7 DAY GORILLAS & CHIMPS SAFARI

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Thrilling primate watching.
  • Experience unique sightings & Impressive landscape in Western Uganda.
  • Exciting chimpanzees forest walk in the Kibale forest.
  • Spectacular Lake Bunyonyi & visiting traditional healer.
  • See the amazing game & birdlife on Kazinga Channel Launch cruise.
  • Basket weaving experience.
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest Park.

 

Day 1:  Fort portal – Crater walk

Day 2:  Kibale Forest National Park – Swamp Walk & Chimp Tracking

Day 3:  Queen Elizabeth National Park

Day 4:  Queen Elizabeth National Park

Day 5:  Queen Elizabeth National Parks & Bwindi National Park

Day 6:  Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Gorilla Tracking & Lake Bunyonyi

Day 7: Transfer back to Entebbe

 

Tour Price.

Please contact our tour consultant for detailed price information via email; info@chigotours.com

 

Price Includes:

  • Meet and greet at Airport, Airport pick up and drop off
  • Accommodations with meals as mentioned on itinerary ( Breakfast & Dinner)
  • 1 Chimpanzee permit fee ($150)
  • 1 liter of Bottled water per person per day in the car
  • 4×4 custom built safari vehicle with gas (Toyota Hiace Van or similar) with knowledgeable +English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance fees to Parks

Price Excludes:

  • International flights.
  • Hotel on arrival date in Kampala and departure date in Entebbe
  • Visa for Uganda ($50) , East Africa tourist visa ($100) which is valid in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya for 90 days. It can be obtained at Entebbe/kigali airport.
  • Gorilla permit costs $600 (we arrange it for you)
  • All optional activities mentioned on itinerary
  • Travel Insurances
  • Meals not mentioned on itinerary and beverages, meals on arrival & departure dates
  • Tips and personal expenses such as laundry and communication
  • All drinks and personal entertainment
  • 1 boat ride on kazinga channel, 1 game drive in kasenyi and Ishasha area

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fort Portal – Crater walk

Today after breakfast at 7.00 am, our guide will pick you from your hotel in Kampala or Entebbe, transfer early morning to Fort portal; you pass through traditional Ugandan villages where you see native people in their farmlands. The lush green rolling hills will end up into viewing Uganda’s expansive tea plantations offering you great photo opportunities. check in at lodge, lunch afternoon Crater walk to crater area. Explore this scenic walking route, a chance to see three crater lakes in one spot. This region ( 1814Km2) has 52 crater lakes, ranked with the highest biodiversity in Africa.

Luxury: Primate lodge (B,L,D )

Budget: Dutchess Guest House, (B,D)

 

Day 2: Kibale Forest National Park – Swamp Walk & Chimp Tracking

Today we transfer to Kibale forest national park – Kanyanchu gate. Kibale National park is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, with over 120 individuals. Only one community is allowed to be visited by tourists.

 

In Kibale, here you will find one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa – about 1450 individuals. Today you will do Chimpanzee ‘tracking’. This activity can take between 4 to 5 hours.

 

Remember to carry water, rain gear, and walking/hiking boots plus backpack. It will be perfect opportunity to listen to the chimps as the grumble and feed. Only one community is allowed to be visited by tourists. Chimpanzees live in communities. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against other male intruders; the females usually wander in small family groups. Rangers locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, following their eating trails.

 

There are chances of seeing other primates namely; the Guereza colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, and olive baboons as well as the red colobus monkey considered Endangered and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey that are considered Vulnerable and…plentiful of forest bird life.

 

After lunch, at 4pm, you head out to Bigodi wetland sanctuary for a primate swamp walk (2 hours). The wetland sanctuary is an authentic eco tourism initiative of how the community co exists harmoniously with a habitat of over 50 bird species including Great Blue Turaco, and 8 primate species. Look out for grey cheeked mangabeys, Columbus monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others. After transfer back to the lodge.

Luxury: Primate lodge (B,L,D )

Budget: Dutchess Guest House, (B,D)

Optional activity:

Chimpanzee ‘habituation’ experience.

You can do chimpanzee habituation tracking instead of the usual chimpanzee tracking at an additional fee of only $50 US per person,. Chimpanzees live in communities. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against other male intruders; the females usually wander in small family groups. Rangers locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, following their eating trails.

A chance to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, and socialize with each other. On a lucky day people have witnessed chimpanzees hunting. You will have very close encounter with these chimps.

Please note that it’s important to book this ahead of time because only 6 persons per day are permitted to experience this. In the event that one decides on going for habituation, it is possible to go on swamp sanctuary walk the next morning before heading to Queen Elizabeth National park.

 

Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Experience tea harvesting early morning, have lunch and transfer to Queen Elizabeth national Park, check in at lodge. Enroute stop at Rubona baskets makers, a chance to learn how to make baskets from natural material in beautiful colors. Make a stop over the Equator- experience being in south and north hemisphere at once. Transfer to the lodge.

Luxury: Mazike lodge ( B,L,D)

Budget: Simba Safari Camp/Bush Lodge.( B, D)

 

Day 4 : Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today at 6.30am, your guide will pick you from your lodge and set off for morning game drive. A little before sunrise coffee, will be served in the lounge before we head out for a long game drive. look out for early morning sunrise. You will search for wildlife in the park.

look out for Elephants, Buffalo, Lion, Waterbuck, Leopard, Uganda Kob, and many Warthogs. At 2pm head out on a boat cruise safari tour on Kazinga channel.

 

This is probably the most amazing combination of spectacular water birds ( residents and migrants) teaming with wildlife on Kazinga channel. Along the channel, local people are seen loading their canoes, fetching water as buffalos wallowing , Elephants shower, Hippos roam around, crocodiles basking on the same banks . unbelievable life at the fishing village. Tones of storks, spoonbills, cormorants, kingfishers, lapwigs, pelicans. You can expect to see buffalo, crocodile, bathing elephant, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour complimenting wildlife seen on game drive.

Luxury: Mazike lodge ( B,L,D)

Budget: Simba Safari Camp/Bush Lodge.( B, D)

Queen Elizabeth National park is Uganda’s second largest park, located at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountain range, adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. The park has game including Uganda kob, warthog and waterbuck, Lions elephants.

Evening relax at the lodge.

Optional activity 1: Lion predator tracking:

For visitors who yearn to get up close to wild African animals, a research trip is a rewarding adventure. This new and unique experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring some of lions in the park, using locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and behavior. The results are added to researchers’ databases, contributing valuable information to the overall understanding of wildlife ecology – and helping to conserve this wonderful ecosystem. This will as well gives you a 95% chance to see the lions!

The number of people on each outing is limited in order to reduce stress on the animals and to increase the quality of the experience for visitors. Experiential tours lasts between one and three hours. They usually take place in the early morning or evening. All activities must be booked through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya at least 24 hours in advance.

This Cost: $85 us dollar per person.

Optional activity 2: Chimpanzee trekking, Kalinzu Forest.

Kalinzu forest is an eastern extension of the Maramagambo Forest found  near Queen Elizabeth National Park in the southwestern area of Uganda. Kalinzu Forest Reserve is home to less than 300 Chimpanzees in an area of 137 km2 and other primates. The forest is traversed by a number of scenic trails along the ridges and valleys of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Tour Cost : $50 per person

Optional activity 3: Salt lake tour

At 4pm we have the option of driving to lake Katwe salt crater lake. This unusual crater lake – too salty to support any wildlife – though since the 16th Century it has ensured the survival of village community, who spend their days under the sun, harvesting salt from its milky waters. This tour gives you a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for people. on the tour you will see local community at work, cross the mud walkways with lots of traditional grass huts, used as shelter.

Tour Cost : $25 per person

Optional activity 4: second Chimpanzee tracking at Kalinzu forest.

6.45 AM depart for Kalinzu forest reserve arriving between at 8am. Here you will go for a forest walk in search for chimpanzees. Along the walk there are high chances seeing other primates like baboons, black and white Colobus and red-tailed monkey. On a lucky day you can see the rare pygmy antelope. The walk can take as low as 2 hours to as high as 6 hours.

You will carry along with you picnic/packed lunch. After chimp trekking drive back to lodge. This Costs: $50 US Dollar per person

 

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Parks & Bwindi National Park

– Today we do transfer to Bwindi impenetrable national park, through Ishasha south section in Queen Elizabeth – This is home to tree climbing lions. There are chances of seeing lions in the trees. Please note that there is no guarantee but our guide will maximize all regular hot spots to increase chances of sighting lions. After you will proceed to Bwindi.

Please note the choice of lodging will be determined by location of Gorilla family available at time of booking!

 

Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park is about 330 sq Kms, with spectacular scenery, impressive forest views. The whole geographical scenery is basically hilly and mountainous. At an elevation between 1160 to 2607m (3806 to 8553ft) rains can shower anytime in Bwindi forest, it is recommended that visitors pack rain wear, waterproof clothing and appropriate hiking shoes to wear on during gorilla tracking or forest walks. Daytime temperatures range from 23C/73F at times dropping to as low as 11C/52F

 

Bwindi national park has over 400 gorillas, half of the number remaining in the world. There are 15 gorilla families which have been habituated for gorilla viewing, all of which can be accessed from specific locations/sectors of the forest. 8 people are permitted to view a single family per day. To trek gorillas you need a gorilla permit/license. Gorilla licenses are booked by location not by the name of a gorilla family. There are 4 starting gates namely; in North at BUHOMA, in the East at RUHIJA and in the South at RUSHAGA & South West at NKURINGO.

Luxury: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge / Mahogany springs (B,L,D)

Budget: Trekkers Tavern Cottages / Ride4woman (B & D)

Optional activity : Village Walk:

Overlooking the imposing hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with the mist swirling over the summits, this is one of the most dramatic settings for your cultural tour! Among others, meet a pygmies ‘batwa’ people one of the original natives of the forest, learn their indigenous hunting and fire making skills.

Costs: $20 per person.

 

Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Gorilla Tracking & Lake Bunyonyi

Today breakfast at 7am, gather packed lunch ( the lodge will arrange that) and 7.30am our guide will transfer you to park gate for gorilla-trek debrief which starts at 8:00 am. Start gorilla trekking thereafter. The time taken to track gorillas varies, from as little as half an hour to as much as 10 hours before one returns to lodge.

The activity can be both hard and soft adventure. Altitude spans 1,160 to 2,407m. The terrain is sometimes tough, although the hike is physically demanding; the panoramic scenery and forest make the trekking worthwhile. Finally seeing these gentle giants is an exciting wildlife encounter Uganda has to offer. It can rain at any minute’s notice; hence waterproof clothing is essential including ZIP bags for cameras.

After trekking, our driver/guide will transfer you ( 2 hours) to Lake Bunyonyi for a relaxed evening.

Luxury : Birds Nest@Bunyonyi Resort (B,L,D)

Budget: Supreme Adventure Park. (B & D)

Optional activities at lake Bunyonyi

1, Boat ride to punishment island and traditional healer’s village, costs $40 per person

Time permitting take a boat ride (one hour) visit the traditional healers village by the lake. The healer not only treats the sick, but uses his knowledge to conserve and educate about the various medicinal plants if time and weather isn’t favoring, please note that you have the option of visiting traditional healer the next morning, before departure,

2, Hiking to view islands of lake Bunyonyi ($10) per person

3, Self canoeing, ($5) depends one skill

4, Guided Canoeing, ($18) takes 1 hour,

5, High ropes course and zip lining, ($30) per person, takes 1.5 to 2hrs

 

Day 7: Transfer back to Entebbe

 

Optional activity: Early morning guided bird watching.

Learn about common bird species of lake Bunyonyi with a local guide. ($20 per person)

lake Bunyonyi is a known to be a place of so many little small birds. It’s possible to have an early morning guided bird watching before departure.

 

After breakfast, our guide will transfer you back to Entebbe. Lunch stop en-route; stop at the Equator for some photo moment.

 

TRIP ENDS.

Additional information:

Accommodation: Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour can be arranged for extra cost

Lodging mentioned in the itinerary depends on availability of rooms available at the time of booking. Reservations will only be made after your confirmed booking with us. At the time of your booking, in the event that listed hotels are fully booked, we will do our best to inform you and book a different hotel in the same class.

 

Important: To go on a gorilla trek, you need a gorilla permit/license which we can arrange for you. We can only purchase your Gorilla permit after you have made a down-payment to us. Gorilla permits are competitive on a daily basis, advance booking is always preferred.

Please note the gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Bwindi and or Mgahinga national parks. Gorilla tracking is dependent on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible.

Gorilla trekking can be strenuous activity and Minimum gorilla tracking age is 15 years.

 

What to bring: Hiking shoes/walking shoes, long socks to tuck-in long pants , rain wear, warm clothing, evenings can be cold/chilly, gloves preferably gardening type are very helpful and insect repellant.

Anyone with signs of communicable diseases will NOT be allowed to track.

While possession of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking and

Maximum time allowed with the gorillas will NOT exceed ONE hour, you are kindly requested to practice different modes of using your camera in different light situations. Gorillas can sometimes be moving, Forest vegetation can at times obstruct visibility, and hence taking photos of these creatures can be very challenging!

 

Transport

Our standard offering is a 4WD safari van with pop-up roof for easy safari viewing. All passengers will have a dedicated window seat. Your driver/guide will be at your disposal for questions.

Extension/ add on Tour. If you want to extend your tour to one of our other destinations or if you’d like to add a few side trips to the itinerary, kindly let us know.

 

Difficulty:

Gorilla trekking takes place at altitudes 1160 to 2607m (3806 to 8553 ft) above sea level. This means that moderate/average physical fitness is required. The slowest member will determine the groups’ speed. The pace will be moderate, with plenty stops to rest, ask questions, re-hydrate and enjoy the forest and views.

 

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need to contact us for a booking form  which will include details relating to deposit and final payments etc.