• Black & White colobus monkeys in Kibale National Park, Uganda
  • Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park, Uganda
  • Bush breakfast on Ishasha Plains, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
  • Mountain gorilla mother & baby, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
  • Spa & massage at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi, Uganda

Premier Primate Retreats

Discover East Africa’s premier primate destinations & relativise yourself with stays at Uganda’s most luxurious lodge retreats. Seek out the chimpanzees in the depths of ancient rainforest, observe their natural lives as they swing through the trees, forage & play. Then encounter a rare mountain gorilla family, amidst the swirling mists of their highland home and relax at your exclusive hideaway to sooth your mind to sounds of the rainforest.


Itinerary - Premier Primate Retreats [TACP10-004]

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

Monkey Spotting

Drive from Kampala to Fort Portal.
Estimated transfer time: 6 hrs.

Stop for lunch at your lodge perched on the rim on an idyllic crater lake.

Drive from Fort Portal to Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary.
Estimated transfer time: 30 mins.

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

Drive from Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary to Fort Portal.
Estimated transfer time: 30 mins.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Kyaninga Lodge, cottage.

Day Three

Chimpanzee Tracking

Drive from Fort Portal to Kibale National Park.
Estimated transfer time: 30 mins.

Meet with your Uganda Wildlife Authority tracking team for a briefing on tracking the chimpanzees. Kibale National Park is one of East Africa’s premier destinations to chimp track with a 95% successful tracking rate. This ancient rainforest is also home to one of the highest concentrations and diversities of primates found anywhere on the continent. The tracking team will be escorting you throughout your time in the rainforest 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 as you trek. 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 one hour with them. You will be able to observe their natural behaviour in the rainforest as they play, eat, socialise and display their prowess before making the return hike along the rainforest paths.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs (including 1 hr viewing)

Drive from Kibale National Park to Fort Portal.
Estimated transfer time: 30 mins.

Relax at Kyaninga Lodge, your quintessential lodge perched on the rim of a crater lake with views toward the Rwenzori Mountains. Unwind by the swimming pool, enjoy a game of tennis or croquet. A beautifully landscaped garden offers the chance for a short stroll or you can settle back, relax and enjoy the views from the lodge terrace. However you spend your time here you're sure to relax in the tranquility of Kyaninga Lodge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Kyaninga Lodge, cottage.

Day Four

Tree-climbing Lions

Drive from Fort Portal to Ishasha Plains, Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Estimated transfer time: 5 hrs.

Ishasha Plains covers the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and is renowned 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 by catching the cooling breezes in the trees, while allowing them 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. Seek them out 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

As the sun begins to sink in the sky you’ll drive through the savannah to a viewpoint over Ishasha Plains. Here you will find a table has been laid out for you, with snacks and a selection of beverages. Enjoy a drink and watch the sunset light up the savannah around you, as you reflect on your day on safari amongst the tranquil sounds of the savannah. Trust us that this sunset can be spectacular! It’s the perfect way to end the day, then as darkness seeps across the savannah you’ll be driven to your lodge for the evening.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Ishasha Wilderness Camp, room.

Day Five

Dawn Wildlife Drive on Ishasha Plains

Rise early before the sun to watch it light up Ishasha Plains and cast a golden hue across the savannah. Dawn wildlife drives give excellent photo opportunities due to the soft early morning light, and when 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 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.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

In a secluded spot in the heart of the savannah a breakfast camp has been set up for you, with a stunning view over Ishasha Plains. You will be served a selection of freshly baked bread, local fruits, tea, freshly brewed coffee, tropical juices and your chef will prepare eggs to your liking on their portable stove. From the dining table and safari chairs all set under a shaded canopy, you can relax in comfort to the sounds of the wild and stunning savannah panorama playing out around you.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

Drive from Ishasha Plains to Buhoma, Bwindi Impenetrable NP.
Estimated journey time: 2 hrs. 

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 a 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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp, room.

Day Six

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 included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp, room.

Day Seven

Rainforest Waterfall Ramble

Explore the misty rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by hiking the Ivi-Nkuringo river trail. On the edge of the rainforest you’ll meet your Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger for a briefing on your hike. They will also be guiding for the duration of your time in the rainforest, detailing the ecosystems and identifying the many species of birds, butterflies and monkeys as you walk. This is an excellent way to gain further insight into the rainforest. This idyllic trail culminates by reaching the Muyanga Waterfall, a stunning waterfall that tumbles 33 meters down the rock face in the heart of the rainforest. You’re sure to be impressed by the crash of the falls as the calls of the rainforest echo around you! After basking in the tranquility of the rainforest you’ll make your way back to the trailhead at Buhoma.
Estimated excursion time: 4 hrs
*This excursion can be replaced for an additional gorilla trek, please request the quote for this.

Unwind in comfort to the sights and sounds of the rainforest from your luxury lodge retreat. Relax in peace and seclusion under the dappled light of the rainforest at your private porch or find a comfy spot in the lodge’s communal lounge and enjoy a good book. Pamper yourself at the lodge's private spa with a therapist on hand providing herbal massages, hydrating facials, foot massages and manicures, with all eco-friendly products created from pure natural ingredients. The perfect remedy for tired muscles after your trek in the rainforest.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp, room.

Day Eight

Fly from the Gorilla Homelands

Drive from Buhoma, Bwindi Impenetrable NP to Kihihi Airstrip.
Estimated journey time: 1 hr 30 mins.

Take to the skies and fly from Kihihi Airstrip to Kajjansi Airfield.
Estimated journey time: 1 hr 20 mins.

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

Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch.
Accommodation: Not included.