The Wildiaries Experience
Primates in the Pearl of Africa - Group Discovery Tour, Gorillas, Chimpanzees
From $9250.00 * USD
Available between April 25, 2018 — May 08, 2018
Duration of tour 14 days 13 nights
On this 8-day all-inclusive luxury tour you will have up-close encounters with wild Mountain Gorillas. The surrounding country is also one of our guide's favourite places in the world. It is particularly rich in locally-unique and attractive mammals and birds. This tour is specially designed to ensure you get the maximum from your once-in-a-lifetime excursion to this remote but incredible destination.
HOW IS THIS TOUR DIFFERENT?
For most people, seeing wild Gorillas is a once in a life-time experience but for your Australian guide, Phil Gregory, it would be his seventh time taking guests over fifteen years. You'll be joined by Phil's chosen Ugandan guides and friends, whose are local wildlife knowledge is unsurpassed and world-renowed and they among the most experienced, talented and personable naturalists in Africa. With their help, you will see things you couldn't possibly hope to see with other tour groups.
There are cheap ways of seeing Gorillas but in our experience, the standard of guiding can be either very good or extremely poor. Large groups will be split up, as it's not permitted to trek to see Gorillas in groups of more than six people. Further, buses are not permitted in the park.
This particular 11-day tour is comfortable and delivered to a high standard. All costs including all meals, transport, activities and guiding, will be included. You will be staying at some of the nicest accommodation in the region and your transport will be in comfortable 4WD standard vehicles with a driver and your guides.
It begins and ends in Entebbe (Uganda) so you can see wild Gorillas as well as experience the full range of wildlife and culture of the Entebbe region.
Day 1 Arrive Entebbe and transfer to hotel. Meet with guide for welcoming dinner and a briefing about the tour. Overnight at The Boma
Day 2 Mabamba Swamp. Weʼll begin today with a visit to the nearby Mabamba Swamp, where we will be looking for the bizarre Shoebill. A bird which looks as if it should never get airborne if you look at the size of its bill. Be prepared for a couple of hours of rough driving to get to the best area We then take to the water in little canoe-like boats and float through the marsh looking not only for Shoebill but also many of the following species: Long-tailed Cormorant, Hamerkop, African Openbill, Marabou Stork, African Pied Hornbill, Scarlet-chested and Red-chested sunbirds, Rueppell's Glossy-Starling and the very localized Orange Weaver.
Day 3 To Masindi. Early this morning weʼll leave the Entebbe Peninsula and drive (mostly on good roads) to Masindi in northwestern Uganda. By lunch time we reach woodlands and have hope for a great afternoon seeing birds like Banded Snake-Eagle and White-crested Turaco. Budongo Forest. After an early breakfast we will depart for Budongo Forest, about an hour's drive away. Weʼll have a full day in this area where a new system of trails is currently being cleared. Additionally, a broad road through one of the richest areas of forest (known as the Royal Mile) gives good access to many of the forest specialties found here. Night at Masindi Hotel.
Day 4 To Kibale Forest. Today is primarily a travel day, but it will not be without several worthwhile stops as we search for any open country for animals and birds that we may have missed over the previous few days. In the afternoon weʼll arrive at Kibale Forest and a two-night stay in very pleasant surroundings at Primate Lodge.
Day 5 Kibale Forest. Weʼll have a full day at Kibale Forest, where nine species of primates can be found. Weʼll start by joining the excellent local guides on a Chimpanzee trek, where we may also encounter Blue, Copper- tailed, and l'Hoest's monkeys, Black-and-white Colobus (also known as Mantled Guereza), and Gray-cheeked Mangabey. Birdlife is prolific, but as in many tropical forests, birds can be shy and difficult to observe. Night at Primate Lodge.
Day 6 To Queen Elizabeth National Park. This morning weʼll visit a papyrus swamp in search of the striking Papyrus Gonolek. Weʼll then have an early lunch before driving south to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our newly renovated lodge is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel, and behind it lies an extensive area of rolling grass-covered hills, wooded valleys, and a series of extinct volcanic craters. During our stay we will visit each of these areas and take an afternoon trip on a launch along the famous Kazinga Channel that links lakes Edward and George, with great photo ops. Night at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 7 Queen Elizabeth National Park. The varied habitats within QENP should provide us with an extensive bird list and a few new mammals, too. Lions are possible here, and we should see Elephant, Buffalo, Warthog, Topi, and large herds of (Uganda) Kob. Night at Mweya Safari Lodge. We will also head to the famous Ishasha area to look for the tree-climbing lions that live in this area.
Day 8 To the Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest. Weʼll continue further south, this time to the Gorilla Forest Camp in the lower reaches of what is now called the Bwindi- Impenetrable Forest. Depending on what species we may need to see in QENP, we may spend part of the morning in that area. Otherwise, we will head on and spend the afternoon near our camp.
Day 9 Gorilla trek day. There are six accessible groups of Gorillas in this area and we will have arranged your trekking permits in advance. This experience is limited to only 6 groups of 6 people each day, so this is an extremely special opportunity and a highlight of the tour. Night at Gorilla Forest Camp.
Day 10 To Ruhija Today we travel through areas of cultivation and then climb up onto the edges of the Albertine Rift into the bamboo zone and the higher altitude forest. There is some very attractive scenery and an amazing contrast between the cultivation and the edge of the National Park. Night at Ruhija Gorilla Lodge.
Day 11 Many different species are found at these higher altitudes, including quite a few of the Albertine Rift endemics. We'll have a full day-and-a-half to search for birds and wildlife in this area. The moderately strenuous but beautiful trail to the Mubwindi Swamp will be optional; for those not wishing to take this walk, we will make arrangements for them to be accompanied by a local guide in the fabulous forest near our lodge where birds such as Regal Sunbird are foujnd. Night at Ruhija Gorilla Lodge.
Day 12 We leave the Lake Victoria basin and drive through farmland where we can see the amazing Ankole cattle with their enormous sweeping horns. We travel on to Lake Mburo, where we expect to arrive in the late afternoon. With luck we may see Pennant-winged Nightjars hawking over our tents at dusk. Night at Mantana Tented Camp in Lake Mburo NP.
Day 13 Lake Mburo National Park. This delightful small park contains rolling scrub-covered hills, open dry areas, pockets of woodland, papyrus beds, marshy lake fringes, and open water. It is the only area where we can see Burchellʼs Zebra and Impala, and we should also find good numbers of Oribi, Olive Baboon, and Vervet Monkey. A variety of new and interesting birds occurs within this park and we hope for birds like White-backed Night-Heron and African Finfoot (during a short boat trip), Lizard Buzzard, African Goshawk, Lilac-breasted Roller and Red-faced Barbet (at its only Ugandan site). One of the charms of Africa is its colourful and diverse array of birds and you will be travelling with one of the world's experts, who will also give you the chance to see animals such as hippopotamus, impala, tsessebe eland, warthogs, buffalo, jackals and if very lucky leopards. Night at Mantana Tented Camp in Lake Mburo NP.
Day 14 Entebbe. fly out.
Ask for Details
Or call Diverse Travel now
on 08 8234 8324 (Australia)
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The tour will run in late May / early June 2018. Dates will be confirmed once we have expressions of interest from a minimum number of guests and will be subject to flight schedules and park entry group availability.
The itinerary above is with top-level accommodation, including some of the best premium lodges in the area, including the Boma Hotel, the Montana Tented Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge and the Gorilla Forest Camp.
- Airport transfer fees.
- All ground transportation in a 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser with roof-hatches.
- Meals from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on day 10.
- Accommodation in standard twin rooms throughout the tour.
- All entrance fees to national parks, sanctuaries, game reserves and the botanical gardens as described in the final itinerary (does not include Gorilla trekking permit).
- Fuel for the entire trip.
- Boat ride fees at Mabamba swamps, Lake Mburo.
- Cost of 1 chimpanzee trekking permit per person.
- 18% VAT on all taxable services like accommodation.
- Bottled drinking water, tea or coffee while on tour and in transit.
- Services of an English speaking driver/guide.
- Professional guides and leader 24/7.
- Tips and gratitude to your guide/driver/hotel staff etc
From $9250.00 * USD
This tour is on request. Please ENQUIRE using the form (above).
Note, this price is twin-share and in $US. Single supplement is $1,360.
This price is estimated as close as possible. We don't normally expect this to vary significantly but it cannot be confirmed until closer to the departure date. Final price will depend on variations in:
- Exchange rates;
- Park fees; and
- Any annual price adjustments issued by suppliers (that usually aren’t released until 11 months before travel).
- Gorilla permits trekking fees of US$600 per permit (this may change).
- Any pre/post tour accommodation and meals.
- Insurance of any kind.
- Any kind of beverages while in transit or at the lodge.
- Emergency rescue costs (local/international).
- Personal tips and gratuities
- All expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone bills etc.
- Bank transfer charges (directly paid to your bank).
- We will ask you for a $500 initial deposit to reserve a spot on any tour.
- If we don't reach our minimum numbers for the tour, we will refund this.
- Otherwise, this is non-refundable. However, it can be transferred can be transferred onto any other Wildiaries tour up to 6 months prior to travel or until you have paid your 20% non-refundable deposit.
- Once a tour has reached minimum numbers and we have finalised details of the tour to your satisfaction, we will ask you to pay a 20% non-refundable deposit.
- If you like, we can organise final payments in up to 5 monthly instalments, running up to the final payment 60 days before travel.
- The balance of payment due at least 60 days prior to travel (or sooner, depending on the supplier's terms and conditions).
Available between April 25, 2018 — May 08, 2018
Duration of tour 14 days 13 nights
Our licensed travel agent can arrange all travel to and from tour locations. We can also arrange fully-guided options as well as tailoring packages for families and groups travelling together.