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This safari, arguably our most adventurous, explores the entire rugged and remote North-Eastern circuit of Uganda. Spotting all of the Big 5 is a definitely possibility as you will experience white rhino tracking on foot, followed by some of the country’s best game tracks in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks. From Kidepo you will head back through the stunning scenery of Karamoja to Sipi Falls, where you will undertake a full day’s waterfall hike, before moving on to Jinja for some real adrenaline action – white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping or horse-riding. 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 the very best of everything Uganda has to offer!
Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala
Basic Itinerary in a Nutshell
Day 1: Kampala to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Day 2: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to Murchison Falls National Park
Day 3: Murchison Falls National Park
Day 4: Murchison Falls National Park to Kidepo Valley National Park
Day 5: Kidepo Valley National Park
Day 6: Kidepo Valley National Park to Sipi Falls
Day 7: Sipi Falls
Day 8: Sipi Falls to Jinja
Day 9: Jinja – White Water Rafting (or alternative activity of your choice)
Day 10: Jinja to Kampala
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a collaborative effort between the Rhino Fund Uganda (a Ugandan NGO committed to the restoration of Uganda’s rhinoceros population) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The sanctuary offers a secure place where rhino populations can be expanded by breeding, protected from human and non-human predators and gradually be re-introduced into Uganda’s national parks, while at the same time allowing the public to enjoy these majestic animals. The sanctuary also provides a safe haven for a healthy population of smaller game species, notably the beautiful bush buck and an abundance of wetland birdlife, including the rare and elusive shoebill stork.
8.30 Please be at the Red Chilli reception by 8.15am at the latest. Depart in a customised pop-top safari minibus with driver/guide (max 8 passengers per trip).
12:00 Arrive at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary around midday. Check in to your accommodation at the sanctuary guest house and enjoy a leisurely lunch (upgrades to the more up-market Amuka Lodge available – please enquire for further information).
14:00 At around 2pm you will set off for your Rhino tracking with an experienced Rhino Fund Uganda ranger. The total tracking time will vary according to where the rhinos are currently situated within the sanctuary but you will be able to enjoy an hour in the close vicinity of the rhinos once found. After you have finished tracking you will return to your accommodation, where dinner will be served.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s oldest and largest conservation area, covering an area of 3,840 Km² and home to over 451 bird species, including the highly sought after and rare shoebill stork and a total of 76 different mammal species, including the highest concentration of Rothschild’s giraffe in the world. Other game sightings regularly include lion, elephant, hippo, leopard, buffalo, hyena, warthog and various antelope. Arguably the highlight of this trip is the mighty River Nile, which bisects the park and is forced through an 8m² wide cleft in the rock at Murchison Falls, plunging into the Devil’s Cauldron below.
6:00 You’ll be up and out early for the chance of spotting one of the most sought after birds in Uganda: the Shoebill Stork. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary affords a rare opportunity to observe these prehistoric looking birds which nest within their wetland. Water birds are plentiful and this early morning canoe safari at Ziwa is a must for anyone who loves nature or is interested in birding. Your canoe trip should take between 3 to 4 hours, after which you will return to the guest house for a hearty brunch before heading on to Murchison.
11:00 Depart for Murchison Falls National Park, via Masindi, where a brief lunch stop may be taken if required.
14:30 Arrive at the top of the falls. Take a guided walk around the thunderous Murchison Falls, with an optional mini-hike to view the sister falls, Uhuru, which was created in 1962 when the river burst its banks.
17:00 Arrive at Red Chilli Hideaway in Murchison Falls National Park. You will be staying in twin safari tents with shared bathrooms for the next two nights (upgrades to self-contained accommodation possible, subject to availability). Look out for resident warthogs and hippo in the camp!
6.45 Depart for the ferry crossing to the North Bank, taking along a packed breakfast from Red Chilli. Enjoy a 4-hour game drive around the Buligi game tracks, which stretch between the Victoria and Albert Niles, and down to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta. Most of the park’s game and birdlife can be viewed from here, but please note – nothing is guaranteed!
11.00 Take the ferry back to the South Bank and enjoy lunch and a well-deserved break at Red Chilli Rest Camp.
14.30 Depart for a 3 hour boat cruise along the Victoria Nile to the base of the Falls, Along the way, you will be able to view a wide variety of birds and wildlife, including numerous hippos and crocodiles – as well as breathtaking scenery. Cold drinks are for sale on board. Return to Red Chilli for dinner and another night in the camp.
9.00 Having taken breakfast at Red Chilli you will depart for the ferry crossing to the North Bank of the Nile. Once you have crossed the river, you will take a leisurely drive through the Wangkwar section of the park – a final chance to spot some more game in Murchison!
12.00 Exiting the park by midday, you will now make your way towards Kidepo Valley National park stopping at a local restaurant in Kitgum for lunch (or alternatively taking along a packed lunch from Red Chilli if you prefer).
17:00 Arrive at Savannah Lodge on the outskirts of Kidepo Valley National Park (just 500m from the park gate), where you will be staying in twin safari tents with shared bathrooms (upgrades to larger en suite tents available on request, subject to availability). Dinner will be served at the lodge under the thatched dining area, with a view out towards Kidepo’s stunning starry skies.
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, nestled in the rugged, semi arid valleys between the Sudanese and Kenyan borders in the north-eastern Karamoja region of Uganda. Transected by the Narus and Kidepo Rivers, the park hosts a profusion of big game, with over 80 species of mammal, including lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, zebra and various antelope species. A staggering 28 species of mammal found in Kidepo cannot be found in any other national park in Uganda: cheetah, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal and kudu to name but a few. With a total of more than 475 different bird species, Kidepo is also considered outstanding for birds of prey and 58 different species have been recorded here.
Your trip to Kidepo will take in the contrasts of the grassland plains of the Narus Valley, where most of the park’s wildlife congregates due to the permanent water supply, and the hot and arid area of the extreme north, beside the South Sudanese border. You will cross over the Kidepo River and because it is dry for the majority of the year, you should be able to take a stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sands, surrounded on either side by Borassus palms. 11km north of here you will reach the Kanangarok hot springs – a fabulous place to look out for ostrich and to admire the mountains beyond the frontier.
06:30 After an early breakfast, you will head out for a full day game drive in Kidepo National Park, taking in the areas surrounding the Narus Valley, the Kidepo River and up towards the hot springs, where ostrich may often be viewed. Lunch will either be taken back at the lodge, or a packed meal may be taken in the morning. Please discuss with your guide and order the night before if you wish to choose a packed lunch.
19.00 Arrive back at your accommodation for dinner and the night.
Sipi Falls is actually a series of three pretty waterfalls in Eastern Uganda, situated near the Kenyan border, on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park – the largest volcanic base in the world. Hikes around the falls offer beautiful views of the slopes of the mountain and also of the Karamoja plains and over to Lake Kyoga. The Sipi area is also famous for its locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee which only grows at an altitude of between 1600 and 1900m. In contrast to Kidepo, the Sipi area enjoys a cool and peaceful climate.
07:00 After an early breakfast at Kidepo, you will start your journey towards Sipi Falls. This will be a long day of driving but will take in some simply stunning scenery as you drive through Karamoja and the Pian Upe Game Reserve. Lunch may be a packed lunch from Savannah Lodge, or you may stop at Moroto for a break at a local eatery.
17:00 Arrive at The Crow’s Nest, a basic camp that offers beautiful views over to the main set of falls from the balcony. Accommodation provided is dormitory style but upgrades to private accommodation or alternatively to the nearby, more up-market Sipi River Lodge may be available on request. Dinner will be taken at your accommodation.
08:30 After breakfast you will depart for a full day hike, taking in all three waterfalls in the Sipi Valley. This trek can be arduous and steep in places, so a reasonable level of fitness is required, although there will be plenty of opportunities to rest whilst you take in the panoramic views. A partial hike/drive to all 3 waterfalls may be substituted if preferred. A packed lunch will be taken along the way.
17:00 You will return to your accommodation late in the afternoon for dinner and another night’s stay.
Jinja enjoys a reputation as the adventure capital of Uganda, with a variety of different adrenaline filled activities to choose from. Arguably one of the most thrilling experiences you can enjoy is Grade 5 rafting on the River Nile, considered one of the wildest one-day white water trips in the world! If this isn’t your cup of tea however, there are plenty of other options to choose from, including Nile horse riding, kayaking, bungee jumping, quad biking and fishing.
09:00 After breakfast at the Crow’s Nest you will depart for a Sipi Coffee Tour. You will visit a plantation and learn about the farming, processing and roasting techniques they employ locally. You will be able to de-shell the beans yourself before roasting and grinding them in the traditional way…and finally enjoying a fresh home-brewed cup!
1.00 Lunch will be taken at Sipi River Lodge, from where you can enjoy the peaceful gardens and the views across to second of the three falls, the 80m high Kapsurur Falls. After lunch you will depart for Jinja, around 3 hours drive away
17:00 You will arrive at Nile River Explorers camp late afternoon. Time to chill as you enjoy the stunning views over the River Nile and its many rapids! If you prefer you may be able to join a Nile Sunset Cruise at an additional cost of US$45 per person, including drinks and snacks. Accommodation consists of dormitory rooms but upgrades to private and self-contained facilities are available (please enquire for more details). Dinner will be taken at the camp.
Today is a day to enjoy one of the numerous adventurous activities on offer in Jinja. This itinerary makes an example of a day’s white water rafting but you may substitute this instead for a horse riding, kayaking, bungee jumping, fishing or quad biking adventure. It is also possible for the different members of your group to experience different activities, if you so wish. Please enquire for further details on the different options available.
08:00 After breakfast you will receive a briefing from your rafting guide and get fitted out with life jackets and helmets. You will then make your way to the starting point 15km away, where you will complete some safety exercises, by which point you will be ready to take on the mighty River Nile! The trip boasts 8 major rapids and several lower graded runs but by varying the route the rafts take, the adrenaline scale can be tailor-made to your taste – wild or mild! Snacks will be enjoyed along the way and in between the rapids!
16:00 After your rafting you will enjoy a delicious bbq and cold drinks before being dropped back at Nile River Explorers’ camp for your last night.
09:00 Breakfast and a free morning in Jinja to enjoy the peaceful river setting – a last chance to relax and unwind before hitting the city again! Swimming, kayaking, water volley ball (or another adrenaline filled activity if you are up for it!)…or just plain chilling….
14.30 After lunch at Nile River Explorers you will depart for Kampala – around two and a half hours drive away.
17:00 Depending on traffic and exact time of departure, you should be back at the Red Chilli, Kampala between 16:00 and 18.00.
The price breakdown to go into here…
Please see the map with the rough route of the safari. If you click on the “view large map” icon in the top right hand side of the map, you can select a day by day route. (Please note only road transportation is shown on the map)