Communities and Gorilla Treks

The story of Uganda is as much about its people as it is its wildlife. If you want to experience both sides of the story, then take this 12 day itinerary that combines a guided tour of Kampala with a exploration of the wildlife and communities of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Visit rural homesteads to get a glimpse of life outside of the protected areas; track the mountain gorillas of Bwindi before ending with a farm stay with the cattlemen of Ankole.

12 Days

$4,817

Communities and Gorilla Treks - 12 - $4,817

Itinerary Map

Landmarks visited on Communities and Gorilla Treks

Itinerary

Day 1: Entebbe

Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, clear Immigration, collect your luggage and exit the airport to meet your driver for the transfer to your Kamapala hotel.

Overnight: Cassia Lodge

Meals: Breakfast


Day 2: Kampala

After a good night's sleep and breakfast, you will be collected for a guided tour of bright and busy Kampala. Visit the colourful markets at Nakasero, the Namugongo Shrine, the Uganda Museum, enjoying lunch at the Roots Restaurant, and much more. In the late afternoon, return to your hotel to spend the second night.

Overnight: Cassia Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Leave the city today for your exploration of the communities and wildlife of south western Uganda. Drive through a beautiful, changing landscape, to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The journey will take about 7 hours, with stops for breaks and lunch. Settle into a two night stay in the hills above the national park.

Overnight: Elephant Plains Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park

After a leisurely breakfast, drive to the Katwe Salt mines, one of the most important sources of wealth for this area since the Middle Ages. The explorer H.M Stanley was the first white man to make a written report of the history of salt extraction at Lake Katwe during his journey to Africa in 1875, taking samples to be analysed in Alexandria and London. Lake Katwe is the largest salt lake in Uganda, producing various types of salt produced from the samewaters.  In the afternoon, take a scenic boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a 33km long natural and pre-historic canal that joins Lakes Edward and Lake George. Formed by tectonic activity millions of years ago during the formation of the rift valleys, the canal, 2 to 3kms at its widest, is now the most dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park and is a  key tourist attraction.  You are almost always guaranteed excellent wildlife sightings including large schools of hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles, wallowing buffaloes on its reedy banks, elephants, multitudes of birds including many endemics as well as numerous other plains species that come to drink at its water’s edge all day long. 

Overnight: Elephant Plains Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast, drive to the quieter southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park in search of the tree climbing lions. It is a beautiful route with the Rwenzori Mountains on your right side and the green valley on the left. Arrive for a late lunch and some rest.  Head out on an afternoon gamedrive, later returing to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Overnight: Ishasha Tented Camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, the journy continues to Bwinid Impenetrable National Park, makin a stop at Deo’s Homestead on the way. Deo is a craftsman and farmer, living with his family on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Visitors are warmly welcomed and will tour around his house and farm, being given a glimpse of the rural Ugandan daily life and how they live in harmony with each other and the surrounding wildlife, but also the challenges they face with the wild animals coming to eat their crops. Deo will show you for example an elephant trench that helps to protect his vegetables from hungry elephants. He will also share with you some of the organic farming methods and his knowledge about medical plant growing and use. The revenue of your visit will fully benefit Deo’s family and the local community. Part goes directly to the host family, another part to other local projects in the area and the remainder into a Savings and Credit Scheme (SACS), encouraging members to save a small amount of money on a regular basis. 

Enjoy a picnic lunch before we continue to Bwindi National Park, home of the endangered mountain gorillas. After some time to rest you will then embark on an evening village walk meeting the locals and engaging in the community. Later return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay. 

Overnight: Haven Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 7: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Big Day arrives! Wake early for a noursihing breakfast (you will need the energy) and then a short transfer to the national park offices where you will be allocated a gorilla family and a gorilla tracking guide. After a pre-tracking briefing on the ecology and history of the gorillas, your assigned gorilla family, as well as appropriate safety precautions, you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure. The trek begins. Expect to walk between 2 and 8 hours in steep and sometimes muddy conditions with rain overhead, which can be tough and require a degree of (average) fitness. However the thrill of coming face to face with a giant Mountain Gorilla silverback completely makes up for the effort! Whencontact is made with the gorillas you will be able to spend up to one hour with them with very little distance between you. Watch them feed, move, play and wrestle. When the hour is up, return through the forest to your vehicle and the lodge for a second night stay.

Overnight: Haven Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 8: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

In the morning you will be taken to visit the Batwa – enjoy the walk in the forest as you prepare to meet the Batwa who have a lot in stock for you.

As the original dwellers of this ancient jungle, the Batwa were known as “The Keepers of the Forest.” The history of these small-statured people is long and rich. The Batwa survived by hunting small game using arrows or nets and gathering plants and fruit in the rain forest. They lived in huts constructed of leaves and branches, moving frequently in search of fresh supplies of food. The Batwa lived in harmony with the forest and its creatures, including the mountain gorillas, for millennia. Some anthropologists estimate that pygmy tribes such as the Batwa have existed in the equatorial forests of Africa for 60,000 years or more.

After this amazing experience with the Batwa, you can choose to visit the Ride 4 a Woman community, a locally founded women’s empowerment initiative, offers you a truly authentic East African cultural experience. Join us and learn to weave baskets, cook local dishes and watch the women of the community showcase their culture through traditional dance — or even better, you can learn to dance with them.

Overnight: Haven Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 9: Mbarara

After breakfast we depart Bwindi for Emburara Farm Lodge which derives its name from a local tall grass called Emburara (Hyperemia ruffa) which the Ankole Cattle keepers treasured and still treasure as the best fodder for their cows as it boosts the fat content of the milk thus enabling the production of high grade cow ghee. Mbarara district, where the lodge is located, is actually believed to have picked its name from Emburara grass that used to cover the whole area.

While at the Farm, you will be treated to a number of farm activities like Okukama (Milking), Okuriisa (herding a cattle), Okweshera (taking the cows to the watering trough) and any more activities that increase one's appreciation of the area. On the farm you will also find the treasured long horned Ankole cattle. Dinner and Overnight at Emburara Farm Lodge.

Overnight: Emburara Farm Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 10: Mbarara

Enjoy your breakfast and then off for the kraal experience, an up close and personal experience with a wide variety of exotic and farm animals.  Hug a Donkey, and go on a trailer ride through a herd of milking cows and much more. In the afternoon, there are lots of activities to choose from like Banana Brewing, Cycling experience, Farm cultural museum, Cultural dance and entertainment. All these destined to make sure your stay is memorable.

Overnight: Emburara Farm Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 11: Entebbe

You will leave Emburara Farm Lodge and head on to Entebbe with occasional stop overs en-route.  En-route you will pass the Equator where we will make a stop for lunch, photos and souvenir shopping. Spend your final night in a lovely Entebbe guesthouse.

Overnight: Boma Guesthouse

Meals: Breakfast


Day 12: Entebbe

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Entebbe International airport for your flight out home. 

Meals: Breakfast

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

  • Prices are per person based on two people travelling together.
  • Prices shown are based on low season rates. Peak season costs increase by about 20%.
  • All Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) permits are included at the documented UWA rate and are not subject to a mark up.

Includes

  • Airport transfer to/from Entebbe Airport
  • Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Gorilla  trek permits; park entrance fees
  • AMREF Flying Doctors Insurance
  • Mineral water in the vehicle ; 2 liters per person daily on safari
  • Ground Transportation in a safari customized 4WD Toyota Land cruiser, with fuel and English speaking driver-guide
  • VAT for hotels and lodges outside Kampala"

Excludes

  • International flight
  • Visa (USD $50, available upon arrival & online)
  • Optional activities
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
  • Items of personal nature
  • Porterage Fees
  • Tips

Questions about this Trip?