4 Days Uganda Gorilla Tracking safari & Lake Bunyonyi
Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest
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 park enhances a perfect Uganda Gorilla Tracking experience.
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. Some of these include elephants, antelopes, bush pigs, chimpanzee, colobus monkey, baboons, black and white monkey, over 220 butterfly species, 348 bird species, 27 frog species. 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.
This is the second deepest lake in Africa only next to Lake Tanganyika. The lake is capped with a beautiful and classic view of over 7 islands worth a visit. These can easily be accessed by use of a canoe from the nearby hotel or guest house.
Tour high lights
Transfer to bwindi
Gorilla tracking and community walk
Transfer to bunyonyi and game drive
Departure to Kampala/ Entebbe
Day 1: Kampala – Bwindi
Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation or Entebbe airport and drive heading southwest via the Kampala Masaka highway. Have a stop at Kayabwe to take some photos at the equator crossing and later have lunch in Mbarara at the Igongo Cultural Center. You will drive on to Bwindi impenetrable national park. This park is home to the internationally renowned endangered mountain gorillas a unique feature for the tourism industry of Uganda. Bwindi national park, plus Mgahinga National Park together with the Volcanoes Park in Rwanda and the Virunga Volcanoes of Congo home to the world’s surviving endangered mountain gorillas. Dine and slumber at your preferred lodge. Prepare for dinner between 7pm and 9pm.
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
Day 2: Uganda gorilla tracking / community 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, 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 which the silverbacks or dominate males may not take 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- 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 3: Lake Bunyonyi
In the morning after a hefty breakfast you will depart from this mountain gorillas’ sanctuary and drive to Lake Bunyonyi which is another primary tourist stopover which is outstandingly very marvelous. Bunyonyi is a local word for “small birds” in reference to the several birds that live around here making it a favorite destination for birders. You will be able to see several small islands among other highlights here. On arrival you will have a canoe ride you will see the various small islands such as Bwama Island also a wonderful destination for birders. Alternatively, you could take a nature walk which will help you to appreciate both culture and nature at its best. End the day by visiting Bunyonyi Adventure Park for high ropes, zip lining over the lake. The lake is a good swimming paradise for it is Bilharzia free. Check-in, dine and slumber at your preferred lodge.
Accommodation (full board)
Luxury, Arcadia Cottages
Mid- range, Bunyonyi over Land Resort
Budget, Bunyonyi Overland Camp.
Day 4: Departure to Kampala / Entebbe
After breakfast walk towards the northern end of Lake Bunyonyi to the stunning Ruvuma swamp, one of the finest destinations to appreciate birds like the papyrus yellow warbler. Thereafter, head back to Kampala where this Uganda Gorilla Tracking safari will end.
Transport 4WD safari vehicle
Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
Three meals a day, apart from your stay in Kampala/Entebbe
Drinking bottled water in the safari vehicle
All Park entrance fees
Gorilla permit (USD 600 per permit)
Community cultural walk
All mentioned activities except for the optional ones.
Kampala hotel fees (the eve of the safari and the night after the safari),