7-Day Gorilla-Glorious Wildlife-Bunyonyi- Source of the River Nile
This 7- day safari takes you to one of the most beautiful places on earth- Lake Bunyonyi, a face to face encounter with the Giants of the wild- the Mountain Gorilla. See iconic Crater Lakes and Africa’s third highest and most rugged mountain impose in the background. Spot glorious wildlife & tree climbing lions, several big water games. Immerse yourself into some amazing cultural experiences and top it with a visit to the source of the Nile- the longest River in the world. Enjoy your safari!
Day 1: Arrival, transfer to Kampala & half-day City Tour
Our guide will be on hand to pick you from the airport and transfer you to Kampala with a drive past Africa’s largest fresh water Lake-the Victoria. Arrive in Kampala, check in and then depart for a city tour.
First stop is Kasubi tombs- the burial grounds for the past four Kabakas (Kings) of Buganda- Uganda’s largest ethnic group. See symbolic rituals and complex cultural hierarchy.
After the tombs, drive to Old Kampala to the imposing Gaddafi Mosque- one of the most pivotal positions to view metropolitan Kampala. The towering structure accommodates over 35,000 people and is one of the biggest Mosques in Africa. Climbing the tower/Minaret gives you the best view of Kampala at 360 degrees with its original surrounding seven hills.
Depart for Nakasero market (the world’s most interesting urban fresh fruits/vegetable market) and proceed to Independence Monument.
Head back to the hotel for dinner and overnight and much needed additional rest in preparation for the big adventures ahead.
Day 2: Transfer to Fort Portal & Sempaya Hotspring
After a very early breakfast, set off for Fort portal-Kasese road. After about six (6) hours, you will branch off to the Sempaya hot springs to witness this natural earth phenomenon where hot water springs emerge out of the earth creating a mini water falls. See the locals dive in to take a warm bath in what they believe has healing and supernatural powers while others make quick meals. After the hotsprings, depart for lunch at the Gardens Restaurant in Fort portal town. Then check in for dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Guest House- Fort Portal. Enjoy the cool environs of this beautiful landscape and lodge that has occasional visitors.
Day 3: Queen Elizabeth NP, Wildlife Galore & Boat Cruise.
With an astonishing 5000 hippos, 2500 elephants and over 10,000 buffaloes thriving in its grasslands and shorelines, Queen Elizabeth’s NP guarantees sightings of some of Africa’s most iconic species. Hearing the elephants’ calls reverberate around Queen’s crater-filled valleys is a magical experience. This is the place you are going to today!
Depart Chimpanzee Guest House heading to Queen Elizabeth NP. Descend into the Great Rift Valley with glimpses of the mighty snow-capped Rwenzori Mountain in the distance.
Enter Queen Elizabeth National Park and drive straight to the Crater Lakes. After the crater, Lakes, head deeper into Queen Elizabeth National Park in time for the afternoon boat cruise across the Kazinga channel- an oasis for many of the fascinating species in this huge park. In the boat, you cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffaloes while elephants linger on in the shoreline in a playful gesture. Head to the lodge and opt for an evening game drive.
Day 4: Open Savannah Big Game drive/ Water beasts
After an early breakfast, you will drive to Kasenyi- the open savannah grassland. Kasenyi is the stereotypical African landscape and is the most popular area to search for big cats.
Here, you will see large herds of common herbivores including warthogs, waterbuck, Uganda kob and topi, and possibly the sitatunga antelope which attracts predators. If you are lucky you will find the “big bosses”- lions feeding on them creating a captivating sight of game hunting and survival. There is also a large concentration of hippos, crocodiles plus herds of elephants, buffalo, and other wildlife that come to drink water.
Lions are found all over the park, but the most famous live in the southern sector called Ishasha, where they rest on the limbs of fig trees thus the name- tree climbing lions. Solitary leopards are nocturnal and well camouflaged, making a glimpse all the more rewarding!
After taking your packed lunch, depart the lodge for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Day 5: Face to Face with the Mountain Gorillas
It is D-day!
Preparations begin quite early with a quick breakfast to enable you catch up with the tracking groups. The hiking and tracking is both beautiful, tiresome and adventurous.
The terrain can be treacherous and muddy while the tracking can take anywhere from two hours to eight hours. But it is all worth it as you come face to face with these dinosaurs of the wild described as the amazing “Gentle Giants.”
The gentle habits of these incredible creatures defy their size. You will be guided on how to behave in their presence as well as how to capture your lifetime memorable photos while in their presence. You are restricted to only one hour with the gorillas because of safety and habituation reasons. But again, it is all worth it.
You may also see other primates as well as monkeys, butterflies, birds and the incredible mist covered terrain.
After tracking, depart for Lake Bunyonyi and opt for sightseeing of the fascinating landscapes/ village walk/swim in the Lake.
Day 6: Lake Bunyonyi Islands/Equator/ Igongo cultural centre)
In the early morning, explore Lake Bunyonyi, a place that some travelers have with tears described as the most beautiful on earth. The hilly landscape, the about 30 islands connected like dots in the Garden of Eden should leave you breathless!
Savour the scenery, the beauty of this picturesque landmark. After a brief detour, depart Kabale.
First stopover is Igongo Cultural Museum where you will take a 30 minute detour of the cultural activities of the Ankole people. Across the road, you will see the great Biharwe Monument erected in commemoration of the “Biharwe Eclipse” which was dated by astronomers and historians to have taken place in the year 1520 AD and as the only scientifically dated event in the early history of the Great Lakes Region.
After, proceed to the Equator crossing- the imaginary line that divides the earth into two hemisphere. Watch water swirl into two different directions in a rare scientific experience.
Lunch at the Equator and transfer to Kampala
Day 7: Jinja- Source of the Nile
Depart for Jinja and head straight to Jinja Sailing Club for Lunch by the Lake side. You can either go for a continental dish or try our recommended “Fish Special” combination- “Samake wanazzi” (fish in cocoa-nut soup), a bit of a freshly caught and grilled king sized Tilapia or the Tandoori Fish (steamed with spices).
After lunch, you head for the climax and most exciting part of Jinja. First stop is the Rippon port where you will see the exchange point where slaves from hinterland were picked from. In the distance, you will see man-made hills while the point where the Lake enters Kenya and Tanzania will be visible.
A short ride further northwards will lead you to the Source of the Mighty River Nile. Also known as Point 00- the point where the Mighty Nile begins its more than 4,000 miles journey to the Mediterranean Sea and the actual point where the measurement of this distance begins. Stop at the Gandhi Monument where ashes of the Indian Great leader Mahatma Ghandi were poured.