Join us for this inaugural Uganda trekking expedition, as we search for primates, hippos, Nile crocodiles, bountiful birds, and the majestic mountain gorilla. With the active traveler in mind, we explore the many treasures of the region during hikes, cruises, game drives, and rafting with our expert guides Jonathan Rossouw and Simon Bellingham. The centerpiece of our Uganda tour is surely our time in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where wehike in search of the park’s several family groups of mountain gorilla; once contact is made, we are allowed to spend one hour—at ranges as close as 15 feet—in their presence. Our trekking expedition ends with an action-packed trip down the Nile—a high-energy finale to a spectacular journey.
Uganda Adventure Travel Highlights:
- Queen Elizabeth National Park, with a cruise along the Kazinga Channel, one of Africa’s best birding locales and a favorite of our Uganda tour guide, Jonathan Rossouw.
- Hike through Kibale National Park, home to the highest concentration and diversity of primates in Africa; we stay in a luxurious lodge centered between two crater lakes.
- Accommodations at the luxurious tented Gorilla Forest Camp, as a jumping-off point for two full days in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
- Kajjansi and the Mabira Forest trekking, boasting over 300 species each of birds, butterflies, and insects, and three primate species.
- True Uganda adventure travel, with white-water rafting on the Nile, through rapids from Grade III to V.
What to expect:
Uganda trekking adventure travel requires its participants to be fit and capable of hiking along forest trails that are often steep and muddy; some of our hikes are up to eight miles in length. During our trekking expedition, some days will be long, involving rides in 4x4 vehicles over bumpy roads—sometimes up to 10 hours. Accommodations throughout will be in safari lodges featuring spacious rooms, hot water, and en suite facilities. Bring a healthy spirit of adventure and a flexible attitude to your Uganda tour and you’ll gain much from this profound natural history experience. A recommended reading and packing list will be sent to your five months prior to departure.
USA / Entebbe, Uganda
Depart on your independent flight to Entebbe.
On arrival transfer to our hotel. Dinner and overnight at the Boma Guest House.
Entebbe / Kibale National Park
After an early breakfast, we depart on our long but fascinating drive to Kibale. We travel through a patchwork of colorful villages and agricultural lands and reach a mixture of forest and tea plantations in the foothills of the looming Ruwenzoris, the fabled “Mountains of the Moon.” We overnight for the next three nights at beautiful Ndali Lodge, situated on a high saddle between two crater lakes.
Kibale National Park
We spend a full day in Kibale National Park, home to the highest concentration and diversity of primates in Africa and several large communities of chimpanzees. Typically, chimpanzees live in large, mobile groups and are best located by their characteristic pant-hooting calls as they execute their nomadic treks along forest pathways and forage for fruit in the canopy above. We also search for the other wildlife species which inhabit this diverse forest reserve including grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed and vervet monkeys, and both red and black-and-white colobus monkeys. The forest is also home to waterbucks, African civets, Cape buffalos, servaline genets and, though rarely seen, Uganda’s largest population of forest elephants.
Trekking: Full-day; 3 – 7 miles along well-maintained, undulating forest trails.
Kibale National Park
Our trek today begins from the lodge, where we follow traditional footpaths that wind along the tops of the craters, with the opportunity to descend into the craters in several places. The landscape here is lush, montane woodland and grassland, interspersed with tea and vanilla plantations, and affords panoramic views across the Albertine Rift to the Rwenzori Range. Wildlife includes a variety of birds such as the emerald cuckoo, great blue turaco, eastern grey plantain-eater, and baglafecht weaver. Black-and-white colobus, Uganda red-tailed monkeys, and vervet monkeys may be found in the patches of forest.
Trekking; Full-day; 8 miles along well- established footpaths.
Kibale National Park / Queen Elizabeth National Park
After an early breakfast we head for Queen Elizabeth National Park. The four-hour drive takes us to the western corridor of Africa’s Rift Valley. We arrive at our lodge, situated on a bluff overlooking the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward. Our exploration includes a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel. This narrow ribbon of water teems with huge herds of hippo and buffalo, and connects Lake Edward with Lake George. Birds here include multiple species of eagle, stork, waterfowl, kingfisher, and bee-eater. One of Africa’s best birding locations, more than 560 bird species have been recorded. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The Ishasha area lies in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is big game country, with vast expanses of open savanna, large concentrations of Uganda kob, huge herds of African buffalo, and a very good chance to see lions in trees. Due to the abundance of large animals, hikes in this area are not allowed (other than short hikes in the vicinity of the lodge itself) and game will be viewed by vehicle. Dinner and overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
Queen Elizabeth National Park / Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This morning enjoy a final game drive in Ishasha where we continue our search for lions. Late afternoon we drive a short distance to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a World Heritage Site and one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. Upon arrival at the permanent luxury-tented Gorilla Forest Camp, attend a briefing on gorilla-watching etiquette followed by dinner and overnight.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
We spend two days at Bwindi tracking mountain gorillas. Each day we divide into two groups and, after an early breakfast, depart for the forest. With trained local guides, we head to the site where the gorillas were seen the previous day and then begin our search. Once the gorillas are located, we make our approach and sit quietly by them, to watch and observe, with ample time for photography. The moment of looking into the soft brown eyes of a gorilla, to marvel at its size, and yet gentle countenance, as you introduce yourself to the family group is truly unforgettable.
Other activities at Bwindi include forest trekking for the lesser primates, colobus, red-tailed, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. There are also opportunities to look for the many bird species that make this montane forest their home, such as the bar-tailed trogon, African green broadbill, dusky crimson wing, and white-tailed blue monarch. Dinner and overnight at the Gorilla Forest Camp.
Trekking: half-day; distances can range from 2 – 6 miles through variable conditions.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest / Kajjansi / Mabira Forest Reserve
Today we take a short flight to Kajjansi, then continue on to the Mabira Forest. An equatorial hardwood forest in the heart of Uganda, Mabira boasts over 300 species each of birds, butterflies, and insects, and three primate species. Dinner and overnight at The Rainforest Lodge.
Trekking: afternoon hike, no more than 3 miles along forest trails.
Mabira / Jinja / Entebbe
This morning we drive to Jinja to embark on an exciting white-water rafting trip down the Nile. A professional guide captains each team of paddlers through roller-coaster rapids with names such as Big Brother, Bujagali Falls, Overtime, and Retrospect. The rapids here range from Grade III to V, with the option to bypass the more turbulent areas. Enjoy lunch on an island midstream and return to Entebbe in the late afternoon for dinner and overnight at the Boma Guest House.
Rafting: 5 – 6 hours (20 miles)
Entebbe / USA
After breakfast depart for your independent flight homeward.
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
Options and Extras
Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.