Wild Uganda Primate Safari
Bushwhack through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of a family of mountain gorillas.
10 Days / 9 Nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Viewing gorillas in the wild is a breathtaking and humbling wildlife encounter! Follow our team of expert guides and native trackers as you bushwhack through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of a family of mountain gorillas. We recommend two days of gorilla tracking, however, you also have the opportunity to visit with the Batwa pygmy community.
Uganda is so much more than just gorillas! Hike in the Kibale Forest to spot chimpanzees and colubus monkeys, take game drives in search of tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and stay in Lake Mburo to ensure that you see the full range of Ugandan wildlife. Recommended is an extension to Murchison Falls National Park for stunning scenery, incredible bird life, and the spectacular falls themselves. Your special travel to Uganda supports the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International through our Travelers Conservation Trust.
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Chimpanze Trekking in Kibale National Forest
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Private boat trip on the Kasinga Channel
Entebbe International Airport EBB
Entebbe International Airport EBB
Arrive In Entebbe
Upon arrival into Entebbe you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. If you arrive early in the day, a visit to the Entebbe Botanical Gardens is possible.
About Karibu Guest House
This charming boutique hotel is within close proximity to the airport (10 minutes) and offers the perfect respite prior to embarking on your exploration of Uganda. With international managers and a staff of 20 Ugandan’s this vibrant little guest house places a premium on guest satisfaction. Seven comfortable rooms are all individually decorated with fun vibrant colors such as mango, azure and bordeaux. Enjoy free wi-fi while enjoying a welcome beverage or Mediterranean-style meal on the open air veranda with sunset views out over Lake Victoria.
Driving time: Approx 7.5 hours on mostly paved roads.
Morning drive westward to Kibale Forest. The route slowly ascends from the Lake Victoria basin into the lush rolling foothills of The Ruwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon). Pass through villages and farmland where every imaginable fruit and vegetable of the tropics can be seen growing and if you’d like stop to try some new things and chat with the locals. Birding is excellent with varying ecosystems including rain forest, agricultural land, papyrus swamps, scrub land, and the famous tea growing area around Fort Portal and Kyanjojo.
About Primate Lodge
Primate Lodge is situated in Kibale Forest National Park and is the perfect gateway for tracking the primates of Uganda. The lodge is committed to the conservation of nature and culture and is constructed using local materials and makes use of solar power electricity in order to minimize the impact on the environment. Primate Lodge features eight luxury safari tents and seven cottages. All the rooms are privately situated within the forest, making it an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you. The luxury tents are on a raised wooden platform and covered by a grass thatched roof, blending perfectly with the natural environment. The interior is tastefully decorated in African style, with queen sized beds, brightly colored bedspreads, and large windows to take in the forests. The en suite bathrooms are furnished with a natural touch of stone and bamboo.
Today we get the opportunity to explore Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale Forest is home to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek can be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world – the chimpanzee. There are nine diurnal primates, include, vervet, red-tailed, L’Hoest’s, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked managebey, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon and the most famous of all, the chimpanzee. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with the chance of encountering them standing at higher than 90%. Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by bird song and can expect to see at least five or six other types of primate, most probably the grey-cheeked managebey, the red-tailed monkey and of course the chimpanzee. The walking is fairly easy thanks to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain. You will get another chance to trek with the chimpanzees in the afternoon, allowing for observation of the chimpanzees during a different section of their daily lives.
Spend the morning visiting the Bigodi Wetlands, situated in the highlands of western Uganda, in the shadow of the Ruwenzori Mountains. Hike on well-maintained footpaths through the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, part of the Magombe wetlands, with community guides. This afternoon prepare for a scenic drive (approx. 3.5 hours) to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, situated in the western region of the Great Rift Valley.
About Mazike Valley Lodge
Mazike Valley Lodge is a new luxury lodge situated on the eastern edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park with stunning views over the park and Kyambura Gorge. Accommodation is provided in 8 spacious and tastefully decorated self-contained grass-thatched cottages, with bath tubs/showers with views to the park, running hot and cold water, and electricity. Each cottage has a lovely wooden balcony from which the diversity of wildlife in the park can be viewed and enjoyed. The lodge also has a beautiful swimming pool and camp fire around which local traditional dancers will entertain you as you relax after the day’s activities. The restaurant and lounge area open towards a sundowner deck overlooking the park – the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with the drink of your choice. The kitchen features both international and local cuisine and meals are prepared using organic vegetables from the lodge’s garden. From the lodge you can immerse yourself in wildlife, with game viewing from your private balcony or by going on a bird walk from the lodge down into the valley. There are also community walks and walks around the crater lakes available from the lodge.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park includes a remarkable variety of eco-systems from semi- deciduous tropical forests to green meadows, savannah, crater lakes and swamps. Within the park a vast array of wildlife can be found including elephant, buffalo, hippo, leopard and lions. Along the shores of Lake Edward and the Kasinga Channel are over five hundred bird species, including the Shoe-bill stork, black bee-eater, eleven different species of kingfisher and several eagles and other raptors. Hippo and crocodiles line the shore, and herds of buffalo often come here to drink. A private boat trip on the Kasinga channel is included.
Ishasha & Drive to Bwindi
Enjoy a scenic drive to the Ishasha region, still within QENP. This region is known for tree climbing lions, who nap in the branches of fig and other trees during the heat of the day. Other species include buffalo, elephants, kob, topi, and other antelope species. Depart by vehicle to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas and designated as a World Heritage Site. Some of the gorilla families have been habituated to human presence, and it is possible to visit them in their natural habitat within the forest. Bwindi also contains many other primate species and offers interesting and more relaxing walks for visitors around the lower levels of the forest.
About Mahogany Springs Camp
Set back on the pristine waters of the Munyanga River and facing the Impenetrable forest, Mahogany Springs is an ideal setting to begin your unforgettable experience with the gorillas of Bwindi. All seven rooms are suites with large double doors and beautiful windows. Each suite has its own private terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding area. There are electrical outlets in the rooms as well as a dressing table/desk. All suites have large en-suite bathrooms with an open terracotta shower. Mosquito nets are available for added comfort and peace of mind.
In the main dining area enjoy an a la carte menu providing endless dining options and a wide range of cuisines to cater to all palates. Head chef Subedi has been cooking in top hotels for over 15 years and his food combines flavours from all over the world, Asian, African, Middle Eastern and European. For an extremely memorable dining experience Mahogany Springs offers a private bush breakfast or dinner by the river (subject to availability, pricing on request)
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Spend today visiting the mountain gorillas who reside in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Prior to trekking, you will have an orientation at the park headquarters to become familiar with gorilla tracking ethics. It is very important that under no circumstances are the gorillas to be touched by humans. This is to protect the animals from communicable diseases to which they are very susceptible. The trek, with experienced trackers leading the way, can take up to eight hours although the gorillas are usually found after two to four hours. Once located, your group of 8 trekkers will spend one hour with the gorillas. Gorilla viewing is not guaranteed, although since the trackers set out early in the morning to locate the gorilla families the probability of viewing gorillas is extremely high. Some hiking areas lie at altitudes above 7,500 feet over rough and muddy terrain. Although the hike can be physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trek worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. It can rain at a few minutes’ notice, hence water proof clothing is a good idea, also zip lock bags for cameras. Return to camp for the evening meal and relaxation.
Free Day For Optional Activities In Bwindi
Today you have the option to rest at the lodge, experience a second gorilla trek or experience the lives of the Batwa pygmies. The Batwa pygmies were the original dwellers of the ancient forest and were known as the ‘keepers of the forest’. The Batwa lived in harmony with the forest and survived by hunting small game using bows and arrows and gathering plants for both food and medicinal purposes. A day spent with the Batwa gives you the opportunity to hike through the forest with a Batwa guide trying out hunting techniques with a bow and arrow, visit a Batwa homestead and learn how to cook and serve a meal, and talk to a medicine man and hear about medicinal properties of the forest as well as ancient legends and traditional songs.
Driving time: 6-7 hours with stops on a paved road.
Morning departure for the drive through southwestern Uganda, a stunning scenic area, to the Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo is comprised of five different lakes, and is home to zebra, topi, and eland. A game drive in the Park is an option for this afternoon, or you might just want to rest at your lodge and watch wildlife at the watering hole and salt lick below the pool. Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and luxurious retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park.
About Mihingo Lodge
Adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park, this peaceful retreat has all the necessary amenities to provide comfort in the Ugandan wilderness. Ten luxury tented rooms covered by thatched roofing stand on wooden stilts at the edge of the property. Each room offers a different feel of the Ugandan wild by being situated in the forest, above the lake or on rocky outcrops. Electricity and hot water are provided by solar energy and the natural water catchment system. The eco-friendly main lodge and restaurant were built from local materials found on the land. Duck below the dining area for a refreshing swim in the magnificent pool that stretches out from the rocks into seeming vastness. Both the dining area and pool benefit from a stunning view of the Uganda landscape. Your Uganda safari Adventure may include boat trips on Lake Mburo, savannah walks, game drives in the National Park, or horseback safaris. The area provides amazing game viewing opportunities, including zebra, eland and impala, which are not found in most other National Parks in Uganda.
Arrival & Departure
Your trip begins with your arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport where you will be met by an Austin Adventures representative. They will transfer you to Mt Meru Hotel for check-in. On Day 12, you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight home, approximately three hours prior to your flight departure time.
- Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Forest
- Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- Batwa Pygmy community
- Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Private boat trip on the Kasinga Channel
Uganda is so much more than just gorillas! Hike in the Kibale Forest to spot chimpanzees and colubus monkeys, take game drives in search of tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and stay in Lake Mburo to ensure that you see the full range of Ugandan wildlife.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions except one dinner on your own are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- All guided tours and excursions
- Private English-speaking naturalist guide (Gorilla and chimpanzee treks are conducted in a group of 8 with a National Parks Ranger and are not private)
- Airport-hotel transfers, land transportation
- Park Entrance fees and Chimpanzee trekking permits
- Nine nights in hotel accommodation as indicated
- Meals as indicated [B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner]
- Bottled water in the vehicle
Not Included in the Trip Price
- International airfare
- Gorilla permits (listed separately)
- Batwa Cultural Experience (listed separately) as optional substitution to one day of Gorilla Trekking
- Tips and gratuities
- Visa fees
- Drinks, alcoholic beverages, and meals other than listed above
- Personal expenses for extra services, optional activities, or changes in your itinerary for reasons beyond our control
- Travel insurance for trip cancellation, medical services, or evacuation
- Any other items not mentioned above
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.