• A rare mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Gorillas & Tree-Climbing Lions

Journey to the southwestern corner of Uganda to seek out tree-climbing lions on the golden savannah of Ishasha’s plains. Explore with dawn and dusk game drives to spot the lions, hyenas, buffaloes, elephants and the illusive leopard, if you’re lucky! Then trek through the ancient rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to encounter a mountain gorilla family and watch a close knit family group in their natural habitat of ancient rainforest.


Itinerary - Gorillas & Tree-Climbing Lions [TACP1-005]

Day One

Tree-Climbing Lions

Transfer from Entebbe to Ishasha, Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Estimated journey time: 9 hrs
[scheduled flight available to reduce travel time]

Ishasha Plains which covers the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, is known for its 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 that 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 to seek out these impressive cats. 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 tracks for other wildlife species found on the savannah here including elephants, topi, Uganda kob, buffalo and hyaenas.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Enjojo Lodge, thatched cottage

Day Two

Dawn On The Savannah

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

Meet Deo, a local farmer who makes his living cultivating his family's land on the boundaries of Queen Elizabeth National Park. He will give you a tour around his fields and provide further insight into the wildlife management issues faced by local farmers. Deo will demonstrate several ingenious solutions that have been implemented to mitigate potential human wildlife conflicts, such as an expansive elephant trench to prevent elephants from raiding his crops and chilli burning technique to keep wildlife at bay in an ecological manner. An interesting insight into human-wildlife conflict mitigation practices in action, allowing Deo and his family to farm while respecting and coexisting with wildlife.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr 30 mins

Transfer from Ishasha, Queen Elizabeth National Park to Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Estimated journey time: 4 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge, cabin

Day Three

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 with your local guide to explore the area around Ruhija village, on the edge of the rainforest. This is a great way to meet local members of the community as they go about their everyday lives. On your walk you will be visiting some of the local handicraft shops, where the local craftspeople fashion 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 and bargain a fair price. You will then move on through the village with the chance to meet other local residents, including a traditional healer who will share the secrets of medicinal plants and the local brewer to 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: 2 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge, cabin

Day Four

Journey Home

Transfer from Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Entebbe.
Estimated journey time: 10 hrs
[scheduled flight available on request]

Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Accommodation: Not Included