Uganda's Epic Southwest

Open top road trips looping through Uganda's epic southwestern pocket; this is the safari adventure of your imagination. Track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest, go in search of gorillas in Bwindi, cruise the savannah plains of Queens, and look out for the leopards on the shores of Lake Mburo.

14 Days

$6,282

Uganda's Epic Southwest - 14 - $6,282

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest. The high number of chimpanzees, the accessibility of the forest and the length of habituation makes Kibale the most popular places to track chimpanzees in Uganda. Although sightings are not guaranteed, you have over a 90% chance of seeing these fascinating animals. 


Game drives, boat safaris & tree-climbing lions at Queens. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most bio-diverse place in Uganda. Combine game drives and boat safaris to explore the park and discover the mecca of wildlife found within. In the main park you'll find elephants, hippos, buffalos, antelope and bird life. In the Ishasha sector, tree-climbing lions roam above your head. 


Meet the gorillas in Bwindi Forest. Coming face to face with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the most powerful and humbling wildlife encounters possible. You can always spot trekkers who are returning from having been with the gorillas: even the strong and silent types are grinning and chattering like birds.


Game drives & boat safaris at Lake Mburo. The charming park of Lake Mburo can be explored with game drives, by boat, on horseback and by mountain bike in the continuous ranchlands outside of the park. 


And much, much more. As you traverse Uganda's southwest, there are many cultural experiences and small doses of light adventuring that perfectly accent the main event. These include visiting the crater lakes at Queens, exploring the Bigodi wetlands at Kibale, taking guided forest walks, and visiting the many communities that you will meet along the way. 

Start from Entebbe and end at Entebbe

Landmarks visited on Uganda's Epic Southwest

Itinerary

Day 1: Entebbe

International flight into Entebbe Airport. Upon landing, clear Immigration and collect your luggage before leaving the airport to meet your driver by the terminal doors. 10 minute transfer to your hotel where you will spend the night. 

Overnight: The Boma

Meals: Breakfast


Day 2: Kibale Forest National Park

The safari begins. After a good night's sleep and breakfast, you will be met by your driver-guide for the drive out of the city through a beautiful, changing, landscape to Kibale Forest National Park. The journey covers 370km and takes about 6 hours. Access the forest via Fort Portal, a town that sits near the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and is your springboard into the Kibale.

Stop for lunch at a local restaurant at Fort Portal. Time permitting, you can explore the crater lakes before pressing on to Kibale and checking in to Primate Lodge. 

Overnight: Primate Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 3: Kibale Forest National Park

After an early breakfast, make your way to the nearby Park HQ for the pre-tracking briefing, after which you will walk or drive to the trailhead for the start of your chimpanzee trekking adventure. As you walk deeper into the forest, you'll learn about the flora and fauna of Kibale from your trekking guide. 

Once contact is made, you'll spend one hour with the chimpanzees as they go about their daily life - feeding, playing, grooming, taking care of their young, howling and screeching. Return back to the lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon, enjoy a guided nature walk through the Bigodi wetlands. The Bigodi Swamp Walk is an initiative of the local community. It's a gentle trek with local community guides that takes your through 4km (3-4 hours) of wilderness where you'll encounter a rich diversity of birdlife and primates. All proceeds from eco-tourism go back to into the community, a conservation project well worth supporting. 

Overnight: Primate Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 4: Kibale Forest National Park

Spend the morning exploring the scarred landscape of the crater lakes region. You can spend the afternoon at leisure or visit a local community.

Overnight: Primate Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park

After an early breakfast, proceed south alongside the majestic Rwenzori Mountains to Queen Elizabeth National park. Check in to the wonderful Elephant Plains Lodge and spend the afternoon at leisure. 

Overnight: Elephant Plains Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast, head out into the park via a game drive across the plains. With over 95 large mammal and 600 avian species, Queen Elizabeth National Park is now the most bio-diverse place in Uganda. 

In the afternoon, leave the vehicle behind to join 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. 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 game that come to drink at the water's edge. 

Overnight: Elephant Plains Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast at the lodge overlooking the plains of Queens, go out in search for lions. Your guide will teach the basic telemetry used to locate the lions, as well as discussing the history of the park itself, the human-animal conflict in communities around the park, veterinary issues within the park, and lion family dynamics.

In the afternoon, head out again in search for elephants, buffaloes and other wild animals. 

Overnight: Elephant Plains Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 8: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Continue south this morning through the park with a stopover in the remote Ishasha sector of Queens where you'll find tree climbing lions. Continue further south to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the mountain gorillas. Check in to your lodge at Buhoma and have lunch. After some relaxation, head out on an evening village walk to meet the local people around Buhoma. 

Return to the lodge for sundowners and dinner. 

Overnight: Haven Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 9: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Big Day arrives! Wake up early for a nourishing 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, as well as appropriate safety precautions, you head out by road to the trail-head for the start of your adventure.

The trek begins. Expect to walk between 2 and 8 hours in steep and sometimes muddy conditions, with showers often appearing. The trek can be tough and requires a degree of (average) fitness. When contact is made with the gorillas, you will be able to spend up to one hour with them. 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 10: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

A day of local exploration. Choose to visit the Ride 4 a Woman ($30) community, a locally founded women’s empowerment initiative.  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. Alternatively, visit the Batwa Community ($70), enjoy a community walk ($30) to visit a traditional healer, learn how to grow and brew coffee or visit a local gin brewer.

Overnight: Haven Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 11: Lake Mburo National Park

As we head back east towards Kampala, we break up the journey with a couple of nights at the charming Lake Mburo National Park. As you head into the park, you'll likely spot impalas, topis, warthogs, zebras, and buffaloes.

Spend the afternoon at leisure or jump back in a vehicle to take a game drive around the park. 

Overnight: Mantana Tented Camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 12: Lake Mburo National Park

Today is an early start to maximise the chances of wildlife sightings. A ranger will join you as you explore the park in the early morning. Return to the lodge for a late breakfast. After taking some time to relax, head out on a boat safari across Lake Mburo. 

Overnight: Mantana Tented Camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 13: Return to Entebbe

After a final leisurely breakfast, hit the road for the final time as you drive back Entebbe (5 hours) for a final night in the city.

Overnight: The Boma

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 14: Return Home

Transfer to the airport for your international flight 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 and Chimp 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?