16 Days Pearl of Africa Safari
16 Days Pearl of Africa Safari : Want to explore Uganda’s primates and wildlife? This 16 days Uganda safari will give you the opportunity to do just that! The 16 days Pear of Africa Safari takes you to top safari destinations in Uganda including Murchison Falls national park, Kibale national park, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable, Muhavura Gorilla and Lake Mburo national park. Some of the main highlights to look forward to on this trip include; game drive safari, lion tracking in Queen, Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, boat cruise safaris and chimpanzee tracking in Kibale.
Detailed Itinerary for the 16 Days Pearl of Africa Safari.
Day 1 of 16 Days Pearl of Africa Safari: Arrival and Transfer to Kampala.
Arrival & Transfer to Kampala: On day 1 of your 16 days Pearl of Africa Safari, your guide will pick you up from Entebbe International Airport. You will transfer to Kampala for a tour of the city. It takes about 1 to 2 hours of driving from the airport in Entebbe to Kampala city center.
Kampala City Tour: Have lunch in Kampala before proceeding with your tour of the city. During your tour of Kampala City, you will visit top cultural and historical sites like the King’s Palace in Mengo, National Museum, Kasubi Tombs(burial grounds for Kings of the Buganda Kingdom), Independence Monument, Idi Amin’s Torture Chambers, Ndeere Cultural Center, and Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine to mention but a few. You will also visit top shopping malls in the city and grab yourself a souvenir; some of the top shopping centers in Kampala include Kingdom Kampala, Garden City, Lugogo shopping mall, Craft village and Acacia mall in Kyamwokya.
Dinner and accommodation at Sheraton Hotel/ Kampala Serena Hotel.
Day 2 of 16 Days Pearl of Africa Safari: : Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.
Transfer to Murchison: Wake up early in the morning and have a heartfelt breakfast before checking out of your hotel. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and proceed with your drive to Murchison Falls National Park. This national park was first established in 1952 and covers a total surface area of 3,840km², making it the largest national park in Uganda. The national park is a habitat for a variety of wildlife animals such as; the African Savannah Elephants, zebras, giraffe, antelopes, buffaloes, warthogs, baboons, Hippos, Nile crocodiles and so many more. En route, you will visit the famous Luwero Triangle, have lunch in Masindi town.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary: You will have a stopover at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you will get to see rhinos in the wild. The sanctuary is the only destination where visitors can get to see rhinos in the natural habitat. Later proceed with your drive to Murchison Falls national park.
Top of the falls Hike: Upon your arrival at the park, you will embark on a guided nature walk to the Top of the falls. The hike starts off at Barker’s point taking you through the devil’s cauldron and finally winds up at Murchison falls.
Later check into your Lodge, freshen up, have dinner and a good night’s rest. Accommodation at Heritage Safari Lodge/Pakuba/Paraa Safari Lodge.
Day 3 of 16 Days Pearl of Africa Safari: Morning Lower Delta Boat Cruise and Evening Game Drive.
Morning Delta Boat Cruise: You will take a morning boat cruise downstream to the Delta where you will get a panoramic view of the majestic and mighty Murchison falls. Spend quality time (about 4 to 6 hours) marveling at nature’s beautiful gifts while sipping a cold beer or cocktail drink of your choice. You will also enjoy seeing crocodiles, hippos and various bird species such as the Kingfisher, cormorants, and the Rare Shoebill Stork among others. After your boat cruise experience, drive back to your lodge for lunch and relax for a while.
Evening Game Drive: After your lunch break; head out for an evening game drive using the ferry to cross over to the northern bank of the Nile. Enjoy 3-5 hours of exclusive wildlife viewing in the park. While on the game drive, you will have a chance to sight wildlife species like Elephants, the Rothschild giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, Hartebeests, Uganda Kobs, Waterbucks, Oribis, Impala and so many others. Later return to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 4: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park.
Transfer to Kibale: Wake up early in the morning and have your breakfast. Transfer to Kibale Forest national park passing through the Albert rift where you will have a clear view of Lake Albert and many other stunning views. You will take approximately 9 hours driving to Kibale national park. Upon your arrival in the national park in the afternoon, drive to your lodge for lunch and relax for the rest of the day.
Visit Amabere Ganyamwiru: Later in the afternoon, can opt to go for a hiking expedition to the famous Amabere Ganyamwiru. Although the caves were formed as a result of stalagmites and stalactites, they have a rich cultural history attached to them, especially to the people of the Toro Kingdom. The Batooro people believe that the caves are the ancestral home of the ‘Bachwezi’ people and the birth place of their first king. The caves derive their name from an old legend of a King who cut off the breasts of this daughter as a punishment for her refusing to marry the man that he had chosen for her. The word ‘Amabere Ganyamwiru’ when translated into English means ‘breasts of Nyamwiru.’ Enjoy quality time exploring the caves and learning more about the Toro culture and its people.
Dinner and accommodation at Chimpanzee Guesthouse/Primate Lodge/Kyaninga Lodge.
Day 5: Chimpanzee Tracking and Bigodi Swamp Walk.
Chimpanzee Trekking: This is one of the top highlights of any visit to Kibale national park. Wake up early in the morning and head out to Kanyanchu Visitor’s Center, where your chimpanzee trekking activity will commence. You will be expected to report to the park by 7am for a briefing from the head ranger at the park. Actual trekking begins at 8am after you have been placed into trekking groups that consist of not more than 6 members per group. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park can take between 2-5 hours, depending on the location of the chimpanzees. You will be given an hour to spend with the chimpanzees once they have been located. Head back to the park headquarters in Kanyanchu for your chimpanzee trekking certificate and drive back to your hotel/lodge for lunch in case you didn’t not pack any in the morning.
Bigodi Swamp Walk: Later in the Afternoon, you will proceed to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is just adjacent to the national park. Here, you will embark on a guided nature walk in the Swamp; where you will get to sight a number of bird species like; the Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Superb Sunbird, Black Bishop bird and the rare Shoe Bill Stock to mention but a few. There are about 138 bird species in Bigodi Swamp alone. Later head back to your lodge for dinner and accommodation.
Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Transfer to Queen: Leave early in the morning to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is situated in the western part of the country in Kasese district. You will take about 3 to 4 hours driving to the national park. Check into your lodge, have lunch and rest for the rest of the afternoon.
Evening Game Drive: Embark on an evening game drive in the park which starts at 4pm and ends at 7pm. The evening game drive in Queen will give you 3 hours of spectacular wildlife viewing, especially if you are eager to see nocturnal animals such as lions, leopards, civets, serval cats, bush babies, hyenas and so many more. Drive back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight. Accommodation options in Queen include; Pumba Safari Cottages/Park View Safari Lodge/ Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 7: Morning Game Drive and Afternoon Boat Cruise.
Morning Game Drive: Have an early morning breakfast and proceed on a morning game drive in the park which begins at 6am. This morning game drive will give you a great chance to view wildlife animals such as African savannah elephants, hyenas, Uganda Kobs, heart beasts, giraffes, zebras and many more. Queen Elizabeth National Park is blessed with over 612 bird species thus making it a great destination for birding activities. While on your game drive, you may spot birds like the African skimmer, Chapin’s flycatcher, Shoebill stock, the great flamingos and Pink- backed pelicans. Drive back to your lodge for lunch.
Evening Boat Cruise: After having your lunch break, head out for an evening boat cruise along the Kazinga channel. The boat cruise starts at exactly 1pm and can take approximately 2 hours. During your boat cruise, you may sight lots of wildlife such as hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants and some species of birds like the great flamingos, Shoebill stock, Ibis and so many others.
Later return to your lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 8: Explore Kyambura Gorge and Lion Tracking Experience.
Explore Kyambura Gorge: After having breakfast at your lodge early in the morning, you will embark on a guided nature walk to Kyambura Gorge. Take about 3 to 4 hours hiking through the forests in the gorge where you will view lots of wildlife and primate species like monkeys and chimpanzees. Head back to your lodge for lunch.
Lion Tracking Experience: Later in the afternoon you will embark on a two hour game drive where you will track the famous tree climbing lions that are found in the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth national park, specifically in the Ishasha sector. Head back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight.
Day 9: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi.
Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi: Wake up in the morning and have your breakfast. You guide will drive you to Lake Bunyonyi, which is about 4 to 5 hours from Queen Elizabeth national park.
Boat Cruise on Lake Bunyonyi: You explore the lake on one of the traditional canoes. You can be able to see lots of bird species at the lake such as the Black Heron, woodpeckers, Golden black weaver birds, Grey crowned Crane, the African Harrier Hawk and so many more. You will also get to visit some of the main islands on the lake such as the Akampene Island, which is also known as the Punishment Island. The island has a rich cultural history attached to it. According to the Bakiga people, the island was used as banishing ground where they would leave unmarried girls who got pregnant out of wedlock. The young girls were left to die of hunger on the island. However, this practice was abandoned in the first half of the 20th century.
Drive to your lodge for dinner and accommodation at Crater bay Cottages/ Bunyonyi Overland Resort.
Day 10: Transfer to Bwindi National Park.
Transfer to Bwindi: After having breakfast in the morning, your guide will transfer you to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is located in the southwestern park of Uganda, in Kanungu district. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park shelters half of the world’s remaining species of mountain gorillas. The national park is also home to about 120 mammals and 350 species of birds.
Guided nature walk (option 1): Upon your arrival in Bwindi, you will embark on a guided nature walk to explore the beauty of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Get to see the unique bird species inhabiting the forest and monkey species like the vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and so many more.
Community Cultural Tour (option 2): Alternatively, you can embark on a cultural tour to the neighboring Batwa or Bakiga communities that live near the national park. You will get a chance to interact with the local people and watch dance performances from the local dance groups in the communities.
Check into your lodge for dinner and an overnight at Silverback Lodge/Buhoma Haven Lodge/Ichumba Gorilla Lodge.
Day 11: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest.
Gorilla Trekking: Have breakfast very early at you lodge as your guide will pick you up at 6am. You will embark on a short journey to the Parks headquarters in Buhoma or the southern part of the park depending on which gorilla group you are going to track. You are supposed to be at Buhoma at exactly 7am for a briefing by the park’s head ranger which will begin at 8am and then you will be put in groups of 8 individuals per group depending on the gorilla group you are going to track. Tracking begins at exactly 8:30 am hence endeavor to always keep time.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a total of 15 habituated gorilla groups that are tracked from four trailheads. Of these 15 habituated gorilla groups, 3 are found in Buhoma area in the northwest part of the park; while 4 gorilla groups are situated in Ruhija in the eastern part of Bwindi and 8 gorilla groups in Nkuringo and Rushaga respectively, located south of Bwindi.
Each tracking group consists of strictly eight individuals with each group having a park guide and ranger. Tracking can take about 1- 8 hours or more depending how easily and quick the gorillas are spotted. Once you have located a gorilla group, you will be given exactly an hour with them. After your gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Forest, head back to the park headquarters to receive your gorilla trekking certificate and meet your guide, who will drive you back to your lodge.
Have your dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 12: Transfer to Kisoro.
Transfer to Kisoro: Wake up in the morning and have breakfast at your lodge. You will then transfer to Kisoro district, south of Bwindi national park. Your transfer from Bwindi to Kisoro will take three hours if you are in the southern sector of Bwindi, or five hours if you are coming from Buhoma in Bwindi. Head to Lake Mutanda in Kisoro for lunch and an afternoon boat cruise on the lake.
Dinner and accommodation will be at Travellers’ Rest Hotel/ Lake Mutanda Resort.
Day 13: Batwa Trail Experience.
Batwa Trail Experience: After your breakfast, you will head out for the Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga Gorilla national park. This activity starts at exactly 8am in the morning and ends at 3pm. You will need to a good pair of hiking boots for the trail experience as it involves at lot of hiking activities in the dense forest. You will also need to pack a light raincoat, water bottle and packed lunch which you can ask your lodge to prepare for you prior to departure.
The Batwa trail runs across the lower slopes of the Muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes in the national park. You will be guided by local Batwa guides from the neighboring Batwa communities. During the trail experience, you will get an opportunity to shoot a traditional bow and arrow, check bee hives for wild honey, and help repair a Batwa shelter, harvest local herbs and learn about the Batwa traditional culture. The main highlight of the Batwa trail experience is a hike to the Garama cave which runs 200 meters beneath Mount Gahinga.
Later head back to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 14: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park.
Transfer to Lake Mburo: Early in the morning, your guide will drive you to Lake Mburo national park which is located in the western park of Uganda. It is the smallest savannah national park in Uganda, covering 370 square kilometers. It will take you about five hours of driving to get to Lake Mburo National Park from Kisoro. You will stopover in Mbarara town for lunch. Later proceed with your drive to Lake Mburo national park. You will embark on an evening game drive once you arrive in the park.
Later check into your lodge for dinner and overnight at Rwonyo Campsite/Mihingo Lodge.
Day 15: Horseback riding & Afternoon Boat Cruise.
Horseback Riding: Wake up in the morning and have breakfast from your lodge. Head out for a morning horseback riding safari in the park. There is nothing as thrilling and adventurous as exploring Lake Mburo national park on horseback. Get to see lots of wildlife animals up close like antelopes, impala, Sitatunga, giraffes, zebras and so many more. Horseback riding activities take between 1½ to 5 hours depending on your riding experience. Have lunch at your lodge and rest for a while.
Afternoon Boat Cruise: Later in the afternoon, head out to Rwonyo for an evening boat cruise on the lake. The boat ride takes about 1- 2 hours and offers you great sights such as; crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes and some bird species such as; the white egret, fish eagles, kingfishers and Shoebill stock. The boat leaves Rwonyo every 2 hours starting from 8am.
Day 16: Morning Game Drive and Transfer back to Kampala.
Morning Game Drive: After having your breakfast, you will embark on a 2- 3 hour morning game drive in the park. While on your game drive, you will view wildlife like; buffaloes, zebras, waterbucks, warthogs, impala, topi, duikers, hyenas, reed bucks, over 100 elands and if you are lucky, some giraffes which are a recent addition to the park.
Transfer back to Kampala: After your game drive safari, you will drive back to Kampala with a stopover at Igongo Cultural Center for lunch and later at the equator monuments in Kayabwe where you can take some pictures. Upon your arrival in Kampala, your guide will drop you off at any preferred hotel of your choice or directly at Entebbe International Airport. End of Tour.