This 9 night itinerary focuses on what we truly believe to be the country’s highlights. Uganda has such an incredibly diverse landscape - the most exciting thing about this itinerary is that you get to see so much of it.
This itinerary includes memorable jungle experiences with endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, fabulous game drives and nature walks, boat cruises on some of the most amazing bodies of water and glorious sight-seeing throughout.
We prefer to use smaller camps and lodges that have the ability to provide an intimate experience.
Please note: All of our online itineraries are examples. We will design a bespoke itinerary based on your preferences
Arriving into Entebbe you will be met by your driver/guide who will be with you throughout your stay, driving you to each stop along the way. For us, there is no better way to travel through the country. It gives you a sense for the incredible warmth and friendliness of the people.
You will start the trip at Cassia Lodge on the shores of Lake Victoria, or ‘Nalubali’ as it is fondly known in the local Lugandan language. Words can’t even describe how immense it is. It feels like you are looking out over a vast ocean rather than a lake when you get to the edge of it, but it’s always bustling with fisherman in small dugout canoes and children swimming in the shallows.
Cassia Lodge is a lovely spot to spend your first night looking out over the lake and listening to the sounds of the late afternoon as the sun sets.
On your second day you will set off south west of Lake Victoria towards Fort Portal. This area is lush and green, and the land is dotted with beautiful crater lakes. This area is best known for Kibale Forest and the chimpanzees, as well as a whole host of other primates such as colobus and vervet monkeys.
This evening you will be staying at the very fun and quirky Papaya Lake Lodge which is set on the edge of one of the many crater lakes that dots the landscape. It is a relatively new lodge with stylish African interiors. The views really are breath taking and you get an awesome sense of being right on the equator.
Early the next morning you will be met for your chimpanzee hike by a Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger and tracker who will lead you on this activity. Chimpanzees tend to have relatively large territories and the length of the hike itself will depend heavily on how far the family has moved during the night.
Fortunately a group of trackers will be in the forest long before you following their movements and picking up their tracks, so that you can find them as easily as possible. This means the whole experience rarely takes longer than a full morning and will lead you through the dense jungle until your trackers find the chimpanzees either swinging high up in the trees, or spending time on the ground. It really is awe inspiring, and rather scary, watching our closest relatives and seeing just how similar we are!
After an active morning with the chimpanzees you will get back in your vehicle and make your way further south to the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park where you will have the opportunity to do a game drive in the afternoon in search of lions and other big game such as elephant and buffalo.
One of our firm favourite activities in this area is the Kazinga Channel boat cruise. The Kazinga Channel links lakes Edward and George and is an incredibly important water source for all of the wildlife in park (it boasts one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles), including an extraordinary number of stunning birds (more beautiful than the lilac breasted roller…).
Another must see here are the tree climbing lions in Ishasha. The numerous fig trees provide low shaded branches which are perfect for the lazy animals to spend the whole day sleeping in.
You’ll spend two nights here at Mazike Valley Lodge, which is set on top of an escarpments that overlooks the vast open plains of the National Park below and the beautiful snow capped Rwenzori Mountains (the “Mountains of the Moon”) in the distance.
This morning you will set off on a drive in through the open savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park into the lush tea plantations bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and finally ending in the primeval overgrown forest itself. Of course, the main attraction here is the mountain gorillas and the experience has never disappointed.
Far more imposing than our other cousins the chimpanzees, it is incredible how much they differ in character and disposition. They epitomise the phrase ‘gentle giants’ and are content to sit all day in the comfortable overgrowth eating and grooming each other and watching the inquisitive youngsters play together.
Our main piece of advice here would be to take some time to put the camera down and just watch these placid and highly interactive animals. An hour goes so quickly and so seldom do people take the time to watch them through their own eyes and just appreciate the moment.
Much like the chimpanzee hike, the activity will take the whole morning and will pass through clear trails through the dense forest. Much thicker with vegetation than Kibale, your trackers may have to do a bit of “off roading” to get to the gorillas. The terrain in Bwindi forest can be steep, so make sure you take plenty of water and wear comfortable hiking shoes.
Engagi Lodge will be your base for two nights. The lodge itself is one of only a few that is located within the national park itself. Built in the style of a wooden tree house, with the ancient jungle all around you it is an incredible spot to listen to the sounds of the forest.
You will hear beautiful bird song in the early morning, chimpanzees calling to each other in the late afternoon and the chorus of insects as the sun goes down. This forest feels almost majestic.
Following the gorillas and the verdant impenetrable forest you will start making your way back north through different landscapes again. Mburo National Park is a little gem that is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, waterbuck, leopard, hippo and hyena. Interestingly it is the only park in Uganda with zebra! and the lodge is beautifully set on a rock looking out over this small but beautiful park.
The park is underlain by ancient metamorphic rock which dates back more than 500 million years. Rwakobo Rock is beautifully set atop one of these ancient rocks looking out over the beautiful park. The team at the lodge are lovely and will ensure you have a really wonderful night here.
When we were thinking about the perfect end to this trip, there was only one place that came to mind….Wildwaters Lodge!
Set on an island in the middle of the Nile it is such an incredible hidden gem and one that we couldn’t miss… you can’t come to Uganda and not see the Nile. So why not go one better than that and actually be ON the Nile! The rooms are beautifully laid out and your terrace (complete with outdoor bath) looks out over the river itself where you can sit and listen to the sound of the water rush past you. The area where the lodge is located is Jinja (pronounced ‘ginger’) and has long held the title “The Source of the Nile”.
There are a number of different activities that you can choose from here depending on how adventurous you are feeling, such as white water rafting, boating or kayaking. These can all be arranged with the lodge directly over your two nights here. Alternatively, the pool is an excellent place to sit and take in the beauty of the area. The rushing rapids of the Nile pass right next to the pool.
On your 10th and final day, it’s sadly time to fly home.
From £3,842 ($4,879) per person
23rd January 2019
by Toby Pheasant
We work on a commission basis, meaning that you pay no more and sometimes even less booking through us than if you had gone direct.
5% of the commission we earn from a trip through Bonamy will be donated to the fantastic charity Rhinos Without Borders.