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You will fly into Kasese from the capital Entebbe before moving to Queen Elizabeth National Park where your lodge overlooks the magnificent Rwenzori Mountains. Queen Elizabeth offers many exciting activities like trekking chimps in Kyambura Gorge and cruising on the Kazinga Channel.
From there, you are driven to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to find endangered mountain gorillas but also for the opportunity to spot hundreds of species of endemic birds and butterflies and to learn more about rural life in Uganda by visiting community centers and Batwa villages.
At start of Tour
The rainforests, gorges, and lush savannah of Uganda are the scene for this 7-day adventure that has you seeking out primates like chimpanzees and gorillas in some of the country’s most pristine wildlife reserves.
At Entebbe International Airport, you will board a small aircraft for the 2-hour flight to Kasese, a small town near Lake George. Here, you will meet your expert guide who be with you every step of the way. The drive from Kasese to Kyambura Gorge Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park should take about two hours – a great opportunity to get to know your guide and begin learning more about the plants, animals, and birds that make up this mesmerizing rainforest ecosystem.
Set on a former coffee plantation at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, Kyambura Gorge Lodge consists of a series of thatch-and-timber suites that are individually decorated in an eclectic style. Sundowners are taken on the airy verandah and meals at communal tables in the dining room.
Your days here start early as you set off in the cool of the morning to look for game-like lion and Ugandan kob antelope on the Kasenyi plains while the dense thickets of the Mweya peninsula are the ideal hiding spot for notoriously shy leopard. Of course, the stars of the show are chimpanzees and nine other species of primate. Smaller than their gorilla cousins but no less charming, intelligent, or expressive, chimp families can cover vast distances, and the trek in Kymabura Gorge to find them will be filled with all sorts of enchanting encounters.
You can also learn more about rural life in Uganda by meeting members of the Women’s Coffee Co-operative and the Omumushaka Dance Troupe. See how the community partnerships have helped communities to reclaim wetlands, set up a beekeeping station, and create the Empundu playground for children.
On your final afternoon, you will cruise the Kazinga Channel, which flows between Lakes George and Edward. One of the continent’s densest concentrations of hippo live here, as well as large numbers of elephants, crocodiles, and water birds like African fish eagles, and pelicans.
Despite its rather forbidding name, Bwindi is a tropical forest wonderland. Your drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge to Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge may take six hours but as you pass places like Ishasha, be on the lookout for a pride of tree-climbing lions who have made an old fig their regular ‘hangout’.
The landscape changes dramatically: Bwindi is a place of steep hillsides, dense jungle, and towering trees. After a full day on the road, you will arrive at Bwindi Lodge, eco-friendly accommodation in the midst of this acclaimed World Heritage Site. There are only eight thatched suites, all with lovely views of the surrounding forest.
Bwindi has four known habituated gorilla families and, after a hearty breakfast to fuel you for your trek, you will set out in the early morning to find them. The going can be hard as the mountains are steep, the air humid and the vegetation dense. But the exertion is all worth it when you finally reach a group of gorillas eating, grooming, playing, or napping. Their behavior is so familiar that you may feel like you have known them all your life; it is an inspiring and privileged moment to see these highly endangered creatures in the wild.
Once back at the lodge, you will no doubt appreciate a massage from the in-house therapist to ease out the stresses and aches of your day’s trek. Those who still feel energetic may want to do a couple of laps in the swimming pool.
After a good night’s sleep, awake the next morning and decide on your day’s plans. You could take a guided walk through the rainforest to see hundreds of bird species, masses of butterflies depending on the season, and rare plants like exotic orchids. Or be humbled by the work done by the Bwindi Community Hospital, which services at least 60 000 people. Uganda is rightly famous for its tea and a visit to the tea-processing plant is fascinating.
Bwindi has long been home to the Batwa people and although they no longer live as they once did in the forest, they have kept many of their indispensable hunter-gatherer skills that they are happy to share with visitors. Talking to the Batwa will give you a greater understanding of the forest ecosystem and how intermeshed human and animal life are.
After six days of trekking gorillas, enjoying the antics of chimpanzees, and immersing yourself in two of the country’s greatest wildlife areas, it is time to bid farewell to Uganda. From Bwindi Lodge, you will be driven to the Kihihi airstrip to retrace your steps back to Entebbe, where your unforgettable adventure first began.