Lion's Prey Journey - 13 Days - Uganda
Day 1 - Arrival and transfer to Kampala
Upon your arrival and a warm welcome to Uganda, we will pick you up at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. After the drive to your hotel in Kampala, Uganda's capital city, and via the lake Victoria's shore, we will get a first impression of the city built on seven hills. Our chosen hotel, Cassia Lodge (Backpacker/Medium) is located on a hill in Kampala's south, offering magnificent views across lake Victoria and downtown from this elevated point of view. Emin Pasha Hotel (Luxury) is situated on Nakasero Hill, in a quiet yet central part of Kampala. Over a fresh glass of passion fruit juice or coffee, we plan to discuss the safari that lies ahead of us. Depending on your time of arrival, we may have enough time to explore some of Kampala's sights. A visit at Gaddhafi mosque, Kasubi tombs, or the Kabaka's palace is part of our itinerary and serves as a great way to round off your first day in the Pearl of Africa.
Day 2 - Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
After a strengthening breakfast at our hotel, we intend to leave Kampala in the morning and are headed towards south western Uganda. After passing the equator and stopping for photos, we will soon reach Lake Mburo National Park, which is the Ankole national park famous for its beautiful lakes and large zebra herds. On an evening game drive, we will be able to search for nocturnal species in the park, including rare leopards. Accommodation at Rwakobo Rock Lodge (Backpacker/Medium) or at Mihingo Lodge (Luxury).
Day 3 - Horse back safari and transfer to Lake Bunyonyi
Following breakfast at sunrise over the savannah, we invite you to join us on a horse-back safari in the national park for four hours with a picnic breakfast. Afterwards, we plan to leave the park and head to lake Bunyonyi about two hours away. Lake Bunyonyi is Africa's second deepest lake after Lake Malawi and the afternoon will give us a great opportunity to explore the "lake of many little birds" on a traditional dug-out canoe. Accommodation is at Arcadia Cottages (Backpacker/Medium/Luxury) after dinner at sunset.
Day 4 - Golden monkey tracking on the Virunga volcanoes
On day four, we will enjoy our breakfast after a morning swim by the crystal clear and ice cold lake Bunyonyi. Subsequently, we will proceed to the Virunga volcano chain and more specifically Kisoro town. After checking in at Kisoro Traveller's Rest Hotel (Backpacker) or at Mt. Mgahinga Lodge (Medium/Luxury), we plan to connect to the park entrance to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park's bamboo forest. We are planning a golden monkey hike before a visit to the local market at the Congolese border and returning to our lodge.
Day 5 - Walking safari and canoe excursion on lake Murehe
On the fifth day, we visit Hakaboko village, where today’s walking safari begins. From the starting point, we will meet our local Instinct Safaris Batwa guide, who will brief you for this cultural trip to Bwindi rain forest, home of the legendary mountain gorillas. We will paddle to Punishment Island, Forest Island, and others, as we learn about the history of the Kigezi region. On the way from island to island, we will be able to spot more than 150 different bird species. After reaching the mainland again at Kirundo village, we will continue with a local lunch and then a community hike to the top of the hills. From there, we can expect magnificent views of the Virunga range in the distance, and we will be able to get a peek at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for the first time. From the peak of the hill, we will descend to Rubuguri village and reach our local trekking office in the heart of the village. From there, your Land Rover Defender or Land Cruiser will pick you up and we reach Nkuringo Gorilla Camp (Backpacker/Medium) on top of a hill nearby after climbing slopes with the car for about 20 minutes. The view of the Albertine Rift will be stunning us as we enjoy dinner at the lodge and relax. Clouds Lodge (Luxury) can be reached when keeping on the road winding up to Nkuringo village.
Day 6 - Mountain gorilla tracking in Bwindi rain forest
On the sixth day, we leave our lodge early at sunrise after a healthy breakfast. Our goal are Rushaga or Nkuringo, two of the park entrances of Bwindi National Park. We want to track the rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is a whole-day activity, so afterwards, we will take the chance to relax at our lodge and the local communities around. Besides the habituated gorilla groups, there are more than twice as many wild gorilla families in Bwindi. Accommodation again at Nkuringo Gorilla Camp (Backpacker/Medium) or Clouds Lodge (Luxury).
Day 7 - Rain forest hike and transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today, we continue on Nyandwi trail, which will first lead us through the Kashasha river valley and swamp. From there, we will enter Bwindi rain forest on a narrow foot trail with high chances of seeing baboons, several colobus monkeys, and many butterfly species. Sometimes, this trail also reveals mountain gorillas to us. The hike through the Nkuringo region of Bwindi will take us to the northern gate of the rain forest. This is where our vehicle will wait for you and we will gather for lunch. Subsequently, we plan to continue our journey towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, a vast savanna region with crater lakes and crater wells scattered across the national park. The park is further known for its numerous mammal species roaming the area. In the afternoon, we want to embark on our first game drive to discover the the Big Five on our safari. An evening game drive is possible after dinner and check in at our lodge, The Bush Lodge (Backpacker), Enganzi Lodge (Medium) or Kyambura Lodge (Luxury), before falling to rest in the spacious rooms, overlooking the entire plains.
Day 8 - Wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park
After preparing for this whole-day safari game viewing experience with a nutritious breakfast, we want to begin by visiting Ishasha for the rare tree-climbing lions. Then, we continue Mweya for elephant herds, buffaloes, lions, leopards, and more. After lunch, we want to extend our experience by joining a boat launch trip on Kazinga Channel, viewing hundreds of elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kob, warthogs, and even crocodiles on the shores. Furthermore, we would like to visit Katwe, a small fisher’s village and the salt lake in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. An evening game drive on the way back to our lodge marks the ends of this day. Accommodation at The Bush Lodge (Backpacker), Enganzi Lodge (Medium) or Kyambura Lodge (Luxury).
Day 9 - Hot air balloon ride and transfer to Kibale forest
With having seen much more of the wildlife in Queen Elizabeth National Park - warthogs, buffaloes, Uganda kob, and hippos, are about to conclude our experience in the savanna plains. We are getting up early today for a special activity. Instinct Safaris has the opportunity to take you on a hot air balloon ride at sunrise for a new and unique way to see Uganda's wilderness from above. The hot air balloon ride, which takes roughly one hour, is followed by sharing a glass of sparkling wine and a delicious breakfast in the field. We plan to arrive at Kibale Forest National Park, our destination, after passing the Rwenzori mountains and visiting a local market in Fort Portal. We intend to buy our own ingredients for tonight's dinner at the lodge from local vendors, supporting farmers from surrounding communities. Kibale National Park is one of Uganda's most forested areas and has the highest concentration of primates in all of East Africa. There are tea plantations scattered all over the craters and hills, which give the region its characteristic name - the Mountains of the Moon. Accommodation in the Sky Tree Houses at Kibale Primate Lodge (Backpacker/Medium) or at Kyaninga Lodge (Luxury).
Day 10 - Chimpanzee habituation and swamp community walk
Today, we plan to enter the dense rain forest on a full day chimpanzee habituation experience. On this tour, we expect to find large chimpanzee families - up to one hundred and twenty individuals - and other primates, such as red-and-white colobus monkey and black-and-white colobus monkeys. In the afternoon and after lunch at the lodge, we have a chance to go for the Bigodi swamp and community hike, which will again expose us to numerous primate species, but also allow us to visit and interact with the local community. We intend to visit the Bigodi women's group, who produce peanut butter and honey. Accommodation at Kibale Primate Lodge (Backpacker/Medium) or at Kyaninga Lodge (Luxury).
Day 11 - Transfer to Murchison falls and evening game drive
Our longest drive on this safari, accounting for almost seven hours this day, will be tackled on our way north from Kibale to Murchison Falls National Park. But don't worry, as we will have many opportunities to take breaks for views of lake Albert and lunch at Ernest Hemmingway's favorite hotel in Masindi town. In the late afternoon, we anticipate to arrive in Murchison Falls National Park and check in at our lodge - Murchison River Lodge (Backpacker/Medium/Luxury) - after a delicious dinner at sunset and a game drive near our lodge.
Day 12 - Boat launch to the Murchison falls and game drive
After breakfast at the lodge and a morning briefing, we leave the camp and head out to the Murchison falls for a morning boat launch to the narrow cliff where the powerful Nile River crashes more than forty meters deep to leave a refreshing breeze. After climbing the hiking trail leading to the top of the falls and lunch, we intend to spend the afternoon with wildlife viewing in different sectors of Uganda's largest national park. Murchison Falls National Park is the only national park in Uganda which is home to the Rothschild's giraffe. Afterwards, we connect to our lodge - Fort Murchison (Backpacker/Medium/Luxury) - where we get a chance to learn about the local villages and people on a community-led village walk.
Day 13 - Rhino sanctuary and departure
A last early morning game drive concludes our time in the region. After searching for Rothschild's giraffes, lions, buffaloes, and more, we intend to leave Murchison falls and head to Kampala. Our Big Five bucket list will be completed about half way to Uganda's capital. At Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, we will track the critically endangered white rhinos and be able to engage them at close range in a natural environment. We plan to reach Entebbe International Airport for an evening departure. Your safari with us ends with successful check-in at the airport.
Are you ready for your adventure?
What is included?
VAT is included in the tour price - emergency air ambulance evacuation is included in your trip with us through a gold cover from AMREF Flying Doctors (www.flydoc.org) valid in Uganda and Rwanda. DR Congo is not yet part of the service and no emergency air ambulance is provided - your half or full board accommodation in the specified lodges, hotels, and camps is included on a shared room basis - your secure transport is ensured by traveling in a fully safari-customized Land Rover Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser - all other transportation included in your travel plan is on us - soft drinks, water, and endemic fruits are included in your safari. We support the local community by buying as much produce as possible from them rather than from large chains - park entrance fees to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, and Murchison Falls National Park are included in your trip - your horse back safari in Lake Mburo National Park is included with picnic breakfast (US $100 value) - your golden monkey tracking permit in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is included (US $100 value) - your mountain gorilla tracking permit in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is included (US $600 value) - a community walk and canoe trip on and near lake Murehe is included in your trip - your Bwindi forest hike is included in the safari price - morning, day, and evening game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park are included - your boat launch on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park is included - a hot air balloon ride in Queen Elizabeth National Park is part of the itienrary - a visit to Fort Portal's vegetable market is included in the safari price - your afternoon swamp and primate walk in Kibale and Bigodi village is included in your safari - a full day chimpanzee habituation permits are included in the safari price - your boat launch at Murchison Falls is included - your visit at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is included - your Instinct Safaris Foundation fee is included in the tour, supporting local vocational, health, and educational projects.
What is excluded?
International flights to and from Entebbe are excluded - any additional travel health insurance is not part of your safari price - all sorts of expenses of personal nature - souvenirs, drinks, laundry, and additional equipment - are not included - activities not stated in the itinerary are excluded - gratuities and tips to rangers, driver, guide, porter, lodge staff, or others, are not included - visa fees to Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo (where applicable) are not included - Instinct Safaris is not to be held responsible for the loss or damage taken to any object or piece of equipment taken in the wild.