Day 1 – Arrive Entebbe: On arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. Entebbe is a small, quiet town located on the shores of Lake Victoria and is easy to explore on foot, boda-bodas (local motorbike) or taxis. Soak up the local markets filled with clothes and crafts, shop for souvenirs in curio shops, or explore the Botanical Gardens on Lake Victoria. Enjoy the wide variety of restaurants serving many different cuisines as well as several bars and clubs where you can sample the local beer, catch a game of football and chat with the local Ugandans, known for their open, friendly nature. Overnight at Hotel No.5.
Hotel No.5 is a boutique hotel nestled in the leafy suburbs of Entebbe. With luxurious rooms opening onto the garden and swimming pool, this is a great option for guests looking for an intimate stay in a tranquil setting.
Day 2 – Queen Elizabeth National Park: Transfer to the airport for your short flight to Mweya, from where you will explore Queen Elizabeth National Park. Spread over 1,978sq km in the western arm of the Great Rift Valley, the park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephants, leopard, lions, hippos, buffalo, Uganda kob, baboon, and many species of birds. With both a riverine and savannah habitat, the park includes the southern Ishasha area with the massive Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruise on the Kazinga Channel. Kazinga’s shores are a haven for numerous birds, including many migratory species as they make their way south to warmer climates. The cruise also provides a spectacular view of the beautiful Mweya Peninsula and life in local fishing villages set along the banks. Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp is an exclusive ten-tent camp that offers the only luxury accommodation in the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth.
Day 3 – Queen Elizabeth National Park: Day at leisure to enjoy game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park, looking out for huge herds of buffalo, elephant, and of course the famous tree-climbing lion typically found in the area. Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
Day 4 – Bwindi Forest National Park: A 2-3 hour drive through the scenic countryside brings you to Bwindi Forest National Park. Time permitting, you may visit a community project en route. Here the local people allow you to enjoy some time in their homesteads, as well as see some of the crops and goods they produce, and visit the local elephant trench project – which stops elephants coming into the village and raiding crops. Bwindi National Park, located in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda. Home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site. Overnight at Buhoma Lodge.
Situated on the slopes of the forests of Bwindi, Buhoma Lodge offers uninterrupted views of the pristine rain forest canopy. It’s the perfect, tranquil base from which to visit Bwindi.
Day 5 – Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park: Today will be a lifetime experience! Coming face to face with mountain gorillas is a rare wildlife encounter. Experienced guides and trackers will accompany your party on an early morning trek into the dense rain forest on the mountain slopes. The opportunity to come within meters of these magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities, is an experience you won’t soon forget! Mountain gorillas are extremely rare with only an estimated 880 remaining in the wild. Note: Gorilla trekking may be fairly strenuous with treks ranging from 30 mins up to six hours or longer, at high altitudes. Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, viewing success rates are over 95%. Following the trek, return to your accommodation. Other optional activities that may be enjoyed in and around the park include forest walks, visits to a local school or orphanage or Batwa pygmy village, and shopping. Overnight at Buhoma Lodge.
Day 6 – Travel to Rwanda: From Bwindi, we drive through the ‘Little Switzerland of Africa’ along winding mountain roads, and through rural villages, to the border of Rwanda, Kisoro. Here, on a clear day, the Virgunas can be seen ‘standing sentry’ along the border – a row of massive, dormant volcanoes watching over the region. It’s a long day – approx 7-8 hours on the road – but the adventure awaiting you tomorrow is so worth it! Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
Day 7 – Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park: Trekking gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park is a very similar experience to that in Bwindi – just as challenging, equally memorable. If you’ve opted not to trek today, take a hike to Dian Fossey’s grave or enjoy forest walk with golden monkeys. You will only be able to enjoy one of these activities (as they all take place in the morning) and pre-booking is essential. Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
Day 8 – Drive to Kigali: After lunch, we drive to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda – a bustling, clean and safe city. Optional visit to the haunting Genocide Museum. Drop off at the airport – please book a late flight home or overnight in Kigali.
Note: One hour is permitted with the gorillas per trek. Permits are subject to availability. Trekking through the forest can be steep, wet and slippery.
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