All Inclusive Uganda Gorilla Safari
October 4th - 11th, 2024
Gorillas & Chimpanzees in the Mist!
We haven't taken our travel club to Uganda since 2018. It's long overdue to make the journey to the heart of Africa to witness and photograph beautiful primates among the dazzling beauty of Uganda! We're thrilled to have crafted this off-the-path itinerary from scratch at an unbeatable price! We'll stay in amazing lodges within breathtaking national parks among the home of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, numerous monkey species, elephants, hippos, tree-dwelling lions, crocodiles, and exotic birds (just to name a few...)!
Plus lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles and so much more!
And don't forget! Check out our awesome 5-Day Extension Below for more chimp encounters at Kibale National Park "Primate Capital of the World", volcanoes, and Murchison Falls National Park.
E-mail us at email@example.com for the daily itinerary!
Deservedly dubbed the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is located in the Great Lakes Region in central Africa and boasts an ecological diversity that rivals many larger countries. Here, Eastern Savannah meets West African jungle offering visitors incredible diversity with its multitude of varying ecosystems. Bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains (often called the Mountains of the Moon, the 3rd highest in Africa), the Virunga Mountains, and Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria, it's a beautiful country bursting with bird- and wildlife.
In no other African destination can one see a comparable variety of primates with so little effort - not just the great apes but also more than ten monkey species. And, if Uganda will have primate enthusiasts grinning with satisfaction, it will have bird watchers doing cartwheels. Uganda is, by far, the smallest of the four African countries in which more than 1,000 bird species have been recorded and it is particularly rich in western rainforest specialists - in practical terms, undoubtedly the finest bird watching in Africa!
* Entebbe, Gateway to the Gorillas: While there isn't a whole lot to do in Entebbe, it's Uganda's major gateway into the country so we'll stay overnight here on arrival at a highly rated hotel minutes from the airport, on the shores of Lake Victoria, the largest in Africa! The next day we're back to the airport for our flight to Kihihi, the area where Bwindi National Park and her gorillas await...
Bwindi National Park (3 Nights)
For most, the jungle in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the highlight where coming face to face with endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the most profound wildlife encounters you will ever experience. Located in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, Bwindi is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda, home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site!
* Bwindi Luxury Safari Lodges: Due to the intimate nature of this type of jungle safari, we'll be staying between two luxury lodges within the national park, just a few minutes apart. At both properties, we'll be treated to 3 delicious meals prepared fresh daily from local produce, offering a balance of international and local cuisine. All alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are also included throughout!
Buhoma Lodge: Ten comfortable cottages have been carefully built from local materials. Each suite has a private veranda and enormous windows, allowing guests spectacular and uninterrupted views of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Parks forest canopy.
Mahogany Springs: Perched on top of the Munyanga River, overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mahogany Springs consists of 12 Luxury Suites, surrounded by beautiful gardens and panoramic views of the verdant valley.
* Gorillas Face to Face: Coming face to face with mountain gorillas is a rare wildlife encounter and a lifetime experience! Expert guides and trackers will accompany us on an early morning trek into the dense rainforest on the mountain slopes. Mountain gorillas are extremely rare, with only an estimated 880 remaining in the wild. The opportunity to come within a few yards of these magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and photographing their day-to-day activities is an experience we'll never forget! (another trek opportunity will be available on our last day in Bwindi National Park)
Gorilla trekking can often be a strenuous activity with treks ranging from 30 minutes up to four-six hours, at high altitudes. Tracking in the Bwindi forest requires stamina and can take most of the day. Mountain gorillas are wild animals, thus sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, viewing success rates are about 98%!
* Optional 2nd gorilla trek permit not included ($700.00)
* Optional Batwa Pygmies Encounter: Discover the "Caretakers of the Primeval Bwindi Forest" 5,000 year-old-culture's traditions and learn how these native tribal inhabitants survived in the forest as hunter-gatherers - what they ate, how they hunted, the plants & herbs they used, and how they dance, sing, and socialize. Best of all, our visit helps assist these communities in need with an additional source of income!
* Optional Discover Agartha’s Taste of Uganda: Agartha is a craftswoman, tailor, and organic subsistence farmer who welcomes you into her homestead and shares with you how the women of the Bakiga tribe prepare their local food. During this tour, Agartha weaves in stories of life as a Bakiga wife whilst encouraging you to taste what you have prepared together. A fun, educational tour for the inquisitive visitor who wonders how a rural Ugandan woman lives.
Queen Elizabeth National Park (3 Nights)
Surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth NP is truly nature's wonderland with stunning vistas and landscapes as far as the eye can see. To the east lie the guardians of the birthplace of mankind, the Great Rift Valley hills, and, in the distance, the Mountains of the Moon (Rwenzoris). The meandering Kazinga Channel flows endlessly between the two giant lakes: Lake George and Lake Edward, providing a vital water source for a plethora of flora and fauna, including chimpanzees, tree-climbing lions, elephants, cape buffalo, hippos, and flamingos (among 612 species of birds!).
* Mweya Safari Lodge: Located on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge is surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains aptly described as the "Mountains of the Moon". Dine indoors in the elegant, formal dining room or outside on the veranda where the setting is enhanced by spectacular panoramic views across the Kazinga Channel. Our deluxe rooms have a simple safari atmosphere with a level of comfort that will not disappoint, together with superior furnishings and large windows showing panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel. The room is perfectly situated to view the picturesque Lake George and Lake Edward. We can view the Rwenzori Mountains while sitting on the balcony watching the warthogs graze!
* Chamburu Gorge Chimpanzee Trekking: The forest is alive with noise - chimpanzees can be quite active and may move quickly through the forest canopy...or, if we're lucky, we may find them resting or eating near the forest floors. It's an exhilarating walk in beautiful scenery! The gorge is a pristine area where one large troupe of chimpanzees reside, together with resident game that wanders into the area (including elephant, buffalo, antelope, and other small species). An amazing day awaits full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and lots of photographs!
* Kazinga River Safari: Enjoy a leisurely boat safari along the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We may encounter herds of elephants, buffalo, antelope, families of warthogs, large groups of hippos, and crocodiles basking on the shore! Kazinga's shores are also a haven for numerous birds so there will be endless images to capture everywhere we look! Not to mention, the cruise provides a spectacular view of the beautiful Mweya Peninsula and life in local fishing villages set along the banks.
* In Search of Tree Climbing Lions: While on a safari game drive, we'll scout for the famous tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha region within Queen Elizabeth NP. They like to rest in large fig trees in this remote southern extremity of the park. Tree-dwelling lions prey on the
Topi, Uganda Kob, and (if feeling confident!) Cape Buffalo which graze Ishasha’s beautiful acacia studded savanna.
Single Supplement: $995.00 *LIMITED Single Supplements Available
Uganda All Inclusive Extension (Optional)
October 11th - 16th, 2024
Primate Capital of Africa & The World's Most Powerful Waterfall
It would be a shame to miss this off-the-path extension to our incredible Uganda Gorilla Safari! Continue onto the Volcano studded Kibale National Park, known as the Primate Capital of the World where chimp sightings have a 90% success rate! We'll finish at Murchison Falls National Park teeming with exotic game animals including elephants, lions, leopards, cape buffalo, and a variety of antelope. Aside from the great safaris, the real highlight is what the park is named after, Murchison Falls; where the longest river in Africa, the Nile, forces its way through a narrow opening and falls over 140ft down into a beautiful lake! This extension is also all-inclusive with delicious meals and drinks included throughout.
Kibale National Park (2 Nights)
Kibale National Park could well qualify as the primate capital of the world, being home to 13 species of primates, as well as a host of other wildlife. Chimpanzee trekking here can be exciting – as unlike their cousins the gorillas, chimpanzees tend to be more active and often keep moving through the forest canopies, so you may find yourself following a family through dense jungles! Of course sightings cannot be guaranteed as they are wild animals, but the chances of seeing them are very good.
* Chimpundu Lodge: Luxury cottages located inside Kibale National Forest! With every comfort catered for, dramatic yet private open-air bathrooms look out on tropical vistas in every direction. Among a lush indigenous setting, cool off after a day of enthralling chimpanzee trekking with a refreshing dip in the swimming pool.
* Chimpanzees Face to Face: Two treks allow us maximum opportunity to encounter our closest relatives which share 98% of our DNA. Chimps move quickly, so we need to be quick if we hope to catch them on camera. Though chimpanzees are the most sought after primate by photographers and tourists, chimpanzee are the primate most sought after by visitors, we should also look out for black and white colobus, red tailed monkeys, and grey cheeked mangabey!
Chimpanzee trekking can be a strenuous activity with treks ranging from two-three hours. Tracking in the Kibale forest requires stamina, agility, good balance, and the abilityto move quickly to keep up with chimp families. Chimpanzees are wild animals, thus sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, viewing success rates are about 90%!
Murchison Falls National Park (3 Nights)
Uganda’s largest National Park, where four of the "big five" (Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, and leopard) can be witnessed & photographed, is even more well known for the natural phenomenon where the Nile River explodes its way through a 23-foot gap and drops 141 feet through a narrow gorge. The pressure is so great that the ground around it shakes! It cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, and buffaloes. Other diverse landscapes are characterized by savannah, riverine forest, and woodland making it the perfect home for elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and tons of bird species!
* Paraa Safari Lodge: Overlooking the Nile River on a remarkable journey from its source at Lake Victoria to join Lake Albert, the lodge is perfectly situated to experience the thunderous falls nearby and embark on amazing game drives. Paraa offers a unique blend of comfort, relaxation, and adventure. Each of the rooms is a haven of style and serenity, complete with a balcony and private bathroom, and are perfectly situated to view the swimming pool as well as the Nile river beyond.
* Nile Delta Cruise Safari: We embark on a boat safari into the Victoria Nile Delta and cruise downstream home to a wide variety of wetland and papyrus endemic bird species, including the elusive shoebill stork. Enjoy the constantly changing scenery as we wind our way to Lake Albert. The journey offers a unique opportunity to spot & photograph rarely found birds and animals including hippos, elephants, and large crocodiles from the water's perspective.
* Cruise to the Bottom of Murchison Falls: This cruise takes us to the head of Fajao Gorge, at the base of Murchison Falls. The park's most popular attraction since the 1950s, here is where the force of the mighty Nile River narrows to flow through a tiny 22 foot gap, and then plummets down 140 feet to the vast gorge below. The power of the falls and the scenic views from their base are breath-taking and a blast to photograph. *An optional drive to the top of the falls to photograph from a different perspective will also be available, time pending &additional costs may apply.
* Safari Game Drive: Drive through the scenic Buligi area west of Paraa to the Delta Point (where the Victoria Nile passes through the Northern tip of Lake Albert to become the Albert Nile). In addition to the beautiful landscapes, we'll expect to see and photograph elephants, buffalo, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, and oribi. If we're lucky, a lion and maybe even a leopard might come out to say hello and pose for the camera!
* Optional Ziwa Rhino Tracking: Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch is the proud home of the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The Rhino re-introduction project is managed by the Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority. This is the only place where we will be able to see rhinos in the wild. The sanctuary is home to 15 southern white rhinos and trained rangers will expertly guide us through the expedition. Experience this one-of-a-kind opportunity to observe & photograph the rhinos at a very close but safe distance! The sanctuary is also home to a range of other wildlife including Uganda kobs, reedbucks, oribis, rich bucks, hippos, and crocodiles. *Additional cost applies
* Travelers who want to participate in the chimpanzee trek(s) should be in good physical condition, without any heart problems, and prepared to spend strenuous days in humid rain forests, potentially steep terrain, and high-altitude hiking. Those who prefer to stay back can participate in any of the other safaris & activities available and all other included adventures during our journey.
* PhotoFly Travel Club adventures are laid back when it comes to photography. They are not workshop-style based tours and you do not need to be an avid photographer to join. All are welcome!
Single Supplement: $695.00 *LIMITED Single Supplements Available
*For our solo travelers, we will pair you up with someone of the same sex unless single occupancy is requested.
Cancellation Policy & Refunds
*There is a $300.00 administrative fee for all cancellations. Cancellations made 145 days (May 12th, 2024) or more prior to trip departure date are fully refundable except for the $100 fee. Cancellations less than 145 days (May 13th, 2024) prior to the trip departure date will receive no refund of the full amount due. No refunds on unused portions of the tour. Credit card fees and paypal processing fees cannot be refunded. After airline tickets are issued, airline cancellations are per the airline’s policy and are usually non-refundable and changeable with a fee plus new ticket price. Travel insurance strongly encouraged (ask us about policy options). *Hotels subject to change based on availability
COVID Cancellation Policy – Local Planet Travel Services OR Guest may cancel this reservation if the USA or country(s) we are visiting mandates a country-wide closure due to COVID. If this happens, you would receive a full refund. If guest chooses, the funds can remain on file and be applied for any future tour with PhotoFly Travel Club. *Please note bank merchant service fees when using a credit card are non-refundable.
MANDATORY VACCINE REQUIREMENT: The safety of all our guests is a top priority regardless of where our adventures take us. All travelers are required to have an approved COVID-19 vaccination to participate in this tour. Travelers that meet this mandatory requirement can join our adventures after 14 days have elapsed since their final dose. Proof of vaccination must be provided by emailing a copy of the participant's COVID-19 vaccination card to firstname.lastname@example.org upon sign-up. *Guests who are not vaccinated for medical reasons are exempt from this mandatory vaccine policy with proof from a certified medical professional.
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