• A Golden Monkey in Mgahinga Gorilla NP

Gorillas, Chimps & Monkeys

Take to the waters of Lake Victoria to visit the tropical Ngamba Island, home to Uganda’s rescued chimps and learn about the team’s conservation efforts. Then spend a full day monitoring a un habituated chimp family in Kibale National Park, one of Africa’s premier tracking destinations. Then explore the savannah with a game drive and visit a third group of chimps in Kyambura Gorge, a rainforest filled gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Of course you will also trek in the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a meeting with a rare mountain gorilla family before finally spending the day following a group of golden monkeys on volcano slopes of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Gorillas, Chimps & Monkeys

Day One

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Make your way down to the docks on the shores of Lake Victoria to meet your boat that will take you out to Ngamba Island. This island is located off the shores of Lake Victoria and is home to a community of chimpanzees, which have each been rescued from poachers and the pet trade. On reaching the island you’ll will be welcomed with a briefing on the chimpanzee conservation efforts in Uganda. You’ll then be taken to the viewing platform to see the chimpanzee’s feeding and watch the rehabilitated chimps feed, groom and socialise. In the early afternoon, you’ll cross back over Lake Victoria to reach the docks in Entebbe. When taking this trip you also support Chimp Trust, which is working to protect the forest habitat of the chimpanzees and caring for those unable to return to the wild.

Estimated excursion time: 4 hours

 

 

Day Two

Rainforest Ramble

Transfer from Entebbe to Kibale National Park

Depart from Entebbe town on the shores of Lake Victoria to drive north, passing through the hustle and bustle of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. You will then journey west through rolling hills, villages and forests as you make your way through western Uganda. As you drive up into the hills you’ll pass through vast tea fields dotted with tea factories until you view the Rwenzori Mountains or ‘Mountains of the Moon’ in the distance. You will then pass through Fort Portal town and the edge of the Ndali-Kasenda crater lake fields to reach the rainforest of Kibale National Park. 

Estimated journey time: 7 hrs

Explore the tranquility of Magombe Swamp in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, 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 wetlands and along a raised boardwalk through dense clusters of papyrus, taking a couple of hours to complete. This community run project offers the chance 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: 2 - 3 hours

Day Three

Chimpanzee Habituation Exercise

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: 7 - 8 hours

 

Day Four

Primate Walk on the Kirumia Trail

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

Venture into the lowland tropical rainforest of Semuliki National Park with your expert local guide. After a briefing you will walk 2 km to the trailhead, the path then winds for 12km (24km return) through the rainforest to reach the Semuliki River. You won’t complete the full trail in a half day walk so the route along the trail will be shorter, with the distance being tailored depending on how far you wish to walk and what you wish to see. The rainforest is a prime destination for rare monkey species including the Dent’s monkey, grey-cheeked Mangabey, De Brazza’s monkey and Black & White Colobus monkey which you’ll spot scampering through the trees. The park is also an avian paradise of both Eastern and Central African species including the Long-tailed Hawk, African Piculet, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill and Crested Malimbe. However far you venture along the trail you’ll marvel at the impressive scenes of the tropical rainforest with the misty ‘Mountain of the Moon’ invisible but towering over the park.

Estimated excursion time: 4 - 6 hours

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

Day Five

Chimps in a Sunken Gorge

Transfer from Kibale to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Estimated journey time: 4 hrs

Kyambura Gorge is a 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 - 4 hours

Day Six

Tree-climbing Lions

Transfer from central Queen Elizabeth National Park to its Kasenyi 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 grass 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 hyenas.

Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Transfer from Ishasha Plains to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Estimated journey time: 4 hrs

Day Seven

Gorilla Tracking

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 320 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)

Day Eight

Transfer

Transfer from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Kisoro. Estimated journey time: 3 hrs

Depart from Nkuringo village to drive along the edge of the rainforest, following a winding murram road through terraced farmlands, forests and villages. This road offers some stunning views over the surrounding countryside including over lakes and towards the Virunga volcanoes and you descend down the hillside to reach Kisoro town.

Estimated journey time: 3 hrs

Day Nine

Golden Monkey Habituation Experience

Transfer from Kisoro to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Estimated journey time: 1hr

Spend a day on Mount Sabyinyo (locally known as ‘old mans teeth on account of its shape) with an endangered troop of old world monkeys. Until recently not much was known about the golden monkeys so a team of scientists set about to learn more on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes. The activity can last for up to six hours as you walk and watch with the habituation team who are preparing these monkeys to be comfortable with humans. These monkeys can travel in groups of up to 60 and live in highland forest. You can sit and observe the monkeys for up to four hours whilst they socialize, eat, nurse and play and then you will leave them to climb up into the bamboo and make their beds for the night.

Estimated excursion time: 4 - 8 hrs (including 4 hrs viewing)

Day Ten

Transfer from Kisoro to Kampala or Entebbe

Transfer from Kisoro to Entebbe. Estimated journey time: 11 hrs

Depart from Kisoro town in the shadow of the Virunga volcanoes and follow a winding road through the mountains, Echuya rainforest and enjoy the stunning views of the Kigezi highlands. Continue your journey east back onto the rolling plains leading to Lake Victoria, where you’ll pass Lake Mburo National Park (watch out for zebras by the road!) and many roadside markets selling a variety of tropical fruits. Finally drive through the extensive papyrus filled swamps to reach Entebbe town on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Estimated journey time: 11 hrs