators, it is a park populated by charm, filled with roving zebra herds, all manner of antelopes, baboons and monkeys in the trees, and large herds of buffalo huffing and puffing through the day. This is an escapist destination to complete two weeks of adventure, with dreamy views over the lake from your lodge balcony and hippos coming out to play at sundown.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 13 – 14: Lake Mburo National Park – Mountain Biking and Horseback Riding Safari

Animals do not run when you become part of the savannah. Zebras stand and stare, Ugandan kobs gather in huge numbers, impalas skip straight past you, and elands raise their horns in what seems like a greeting. On a mountain bike and horseback, there is no barrier between you and the animals. Because you do not pose a threat, you can get wonderfully close to the herds. These two days run at a relaxed pace, with privately-guided horseback and mountain bike safaris complemented by game walks. While it is Uganda’s smallest park, there are countless trails and a brilliantly eclectic collection of wildlife, so many species able to thrive when lions are not hunting, and elephants are not devouring the forest food.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15: Lake Mburo National Park to Entebbe – Departure

From Lake Mburo, you are transferred back to where you started and depart from Entebbe International Airport. It is a four-hour journey by road, and you have day-room use of a hotel before your evening flight.

What’s Included: airport transfer, hotel day-use, breakfast 

Price

Starting Price 

$7,495
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

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.