Uganda - Primate Safari to the 'Pearl of Africa'

Discover Uganda – known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by British explorers – a country noted for outstanding beauty and diversity – from the ethereal Mountains of the Moon to open savannahs and impenetrable forests. Uganda is the center of Africa’s own “Great Lakes” system. All that water has produced a country of verdant landscapes and thick forests, while the dark, rich soils support all manner of life. It is in these densely packed forests that Uganda’s most famous residents reside— the awe-inspiring mountain gorilla. These powerful and intelligent animals will often view you with as much scrutiny and curiosity as you are viewing them. Uganda is a realm where humans are the visitors, and visitation is a privilege.

Degree of Difficulty - Four Paws

Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

Weather Reports - When To Go

Uganda is a beautiful country and lovely to visit any time of the year. When gorilla trekking, it’s not uncommon to encounter rain. After all, it is the rainforest you will be visiting and it rains quite a lot, but that will not stop you from trekking to see the gorillas. The rainy season overall in the country follows the East Africa pattern – long rains in April/May, and short rains in November. Gorilla viewing is actually better during the rainy season, as they’re generally lower in elevation feeding and can be viewed with less trekking. However, this can never be guaranteed – neither can one guarantee 100% success in viewing the gorillas, although they’re almost always sighted.

Days 1/2 WASHINGTON, DC/ADDIS ABABA/ENTEBBE

Board your overnight flight to Entebbe, via Addis Ababa, arriving the following day, mid-day. Here, you’re met and escorted to your lovely hotel, located on the glistening shores of Lake Victoria. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight. PROTEA HOTEL ENTEBBE. (Meals Aloft; D)

Days 3/4 KIBALE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Begin your Ugandan adventure with a full-day scenic drive through lush agricultural countryside to Kyanjojo. Drive through tea plantations and into the Kibale tropical rainforest to explore Kibale Forest National Park, comprised of pristine lowland tropical rainforest, montane forest and mixed tropical deciduous forest as well as areas of grassland and swamp. Kibale is known to have the largest and most diverse population of primates in Africa. You may see families of chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys chattering and swinging through the ancient forest trees. The sightings of birds in the forest are no less impressive – at least 325 species, including the Crowned Crane, Uganda’s national bird. In addition, there are over 144 butterfly species. Your beautiful lodge is situated on a high saddle between two crater lakes with breathtaking views. NDALI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 5/6 QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and experience the excitement of wildlife viewing in Uganda’s second largest national park. You may see hippo, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, Ugandan kob, topi, bushbuck, pangolin, warthog, hyena and civet, as well as over a quarter of Africa’s bird species – more than any other park in Africa. Take a launch trip on the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward to view some of the largest concentrations of hippo in the world, as well as Nile crocodile, African rock python, monitor lizard and a plethora of colorful birds. Between wildlife viewing expeditions, you can relax poolside at your lodge with its stunning views of Lake Edward, Kazinga Channel and the Rwenzori Mountains. MWEYA LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 7/8/9 BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Continue your exploration of Queen Elizabeth National Park en route to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a game drive in the Ishasha sector of the park, searching for the tree climbing lions. Enjoy a picnic lunch and arrive in Bwindi in the afternoon. At least 120 mammal and 346 bird species make their home here, one of the richest ecosystems in Africa, along with approximately half the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. Fiercely protective of this natural treasure, Ugandan authorities permit only one-hour visitation in clusters of groups of 8 travelers. Your group will have the opportunity for two treks to view the mountain gorillas (each purchased in advance). The trek can take from one to six hours and climb up to 7,500 feet in altitude. Picnic lunches will be provided. Your guide and porters will take you along river trails with delightful waterfalls, up steep slopes and into forest clearings in search of these gentle giants. Approximately 98% of the gorilla treks are successful but there is no guarantee that you will see the gorillas. Only 15 minutes from Bwindi Park Headquarters, your home offers luxury and serenity in a spectacular setting. MAHOGANY SPRINGS LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 10/11 BWINDI/ENTEBBE/ADDIS ABABA/WASHINGTON, DC

Bid the gorillas goodbye as you fly back to Entebbe and check into your dayroom at the PROTEA HOTEL. A chance to rest, or shop, before transferring to the airport for your flights home, bringing the cherished memories of your encounter with the gentle giants of the forest. (B, Meals Aloft)

OPTIONAL PRE EXTENSION TO MURCHISON FALLS

Start your Ugandan adventure with an adventure on the banks of the Albert Nile. This is where part of the movie The African Queen was filmed. Cruise up the Nile to view glorious Murchison Falls in the company of hippo, gigantic crocodile and a plethora of exotic birdlife, including the Shoebill Stork. Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most spectacular and largest (1,480 square miles) in Uganda. Other animals regularly seen include elephant, giraffe, lion, buffalo and many antelope species, including the dainty oribi.

OPTIONAL POST EXTENSION TO RWANDA

Continue your gorilla trekking adventure with a trip to Volcano National Park, Rwanda, the site of Dian Fossey’s celebrated gorilla habituation and anti-poaching project, and the location for the film Gorillas in the Mist. You will have an opportunity for two treks (each purchased in advance). Also, visit the Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali for a glimpse into the region’s troubled past.

YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:

  • Flight between Bwindi and Entebbe on the main trip.
  • Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
  • All meals while on safari in Uganda and Rwanda (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Wildlife viewing in specially-designed 4-wheel drive safari vehicles, with open roof viewing hatches for wildlife viewing and photography. A window seat is guaranteed. Chimpanzee and gorilla trekking will be made on foot.
  • Complimentary bottled water in vehicles.
  • Professional naturalist on main tour and extension with a minimum of 10 travelers.
  • Gratuities for baggage handling, hotel tips and all applicable hotel and lodge taxes.
  • National Park and Reserves entry fees.
  • Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.
Prices starting at $7,895. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.