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5 Day Gorilla Safari Trip to Bwindi (By Road)

Entebbe, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Not Rated

Duration

5 Days 4 Nights

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

6 people

Languages

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Overview

Take this road drive across Uganda on this 5 Day gorilla safari trip that takes you trekking the African rianforest jungles found in western Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, hiking the steep slops, through misty shrubs and age old huge trees, crossing water streams and following trails to a family of mountain gorillas. Once found, you’ll be allowed to spend one hour with the habituated mountain gorilla family with strict rules not to to stay 10 meters away and not make contact. You’re required to have your mask on while you engage with the gorillas.

This a road trip from Entebbe (38 kilometers outside the capital Kampala), takes you driving 8-9 hours into the countryside covered with a green blanket, hills and some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery in the world. Bring your “attention to nature” with you because the drive to the gorilla nation might just blow you away.

Dates

Since this is a private tour, come explore our world in your own style. Set your dates and we’ll book your accommodation and permits based on availability. Note that you can reschedule your trip up to 12 months ahead without extra charge, in the event that travel is disrupted by pandemic developments. When you make your enquiry, you’ll be dealing directly with a local operator that will give you the best local rates with no agency fees or third parties.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe and transfer to the Guest House — Exc. to Mabamba Swamps (Optional Extra) — staying at Papyrus Guest House
  • Day 2: Drive Entebbe to Nkuringo via the Equator and Mbarara — staying at  Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge — B, L, D
  • Day 3: Gorilla Tracking — Nkuringo or Rushaga gorilla groups  — Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge — B, L, D
  • Day 4: Hike & canoe on Lake Mutanda — Nkuringo Community tour and Buninga Forest (encounter with the Batwa) — staying at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge — B, L, D
  • Day 5: Drive to Entebbe B, L
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel well protected from Coronavirus and stay in Covid compliant facility
  • Discover the stunning beauty of Uganda's countryside on a road trip journey
  • Unforgettable encounter with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
  • Hike through local communities and canoe boat adventure
  • Support sustainable tourism initiatives

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe and transfer to Hotel/Lodge
Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe and transfer to Hotel/Lodge

Arrival in Entebbe as per your international flights and transfer to Papyrus Guest House by your private 5 Day Gorilla Adventure Safari driver/guide.

Optional Extra: Mabamba Shoebill Stock spotting In the afternoon (departure from the hotel at exactly 14.30/15.00 hours) departure by car and local canoe to Mabamba Swamp, one of the best places for spotting the rare shoebill storks. Of course some fortune is needed but rarely does one leave the swamp without seeing one! Many other water birds have chosen this area as their home so birding is always very interesting. Enjoy a relaxing sundowner on Lake Victoria and then return to the Guest House.

• Accommodation: Papyrus Guest House (Garden room)
• Meal Plan: Bed & Breakfast basis; Lunch & Dinner on own’s account

Day 2: Road Trip to Bwindi Impenetrable N.P
Day 2: Road Trip to Bwindi Impenetrable N.P

After an early breakfast, start your Gorilla Safari trip with a road trip journey across Western Uganda. Your driver/guide will make sure your 4x4 safari vehicle is clean and thoroughly disinfected. He'll also present his negative Coronavirus test certificate and after all the formalities whisk you off through the cultural hub, Kampala, towards western Uganda.

At your pace, look out through the window and let the African wind renew your face. But don't close your eyes too long for you might miss the beautiful landscape of central Uganda: rolling hills, cultivated terraces, Rwenzori mountain backdrop, tropical rainforest and towards the end the majestic chain of the Virunga Volcanoes. Stop-over en-route at the equator, at Mbarara (for lunch) and at Igongo Cultural Center.

This Gorilla safari trip drive takes about 8-10 hours and will pass through towns of Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and cut off Kisoro to Nkuringo, southern side of Bwindi.

• Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (Private cottage) • Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 3: Gorilla Trekking Safari Adventure in Bwindi
Day 3: Gorilla Trekking Safari Adventure in Bwindi

After a sumptuous breakfast, at around 7:45 am, with packed lunch and drinking water, your private Gorilla Safari Trip Driver will transfer you to the gorilla Park Head Quarters trailhead for the briefing on the gorilla trekking dos and the don’ts.

Alternatively, you can walk the 1km distance for probably 8 minutes and be there in time for a briefing. During the briefing, a party 8 trekkers will be assigned a gorilla group (randomly).

After the briefing, your gorilla trekking party will be escorted by an two armed rangers and a tracker guide into the African jungle for your gorilla adventure. Remember to dress up in waterproof boots and carry a lightweight rain jacket for it may rain anytime. See this post for a packing list.

The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular. The area offers a dramatic, steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary as per the movements of these great primates.

Hiking through the misty jungle, encountering different animal and plant species on the trail will keep you on the edge until you finally find the gorilla family. You'll be allowed one precious hour with the gentle giants, this is why you are there, make sure you savor every second in that jungle because a lot of emotions will be triggered. M

The gorilla trekking will be done at Nkuringo or at Rushaga (1 hr drive from Nkuringo), as per the gorilla permits obtained.

After your Gorilla encounter and out of the jungle, relax at the lodge and, for those who like, at 5.00 pm either stroll through the natives community center or drive up to the “Top of the World” - the name given to the football field, high up in Nkuringo which offers amazing 360 views over the peaks and forests around Nkuringo. A great way to stretch your legs after the gorilla tracking and to enjoy a sundowner.

• Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (Private Cottage) • Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 4: Hiking, Lake Mutanda Canoe & Batwa Community Encounter
Day 4: Hiking, Lake Mutanda Canoe & Batwa Community Encounter

This morning after an early breakfast, drive to Rubuguri Junction (10k – 1 hour) to start a jungle hike across beautiful green African landscapes and local communities - experience indigenous African village life (9km – 2/3 hours).

Upon arrival at Lake Mutanda you then “settle” in a dugout canoe for 2-3 hours of gentle relaxed cruising across the lake, enjoying the beautiful panoramic views on the lake.

Meet with your private driver at the end of the canoe ride and drive back to Nkuringo. Of course you could also drive from the lodge directly to the lake (20k - 90 minutes), enjoy the canoe ride across the lake and drive all the way back to the lodge again. Your discretion will be sought here.

In the afternoon stroll down to the Buniga Forest Trail Walk, an informative project run by USAID and the local Batwa community.

The Batwa tribe was forced to leave their home in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in 1991 when it was declared a UNESCO Heritage site for gorillas only. They had been living in the forest as nomadic hunter-gatherers for millennia, in perfect balance with the flora and fauna around. Moving out and suddenly living in communities with a completely different way of life has proven to be a huge challenge. They now survive as best as they can and earn a living explaining their previous life in the forest and their rich heritage. The gorilla safari trip also explores through community to with a walk and a visit to the traditional herbalist and the black smith.

• Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (Private cottage) • Meal Plan: Full Board

Day 5: Safari Road Trip from Bwindi – Entebbe
Day 5: Safari Road Trip from Bwindi – Entebbe

After breakfast enjoy another glimpse of the misty jungle as your gorilla safari trip driver lazily drives you through the beautiful jagged mountain slopes of western uganda drive back to Entebbe airport. The drive takes about 10 hours.

Depending on your departure flight either enjoy day room/overnight at Papyrus Guest House or wait for your departure flight at the Airport. You will require a negative Coronavirus (Covid-19) test certificate given within 72 hours of your departure.

Upon request we can also book and quote 2 hrs of chimp tracking at Kalinzo Forest (possible at any time of the day) and/or reduce the long journey back to Entebbe by adding an overnight and some game drives in Lake Mburo National Park.

• Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch; Dinner on own’s account.

Included/Excluded

  • Face mask and small bottle of sanitizer
  • Specialized English speaking driver/guide
  • Custom 4x4 Private Transport and all transfers
  • Park Entrance & Tracking Permit Fees
  • Accommodation & Meals, Full Board
  • Trekking Lunch box, banana, apple & drinking water
  • Coronavirus Tests
  • Insurance
  • Visa
  • Gifts & Gratuities
  • Additional Services

Tour's Location

Entebbe, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

FAQs

What are the Coronavirus entry requirements?
On arrival, tourists and business visitors will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test dated no more than 72 hours before their arrival into Uganda. Same applies to outbound. A covid-19 test for exiting travelers can be done at a number of hospitals in Kampala & Entebbe with results given within 8-24 hours at about $65.

After finishing with immigration and health desk, your driver or Uganda tour manager will have to ensure that you proceed directly to your place of stay and do not mix with Ugandans.

There will be no requirement to self-isolate on arrival. If found with coronavirus symptoms however, you’ll be isolated, handed over to health officials and taken to a designated place for treatment.

Each tourist vehicle should not carry more than 6 people. Overland trucks will move at half capacity. The vehicle will be cleaned and disinfected at every stop. Driver will have his mask on at all times when with tourists.

For more Coronavirus details for travelers into Uganda see: Coronavirus (Covid) Information for Travelers to Uganda
Are the hotels you book me in safe from Covid?
Yes, we can accurately assure you of your safety in the facilities we book you in. We work with our local ground handler, hand-in-hand, to ensure our guests safety. Our operator has vetted and checked with all the suppliers for Covid-19 standards of operation. Those that we find that have not complied with WHO, MoH and GoU standards, we have suspended from our booking sheet. We will continue to vet for operational standards in facilities we take our clients to, especially facilities owned by our local operator.
Will you process my entry visa?
No but visa processing is done so easily online before you get into the country. Check out this link. https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

Alternatively what most visitors do is to get the visa at the immigration desk at the Airport after you land into the country. For US$100, it takes you just 5 minutes to do that.

Make sure you have a valid passport, a yellow fever vaccination card and anything your consulate would advise you.
Does this trip include agency fees?
No. You'll be dealing directly with a local expert. When you send us your enquiry, the local operator gets your email immediately and the first reply you get is from a safari expert on the group. No Agency, no hidden fees. That way you get the lowest price possible for your gorilla safari trip in Bwindi and also get the expertise knowledge of the destination.
How far is the destination from the airport?
Bwindi is about 9 hours drive from Entebbe International Airport. Fortunately for you, we'll take a 2 hour local flight from Entebbe to Kihihi and then take an adventure walk for 2 hours and drive to our destination 2 hours ahead. Remember to take in the views and keep your cameras close by. You my not want to forget what you see.
What should I carry for this trip?
Good question. Quickly, you need to cover yourself when in the jungle. Long boots, long sleeved shirt, trousers to avoid bug bites, you need a rain jacket (rainforest, remember?), a caryon bad to keep your staff and garbage (not allowed to litter) and something for the cold nights. That's more like it.

For a full list, please check out this guide: Packing list for tracking gorillas
Should I be scared of the Gorillas or be concerned about security?
Noooo! You're are very safe in these parts of the country. You'll have rangers when you enter the jungles and gorillas are commonly known to be really gentle giants. They're habituated for your presences, remember?! But of course, there are some rules you'll be briefed about before you enter the jungle. Talk to our consultants to get a comprehensive briefing before you come.

Read this wonderful post form one of our guests that more than enjoyed this gorilla safari trip: Is The Gorilla Trekking Experience Worth it?

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