Best of Uganda (21 days)
Our 21-day trip brings you the best of Uganda: where the savannah meets the rainforest. Expect to see the animals of the savannahs (lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, and leopard) and up to 16 primate species, including gorillas and chimps!!!
This trip specifically includes the most important and well known places and national parks of Uganda: Jinja, the source of the Nile. Sipi Falls, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Semuliki National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mburo National Park.
- See the source of the Nile in Jinja. If you dare you can go for rafting on the Nile
- Visit Sipi Falls, the highest waterfall in Uganda (100 m)
- Game drives (safaris) on the savannahs of Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park
- Boat trip on the Nile to the Murchison Falls, where the Nile is forced through a gorge and drops 60 meters
- Spectacular wildlife viewing from the boat on the Nile where it reaches the delta into Lake Albert
- See the chimpanzees and 12 other monkey species in Kibale Forest National Park
- Experience the spectacular hot springs in Semuliki National Park
- Boat trip on the Kazinga Channel with the biggest concentration of hippos and spectacular birds
- Search for the tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Meet the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi National Park, an experience you will never forget!
- Visit the Golden Monkeys on the slopes of the Volcanoes in Mgahinga National Park
- Enjoy the silence and beautiful landscape of Uganda’s most beautiful lakes, Lake Mutanda and Lake Bunyonyi
- Do a game walk in Lake Mburo National Park to get close to the animals
- Visit the local people and/or the pygmies and experience their local way of living
Day to day program
Entebbe - Kampala
Arrival at Entebbe airport. Your guide will be there waiting for you. Pick up and proceed to your accommodation.
After breakfast we drive to Jinja, where we make a walk along the Nile and visit the source of the Nile. We visit local communities to see their rural and local way of living. It is also possible to go for White Water-rafting, kayaking, quad biking or horse riding (optional activities).
Please let us know if you want to go for rafting. This must be booked in advance (certainly in high season).
Jinja Sipi Falls
Today we drive to Sipi Falls, a beautiful crater landscape on the slopes of Mount Elgon (4321 m). Make a beautiful walk to the 3 huge waterfalls. This area is known for its stunning panoramas and nice villages.
Sipi Falls is the highest waterfall in Uganda, the water falls down for 100 meters.
Sipi Falls Lira
After a relaxing morning we drive to Lira. We make a stop at the Nyero Rock Paintings, dating back to the iron age. Lira is a nice town with many markets, cafes etc. On our way we make some stops to meet the local people.
Lira - Murchison Falls National Park
Today we drive to Murchison Falls National Park, our first safari destination. We make a stop along the Nile to see Karuma Falls. In the late afternoon we make our first game drive (safari).
Murchison Falls is one of the most beautiful national parks of Uganda. One of the main attractions is the Nile, with the spectacular Murchison Falls, where the whole Nile is forced through a narrow gorge and falls 60 meters. Expect to see elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and maybe leopards.
Murchison Falls National Park
Early morning game drive. Afternoon boat ride on the Victoria Nile up to the bottom of the falls.
Murchison Falls National Park
Early morning boat trip on the Nile to the delta. Game drive in the afternoon.
The delta area has the highest concentration of animals in Murchison Falls and the boat performs a perfect platform to see them. This is also the area where the elusive Shoebill Stork can be seen.
Murchison Falls National Park - Hoima
Early morning game drive. We visit the top of the falls afterwards. In the afternoon we drive to Hoima town. It is also possible to visit Budongo Forest where we can have a jungle walk to see monkeys and birds (optional).
Hoima Kibale Forest
After breakfast we drive to Kibale Forest. You can make a walk around the lodge in the afternoon. During this walk it is possible to see monkeys and birds. It is also possible to make a night walk through the forest to see the animals of the night, like bush babies (both activities optional).
Kibale Forest is a spectacular jungle, with 13 primate species! Including chimps, baboons, black and white colobus, red colobus, grey cheeked mangabey and L’Hoest monkey.
Chimpanzee tracking in the morning or in the afternoon. For people interested in primates and birds and willing to make another walk, we can make a community walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary as well. It is also possible to visit the local people or the crater lakes.
Kibale Forest Semuliki National Park
Visit one of the crater lakes. Afterwards transfer to Semuliki National Park. Visit the Sempaya Hot Springs in the afternoon.
Semuliki is a unique place and the only lowland jungle in East Africa, part of the Congo eco system.
Semuliki National Park Queen Elizabeth National Park
Transfer to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. On our way we pass the equator where we will make a stop. Game drive in the afternoon.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places in Uganda to see lions. Expect to see elephants, lions, many hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and maybe leopards.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drive in the morning. Boat trip on the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon.
The Kazinga Channel is one of the highlights of Uganda and has the highest concentration of hippos in the world.
Queen Elizabeth National Park - Ishasha
Early morning game drive or optional chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge. In the afternoon we drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Ishasha sector in the South. Game drive in the afternoon in search of the tree climbing lions.
In Ishasha there are 4 prides of lions that climb the trees. Unique in the world! The other attraction of Ishasha are the Topis, not found anywhere else in this National Park.
Ishasha Bwindi Impenetrable
Early morning game drive in Ishasha to see the tree climbing lions. Afterwards we drive to Bwindi Impenetrable. On our way we pass through interesting villages and have some breath taking views of the mountains.
Bwindi Impenetrable is a unique jungle, with many monkey species. Bwindi is one of the 2 places in the world where you can find Mountain Gorillas!
(Driving time depends on the area in Bwindi we stay.)
Gorilla tracking!!! Early morning departure with your ranger to search for one of the world’s most interesting and endangered animal, the Mountain Gorilla! You will spend one hour with one of our closest relatives. An experience you will never forget.
Bwindi Impenetrable Lake Mutanda
Transfer to Lake Mutanda, one of the most beautiful places in Uganda. On a clear day you can see the 3 volcanoes in the distance. Relax at the lodge or do one of the following activities (one activity included): boat trip on the lake, walk along the lake or to the local people, go for a swim, or visit the pygmies.
(Driving time to Lake Mutanda depends on the area in Bwindi we stay.)
Lake Mutanda and Mgahinga National Park
Visit Mgahinga National Park and do one of the activities there, or stay near the lake and do one of the activities near the lake. One activity included for today. Activities in Mgahinga National Park: make a nature walk, go for a birding or primate walk, visit the golden monkeys or climb one of the volcanoes.
Mgahinga National Park is part of the Virunga Volcanoes and borders Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Apart from Mountain Gorillas, the stars of Mgahinga are the golden monkeys, a subspecies of the blue monkey.
Lake Mutanda Lake Bunyonyi
Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi; the deepest and one of the most beautiful lakes in Uganda. We sleep on one of the beautiful islands. Possible activities: make a nature walk, go for a birding walk, go for canoeing, take a swim or visit the local community. One activity included.
Lake Bunyonyi Lake Mburo National Park
After breakfast we drive to Lake Mburo National Park. Game drive in the afternoon. It is also possible to make a boat trip on the lake. Night game drive with high chances of seeing leopards.
Lake Mburo is one of the 2 national parks with zebras and the only national park with impalas in Uganda. There are no elephants and only one male lion, so walking safaris are possible.
Legend: BB = Bed and Breakfast / HB = Half Board / FB = Full Board
* Depending on the group of gorillas you will be tracking we will choose where to sleep in Bwindi. There are 3 areas for Gorilla tracking in Bwindi: Buhoma, Ruhija and Nkuringo.
Lodges we use for Medium Budget:
- Buhoma: Buhoma Community Rest Camp (BB)
- Ruhija: Gorilla Mist Camp (BB)
- Nkuringo: Nshongi Gorilla Resort (BB) / Wagtail Eco Safari Camp (BB)
Lodges we use for High Budget:
- Buhoma: Mahogany Springs (FB) / Buhoma Lodge (FB)
- Ruhija: Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge (FB)
- Nkuringo: Nkuringo Gorilla Safari Lodge (FB)
Prices per person, in USD, based on double/twin sharing
|Medium Budget||High Budget|
|Based on private group of 6 persons||3.070||4.495|
|Based on private group of 4-5 persons||3.375||4.855|
|Based on private group of 2-3 persons||4.055||5.535|
|Gorilla Tracking||Low Season
|Gorilla Permit per person||450||600|
|Options||Medium Budget||High Budget|
|Single room Supplement||725||820|
|Upgrade to Full Board per person per day||30||n.a.|
- Some lodges may ask for seasonal surcharges for the Easter and Christmas Holidays
- Airport transfers
- Accommodations with meals mentioned
- Bottled drinking water
- Private 4x4 custom built safari vehicle with knowledgeable driver/guide and fuel
- Entrance fees to the included National Parks
- The following activities: bird watching, game drives, visit to the source of the Nile, Sipi Falls, the Nyra Rock Paintings, boat trips on the Nile, visit the top of Murchison falls, chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest, Bigodi Swamp Walk, Sempaya Hot Springs, boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, one of the activities in Mgahinga National Park, boat trip on Lake Mburo and night safari in Lake Mburo.
- International flights
- Visa for Uganda
- All optional activities
- Meals not mentioned and beverages
- Tips and personal expenses such as laundry and communication
Group Tours Guaranteed Departures
Medium budget, with a minimum of 2 persons
16-04-2017 – 06-05-2017
30-07-2017 – 19-08-2017
01-10-2017 – 21-10-2017
The Government of Uganda requires mandatory proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination for travelers 1 year of age and above. Travelers should possess a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate (vaccine received at least 10 days ago) prior to entry into Uganda. Travelers who do not meet this requirement must be vaccinated at the Airport (with possibility of isolation as determined by the Aiport health authority) prior to entry into Uganda at the travelers own costs.
Furthermore all required inoculations must be recorded by your health practitioner on a valid vaccination certificate. You must carry this document with you throughout the tour. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. We also advise that you bring a mosquito repellent with you. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for up to date requirements, inoculations and personal recommendations!
Normally you need the following vaccinations (but please always consult a doctor):
- Yellow Fever
For Malaria you need to take tablets, Malarone or Lariam. Malarone is mostly used (please always consult a doctor).
Hygiene is not at the same standard as in your home country, so we advise you to bring a disinfectant cream with you. Always drink bottled water instead of tap water.
On arrival on the airport our guide will be there waiting for you. During safari we use custom made safari vehicles, custom made for an optimal view of the wildlife. Safari vehicles (and small aircrafts) provide limited space for luggage. It is therefore recommended to travel with light bags since bulky suitcases will overload and might be difficult to be taken on board.
The Government of Uganda has introduced the online visa application system with effect from 01 July 2016.
When you are visiting Uganda you must apply for a visa online:
- Go to the website https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
- Please make sure you have the following documents in .pdf, .jpeg, .png or .bmp format: a copy of your passport, copy of recent passport size photograph and a vaccination certificate (Yellow Fever)
- Fill in the form (normally you need an “ordinary” visa, single entry)
- When you send the form you will immediately receive a tracking code. This code helps you to keep track of how far your application has progressed. You can check its status from this webpage
- The Ugandan authorities will send you a letter in the email after they have approved your application (please check you SPAM folder too)
- Print this letter and bring it with you when you arrive at the overland border or at Entebbe International Airport. You need this letter to be allowed to purchase the entree visa there for USD 50.
Some nationalities do not require a visa, please check this in advance.
In most of the cities it is possible to withdraw money from an ATM. Travelers Cheques are not widely accepted and it is very difficult or impossible to pay by credit card outside the cities. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference. We advise to bring some Dollars for daily expenses and tips.
Dollar bills should not be older than 10 years.
The unit of currency is the Ugandan Shilling. Please check the latest exchange rates before you go to your destination. This will be a guideline. Please note you will get a better exchange rate in the bigger cities.
We advise you to apply for a Flying Doctors membership. The membership provides a quick and reliable air evacuation and medical care if needed.
AMREF Flying Doctors offers 2 covers (Annual and Tourist). You can choose between the Maisha Silver (Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar), Maisha Gold (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) or Maisha Platinum (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia).
Please check out the AMREF Flying Doctors website for more information and to become a member.
Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English, which is the official language in Uganda. Next to English there are about 30- plus different indigenous languages.
Uganda is a tropical country, with higher temperatures at lower altitudes (Kampala, Murchison Falls, Kidepo and Bundibugyo).
Areas around Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Lake Bunyonyi are generally cooler.
Uganda can be visited at any time throughout the year. But please keep in mind that mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rainy seasons (March - May and October - November).
For birders the rainy season is considered to be the best time to visit Uganda.
Rainy season means it rains more often, but not every day and not the whole day.
Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes (areas around Bwindi, Mgahinga, Lake Bunyonyi and Kabale) so carry a couple of sweaters too.
Those who intend to do mountain hiking will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Do not forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a waterproof jacket.
During safaris we advise to avoid black and dark blue clothes (because they can attract tsetse flies).
If you are planning on doing a community walk or visit the local people, we advise you to wear appropriate clothing. For example women putting on long skirts and a top that covers the shoulders
A valid passport is mandatory (passport must be valid for at least 3 months after re-entry) and visa requirements for all countries you are planning to visit should be checked before you travel.
To make the most of your visit to the game reserves and national parks, we advise you to carry binoculars and field guides.
Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or more). Please make sure to carry enough memory cards with you. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
A torch (flashlight) can proof to be very useful
We advise you to take an international adapter with you for your electric equipment. The system used in Uganda is the British system. In most lodges it is possible to charge your batteries.
Driving in Uganda is on the left-hand side.
Visitors without experience of African roads are advised to travel with a 4x4 vehicle driven by a knowledgeable driver/guide, rather than self-drive.
All our guides are well trained in "Defensive Driving".
Please mind that washrooms along the road are sometimes not to European standards, for example squatting toilets, no flushing toilets or no toilet paper available. Like the locals say: T.I.A. This Is Africa.
Bathroom facilities and accommodations can be more basic when traveling on a medium to low budget. In the eco lodges mind that the water reserves are limited and in most cases there are no sockets in the room, but you can always charge your devices at the reception.
Tipping will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% in hotels and restaurants. Guides, drivers and carriers should always be tipped. Indication: for carriers USD 1-3 and for your driver/guide USD 5-15 per day, depending on the group size, number of days and your satisfaction.
The Bradt Travel Guide is the most detailed guidebook for Uganda. The Lonely Planet (East Africa), Footprint Guides and Spectrum Guides produce other guidebooks. For wildlife, the best guidebook is ‘Watching Wildlife East Africa’ from the Lonely Planet. For birding, the best guidebook is ‘birds of East Africa’. It is advisable to get the most updated copy.