Gorilla Tracking Safari

11 Days 10 Nights From $3945, per person

Lake Mburo, Bwindi Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale & Murchison Falls National Parks in 11 Days

This Gorilla Tracking Safari takes you to some of the popular National Parks in Uganda that include Lake Mburo National Park for game drives and boat cruises, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park for gorillas, Queen Elizabeth National park for game drives and a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel, Kibale National park for chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi wetland walk before you drive to Murchison Falls National park for game drives and a boat cruise to the bottom of the magnificent Murchison Falls.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

Overview

This tour takes you to some popular National Parks in Uganda that include Lake Mburo National Park for game drives and boat cruises, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park for gorillas, Queen Elizabeth National park for game drives and a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel, Kibale National park for chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi wetland walk before you drive to Murchison Falls National park for game drives and a boat cruise to the bottom of the magnificent Murchison Falls.

Highlights

  • Day One: Arrival and transfer to your hotel in Entebbe or Kampala
  • Day Two: Drive to Lake Mburo National Park, evening boat cruise on the Lake
  • Day Three: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
  • Day Four: Gorilla Trekking
  • Day Five: Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, evening game drive
  • Day Six: Morning game drive and afternoon boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel
  • Day Seven: Drive to Kibale National Park
  • Day Eight: Morning Chimp trekking and Bigodi wetland walk
  • Day Nine: Drive to Murchison Falls National Park
  • Day Ten: Morning game drive and an afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the Falls
  • Day Eleven: Drive back to Entebbe International airport for your flight out.

Things To Note

  • Accommodation is Inclusive
  • This Safari is guided by the new normal post covid 19 SOPS
  • Small Group Safari: Max 6 People per group
  • Tour Can Depart any day
  • Tour can be customized
  • Solo travelers can join this tour
  • Age Limit: 15 years and above

Detailed Itinerary

Arrival

  • You’ll be picked up from the airport (or hotel)
  • Accommodation before the tour departs can be arranged for an extra cost

DAY 1: Arrival and transfer to Entebbe

On arrival, you will be met by the Encounter Africa Safari guide who will transfer you to your Guest House or Hotel for overnight stay. Depending on your time of arrival, you may choose to take a boat excursion to Ngamba Island (optional and not included), visit the nearby Entebbe Botanic gardens or visit the Uganda Wildlife Education center.

Drive time: Approximately 15 minutes

Lodge: Secrets Guest House

Meal Plan: Bed and breakfast


DAY 2: Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast, drive to Lake Mburo National Park with a stopover at the Equator crossing in Kayabwe for photography, stretching and simple experiments. You will arrive in Lake Mburo National Park in time for an en route game drive and a boat cruise on the Lake.

Drive time: Approximately 5-6 hours

Lodge: Lake Mburo Safari Lodge or Rwakobo Rock

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


DAY 3: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

After breakfast, you will enjoy an en route game drive through Lake Mburo National Park as you proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park located in Southwestern Uganda. This journey gives you great opportunities for scenic viewing as you go pass some of the green rolling hills of Uganda with banana and tea plantations. Lunch will be served en route and you will arrive in Bwindi in the evening.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Lodge: Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge or Trekkers Tervan Lodge.

Drive time: 6-7 hours.


DAY 4: Gorilla Trekking.

After an early morning breakfast, with your packed lunch, you will report to the Park Headquarters at about 7:45 am for registration and then you will join other trackers for a briefing about the Dos and the Don’ts during your Gorilla Tracking safari. Your guides will lead you through the thick creepers and undergrowth as you trek to find the Gorillas. This trek can take you half an hour to three quarters of the day. The steeply forested landscape is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The amount of time you take during the trek largely depends on the movement of the gorillas. But it is an extraordinary feeling being with these beautiful yet endangered Creatures.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Lodge: Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge or Trekkers Tervan Lodge


DAY 5: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This morning you will depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park. So, be prepared for some incredible scenery along the way. You will arrive in time for Lunch at the lodge and an afternoon game drive in the plains of Kasenyi in search for Savannah wildlife that may include herds of buffaloes, antelopes, elephants and if you are lucky, you will spot some wild cats such as lions and leopard.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Lodge: Elephant Hab/Pumba Safari Lodge

Drive time: 4-5 hours.


DAY 6: Morning Game drive and afternoon boat on Kazinga Channel.

This morning you will head back to the plains of Kasenyi for a morning game drive to try to find what you could have missed seeing the previous day. Lunch will be served at the lodge. After lunch, you will head to the jetty along the Kazinga channel for the afternoon boat cruise. This cruise offers you beautiful chances of viewing animals like: hippos, elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles and some water birds which flop the channel to drink water.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Lodge: Elephant Hab\Pumba Safari Lodge


DAY 7: Morning game drive and transfer to Kibale National Park

After an early breakfast, you will drive to the Northern bank of the Queen Elizabeth National Park (Kasenyi) area in search of some wild animals which include: Elephants, Buffalo, and some wild cats, different species of antelopes such water buck, Uganda kobs etc. as well as Savannah birds. After lunch you will drive to Kibale National Park arriving at your lodge in the evening.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.

Lodge: Chimpanzee Forest guest house or Isunga Lodge

Drive time: 3-4hours.


DAY 8: Chimpanzee Tracking.

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kibale National Park Headquarters located at Kanyanchu. Here, you will join other trekkers for briefing before you proceed into the forest for chimpanzee trekking. You will be led by a well-trained and experienced ranger/guide who will take you for a guided primate walk inside Kibale Forest National Park. This forest provides an opportunity to visit one of the habituated communities of chimpanzees. You are allowed to spend an hour with these Great Apes while observing their behaviour. You are allowed to take photographs. So make sure your cameras are nearby. Kibale National Park is also home to other 13 primate species which can also be spotted while trekking the Chimpanzees. Of course there are also numerous species of forest birds. In fact, this is another haven for bird lovers. After lunch,  you will head to Bigodi wetland for a wetland walk with opportunities to see primates and several bird species. This walk will enable you appreciate the role of the of the local people around Bigodi in conserving the wetland. You can choose to support them through donation in kind. Please note that this is a voluntary act.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.

Accommodation: Chimpanzee Forest guest house or Isunga Lodge


DAY 9: Drive to Murchison Falls National Park

Drive to Murchison Falls National Park through small towns, villages and great views of the escarpment arriving late evening.

Drive time: Approximately 8-9 hours drive

Accommodation: Pakuba Safari Lodge or Murchison River Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


DAY 10: Morning game drive and afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the falls

After an early morning cup of coffee, you be transfered to the Northern section of the park which is popularly known as Paraa for your morning game drive.  Paraa comes from a local dialect  of the Luo community which means a place of Hippos. In deed this game drive will provide you with an opportunity to spot wild game that may include, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, hippos and if you are lucky you will spot cats such as lions and leopards. You will return to the lodge for a lunch break before you proceed to the pier for your two hour boat cruise to the bottom of the magnificent Murchison Falls where you will be able to spot several schools of Hippos as well as be able to witness how the River Nile water squeezes itself in a narrow gorge only to later explode out giving you an experience of a lifetime.

Accommodation: Pakuba Safari Lodge or Murchison River Lodge

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


DAY 11: To Entebbe International airport.

After breakfast, you will drive back to Entebbe international Airport. Depending on your flight time, you may decide to visit the Zziwa Rhino sanctuary (optional and not included).

Drive time: 5-6 hours


COST PER PERSON SHARING

PersonsDatePrice per person
1 PersonAny dateUSD5200.00
2 PersonsAny dateUSD3850.00
3 PersonsAny dateUSD3510.00
4 PersonsAny dateUSD3340.00
5 PersonsAny dateUSD3240.00
6 PersonsAny dateUSD3170.00

Cost Includes

  • Airport transfers on first and last day,
  • Transport in a 4×4 safari vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking driver guide
  • Fuel for the whole trip
  • Gorilla permit person per trek
  • Kibale Chimp permit per person per trek
  • Accommodation and meal plan as per the itinerary
  • All park entrance fees
  • Drinking water while in the vehicle
  • Hand sanitizer

Cost excludes

  • Pre and post tour accommodation in Entebbe or Kampala
  • International airfares
  • Uganda Visa (USD50.00 which can be paid on arrival at the Airport
  • Items of personal nature such as tips, drinks, and laundry
  • Face mask N95

Safari Vans

STANDARD: 4X4 SAFARI VAN

Our standard mode of transport is by road and we use 4×4 Safari Vans customized for game viewing and photography. Each safari van comes with a professionally trained driver guide and fuel for the whole safari. Our Safari vans have viewing hatches and each client is entitled to a window seat. Our Vans can take up to eight people. We also have 4×4 Super Customs very comfortable and stable on the road. These carry up to 5 people with their luggage. We also have 4×4 RAV 4 for a group of two people

Safari land cruiser

UPGRADE: 4X4 LUXURY SAFARI LANDCRUISER

We have luxury latest Land cruisers each driven by professionally trained driver guides and fuel. They have pop-up roofs for proper game viewing and photography. They come with a small fridge for cooling your drinking water while on safari (which is always included while IN THE VEHICLE). They have inverters for charging small gadgets such as your smartphones and cameras. They can seat five to a maximum of seven people and each client is guaranteed of a window seat.

New Normal Travel Guidelines (SOPs)

At Encounter Africa Safaris our core value is to provide you with an authentic safari experience during these new and changing times when the whole world is alert about the ongoing pandemic of the Coronavirus. Encounter Africa Safari Travel SOPS have been put in place to ensure the wellbeing, safety and health of our clients and as such guidelines and measures have been put in place as we return to the new normal post covid-19. All these are in line with advice, guidelines and procedures for a post covid-19 traveler put in place by WHO, UNWTO, UWA, AUTO, UTB and Civil Aviation.

General recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one meter from persons showing symptoms remain particularly important for all travelers and even those without symptoms. These include:

  • Perform hand hygiene frequently, particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred and are not easily soiled. All travelers are advised to carry with.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene; the recommended type of mask is the N95.
  • Refrain from touching mouth, eyes and nose, in general areas of the face.
  • Postponing travel plans in cases of illness, and avoiding contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, hence social distance of at least one meter apart and if you are not sure of your health then postpone travel until you feel

On arrival at the airport or any entry point

  • Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at the key tourism gates at the Airport.
  • Clients are required to have tested for the Virus prior to travel dates and should carry with medical documents supported by medical evidence and consistent with health best practices.
  • A non-contact system (digital travel) has been introduced at the Airport for clients to check in and out and at visa points, you will be attended to by someone behind a glass shield and they will also wear face masks and protectors to maintain as little contact as possible.
  • It’s now a must for all travel bags to be wrapped in plastic bags for travelers who are checking in at the Airport.
  • Mandatory hand washing / sanitizing at all entrances of the Airport for all travelers and staff.
  • Face masks are a must for all travelers, the recommended mask is an N95.
  • Tours should not exceed more than 4 in a group to maintain social distancing and walk marks in place around the airport.

In the vehicle while traveling.

  • Regular communication of safety protocols and responsibilities to clients, and to keep them informed and reminded to stay vigilant while enjoying.
  • Onboard sanitizing tissues and/or fluids to clients (travelers) and staff (driver guides and the like) will be available and we encourage you to use them.
  • Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and surfaces. Hence we will minimize the stops and set designated stopping areas that we prove to be safe for our health and we will encourage a takeaway food system to seating in hotels during stops. We rather encourage picnic eating along the way.
  • Cleaning all surfaces more frequently, using products and disinfectants that meet requirements with special attention to high-touch surfaces like vehicle door knobs, picnic boxes, hand rests, refrigerators, etc.
  • Redesigning all processes towards a more digital and touchless approach in all possible touch-points. Like cashless payment points as money has been found to spread the virus.
  • Reduce the number of objects on board. Limit luggage quantities while traveling to only what is enough for your tour.

At the lodge.

Encounter Africa Safaris is working with only those lodges that have proven to uphold the health of our clients first and practicing as per the guidelines of WHO as below;

  • Our partner hotels, lodges and restaurants are those that have increased the frequency of cleaning in common areas and contact surfaces and rooms. The lodges have also gone further to put hand sanitizers in both the common room and in bedrooms.
  • Social distancing is a must in lodges we use of at least one meter which is the standard around the world.
  • Upon arrival standard safety protocols will be outlined and how the lodge is practicing them to prevent spread of the virus in case a person is found to be sick.
  • Our partner hotels and lodges keep spare rooms for possible sick or quarantine guests that are suspected to have the virus and later inform authorities about it.
  • The hotels and lodges we use have implemented contactless check-in and provide guests with a hygiene welcome kit where possible (this may include gloves, masks, and sanitizers).
  • Where possible temperature will be taken using a contactless infra-red thermometer as a basic standard for checking the common symptom of covid-19.
  • The partner lodges have adopted new services such as room service or picnic takeaway to reduce convergence in the common dining area at the lodge and also you are encouraged to avoid buffets while ordering for meals as these attract many people.
  • Our partners lodges and hotels foster flexibility in all their operations, such as those that can amend bookings if clients are not able to make it at suggested times and those that can keep credit for the client until when they are fit to travel.

At the national parks.

  • All Staff and visitors shall wear the right face masks that have been prescribed by Ministry of Health (Visitors will carry their own masks an N95).
  • Staff of Uganda Wildlife Authority will inform the visitor of the general government approved covid operational guidelines. They will explain to the visitor the UWA safety COVID measures (DOs and DONTs) during their tour and stay within the protected areas.
  • The tourists shall be required to provide a certificate that shows that they are COVID negative, either provided by our Ministry of Health or the relevant authority from the country most recently visited.
  • Temperature screening will be done at the key tourism gates of the different National Park. Those with temperatures above 37.6 degrees Celsius shall not be allowed into the protected areas and shall be advised to seek medical help through the mechanisms set up by authorities to get to the nearest quarantine location.
  • Every tourist shall have wash and disinfect their hands at all entry points to the protected areas. Sanitary alcohol sanitizer dispensers as well as hand washing facilities with soap shall be installed at all entry points.
  • There will be regular disinfecting of common areas with heavy tourist contact before, during and after visiting hours. These include information counters, service desks, waiting areas, park offices and toilets. Toilets in particular should be cleaned at least every 2 hours
  • Where applicable, transparent screens will be fitted at all, park gate counters. The staff manning the gate will only allow visitors who have the prescribed face masks and who have washed/ sanitized to enter the park

Tourist vehicles and boats within the national parks

  • The National guidelines issued by MoH shall be enforced by tourists while in visiting the National Parks i.e
    • Saloon cars – 3 persons (This does not include the guide, where one is requested and paid for)
    • Buses, mini buses and omnibuses – Half capacity
    • Overlanders – Half capacity
    • Concessionaire delivery vehicles, pick-ups and lories – 2 persons
    • Private boats and launches – Half capacity
    • Tour operator game drive vehicles and UWA owned game drive vehicles – 6 persons
  • Social distancing should be observed within the vehicles
  • Tour operators and service providers will be regularly reminded to disinfect their cars regularly
  • UWA owned vehicles will be washed every day before use and disinfected daily through spray pumps
  • Every protected area shall provide a safe location where this spraying can be done, and where they tour operators can also park their cars to disinfect them
  • All tour operators shall be encouraged to provide their drivers with an alcohol rub/hand sanitizer for frequently or alternatively wear gloves. Caution should however be taken to remove this sanitizer whenever the car is parked
  • All other precautionary measures have to be enforced ie washing hands, social distancing and cautiously using masks

Key Tourism Activities

Briefing of tourists

  • Before engaging in any tourism activities, the tourists shall be given the usual briefing regarding the activities they are about to engage in. In addition to this, the guides shall remind the tourists about the risk / looming dangers of covid and brief them on the general preventative measures government has instituted and the measure they will be expected to abide by while in the Protected Areas, and remind them that it’s both for their safety and that of the wildlife.
  • These guidelines and measures shall also be printed and displayed in key visible areas within the park such as the briefing areas, the gates, the information centres, the canteens, to mention but a few.

Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking

  • The existing gorilla and chimpanzee tracking rules and guidelines (see annex) will remain in force to prevent any human to animal transmissions. These include
    • 8 and 6 tourists will be allowed to track the gorillas and chimpanzees respectively
    • The tourists must keep 7m away from the gorillas and chimpanzees
    • Tourists who during the briefing are observed to be overly coughing shall not be allowed to track
    • Tourists who during the briefing are observed to be sick shall not be allowed to track. These include tourists with signs flu, and those who report to have diarrhoea and stomach upsets, malaria etc
  • While the forests are dense and don’t have any specific trails for tracking, the assigned UWA guides shall try as humanly possible to ensure that there is social distancing among the tourists while the tracking takes place
  • The tourists shall be encouraged to carry light equipment to minimise the need for potters while they undertake the tracking. This will be communicated to potential tourists through the tour operators and other fora
  • Due to the reported side effects of putting on masks for long periods and in high altitudes, the number of breaks during the tracking shall be doubled to give tourists time to breathe fresh air.
  • During these breaks, social distancing should be observed

Game Drives

  • The regular park rules shall apply
  • The vehicle guidelines above shall also apply
  • Where a guide is requested, the guide shall sit at the front and shall continuously remind the tourists about the need to social distance
  • Masks shall be worn at all time
  • Where a tourists gets side effects due to putting on a mask for a long time, the tourist shall inform the guide who will find a safe and secure place to park the vehicle and allow for the tourists to get fresh air while maintaining social distance

Boat Cruises

  • The regular park rules shall apply
  • The boat and launches guidelines above shall also apply
  • The UWA owned boats must be cleaned and disinfected every day before any boat cruise activity
  • The concessionaire shall also be required to clean and disinfect their boats every day before any boat activities
  • The guide shall enforce social distancing while on the boat.
  • Masks shall be worn at all time while on the boat
  • Where a tourists gets side effects due to putting on a mask for a long time, the tourist shall inform the guide who will find space within the boat for this client to get some fresh air for a few minutes. This shall be away from the other tourists

Anticipated travel needs for anyone traveling post Covid-19

  • Bring enough of your medicine to last you for the entire trip.
  • Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it within easy to reach.
  • Bring a cloth face covering to wear in public places. Mask N95 is recommended while traveling to Uganda.
  • Prepare food and water for your trip where possible and avoid eating at places providing buffets.
  • Limit the number of people you get in contact with while on safari.

For more information about safety and healthy responses and updates on Covid-19 in Uganda and East Africa, do not hesitate to contact Encounter Africa Safaris

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