Uganda Gorilla Trek & Safari – October 17 – 26, 2022

Join us for truly a once in a lifetime experience in Uganda – the “Pearl of Africa.”

Please note: Our Uganda trip is a partner trip and women booking this trip are able to travel with their non-female identifying partners. 

From its source in Lake Victoria, the River Nile crosses the Rift Valley to give Uganda a dazzling range of unique habitats. Uganda’s resulting beauty, natural wonders and biodiversity have impressed generations of travelers. Uganda’s most coveted natural attractions include the endangered Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzees and over 1,000 species of birds. Uganda’s diverse habitats have enthralled wildlife-watchers, and seasoned African Safari-goers, for decades.

Day 1: Arrival to Entebbe Airport

On your arrival at Entebbe International Airport (EBB) you will be met by your Umoja Motherland Tours guide who will greet you and transfer you to your Guesthouse, taking between 10minute and 15 minutes.

Get settled into your room and relax after your journey to Uganda. For those who arrive in time, our group will gather for dinner that evening to get to know each other as we revel in the excitement of the adventures that lie ahead!

Day 2: Depart for Kibale Forest National Park & Tea Plantations

Wake up and enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel before we head out on this grand adventure! This morning we will depart for Fort Portal and explore the area around the base of the Rwenzori Mountains with a visit to the world-famous Ruwenzori Mountain Sculpture Foundation.

Later we will drive to Kibale Forest National Park, in Western Uganda, an incredibly diverse forest that is home to over 13 different species of primates including chimpanzee, red Colubus monkey, the rare L’Hoest monkey, blue monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, black faced vervet monkeys, baboons, pottos and bushbabies. Cleverly constructed boardwalks lead you through Papyrus that towers above your head in Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, a few minutes’ drive from Kibale Forest. With over 130 bird species, multicolored butterflies, eight different types of primates and the rare, semi-aquatic Sitatunga (antelope), this place has a lot to offer for the . 

After our drive we will settle into our guesthouse for the next two nights. This property is located on 100 acres of manicured lawns, beautiful gardens, tea plantations, and indigenous forest. Take a stroll through the tea plantations or relax and enjoy the beautiful panoramic vistas of Kibale National Park, ancient crater lakes, and the Rwenzori Mountains. In the evening we will gather for a group dinner.

Day 3: Chimpanzee tracking and local Lunch at Tinka homestay

Enjoy the views during a delicious breakfast. Today is an early start as we report to the ranger headquarters at 8 am in Kibale Forest National Park to track habituated Chimps. These engaging apes, our closest living relative, are great fun to watch as they play and fight in the fruiting trees. Your experienced guide will introduce you to the different members of the chimp families, as well as the birds and plant life of the forest. The trails through the forest are generally easy to navigate and you will be accompanied by Rangers.

The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart, moves seasonally into the areas of Kibale Forest. Occasionally other large mammals such as buffalo, giant forest hog and numerous antelope species can also be seen. Birders will be on the look-out for an incredible list of 335 bird species. Butterfly lovers and botanists will be impressed by equally long lists of rare and endemic forest species. A local lunch will be enjoyed at Tinka’s homestay. 

In the evening we will head back to our guesthouse where you can relax with a refreshing beverage as you take in the views or head out on a stroll in the tea plantations that surround the property.

Day 4: Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park

On day four, your driver will take you via Kasese towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, set on the floor of the Rift Valley, with the (occasionally visible peaks of the) Rwenzori Mountains behind you. The landscape of northern Queen Elizabeth comprises dozens of ancient craters carved into gentle rolling hills. The Kazinga Channel lies in central Queen Elizabeth, its banks fertile with large mammals such as hippo, elephant and buffalo and over 600 bird species, more than any other national park in Uganda.

Day 5: Early Game drive and Boat Ride on the Kazinga Channel

Start your day early with a 6 o’clock coffee or tea wake-up call, ready for your early morning game drive. Make sure to ask the hotel staff for a packed breakfast that morning. A popular route for the game drive is the Kasenyi sector, well-known for its lions that prey on Queen Elizabeth’s large population of Uganda Kob (antelope). If you are very lucky, you may spot a Giant Forest Hog, Africa’s largest pig. Keep your eyes peeled to spot an elusive leopard!

After your Safari, you will head back to the lodge for a few hours relaxation by the pool and lunch.

In the afternoon, you will take a boat for a water safari on the Kazinga Channel at Mweyathat connects the two lakes of Edward and George. This is likely to be a big highlight of your trip! The expert Uganda Wildlife Authority guides will identify many of the Channel’s 100 bird species and you’re likely to see African Skimmers, Great White Pelicans, Spoonbill and a number of Bee-eater species. Hippos wallow at the edge of the water, huge Nile crocodiles bask in the sun and elephants come down to drink. The Kazinga Channel boat ride is a brilliant opportunity to take some close-up wildlife shots.

DAY 6: Depart For Bwindi - home of the mountain gorilla!

Today we will depart for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with an ‘en route game drive’ passing through Ishasha, the remote, southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is on the expansive plains of Ishasha that you will be on the lookout for its famous resident: the tree climbing lion. A sighting is not guaranteed but you have a better chance of seeing them here in the large low-limbed fig trees of Ishasha than anywhere else in Africa.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is a UNESCO NaturalWorldHeritage site and one of the richest biological and botanical regions in the world. The forest covers an area of 331 km² at the south-western edge of the western Rift Valley. Bwindi’s most-revered species are the approximately 400 wild Mountain Gorillas (2011 census) that make up half of the world population of these gentle apes.

Day 7: Gorilla Tracking

You will be up early on the morning of your Gorilla Tracking for a good breakfast in preparation for the day’s physical activity. You will report for registration at the Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger station by 8 AM. After a briefing by the rangers, your gorilla trek will start. The trek usually takes between three and six hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required, as well as a strong pair of walking boots or shoes.

The rangers will guide you through the village gardens and into the jungle-like forest. They will escort you through the sometimes thick bush, occasionally hacking the dense undergrowth with a machete as you search to locate the gorillas. The mountain gorillas are under 24 hour monitoring for their own safety, so you’re almost guaranteed to see them. The rangers monitor each gorilla family by keeping in close radio contact.

In part due to gorilla tourism, the population of gorillas is slowly increasing but the species remains critically endangered. Gorillas and humans share almost identical genetic material and their health must not be compromised by coming into contact with human diseases (via our food, for example). To reduce transmission of disease from humans to gorillas, you will also be advised to keep a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas.

Once you have located the gorilla family, you will be asked to leave all your belongings to one side, and approach the gentle giants, just with your camera. The guides will interpret the animals’ behavior and advise on what you are watching. Females and their young, young males and even a dominant Silverback may be seen: feeding, playing, interacting with each other, or just sleeping! You will never forget your encounter with the gorillas. They will be quite curious to see you! You are allowed exactly one hour with the gorillas before returning to base.

Day 8: Drive from Bwindi to Lake Mburo

Wake up early morning and have breakfast then your tour guide will drive you from Bwindi to Mpogo safari lodge- Lake Mburo where you will break the long journey.

Check into the lodge and relax. Later that day we will head out for an evening game drive around Lake Mburo National park. During the drive you will be on the search for giraffes, zebras, buffalos, impalas, bush bucks, reedbucks, warthogs, leopards, hyenas, Kiplinger’s, bush babies, porcupines, duiker, topis, elands, and more!

Day 9 : Depart for Entebbe

After breakfast, we start our journey back towards Entebbe, with lunch en-route. The drive will first take you to the clinic to take the COVID-19 CPR test. Then after drive you to your hotel for the overnight.  

Day 10: Depart at Airport

Wake up in the morning and enjoy a final breakfast with the crew before you depart to airport for your flight back home.

Inclusions
- Accommodations in hotels, safari lodges and B&Bs 
- Transportation throughout Uganda once you have arrived in Entebbe including airport pickup and drop off at designated times
- All activities and guided tours as noted above
- One Gorilla Tracking Permit
- One Chimpanzee Tracking Permit
- Entrance fees to national parks
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided everyday except dinner on day one
- Covid-19 CPR Test prior to leaving Uganda
- Taxes
- Free mineral water in the vehicle during the tour

Activities Included
- Kibale Forest National Park Boardwalk
- Ruwenzori Mountain Sculpture Foundation 
- Kataara Women's Project visit
- Chimpanzee tracking tour
- Gorilla tracking tour
- Water Safari on the Kazinga Channel
- Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari Game Drive
- Queen Elizabeth National Park 'en-route' Game Drive
- Lake Mburo National Park Game Drive

Exclusions
- International Flights to/from Entebbe
- Airport transfers outside of designated times noted above
- Alcohol, speciality beverages and additional meals not included in the itinerary
- Any other additional excursions and activities not included above
- Visas and entry requirements 
- International traveler's Insurance (required)
- Guide Tips
- Medical expenses, immunizations, and Covid-19 required testing to arrive in Uganda

Meals 
All meals will be provided as noted above. Please reach out to the trip host after booking if you have any food allergies/sensitivities. We will do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions but cannot make any guarantees.

Trip Confirmation
This trip requires a minimum number of guests to register in order for it to be confirmed. Once the trip reaches the minimum participant number, you will receive a trip confirmation email and a link to be added a private Facebook group just for trip guests. In this group further trip details will be provided. Please let us know if you do not have or use Facebook (see contact information below).

Cost:
$4,795 per person for double occupancy which includes a shared room with twin beds. Option to add single supplement at booking. Payment plans available at booking. You must be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination prior to travel. If you would like to apply a trip credit, please reach out to us using the contact information below. 

Cancellation Policy: Please see our Terms of Service.

Covid-19 Travel Policy:
As of November 15th, 2021 participants traveling on a trip where accommodations are shared indoors must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. When traveling from international destinations, the United States currently requires that all travelers returning to the country from abroad show proof of a negative PCR or rapid Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of their return flight. For all trips outside of the United States, your trip host will help you get a Covid-19 test before your flight home. The cost of this test is not included in the trip price and will need to be paid by trip participants. Any additional related expenses including but not limited to testing, vaccinations, treatment, quarantines, and travel costs incurred as a result of a positive Covid-19 will be the responsibility of the trip participant. More information on this requirement can be found here. Participants are responsible for knowing the most up-to-date re-entry guidelines. If returning to any other destination outside of the United States, the trip participant is responsible for being informed of that country's re-entry requirements.

Questions? Please reach out to Lindsey Egan at lindseyegan@womenwhoexplore.com

*Images may not reflect the exact places being visited during this trip itinerary.


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Meet Your Trip Leader - Agnes Miembre 

Agnes is passionate about tourism and conservation in her country Uganda and East Africa as a whole.

She enjoys traveling and visiting local points of interest in order to share the best experiences with people from around the world who come to visit Uganda. She loves to put together interesting itineraries for her guests to ensure they have a wonderful and unique experience on their holiday.  

She also believes that through tourism one can reach out and empower local people, that is why she partnered up with a local school in her community to do a tree planting and water project. Through each trip she hosts, her guests indirectly support this project .