Uganda - Western Rift (return via Lake Bunyonyi)
A safari to south-western Uganda

This short safari will bring to the the key places of southern-western Uganda: Kibale Forest NP, Queen Elizabeth NP (Northern sector) and Bwindi Impentrable NP.  It includes Wildlife, Birds, Gorillas and Wild Chimpanzees trekking in Uganda. On your way back you will visit the idyllic Bunyonyi lake. 

The Tour Package includes: Airport transfers, lodge accommodation, all meals, plenty of mineral water, the services of a Driver-Guide, all park and entry fees, all activities as per programme: Guided nature walk at Bigodi, chimp trekking at Kibale**, game drives at Mweya, boat trip on the Kazinga channel, visit of Kasenyi fishing village and salt works,  gorilla trekking in Bwindi**.  It excludes: Airline ticket, beverages, tips, visas and personal expenses.

** (Subject to the permits)

Options at extra Cost: day excursions (Ngamba Island, Mabamba Wetlands (Shoebill), rafting the Nile, excursion to the sources and rapids of the Nile (Jinja) and Kampala city trip. Extra overnights are not included in the price.

Money for your personal expenses (average of $200 p.p.), outfit with adapted colours for wildlife observation, good walking shoes, raingear, a few long-sleeve shirts, slippers, sweater for cool evenings, sun protection: hat, sunglasses, sun cream, video/photo camera, a 200 mm or longer telelens is very usefull, reserve batteries, memory cards, binoculars if you have and a torch.


Duration : 8 Days
Travelstyles : Tailor-made, Road Safaris, Lodge Safaris
Activities :  Bird Watching, Chimpanzee Trekking, Gorilla Trekking, Guided Nature Walks & Hikes., Wildlife Viewing
Parks & places :  Gorilla Parks of Uganda, Kibale Forest National Park (KFNP), Kyambura - (QENP), Lake Bunyonyi, Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP)


Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrival at Entebbe - Transfer to your Hotel in Entebbe.

Arrival at Entebbe International Airport.

Meet and greet at the Airport by your Magic Safaris guide. You will be transfered to your hotel in Entebbe. (D)

Entebbe is a city in Uganda with a population of approximately 90,500. It is located on the shore of Lake Victoria 40 Km from the capital city of Kampala. The name Entebbe derives from the Luganda phrase Entebbe za Mugala (‘Headquarters of Mugala’, head of lungfish clan) and thus literally means Headquarters- somewhat prescient, given that it would later serve as the British administrative capital of Uganda.

Entebbe’s potential was hinted at as early as 1879 by the French missionaries Father Lourdel and Brother Amans, who noted that ‘the port…is large and well sheltered…’ It became a British colonial administrative and commercial centre in 1893 when Sir Gerald Portal, a colonial Commissioner, used it as a base. It’s potential was first realized in 1896, with the arrival of a European steamship on L. Victoria-shipped from Scotland. The steamship was put in use when the railway from Mombasa reached Port Florence (Kisumu) in 1901, allowing the travelers to and from the coast to reach Entebbe directly by the combination of train and ferry. Within two years, Entebbe had replaced Kampala as the colonial administrative capital. By 1903, certainly, Entebbe had greater population of European residents than Kampala. By 1904, Entebbe boasted a hotel, the Equatorial, evidently the precursor of the present-day Lake Victoria Windsor…Entebbe served as administrative capital of Uganda upto 1962 when Kampala replaced it as the national capital. 


Day 2 : Transfer to Kibale NP via Fort Portal

After breakfast we drive to Fort Portal via Mubende. This is a long trip to Western Uganda with a break for a pic nic after Mubende. A stop is also foreseen at  Fort Portal. After some shopping we will drive another hour to reach the Kibale area. In the afternoon you will have a guided nature walk at the Bigodi Swamps. (B-L-D). 

Fort Portal is a small and attractive city. The fort was built between 1891 and 1893 and named after Sir Gerald Portal, the British Consul General of Zanzibar who arrived in Uganda in 1892 to formalise the protectorate of Uganda. He died of malaria a few months after the fort was completed.

Activities :  Bird Watching, Chimpanzee Trekking
Parks & places :  Kibale Forest National Park (KFNP)

Day 3 : Chimp trekking - Transfer to Mweya (Queen Elizabeth NP)

After breakfast you leave for Kibale Forest renowned for the greatest variety and the highest concentration of primates in East-Africa. The visitors centre of Kanyanchu is 45 minutes away from your lodge. At the visitors centre the rangers are ready to escort different groups of maximum 6 persons. They will brief you about your guided nature walk in the tropical forest in search of the wild chimpanzees. This is one of the great moments of your safari!

The rangers are very knowledgeable and will answer all your questions about the forest and the chimps. Jan Goodall Institute has been assisting Uganda Wildlife Authority with the training of the rangers. A pic-nic lunch is foreseen at Kanyanchu before heading to Mweya QENP via Fort Portal.

On your way to Mweya after leaving Fort Portal, you will have a good scenery of the Rwenzori Mountains. It's during the wet season that you will have the best chances to have a clear view of the Rwezories Mountains. On our way to Mweya you will pass Kasese town and stop at the equator for a traditional picture. 

You will entrer Queen Elizabeth NP at the Kabatoro gate and have a short game drive on our way to Mweya which lies on a peninsula. (B-L-D) 

The Rwenzori Mountains lie along the western border of Uganda and rise to a height of 5100 metres. They form a magnificent landscape of non-volcanic mountains, 120 kilometres long and 48 kilometres wide. The so-called Mountains of the Moon were formed from a single block during the creation of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley (Albertine Rift). 

Activities :  Chimpanzee Trekking
Parks & places :  Kibale Forest National Park (KFNP)

Day 4 : Game drives & Boat trip Kazinga Channel (Queen Elizabeth NP)

The best time for game-viewing is early in the morning! You will take the channel track which runs parallel with the Kazinga Channel and we drive slowly towards the Katunguru gate. The channel track is particulrly rewarding with warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck and elephants. There are some chances in the morning hours to see the spotted hyena and leopard. We will cross the Mbarara-Kassese-Fort Portal road and drive to Kasenyi an area near to Lake George which is an interesting gameviewing area. The wetlands surrounding the lake are of international importance protected by the Ramsar Convention.

You visit the Uganda Kob Mating Ground which is a defined area specifically used by Uganda Kobs for challenging, enticing and mating. Adult rams defend a circle territory (30 meters diameter) and depending on the season the mating ground can have 20 and more of this small terrirories each defended by a male. Ewes enter the terrirories for mating and move freely between rams. 

Watch the spectacular fights as kobs defend their territories, look for lions as well because the high concentration of kobs attracts their predators. After the game drive we also visit the fishing village and the salt works at Kasenyi village near to Lake George. Both sites are part of Queen Elizaberh NP and local communities can develop some of their activities. It will be an opportunity for your guide to explain the conservation policies and the relationship with the local communities. (Fishing is an important activity among the local residents.)   

We continue our game drive and we take the Kasenyi track when returning to Mweya lodge for lunch. In the afternoon you will take the launch trip on the Kazinga Channel which many consider as a highlight of the safari. The launch trip takes 2 hours.

The Kazinga Channel is a natural channel of 36 km long between Lake George and Lake Edward. The launch trip is the most popular activity at Mweya. From the safe boat you can see elephants, hippo, nile crocodile and many water birds. The water birds are plentyful along the channel: African skimmers, African fish eagles, cormorants, saddle-billed storks, pelicans, etc. The Kazinga Channel divides Queen Elizabteth in a northern (Mweya) and a southern part (Maramagambo, Kyambura, Ishasha). Landscapes will be different. The northern part is an euphorbia savannah while the southern sector is a typical accacia savannah.

After the launch trip you will enjoy from your lodge the splendid views of the channel. Alternatively your driver guide will take you for a late afternoon game drive! (B-L-D)

Activities :  Bird Watching, Wildlife Viewing
Parks & places :  Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP)

Day 5 : Transfer to Buhoma (Bwindi Impenetrable NP) via Ishasha

After breakfast departure for Ishasha which is the unspoilt remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for it’s tree climbing lions. Ishasha is about 4 hours a way from Mweya and you will have a short game drive in search of the tree climbing lions. 

After a pic nic lunch on the Ishasha river you will depart for Buhoma. Your arrival at Buhoma is foreseen in the late afternoon after 2 hours drive. (B-L-D)

Activities :  Bird Watching
Parks & places :  Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP)

Day 6 : Gorilla trekking - Bwindi Impenetrable NP

Bwindi Impenetrable NP is a natural world heritage site. Hikers will love it, with the gorilla excursion as a high point of your safari!

Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk along distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.

Once you are back from trekking before 5 pm, you can be intertained by  orphans of the Buhoma village, with their traditional Bakiga dances. For participants who want to contribute to the orphans, we advise them to bring some used clothes or school pensils/pens. (B-L-D) 

The Bwindi orphans group was created in 1998 with the main objective of taking care of the orphans dwelling on the streets of Buhoma. The high aim of the organization is to provide education, teaching agriculture and handcraft skills, teaching basic hygiene and the importance of sanitation. Today there are more than 160 children from all ages.

Activities :  Bird Watching, Gorilla Trekking
Parks & places :  Gorilla Parks of Uganda

Day 7 : Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

After breakfast we depart for Lake Bunyonyi, meandering driving along the Kigezi mountains. Kigezi mountains is another unique scenary for you to view during your trip. On the way you will have a pic nic at an altitude above 2200m in the montain tops. Arrival is foreseen in the afternoon. A relaxing moments on the shores of this wonderful lake will be welcome for most participants. Lake Bunyonyi is bilarzia free hence an ideal water for swimming and water sports. (B-L-D)

Lake Bunyonyi a crater lake formed by volcanic eruption, is 900m deep. This lake is the second deepest lake in Africa and third deepest in the World. It is a home for Otters, cray fish and variety of water birds. Being a bilharzia free waters, you can swim or take a canoe or motor boat ride.

Parks & places :  Lake Bunyonyi

Day 8 : Transfer to Entebbe for departure

Lake Bunyonyi means place of little birds, it is a very idyllic spot that you will likely regret to leave. We drive to Kabale and join the highway to Kampala via Mbarara and Masaka. The journey to Kisubi shall take about 6 hours. You will arrive in the late afternoon in Entebbe/Kampala. (B-L)

Additional services: Depending on your departure flight you can book an additional overnight and/or day excursion.

Activities :  Bird Watching