Gorilla’s, Chimps, Tree Climbing Lions and Zanzibar
To demonstrate what this part of the world has to offer, I have put the following itinerary together.
It includes a couple of lodges that are simply stunning; in fact, if you spent the rest of your life travelling, one of these lodges would always remain in the top three of your “Best ever places I’ve stayed” list.
Price includes return flights from UK
Day by day itinerary
Heathrow to Entebbe
Entebbe airport transfer
Overnight Lake Victoria Hotel
Entebbe to Ngamba Island
Ngamba Island is a Chimpanzee sanctury set up in 1998. For more information click here.
After visiting the sanctury we return to shore and transfer to Cassia Lodge in Kampala.
Cassia Lodge sits on top of one of Kampala’s hills with great views south to Lake Victoria and to the north of Kampala. It’s owned and operated by Ugandans and is charming: friendly staff, local flavour and, for a city hotel, full of character.
Kampala to Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo National Park is a fantastic park, lots of game but no large cats, so you can embark on a walking safari, you must have an armed guide with you because there are buffalo and crocs, but this is highly recommended, particularly in the forest area because this is a true forest (closed canopy) with several primate species. The boat trip is good too (incl).
Your accommodation tonight is Mantana Camp
This is where the dream really begins! The magic of Africa lies in the bush. African cities are one thing, but the wilderness, wildlife and villages, rural life in general, is where the unique feel of Africa glows. And you’ll feel that uniqueness tonight in Mantana. Almost all the decent camps in East Africa are owner managed, which means attention to detail is superb, hospitality is simply spot on and no two properties are quite the same. This one is one of the best.
Mantana to Bwindi
Today the road climbs. You leave the dusty dry plains behind and climb into the brilliant green of the mountains. This is the western edge of the Great Rift Valley which runs from the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia all the way to the gold fields of South Africa. A few miles to your west, across the Ruwenzori Mountains (“The Mountains of the Moon”) is the start of the Congo Rainforest, which reaches all the way to the Atlantic. This is a unique habitat where everything seems to be oversized: nettles grow to 8 feet, rainfall reaches nearly 2 m a year and the oversized star of the whole show is the Mountain Gorilla. This is only a 3 or 4 hour drive, but you’d think you’re in a different country.
Your accommodation tonight is top draw! Gorilla Forest Camp
Mantana (last night) was magic; this is a step beyond. I’d go as far as saying that if you travel for the rest of your life, this place will always remain in your top three.
Today’s the day! Gorilla tracking!
Bwindi to Queen Elizabeth NP
The drive to QE NP takes about 2 hrs. The range of habitats in the park is very broad indeed, and includes open plains, papyrus swamps, rainforest and several large lakes. Consequently the range of mammal and bird species is huge. The star performer in the Ishasha sector is the pride of lions which regularly climb trees. There are few places in Africa where lions climb trees (I can only think of Lake Manyara in Tanzania) so this is, potentially, a fairly unusual wildlife sight. Ishasha is in the southernmost corner of QE NP.
Accommodation is at the Ishasha Wilderness Lodge
The Ishasha sector is the southern tip of QE NP. As soon as you arrive you know you’re somewhere special, and it’s a good bit warmer than Gorilla Forest Camp! I worked in Africa for 8 years and only saw lions in trees once; but then again, I never visited Ishasha! If you’re going to see lions in trees, this is as good an opportunity as you’ll get!
Ishasha to Jacana Lodge
The next two nights are spent at Jacana Lodge A tree house lodge!
Chimpanzee tracking in either Chambura Gorge, which can get really hot around midday, so an early start is recommended or Kitomi forest which adjoins the gorge and lies just outside the official park boundary in the game reserve. And please don’t ask me what the difference between a National Park and a Game Reserve is: I’ve never heard a sensible explanation, but I think it has something to do with which authority administers it! On the ground there’s absolutely no difference! The choice of venue is yours and it’s probably best to speak to the manager at Jacana who will know which chimp troupes are where, on the day.
Day 9 – 16
Jacana to Zanzibar
Depart from Queen Elizabeth NP and return to Entebbe.
Fly to Zanzibar and transfer to Pongwe Beach hotel your home for the next 7 nights.
This is a total change of pace. Safaris are all-absorbing and time just seems to evaporate, but they’re quite hard work too. This is the complete opposite. Zanzibar has a magic all its own; the quality of light is unique, the locals are wonderful and the pace of life oozes tranquillity
Transfer to Zanzibar airport for your flight home.
Personal safari guide throughout.
Private use of safari vehicle
Airport collection and transfer at Entebbe
Boat transfer to Ngamba Island and entry fee
Hotel accommodation throughout stay in Uganda, full board.
Gorilla tracking permits x 2 persons for one day (with guides)
Chimpanzee tracking permit for one day (with guide)
National Park entry fees at:-
Lake Mburo x 1 day
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest x 2 days
Queen Elizabeth x 3 days
Boat trip in QENP
Safari drives throughout
Meet and greet
7 nights B&B basis
To upgrade to Dinner add 25 $ per person per day
This quote based on BA economy class
Air Uganda and Precision air for internals.
Insurance is not included, but is required.
Not included in the price
Visa for Uganda and Tanzania
Tips: are expected in East Africa.