Venture to a land coined "the pearl of Africa" - the raw and beautiful Uganda, crossing its wetlands, tropical forests, and volcanic crater lakes. Listen for pant-hooting calls of clever chimps high up in fig trees and spot black-and-white colobus, gray-cheeked mangabey, and vervet monkeys. Witness the expressive look of mountain gorillas up close in the Bwindi. Head for thrilling game walks and rides through acacia-rich woodland and grassy valleys. Come evening, bask in the comforts of wilderness lodges, and track hyena and white-tailed mongoose on thrilling night safari drives.
Stand face to face with mighty mountain gorillas in mist-covered Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Track stunning chimpanzee, red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus, and gray-cheeked mangabey in Kibale National Park
Discover Queen Elizabeth National Park's leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps, and volcanic crater lakes
Welcome to Uganda! Upon arrival in Entebbe, meet a MT Sobek representative outside the customs and immigration area at the airport, for your transfer to the hotel. If you arrive early enough, visit the Entebbe Botanical Gardens or the Entebbe Wildlife Center, for close-up views of some of Uganda's unusual species, such as the shoebill stork and the sitatunga antelope. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening.
This morning board a 4X4 vehicle and drive into Uganda's lush countryside, a country that Winston Churchill once described as "the pearl of Africa." Pass through gorgeous scenery featuring farmsteads crammed with bananas and tropical trees, scenic wetlands, and patches of bush and forest. Continue on to the hill country below the Rwenzori mountains, through beautiful tea plantations and parts of the tropical Kibale forest, where you may spot some monkeys.
After a hearty breakfast, set out for a full day habitation trek through the forest in search of chimps! Follow experienced ranger-guides and a tracker, listening out for the chimps' pant-hooting calls on your way to their nesting site. An early start means the opportunity to see them waking up, stretching, and descending from the tree tops. As the day goes on, you'll quietly witness their routines, see them eat, and watch the group's social interactions. When evening comes, the group will find a new nesting site, expertly build new nests, and settle down for the night. At this point, you will say farewell (and goodnight) to the chimps and head back to park headquarters.
This morning, take a swamp walk in search of red-tailed monkeys, gray-cheeked manabeys, olive baboons, and beautiful birds such as the great blue turaco and the elusive Angola pitta. Next, drive south along the eastern length of the Rwenzori mountains, with views of their glaciated peaks, and into the Great African Rift valley and today's destination: Queen Elizabeth National Park. Uganda's most popular and accessible savannah reserve, this spectacular park showcases leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps, and natural volcanic crater lakes. It has impressively rich biodiversity, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds. In the afternoon, explore the park's natural wonders on a thrilling game drive.
Today head out to explore the park on a number of wildlife adventures, including a 2-hour launch trip on the Kasinga Channel to view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world - reported to be about 30,000. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Africa's best parks for birding, with 560 + recorded species. See if you can break the record of spotting 296 bird species in a 24-hour period!
Today drive through the park to the Ishasha region to search for tree-climbing lions (75% success rate) and other game. Then continue on to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, one of Africa's most ancient habitats comprised of steep, jungle-coated mountains known for their exceptional biodiversity. Protected as a national park and a World Heritage Site, these magnificent landscapes are home to more than 160 species of trees, over 100 kinds of ferns, at least 90 mammal species, and almost half of the world's population of critically endangered mountain gorillas.
After breakfast, report to the ranger station for a talk on the etiquette of gorilla tracking, then hike with a guide and tracker through misty rainforest to encounter these wild creatures. Trekking can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 hours, on rough and at times muddy terrain; a reasonable degree of fitness is required. You'll forget the fatigue once you lay your eyes on your first mountain gorilla - the experience of seeing these gentle giants at close range and in the wild is among the most extraordinary nature can provide.
Rise early for another full day of gorilla tracking. Hike through the bush, pushing your way through the undergrowth and parting thick creepers. Expect to stay with these gentle giants of the African forest for about an hour after first encountering them. Bwindi is renowned for its mountain gorilla population, an estimated 280-320 individuals living in 15 groups. Looking deep into their expressive brown eyes is an unparalleled experience. Look out for other wildlife as you trek through the forest, including chimpanzees, yellow-backed duikers, and a variety of birds.
This morning, continue on to Lake Mburo National Park, an extensive area of wetland that harbors several species of mammals and birds found nowhere else in Uganda, such as eland, impala and klipspringer. The park's sculptured landscape has a varied mosaic of wildlife-rich habitats - forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps, rich acacia-woodland, and grassy valleys. It is also home to the largest population of zebra in Uganda, estimated at about 5,000, and among the highest concentration of leopard in the country.
After breakfast, enjoy the many activities available at the lodge. Choose between walking safaris, night game drives in search of nocturnal animals, a walk onto a stunning viewpoint, a boat trip with hundreds of hippos, relaxing massages, and the chance to watch bush babies in the evening from the platform below the bar. Jogging and mountain bike tours are also possible outside the park, as are walks to a Bahima home.
This morning after breakfast, bid farewell to the bush and drive back to Entebbe. Enjoy access to a dayroom at Karibu Entebbe before your transfer to the airport, for your flight back home.
We pride ourselves in working with the finest safari outfitters in Africa. All wilderness treks are accompanied by expert guides and professional trackers.
20% of the gorilla permits fees go to communities for projects like building health care centers, schools, clean water and sustainable agriculture education.
This itinerary blends gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with a relaxing stay at deluxe wilderness lodgings. Gorilla permits are guaranteed!
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Scenic drives, moderate to strenuous treks and nature walks in search of wildlife, boat rides, and day/night game drives in safari vehicles.
Lodges with modern comforts and great access to Uganda's raw wilderness, plus a boutique hotel to bookend the trip.
Uganda enjoys a tropical climate, though the heat is tempered by the altitude of more than 3,000' above sea level.
Upon seeing the gorillas you will have just one hour with them, so we do two treks. On the second trek, you often feel you can put your camera down and really enjoy.
There are no guarantees, but it is highly likely you will see them. Guides are trained in locating the gorillas and will know where they were the day before, as well as their movement habits.
Uganda does require a tourist visa for travelers from the US. You must obtain this e-Visa before your trip. You can apply for this visa online. It costs $50USD and is valid for 90 days.
You will find yourself climbing up steep slopes at high altitudes, scrambling through, over, and under dense undergrowth with nettles, barbed vines, and bamboo thickets on slippery and muddy terrain. It's important to be in good physical condition.
A number of different vaccinations are recommended and/or required before entering Uganda. A certificate proving you have had the Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into Uganda.
Uganda is considered safe and politically stable. Ugandan people are incredibly welcoming, polite and friendly.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"Great experience every time with some of the most knowledgeable guides in their fields. We always come home with wonderful memories of the people we meet and things we see."
MT Sobek Guest
"A prominent reason we have chosen MT Sobek as our favorite adventure travel company has been the excellent travel guides."
Carol & Burt D.
MT Sobek Guests