• A Juvenile Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Gorillas, Chimps & Monkeys

Perfect for those that have visited Africa’s savannahs and want to get off the beaten tourist track. 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 an 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.


Itinerary - Gorillas, Chimps & Monkeys [TACP1-006]

Day One

A Sanctuary For Rescued Chimpanzees

Make your way down to the docks on the shores of Lake Victoria to meet your speedboat and skipper. You’ll then take to the tropical waters of Lake Victoria and cross the equator into the southern hemisphere to reach Ngamba Island, home to a community of around 50 chimpanzees, which have each been rescued from poachers and the pet trade. On reaching the island you’ll 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 before being taken back to the island's restaurant where you will stop off for lunch. This afternoon you will be guided around to the other side of the island where you’ll have the chance to view the chimps again as they feed from the lakeshore. If you choose you can also board a boat to cross the lake to visit a nearby island (*for an additional cost), here you will have the chance to visit a local school and shop for locally made handcrafts. In the late afternoon you’ll cross back over Lake Victoria to reach the docks in Entebbe. When taking this trip you also support The Chimpanzee 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: 7 hrs

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Karibu Guesthouse, room

Day Two

A Rainforest Ramble

Transfer from Entebbe to Kibale National Park.
Estimated journey time: 6 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: 2 hrs 30 mins

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Isunga Lodge, cottage

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: 8 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Isunga Lodge, cottage

Day Four

Primate Walk On Kirumia Trail

Transfer from Kibale National Park to Semuliki National Park.
Estimated journey time: 2 hrs

Venture into the lowland tropical rainforest of Semuliki National Park with your expert local guide. After a briefing you will walk 2km to the trailhead, the path then winds for 12km (24km return) through the rainforest to reach the Semuliki River. Most groups will do a shorter route of either a 20km walk to the grasslands or 16km route through the rainforest. The distance is adjustable so your route can be tailored depending on how far you wish to walk and what you wish to see. If you are bird-watching then you are unlikely to walk the full 24km! 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.
Estimated excursion time: 6 hrs

Transfer from Semuliki National Park to Kibale National Park.
Estimated journey time: 2 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Isunga Lodge, cottage

Day Five

Chimps In A Sunken Gorge

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

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 (including 1 hr viewing)

Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to its Ishasha Sector.
Estimated journey time: 2 hrs 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Enjojo Lodge, safari tents

Day Six

Tree-Climbing Lions

Rise early before the sun to watch it light up Ishasha Plains, casting a golden hue across the savannah. Dawn wildlife drives give excellent photo opportunities due to the early morning light, and the wildlife is more active before the heat of the day sets in. These plains allow you to take a wildlife drive in relative seclusion compared to the rest of the park, due to the limited number of lodges in the area. The early morning is the best time to scour the plains for clans of hyaenas, 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 common to the area. Of course if you failed to find the tree-climbing lions so far here is another chance to seek out these top savannah predators, in the giant fig trees found on these plains.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

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

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge, cabin

Day Seven

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).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge, cabin

Day Eight

Monkeying Around

Set out to explore the meandering forest trails through the rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will be joined by a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger on your nature walk who will guide you along the trails and share with you their knowledge of the plants, wildlife and history of the park. The rainforest is incredibly diverse with 350 species of bird including 23 rift valley endemics, 400 species of plant and 120 mammal species including many monkey species, forest elephants and antelope. You can explore the paths through the rainforest at your own pace, stopping off at points of interest along the way until it’s time to hike your way back out of the rainforest.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Transfer from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Ruhija) to Kisoro.
Estimated journey time: 2 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Travellers Rest Hotel, room

Day Nine

Golden Monkey Habituation Exercise

Transfer from Kisoro to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Estimated journey time: 45 mins

Spend a day on Mount Sabyinyo (locally known as ‘old man's 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 the highland forest. You can sit and observe the monkeys for up to four hours whilst they socialise, 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: 6 - 8 hrs (including 4 hrs viewing)

Transfer from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to Kisoro.
Estimated journey time: 45 mins

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Travellers Rest Hotel, room

Day Ten

Journey Home

Transfer from Kisoro to Entebbe.
Estimated journey time: 10 hrs
[scheduled flight available on request]

Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Accommodation: Not Included