Company : Soulful Concepts
Activities: Adventure Holidays / Career Break / Community Volunteer Projects / Gorilla Safaris / Tours / Conservation Volunteer Projects / Cultural Tours
Location : Uganda, Africa
Duration: 1 week to 2 weeks
Approx Costs: 3000+ to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)
Tour Code : UGCON16
Get off the beaten track and experience the unique depth that Uganda has to offer.
Get off the beaten track and experience the unique depth that Uganda has to offer.
With its unspoilt natural beauty and jaw-dropping range of biodiversity, Uganda offers up the best of African wildlife. As we journey through Uganda’s beautiful national parks we will come across a plethora of creatures, big and small.
See gentle Elephants roaming as native birds float overhead, watch antelope and Uganda’s unique impala grazing next to black and white zebras. Take in lazy lions, hungry hippos, and the largest population of wild gorillas in the world. Crocodiles swim under the roars of a waterfall. Baboons, chimps, and the country’s other resident primates will watch us as we watch them. Reap the unexpected rewards of visiting this unique wildlife wonderland as you learn about the creatures and people that make this place so special.
It is a true African adventure with rides down the Nile River and treks into the dense green jungles and golden plains. Our special African travels will support the important efforts of the Community Conservation Scouts. This voluntary initiative trains youth recruits from local communities to help address the issue of human and wildlife conflict in the park region, such as elephant crop raids, helping to maintain a healthy and happy balance between the local villages and local creatures.
Day 1 – Kampala: Welcome to Africa!
Welcome to Uganda! A private pick up from Entebbe International airport gets you swiftly settled in our hotel in Uganda’s capital of Kampala. Depending on your arrival time there is the option for a quick visit to explore a bit of this dynamic and engaging African city. Later arrivals will have a chance to relax in the hotel and prepare for the adventures that await us over the next few weeks.
Day 2 – Murchison Falls National Park: From rhinos to waterfalls
Our first morning together has us heading out to Uganda’s biggest nature reserve, the Murchison Falls National Park. Here we will have our first chance to fully appreciate the scope of Uganda’s breathtaking natural scenery. Along the way we will detour for a change to take a guided walk through the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where we can watch these gentle creatures feeding.
Upon arrival at the park we will check into our rustic wilderness lodge, our home for the night. We then have the options of either embarking on a sunset cruise up the River Nile or driving up to the top of the falls to take in their splendour. Established in 1952, the park takes its name from the powerful Murchison waterfalls located in the park, which is also home to the smaller Uhuru falls – both awe-inspiring sights.
Day 3 – Murchison Falls National Park: Land and water creatures
Today we will venture out early for a chance to see some of Africa’s most famous animals. A short ferry ride gets us to the start of our game-drive through the park’s savannah region of Buligi. This grassland area offers great views of the Western Rift Valley and is home to lions, elephant, giraffes and more, so keep your eyes peeled. We will stop for lunch before we embark on an afternoon boat cruise to the base of the falls. Along the way we will observe the riverbank wildlife as we cruise past pods of hippos, swimming crocodiles, bathing buffalo and a number of native aquatic bird species.
Our accommodations for the night are the African comforts of the Fort Murchison Nature Lodge with majestic views of the Albert Nile River. Spend the evening at leisure, listening to the sounds of nature as the stars come out overhead.
Day 4 – Murchison Falls National Park: A day with the Uganda Youth Conservation Scouts
An early morning start takes us to the northern side of the Park where we will meet with the youthful volunteers from Community Conservation Scouts, to learn more about their important efforts. They host us at their site in Koch-Goma and will help educate us about their program, in which community scouts are voluntarily helping the Park to address the human-wildlife conflicts that are caused by animal raids.
The Community Conservation Scouts will demonstrate some of their special non-violent techniques to deter animals, like elephants, from invading local settlements or crops. This is a unique chance to see how the donation component of this trip is put to good use, supporting the efforts of the Scouts and helping the local people to live in harmony with nature around them.
Day 5 – Kibale National Park: Tea plantations and green views
We wake up to the fresh air and morning views of the beautiful landscape around us. After breakfast we will leave the Murchison National Park and head toward Kibale Forest National Park, about 7 hours away. Our destination for tonight, Kibale Forest, is believed to have the highest density of primates in all of Africa and is home to over 13 different primate species. Along the way to Kibale, we will pass through incredible scenery of tea plantations and the luxurious green countryside that characterises western Uganda. A visit to a tea plantation allows us to observe how fresh tea leaves are handpicked by locals.
Upon arrival, the evening is yours to unwind and make yourself comfortable in the rustic eco-lodgings of the Primate Lodge Cottages.
Day 6 – Kibale National Park: In search of chimps!
An adventure awaits us today as we go out for day in search of the Park’s resident chimpanzees. We will start early, after breakfast, and along the way also have the chance to encounter some of the Park’s other primates such as the grey-cheeked mangabey, the red colobus and both red and blue-tailed monkeys. Our expert forest guide will share the secrets of the flora and fauna around us as we make our way along the trail.
In the afternoon we pay a visit to the Bigodi Women’s Group and take a captivating boardwalk through the papyrus swamp of the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. Our day is sealed with sunset drink and the chance to watch a cultural performance before we return to the lodge.
Day 7 – Queen Elizabeth National Park: Tranquil Africa
Today we have a beautiful drive to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. We will make our way along the eastern stretch of the Rwenzori Mountains and down into the Rift Valley that is home to the park. Our accommodations for the night, the Ihamba Safari Lodge, sits lakeside and separate from the park. Borne out of a love for nature and animal preservation, the lodge offers us the perfect spot to experience the tranquillity of Africa.
After some afternoon relaxing there is the option of embarking on an evening game drive into the park to enjoy the sunset wildlife.
Day 8 – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Start the day with an early breakfast before heading out to see the animal kingdom enjoying their breakfast! The beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park is said to be home to over 95 different mammal species and 612 bird species. Here we will get to have a classic African safari experience that weaves through the Kasenyi, the Northern Kazinga Plains and the Ishasha Sector. We will see buffalo, antelope, majestic elephants, wild warthogs and even baboons. With the help of our expert wildlife guide we will track down a pride of lions, including the famous tree-climbing lions, and maybe even spot a leopard for a magical experience.
In the afternoon, we will cruise to the Kazinga Channel which offers an oasis to many of the park’s fascinating animal inhabitants. Float past enormous hippos and buffalos while elephants walk the shoreline. Enjoy the calm pace of the cruise and soak up the splendid scenery.
The evening is yours for relaxing back in the tranquil settings of our safari lodge.
Day 9 – Bwindi National Park: Gorillas, here we come!
Arise for a leisurely breakfast at the lodge before we leave for our next destination; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bwindi Park is home to more than half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas. As we make our way to the park we will pass through the scenic green rolling hills of South-western Uganda. Along the way we watch for the possibility of baboons blocking our path, demanding our attention.
We will stop for the night in the private serenity of the Mahogany Springs Safari Lodge, where we will have a great blend of optimal comfort and a spectacular setting. An early night will help us be ready for our exciting gorilla encounters tomorrow.
Day 10 – Bwindi National Park: A magical day with mountain gorillas
Today is a big day as we will have a rare chance to encounter one of Uganda’s most special creatures, the gentle giant mountain gorilla. A highlight and a humbling experience for most travellers there is nothing like getting up close and personal with these peaceful creatures as they eat, rest, play and bond with their young. After a quick briefing from our park guide we will embark on our gorilla tracking walk, which can last anywhere from one to five hours depending on the location of the gorillas.
We will have the privilege of watching at least one of the ten habituated gorilla families that lives in the park’s forest. We will walk through one of Africa’s most ancient habitats. It is an exciting journey along the thick forested slopes, bushes and bamboo before we ultimately reach our gorilla family. As you will experience, it is an unforgettable moment meeting one of these gentle creatures eye to eye.
Day 11 – Lake Mburo National Park: Signature animals and terrain
Today we head towards Lake Mburo National Park, passing through the “Switzerland” of East Africa, known for it’s picturesque scenery. Around Mbarara we also make our way through Ankole cattle country, where these incredible horned animals roam the lands.
We arrive at Lake Mburo National Park, one of Uganda’s smaller parks, offering excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The park has a mixture of terrains ranging from savannah, grassy valleys, rolling hills to rocky outcrops, swamps, lakes, and acacia woodlands. Our game drive will give us Uganda’s only chance to see impala, as well as roaming Burchell zebra. There will be herds of buffalo, waterbuck and eland as well as over 310 recorded bird species. There is the possibility of a night drive for a chance to see the park’s nocturnal creatures in action.
After a full day we will settle into the eco-friendly comforts of the family run Rwakobo Safari Lodge.
Day 12 – Lake Mburo National Park and Entebbe: A warm send off!
After breakfast, we start the day with a bush walk to say goodbye to the beautiful African nature we have enjoyed on our travels. Our experienced bush ranger will help us to notice footprints and animal dropping that are signs of which creatures have passed by. It is one last chance for an exciting up close animal encounter.
Afterwards, we make our way back to Kampala and Entebbe International Airport – but not without one more important stop! With one foot in each hemisphere we finish our trip at the equator! We bid you a warm farewell, either at the airport or in the city centre, depending on your onward travel arrangements.
Organisation: Community Wildlife Scouts
Donation component: $85 per person
Your impact: The donation component of this trip goes towards funding the project’s costs of training and equipping one of the eager conservation scout volunteers.
Uganda offers the best of what Africa has to offer in terms of natural landscape, diverse habitats and incredible biodiversity. As Uganda steps away from their dark and tumultuous past, tourism and development are growing in the country. It is imperative that local communities are engaged and educated about how to live in harmony with the incredible nature that surrounds them.
The Ugandan Nation Conservation developed the Community Conservation Scouts Program as a way to engage local youth, especially those who live near conservation areas, and to ensure that they will be lifelong stewards, leaders, protectors and conservationist of Uganda’s environment.
One of the chief responsibilities of the scouts are to employ non-violent methods of warding off wildlife, such as elephants, that can have a negative impact on the local communities. Some of their ingenious techniques include growing chili, burning chili bricks and using vuvuzelas, bells and whistles to deter animals and assisting the park rangers in their tasks. So far these techniques have helped the scouts reduce animal raids by 40% in the region they operate in.
The donation component of this trip goes towards funding the project’s costs of training and equipping one of the eager conservation scout volunteers. This includes their two-month training period, supporting the rangers who work with them and ensures that they have the proper equipment and supplies to do their work.
As always, by participating in responsible tourism that respects and honours the people and places you visit, you are helping to support local communities in maintaining their way of life. Your travel time in their villages and your interest in their culture helps bring money to the community, supports local guides, fishermen and artisans, and allows them to take pride in their traditions.
What's included: - Accommodation with breakfast daily (3 and 4 star hotels and deluxe eco-tents and lodges) - All transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles - Western tour manager - English speaking guides throughout - Meals as indicated in the itinerary - Entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary - Cruise and boat fees as indicated in the itinerary - Gorilla permit - Bwindi Community National Park walk What's not included: - International flights and airline taxes - Single Supplement - Uganda Visa* - Optional tours and excursions - Tips and gratitude’s - Personal travel insurance and vaccinations - Items of a personal nature - Other services not listed in the inclusions column
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