Uganda 4 parks a closer look (4parks, 10days)


DAY 1: Afri Tours will pick you up from your Kampala hotel and drive to Entebbe (which means "the seat" in Luganda). A tour of the extensive Botanical Gardens on the shores of Lake Victoria introduces you to a variety of the vegetation found across Uganda from huge trees and tropical shrubs to many types of grasses. At the Uganda Wildlife Education Center, experts in wildlife rehabilitation will discuss conservation efforts in Uganda with special regard to the chimpanzees and gorillas. After lunch, visit the Uganda Museum in Kampala for further introductions to the cultural and natural history of the country. Then visit other significant sites in Kampala including the Kasubi Tombs and Nommo Gallery. Dinner and overnight in Kampala at your hotel.

DAY 2: Early morning depart Kampala for Lake Mburo N.P. stopping for an opportunity to take photographs at the Equator. You pass papyrus swamps and pockets of tropical forest and have an opportunity to leave your vehicle for a closer look at these natural habitats. Learn more about the settlements you pass and the changes that have occurred on the specific environments surrounding the area. Enter Lake Mburo N. P. for a game drive and boat trip. See zebra and other grazers as well as a plenitude of birdlife. Packed lunch provided. In the afternoon visit the Park's nature study centre. Dinner and overnight at Rwonyo Rest Camp or Mantana Camp.

DAY 3: After breakfast, head for the Kigezi highlands in the south-western corner of Uganda. The scenery is spectacular with steep hillsides terraced for growing matoke (green bananas), the Buganda staple food. You proceed to the dense tropical forest of the appropriately named Bwindi Impenetrable N. P. in time for lunch at the camp. After lunch, take a nature walk along the forest edge or relax at the camp. Park rangers discuss various aspects of conservation and gorilla behaviour. Dinner and overnight at a Buhoma Homestead.

DAY 4: After an early breakfast your guides will brief you before you begin your hike to view the gorillas. Set out on your journey for an intimate interaction with the endangered gentle giants. The forest is rich with tropical vegetation, a host of butterflies, many species of birds and a variety of lesser primates. Boxed lunches are provided. Return to the Buhoma Homestead for dinner and overnight.

DAY 5: Morning visit to Ruhija sector of the rainforest commences after breakfast. At the Forest Centre for Ecology, guides give a lecture on the ecology and wildlife of the area. Walk in the rain forest with the knowledgeable research personnel who are able to add to your appreciation and understanding of your exotic surroundings. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest. Arrive back at the Buhoma Homestead for dinner and overnight.

DAY 6: Depart the rainforest for a visit to Ishasha, a beautiful sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is wide-open savannah country dotted with flat-topped acacia trees, an incredible contrast in vegetation after the dense equatorial forest. In this quiet wilderness you can see nature at its best as well as the tree-climbing lion for which this area is most famous. After a packed lunch you drive northwards heading to Mweya Safari Lodge in QENP. Arrive at the Lodge in time for dinner and overnight.

DAY 7: Your day begins with the excitement of a sunrise game drive. After breakfast visit the Institute of Ecology and receive a professional explanation on the ecology of the par and its different animals. After lunch, enjoy a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, which joins Lakes Edward and George. See wild game in their natural habitat including hippopotamus and water birds. Depart the Park in the early evening and drive through Kasese town to Fort Portal. Enjoy the sunset over the Rwenzori Mountains enroute. Dinner and overnight at Ndali Lodge or Ruwenzori View Guesthouse.

DAY 8: Breakfast is followed by a drive through the rural, rolling countryside of the Toro Kingdom heading towards Murchison Falls N.P. Stop for lunch in Hoima. Arrive to the comfort of Sambiya River Lodge, which is beautifully situated on a tributary of the Nile within MFNP. This will be your base for the final two nights of your safari.

DAY 9: Cross the Nile for an early game drive on the northern bank of the river. Animals frequently spotted here include Uganda kob, hartebeest, elephants, Rothchild's giraffe, Cape buffalo, topi and lion. After lunch, the afternoon's activities include a boat cruise up the River Nile, offering a chance to see crocodiles, hippopotamus, giraffe and more, plus the many birds living along the river, including the famous Shoebill stork. If you would like to get off the boat and hike up to the top of the Falls, there are spectacular views to be photographed! Alternatively you can drive and visit the top of the magnificent Murchison Falls on the way back to the Lodge. If it appeals to you, cool off in an intimate pool above the Falls (or you can wait and enjoy the swimming pool at the Lodge!). Return to the Lodge for the evening.

DAY 10: After breakfast, proceed to the cool and dense Pabidi Forest for a final walk with the animals of the forest, the final chance to see chimpanzee and experience the exotic calls of tropical birds. (Note: Chimp trackers must be at least 15 years of age and all persons undertaking activities at Padidi MUST wear long trousers). Return to Kampala via Masindi, where you will stop for lunch. The town is rich in political and cultural history.

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