At a Glance
Dates: January 3rd - January 11th & January 10th - January 18th, 2022
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £4,195 pp sharing (with a £995 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Uganda has so much more to offer than gorilla trekking; the remote northern parks offer scintillating sightings and breathtaking views envied across the continent.
In many ways, Uganda is Africa in miniature. In the south, dense jungle and beautiful mountains are home to the famous Mountain Gorillas, as well as Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys and even tree-climbing Lions. Quite rightly, this area draws tourists in their thousands and we highly recommend visiting these areas on our "Ultimate Uganda" tour.
There is, however, a rarely seen side to Uganda. Wild and remote, Uganda's northern reaches are a well-kept secret amongst safari connoisseurs, providing exceptional wilderness appeal and wonderful wildlife. This itinerary takes in two national parks; Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley.
Murchison Falls is truly the gateway to Uganda's remotest areas. A beautiful park, its centrepiece is the impressive Kabalega Falls tumbling through an eight-metre wide gorge, a sight not to be missed. The park itself is home to healthy populations of Leopard, Lion, Bush Elephant and Savanna Buffalo. For those seeking something a little different, the park is home to several localised species and subspecies, including the Patas Monkey, Uganda Kob, Rothschild's Giraffe and Bunyoro Rabbit. We also have the chance to track habituated families of Chimpanzee in the nearby Budongo Forest. Murchison Falls is absolutely one of the jewels in Uganda's crown.
Kidepo Valley is surely the wildest national park in all of Uganda. Situated on the border with the vast unexplored frontier of South Sudan, the park is home to Cheetah (our key target here), Maneless Zebra, Lesser Kudu and much more. Leopard and Lion are both present and night drives in the park are often very rewarding. After dark, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Caracal and two species of Porcupine are all encountered frequently. This is certainly amongst the most exciting destinations in East Africa!
This itinerary will also take in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only location in Uganda where White Rhino can be found. This small reserve offers a number of worthwhile activities including Rhino tracking and canoe trips in search of the elusive Shoebill. Whilst our visit will not coincide with "prime time" for Shoebill viewing, we will certainly do our best to locate this prehistoric bird.
All in all, northern Uganda has a huge amount to offer first-time safari-goers and safari experts alike. We can't wait to welcome you to this very special country!
On arrival into Entebbe, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and transferred to your accommodation (2Friends Beach Hotel or similar). Should you arrive early enough, we can arrange a tour of Entebbe for an additional fee. We recommend relaxing in your hotel in anticipation of a busy and rewarding week ahead - dinner will be provided at your hotel.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
This morning we will make the four-hour journey by road to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, arriving at approximately midday. Once settled in our accommodation, we will head out to track the sanctuary's resident White Rhinos on foot - the local guides know these Rhino very well, and have a very high success rate when it comes to locating them. These Rhino form the only herd left in Uganda and are particularly photogenic - if we're lucky, a calf may recently have been born, adding an extra level of cuteness! After rhino tracking, we will overnight at Amuka Lodge or similar.
This morning we will leave our lodge early to set out into nearby swampland in search of one of Africa's most elusive birds - the Shoebill. This prehistoric bird is truly amongst the oddest of sights in Africa, and laying eyes on one is something visitors never forget. January is not the ideal time to locate Shoebill as water levels are low - however, our three-hour trip by canoe gives us the best possible chance, and we'll do all we can to find this incredible bird.
Following our early morning canoe trip, we will head north once more, this time making the 2.5 hour journey to Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison Falls is a truly beautiful area, and this afternoon we will head to its centrepiece; the Kabelega Falls. Here, the Victoria Nile thunders through a tiny gorge, creating a seething cauldron frequented by huge Nile Crocodile and Nile Perch. This 2-3 hour trip allows us to get close to the falls, presenting good photographic opportunities - there is also the chance of encounters with wildlife. Bush Elephant, Savanna Buffalo and Hippo are all resident in the area, and the birding can also be exceptional here.
On our return to our lodge, we will enjoy dinner before heading out for a night drive into the national park. There is much we could encounter tonight, but our lodge is in a particularly good area for Leopard. Lion are also possible, as well as the near-endemic Bunyoro Rabbit. We will overnight at Pakuba Safari Lodge or similar.
Days Four to Five
Our next two days will be spent exploring the national park as much as we can. Morning, evening and night drives are available, as well as walking safaris and cultural visits. One morning will be dedicated to tracking down Chimpanzee in the nearby Budongo Forest, a real highlight for many visitors. During our stay here, we should expect to encounter a wide array of wildlife including Rothschild's Giraffe, Patas Monkey, Uganda Kob, Giant Forest Hog, Lion, Leopard and much more. We will overnight at Pakuba Safari Lodge, or similar.
It is an early start today as we make the eight-hour drive to Kidepo Valley. This remote park is a truly special area and, if we make good time, we will be able to set out on a night drive after settling into our accommodation.
This area is much drier than Murchison Falls, and the wildlife of the area therefore is different. Our night drive may provide views of highly sought-after wildlife including Caracal, Aardvark, Aardwolf and African Wild Cat. We will overnight at Kidepo Savannah Lodge or similar.
Days Seven to Eight
We have two full days to explore the park. Morning, evening and night drives are available, primarily focussed on the game-rich Narus Valley. This area represents the best chance of locating both Cheetah and Leopard in the park, as well as vast herds of Buffalo. Lesser Kudu and Maneless Zebra are also found here, often targets for the park's booming Lion population. On at least one drive we will head north to the border with South Sudan, the safest one can currently get to this incredible wilderness. We will overnight at Kidepo Savannah Lodge or similar.
There will be the chance for a final morning game drive today, before a transfer to the Kidepo Airstrip. From here, you will board a three-hour Aerolink flight back to Entebbe. You will land in Entebbe at 16.30, so we recommend booking flights leaving Entebbe after 18.30. We can book an additional night at the 2Friends Beach Hotel for an additional fee.
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.
Please also note that the second departure will run in reverse, beginning in Kidepo Valley and ending in Entebbe, via Murchison Falls and Ziwa.
Dates and Prices
These tours will run in January 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources. The tours will run from January 3rd to January 11th, and January 10th to January 18th.
The cost of this trip is £4,195 per person excl. international flights. This includes all meals (except in Entebbe), accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Soft and alcoholic drinks are not included. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,850 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 18.30 on your return 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 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 January is mild and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 27 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 11 degrees Celsius - be sure to wrap up warm on night drives!
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
Uganda is generally a completely safe destination for tourists. Neighbouring countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, are currently unstable, and we exercise abundant caution in areas near these borders. We are in constant communication with our partners in Uganda to ensure your stay is safe and memorable.
To secure a booking on this fantastic holiday, please fill out the details below.