SVAU 008: Gorilla Tour in Bwindi & Queen Elizabeth National Park
This stunning gorilla tour to Uganda takes you to Bwindi Forest in search of mountain gorillas and Queen Elizabeth National Park, a notable Uganda safari destination for wildlife tours, chimpanzee tracking adventures and bird watching safaris.
The 1978km2 Queen Elizabeth National Park enjoys a stunning location on the rift valley floor between Lakes Edward and George where a mosaic of habitats supports 95 mammal species and a remarkable 612 species of birds. This diversity is the result of an impressive range of habitats. Fifty-seven vegetation types have been identified though these can be summarized as just five: forest; grassland; bushy grassland; Acacia woodland and lakeshore/ swamp vegetation.
Residents of the park's grasslands include elephant, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, lion, leopard and hyena. Topi are found in Ishasha, while forest primates are found in Kyambura Gorge and Maramagambo Forest.
Day 1: Kampala – Bwindi Forest
After breakfast, depart for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the home of Mountain Gorillas to start your Uganda gorilla tour. It’s estimated half of the world’s surviving population of mountain gorillas, estimated to be 300 live within Bwindi boundaries. The drive is long but enjoyable with lunch stop on the way.
Bwindi National Park is located in the southwestern part of the country, the Kigezi Highlands once known as Switzerland of Africa. Bwindi National Park offers a dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. Four gorilla families have so far been habituated for tourism and eight are allowed to visit them per day.
Although trekking may be strenuous, the viewing of the gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience long to be savored. Apart from the mountain gorillas, there are a variety of other primates to be seen including the blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, and black and white Columbus monkeys. The great blue tauracos are often seen and even for a non-bird watcher they are marvelous sight.
You arrive at your lodging during late afternoon. Rest and take dinner at your Bwindi lodging preparing for the Uganda mountain gorilla tracking experience the next day. Meals: Lunch and Dinner Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp/ Buhoma Lodge/ Gorilla Resort/ Kitandara Lodge/ Engagi Lodge/ Mahogany lodge/ Buhoma Community Rest Camp Bandas/ Buhoma View Bandas
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking Bwindi Forest
After breakfast, you will be escorted to the park offices to begin your adventure. A briefing from your local guide and then it’s off! The time taken and the terrain vary (1- 8 hours) according to the movement of these gentle giants. The thrill of meeting face to face with mountain gorillas takes away the pain of sometimes long and arduous trek.
After having an up close and personal encounter with mountain gorillas, return to the headquarters base. Depending on time and your energy level, set off for a village walk, where you will see how traditional beer are made from forest trees. You can join the dancing and entertainment troupe to learn the culture of the local people. Later, transfer back to your lodge. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp/ Buhoma Lodge/ Gorilla Resort/ Kitandara Lodge/ Engagi Lodge/ Mahogany lodge/ Buhoma Community Rest Camp Bandas/ Buhoma View Bandas
Day 3: Bwindi Forest – Queen Elizabeth National Park
After breakfast, drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park via the Ishasha sector. In the afternoon enjoy the unique 2 hour boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel and into Lake Edward. This trip passes through possibly the highest concentration of hippos and many animals may be seen drinking at the water’s edge. This launch cruise offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. The prolific bird life is colorful and stupendous with well over 550 resident species. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge/ Jacana Safari Lodge/ Kingfisher Safari Lodge/ Hippo Hill Tented Camp/ Simba Safari Camp/ Katara Lodge/ Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth – Kampala
Morning game drives. Queen Elizabeth National Park’s diverse eco-system of grassy plains, tropical forest, rivers, swamps, lakes and volcanic craters is home to an incredible abundance of wildlife. Game drives in this park, with the massive Rwenzoris as a backdrop provides excellent opportunities to see lion, leopard, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo, elephants, Defassa waterbuck, Uganda Kob, Topi and bush buck.
Drive back to Kampala stopping at the Mpigi Royal Drum Makers en route where you will able to watch the ceremonial drums being crafted using methods passed down through generations. There will also be time to stop at the Equator for photographs. You’ll arrive in Kampala in the early evening.