• A leopard in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

The 'Big 5' & Island Paradise

Immerse yourself in the vast savannah of Murchison Falls & truly relax from your exclusive savannah lodge retreat. Explore the wildlife circuits to spy a plethora of savannah wildlife, cruise to the Nile’s thundering base of the infamous waterfall and peacefully float through the skies on a hot air balloon safari. Then unwind at an exclusive lodge nestled amongst the rainforest on a tropical island, mid-stream in the mighty river Nile & pamper yourself at their private spa.


Itinerary - The ‘Big 5’ & Island Paradise [TACP10-003]

Day One

Welcome to Uganda

Transfer from Entebbe International Airport to Kampala.
Estimated transfer time: 1 hr.

Unwind at your cosmopolitan hotel and indulge yourself in their offering of luxury amenities. The hotel provides a swimming pool, range of lounges and rooftop bars from which to relax, so take in those fantastic views across the city and out to Lake Victoria. Feast your eyes and stomach in one of the hotel's fine restaurants serving some of the capital’s culinary highlights. Work up a glow in a modern gym with personal trainers of hand to assist you. Or pamper yourself with some true relaxation at the hotel’s spa with a range of treatments to make you feel truly revitalised before you begin your safari.

Meals included: not included
Accommodation: Latitude 0°, room.

Day Two

Fly to Murchison Falls Savannah

Drive from Kampala to Kajjansi Airfield.
Estimated journey time: 30 mins. 

Take to the skies and fly from Kajjansi Airfield to fly to Pakuba Airstrip.
Estimated journey time: 1 hr 30 mins. 

Explore the Buligi wildlife tracks, which crisscross the savannah between the branches of the Victoria and Albert Nile. These circuits in the northern sector offer the highest density of wildlife viewing anywhere in Murchison Falls National Park. You’ll have the chance to spot species such as Rothschild giraffes, lions, hippos, elephants, herds of buffalo, Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, warthog, waterbuck and if you're lucky, spot the elusive leopard! These great wildlife spotting opportunities are set to the backdrop of the park’s stunning landscape of savannah plains dotted with Palmyra palm trees and pockets of Acacia tree woodlands. Towards the end of your wildlife drive you’ll stop off at the hippo pool on the Victoria Nile delta, where you can see hippos wallowing in the shallows and calling to each other across the water, with the Blue Mountains visible in the distance.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Nile Safari Lodge, deluxe banda.

Day Three

Water Safari on the Nile & Waterfall Hike

Embark on a water safari to navigate the course of river Nile to the thundering base of Murchison Falls waterfall.  Also known as Kabalega Falls, this waterfall is the most iconic feature in the park and the river cruise offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. As you meander upstream passing hippo pods lazing in the water, you’ll seek out crocodiles basking on the riverbanks, as well as buffalo, waterbuck and Uganda kob. If you’re lucky you’ll also meet elephants bathing in the river to cool off from the heat of the day! A multitude of birds can be spotted including the Red-throated and Northern-carmine Bee-eaters nesting on the Nyamusika cliffs while performing a colourful display. On reaching the base of the falls you’ll marvel at the spectacle of the White Nile surging through a 7 metre wide gap in the rock face, cutting through Fajao Gorge and falling 43 meters into the river below, before it meanders off through the savannah plains of the park.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs

Upon reaching the base of Murchison Falls, you’ll disembark from the boat and be guided up the trail to the top of the falls. From the path you’ll get fantastic views from several vantage points over the Murchison Falls and twin seasonal waterfall, Uhuru Falls. Upon reaching the top you can marvel at the splash and rainbows of the Nile crashing through a seven-metre gap in the rock face, with cooling sheets of spray being given off by the falls.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

Drive from the top of the falls to Nile Safari Lodge.
Estimated journey time: 30 mins.

Explore the plains of the northern sector of the park with a focus on the lesser known tracks near to Pakuba. This area has some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the park with herds of elephant, buffalo, Uganda kob grazing the grasslands, while towers of giraffes browse on the acacia trees. With your Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger and guide you will then take a detour from the typical wildlife tracks to visit the old Pakuba Lodge, Idi Amin’s now derelict state lodge and private residence. These ruins are set in a prime location, offering beautiful views down to the river Nile and Blue Mountains in the distance. The building has long been reclaimed by the wild, now being heavily overgrown by vegetation and is a favourite haunt of the local hyaenas and a resident leopard!
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Nile Safari Lodge, deluxe banda.

Day Four

Chimpanzees & Sunset Hot Air Balloon Safari

Drive from Nile Safari Lodge to Budongo Forest.
Estimated travel time: 1 hr 30 mins.

Track the chimps of Budongo Forest on the southern fringes of Murchison Falls National Park. The forest is home to a vast range of species including 280 butterfly varieties, 9 species of mammals and 465 species of plants, including the Mahogany trees which can grow up to 80 meters in height. The rainforest is home to more than 600 chimps, of which a family of 80 individuals has been habituated to allow tourism visits, with an 80% successful tracking rate. Once you've found the group amongst the dense rainforest, spend an intimate hour with them, watching them play, forage, socialise and display their prowess in their rainforest home.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs (including 1 hr viewing) 

Drive from Budongo Forest to Nile Safari Lodge.
Estimated travel time: 1 hr 30 mins.

Take a break from the heat of the day to unwind at your exclusive riverside lodge. Nile Safari Lodge provides a range of unique architectural spaces for you to relax. A beautiful infinity pool with river views, provides the perfect spot from where you can take a dip and cool off from the heat of the day. Relax your body at the Mtoni Massage house, located on a cloistered cliff overlooking the river Nile, with a range of eco-friendly treatments using 100% essential and natural plant extracts.

Take to the skies on a hot air balloon safari! Your flight team will give a safety briefing as you watch the hot air balloon inflate, towering over the surrounding savannah. After being assisted into the basket gently ascend into the skies, as the sun sinks to the horizon illuminating the park a golden glow. Your pilot will fly low over the treetops offering you intimate wildlife viewing of herds of elephants marching through the plains and giraffes browsing on the acacia trees, while herds of buffalo and Uganda kobs graze in the soft evening light. Then climb to 330 meters above ground level for expansive views over the entire park, with the tranquil silence punctuated only by the occasional roar of the flame overhead. You will gently descend back down to earth as the sun sets to the west and the first stars appear in the sky.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 30 mins (1 hr flight).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Nile Safari Lodge, deluxe banda.

Day Five

Rhino Tracking

Drive from Murchison Falls National Park to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Estimated journey time: 3 hrs.

Venture into Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to seek out the rhinos living in the safety of this semi wild reserve. You’ll trek over the grassland and through the African bush on foot with a ranger to visit Uganda’s most endangered creature, the Southern White Rhino. Your ranger is very experienced and knowledgeable about the rhinos and will be able to identify each individual and tell you about their characteristics, as well as give you more information on the effort to recover Uganda’s rhino population. This is the only place in Uganda where the rhinos survive and breed with the hopes of one day being introduced to a national park. All the proceeds from your visit go towards funding the rhino’s future.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

Drive from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to Jinja.
Estimated journey time: 5 hrs.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Wildwaters, room.

Day Six & Seven

Relax by the Wild Waters of the Nile

Take some time to relax at your exclusive lodge nestled amongst tropical rainforest on a private island, mid-stream in the mighty river Nile. Enjoy lunch from under the thatched terrace with stunning views of the rivers rushing white water and unwind with a massage at the lodge’s private spa. Take a dip and plunge into the natural swimming pool carved out by the river over millennia from pink granite and relax in comfort by the river's edge. Of course if you’re interested in birdlife there are a plethora of species found on the island which is in the heart of the Wildwaters Reserve that protects this untamed section of the river with good chances of spotting the resident otters and giant monitor lizards basking in the sun. However you spend your time here you will truly relax on this intimate tropical island paradise.

On one afternoon of your stay you can embark on a cruise from the docks at Jinja Sailing Club to explore the lagoons of Lake Victoria to the 'Source of the Nile'. As you cruise along the shores of Lake Victoria, the world's largest tropical lake, a variety of birdlife including African fish Eagles, Pied Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers and Green Backed Herons can be spotted swooping over the water. While on the lakeshore you’ll be passing several small fishing communities, who live off the lake catching fish such as Nile Perch and Tilapia. Your friendly local guide will happily explain to you about the local history, significance of the lake and answer any questions you have. You will then make your way to the 'Source of the Nile', the world’s longest river! This is marked by a small island, where you may be able to hear the rustle of giant monitor lizards living there. As you circle around the island your guide will be more than happy to snap your picture at the source. Before you cruise back along the edge of Lake Victoria to the docks.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Wildwaters, room.

Day Eight

Departing From the Nile

Spend a final morning relaxing from you tropical island retreat.

Drive from Jinja to Entebbe. Estimated journey time: 4 hrs.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Not included.