Up-Close with Gorillas – Chimpanzees – Lions Luxury Safari
8-Day Close Encounters with Gorillas – Lions – Chimpanzees Luxury Safari in Uganda
8-Day Gorillas – Lions – Chimpanzees Luxury Safari in Uganda: Combine the Gentle Giants of the Forest – the Mountain Gorilla – the King of the Beasts – the Lion, and the closest relative in the Wild to humans – the Chimpanzee and you have a winning formula. This 8-Day Close Encounters with Gorillas – Lions – Chimpanzees Luxury Safari gives you some of the Best Up-Close Encounters in Africa during your 8-day Adventure in Uganda.
This 8-Day Safari in the Pearl of Africa highlights 4-Hours with a Gorilla Family.- Spend a morning where you go out on the Kasenyi Plains and track the Collared Lions and Leopards with the Uganda Carnivore Project Research Team, plus time with the Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest.
This Safari is only available in Uganda; no other East African country can offer the unique, one-of-a-kind Primate and Wildlife Encounters you will have on one of our most popular Safari Offerings.
Add to this Safari the touch and comfort of Wild Luxury – Lodges that give you exceptional comfort and care, and you are all set. The Safari begins in Kigali – Rwanda, and you fly out of Entebbe – Uganda – the longest drive time is 5 hours on this Safari, which is through some of the most Scenic parts of Uganda.
8-Day Gorillas – Lions – Chimpanzees Luxury Safari in Uganda Highlights
- Batwa Forest Walk with the First People of the Forest – the Batwa Pygmies
- Gorilla Habituation Experience -4 -Hours with a Gorilla Family on an All-Day Trek.
- Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha – Queen Elizabeth Park.
- Lion Tracking Research in Queen Elizabeth Park, where you track collared lions with researchers.
- Explosion Crater Drive – one of Uganda’s most Scenic Drives.
- Kazinga Channel Boat Safari – Hippos – Wildlife – Reptiles – Birds.
- Wildlife Game Drives
- Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary – a rare Jungle Swamp in East Africa
- Chimpanzee Habituation Experience – All-Day with a Chimpanzee Group
- Toyota Land-Cruiser with pop-up roof – Experienced Driver-Guide
- Luxury Lodges: Stay at some of Uganda’s best Luxury Lodges.
- Optional: Start your Safari in Kigali, Rwanda, or Begin your Safari in Entebbe, Uganda.
8-Day Gorillas – Lions – Chimpanzees Luxury Safari in Uganda Itinerary in Detail
Your 4-Day Luxury Twice Gorilla Trekking Safari in 2 Parks in Detail:
Arrival Day in Kigali, Rwanda
Arrival Day in Kigali Rwanda for your Private 3-Day Gorilla Trekking Safari: Many flights from Europe arrive during the evening, others at night at Kigali International Airport, the Gateway not only to Rwanda but also to Southwest Uganda. We will pick you up at the airport and take you to the Value Plus Moderately price Heaven Boutique Hotel in a residential setting with a lovely garden and small swimming pool. Their excellent restaurant serves meals that will please you.
Alternative-Arrival in Entebbe:
Fly into Entebbe International Airport in Uganda, where your driver guide will meet you and take you to your hotel in Entebbe. The following day you take the early morning flight to Kisoro in Southwest Uganda with AeroLink Safari Airline. This is the quickest and most convenient way chosen by an increasing number of our clients, and the convenience outweighs the extra cost and will give you more time in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Day 1 – Drive or Fly to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Rushaga Region:
Drive to Rushaga from Kigali-Rwanda:
Your 3-Day Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari begins as we leave your hotel in Kigali at 6:30 am or the Kigali Airport for your moderately priced Safari. The drive time to Rushaga is about 4 hours, depending on the Border Crossing.
Visa for Uganda is $50, or the East African Visa is $100 and covers entry to Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. Both visas must be obtained online. In addition, you will need a Yellow Fever certificate for entry into Uganda.
Usually, the border crossing is about 30 to 45 minutes, and you are in Uganda heading for the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Officials on both sides will try to ease the border crossing for Tourists.
Any inconvenience fade in the light of the shorter drive time you have before you. Please note that it takes nine to ten hours from Entebbe or Kampala to reach the Rushaga area.
The Route you are on from Kigali to Bwindi is one of the most scenic drives in East Africa through the rolling, terraced hills of Rwanda and Uganda.
Fly from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro – 90-minute scenic flight:
We will pick you up at your hotel in Entebbe at around 6:15 am for your 7:00 am departure with AeroLink Airline to Kisoro. Your flight time is 90 minutes, with a brief stopover at the Kihihi Airstrip. In Kisoro, you are met by your driver-guide, who will take you to your Lodge. T
This is the quickest and most convenient way to reach the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Drive-Time from Kisoro to your Lodge is forty-five minutes.
There is a 15 kg weight restriction for your flight. Excess baggage costs $6 additional payment, and you can leave extra luggage with us. To save on the weight of your bag, we suggest that you wear your gorilla wear for your flight, including the rain jacket and hiking boots.
The benefit of a fly-In Safari is that you can spend a few nights in Queen Elizabeth Park or include Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale Forest on the return flight.
We arrive in the Southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and check into either Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge or Gorilla Safari Lodge.
Lodging Choices for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge:
This exclusive Luxury Lodge overlooks Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Virunga Volcanoes in the distance. It ranks as one of the Best Lodges in Uganda and the southern area of Bwindi Forest. From here, it is a short walk to the Trailhead in Nkuringo.
The Lodge exudes class throughout, including in your private River Stone Cottage. 24/7 Butler and Maid Service are available to you.
The views from your bedroom balcony are uplifting. The patio is the perfect setting for the early morning Ugandan Arabica Coffee grown in some nearby fields.
Authentic African Art is found throughout the Lodge, including g in your cottage, and the Meals are delightful. Many of our Clients have loved their stay at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.
Gorilla Safari Lodge – Rushaga Area-Luxury Lodge:
This upmarket Lodge is near the trailhead for your Gorilla Trek. The distance is a bit longer if you choose the , which means 4 hours with a Gorilla Family.
Gorilla Safari Lodge has great Cottages, including one Family Cottage, which is also suitable for a group of 4, such as Friends.
The Deluxe cottages have a fireplace in this cooler region in the Gorilla Highlands. The temperature at night drops to 10 Degrees Celsius or 50 Degrees Fahrenheit. Hot water bottles are supplied at bedtime to keep you warm as you go to sleep.
The Lodge serves quality food consisting of Western – Asian and African Dishes. The experienced staff here have your comfort in mind and are a service-orientated lodge.
Featured in Vogue and the Huffington Post – it is the only Luxury Lodge in the Rushaga area.
Afternoon Activity Choices for you:
- Batwa Cultural Encounter: See the Forest through the Eyes of its first people, the Batwa.
- Village Walk: Go on a guided walk and experience Ugandan village life.
- Nature Walk: Take a nature or birding walk with a guide.
- Hands-on Cultural Experience: Learn a new skill such as African drumming, dance, basket weaving, carving, cooking, etc.
- Relax and read a Book: Read a book about Uganda.
Meal Plan: Luch and Dinner
Day 2 – Gorilla Habituation Experience – Rushaga:
be at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Headquarters for the Mountain Gorilla Trekking orientation. Read our Practical Gorilla Trekking Advice Page for in-depth information.
Gorilla Wear and Gear you will need:
Here is practical advice about what to wear while Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. Often Trekkers are not dressed right for the occasion, which can spoil your day, and your focus might not be the Gorillas but personal discomfort and misery. Wearing suitable clothing and footwear is about protection.
Gorilla Wear and Gear:
- Daypack: Preferably a waterproof daypack, you can use it as a carry-on flying to Uganda. Pack all essentials inside of the Daypack.
- Hiking Boots: Make sure that they have good treads on them. You will need ankle support, something boots give you and give you reactions on muddy trails. Have a good pair of merino wool socks.
- Long Trouser: They will protect you from nettles and thorns. Tuck the trousers into your socks for added protection from ants.
- Long-Sleeved Shirt: Neutral in color. Again, this is for your comfort and protection.
- Rain Jacket or Poncho: Pack into your Daypack. You never know when it will train. You are in an Afro-montane Rainforest.
- Tough Gardening Gloves: This is to protect your hands from thorns, nettles, and sharp branches.
- Wide Brimmed Hat: It gives you protection from the Sun.
- Camera Equipment – Binoculars: Ensure extra batteries and storage devices. Put them into Ziploc bags. Binoculars are not needed if you are not a birder.
- Packed Lunch and Bottled Water: You will need your packed lunch from the Lodge and two liters of bottled water.
- Insect Repellent – Sun Lotion – Sunglasses: We recommend the effective Australian RID Insect Repellent. Good Sun
- You will need a Porter and Walking Stick: The services of a porter free you on the often-difficult trail, and a local walking stick helps you and steadies you on the often-challenging path. We supply our clients with the bottled water and facial protective masks required for the actual encounter with the Gentle Giants.
Suggestion: Be sure to pack a sweater or sweatshirt. The temperature here at night is 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Fireplaces are in your rooms at Clouds Mountain Lodge and Gorilla Safari Lodge.
Read more about Gorilla Gear and Wear here.
Gorilla Habituation Experience Orientation
Meet the researchers, trackers, and guides and head for the location of your gorilla family group being habituated and your four hours in their presence and learning their ways.
You will be instructed how to conduct yourself on the trail and in the presence of the Gentle Giants. You can read more about the
Your Gorilla Habituation Experience Encounter:
With the trek in and trek out – the 4-hour Gorilla Habituation Experience is an all-day trek. Not only do you see the Gorillas with only four participants, but you learn about the Gorillas’ habits and ways from the Gorillas and the Researchers.
You have entered the living room of a Gorilla family. You have more time to see how they interact as a group, and you can see what they eat, how they treat one another, and how the younger ones are taught.
The words of David Attenborough fit as he wrote about his Gorilla Encounter, “Spending time with these gentle creatures in their natural habitat was a profoundly moving experience.”
When you return to the trailhead, your driver-guide will take you back to your Lodge.
Meal Plan: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
Day 3- Queen Elizabeth Park Ishasha Area:
After Breakfast, we drive to Queen Elizabeth Park, the Ishasha Region of the Park, where we check into the Lodge you have chosen. There is only one luxury Lodge in this more remote portion of Queen Elizabeth Park.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp – Exclusive:
Ishasha Wilderness Camp is an experience in the African Wild in the unvisited part of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda – the Ishasha region of the Park.
Merely a place in the African Bush along the Ntungwe River- up-market luxury staying in en-suite Tented Cottages
Have lunch with elephants and hippos, and listen to the sounds of the African night.
There are restaurant-quality food and care offered in an upmarket style that, with the new tents, is excellent, and you are near the best place in all of Africa for Tree Climbing Lions. Yet, most tourists bypass this great part of Queen Elizabeth Park.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp – a long Standing Tradition with Luxury Safari Goers.
Game Drive – Tree Climbing Lions
Afternoon Game drive in search of the famed tree-climbing lions who sleep in the fig trees for up to 15 hours a day.
There are about 50 of them here in various pride. You might also see some leopards and many elephants, which have increased vastly in numbers. The elephants that you see here will be both Savannah and Forest Elephants.
Most likely, you will not be able to tell the difference, but forest elephants are hairier, have straight,
The elephants that you see here will be both Savannah and Forest Elephants. Most likely, you will not tell the difference, but forest elephants are hairier, have straight, shorter tusks, are slightly smaller, and have one less toe on each foot. You will also see large herds of buffaloes, Topi, and Uganda Kob antelopes.
Note – If you are staying at Ishasha Wilderness Camp, a Sundowner can be arranged in the Bush for you, hosted by Camp Staff reminiscent of old days in the African Bush. You can also let us know if you like to have a traditional Bush Breakfast with game drive tomorrow.
Meal Plan: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Day – 4 – Queen Elizabeth Park – Mweya Area:
Breakfast and morning game drive after 7 am – the lions do not climb up into the trees any earlier. The safari vehicle is equipped with a pop-up roof for best game viewing. The game drive is 3 hours in length.
Kyambura Gorge Lodge – Exclusive Luxury Lodge
This classy Lodge is located near the Kyambura Gorge, a giant gash in the Savannah of Queen Elizabeth Park. The Lodge was created by taking an old coffee shop and giving it a new life as an exclusive luxury Lodge.
Today it is one of the most excellent lodges in Uganda but still has that rustic look. Exquisite Bandas as the cottages are called here.
There is a swimming pool at the main Lodge where you take a drink and hear the stories about today’s Safari adventures that various guests had.
Excellent service is a trademark of the Volcanoes Lodges and undoubtedly true at Kyambura Gorge.
Trek in the Gorge and spot a Chimpanzee in the Apes’ valley, Game drives, and the boat safari on Kazinga Channel.
Kyambura Gorge Lodge is one of Uganda’s Luxury .
Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise:
In the Afternoon, the fabulous Kazinga Channel Wildlife – Birding, Reptile Boat Safari is one of your Queen Elizabeth Park Visit highlights.
Here you can see countless pods of Hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, elephant herds, a myriad of birds, monitor lizards, and at times lions in the late Afternoon.
The channel has the highest concentration of hippos in East Africa. There were so many hippos the British Colonial Government had to cull them, and the locals developed a taste for hippos.
This is a natural channel that connects Lake Edward and Lake George.
Meal Plan: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Day 5- Queen Elizabeth Park – Mweya Area:
Lion Tracking Research – Tracking Collared Lions
Lion Tracking Research – here you are with Researchers from the Carnivore Project and track the Collared Lions and leopards in this part of the Park. Not only will you see lions, but a learning experience about the lions.
It is an out-of-the-ordinary experience and gives you a firsthand look at Lion Conservation.
The Lion Tracking Research begins early at sunrise, about 6:45 am, and it is around the time when the lions return from a night of hunting.
Leopards will return from the hunt with their prey and pull it up into a tree. Lions fill themselves and sleep much of the day.
Not only will you see Carnivores but Elephants in large numbers, buffaloes, countless antelopes, bushpigs, warthogs, and more.
Explosion Crater Drive:
In the late Afternoon, we take one of Uganda’s most scenic drives. The 27-kilometer Explosion Crater Drive and the drive shows you the best of photogenic Uganda.
The Explosion Craters were formed when the Egyptians built the pyramids, and the volcanic explosions made a toxic mess of what I now Lake Edward.
The drive allows you to see both the Park, the Western Rift Escarpment, and the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon.
This is the highest point in the Park, where you have some incredible viewpoints of the Western Rift Escarpment, the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon, plus the craters themselves, which were featured in National Geographic a few years past.
Meal Plan: Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Day 6- Kibale Forest:
Breakfast and early morning game drive, after which we move to Kibale Forest, where you check into Crater Lake Safari lodge, where you have a cottage overlooking the lake.
Regarding Luxury lodges, Crater Lake Safari is an affordable option for those who want added comfort, extra service, and delightful meals.
There is a swimming pool for you to enjoy and a massage for a fee. The Crater Lake is an attraction, and the Lodge has provided a beautiful gazebo where you can have a refreshing drink after a day of Chimpanzee Trekking.
The Lodge has featured various international publications, including Vogue Magazine, as one of Uganda’s best lodges.
Enjoy the view from your most comfortable and Luxurious Cottage, the crater lake below you, the rolling hillsides in the distance, and the color green everywhere. Kibale Forest and Bigodi Wetlands are 20 minutes from the Lodge.
Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary
Afternoon – Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary Hike. This is a guided 3-hour hike through a Jungle Swamp; much of it is on planks that act like a boardwalk above the swamp.
Your experienced guide is from the local community that has maintained the Wetlands for many years, with thousands visiting each year.
During the Afternoon, you might spot Chimpanzees, Colobus Monkeys, also baboons. The area is well-known for birds, and the chief attraction is the Blue Turaco.
When it comes to Mammals, you can see otters, bush pigs, mongoose, and the rare Sitatunga Antelope, to name a few.
This is a UNESCO sustainable Eco-Tourism site that is not to be missed.
Meal Plan: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
Day 7 – Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Trek
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Advisory: The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is not what it once was. It is now six hours in length, and seeing the Chimpanzee is no longer a sure thing.
In part, this is because of Chimpanzee Troop being habituated. They are not the most cooperative bunch. The other reason is the distance from Park Headquarters to the chimpanzee troop.
You can still do the six-hour habituation if you like to take the risk and challenge of an extensive hike.
Go on the typical Chimpanzee Trek once or twice. You will be with the chimpanzees for one hour on a usual trek. If you trek twice, you will have spent two hours with them. Hopefully the situation will soon change. Once it does, this page will be updated.
Wear the same clothing that you wore gorilla tracking.
Nocturnal Forest Walk:
Meet and see the creatures of the night. Ibale Rainforest looks different at night than it does while you are chimpanzee trekking.
You are in the company of Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers, who will lead you on this ninety-minute nocturnal Walk in the forest. You will find bushbabies, Sloths, and sometimes even tree pangolins and other night creatures.
The sounds of the forest at night are also different from daytime treks, and owls and Nightjars appear out of nowhere and are gone again. For most, this is a most exciting and informative nature walk.
We have to arrange for your dinner at Crater Lake Lodge. The Walk begins around &:30 pm after it has gotten dark, and the sun sets just before 7:00 pm.
Meal Plan: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
Day 8 – Entebbe:
The departure from Kibale forest for Entebbe depends on your flight out of Entebbe. In some cases, it might mean an overnight stay in Entebbe; for others, we obtain a dayroom before the flight out.
The drive time to Entebbe is four and a half hours. We have a fly to Entebbe Option Below.
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