12 Day Best of Uganda Safari 

15 Days Ultimate Uganda Experience Safari

Overview

This  12 Day Best of Uganda Safari shall give you the best experience of Uganda’s remarkable wildlife diversity ranging from the big five to plenty of wildlife that is perfectly distributed across various protected areas within the country. Uganda is gifted by a range of habitats and ecosystems, all of which act as home to a plethora of wildlife species. These species are a representative paradigm of the biodiversity of the country that is punctuated by an estimated 18,783 species of fauna and flora. The country is home to over 5,000 bird species, which is 50% of Africa’s bird richness. With a diversity of ecosystems, the country hosts over 600 fish species, 345 mammals, 1091 plant species, 7 of Africa’s 18 plant kingdoms, 20 primate species (with the highest concentration of Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees) as well as lower animals, reptiles, amphibians etc. This makes it a tourist destination of unmatchable splendor, encompassing the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, wide savannahs, crater lakes, volcanoes, dense rainforests, RAMSAR sites, long rivers (like the Nile), and the immense Lake Victoria. The biodiversity of Uganda can thus be fully appreciated when one chooses to view things through the lenses of Sir Winston Churchill who christened the land as the pearl of Africa!

This 12 Day Best of Uganda Safari shall therefore reward you with a variety of forms as you come closer to wildlife and nature. The safari takes you through some of Uganda’s National Parks, starting from Murchison falls National Park, Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Lake Mburo National Park. The safari is designed to factor in a combination of different nature experiences that range from game viewing, bird watching, chimp trekking, boat cruising to the most outstanding activity of legendary Africa: Gorilla trekking. The thought of viewing animals within their habitats while having a boat cruise treat on the Nile river is one of the realities you will encounter in Murchison falls National park. The sight of mountain gorillas as they feed and play is humbling as well as the activities of the tree-climbing lions. You will have game drives, cultural experiences as well as trekking experiences as the biggest highlight.

This 12 Day Best of Uganda Safari shall treat you to amazing scenery and diverse landscapes, the best weather, and some of the most friendly people.

We give you a range of accommodations to choose from, ranging from budget, moderate to luxury.

Safari Summary

  • Day 1: Transfer from Entebbe to Murchison Falls National Park with a Stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino Tracking on Foot, Optional Stopover at the Top of the Falls
  • Day 2: Morning Game Drive through the Park in the Morning, Boat Cruise on River Nile to the Top of the Falls & Hike to the Top of the Falls
  • Day 3: Transfer from Murchison Falls National Park to Kibale Forest National Park
  • Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking at Kibale Forest National Park in the Morning & Nature Walk through Bigodi Wetlands in the Afternoon
  • Day 5: Transfer from Kibale Forest National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Morning & Game Drive in the Evening
  • Day 6: Morning Game Drive through Kasenyi Savannah Plains, Boat Safari on Kazinga Channel & Crater Drive in the Evening
  • Day 7: Transfer from the North of Queen Elizabeth National Park to Ishasha Sector in the South: Home of Tree-Climbing Lions & Game Drive in the Afternoon
  • Day 8: Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Rest of the Day at Leisure
  • Day 9: Gorilla Tracking at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest & Rest of the Day at Leisure
  • Day 10 Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi – 2nd deepest Lake in Africa
  • Day 11: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park and have an evening game drive
  • Day 12: Game Walk through the Park & Transfer from Lake Mburo National Park to Kampala

Itinerary

Day 1
Transfer from Entebbe to Murchison Falls National Park with a Stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino Tracking on Foot, Optional Stopover at the Top of the Falls

Wake up early for breakfast and prepare for pick up by the driver guide at 7 am and leave for Murchison Falls National Park. We will make a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – home of Uganda’s rhinos. Seeing rhinos in their natural environment, up close and in person is an unforgettable experience. The Rhino Sanctuary is the only place to do this in Uganda, so if you’re looking to complete your Big Five game checklist we have to stop here. Today, we have the chance to track the endangered rhino on foot. After a short briefing, your rangers will guide you to the Rhinos where you will observe these fantastic animals from a distance of only 30 meters. Watching these huge animals while tracking them on foot is truly an intimidating but unique experience. We will leave the sanctuary and proceed. You shall stopover in Nakasongola District for lunch at the Kabalega Dinner restaurant. Continue to Murchison Falls National Park reaching in the late afternoon. You will be welcomed by hundreds of baboons lined along the road. However, endeavor to keep the windows closed as the baboons will be attracted to snatch items from the car. For bird lovers, be on the lookout for some species. Wood doves hoover in front of the car, and the Saddle-billed Stork is a common sight along the road. Enjoy panoramic views across the thick forest. Spend the evening relaxing at the lodge.

Day 2
Morning Game Drive through the Park in the Morning, Boat Cruise on River Nile to the Top of the Falls & Hike to the Top of the Falls

You should be up by 6.00 am, take a quick cup of coffee or tea with a snack to warm your tummy, and set out for the early morning game drive. The early start is a better time and offers more chances for the great sightings of the nocturnal animals and elusive predators such as Lions, Hyenas, Leopard, and Jackal, as they are still out actively hunting in the morning hours and haven’t returned to their hideouts. Murchison Falls National Park is divided by River Nile into the south and northern region. The northern part is largely covered by savannah and woodland and supports a lot more volume and variety of animals compared to the southern region which is mainly covered by forest. Therefore, the game drives are done in the northern area of Murchison Falls. If your lodge is found in the southern section, you will thus get a ferry to cross to the northern section for your game drive. Explore the game trails towards the Lake Albert delta where big game such as the Elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes, and many Antelopes are seen. Murchison falls is the main stronghold in Africa for Rothschild Giraffes. Therefore, you’ll be blown away by these beautiful creatures as you enjoy the beautiful savannah landscape that is immersed with plenty of life and wonderful scenery. The game drive will last for approximately 3 hours, and you have the choice of having a packed breakfast on the game drive or return to the lodge for breakfast. Back at the lodge, there is some time to relax. After lunch set out for a 2-hour Launch Cruise (boat safari) on River Nile which sets off at Paraa, going upstream to the bottom of the Murchison Falls. The boat ride offers an array of wildlife sightings – crocodiles, hippos, and lizards are a common sight throughout the cruise. As you reach the falls, you notice a lot of huge crocodiles amongst the largest ever seen amassed together. The place is called “Croc Bar.” Big game such as buffaloes, elephants, and antelopes can also be sighted drinking and cooling off the heat by the river banks and with a little luck, you might even spot a leopard resting in a tree close by the water. It is easy to see the animals at a close and clear encounter for many animals come to drink, bathe, and as well to eat some grass. Herds of hippos can be witnessed playing in the waters, all of which offer a wonderful opportunity to take photographs of the various animals. Since the Nile is a bird magnet, it offers an opportunity for one to tune in and listen to the melodious twitters of various birds that find the river environment a haven of rest. This birdlife is very impressive and keeps you constantly entertained, with a profusion of colors and species. You will also be totally blown away by a spectacle of sheer power and beauty with which the water squeezes through the devil’s cauldron. Reaching the bottom of the Murchison Falls, you will leave the boat and set out for a 45-minute hike rock adjacent to the Murchison falls and thereby accessing great views of the falls at different spots along the trail. If your reserved lodge is in the northern section, you will get a ferry to cross to the southern for a hike or to go to the top of the falls. Once reached the top you will find the tour guide waiting to drive you back to the lodge for dinner and overnight. You will have the opportunity to watch the sunset over the River Nile at dusk.

Day 3
Transfer from Murchison Falls National Park to Kibale Forest National Park and visit the Kasenda crater lakes

After breakfast check out and leave for Kibale Forest National Park located in western Uganda. Driving along the Albertine rift valley you are treated to panoramic views of the rift valley escarpment. You shall stopover in Hoima for lunch. Continue and reach Kibale National Park in the evening. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to explore the region of the Kasenda Crater lakes with panoramic points and sceneries. You will have dinner and overnight at the previous night’s hotel/lodge.

Day 4
Chimpanzee Tracking at Kibale Forest National Park in the Morning & Nature Walk through Bigodi Wetlands in the Afternoon

After early breakfast, you will transfer to Kanyanchu, at the park offices and visitor information center at 7 am to meet the ranger guides for registration and pre-trek briefing about what to do and not during chimpanzee trekking. After the briefing, you will be divided into groups and each group will be assigned a ranger, after which you will set off to trek into the forest to track a community of Chimpanzees. The trek usually lasts between 3-5 hours and varies due to the movement of the Chimpanzees. 3 large communities of Chimpanzees have been habituated for the tracking adventure. Each of these communities was designed for different kinds of visitors; one is for chimpanzee tracking, the other is for research and the last one was designed for the habituation experience. You will locate the Chimps without so much straining since the location of each of the Chimp communities is known beforehand by advance trackers and communicated to your guides. The trek highlights a variety of flora ad fauna and while you trek through the forest, you will observe plenty of other wildlife. Other primates which you may spot include Red Colobus Monkey, L’Hoest Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, and Vervet Monkeys. The bird lovers spot many forest species from a total of 335 bird species recorded in the forest. The trademark pant hoots and loud screams of the Chimps can be heard from a distance and will lead you straight to their community. Once you reached them, you will spend one hour observing and following the chimpanzee through the forest. The Chimps will be swinging through trees with so much speed, pant hooting, slapping the tree barks, and screaming to locate each other. It is an adrenaline-giving atmosphere and a memorable experience. After the experience, you will return to the visitor information center and you will be given certificates. You will then return to the lodge for lunch. Later in the day, you shall transfer to the Bigodi Wetlands, situated on the eastern edge of the forest in Magombe swamp. Bigodi is punctuated by biodiversity and beautiful scenery and is a birder’s paradise with about 138 species. It also hosts eight species of primates including the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be found here. The sanctuary was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features along with the wetland and is managed by the local community. In this area, there are small establishments or groups of people that are prepared to take you through the two main activities, is the Swamp walk and the community walk. In the swamp walk, you shall take a light walk in the wetlands to observe nature and wildlife including many monkey species. During this walk, you will have the opportunity to spot some wildlife species that you hadn’t witnessed during the trek. These include certain species of primates, butterflies, plants, and spectacular birds. Some of such birds include; the green breasted pitta which is endemic to the Kibale forest, the rare Papyrus Gonolek, and the great blue turaco. Some primates include the Red colobus monkeys.
You also have chances of viewing forest elephants, forest buffalos, sitatungas, serval cats, civet cats, and mongooses. After the swamp walk, you will have the community walk which involves experiencing the culture and a few things that are done by the local people. They include; Gin brewing from bananas, coffee processing, craft making, and having a visit to the local medicine man to see the use of local medicine. Return in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Day 5
Transfer from Kibale Forest National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Morning & Game Drive in the Evening

After breakfast check out and leave for Queen Elizabeth National Park. You stop in Fort Portal for lunch, thereafter continue to Queen, arriving in the later afternoon, or have lunch at the lodge and relax a bit, before heading out for your first game drive through Kasenyi Savannah Plains in the evening. Keep your eyes open for the big cats, which become more active in the evening hours.

Day 6
Morning Game Drive through Kasenyi Savannah Plains, Boat Safari on Kazinga Channel & Crater Drive in the Evening

Have an early cup of tea with a snack and set off for a morning game drive in the park for wildlife sightings. Explore the main game tracks of the Kasenyi Plains which are the main mating grounds of many antelopes and thus a favorite hunting ground for cats such as the Lions and Hyenas. Kasenyi plains boost several wild animals and offer opportunities for you to witness big cats as well as other animals like elephants, buffaloes, and others. Enjoy the magical sunrise over the scenic landscape of crater lakes and grassy hills. From lunch transfer to the Mweya peninsula for a two hours boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel which is filled with plenty of wildlife. You shall observe at a very close distance animals such as hippos, buffaloes, elephants, crocodiles, kobs, monitor lizards. Over 100 species of birds flock the channel such as Harmerkops, Ibis, Fish Eagles, Skimmers, Egrets, Pelicans, and Herons among others. You will return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 7
Transfer from the North of Queen Elizabeth National Park to Ishasha Sector in the South: Home of Tree-Climbing Lions & Game Drive in the Afternoon

After breakfast, you shall drive to the southern sector of the park called Ishasha. This area is home to a very high percentage of lions, which are usually seen relaxing within branches of huge fig trees. You will also view other species of animals like elephants and kobs. Elusive predators such as Hyenas are easy to come by during the early morning. So be alert and observe all trees carefully as you drive through this beautiful savannah landscape. Transfer to the lodge in Ishasha for lunch and relax a bit, before you head out to explore the Ishasha Sector on a game drive on the lookout for the tree-climbing lions. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 8
Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, leave for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, driving through Ishasha once again for yet another chance to catch the Lions and other wildlife. You will stop over near Kihihi for early lunch and thereafter continue to southern to Bwindi arriving in the afternoon. Check into your accommodation and spend the rest of the day enjoying the breathtaking scenery!

Day 9
Gorilla Tracking at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Today we will have the amazing opportunity to observe the gorgeous scenery of Uganda’s tropical rainforest and experience a breathtaking encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas. Today’s schedule will take us through the impenetrable Jungle of Bwindi National Park, which was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Bwindi Impenetrable NP occupies the size of about 321 sq km between 1,160m and 2,607m above sea level and it’s the home of the endangered mountain gorillas. The park is divided into 4 gorilla tracking sectors including Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo sectors. Within the park, there are 21 groups of gorillas habituated for tourism. Five of these groups are found in the vicinity of Buhoma in northwest Bwindi; four at Ruhija in the east; and ten at the park’s southern trailheads at Rushaga and two are found at Nkuringo. Have early breakfast, pick your packed lunch from the lodge, carry enough drinking water, and transfer to the briefing point by 7.30 am. While here, you will carry out registration and join others for a gorilla trekking briefing about the precautions and guidelines of the gorilla trekking activity. You will then be assigned a gorilla group, meet the ranger guide and start the trek into the forest. The forest is usually wet and muddy with steep slopes. However, the sounds and sights of different birds and butterfly species offer a variety of forms and colors that satisfy you with a rare sort of happiness! The gorillas are located in different places across the forest and therefore the time is taken to find one group varies and can not be estimated before. Once you reached them, you are allowed to stay for one hour to observe these gentle giants, after which you return to meet the driver guide and transfer back to the lodge for relaxation and overnight. Top Hint: There is a lot of fauna and flora in the forest. Be ready to ask the guide any questions about endemic species in the park. Also, ensure that you take photos during the gorilla trek.

Day 10
Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi – 2nd deepest Lake in Africa

After breakfast, enjoy a drive through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Lake Bunyonyi near Kabale in the Kigezi region. Lunch at the lodge Lake Bunyonyi. In the afternoon you have a wonderful experience of nature with a guided canoe excursion along the Lake, for birding, exploration and visiting local places. In the evening relax at the lodge, for dinner, and overnight.

Day 11
Transfer from Lake to Lake Bunyonyi to Lake Mburo & Evening Game Drive

After breakfast, check out and leave for Lake Mburo National Park. You will make a stop in Mbarara town for lunch, thereafter proceed to park, driving through the game trails as you go to the lodge. Lake Mburo is best known for herbivores, and therefore expect to sight plenty of Zebras, Impala, Topi, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Elands, and more! Plus you shall also enjoy the beautiful green scenery. Get to the lodge for relaxation. Later set out for a boat ride on Lake Mburo to see Hippos, Buffaloes, birds and enjoy the wonderful scenery. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 12
Game Walk through the Park & Transfer from Lake Mburo National Park to Kampala

Set out for an early morning walk into the forest to see animals and wonderful nature at close encounters. Return to the lodge for breakfast after which you shall check out and depart for Kampala. You shall stop over at the Uganda Equator line for some picture moments. Continue to Kampala for lunch and thereafter transfer to your accommodation for the evening and overnight.