4 Day Bwindi Gorilla Trekking / Kibale Chimpanzee Safari
Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is located in Southern Uganda. It covers an area of 766 km2, it is a dense rain forest with an elevation of between 1,100 and 1,600 meters. It is located in Kabarole District in the Albertine Rift. With over 351 tree species as high as 55 meters and records show there some trees which are over 200 years old. Kibale forest national park has a range of eco systems i.e. forest woodland, swamps and patched savannah grasslands which cover most of the northern parts of the park. This is famous for Chimp trekking.
Kibale has the highest number of primates in Uganda but the park is well known for the endangered chimpanzee. This park has 13 primates and over 70 other mammals including the elephants which roam the forest. The park is also surrounded by crater lakes which have supported the large bird species over 375 inhabiting the forest.
Chimpanzee tracking is the main attraction, although there are other activities such as the birding, community walk and nature walks in Bigodi and crater lakes
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in southwestern Uganda, in the mountainous region of the Kigezi sub region, it is approximately 321KM2. The parks’ altitude range between 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was gazetted in 1991, and in 1994 it was declared a world heritage site. In 1993 the park embarked on its first habituation exercise with Mubare gorilla group. There are eleven habituated groups, namely; mubare, habiyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Orruzogo, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Nyakagezi, and kyagururo for research.
The parks high altitude makes it extremely cold during the night, and its rainforests, date back over 25,000 years. There are over 400 species of plants species and a variety of wild life, elephants, antelopes, bush pigs, chimpanzee, colobus monkey, baboons, black and white monkey, over 220 butterfly species,348 bird species, 27 frog species and most impressive of all the park has over 400 mountain gorillas – approximately half of the world’s population.
Beside gorilla tracking, birding is popular in this park with birders watching out for African emerald, Cuckoo, fly catchers, blue headed sun bird, short tailed warbler and many more, the main birding spots are in Buhoma- Water fall trail bamboo zone and Mubwindi swamp- Ruhija,
The cultural tour is quite informative as visitors get the real feel of the local natives, the local doctor performs his trade and you get to have a taste of the local food, see the how it is prepared, visit forest pygmies commonly known as the Batwa- You also visit the local schools which have directly benefitted from tourism.
All in all the, the Gorilla trekking experience is a life changing experience which is will leave in in memories for years to come.
Tour high lights
- Transfer to Kibale / Bigodi Swamp Walk
- Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park / transfer to Bwindi
- Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- End of safari
DAY 1: Transfer to kibale National park / Bigodi swamp walk
Leave Kampala or Entebbe after breakfast for the fascinating drive through the country side as you will drive past road side markets, schools country homes, panoramic view of tea, banana, corn gardens and so many activities may be sited along the way.
There are different eco systems along the way, papyrus swamps, patched forested areas, and grasslands. You will go through several towns, Mityana, Mubende, Kyenjojo, stopover for hot lunch at Fort Motel in Fort Portal.
Check-in to your preferred accommodation. Freshen up before embarking on an afternoon guided walk in Bigodi swamps, here you will interact with the locals and get to know their livelihood you will get to see their homes, the gardens and livestock. During the swamp walk you may encounter other wildlife, Vervet monkey, L’Hoest monkey, Black and white Colobus, Red tailed monkey and Mangabey etc. other animals such as the Antelopes, Bush pigs, Baboons, bushbuck etc. there are over 375 bird species including the hornbill, hamerkop, yellow billed egret ,water thick knee are a common sitting. A stunning location overlooking a dramatic Crater Lake and the stunning hills covered with tea plantations is worth looking out for.
You will return to the lodge after the adventure, freshen up, have dinner and wait for the exciting chimpanzee tracking in the morning.
Accommodation (FULL BOARD)
Luxury: Papaya/Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kibale forest/Kyaninga lodge
Moderate: Kibale forest camp / Mountains of the moon
Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Chimpanzee forest guest house/ Kibale forest camp
Day 2: Chimpanzee trekking / transfer to Bwindi
Start your day with an early breakfast, your driver guide will transfer you to Kanyanchu Visitor center at the park office. Here you will have a briefing on the dos and don’ts before setting off for the long awaited chimpanzee tracking.
You will be allocated a group of not more than six people and given a ranger to guide you throughout the chimp tracking experience.
Tracking the chimps is an exciting experience on average it takes about 3 hours to find the chimps. Locating the chimps depends on the weather and season. During dry spells, the chimps move longer distance in search of food and water while in the wet seasons, food is readily available so the chimps can easily be traced. The chimps also become illusive during times of patrolling territories. They move tens of kilometers thus making it difficult to be found.
During the chimp tracking you may come across other primates such as; Blue monkey, vervet monkey, red tailed monkey, mangabey, bush pigs, elephants, baboons, different bird species and butterflies.
When you finally get to see the chimps you are allowed one hour with the primates. During this encounter, you will get to see the chimps grooming, fighting, feeding, the young ones playing, adults swinging from tree to tree. The ranger guide will brief you about the life history of the chimps and their interaction with the other inhabitants of the forest. You are allowed to take photos but you are advised to keep your distance and flash photography is not allowed.
After this wonderful experience you will transfer to the lodge and head for Bwindi Impenetrable forest for next adventure.
Day 3: Gorilla Trekking / cultural walk
Have an early breakfast 6:30am, then proceed to the park headquarters by 7.30am for a briefing from the Park Wardens. Ensure to carry along rain jacket, drinking water, snacks, and ankle high jungle boots.
The park wardens will allocate you different gorilla families which you will track. Besides seeing Gorillas other animals such as antelopes, bush pigs, chimpanzees, baboons, elephants and over 350 bird species are a common siting this park.
Do not forget to take your lunch boxes and all the necessary gear to track the rare Mountain Gorilla, perhaps one of the most exciting wildlife experiences on earth.
When you finally get to meet the gentle giants you are allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Photos are allowed, but no flash photography. A minimum 5 meters distance must be kept. Avoid contact with the gorillas as you can spread diseases but also coming close may mean invading their space. The silverbacks or dominate males may not take it lightly thus this could lead to charging. Also. avoid running away in case of charging by the gorillas.
The tracking may take between 2 and 8 hours but it’s well worth the effort. The afternoon is spent on a village cultural walk which gives you a great opportunity to see how the people surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest live. It also is a great way to support the local community in a direct way.
The walk begins at your accommodation- visit the local Doctor as he performs his trade. Then, visit the pygmies locally known as the Batwa, who originally lived in the rain forest before it was gazette in to a national park in 1991. They will show case songs, dances- different skills – fire making, hunting and storytelling. You will also visit a school run by community NGO thus by visiting the school you will be the supporting the these dis-advantaged kids.
You will get to see the local home steads, local people see and learn their ways. The cultural excursion will showcase art and craft, dance and culture as well as way of life if you have time you can learn a few skills yourself.
You will see several souvenir shops, schools, churches and drinking joints. Other options includes taking the trails, to see the stunning waterfalls or you can choose to have a birding expedition in the forest addition to various primates.
Day 4: Transfer Back to Kampala / Entebbe
Early breakfast then start the journey back to Kampala, have a stopover for hot lunch at Igongo cultural center. Last stopover is at the equator, take some photos – arrive in Kampala or Entebbe.
END OF SAFARI
Accommodation (full board)
Budget: Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Buhoma community Rest camp/ Gorilla Valley Lodge/ Trackers tavern
Moderate: Bakiga Lodge/ Ichumbi Safari Lodge.
Luxury: Buhoma Lodge /Mahogany Lodge /Rushanga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Silverback Lodge,
Exclusive Upgrade Lodges: Clouds Lodge Gorilla Forest camp
- Transport 4*4WD safari vehicle
- English-speaking driver/guide
- Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
- Three meals a day, apart from your stay in Kampala/Entebbe
- Bottled water in the safari vehicle
- All Park entrance fees
- Gorilla trekking permit (USD 600 per permit)
- Chimpanzee trekking permit
- Community cultural walk
- All mentioned activities except for the optional
- Transfers where necessary
- Laundry Drinks,
- Any personals items not included in the itinerary