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Gorilla trekking safaris

gorilla trekking safaris | combine your gorilla and safari experience

Gorilla trekking safaris is a combination of Gorilla trekking as well as an African safari in the Serengeti or Masai Mara.An awsome way to chill out

The eight day Gorilla trekking safari includes the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, game viewing, optional chimp tracking in Chamburu (Kyamburu) Gorge and game/bird-watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including a boat cruise, and a visit to Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary. Two gorilla tracking opportunities are included on this itinerary, but MUST be requested at time of booking and will be subject to availability.

 

 Gorilla trekking Safaris. A quick overview of the trip

 

Day 1

Arrive   Entebbe and transfer to The Boma Guest House

Half day trip Ngamba Island

 

Day 2
Lake Mburo National Park, tented camp

 

Day 3
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Buhoma LodgeForest walk / community visit

 

Day 4  Trekking Gorillas Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Buhoma Lodge

 

Day 5  Optional second gorilla tracking Overnight Bwindi or

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha Wilderness Camp

 

Day 6
Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha / Mweya
Day 7
Queen Elizabeth National park – Mweya / Jacana
Day 8
Return to Entebbe – end of services

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

GORILLAS, CHIMPANZEE & GAME –     LODGE SAFARI

 

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT FROM TIME TO TIME THIS ITINERARY MAY GO TO RWANDA TO TRACK GORILLAS DUE TO PERMIT AVAILABILITY.   FURTHER, THE ITINERARY MAY BE REVERSED TO SUIT PERMIT AVAILABILITY.  PLEASE ENQUIRE AT THE TIME OF BOOKING.

 

Day 1

Arrive Entebbe Airport where you will be met by our representative and transferred to the Boma Guest Lodge, or Gately, Entebbe.

 

The Boma

A small, family run guesthouse located in the suburbs of Entebbe.  A converted residential house, it offers quiet, relaxed accommodation with a homely atmosphere.  Each room is uniquely decorated and has en suite facilities.  They offer meals as well as a small bar area for guests.    There is a large garden with swimming pool and a patio with a view of Lake Victoria.

 

The Gately Inn

Gately Inn offers nine deluxe rooms, superbly decorated to the detailed finish. Spacious, airy rooms fitted with turbo electric standing fans, flat screen with remote control DSTV (cable TV) and a key turn safe for each room.

Induldge in the hottest of solar heating, (adding our awareness to the reduction in environment carbon omissions), uniquely designed (stone & pebble featured), high pressured shower rooms. The main family room offers a decadent step down bath for those that wish to soak away and relieve the stress pre or post airport travel.

 

Entebbe is a small town, located on the edge of Lake Victoria.  Depending on your time of arrival, you may spend some time exploring the town on foot.  In Entebbe there is the Wildlife Education Centre, where you can see some of the local species including shoebill stork, or you may visit the Botanical gardens, which are great for bird watching.

 

Depending on your time of arrival, you may be transferred (time to arrange locally) to the Entebbe Pier for your half day trip to Ngamba Island.  (This activity can also be done at the end of the safari).

 

Depart from Entebbe Pier on the mainland, after a short briefing and travel by boat approximately 45 minutes by speedboat or 1½ hours by motorised traditional boat, to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria, where orphaned chimpanzees have been relocated under the management and guidance of a group of dedicated conservationists including the Jane Goodall Institute.

 

Lunch on the island is optional – to be paid directly to the island staff, and cool drinks, tea and coffee are also available on the island.  Please take along some cash for curios etc – all of which helps toward the upkeep of the island and its chimpanzees.

 

Ngamba Island is part of the Koome group of islands located on Lake Victoria 23km south of Entebbe, Uganda. It consists of approximately 100 acres, 98 of which are forested and separated from the visitors area by an electric fence.  Ngamba Island was officially opened to visitors in October 1999 and is currently home to approximately 40 orphaned chimpanzees, most of which have been confiscated from pet trading and brought to the island since it’s opening.

 

Ngamba Island is a project of the Chimpanzees Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT), established in 1997 by the Born Free Foundation (UK), International Fund for Animal Welfare (USA), the Jane Goodall Institute (Germany and Uganda), The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Trust (UWECT) and the Zoological Board of New South Wales (Australia) and it provides these orphaned chimpanzees with a secure home to live out their lives, since a return to their natural habitat is not possible, while educating visitors and local communities about their remarkable species and the importance of conserving their fragile forest habitat.

 

You can help support this project by visiting.  The entrance and activity fees paid goes directly towards helping cover the recurring costs of the island sanctuary and ensuring the well-being of the chimpanzees.

 

Return to Entebbe by boat and transfer to your hotel/lodge.  Overnight with breakfast included.

 

Day 2

Today we will head in a south-west direction to Lake Mburo National park, from Entebbe approx 5 hours drive.

 

Arrive around lunchtime at Lake Mburo, and overnight at Mantana Tented Camp, or Mahingo Lodge with all meals included.

 

Mantana Mburo Tented Camp

Situated high up on a hillside within the national park, and off the main route to the park headquarters is this tented camp with views stretching far and wide.  Each en-suite tent, on a wooden deck, caters for two persons and has it’s own bathroom area with hot showers, an eco-friendly toilet and a private dressing area.  A central area provides dining and bar facilities.  Meals are generally of a high standard with several courses for most.

 

Mihingo Lodge

Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and luxurious retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park.  Situated on over 200 privately owned acres, it features ten rooms which are built on wooden platforms and stilts, covered by a thatched roof.  Suspended under the thatched roof is a spacious and comfortable tent equipped with en-suite bathrooms, including hot and cold running water, showers, and flush toilets.

 

There are ten rooms and each luxury tented room is nestled on a private piece of the lodge’s property, enabling guests to enjoy the tranquil environment in complete seclusion.  Placed in varied settings, some rooms are situated in a forest setting, some with a lake view, and some on rock outcrops.

 

The main dining area is a large thatched structure built from rocks, the wood of dead olive trees found on the land, and native grasses.  Below the dining area, an infinity swimming pool stretches out from the rocks and seems to disappear into the vast landscape beyond.  From the dining and pool area, guests can enjoy the view of a westward oriented valley and its stunning evening sunsets over Lake Mburo National Park.  Animals gathering in the valley will provide guests with fantastic game viewing opportunities or a chance to relax and watch wildlife at water hole and salt lick below the pool.

 

Lake Mburo is home to many different animal species, including zebra, eland, and impala, who are not found in Queen Elizabeth National Park.  It is also a favourite birding spot.

 

Aside from lounging by the pool, enjoying the sounds of nature, or watching nearby wildlife, guests can also avail themselves of the numerous activities offered by Mihingo Lodge and Lake Mburo National Park.  Guides from the lodge can accompany guests on nature walks to Lake Kachera.

 

 

In appreciation of its fragile surroundings, Mihingo Lodge is an environmentally friendly accommodation.  The buildings are constructed in such a way as to melt into the rocky outcrops and savannah landscape around them.  Electricity is provided by solar panels and there is a natural water catchment system to take advantage of the rains.

 

Employees of Mihingo Lodge have received training in hospitality services, and the management is dedicated to providing an exceptional safari experience for every visitor.

 

LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK

Lake Mburo, 260km2 was gazetted in 1982 as Uganda’s fourth national park. It is composed primarily of grassland, wetland, and acacia woodland habitats. At the centre of the park lies Lake Mburo, which together with 14 other lakes in the area forms part of an extensive wetland system.

 

The park has topi, eland, kilpspringer, zebra, buffalo, oribi, sitatunga, leopard, an excellent variety of water and acacia savannah bird species, like crested crane, marabou stork and bronze-tailed starling.

During your time at Lake Mburo, you will be able to enjoy game drives and/or a guided walk, or possibly take a local canoe or boat around the actual lake.  Discuss the options with your guide.

 

Day 3

After breakfast, continue west through an area of great beauty, often referred to as the Little Switzerland of Africa, you will travel on mountainous roads into the highlands of Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, this takes approximately 4-5 hours.

 

Buhoma Lodge

Situated on the original “homestead” site at Bwindi, adjacent to the National Park, this exclusive lodge has been extensively renovated and upgraded to take full advantage of the convenient location and offers uninterrupted views towards the pristine rain forest canopy.

The lodge has a total of eight beautifully appointed, large cottages, spaciously set out along the mountainside. Each cottage has large windows fully netted and its own private verandah to take advantage of the spectacular views. Large comfortable beds ensure a good nights rest after a tiring day of gorilla tracking!  The en-suite bathrooms are spacious with flushing toilets and piping hot showers, and the honeymoon cottage even has its own ‘cuddle-tub’.  Lighting throughout the lodge is by solar. The spacious upper level lounge, bar and dining area has fireplaces to provide warmth in the cool evenings, where guests may dine and relax discussing the day’s events.

 

As part of commitment to the local infrastructure, staff are recruited from the local communities of the area and they provide a welcoming environment and excellent service levels for guests. Whenever possible, supplies including local fresh produce, are purchased through local residents and businesses in the area.

 

Meals are wholesome, freshly prepared and generous quantities are served.  A variety of international dishes are served as well as local specialities such as matoke and g-nut sauce.

 

Unlimited hot beverages are available all day on a self-serve basis and are delivered to your cottage with early morning wake up calls as required.  Sitting on your private verandah watching the sun-rise over the forest in the early morning as you sip your tea, offers a very relaxing way to embark on the day.

 

Rooms: 3 x en suite double cottages, 5 x en suite twin cottages.

 

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

The park is located in South-western Uganda, covering parts of Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale Districts. It is situated in a hilly countryside, which, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary, constitutes an important water catchment area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.

This is the richest forest in Uganda, in terms of the number of plant species, as the area is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane communities merge. The valley bottoms contain a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs with only a few trees hence its name, the impenetrable forest.

This is one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa. There exists about one half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. There are also several endangered species of birds with limited ranges.   Gorilla tracking began on 1st April 1993.

 

Overnight at Buhoma Lodge with all meals included (or similar standard accommodation).

 

Please note that on certain departures, due to Gorilla Permit availability, this section of the safari may be undertaken in RWANDA.

A similar standard of accommodation will be utilized in Rwanda, but there may be a surcharge depending on availability.  Please check at the time of booking.

 

Day 4

After breakfast you will be escorted to the National Parks headquarters to meet your guides for the day for your gorilla tracking experience.

 

An early morning trek into the forest on the slopes of the volcanoes, led by experienced trackers will bring you amongst a family of Mountain Gorillas. These massive primates are extremely rare, only approximately 700 remaining.

 

You will get within metres of the family, and be privileged to spend time amongst them. Time permitting return to the camp for a late lunch, we have an opportunity for forest walks with the guides, or just to relax.

 

Overnight Buhoma Lodge (or similar), as above, all meals included.

 

The trekking may be fairly strenuous; up to six hours or longer is not uncommon – at relatively high altitude.

Please refer to our information sheet.  Mountain Gorillas are wild animals, as such sightings cannot be guaranteed, however the success rate is well over 90%.

 

Day 5

Today you may enjoy a community walk which will include some curio shopping, visiting the Batwa pygmy tribes, the local orphanage and school.  Or, enjoy an early morning forest walk to look for the local birdlife and other forest species found at Bwindi.

For those with pre-purchased permits, a second gorilla tracking experience will be undertaken today.  Please discuss the day’s activities with your guide.

 

Overnight Buhoma Lodge with all meals included, or possibly overnight Ishasha Wilderness camp, QENP.

 

Day 6
Today we enjoy a short drive (2-3 hours) to the southern part of the Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Ishasha sector to be welcomed at our newly established luxury tented camp nestled under trees alongside a river.

Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp with all meals included.

 

Ishasha Wilderness Camp  

This exclusive tented camp offers the only quality accommodation in this un-spoilt remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for it’s tree climbing lions that can sometimes be spotted resting in the branches of the large fig trees in the area.  Combined with excellent game viewing for buffalo, elephants, kob, topi and other species of antelope, the camp provides the ideal location between gorilla viewing in Bwindi and the Mweya area of QENP.   On a clear day views from the area stretch to the ice-capped Rwenzori Mountains to the north, and the Virunga volcanoes to the south, there are few places on earth to rival the scenery in this park.  ‘Birders’ won’t be disappointed with the enormous range of species in the area.

 

There are a total of ten spacious safari tents alongside the wooded area beside the Ntungwe river.  Each tent has its own private en suite bathroom and dressing area providing hot water “bush” showers and an eco friendly flush toilet.  The tents have undertaken massive refurbishment (Jan 2012) but retained their ‘safari’ feeling.

 

A central dining & lounge area under thatch, provides a comfortable environment for meals, and evening “fireplace” for guests to discuss the day’s activities.

 

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

The park spreads over an area of 1978 km2 in the western arm of the Great East Rift Valley. It is a home to a variety of wildlife including elephant, lion, hippo, buffalo, and Uganda kob, baboon, and birds, all typical of riverine and savannah habitats. In the southern part of the park is the Ishasha are with tree climbing lions and the Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda. The northern part of the park is traversed by the equator and is dominated by the scenery of crater lakes often with flamingos on some of them. A launch trip from Mweya along the Kazinga channel, which joins Lake Edward and Lake George, provides one of the most memorable experiences of the park.

 

Day 7

Today, apart from enjoy game drives, you will also be able to take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel – where you will often see hippos, buffalo and a large array of water birds.

 

Nearby Chamburu Gorge offers chimpanzee tracking which is generally a morning’s activity – and should ideally be booked in advance.  This is not always available on this itinerary due to timings – so please check at time of booking if you are keen to undertake this activity.

 

Tonight we may overnight at either Ishasha Wilderness Camp, or at Mweya Lodge, with all meals included.

 

Mweya Lodge

Located on a peninsula overlooking the Kazinga Channel on one side and with spectacular views towards the Ruwenzori Mountians on the other, this recently upgraded and renovated lodge now provides some of the best accommodation and service facilities in Uganda.  Amenities include a swimming pool, the Tembo bar and an elegant air-conditioned restaurant with a gobal cuisine.  Breakfast is taken on the alfresco terrace adjacent to the Kazinga Channel.

Rooms:22 x en suite double / twin, 6 single en suite, 12 delux e suite rooms, 2 suites, 1 Royal cottage, 1 Presidential Suite, 2 disabled rooms.

 

Day 8

Return to Entebbe, via the equator and the busy city of Kampala, stopping en route to shop for curios and at the Royal Drum makers at Mpigi if desired.

 

Please note that the safari returns to Entebbe late afternoon (generally around 4pm) so DO NOT book a flight out prior to 20h00, to allow time for any delays and also check in at the airport.

 

Ideally, spend another night in Uganda, in Entebbe, or possibly explore Kampala or spend a night on Ngamba Island to take advantage of either the Chimpanzee Caregiver programme, or the forest walk.  For the adventurous, Jinja is beckoning – the adventure centre of Uganda – offering grade 5 whitewater rafting, and quad biking or bungee jumping!

 

End of Itinerary

 

Package Rate

Rate per person 4 – 6 Pax – USD3, 495.00 (subject to R/$ exchange rate on date of purchase)

Single Supplement - USD375.00

Optional Night in EBB at Boma – USD78.00

Single supplement at Boma – USD43.00