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Home » Uganda Safaris » 8 Days Uganda Safari, Gorilla Trekking, Chimpanzee Tracking & Wildlife Safari in Uganda

8 Days Uganda Safari, Gorilla Trekking, Chimpanzee Tracking & Wildlife Safari in Uganda

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda, Gorilla Trekking

8 Days Uganda Safari – SAFARI OVERVIEW

This 8 days Uganda safari is 7 night 8-day safari in Uganda offering the breathtaking gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the thrilling Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park, and a unique Uganda wildlife safari in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National  Parks, Rhino tracking at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, a visit at the Equator and a traditional cultural meal experience at Igongo Cultural Center coupled with amazing game scenery- that makes it a highlight of a true authentic Africa safari in Uganda.

Starting and ending in Kampala, this 8 days safari to Uganda tour takes us to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track wild rhinos on foot before continuing to Murchison Falls NP, Uganda’s largest national park, blessed with the world’s most powerful waterfalls and the Nile River (the world’s longest river) plus a collection of classic African wildlife including 76 Uganda mammal species such as Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos, Giraffes and Hippos.

Here, you’ll enjoy game drives and a boat cruise along the Nile to the bottom of the falls plus a hike to the top of the falls. We continue to Kibale National Park, possibly the best place in the world to track wild chimpanzees before moving to Queen Elizabeth NP for the opportunity to see the rare tree-climbing lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos, and much more as the checklist of mammals reaches 95 species.

Here you’ll also enjoy a boat on the Kazinga Chanel that will take you close-up to the largest concentration of hippos in the world and several of the park’s 610 bird species.

Eventually, we travel onwards to the wonderful Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for our gorilla trekking encounter. The untouched forest of Bwindi has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its breathtaking natural beauty, unique ecological significance, and incredible biodiversity.

It is world-renowned for excellent Uganda gorilla trekking opportunities, hosting almost half of the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda on Earth including 19 fully habituated families. Aside from the majestic Mountain Gorillas, there are other drawcards in Bwindi including over 120 mammal species, over 350 species of birds in Uganda, and colorful butterflies.

After our adventurous, life-changing gorilla trekking encounter in Bwindi, we’ll go relax on the magically beautiful Lake Bunyonyi Uganda, one of Africa’s deepest and most beautiful lakes dotted with 29 emerald islands.

If you would like to customize this 8 days Uganda safari to suit your budget and interest − please let us know.

8 Days Uganda Safari – PRIME SAFARI ACTIVITIES

  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
  • Chimpanzee tracking on foot in Kibale National Park
  • Amazing game viewing Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls Parks
  • Tracking white rhinos on foot in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Searching for the legendary tree-climbing lions of Ishasha
  • Stunning boat cruises on the Nile River, Kazinga Channel and Lake Bunyonyi
  • Superb bird watching in Uganda during game drives and boat cruise
  • A visit to the Uganda Equator Line crossing
  • A traditional cultural meal experience at Igongo Cultural Center

8 Days Uganda Safari – FEATURED SAFARI DESTINATIONS

Day 1 & 2: Murchison Falls National Park & Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Day 3: Kibale National Park

Day 4 & 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Day 7: Lake Bunyonyi

Day 8: Departure

8 Days Uganda Safari − SAFARI HIGHLIGHT

Day 1: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park, and visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary en route

Day 2: Morning Game Drive, Afternoon Nile Launch Cruise to the Bottom of the Falls with a Hike to the Top of the Falls.

Day 3: Transfer to Kibale National Park

Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale & transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP.

Day 5: Morning game drive, afternoon Kazinga Channel boat cruise & evening game drive

Day 6: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Does Ishasha game drive en route in search of tree-climbing lions?

Day 7: Gorilla trekking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, do an evening boat cruise & relaxation

Day 8: Drive back to Kampala with a stop at Igongo Cultural Centre for a traditional lunch & at the equator for photo shoots and water experiments.

8 Days Uganda Safari − DETAILED SAFARI ITINERARY 

Day 1: Transfer to Murchison Falls NP. Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary en route.

After breakfast at around 6.00 am in the hotel in Kampala City, we’ll embark on a 311km (5-6 hours) drive northwest to Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park which covers 3,840km².

The Park is blessed with a variety of habitats, the world’s longest river, the world’s most powerful waterfalls, and a collection of classic African wildlife including 76 mammal species and more than 450 bird species.

During our drive to Murchison, we’ll pass through impressive stretches of the Nakasongola district, before branching off at Nakitooma for a 7 km drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which is home to Uganda’s only wild rhinos. In Ziwa, we’ll enjoy an amazing 2-hour rhino tracking adventure on foot.

The sanctuary hosts more than 22 re-introduced Southern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum simum). Rhino tracking begins with a briefing from an excellent local ranger guide and thereafter you proceed to track the Rhinos. This activity normally takes 1½ to 2½ hours depending on where the Rhinos are located within the sanctuary.

During your rhino tracking encounter, you’ll also encounter a range of other wildlife species including bushbucks, Uganda kobs, Oribis, Waterbucks, and many others, as well as a number of bird species. From Ziwa, the next stop-over shall be at either Kabalega diner for lunch. We’ll then continue to Murchison, arriving in the evening for relaxation, dinner, and overnight.

The highlight of the day: – Tracking the Southern white rhinos on foot at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and the hike to the top of the falls.

Accommodation:-

Upmarket/Luxury: – Paraa Safari Lodge/Bakers Lodge

Moderate/Mid-range:- Pakuba Safari Lodge/Murchison River Lodge

Basic/Budget: Red Chilli Rest Camp/Hornbill Bush Lodge

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive distance & time: – Approx. 375km or 7-8 hours

Activities & Services of the day:-

  • Transfer from Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park
  • Rhino tracking in Ziwa

Other optional activities you can choose to do on this day include:-

  • Bush dinner in Murchison Falls Park
  • Night game drive in Murchison

Day 2: Morning Game Drive, Afternoon Nile Launch Cruise to the Bottom of the Falls with a Hike to the Top of the Falls.

This morning after breakfast (at around 6.30 am), we’ll set off on our first real game drive of this 8 days Uganda safari trip. We’ll cross the river by ferry and then drive to the northern section of Murchison Falls Park, a very scenic sector of the park with rolling savanna grassland dotted with impressive stands of Borassus palms, acacia trees, riverine woodland and a variety of mammals and unique birds.

On this 3-4 hours game drive, we’ll search for Elephants, Lions, Buffalos, Leopards, Giraffes, Hyenas, Oribi, Warthogs, Hartebeests, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Hippos, Uganda kobs and Patas monkeys plus much more.

There are also a variety of special bird species we’ll look out for on our game drive including Abyssinian ground hornbills, Secretary birds, Shoebills, Goliath herons, Grey-crowned cranes, Saddle-bellied storks, Denham’s bustard, Squacco Heron, Black-headed Gonolek, Piapiac, Kingfishers and Red-throated Bee-eater, to name just a few.

We’ll retreat from the activity and return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. After lunch, we’ll gather at Paraa Jetty for the afternoon boat cruise along the Nile River to the bottom of the fall, one of the highlights of this entire trip.

This 3-hour boat trip will depart at 2 pm. It is not only recreation but also offers a chance to cruise just meters from numerous Nile Crocodiles, hundreds of hippos, Elephants, and Buffalos along with impressive waterbirds such as Goliath herons, Saddle bellied stork, African jacana, Squacco herons, African fish eagles, and the iconic shoebill storks.

Upon arriving at the bottom of the falls, you’ll embark on a 45-minute hike to the top of the Murchison Falls. These falls are arguably the world’s most powerful! They’re not very big or wide like some you may have seen before but think of the world’s longest river which is 50 meters wide squeezing through a narrow cleft of up to 7 meters and falling 45 meters down.

After this incredibly exciting activity, we’ll return to the lodge for relaxation, dinner, and overnight.

The highlight of the day: – The afternoon boat cruise on the Nile to the bottom of Murchison Falls.

Accommodation:-

Upmarket/Luxury: – Paraa Safari Lodge/Bakers Lodge

Moderate/Mid-range:- Murchison River Lodge/Pakuba Safari Lodge

Basic/Budget: Hornbill Bush Lodge/Red Chilli Rest Camp

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Activities & Services of the day:-

  • Morning game drive
  • Afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the falls
  • Hike to the top of the falls

Other optional activities you can choose to do on this day include:-

  • Bush breakfast
  • Hot air balloon safari
  • Birding
  • Sport fishing
  • Cultural tour

Day 3: Transfer From Murchison to Kibale National Park.

We’ll have an early morning breakfast at around 7.00 am and embark on a 441km (about 9 hours) drive to Kibale National Park. We’ll enjoy the wonderful scenery along the way: Albertine rift valley sceneries including the Lake Albert itself, the Butiaba escarpments; good views of rural landscapes, en route towns, forests both natural and plantation.

We’ll have a lunch stop in Hoima after which we’ll continue with our drive to Kibale, arriving in the evening for relaxation, dinner, and overnight

The 795 km2 Kibale National Park is a natural habitat that boasts one of the highest densities and diversity of primates in Africa. It is a popular destination for those looking for a close encounter with our closest non-human relatives, Chimpanzees.

Besides Chimps, Kibale contains 12 other primate species the rare L’Hoest’s monkeys, the acrobatic Black-and-white colobus, Grey-cheeked mangabeys, Blue monkeys, Olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, Uganda red colobus, Pottos and Bushbabies.

There are 70 mammal species, 375 bird species, 250 species of butterflies, and 351 species of trees.

The highlight of the day: – The very scenic drive from Murchison to Kibale National Park

Accommodation:-

Luxury/Upmarket: – Crater Safari Lodge/Kyaninga Lodge/Primate Lodge Kibale

Midrange/Standard: – Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse/Kibale Forest Camp/Turaco Tree Tops

Budget/Basic: – Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse/Kibale Forest Camp

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive distance & time: – Approx.  441km or 9 hours

Activities & services of the day:-

  • Transfer to Kibale National Park

Optional activities you can choose to do on this day:-

  • Nocturnal walk in Kibale to see nocturnal creatures like Pottos, Bushbabies, Nightjars, and Tree hyrax.

Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale & transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP.

After an early morning breakfast (at around 6.30 am), we’ll drive to Kanyanchu Visitor Centre where you’ll meet the excellent local ranger guide who will lead you into the magnificent rainforest of Kibale on your unforgettable trek in search of the incredible wild Chimpanzees (our closest known relatives).

The morning Chimpanzee tracking experience starts at 8 am. In fact, beforehand you’ll be given an informative talk on tracking etiquette after which you’ll embark on a search for these intelligent great apes.

Kibale’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and there are over 95% chances of locating some of Kibale’s 1500 Chimpanzees. The trek to see these intelligent apes lasts between 2-5 hours.

Contact time with chimpanzees is limited to one hour; group size is limited to 6 visitors and participants must be aged 12 or over.

As you track Chimpanzees, you’ll encounter a myriad of other primates and birds such as Green-breasted Pitta, African pitta, African grey parrot, Afep pigeon, Crowned eagle, Black-bee-eater, Cassin’s spinetail, White-naped pigeon, Little greenbul, Purple-breasted sunbird and Blue-breasted kingfisher, to name a few.

Once the chimpanzees are located, will watch them go about their daily routine in peace. Viewing them as they munch fruit, swinging in trees, socializing, patrolling, mating, and making hooting calls is an unforgettable experience that you will treasure forever. You are free to take photos but keep the flash off.

After utilizing your one hour, you’ll have a picnic lunch and return to the starting point for short relaxation and preparation for another activity. In the afternoon, you embark on a 157km (2 – 3 hours) drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, enjoying the amazing views of the Rwenzori Mountains dubbed the legendary Mountains of the Moon by rising to 5,109m above sea level.

The highlight of the day: – Chimpanzees tracking in Kibale Forest National Park on foot.

Accommodation:-

Upmarket/Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge, Mazike Valley Lodge/Katara Lodge

Midrange/Standard: Enganzi Game Lodge/Bush Lodge/Kasenyi Safari Camp

Budget / Basic: Pumba Safari Cottages/Park View Safari Lodge                                                                                                                  

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive distance & time: – 157km or 2 – 3 hours

Activities & services of the day:-

  • Chimpanzee tracking
  • Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Optional activities you can choose to do on this day:-

  • Afternoon Bigodi Swamp and community walk
  • Birding in Kibale National Park

Day 5: Morning Game Drive, Afternoon Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise & Evening Game Drive.

After an early morning breakfast (at around 6.30 am), we’ll embark on a 3-4 hours game driver in the scenic savannah plains of the Kasenyi sector of Queen Elizabeth Park in search of wildlife including Elephants, Buffalos, Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Warthogs, Giant forest hogs, Uganda kobs, Hippos and various smaller creatures.

This section of the park, aside from the fantastic wildlife, is also one of the prettiest, particularly in the golden light of the morning.

Although the major attraction for us is of course the mammals, birding within the Queen Elizabeth National Park is superb with over 600 species of birds recorded.

We will certainly spend some time enjoying birding in Uganda, ticking a good number of special species including Grey crowned crane, Red-throated spurfowl, Yellow-throated longclaw, White-backed vulture, White-headed vulture, Palm-nut vulture, hooded vulture, Flappet lark, Long-crested Eagle, Black-bellied bustard, sitting cisticola, African Skimmer and Brown Snake Eagle, to name just a few.

After our game drive, we’ll return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. In the afternoon, we drive to Mweya Jetty for another remarkable, unforgettable activity planned; the 2-hour boat trip on the 40 Kazinga channel which is home to the largest concentration of Hippos in the world.

You’ll also be fascinated by the large numbers of Crocodiles, Elephants, and Buffalos on the shore along with numerous waterbirds including African Open-billed, Yellow-billed, Saddle-billed, and Marabou Storks, Pink-backed pelicans, African spoonbills, Water Thick-knee, Swamp Flycatcher and Lesser Swamp Warbler as well as several species of Gulls, Terns.

Retreat from the activity and do a game drive along the channel track as you connect to the lodge overnight.

The highlight of the day: – An amazing wild boat cruise along the spectacular Kazinga Channel.

Accommodation:- 

Upmarket/Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge, Mazike Valley Lodge/Katara Lodge

Midrange/Standard: Enganzi Game Lodge/Bush Lodge/Kasenyi Safari Camp

Budget/Basic: Pumba Safari Cottages/Park View Safari Lodge

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Activities & Services of the day:-

  • Morning game drive in the Kasenyi sector
  • Afternoon launch cruise on the Kazinga channel
  • Evening game drive along the channel track

Optional activities you can choose to do on this day include:-

  • Bush breakfast
  • Birding
  • Lion tracking
  • Cultural visits to Leopard Village
  • Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge
  • Night game drive

Day 6: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Do Ishasha Game Drive En Route In Search Of Tree Climbing Lions.

This morning we will enjoy our breakfast (at around 8.30 am) at the lodge and then set off on a 4-7 hours drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Before leaving Queen, we’ll undertake a game drive in the southern Ishasha sector, searching for the legendary tree-climbing Lions that tend to lie on giant fig tree branches of this sector overlooking their prey in the plains.

The chances of encountering them are around 70%. We’ll continue on the drive to Bwindi for relaxation, dinner, and overnight.

The untouched forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has been declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site because of its breathtaking natural beauty and unique ecological significance. Covering 321 km², it is an amazing piece of land that survived the last Ice Age when most other forests in Africa disappeared.

The name Bwindi in the local language means a place of full darkness. The rugged landscape features dense jungle, cascading waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, deep valleys and steep ridges

Bwindi is world-renowned for excellent gorilla trekking opportunities, harboring nearly half of the Mountain Gorillas on Earth. Aside from the majestic Mountain Gorillas, there are other drawcards including over 120 mammal species, 10 species of primates, over 350 species of bird to spot, 1000 species of flowing plants, and a variety of colorful butterflies.

The highlight of the day: – Encountering the rare tree-climbing Lions in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Accommodation:-

Luxury/Upmarket: – Gorilla Forest Camp/ Buhoma Lodge/Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Mid-range/Moderate: – Gorilla Valley Lodge/ Bakiga Lodge/ Silverback Lodge

Budget/Basic: – Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge/ Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive Distance & time: – Approx. 130-220km or 4-7 hours

Activities & Services of the day:-

  • The scenic drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Game drive in Ishasha in search of the tree-climbing lions

Day 7: Do Mountain Gorilla trekking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, do an afternoon boat cruise & relaxation.

A Gorilla trek is a bucket list experience that people from all over the world dream of doing!  We’ll wake up very early in the morning (at around 6.00 am) and have a hearty breakfast, before embarking on a short drive to the Buhoma park headquarters to meet with the expert local ranger guides.

At around 8.00 am, the guides will provide an informative short briefing on the Uganda gorilla trekking etiquette and the experience. Top on the list; avoid getting too close. Not only for your safety but also for theirs as our colds, viruses, and diseases can easily spread to them due to shared DNA.

After the briefing, you’ll head into the forest in search of these great apes. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi lasts between 2-8 hours, contact time with gorillas is limited to one hour, group size is limited to 6 visitors and participants must be aged 15 or over.

Owing to the nature of the terrain and the need to explore to find the gorillas, the trek doesn’t follow a path instead, the guides will cut a route through the undergrowth. So, strong footwear is essential and gloves. Seeing wild Mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience you will never forget.

An adult male can weigh up to 220kg and reach 6 feet in height.  Gorillas are gentle creatures and are not known to attack unless very severely provoked. Please note that if you’re unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you’ll not be allowed to trek Gorillas.

After your one hour with the gorillas, return to the starting point to embark on a drive to the magical Lake Bunyonyi driving through the fascinating Kigezi Highlands. You arrive at Bunyonyi in the afternoon and embark on the 2 hours boat trip to explore the second deepest Lake in Africa with a count of 29 Islands.

Retire for relaxation, dinner, and overnight

The highlight of the day: – A face-to-face encounter with one of the surviving families of mountain gorillas who roam Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Accommodation:-

Luxury/Upmarket: – Birdnest @Bunyonyi Resort

Mid-range/Moderate: – Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort/ Lake Bunyonyi Eco Resort

Meal Plan: – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Activities & Services:-

  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi
  • Evening boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi

Optional activities you can choose to do on this day include:-

  • Birding in the Bwindi Buhoma sector of Bwindi
  • Cultural visit to Batwa People/Bakiga communities around Bwindi.

Day 8: Transfer to Kampala: Make a traditional lunch stop at Igongo Cultural Centre & Uganda Equator crossing Kayabwe for amazing photo shoots and water experiments

After breakfast, embark on the transfer back to Kampala 437km about 7 hour’s drive. You drive through the magical highlands of Kigezi covered with mist in the morning before continuing through the impressive southwestern Uganda landscapes of Ntungamo with extensive banana plantations and cattle farms.

A lunch stop will be made at Igongo Cultural Centre and another stop at Uganda Equator Crossing Kayabwe 77km to Kampala and have time to explore this significant geographical site – the Sun’s way and the point of separation between the northern and southern hemispheres. A well-interpreted water experiment is performed to show the separation of these two poles.

The place also features rewarding photographing opportunities where you take photos with one leg in the northern hemisphere and another in the southern hemisphere. It is also a nice place to get yourself memorabilia to carry back home.

The highlight of the day: – The Uganda Equator crossing experience and a traditional lunch meal at Igongo Cultural Centre.

Meal Plan: – Breakfast & Lunch

Drive distance & time: – 477km or 8 hours

Activities & Services:-

  • Transfer to Entebbe
  • Traditional lunch stop at Igongo Cultural Centre
  • Uganda Equator experience

End of the 8 Days Uganda Safari

8 Days Uganda Safari − SAFARI INCLUSIONS

  • Full-time English professional safari driver-guide
  • 4×4 safari van/4×4 Safari land cruiser with pop-up roof for game viewing with functional A/C
  • Full board accommodation
  • Gorilla/chimpanzee trekking permit fees
  • Boat cruise fees
  • Wi-Fi Internet on board the safari vehicle
  • Bottled water

8 Days Uganda Safari − SAFARI EXCLUSIONS

  • International & domestic flight fees
  • Visa fees
  • Laundry services
  • Items of personal nature
  • Gratuities and tips
  • Other beverages/ drinks
  • Other extras not mentioned in the itinerary above
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