Ugandan Great Apes Adventure
10 DAYS STARTING FROM £5290 PER PERSON
MONKEY BUSINESS IN UGANDA
It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behaviour that remained the most captivating impression of my first encounter with the greatest of the great apes.
How to make memories you’ll treasure forever: spend 10 days in Uganda immersed in a most wonderful wildlife experience, greeted by the warmth and smiles of the people and left in awe of the outstanding beauty and variety of the landscape.
You’ll discover the perfect setting to become acquainted with the stars of this epic Ugandan adventure – the chimpanzees and the mountain gorillas – but there are even more primates, tree climbing lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, over a thousand species of birds… The list of animal delights could fill several pages, so the best thing to do is see for yourself!
Our Great Ape Adventure is a thrilling and unique Equatorial African experience. Drive up through undulating hills of tea plantations that bring you to thick evergreen rainforest and jungle. Freshwater lakes fill extinct volcanoes and all the time the mist-shrouded Rwenzoris look down upon you. The flat and hot savannahs make way for the mountainous and almost impenetrable forest that is the prelude to the Virunga Volcanoes.
This rich fertile land, its people and its wildlife will wrap you up like a warm blanket and leave you smiling for the rest of your life. You will want to return.
WHY GO ON THIS TRIP?
DAY 1: KAMPALA
Upon arrival you’ll be swept away to the shores of Lake Victoria, to the Lake Victoria Serena, a Roman Villa style hotel, handpicked to offer you the perfect first night in Uganda. The Tuscan- inspired rooms, terraced rose gardens, fountain courtyards and the huge array of services and restaurants will leave you feeling cherished and relaxed before the start of your great adventure..
DAYS 2, 3: LET THE MONKEY BUSINESS BEGIN!
After breakfast, you will take the beautiful drive to Kibale National Park – home to over 1500 chimpanzees. En route, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a local market as well as a tea plantation where you’ll meet tea leaf pickers. In the afternoon you’ll arrive at the beautiful Ndali Lodge, in its own working tea plantation, your home for the next 2 nights.
Set on the rim of an extinct volcano, each of the eight cottages face west with views of the rolling hills and the spectacular ‘Mountains of the Moon’. Your time that’s not spent with chimps can be used on fascinating walks round the plantation, taking a dip in the pool or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, in Lake Nyinambuga behind the lodge! Delicious home cooked meals are served every night by candlelight.
The highlight of your stay at Ndali Lodge is the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience. After an early breakfast you’ll be driven to Kibale NP headquarters for your briefing. An experienced ranger will lead you to see a group of chimpanzees waking in their nests in the canopy of the forest. Thereafter you’ll spend the whole day following and observing the chimps as they play, hunt, feed and interact and communicate with their young. Learn how to identify the individuals by their markings and scars and really see how closely related they are to us humans. This really is an amazing experience. To get face to face and to spend so much time with these beautiful creatures is truly exciting and humbling.
DAYS 4, 5: HELLO YOUR MAJESTY!
After breakfast you’ll take the trip to the world-famous Queen Elizabeth National Park, visiting the Rwenzori Founders Workshop to watch bronze-making by the local artisans, learning first-hand about their unique craft.
Celebrate crossing the Equator on the way to your fabulous accommodation for the next two nights, Kyambura Gorge Lodge. It’s a wonderfully colourful, bright and contemporary place to take in the magnificent views of the gorge and the mythical Rwenzoris.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park, from the open savannah to rain forest, dense papyrus swamps and crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward. You’ll jump aboard an afternoon cruise on the Kazinga channel, located on the Mweya Peninsula, drifting alongside elephants sparring in the water, buffalo wallowing on the water’s edge and large families of hippo luxuriating in the shallows. On game drives in the Kasenyi Plains, you’ll go in search of lion, leopard, elephant and large herds of Uganda Kob.
DAY 6: CHIMPS & LIONS
Day 6 starts with an early breakfast before an enchanting walk in the gorge for your next meeting with a unique group of chimpanzees. Accompanied by a local expert you’ll trek through the gorge, just 100 metres deep and a kilometre wide, and observe our closest animal relatives face to face.
Later, you’ll depart for the drive across the park towards Ishasha, spending the night at Ishasha Wilderness Camp, an authentic tented site located on the banks of the Ntungwe River. It’s an ideal vantage point to search for the famous tree climbing lions, sometimes spotted resting on the branches of the large fig trees in the area.
DAYS 7, 8: FIND YOURSELF IN AN IMPENETRABLE FOREST
After a morning game drive through Ishasha, continue to the home of the mountain gorillas, with mounting excitement and expectation.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best known for gorilla tracking, but it also provides refuge to elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys and various small antelopes, as well as 23 bird species.
Your home for three nights is Buhoma Lodge, perfectly situated for gorilla trekking. Each of the ten cottages has beautiful uninterrupted views of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest from your private veranda. Soak in the atmosphere of the forest, absorbing the sounds and sights of the 350 species of birds and 202 species of butterfly. It’s unimaginably beautiful.
Here you can take part in of the most exciting wildlife experiences on the planet. There are only 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild. By trekking to see them you are helping conserve this treasured and amazing species.
Warmed by a cup of tea or coffee and a hearty breakfast, double check you’ve got your camera and camcorder plus a few other essentials in your back pack and your laces of your boots are nice and snug. We recommend you hire a porter at the ranger station for $15 – it’s worth it and the fee goes straight to the porter and his family.
Led by experienced rangers, you’re taken on paths that have been walked on by these truly majestic gorillas. It’s an unforgettable experience when you finally come across a family of gorillas, and a little overwhelming and certainly emotional when you have to say good bye after spending an incredible hour with them. You will not forget this day. Ever.
Heading back to the lodge, spend the rest of the day recounting the experience in the finest of detail over lunch and dinner and with a glass of whatever you fancy by the open fire in the lodge.
DAY 9: EXPERT GORILLA TRACKING
It’s another early start with a slight chill in the air but the hot tea and breakfast has warmed you up. Today is a really thrilling once-in-a-lifetime day. This is no ordinary walk in the jungle – you’ll be led on your gorilla trek by Dr Gladys Zikusoka or one of her contemporaries, leading experts on gorilla conservation who work tirelessly to save this endangered species.
Listen to inspiring commentary on the habits, behaviours, feeding and living patterns of these gentle giants. Trek to see a different family where you can photograph to your heart’s content as the youngsters of the family play from the vines and hang one-handed from branches, putting on an entertaining display. In the afternoon you will visit the Gorilla Clinic where you can see all of the good work they do in the community.
Tonight, sadly, is your last night in Uganda. The fire will be roaring and you’ll no doubt be reliving the last 9 days and all of the wonderful experiences that Uganda has bestowed upon you. But the overriding memory will be the time you spent with the gorillas. Believe us, it will live with you forever.
DAY 10: INSPIRE & LEGACY
You will finish your Uganda Great Ape Adventure with a visit to a local school where you can chat to the children and then plant a tree. From here you will drive to Kihihi Airstrip for your flight to Entebbe, enjoying a final glimpse of Uganda and its magnificent countryside.