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In small groups of 14 people, you'll journey through wildly diverse national parks, open savannah and dense rainforest whilst enjoying game drives, nature walks and boat rides to search for the countless mammals, reptiles and birds residing in their natural habitat.
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Entebbe in Uganda (via Dubai).
You will be met by your guide on arrival and transferred to your first hotel set in lush tropical gardens where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool before joining your group for dinner.
After an early breakfast, begin your journey to Kibale National Park, an enjoyable drive that passes verdant fields of tea plantations with the chance to stop for photos. Arriving at your rainforest lodge late in the afternoon there'll be some time to settle in to the sounds of over 325 species of birds and howling monkeys and to stretch your legs on a gentle walk around the lodge's stunning grounds, which on a clear day has spectacular views of the Rwenzori Mountains whose snow-capped peaks tower above the lower slopes blanketed in rich moist mountain forest.
Today marks your first chance to encounter the mischievous local inhabitants during an exciting morning of chimpanzee tracking. With the highest density and diversity of primates in the whole of Africa, Kibale National Park is the optimal place to find one of the 1450 protected chimpanzees as well as the endangered red colobus monkey and more uncommon L'hoest's monkey, all of whom roam freely within 766 square kilometres of protected parkland. This exhilarating walk delves deep into the forest's undergrowth and offers the chance to observe these fascinating animals whose human-like behaviour will stun and surprise their visiting guests. After lunch back at your lodge, continue to Queen Elizabeth National Park, driving through the beautiful Kasenda Crater Lakes, crossing the equator along the way. The next two nights will be spent at a wonderful safari lodge located on a peninsula within the heart of the park, where dinner can be enjoyed al fresco on the terrace.
Rise early this morning and depart your lodge in 4x4 vehicles to watch the park's wildlife wake from their slumber. Today's guided safari drive journeys through the park with a chance to encounter herds of elephant, buffalo and antelope, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and the rare giant forest hog. Your wildlife adventure continues in the afternoon with a leisurely boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a large stretch of water which attracts a large number of mammals and reptiles including families of warthog, large groups of hippo, and crocodiles basking on the shore. Spend a relaxing evening back at your lodge sharing the day's experiences over your evening meal.
From Queen Elizabeth National Park our tour takes a leisurely route to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, stopping in the Ishasha Sector of the park where it is not uncommon to see 'tree-climbing' lions sleeping on the large branches of fig trees as well as the other numerous species of big game. There will also be the chance to visit a community project in the local village where the local inhabitants warmly invite passers-by into their homesteads and explain the local elephant trench project to protect their homes from these wandering giants. The donation for this experience is paid directly to the project leaders. You'll arrive at your forest lodge on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in the late afternoon which offers uninterrupted views of the pristine canopy below. Bwindi National Park, located in south western Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, is considered the most diverse forest in Uganda. Home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, and 160 species of trees, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. The park contains almost one half of the world's population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site.
Searching for mountain gorillas on a guided trek is one of the most exciting wildlife experiences on earth and coming face to face with these fascinating creatures is a rare wildlife encounter. The duration of the walk will depend on the day, however gorilla trekking can be a strenuous yet rewarding adventure with time on foot can often amounting to six hours or longer, often at high altitudes. Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed however our experienced guides and trackers are proud of their 90% success rate in viewing these mighty yet beautiful beasts. Be sure to have plenty of battery power and memory on your camera to capture the hour you spend with these gentle giants. Following the trek, you'll return to your lodge and, if time allows, there'll be the option to take a guided afternoon forest walk (at a fee) or alternatively you may decide to wander into Bwindi village to meet and chat with the curious locals.
Set out this morning on a drive to Lake Mburo National Park, passing through hilly terrain and beautiful rural villages. The park is the smallest of Uganda's savannah national parks and underlain by prehistoric metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. Along with 13 other lakes in the region, Mburo forms part of a vast wetland system linked by swamps with a rich and diverse habitat of Defassa waterbuck (large antelope), hippos, buffalo and over 350 species of birds. Take in the area's wealth of flora and fauna during a boat ride through the swamps with a chance to spot elusive species of birds including the rare shoebill stork, one of the world's most endangered species. Retiring to your hotel nested on a scenic outcrop at the edge of the lake, dinner will be served with views of the waterhole beneath where zebra, warthog, impala and bushbuck often congregate.
After breakfast at the lodge, drive back to Entebbe with a break for a picnic lunch before arriving in the early afternoon for your scheduled return flight to the UK.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Due to space limitations in the vehicles, it is imperative that luggage is kept to a minimum. We suggest a barrel or soft bag (15 kg maximum) for your main gear, plus a camera bag or smaller day pack for inside the vehicle. Samsonite/hard bags/suitcases, etc. are not suitable as it makes packing very difficult. If you are travelling internationally with one we suggest you repack safari items into your soft bag, before the safari, and then leave your hard suitcase at your return point e.g. Entebbe hotel to collect later.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk http://travelhealthpro.org.uk www.hpa.org.uk your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking Health Requirements
Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human diseases including flu and colds. If you are participating in a Gorilla/Chimp trek then you need to be free of any easily contagious diseases and this is checked at the start of the trek by the Park Authorities. If they are in any doubt about your condition, they reserve the right to prevent you from continuing on the trek. If you are participating in a Chimpanzee interaction programme - please refer to the documentation provided on booking. Special, additional vaccines and health certificates are required to be presented to ensure participation. This is because you have direct contact with the chimpanzees. Trekking, in the forest, is a different activity.
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