At a Glance
Dates: July 2nd - July 12th, 2022
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £4,450 pp sharing (with a £995 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: All too often you have to choose between open savanna and jungle when selecting a safari destination - get the best of both worlds, and then some, with this incredible itinerary.
Uganda really has it all. The north of the country is wild and untamed, filled with game yet rarely-visited - see our 'Undiscovered Uganda' itinerary for more on the delights of this remote region. The south of the country, whilst more heavily touristed, is by no means less impressive. The thick, imposing jungle of Bwindi is most famed for its numerous families of Mountain Gorilla, and we will have the chance to spend time with one of these families during our stay. Bwindi also has populations of rarely seen wildlife, including Forest Elephant, Black-Fronted Duiker and even, if we are exceptionally lucky, African Golden Cat. Stunningly beautiful, and home to some of the greatest wildlife experiences on the continent, a visit to Bwindi alone is the trip of a lifetime.
Our itinerary doesn't stop there though. Heading north, Queen Elizabeth National Park is our next stop. We will spend time both in the southern Ishasha sector, well-known for its very visible population of tree-climbing Lions, and the area around Mweya and the Kazinga Channel, where we may encounter Leopard, Bush Elephant, Savanna Buffalo and much more. We even know of a reliable spot for Aardvark near Mweya!
The tour is completed with stops in Semliki Wildlife Reserve and Kibale National Park. Kibale is perhaps the greatest destination in Africa for trekking Chimpanzees, with sightings always reliable and often up-close and personal. Semliki is often overlooked by all but particularly determined birders, but is a beautiful reserve with a number of specialties, including the rarely-encountered Pousargues's Mongoose.
All in all, Uganda has perhaps the richest tapestry of wildlife and scenery on the continent, and shouldn't be missed.
On arrival into Entebbe, you will be met by a Pictus Safaris representative and transferred to your hotel (2Friends or similar). Lunch will be provided at your hotel, before you have the afternoon at leisure. Dinner and a briefing will follow.
After breakfast in Entebbe, we will transfer directly to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. As the name suggests, Bwindi is densely forested, as well as mountainous, and it is this terrain that has protected its famous population of Eastern Gorillas so well for so long. This afternoon, we will settle into our accommodation (Haven Buhoma or similar) and soak in the incredible scenery. If time permits, we will set out on a short hike to familiarise ourselves with our surroundings. We may be lucky and get a glimpse of some of the wildlife in Bwindi, including Black-Fronted Duiker, as well as incredibly diverse birdlife. Once we have returned to our accommodation and had dinner, we will set out for a brief drive on the access roads around Bwindi - after dark, there is no telling what we might flush out on these quiet roads, and past visitors have encountered rarities including African Golden Cat.
Today is the day that so many visitors describe as one of the best days of their lives! After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Ruhija Sector of Bwindi, where we will meet our guides for our morning's Mountain Gorilla trekking. This activity is, understandably, in very high demand, so we will be part of a larger group (maximum eight people, plus guides) who set out in search of a particular Gorilla family. Depending on which family we have been allocated, the trek may last anything from a few minutes to several hours - be prepared for some steep climbs and treacherous underfoot conditions. It is all worth it, though, as you will have an hour to spend with the Gorillas as they play, feed and sleep just a few metres away from you - a truly stunning experience.
Elated and exhausted, we will then transfer back to our accommodation for some well-earned rest.
After a final breakfast in Bwindi, we will make the drive north to the fabulous Enjojo Lodge, just outside the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Whereas Bwindi is covered in dense vegetation, QENP is far more open and, as such, is home to a number of iconic savanna species. After lunch, we will head out into the national park in search of Ishasha's most famed residents - tree-climbing Lions. Usually more comfortable with all four paws firmly on terra firma, Lions do occasionally venture into trees in search of a cooling breeze across the continent, but the Ishasha population does so with particular gusto. It is not unusual to encounter entire prides high up in the branches of Fig Trees, making for incredible photo opportunities. Perhaps most entertainingly, they aren't all that graceful when descending to the ground, and the cubs in particular have a habit of tumbling down (completely unharmed, of course!). Other residents of Ishasha include Giant Forest Hog, Bush Elephant, Savanna Buffalo, Leopard, as well as large herds of Kob and Topi.
After dinner, we will head out on a night drive in specific pursuit of Leopard and other nocturnal creatures. With luck, we may find something particularly special, such as a Caracal or Serval.
Today we go all-out in Ishasha with a full-day game drive. We can focus in on particular sightings as the group desires, although there's no telling what we may bump into. Ishasha is far quieter than other sector of the park, with visitors often only flying through for a quick photo of the arboreal Lions. Consequently, we will often feel like we have the entire park to ourselves, and it is not uncommon to have Leopard or Lion sightings entirely to ourselves. We will once again overnight at the delightful Enjojo Lodge.
After a final morning drive in Ishasha, we will transfer through the park to Mweya Lodge. Situated on the Mweya Peninsula adjacent to the Kazinga Channel, our accommodation overlooks an area with one of the greatest populations of Hippo and Savanna Buffalo in all of Africa. An evening game drive will allow us to explore the grasslands near the lodge, one of the very finest areas for Leopard and Aardvark in Uganda.
We have a full day in Mweya today, divided between a morning game drive and an afternoon boat safari. The boat safari on the Kazinga Channel is a wonderful experience, with grazing Buffalo and slumbering Hippo present in great numbers. If we're lucky we may intercept a herd of Elephant as they descend to the water to drink, a sighting that always provides great entertainment. We will then overnight once more at Mweya Lodge.
A final morning game drive around Mweya is in order today - this is our last good chance for Leopard, Lion and Elephant on the trip, so be sure to take advantage! We will then head to the little-visited Kibale NP, where you have the afternoon at leisure at Turaco Treetops Lodge.
Our day starts with a bang, as we start early to begin a morning's Chimpanzee tracking in the national park. These Chimpanzee families are habituated and are perhaps the most obliging examples of their species in Africa. We will intercept them as they descend to the forest floor from their roosts high in the canopy, shadowing them as they feed and play. Eventually, they will melt away into the forest and we, in turn, will back for our hotel for some rest.
We will now head to the little-visited Semliki National Park, often overlooked due to its paucity of big game. This disguises some excellent wildlife-viewing, though, and those in the know have encountered rarities including the highly-localised Semliki Red Colobus, Dent's Mona Monkey and Pousargues' Mongoose. Night drives can also sometimes reveal the presence of Lion, Leopard and Spotted Hyena. We will overnight at the excellent Nyati Game Lodge.
This morning you will transfer directly back to Entebbe for your evening flights home.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in July 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources, and when Gorilla trekking is at its easiest. The tour will run from July 2nd to July 12th.
The cost of this trip is £4,450 per person excl. flights, with a £995 single supplement. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. All drinks are included, excluding premium brands. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,000 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Entebbe at the end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Entebbe after 16.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Entebbe, to avoid disruption to your plans.
British nationals do require a visa to enter Uganda. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for the Uganda will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Uganda entry e-visa for UK citizens is £45 - these must be obtained from your nearest Ugandan embassy, which for UK citizens will be in London. To acquire a tourist visa for Uganda you will require a scanned copy of your passport, one passport photo and proof of Yellow Fever vaccination.
Please also note that e-visas are available for East Africa, permitting entry into Kenya and Rwanda, as well as Uganda. These cost £75, and you will require a copy of your itinerary (as well as the items listed above for a standard e-visa) to acquire this visa.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Uganda in July is mild and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 17 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
The security situation is good across all of Uganda. There is unrest across the border from Uganda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and this occasionally spills across into Queen Elizabeth National Park. Pictus Safaris are in constant communication with our partners in Uganda to ensure your stay is a safe and enjoyable one.
To secure a booking on this fantastic holiday, please fill out the details below.