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Home » Uganda Safaris, Gorilla Safaris, Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tours » 18 Days Uganda Safari Tour – Gorillas, Chimps, Wildlife, Scenery, Communities

18 Days Uganda Safari Tour – Gorillas, Chimps, Wildlife, Scenery, Communities

18 Days Uganda Safari Tour – Overview

The 18 Days Uganda safari tour is a comprehensive safari in Uganda package that features, adventure, wildlife, primate trekking like Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees, communities, scenery, and recreation viewing.

The 18 Days Uganda safari tour takes you through an orphanage tour at Karagi, exploring the source of the world’s longest River at Jinja – River Nile with white water rafting adventure, adventure hike to the legendary mountains of the moon – the Ruwenzori mountain with snowcapped peaks and Fort Portal crater lake hike.

The 18 days safari in Uganda tour also features the cultural and heritage encounters at Mpalo Royal Tombs in the Kingdom of Bunyoro, Amabere ga’ Nnyinamwiru caves, Ruboni community craft & wax center and Rwenzori Art Foundation, Island communities and schools of Lake Bunyonyi and Enyemebwa – the beautiful long-horned cattle of Ankole and their surrounding heritage.

The highlight of this 18 Days Uganda safari tour is Primate tracking in Kibale National Park for Chimpanzees, and Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for golden Monkeys as well.

The highlight of this 18 Days Uganda safari tour is wildlife viewing in Murchison, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Park with probable sights of lions including tree climbing lions, elephants, cape buffaloes, Burchell’s Zebra, Impala, Kobs, Jackson’s hartebeest, leopard, Rhinos, giraffes among other species, the scenic encounters at Sempaya hot springs and Murchison falls and the Eco-tours in Bigodi wetland and Maramagambo forest combine to make this safari memorable.

18 Days Uganda Safari Tour – Highlights

Day 1: Encounter the Christ Our Vision Child Care Orphanage & Karagi village tour.

Day 2: Explore the source of River Nile at Jinja – the world’s longest River with half-day white water rafting.

Day 3: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park & make a stop visit at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – the only home of white Rhinos in Uganda.

Day 4: Game drive & boat cruise

Day 5: Encounter the top of Murchison Falls – the powerful water falls in the world & transfer to Hoima & visit Mpalo tombs.

Day 6: Transfer to Kibale National Park & do either Mpanga tea estate cycling or Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves tour & Fort Portal Crater lake hike.

Day 7: Do Chimpanzee trekking encounter & Bigodi wetland walk

Day 8: Encounter Sempaya hot springs in Semuliki National Park & transfer to Kasese. Visit the Rwenzori art foundation – the only bronze casting center in Africa & Ruboni Wax & craft center en route.

Day 9: Have whole day of Mount Rwenzori Hiking

Day 10: Do a morning game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park & afternoon Kazinga Channel Launch Cruise

Day 11: Do Maramagambo Forest walk & Katwe salt lake tour.

Day 12: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & do Ishasha game drive en route (Tree climbing lions).

Day 13: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Mgahinga National Park

Day 14: Do Volcano climbing or do golden monkey tracking.

Day 15: Do Batwa cultural trail & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

Day 16: Do a boat ride/ canoe paddle on Lake Bunyonyi & have a community tour to the local school & local home steads.

Day 17: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & have an evening nature walk

Day 18: Do a community cultural tour at Enyemebwa center & transfer to Kampala.

18 Days Uganda Safari – Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Encounter the Christ Our Vision Child Care Orphanage & Karagi Village Tour.

Extending the helping hand to the needy is one of the inherent attributes that we share as Prime Safaris. The orphans that lost their parents to HIV/AIDS scourge along with others thrive at Christ Our Vision Child Care Orphanage where they are supported to have good education and other necessities.

The need to maintain the orphanage gave birth to Prime Uganda Safaris & Tours as a source of funding for the orphanage.

Thus, paying a visit to this orphanage is one of the ethical safari activities that you can ever have in your journey times.

You will play with kids and enjoy their performances. The traditional Kiganda buffet lunch will be served at the site.

In the afternoon, you will take a walk in the Karagi village where the orphanage is located to learn about the way of life of the local people and their traditions before transferring back to Kampala city for dinner and overnight. The orphanage is about 40 minutes – 1 hour drive from Kampala city.

Accommodation: Sheraton Kampala Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Cassia Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Buziga Country Resort (Budget/Basic).

Day 2: Explore The Source of River Nile at Jinja – The World’s Longest River With Half-day White Water Rafting.

You will wake up early for breakfast at your place of stay after which you will be transferred by your guide to Jinja 80km about 1-2 hours’ drive from Kampala.

You will enjoy the soothing fresh air from Mabira forest en route which is one of the major rain forests in Uganda.

Upon reaching Jinja – the adventure town of Uganda, you will enroll yourself for the half day white water rafting experience that will see you contain the strength of waters of the Nile as they splash through the rapids.

You will visit the Reptile farm in Jinja to have encounter of various reptile species. The relaxing boat cruise to the source of the Nile will take you to the point where John Speke, the first European to see the source of the world’s longest river stood.

You will see the Nile starting its 90 days journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Retreat to Kampala for overnight.

Accommodation: Sheraton Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Cassia Lodge (Midrange/standard) or Buziga Country Resort (Budget/basic).

Day 3: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park & Make a Stop Visit at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – The Only Home of White Rhinos in Uganda.

Transfer after breakfast to Murchison Falls National Park in the north west of Uganda 311km about 5 hours’ drive excluding stops en route.

You will pass through the flat Savannah landscapes of Nakasongora before branching off a little at Nakitoma 115km from Kampala for 7 km drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track white rhinos that only thrive at this place in the whole of Uganda.

You will have lunch at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and depart in the afternoon for Murchison Falls National Park for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Murchison River lodge (Midrange/standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 4: Game Drive & Boat Cruise

Wake up very early for a cup of coffee and then head to Paraa ferry crossing at 7:00am (if you slept in the south) to the northern sector of the Park where game drives are carried out.

The possible sights of various wildlife including; elephants, buffalo, Jackson hartebeest, Kobs, lion, leopard, giraffe among other wildlife will leave you with a taste of African savannah wilderness.

The activity takes 3 – 4 hours after which you will return to the Paraa ferry crossing at 11:00am to go back to your lodge for relaxation and memory sharing.

After your stimulating lunch, gather at the Paraa for an after boat cruise on the Nile at 02:00pm. This boat trip has got captains and guides who have cruised on this waters for years and will be glad to share with every piece of information that you would wish to gather on this trip including any bird species and wildlife both aquatic and land that might present its self.

The shoebill stork can be luckily seen on this boat while the great sights of Nile crocodiles – the second largest reptile in the world and the Hippos would make up your trip up to the base of the falls. The boat takes 3 hours after which you will have marked the end of your day’s adventures.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Murchison River lodge (Midrange/standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 5: Encounter The Top of Murchison Falls – The Powerful Water Falls in The World & Transfer to Hoima & Visit Mpalo Tombs.

After breakfast, embark on the exploration of the top of Murchison Falls which is the powerful waterfalls in the world to marvel at the Nile River which is the longest River in the world squeezing itself to pass through an 8m ravine before falling 43m to what has been termed as the Devils Cauldron forming a thunderous roar with a plume of spray marked by trade mark rainbow.

Sir Samuel Baker was the first European to marvel at this feature on 14th March 1864 on his Nile expedition from the north and named after the then president of the Royal Geographical society – Sir Roderick Murchison.

Continue on the drive to Hoima where you will visit the Mpalo Royal Tombs to encounter historical Kings of Bunyoro like King (Omukama) Kabalega who is famously known for resisting against the British rule in Bunyoro. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation: Kontik Hotel / Kolping Hotel

Day 6: Transfer to Kibale National Park & do Either Mpanga Tea Estate Cycling or Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru Caves Tour & Fort Portal Crater Lake Hike.

After an early breakfast, embark on the drive to Fort Portal area. After an approximate 5 hour drive on a rough murram road always preferred and named by the European travelers as African massage, you will arrive at Mpanga tea estates.

You have the option of doing a cycling tour through the tea plantations, have an opportunity to participate in tea plucking with the estate workers and then pay a visit to the tea factory to get acquainted with the process of tea growing and processing.

This is ideal for active travelers that prefer cycling/ mountain biking. You will proceed for lunch in Fort Portal town.

As an alternative to the Mpanga tea estate cycling, you can opt for the Fort Portal crater lake hike and Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves tour.

Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves – the breast like features dates back in the pre historic era with great attachment to the Chwezi heritage.

The breasts (Amabere) are believed by the locals to belong to Nnyinamwiru the daughter of Bukuku who was a self-imposed King of the Bachwezi.

The maiden daughter cut her breasts in protest of being refused to breast feed her only son Ndahura who later became a prominent King of the Chwezi Empire.

The encounter also involves the hiking the Fort Portal Crater field. The famous Kyeganywa hill rises in a conical shape and its summit presents great sight-seeing moments of the range crater hollows and crater lakes including Saaka, Bikere among others not forgetting the distant views of Mount Rwenzori on a clear day. Transfer to Kibale area for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee Guesthouse (Midrange/standard) or Kibale Forest Camp (Budget/Basic)

Day 7: Do Chimpanzee Trekking Encounter & Bigodi Wetland Walk

After breakfast, gather at Kanyanchu tourism center for briefing at 08:00am from the park rangers about the Chimp trekking conduct.

Set off to this forest of Kibale after the short briefing in quest of Chimpanzees. The 2 – 5 hour trek will expose you amazing tree species and wildlife including other 12 species of primates like Colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, Red tailed monkeys and olive baboons.

The sights of Birds cannot be avoided while their songs will offer you natural entertainment through the jungle. You will marvel at the Chimpanzees as the roll themselves on tree branches, munch fruits and make their pant – hooting calls.

After utilizing your one hour, you will have a picnic lunch and return to the starting point for short relaxation and preparation for another activity.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Bigodi wetland to encounter the swamp animals like Sitatunga and birds like Ruwenzori Turaco and an encounter with local people including the traditional healer.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge (Upmarket/luxury), Chimpanzee Guesthouse (Midrange/standard) or Kibale Forest Camp (Budget/Basic)

Day 8: Encounter Sempaya Hot Springs in Semuliki National Park & Transfer to Kasese.

After an early breakfast, set off for Semuliki National Park 78km about 2 – 3 hours’ drive passing through Fort Portal town.

The sights of mystical mountains of the moon – the Ruwenzori will welcome you at a distance before approaching Bundibugyo district and eventually Semuliki National Park.

The Sempaya nature walk will see you traverse one of the pre-historic forests in East Africa that survived the last ice age and with great concentration of Guinea-Congo biome species.

The walk which lasts between 2 – 4 hours takes you down to the female (Nyansimbi) and Male (Bitente) hot springs with the largest spring spouting up to 2m high.

Here, you have to be careful as the emerging water has a temperature of more than 100 degrees Celsius and the pools that surround are also hot.

You are free to boil some plantains and eggs which gets ready within a couple of minutes. The walk also exposes to chances of encountering the red-tailed monkey, grey cheeked mangabey and black and white colobus monkey.

Upon return from this encounter, you will visit the Bambuti Pygmies at Ntandi about 5km from Sempaya along the Bundibugyo road.

The Bambuti Pygmies have got close coloration to the Batwa forest people of south western Uganda and Rwanda not forgetting the Basua pygmies of Congo basin.

The Bambuti of Ntandi are not forest dwellers but are short in height than an average person. You will return to Fort Portal for lunch after which you will transfer to Kasese region.

You will visit the Rwenzori Art Foundation – the only bronze casting center in Africa to have a look at the process of various sculpture making and the final products.

A fine cup of coffee can be arranged at the site before proceeding to visit the Ruboni craft & wax center to have a look at how the local people extract different products like candles from bees wax and also encounter the craft making process.

It is an experiential and if interested you can have some time and participate in making if various crafts like baskets among others. Proceed to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Midrange) or Ruboni Community Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 9: Have Whole Day Mount Rwenzori Hiking

Transfer early after breakfast to Mount Rwenzori (Nyakalengija) for the whole day Rwenzori hiking encounter.

The hiking encounter exposes you to raised landscapes of Mount Rwenzori offering impressive scenic views of the ridges and glaciers and the rift valley flats below.

It is a perfect one day active adventure exploring the legendary mountains of the moon as described the famous Greek geographer Ptolemy in 150AD towering to 5,109m above sea level making it the tallest mountain range in Africa and the third highest in Africa. Return from the activity at 5:30 pm and transfer to your lodge for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation:   Ihamba Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Midrange) or Ruboni Community Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 10: Do Morning Game Drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park & Afternoon Kazinga Channel Launch Cruise

Wake up very for a cup of coffee before setting of for the game drive activity in the savannah game park of Queen Elizabeth.

The early departure at 06:00 gives you an opportunity to see night hunters like hyenas getting back to their hiding places and early risers setting off to look for what to eat.

The drive through the Kasenyi and channel tracks gives a probable opportunity to see a range of game including; Lions, buffalo, elephants, elusive leopard (if too lucky), defassa water bucks, Uganda kobs, Oribis, side stripped jackal among other wildlife.

Return to the lodge after this 3 -4 hour game drive and relax till lunch time. After lunch, you will gather at Mweya for a recreational afternoon launch cruise leaving at 03:00pm taking 2 hours exploring the magical offerings of Kazinga Channel including the sights of water birds and wild game drinking on the channel side, the Nile crocodile and the Hippos.

The 45m channel that stretches from Lake George to Lake Edward has tranquil waters that always give pleasure and psychological satisfaction to any traveller on Uganda safaris. Retire from the boat at 5 pm for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 11: Do Maramagambo Forest Walk & Katwe Salt Lake Tour.

After breakfast, embark on the nature walk in the Maramagambo forest to have an encounter of the natural offerings in this mature tropical forest.

You will marvel at amazing tree species, forest canopy, forest birds including; African Finfoot, Black Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black Coucal, Yellow bill, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-throated Roller, Black Bee-eater, Barbets, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Red-throated Wryneck, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike and Honey guide.

You will enjoy the bat cave where a colony of bats thrives alongside the giant python. Return to the lodge for lunch after which you will drive to Katwe salt lake for a tour.

The community will take you around the area explaining the process of salt formation, extraction and processing.

You will see how the local people (enclave community) have molded their livelihood from this natural resource for years past. Retire for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 12: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & do Ishasha Game Drive En route (Tree climbing lions).

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to the gorilla trekking haven of Bwindi south (Rushaga) 309km from Mweya.

You will pass through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and do simple game drives in search of the unique tree climbing lions that tend to rest on fig tree branches during day time – something that you can only find in Queen Elizabeth National Park Ishasha sector – Uganda and Lake Manyara National Park in southern Tanzania.

Proceed with the journey, have lunch en route and arrive in Rushaga late in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Chameleon Hill Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Gorilla Valley Lodge (Midrange/standard) or Wagtail Eco- Safari Camp (Budget/Basic)

Day 13: Do Gorilla Trekking & Transfer to Mgahinga National Park

It is this long waited date when you will come across the critically endangered mountain gorillas that only exist in Bwindi and Virunga Volcanoes.

You will wake up early for a heavy breakfast before gathering at the Park headquarters Buhoma for briefing at 08:00 about the conduct of gorilla trekking.

You will head to the forest after briefing in search of these apes and though the trek is a bit challenging, it is one of those activities that you will never forget to have done in Uganda.

The 2 – 8 hours activity involves hiking up the hills, descending down the valleys, walking through swamps and maneuvering the way through thickets which have formed the background of this Impenetrable forest before coming in direct contact with gorillas.

The one full hour is at your disposal to maximize your experience with gorillas as you them forage, play, socialize and also gaze at you in a sign of welcoming and saying good bye.

The opportunity to take as many photos as you can is availed to you while asking questions to your guide about these apes is up to your discretion.

The experience is rewarding and worth undertaking. Your picnic lunch will take you through the activity after which you will descend to the starting point and embark on the transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Mount Gahinga Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Mucha Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Amajambere Iwacu Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 14: Do Volcano Climbing or Do Golden Monkey Tracking.

By this time, you will have made up your mind about which volcano to climb. Options range from 3,474m Mt. Gahinga taking 6 hours, 3,669m Mt. Sabyinyo taking 8 hours and 4,127m Mt. Muhavura going beyond 8 hours.

Climbing any of these is possible and they can be summited including the round trip. The highest Muhavura gives the great views of Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward, Rwenzori peaks and the roof top views of the impenetrable forest of Bwindi.

While climbing Mt. Gahinga offers chances of citing golden monkeys in the Bamboo zone of this highland.

The Sabyinyo has series of peaks due to its rugged top and has got a swamp crater which is impressive to encounter.

Alternatively, you can undertake the golden monkey tracking to view the rare and endangered golden monkeys which thrive only in Virunga volcanoes.

It is a half day activity involving relative hikes in Mt. Gahinga with one hour encounter with them as the swing through the Bamboo stems and play hide and seek games.

Their coat and nose structure is unique making it a product worth to visit on Uganda safari. You will retire from this encounter and return to the lodge for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Mount Gahinga Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Mucha Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Amajambere Iwacu Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 15: Do Batwa Cultural Trail & Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

After breakfast, set off for the Batwa heritage trail a half day activity that takes you through the forests of Mgahinga in the company of the indigenous Batwa guides as they interpret every forest landscape and what it meant in their traditional life.

The hike stretches up to the Garama cave the ancient dwelling of the Batwa – one can call it their capital in the forest of Mgahinga volcanoes.

The cave is a natural shelter that acted as the palace of their leader and a ground where festivities were celebrated.

You will listen to the sorrowful songs being sung by the Batwa women taking you through the course of their tradition; it is a rich taste of the fading typical African culture.

Return from this activity and embark on the transfer to Lake Bunyonyi 80km for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Bird nest @Lake Bunyonyi resort (Upmarket/luxury), Arcadia cottages (Midrange/standard) or Byoona Amagara (Budget/basic).

Day 16: Do a Boat Ride/Canoe Paddle on Lake Bunyonyi & Have a Community Tour to The Local School & Local Home Steads.

Dubbed the lake of a thousand islands, Lake Bunyonyi has a range of islands stretching up to 29 in number and can be explored on 5 – 6 hours boat ride while on this safari in Uganda.

The Lake Bunyonyi encounter is designed to maximize your relaxation and is entirely recreational. The tranquil waters of the lake and the surrounding views of Kigezi highlands dubbed the Switzerland of Africa combine to make this day a total complete experience.

Besides boat or canoe experience, you will visit the island communities of the local Bakiga to explore into their traditions like the process of making local brew out of sorghum and process of preparing local food.

The cultural performances like dances can be arranged. The visit to the school during break time allows you to play with the Pupils and explore how education setting is conducted locally. Retire from the activity for relaxation at the lodge and overnight.

Accommodation: Bird nest @Lake Bunyonyi resort (Upmarket/luxury), Arcadia cottages (Midrange/standard) or Byoona Amagara (Budget/basic).

Day 17: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & Have an Evening Nature Walk

After breakfast embark on 199km journey to Lake Mburo National Park passing through the farmed hill sides of south western Uganda before making a stop at Igongo cultural center 12km past Mbarara town.

You will have lunch at Igongo after which you will continue to Lake Mburo National Park 33km from Igongo for an evening nature walk.

Exploring wild game on foot at the same time enjoying the acacia scenic landscape of Lake Mburo is very rewarding.

Wild game like Burchell’s zebra, topis, Impala, oribis, warthog, eland, deffasa waterbuck might be encountered.

The Savannah vegetation marked by rolling grassland and thicket with acacia wood land dotted with rolling hills with protruding Precambrian rocks not forgetting series of Lakes that mark the valley floors combine to make the nature walk encounter at certain look out points like Kazuma hill memorable while in Lake Mburo National Park. Retire for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Mihingo Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Arcadia Cottages (Midrange/Standard) or Eagles Nest (Budget/Basic).

Day 18: Do a Community Cultural Tour at Enyemebwa Center & Transfer to Kampala.

The Enyemebwa center is under the auspices of Ankole Cow Conservation Association (ACCA) which is motivated by the desire to conserve the Ankole long horned cattle.

The selected beautiful cows (Enyemebwa) thrive at that center along with other traditions that include the kraal, herd’s man hut, respective handicrafts, and the entire setting that features that of the traditional Hima people of Ankole.

The morning tour will give an opportunity to have an experiential touch with the herdsmen, participate in hand-milking, brushing the cows, and setting out to graze in the traditional range lands of Ankole.

You can have a chance of watering the cattle on hand-crafted water trough made up of soil before mid-day.

After this encounter, a traditional lunch can be prepared where you will have the opportunity of seeing the process of making sauce without fire – the Eshabwe made out of cow ghee which is done by skilled local women and traditionally grilled or roasted beef done by men.

After this encounter, embark on the transfer to Kampala 240km about 3 – 4 hours’ drive. You will make a quick stop at the equator crossing Kayabwe for amazing photo shoots and water experiments to justify the geographical divide between the northern and southern hemispheres.

End of The 18 Days Uganda Safari.

Getting There