Uganda Safari and Gorilla Tracking
Track gorillas and see "the Big Five" as you visit four national parks
Our newest safari adventure destination is rich with biological and cultural diversity. Visit four 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.
The trip takes you to the most famous parks of western Uganda. 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: 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: After breakfast depart Entebbe and head west to Fort Portal. Fort Portal rests in the shadow of the fabled “Mountains of the Moon” and is famous for the many tea plantations. After lunch in town continue to Kibale National Park. Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at the deluxe safari tents of Primate Lodge Kibale.
Day 3: Today the forest opens up for chimpanzee tracking. Kibale Forest is reputable of having the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. Enjoy a guided nature walk in this tropical rainforest. After lunch travel to the Bigodi Swamp. The Bigodi Swamp Walk is an initiative of the local community and is known for its rich diversity of birds and primates.
Day 4: After breakfast travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park while passing the region of the Crater Lakes. Have lunch and relax at the pool before going on a game drive in search of warthogs, buffalo, waterbucks, and elephants. Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at the Ihamba Lodge.
Day 5: The day begins early for a morning game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Search for lions, elephants, and buffalos in their natural habitat before returning for lunch. In the afternoon take the opportunity to relax on a luxury boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a natural channel between Lake Edward and Lake George. Abundant birdlife, elephants, buffalos, and hippos make their homes here.
Day 6: After breakfast head south, passing the southern sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. This part is called Ishasha and is famous for tree-climbing lions. After a short game drive, continue to Bwindi National Park, home of the endangered mountain gorillas.
Day 7: Gorilla tracking–a meeting with the gentle giants of Bwindi National Park! Expect to walk in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before encountering any gorillas. Those who prefer not to participate in the gorilla tracking can go for a guided forest walk or explore the surroundings.
Day 8: After breakfast depart Bwindi and head to Lake Mburo National Park. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Mburo to view the rich bird life and hippos. Tonight will be an early dinner to allow time for a night game drive in an open Land Cruiser. This special game drive provides an opportunity to see the elusive leopard.
Day 9: Eat an early breakfast before a safari walk guided by a ranger. Lake Mburo is the only National Park where you can experience a safari on foot. Enjoy a game drive as we travel to Kampala. Arrive in the afternoon for time to visit shops or relax at the pool.
Day 10: Depending on your flight schedule you can join us on a Kampala city tour. You will be brought to Entebbe Airport in time for your flight.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
Is there a minimum age for the Uganda Safari?
There is no minimum age for this trip, but it is worth considering whether your child can handle the rigor of the trip. Definitely let us know if you think your kids are borderline.
There is a minimum age of 15 for the gorilla tracking day. The government of Uganda restricts permits based on age because of incidents involving children who were not able to follow the recommended protocols for interacting with the animals.
Gorilla tracking occurs on Day 7 of our itinerary. We are able to accommodate alternative activities that day for those who prefer not to participate. They can go for a guided forest walk or explore the surroundings with the Buhoma Village Walk.
For more information, visit these links:
Single Room Supplement
You can elect to guarantee a single room for the duration of the trip for $795 during the registration process.
Standard Meeting 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.