Uganda Coffee and Gorillas Tour
Track gorillas, visit coffee farms, visit ARC Nakivale refugee camp and see "the Big Five" as you visit national parks.
This customized safari adventure is rich with biological and cultural diversity with an insider perspective visiting the American Refugee Committee (ARC) camp Nakivale. See first hand the work of the organization while visiting the refugees living within the camp.
In addition, this trip visits some of the country’s best national parks where you’ll track gorillas and chimpanzees. You’ll also see elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo, and giraffes during the more traditional safari portion of the itinerary. This impressive list of animals is due to Uganda’s location between east and central Africa at the headwaters of the River Nile in the Great Lakes region. The result is a wide range of habitats–from dense forest in misty mountains to wide-open savanna.
Lastly, this trip visits the coffee rich area of Sipi Falls. Walk through the whole process from picking coffee berries to roasting the beans on an open fire. Along the way, you’ll stay at comfortable lodges chosen by local WI guide Charles Morgan Kisitu. We only work with local guides and drivers with 10 or more years of experience, many of whom are guides for film crews and are among the elite safari guides of East Africa.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
Day 1: Arrival- Transfer to your hotel
Upon your arrival, your Wilderness Inquiry guide will meet you at the Entebbe International Airport (EBB) and travel with you to The Boma Bed and Breakfast.
Day 2: Jinja – Source of the Nile – Sipi falls
You will be picked from your Hotel at exactly 7:30 am for the start of Sipi falls adventure safari in Kapchorwa which is about 235km Eastern Uganda. Stop in Jinja with a quick tour to the Source of River Nile the longest river in the world. Lunch break and proceed to Sipi falls arriving in the evening. Optional: tour with a walk and hike near the water falls overlooking the River Lodge and eventually visit the other 2 water falls. The tour will take you about 3hrs or 3hrs & 30mins but this depends on your physical ability as reaching the main water falls is steep as you go down and hilly as you climb back. All this journey takes you through the community with great views of the Hilly areas around. Return to the lodge for Dinner and Overnight at Sipi falls Lodge.
Day 3: Coffee Tour (Eastern Uganda)
After breakfast, with a guide from Sipi falls Lodge you will go for a coffee tour. This coffee tour gives you the chance to learn the process behind making this coffee. Talk to the farmers, see the plantations and then roast your own coffee to take home with you. The tour starts with a walk around the local area to see the coffee plantations and learn a little about the life of a coffee plant. You can also help pick and wash the coffee. After the walk and some lunch at the lodge our staff will show you how to de-shell the coffee beans before roasting them in the traditional way over a wood fire. Once you've finished roasting the beans we'll grind it for you and brew you a fresh cup to enjoy with a slice of cake as you relax for the afternoon. Dinner and Overnight at Sipi falls Lodge.
Day 4: Mbale – Kampala
Depart Mbale back to Kampala with another stop at Bulansuku farm estates in Mukono. at the farm participatory activities including coffee planting, coffee picking, pulping, drying etc. Thereafter clients can participate visiting to farming communities, biking, donkey rides, coffee bush and forest walks, bird watching, and farm games. About 4:00-50pm coffee break and evening drive back to Kampala and drop off at your hotel in Kampala. Overnight at Cassia Lodge.
Day 5: Kampala – Lake Mburo National Park
Begin a scenic drive to the Lake Mburo. The drive will be about 4to 5 hours. Stop at the Equator and marvel at the amazing illustrations by a local guide. Proceed to Lake Mburo arriving in the evening with a game drive as you proceed to your lodge. Here expect to see species of birds, Hippos, zebras, giraffes, impalas and other species of animals. Dinner and Overnight at Mihingo lodge. ARC volunteers join for dinner to discuss the program in Nakivale Refugee Settlement.
Day 6: ARC and Nakivale Refugee Settlement
Full Day of programming provided by American Refugee Committee. Overnight Mihingo lodge.
Day 7: Nature Walk Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
In the morning, we will go for Safari on foot. Lake Mburo is the only park in Uganda where you can take a safari on foot. Expect to see, Impalas, Zebras, Elands only to mention but a few. Return to the lodge, pack your luggage in the car and enjoy your scenic drive to back. Proceed through volcanic formations of the Western Rift Valley towards Queen Elizabeth National Park. The descent reveals a stunning panorama of Lakes George and Edward amidst game-filled plains. In the evening, enjoy a game-drive, before retiring at your preferred lodge. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 8: Game and Boat Cruise
Depart for an early morning game-drive and later return to the lodge for breakfast. Queen Elizabeth National Park’s diverse eco-system of grassy plains, tropical forest, rivers, swamps, lakes and volcanic craters. The Park is a home to lion, leopard, and giant forest hog, Cape buffalo, elephants, De fassa waterbuck, Uganda Kob, Topi and bush buck. The park has also retained its reputation as an ornithologists’ delight with more than 600 species of bird found here. The afternoon boat-cruise offers an excellent platform for photography and game viewing. The birdlife is colorful and abundant. Enjoy a sundowner while admiring the view before a dinner. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 9: Queen Elizabeth – Bwindi
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Bwindi impenetrable forest with a morning game drive in search of the tree climbing lions. Break for lunch and later proceed to Bwindi arriving in the evening. You will check in your lodge and rest for the rest of the evening. Your guide will let you know about your next adventure during dinner. Dinner and overnight at Chameleon Hill lodge.
Day 10: Gorilla Trekking
After early breakfast and briefing by the ranger guide, you will penetrate the impenetrable Bwindi Forest for your gorilla adventure. The beauty of this rain forest is Spectacular. The area offers dramatic steep forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of the mountain gorillas. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered giants is an awesome, exciting experience to be long savored. Many find it to be a rare and moving opportunity. A unique and unforgettable experience. Dinner and Overnight at Chameleon Hill lodge.
Day 11: Departure
Early breakfast and you will be transferred at Kisoro airstrip for your domestic flight to Entebbe International airport. Depending your departure time, you will get a day room to relax in Entebbe before being transferred at Entebbe International airport for your evening flight back home.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE: Uganda varies in terrain from tall mountains to vast plateaus. The country borders massive Lake Victoria. Experience a variety of diverse ecosystems and wildlife on this safari adventure.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: East Africa is a welcoming escape for travelers of all experience levels. Travel between destinations is provided in four-wheel drive vehicles. There is moderate jungle hiking during the gorilla tracking, some of it over uneven terrain. For the safari sections, we'll open the roofs of vehicles for excellent wildlife viewing and photography. No previous experience is necessary.
WEATHER: The climate is fantastic, with year-round average temperatures of 75-85º F. Expect a tropical environment, as there are two dry seasons in Uganda, December through February and June through August. Our itineraries are timed to coincide with the dry season for best wildlife viewing.
YOUR GROUP: The group size typically ranges from 5 to 14 participants, plus one Wilderness Inquiry staff and several local guides. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Throughout the trip, stay in wonderful safari lodges, small hotels, and guest houses. Most rooms are double occupancy with two beds. Participants will be paired by gender or requests to room together.
SINGLE TRAVELERS: If you are traveling alone, you will feel at home with a welcoming group. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip, you may purchase a single supplement for an additional fee. Please email or call us if you would like this option.
MEALS: Kick back and relax while all meals are made for you. Indulge in local cuisine, including beef, chicken, fish, and lots of fruit. Bottled water is readily available. Count on hearty breakfasts, picnic trail lunches, and lively dinners. While we’ll enjoy happy hours together, purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees. Vegetarian options are readily available.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Winston Churchill famously described Uganda as the "Pearl of Africa" in 1907, and that description still holds to this day. Located between east and central Africa, Uganda is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, ecosystems, culture, and history. Its biological diversity is unmatched for a country of its size. Uganda is home to the world's largest population of gorillas and other primates. It is also home to East Africa's famous Big Five game: lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. Over 50 percent of Africa's bird and butterfly species are found in Uganda.
The country lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from Lake Victoria into Lake Kyoga and then into Lake Albert on the Congolese border. It then runs northwards into South Sudan. Over 40 percent of its land mass is covered by lakes, rivers, and wetlands. The most visited national parks in Uganda lie in the western part of the country where the savanna of East Africa meets the jungle of Central Africa.
Uganda's history and topography have resulted in an astonishing array of cultures. Cultural tourism sites celebrate the diversity of some 40 ethnic groups, including members of traditional kingdoms dating back to the 14th century. In a country the size of Oregon, there are 36.8 million residents.
The country takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country including the capital Kampala. Beginning in 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the British. As such, English is widely spoken as the lingua franca. Swahili is the other official national language, and there are dozens of local languages spoken.
Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962. The period after was marked by intermittent conflicts, including protracted civil and guerilla wars. The country has enjoyed relative political and economic stability since 1986 and is considered a safe place to travel.
The once-flourishing tourism sector has been rebuilt in the decades since 1986. The standard of accommodations has largely improved nationwide. Historical hostels have been refurbished and many new ones built. Luxury lodges and tented camps serve the major protected areas. Paved highways run from Kampala to the western part of the country, where reliably maintained dirt roads go between the national parks.
The altitude bestows a pleasant tropical climate with daytime temperatures from 75-85º F. There are two dry seasons, December through February and June through August. Our itineraries are timed to coincide with the dry season for best wildlife viewing.
Lonely Planet featured Uganda as the "Best in Travel for 2012." It has been featured recently in the best travel destinations in Fodor's Travel Guide, The New York Times travel section, National Geographic's Top 10, and CNN Travel.
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Standard Meetings Places and Times
Start: Uganda - Entebbe International Airport at 8:00 PM (local time)
End: Uganda - Entebbe International Airport at 5:00 PM (local time)
This trip begins at Entebbe International Airport at any time on the first date of the trip itinerary. Our guides will be given your flight information and meet you at the airport baggage claim. You will be transported to the The Boma bed and breakfast. The trip ends in the early evening, when the guides will drive you back to the Entebbe International Airport in time for a night flight. If you need help making travel arrangements, call Travel One at (800) 247-1311. They can help you make the best flight connections at the best prices. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.