The Rickshaw Travel Group ("Rickshaw Travels") was founded in May 1988. From our humble beginnings as a small travel agency, we have grown and expanded into several countries and today have 28 years of experience in the travel business, both corporate and leisure... read more .
This 9-day primate safari will take you to Kibale Forest National Park, considered the primate capital of the world, Queen Elizabeth National Park. From Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will continue onto the home of the gentle giants (Mountain Gorillas) – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. After your date with the gentle giants, you will travel to Mgahinga for a Batwa ‘pygmies’ cultural experience via Lake Bunyonyi and concludes with a visit to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Day 1: Arrival in Uganda
You arrive at Entebbe International Airport, located on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Victoria where a representative or your driver/guide from Rickshaw Travels Uganda will welcome you and transfer you to Cassia Lodge in Kampala.
Day 2: Drive to Kibale Forest National Park (B/L/D)
After your breakfast this morning, you will be met by your driver/guide who will transfer you to Fort portal town. The journey will take you through the lush green countryside on the Mityana-Mubende road to Fort portal. After enjoying lunch in the beautiful Fort Portal town, in the afternoon, you will visit the crater region and then in the evening, complete your transfer to Kibale Forest National Park for dinner and overnight stay at Kibale Forest Camp.
Day 3: Chimpanzee tracking & transfer to Queen Elizabeth N.P (B/L/D)
Today you are in for some real monkey business! After breakfast, we visit Kibale Forest National Park, reputed for having the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. You will go on a guided nature walk in the tropical rain forest in search of the wild chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and many others.
The guides and rangers will provide detailed explanations, not only on primates, but also on all the forest fauna and flora and will ensure that your walk is both informative and enjoyable. Once you locate the chimpanzees, you will have a full hour with them at close quarters. After the mandatory 1-hour is finished, your guides/rangers will lead you back to the park headquarters from where you will commence your transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park with lunch enroute.
After lunch, you continue to Queen Elizabeth National Park with the Rwenzori Mountains in the backdrop as you lose altitude to arrive in or around the park. You check-in at the Bush Lodge.
After checking in, relax in and around the lodge. Later, you will enjoy your dinner and then overnight stay at the lodge. You can upgrade to Mweya Safari Lodge for Luxury.
Day 4: Chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura & boat safari along Kazinga channel (B/L/D)
After breakfast at 6.30am, head to Kyambura game headquarters for a briefing before embarking on your Chimpanzee trek in the beautiful gorge. Experienced guides and trackers will accompany your group on the morning trek into the forest to view wild chimpanzees as well as several other species of primates in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees, human’s closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5000 remaining in Uganda. Please note that tracking may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile as they search for food throughout the forest.
After your chimpanzee trekking experience in Kyambura gorge, you will return to the lodge in time for lunch. After your lunch, at 3.00pm, you will head out for an afternoon boat trip on the Kazinga channel – the channel links lakes Edward and George and is considered the widest natural channel in the world, for game viewing and bird watching – a key highlight of your safari. On the two-hour boat cruise, look out for herds of elephant, buffalos and antelopes, families of warthogs, large groups of hippos and crocodiles basking on the channel’s banks. Kazinga’s shores are a haven for numerous birds, including many migratory species. The cruise also provides a spectacular view of the beautiful Mweya Peninsula. Dinner and overnight at the Bush Lodge.
Day 5: Game drive via Ishasha & transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable N.P (B/L/D)
Up early, enjoy your breakfast. At 7.00am, we leave the Mweya (north) part of the park and head south to the Ishasha area. The drive, which will serve as our morning game drive will last between 2-3 hours. Have your eyes peeled for more game. On arrival in the Ishasha area, we search for the famous and unique tree-climbing lions. If it is a hot day, which December largely is, be sure to find them atop the sycamore fig trees or the acacia trees that dominate this part of the park. There are about 4 Prides of lions in the area numbering more than 40 in total. Look out for the males with their black mane, which is a notable attribute. Also, there are about 1000+ elephants present in the area and you normally see large numbers. There are Topi and Uganda Kob antelopes in large numbers. The drive is a fantastic opportunity to take lots of pictures. After this drive, you exit the park and complete your transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (the southern sector). We arrive in the late afternoon or early evening and check-in at the Chameleon Hill Lodge for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6: Gorilla tracking & relax at lodge (B/L/D)
Up relatively early, enjoy breakfast to give you the energy you will need to track the famed Mountain Gorilla in the Bwindi mists. With your packed lunch in your rucksack, your guide will take you to the ranger station before 8:00 am for registration and briefing by one of the rangers. Once the formalities of what to do and not do while tracking the gentle giants are communicated, the guides will then take you through the bush, pushing your way through the undergrowth, to track the gorillas. (the trek can take from half an hour to 5 hours – a reasonable degree of fitness is required as well as a sturdy pair of walking shoes).
Once you encounter the Mountain Gorillas, sit in the forest among the gorillas, listening to them grumble, and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant male; the Silverback. It is an extraordinary feeling sitting in the dense rainforest knowing you are with a few of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas. It’s important to note that there are only about 800 of these beautiful creatures left in the wild. Once back at the starting point, your guide will be waiting to transfer you back to the lodge. Dinner and overnight at Chameleon Hill Lodge.
Day 7: Transfer to Mgahinga & Batwa Trail Experience (B/L/D)
This morning, enjoy your breakfast and commence your transfer to Mgahinga National Park for your Batwa ‘Pygmies’ trail experience. The Batwa are one of the oldest peoples in Africa. They roamed the forests looking for fruits and honey, and hunted with bows and trained dogs. As the woods were cut down by the Bantu people, Batwa numbers dwindled. A visit to the Batwa trail permits visitors to discover the magic of the indigenous people old home while partaking in nature walks and learning about the group's cultural heritage.
During this moving cultural encounter tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate bamboo cups. Guests are finally invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes eerily around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture. This is truly a unique experience for visitors to learn about the traditional culture of the indigenous people. After this activity, you will transfer to Lake Bunyonyi. Dinner and overnight at Birdsnest Bunyonyi.
Day 8: Drive to Entebbe (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you can opt for a quick tour of some of Lake Bunyonyi’s beautiful islands or straight away begin your journey to Entebbe via Kampala with a lunch stop in Mbarara town. After lunch, you continue onto Kampala with another stop at the Equator crossing for some fun photo shoots and a visit to the crafts village. Dinner and overnight the Boma Entebbe.
Day 9: Visit Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Departure (B)
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the Water Front at Entebbe where you will take a boat ride to Ngamba Island (23km) – the Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Upon arrival at Ngamba Island, you will be welcomed by the duty caregiver of the Chimpanzees. Pre-arranged supplementary feeding times (11.00 am & 3.00 pm each day) brings the chimpanzees within meters of the raised walkway specially designed for easy viewing and provides excellent photographic opportunities. You will then take a boat ride back to Entebbe. Your guide will drop you off at the airport in time for you to catch your flight to your next destination.