Stay overnight in Johannesburg.
This is certainly one of the world’s best safari tours – gorillas and chimpanzees up close and personal, 13 other primates, tree-climbing lions, an abundance of wildlife, a myriad of birds and butterflies, the Nile River, jungles, mountains, lakes… It has it all.
This is a BUCKET LIST must do!
Stay overnight in Johannesburg.
Arrive in Entebbe and transfer to our lodge in the hills above Kampala, with spectacular views of Lake Victoria and the city.
This morning we take a tour of Kampala, a dynamic city with a rich and colourful history. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kasubi Tombs, the burial place of the kings and royal family of the Buganda kingdom, a Bahai Temple, and the Uganda National Mosque (even though it was funded by Colonel Gadaffi), then watch the action or pick up some bargains at the local markets.
It is quite a long drive to Murchison Falls – but well worthwhile. Along the way learn more of Uganda’s history and see everyday life. After lunch we proceed to the top of Murchison Falls to hear, feel and see the Nile River crashing through a tiny gorge and plunging into a violent tempest 40 metres below. Check into our rustic lodge, located on the southern bank of the River Nile and overlooking Murchison Falls National Park and see pods of hippos and papyrus islands.
Take an early morning game drive in the national park where you can expect great wildlife viewing including giraffe, lions, elephants, spotted hyenas, warthogs, Ugandan kobs, Jackson’s hartebeests, waterbucks and, hopefully, leopards.
In the afternoon, take a relaxing cruise on the Nile. Spot hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants, buffalo, and hundreds of birds, and enjoy the spectacular view of the falls from below.
A full day’s drive to our next destination. Drive through dense forests and tea plantations, pass villages and see beautiful turquoise crater lakes dotting the landscape. On a clear sunny day you can see the tallest African Mountain range, the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon in the distance.
A highlight day today: chimpanzee tracking. Follow your guide through the lush tropical jungle to find a chimpanzee troop. Spend an hour observing them up close – the way they communicate, the playful youngsters, how they use rocks for crushing nuts, empty pods for water and sticks for digging termites from their holes. On the walk look out for the black-and-white colobus, red tailed monkey or the grey cheeked mangabey, just some of the 13 species of primates living in the park. Your guides will be able to show you different birds and will give details of the plant species within the forest.
After lunch, take a gentle stroll through the Bigodi Wetlands, a paradise for bird watchers with 138 resident species.
Today we head off for our next adventure. Drive through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park to spot the rare tree climbing lions. You can see them lazing within the branches of huge fig trees staring down at the numerous Ugandan kobs grazing in the open plains. The kobs are actually the main prey of these lions – dinner on the hoof. We arrive at our lodge in Bwindi in the evening.
HIGHLIGHT DAY – Mountain Gorilla trekking
After an early breakfast we head to the park headquarters for the gorilla trekking formalities and briefing. Your group will have a maximum of eight people and you will be assigned a particular gorilla family to observe. The trek distance and difficulty will vary depending on which group you are assigned and how far away they are. The walking can be steep and muddy but not overly strenuous. There are only 786 of these gorillas in the entire world and the majority live in Bwindi.
Nothing can prepare you for the excitement of that first glimpse of the gorilla family in their natural habitat. You will have the opportunity to get right up close to them. The huge silverbacks, the nursing mothers, the cute youngsters – you will be mesmerised by this extraordinary encounter. You will have amazing tales to share back at the lodge tonight.
Drive to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and visit the genocide museum. Then get amongst the locals at the markets. Enjoy lunch at an historic hotel. There’s time for some last minute shopping at an arts and crafts village before you fly to Johannesburg and stay overnight.
Free day in Johannesburg, departing for Australia in the evening and arriving in Australia on Friday 24 May.