• Elephants Playing in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
  • Lioness Shading her Cubs in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
  • Rare Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
  • Kajjansi Airfield
  • Lion Cub in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
  • A Rainbow in Ndali-Kasenda Crater Lake Fields Kibale, Uganda
  • A rare mountain gorilla in Mgahinga National Park Uganda
  • A Crocodile on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
  • Warthogs in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
  • A Hippo on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Best of Western Uganda

Fly through the skies of western Uganda, touching down at our best wildlife destinations. Criss-cross the golden savannahs of Murchison Falls & Queen Elizabeth National Park to marvel at the savannah wildlife with dusk and dawn wildlife drives. Cruise on the river Nile from the thundering base of the waterfall to the idyllic Victoria Nile delta. Seek out tree-climbing lions in giant fig trees and spot playful chimpanzees swing through trees of Kibale National Park. Then hike through the misty montane rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to encounter the life of a rare mountain gorilla family.

Destinations: Murchison Falls NP, Kibale NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, Bwindi Impenetrable NP

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Itinerary - Best of Western Uganda [TACP001]

Day one

Welcome to the Nile

Take to the skies from Kajjansi airfield to fly to Pakuba airstrip. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.

Explore the Buligi game tracks which crisscross the savannah between the branches of the Victoria and Albert Nile in the northern sector of the park. These game circuits offer the highest density of wildlife viewing anywhere in the park. The landscape in the park is stunning offering views over the savannah, as you wind your way through Acacia scrub and grasslands dotted with palm trees. You’ll be joined by a knowledgeable Uganda Wildlife Authority guide, to give you your highest chance of tracking down the savannah predators. They will help you track down specific wildlife such as Rothschild giraffes, lions, hippos, elephants, herds of buffalo, Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, warthog, waterbuck and if you're lucky, you'll spot the elusive leopard. Towards the end of your game drive you’ll be able to stop off at the hippo pool on the Victoria Nile delta where you’ll see the hippos wallowing in the shallows and calling to each other across the water. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Embark on a water safari on the river Nile and cruise upstream to the base of Murchison Falls waterfall. Also known as Kabalega Falls, this is one of the most popular activities in the park and offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. As you cruise up the river you will be able to view giant Nile crocodiles basking in the sun, hippo pods calling to each other across the water and a multitude of bird species living and nesting on the riverbanks. A variety of game species such as buffalo, waterbuck, elephants and Uganda kob can also be viewed on the riverbanks as they come down to drink and cool off in the heat of the day. After two hours you will reach the base of the thundering falls where the White Nile surges through a 7 metre wide gap in the rock face, cutting through Fajao Gorge and falling 43 meters to continue its journey through the park. Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs

Day two

The Nile Delta

Take the water on a boat cruise to the Victoria Nile delta where the river Nile empties into Lake Albert. As you meander downstream you’ll get the chance to spot elephants, giraffes, waterbuck and crocodiles on the river banks as well as hippo pods calling across the water until you reach the edge of Lake Albert. The delta is birders paradise and is particularly known as the habitat of the iconic shoebill, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as ‘vulnerable’. Upon reaching the delta the experienced guides accompanying you will try to find this rare prehistoric looking bird. You will also be able to seek out many other bird species living in the delta including the saddle billed stork, goliath heron, African skimmer, African jacana, malachite kingfishers. After around 3 hours on the water you will make your way back upstream and disembark from your boat. Estimated excursion time: 4 hrs

Explore the Buligi game tracks which crisscross the savannah between the branches of the Victoria and Albert Nile in the northern sector of the park. These game circuits offer the highest density of wildlife viewing anywhere in the park. The landscape in the park is stunning offering views over the savannah, as you wind your way through Acacia scrub and grasslands dotted with palm trees. You’ll be joined by a knowledgeable Uganda Wildlife Authority guide, to give you your highest chance of tracking down the savannah predators. They will help you track down specific wildlife such as Rothschild giraffes, lions, hippos, elephants, herds of buffalo, Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, warthog, waterbuck and if you're lucky, you'll spot the elusive leopard. Towards the end of your game drive you’ll be able to stop off at the hippo pool on the Victoria Nile delta where you’ll see the hippos wallowing in the shallows and calling to each other across the water. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Day three

Crater-lake Landscapes & Monkeys

Take to the skies from the Pakuba airstrip to Kasese airstrip. Estimated journey time: 1 hr 5 mins. 

Discover the Ndali–Kasenda crater-lakes from the comfort of your safari vehicle, accompanied by an expert local guide. These lakes were created during the volcanic upheaval of the Great Rift Valley and consist of many stunning pools dotting the landscape. On your scenic drive you will be meandering through a rural landscape of rolling hills and farmland and be able to view four of the lakes found here, Lake Nyinambuga, Lake Kifuruka, Lake Lyantonde and Lake Rukwanzi. Your guide will be on hand to explain the history of the area, and give you further insights into the local traditions and village life as you enjoy exploring one of the most scenic vistas anywhere in Uganda. Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs

Explore the tranquility of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, in Magombe Swamp, situated on the edge of Kibale National Park. Here you’ll meet a local guide who will take you on your walk around Magombe Swamp, a protected RAMSAR site. The path meanders along the edge of the swamp and along a raised boardwalk through dense clusters of papyrus, taking a couple of hours to complete. This community run project offers the chance to spot up to 138 bird species including the Great Blue Turaco, a variety of butterflies and perhaps what the swamp is best known for; its population of monkeys. As you ramble around the swamp your guide will be able to identify the local flora and fauna as well as the seven species of monkey found here including red colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest, vervet, black and white colobus, blue monkeys and baboons. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Day four

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Rise early to meet with the Uganda Wildlife Authority researcher team, for a briefing on your day with the chimpanzees. Kibale National Park is one of East Africa’s premier destinations to chimp track and is home to one of the highest concentrations and diversities of primates found anywhere on the continent. Chimpanzee groups undergo a two-year habitation process before they are regularly tracked for tourism, so they become accustomed to the presence of humans. It is one of these groups that you will be seeking out in the rainforest and contribute towards this process. Your researcher guides will be escorting you throughout your time in the forest and will be able to identify and give more information on the species found here including the 325 species of birdlife, 250 tree species and over 80 species of mammals including the forest and savannah elephants which move between Kibale National Park and connecting Queen Elizabeth National Park. Groups of chimps live in communities containing between 10 and 100 members and once you’ve found your group, amongst the dense rainforest, you will spend the rest of the day following them as they move through the undergrowth. You will be able to observe their natural behaviour as they play, eat, socialise and display their prowess. In the late afternoon you will trek back out of the forest to the park headquarters where you’ll meet your driver / guide. Estimated excursion time: 8 hrs

Day five

A Water Safari & Game Drive

Transfer from Kibale National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Estimated journey time: 3 hrs. 

Embark on a water safari from the docks on the Mweya Peninsula to explore the Kazinga Channel. This channel connects Lakes Edward and George and flows through the heart of the park and is an excellent place to view a variety of savannah mammals and birds from. As you meander your way along the river banks you will have the chance to spot elephants, buffalo, warthogs and waterbuck as they come down to the water's edge to cool off in the heat of the day. The channel is also a prime location to view crocodiles, hippo pods and a plethora of bird species that live here. After a couple of hours on the water you’ll reach a fishing village at the end of the channel where the river enters Lake Edward and you’ll then make your return to the docks on the Mweya Peninsula. Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 30 mins. 

Explore the Kazinga tracks by following a network of tracks criss-crossing the savannah, stretching from the northern Kazinga Channel riverbanks to the explosion crater lake pools on the northern park boundary. These tracks are known for offering excellent chances of up close and clear sightings of elephant herds as they cross the tracks and roam down to the water's edge to cool off in the heat of the day. This rolling savannah landscape dotted with thickets of cactus trees also offers you the chance to spot species such as lion, Uganda kob, waterbuck and buffalo. Track’s included in the royal visit of Queen Elizabeth are also found here including the Queen’s Mile and Royal Circuit, which you can explore at your own pace alongside Kob Circuit and Leopard Loop. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Day six

Chimps in a Sunken Gorge

Kyambura Gorge is a sunken rainforest filled gorge set in the middle of rolling savannah plains. The gorge contains its own rainforest ecosystem in which you will be tracking a small isolated population of chimpanzees. Before tracking you will first receive a briefing on tracking the chimps from your guides. You will then descend along a steep forest path into the gorge to search for these elusive creatures. As you trek through the unique atmosphere of the forest your guide will be able to identify many of the varied species found here. The success rate of tracking these chimps is 65% and if you find them you can spend an hour with them. Observe their natural behaviour in the wild as they feed, socialise, nurse their young, relax, patrol and display their prowess before you climb out of the gorge onto the savannah plains. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs. 

Transfer from Kyambura Gorge to Ishasha Plains. Estimated journey time: 2 hrs. 

The Ishasha Plains cover the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and are particularly known for their iconic population of tree-climbing lions. Lions are only recorded to exhibit this behaviour in a few locations across Africa, believed to be a learned behaviour specific to a few prides. It’s been speculated this behaviour is to avoid the hottest part of the day to catch the cool breezes in the trees and to dodge the biting insects found in the grasses below. On entering the savannah you will track through the African bush on a wildlife drive with a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger to seek out these impressive cats. These rangers are based on the plains and track the lions daily giving you the best possible chance of finding the lions. You’ll be looking for them in the branches of huge fig trees, as they laze away in the shade, sheltered from the heat of the day. If you still have time after tracking the lions you can explore the various game circuits for other wildlife species found on savannah here including elephants, Uganda kob, buffalo and hyaenas. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs. 

Day seven

Tree-climbing Lions

Wake early before the sun rises to watch it light up the savannah of Ishasha Plains. Dawn game drives usually give excellent photo opportunities due to the early morning light, the wildlife is more active before the heat of the day sets in. These plains allow you to take a game drive in relative seclusion compared to the rest of the park, due to the limited number of lodges in the area. You will be joined by your expert Uganda Wildlife Authority guide who will help you search the plains for clans of hyaenas who are known residents of the Ishasha sector. If they are feeling shy then there are also good chances of seeing elephant herds, Uganda kob and the beautiful topi, an antelope commonly found here. Of course if you failed to find the tree-climbing lions so far here is another chance to seek out these top predators in the giant fig trees found on the plains. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Estimated journey time: 2 hrs. 

Day eight

Gorillas in the Mist

Experience Uganda’s greatest natural wonder, an intimate meeting with one of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s gorilla families! Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an incredibly important conservation site as it protects around 460 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the population left in the wild. Dating back over 25,000 years, Bwindi is one of Uganda’s most biologically diverse and most ancient rainforests, with an amazing 400 species of plants present and 350 species of birds, including 23 Rift Valley endemic species recorded. The rangers accompanying you will be able to identify the local plants, birds and wildlife as well as the general ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as you trek. This morning you will rise early and your driver / guide will escort you to the trailhead into the rainforest. Here you will receive an orientation on tracking the gorillas from the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers who will then guide you through the dense forest. The trek length varies, depending on where the gorillas spent the night, ranging from thirty minutes to seven hours. Once you find these incredible creatures you will spend one hour with them. We think you’ll agree - to experience this unique family feed, socialise, nurse their young, patrol and display their prowess - is the most magical experience you can see in nature. After tracking you will make your way back to the edge of the rainforest where you’ll meet your driver guide. Estimated excursion time: 2 - 8 hrs (including 1 hr viewing). 

Meet up with your guide to explore the area around Buhoma village. You’ll be visiting some of the local handicraft shops where the local craftspeople are making a variety of crafts including fabrics, beeswax candles and hand carved wooden ornaments, a great place to pick up an authentic souvenir from your travels. Your guide can help with what is authentic. You will then walk on to meet the neighbouring community of Batwa where they’ll give you a demonstration of traditional songs and dances, giving you an insight into their former life in the rainforests and glimpse into their culture. You will meet other local residents of Buhoma including a traditional healer who will share with you their secret use of medicinal plants and learn how the locally produced bananas are used to make a variety of juices, gins and beers, you can even try and taste if you choose. Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs. 

Day nine

Journey Home

Transfer from Buhoma to Kihihi airstrip. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.

Take to the skies from Kihihi airstrip to Kajjansi airstrip. 1 hr 20 mins.