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UgandaGreat Lakes, Game and Primates

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The Great Lakes is an almost unknown region, a mythical place that is eternally green. A crossroads for all nomadic peoples, it is also the source of two of Africa’s great rivers: the Nile and the Congo. From the breathtaking waterfalls where the Nile meets Lake Victoria, a veritable inland sea scattered with hundreds of lush green islands, to Lake Albert sustained by the eternal snows of the...

The Great Lakes is an almost unknown region, a mythical place that is eternally green. A crossroads for all nomadic peoples, it is also the source of two of Africa’s great rivers: the Nile and the Congo. From the breathtaking waterfalls where the Nile meets Lake Victoria, a veritable inland sea scattered with hundreds of lush green islands, to Lake Albert sustained by the eternal snows of the Rwenzori Mountains. Lake Edward, entirely located in a large protected area, is an eco-system unique in its diversity of African fauna. Lake Kivu, which lies on the border with the Congo, is a rare African gem, created by volcanoes and surrounded by mountains and hills.

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Customizable tour itinerary

This tour idea is fully customizable

This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Welcome to Uganda

The approach to Entebbe airport over the string of tiny islets scattered through the iridescent waters of Lake Victoria is breathtakingly spectacular. Meet our representative at the airport and transfer to the hotel. 

​Approximate travel time: 10 minutes, 10 km

Night at Airport Guesthouse (Entebbe)

Day 2: Meet the Rhinos at Ziwa Sanctuary

Kampala has an architectural style that reflects the diverse ethnic origins of its population. Here we familiarize ourselves with the traditions and costumes of the great Ugandan tribe. Having now left the tarmac road, we pass the vast cattle farms where long-horned cattle drink from scarce water holes.

Stop at Ziwa Sanctuary, home to rhinos and a range of other game and many bird species, where a guided rhino-tracking excursion is offered. The sanctuary ranger will meet you upon arrival. Drive to the closest point and approach the rhinos while walking. Watch them in their habitat at a very close and very safe point. Then drive to Murchison Falls via Masindi Town to explore the area around  the top of the falls and descend the paths down the river and enjoy the falls from another viewpoint. At the end of the day, drive to the lodge for dinner and overnight. 

Approximate travel time: 6 hours, 350 km

Kampala, Ziwa Sanctuary, Murchison Falls
Murchison River lodge (parc de Muchinson)

Day 3: Murchison National Park and Boat Trip on the Nile

After an early morning breakfast, enjoy a spectacular game viewing on the Northern bank of the Nile, with chances of seeing giraffes, elephants, lions, hartebeest and different species of birds. Game drive across the savannah, along Lake Albert Delta, with an abundant wildlife as you move slowly as the sun rises. This is the heart of Africa: Uganda.

The afternoon will be spent on an extensive boat exploration on the Nile river, upstream towards the Falls. Launch trip on the Nile to the bottom of the falls for spectacular view as the mighty river is forced up a seven meter gap before plunging to depth below. As you travel up the Nile, look at the enormous Nile crocodile basking on the sand banks or gliding silently up the water. Animals to view here include elephants, lions, giraffes and a variety of antelopes. Bird life is prolific and chance of seeing the rare shoebill stork is high. 

Full day game drive: 150 km

Murchison Falls
Murchison River lodge (parc de Muchinson)

Day 4: Daily Life of the Fishermen

After an early breakfast, morning game drive. Enjoy lunch then drive to Hoima. At the park exit is the village home of the Waseko fishermen. Here the people live in tune to the rhythm of their spoils in the waterways with their changing currents at the mercy of the floodwaters and the wind.

On the market place, there is an incredible display of merchandise for sale, often to Congolese smugglers. Freshly caught fish is smoked on large open metal racks. Moving into the Eastern part of the Rift Valley, we come to Lake Albert and its coastal fringes where flocks of small zebu are tended by the proud Alur herdsmen, while their women tend the fields of cassava and cotton or rebuild the thatch on their spacious huts. At Butiaba, previously an extremely active lakeside port, a narrow tongue of land flanked by Borassus palm trees pushes into the lake to the warm water. Further on, cross the fertile agricultural area growing sweet potatoes and tobacco. 

​Approximate travel time: 3 hours, 200 km

Murchison Falls, Lake Albert, Hoima
Night at Hoima Cultural Lodge (Hoima)

Day 5: Western Uganda and the Bigodi Swamp Walk

Today we make the acquaintance of deepest Uganda, whose countryside and villages are accessed on a laterite slope. Several villages of economic importance cling to the slopes and act as trading places for villagers who often have to carry their harvest on their backs. It is an area supporting mainly agriculture and cattle grazing. Further South the tea plantations display their resplendent green carpet as far as the eye can see. Once we branch off at Kyenjojo, the landscape becomes more tortuous as we reach the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. Once at Fort Portal, drive for another hour to reach the Kibale area.

After lunch, transfer to nearby Bigodi Swamp, a papyrus and tree filled swamp, home to an abundance of birds including the Great Blue Turaco. The Bigodi Swamp Walk is an initiative of the local community and takes approximately two hours.

Approximate travel time: 3 hours, 200 km

Hoima, Fort Portal, Kibale, Bigodi
Night at Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (Kibale)

Day 6: Chimpanzees Trekking and Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today the forest opens its doors for a sensational chimp tracking. Kibale Forest is reputable of having the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. Enjoy a guided nature walk in the tropical rainforest in search of the wild chimpanzee, red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey and many others.

After lunch at the lodge, drive to Queen Elisabeth National Park along the foothills of the Rwenzoris. The game seen will depend on the season, the Mweya peninsula is good for a variety of animals including elephants. In the Kasenyi plains you will find mostly lion and Uganda cob. 

Approximate travel time: 2 hours, 150 km 
Walking time: 5 hours

Kibale, Queen Elisabeth
Queen Elisabeth Bush Lodge (PN Queen Elisabeth)

Day 7: Launch Trip on Kazinga Channel

The day begins early with a morning game drive and head to the mating ground of the Uganda Kobs. We search for lions, elephants, buffaloes and other wild animals in their natural habitat before returning for lunch. In the afternoon, boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a natural channel between Lake Edward and Lake George. Thanks to the abundant birdlife and the elephants, buffaloes and hundreds of hippos that are cooling off at the shores, this cruise will definitely be one of the highlights of your safari. The launch trip is the most popular activity at Mweya. From the safe boat you can see elephants, hippo, Nile crocodile and many water birds, plentiful along the channel. 

​Full day game drive: 150 km

Kazinga Channel, Queen Elisabeth
Queen Elisabeth Bush Lodge (PN Queen Elisabeth)

Day 8: Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast, we will drive for two hours to the Southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park called Ishasha Sector, famous for its tree climbing lions. This place is an off-the-beaten-track destination where you will surely enjoy a game drive to search for the tree climbing lions. 

​Approximate travel time: 1h30, 150 km

Ishasha Jungle Lodge (Ishasha)

Day 9: Hills and Volcanoes

Here the grass-covered hills are pastures for the remarkable flocks belonging to the Banyankole tribe. The enclosed valleys are filled with a mixture of banana, tofu and coffee plantations. Once past Kabale, the busy commercial centre, the countryside offers an unbelievable palette of green. As we come around the bend in the dirt road, enjoy the most magnificent view of the whole volcano chain of the Virunga Mountains. At Kisoro, the lava road splits and we head towards the Rwandan border. 

Overnight near to the Volcanoes National Park 
​Approximate travel times: 7 hours, 300 km

Kabale, Virunga

Day 10: Mountain Gorillas

As the first light of dawn breaks through the curtain of mist clinging to the summits of Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, we make our way into the Volcanoes National Park. Tracking the gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. In the late afternoon, drive to Rubavu, a small town located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu.

Overnight on the lakeshore
Approximate travel times: 2 hours, 100 km


Day 11: End of your Journey

Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the lakeshore or a refreshing early morning swim. After a wholesome breakfast, leave the gleaming waters of Lake Kivu and journey back to Kigali, through the beautiful countryside of the "Land of a Thousand Hills". Transfer to the airport.

Approximate Travel Times: 3h30, 200 km


EntebbeKampalaZiwa SanctuaryMurchison FallsLake AlbertHoimaFort PortalKibaleBigodiQueen ElisabethKazinga ChannelIshashaKabaleVirungaRubavuKigali

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. $5,930 / 11 days
Excluding international flights
Price per person2 Pax4 Pax6 Pax

Included in price:

  • Accommodation as stated or similar
  • Meals plan from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on day 11
  • Transfers in 4x4 vehicles as stated, open roof, with window seat guaranteed
  • Experienced English speaking driver/guide
  • Boat ride on Kazinga channel
  • Boat ride on the Nile
  • Mineral water in vehicle and during walk
  • Entry park fees (Ziwa Sanctuary = 45, Murchison Falls = 80$, Chimpanzees permit = 150$, Queen Elisabeth National Park= 120$, gorilla permit = 750$)
  • Cost for Bigodi Swamp

Not included in price:

  • Lunch and dinner on day 1
  • International flight
  • Drinks
  • Laundry service, tipping and other personal expenses
  • Festive season supplement
Book your flights to Uganda
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Your local agent Doris, in Uganda, will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

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