Red Chilli 10 Day Safari with Primates
$1,840–$3,470 Per Person
This tour comprises all of our favourite national parks and activities along the western circuit of Uganda. Taking in 4 out of the country’s 10 national parks, as well as many other areas of staggering natural beauty, this trip follows a clockwise circuit of the western section of the country, starting and ending back in Kampala. Activities include game drives, river cruises, chimpanzee & gorilla trekking and hiking, all set against a backdrop of some of the most stunning scenery that Uganda has to offer. This 10 day tour can be extended by 2-3 days on request, to include pick up from the airport on arrival followed by a Kampala day tour before embarking on our itinerary below. Following this safari we would then recommend a day of relaxation or shopping for souvenirs before we drop you back at the airport at Entebbe. Let us do all the planning and all you will have to concentrate on is enjoying 2 weeks of safari, along with the very best primate tracking that Uganda has to offer!
Basic Itinerary in a Nutshell
Day 1: Kampala to Lake Mburo National Park
Day 2: Lake Mburo National Park and onward to Lake Bunyonyi
Day 3: Lake Bunyonyi to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Day 4: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – gorilla tracking
Day 5: Bwindi to Ishasha, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 8: Queen Elizabeth to Kibale National Park and Fort Portal area crater lakes
Day 9: Kibale National Park: chimpanzee habituation experience
Day 10: Kibale National Park to Kampala
Day 1: From Kampala to Lake Mburo National Park
At 260 Km2, Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah parks, however its myriad of habitats supports a surprising diversity of plants and animals. Underlain by ancient pre-Cambrian metamorphic rocks, dating back more than 500 million years, it is the only national park in Uganda to contain an entire lake. Lake Mburo lies at the centre of the park, which together with 14 other lakes, forms part of a wetland system – in fact almost a fifth of the park’s area consists of wetlands. The park is home to over 300 different bird species as well as zebra, leopard, hippo, buffalo, hyena and numerous antelope species including impala, eland, oribi, reedbuck, topi and Defassa waterbuck. In addition a small population of Rothschild’s giraffe was introduced from Murchison Falls in 2015.
07:30 Meet at the Red Chilli Kampala reception for a briefing from your driver-guide before departing on your safari.
08:00 Depart Red Chilli Hideaway in a customized 4×4 pop-top safari vehicle and head south-west out of the capital city towards Lake Mburo National Park.
10:30 Equator visit – a great opportunity to have your photo taken in both hemispheres! Short snack/coffee & toilet break.
14:00 Arrive at Rwakobo Rock, situated on the periphery of Lake Mburo National Park, where you will be staying in safari tents with shared bathrooms (upgrades to self-contained accommodation available on request). Enjoy lunch and maybe a swim in the lodge infinity pool whilst looking out over the park surrounds.
16:30 Head out into the park, where you will take a late afternoon boat trip on Lake Mburo to look for hippo and crocodile, as well as the abundant bird species of the lake and papyrus swamps.
18:00 Arrive back at the lodge at approx 18.00, where you will have dinner and stay the night.
Day 2 – From Lake Mburo National Park to Lake Bunyonyi
The idyllic and picturesque Lake Bunyonyi (meaning “place of many little birds”) was formed around 10,000 years ago when lava damned a river. The lake lies in South Western Uganda, close to the border with Rwanda. Situated at around 1962m above sea level, it measures 25km long by 7km wide, while the depth is estimated to reach 900m, making it the second deepest lake in Africa. Your time at Lake Bunyonyi is free time – you may simply relax and enjoy the beautiful and tranquil surrounds, or you may use the opportunity to visit the lake in more detail. There are 29 islands to explore, several of which are of fascinating historical interest. Your guide can help you to book an island tour, which will likely visit Akampene, or Punishment Island, used up until the 1940s to dispose of unmarried pregnant women. The also oft visited Bwama Island was once used as an anti-colonial rebel base but later housed a missionary leprosy hospital, before finally becoming a boarding school. There are dug-out canoes for hire at the resort.
07:00 After breakfast at Rwakobo Rock, you will depart for a 3 hour game drive in Lake Mburo National Park.
11.00 Depart for Lake Bunyonyi, taking lunch en route in either Mbarara or Kabale. Total driving time will be between 3 and 5 hours.
16.00 Check into Bunyonyi Overland Resort, situated right on the lake shore – accommodation provided is in furnished double tents. Relax by the lake or maybe try your hand at paddling a dug-out canoe! Dinner at the lodge or another restaurant of your choice – the local crayfish dishes are highly recommended!
Day 3 – From Lake Bunyonyi to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in South-Western Uganda, on the edge of the Rift Valley and alongside the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Classed as a UNESCO world heritage site due to its ecological importance, it is one of Uganda’s oldest rainforests, dating back over 25,000 years. The park provides a rich and diverse habitat for almost 350 bird species and 120 different species of mammal – most famously an estimated 340 critically endangered mountain gorillas: roughly half of the world’s population.
The region also provides shelter for several other primate species, such as baboon, black and white colobus and chimpanzee, as well as elephant and antelope.
08.00 After breakfast at the resort, you have a free morning at Lake Bunyonyi to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, take a village walk or explore more of the lake and its islands.
14.00 Following lunch at the resort (or at one of the many other beauty spots on the lake), you will drive on to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Driving time approx 2 hours.
16.00 Check into Buhoma Community Rest Camp, just inside the park gates, where you will be sleeping in basic twin rooms with shared bathrooms (please enquire for more luxurious accommodation). Dinner at the camp.
Day 4 – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
06:30 Rise early for breakfast before your 7am gorilla tracking briefing and departure. Exact tracking duration depends on which group you are tracking and where they happen to be situated at the time of your visit. Whilst you will be treated to a full magical hour with these magnificent creatures, the entire experience may take anything from 2 to 8 hours. Lunch will be a packed lunch from the Community Camp, enjoyed in the forest. After your gorilla trekking, you will return to Buhoma Community Rest Camp for dinner and another night.
Optional Extra: If your gorilla trekking experience is short enough, it may be possible to add on a waterfall hike – this may take anything from 2 to 5 hours depending on how much you stop along the way. Take a plunge into the bottom of the icy waterfall if you are brave enough! (Additional Cost: $30 per person).
Day 5 – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park – Ishasha Sector
Queen Elizabeth National Park is deservedly Uganda’s most popular tourist destination, offering breathtaking scenery and an abundance of wildlife. The park borders Lakes Edward and George, which are connected by the Kazinga Channel, and is set against the back drop of the fabled Mountains of the Moon: the Rwenzori Mountains. The park is continuous with Parc National des Virunga in Congo, and as such forms one of the largest protected areas in Eastern Africa. The park is home to more than 600 bird and 95 mammal species, including lion, elephant, hippo, leopard, buffalo, hyena, warthog and various antelope.
08.00 Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Buhoma Community Camp, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
10.00 Depart for the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park – one of the very few places in the world where entire prides of lion habitually climb trees. Total driving time will be around 2.5 hours.
12.30 Check into “At The River” Eco-Camp in Ishasha for one night. You will be staying in simple wooden bandas on the banks of the pretty Ntungwe River (options to upgrade to self-contained accommodation available).
14:30 After lunch at the lodge you will depart for a full afternoon game drive, with the aim of spotting the infamous tree climbing lions lounging in the branches of the sprawling Ishasha fig trees.
18:30 Arrive back at the lodge at around 18:30, depending on game-viewing success. Enjoy dinner and the evening at the camp.
Day 6 – Queen Elizabeth National Park
06:30 After an early breakfast at “At The River”, you will depart for a morning game drive in Ishasha – all eyes upwards for a second opportunity to find the tree-climbing lions! Look out carefully for hyena too, as they are spotted regularly on early morning drives in this area.
14:00 After lunch at the lodge you will head up to Bush Lodge, around 2 hours drive away. Check into Bush Lodge, bordering the Kazinga Channel, in Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you will be staying for two nights. Accommodation consists of safari tents with twin/double beds, including bedding and shared bathroom facilities. Upgrades to ensuite bandas are available on request. Enjoy dinner and drinks around the camp fire.
Day 7 – Queen Elizabeth National Park
6:30 Early morning breakfast at Bush Lodge.
7:00 Depart for Kasenyi Sector of Queen Elizabeth for an early morning game drive. The Kasenyi savannah offers a classic safari experience, with a good opportunity to spot lions, which are drawn to the area by the huge herds of Uganda Kob. There is also the chance to view elephant, warthog, waterbuck and possibly even the elusive leopard!
12.00 Stop at the Queen’s Pavillion Visitor Information Centre for a packed lunch (provided by Bush Lodge) whilst enjoying the panoramic view of the park and surrounding area.
13:00 Take the 27km long Crater Explosion drive, evidence of the Albertine Rift’s volcanic past. This track affords stunning views of the enormous craters, the Rift Valley Escarpment and the Kazinga Channel, set against the stunning backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains.
15:00 Finish the Crater drive at the Kazinga Channel, where you will join the 2 hour launch cruise. From the boat you may see buffalo, elephants, monitor lizards and vast numbers of different bird species as well as numerous hippos and crocodiles in the water.
18.00 Arrive back at Bush Lodge for a second night.
Day 8 – Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park boasts one of the highest concentrations and diversities of primates in the continent. Within East Africa the park supports the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest. However, although most of the park consists of moist ever-green forest, its 766 square kilometres are actually home to a vast array of landscapes.
The park hosts a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 different species of primate. It is home to a large number of endangered but well studied, habituated chimpanzees, as well as the endangered red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoests monkey. Bird life is prolific, with over 325 recorded species of birds.
9.00 After breakfast at Bush Lodge you will head to Katwe for a tour of the salt lake, where traditional salt mining has been practiced since the 16th century. When in season you may also view the spectacular flocks of flamingoes at the nearby by bird sanctuary lake (Typically viewed from October-March).
10.00 Depart for Kibale National Park and the crater lakes region – total driving time around 2 hours.
12:00 Check into Kibale Forest Camp, where you will be staying in non-self contained tents for two nights (upgrades available). Lunch will be taken at the camp.
14.00 After lunch you will take a drive and a stroll around some of the numerous stunning crater lakes surrounding Fort Portal before returning to the camp for dinner.
Day 9 –Kibale National Park
06:00 Today you will rise for an early morning breakfast, before meeting your ranger at 6.30am for your full day chimpanzee habituation experience. (Packed lunch will be provided by Kibale Forest Camp). A full day working with a chimpanzee community that is currently being habituated provides an amazing opportunity to observe the chimps from leaving their overnight nests first thing in the morning to building new ones again at around 7pm. Feeding, hunting, resting and playing behaviour may all be observed. A full day but a very rewarding one!
19.30 Return to Kibale Forest Camp for dinner and a second night’s stay.
Day 10 –From Kibale National Park to Kampala
09:00 After an late breakfast at Kibale Forest Camp you will depart for Kampala. The drive will take about 6 hours. Lunch
17:00 You will arrive in Kampala between 16:00 and 17:00 depending on traffic.
The best value safari in East Africa!
1 Person, 8 Persons
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