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On this 25 days best of Uganda Culture and Wildlife Safari, you are to traverse a country that is culturally vast and naturally endowed. You will have authentic cultural encounters alongside a dive into nature’s endless gifts to this Pearl of Africa. Uganda is among the top 5 countries with the friendliest people worldwide and common to all Ugandans, irrespective of one’s cultural subscription, is the friendliness towards visitors and even amongst themselves. There are 56 tribes in Uganda, each with different cultural practices manifested in their economic activities, the food, dress codes, music and dances. It is here in Uganda where you can explore cultures that have stayed a lifespan of centuries undiluted, so all indications are for unique and wonderful experiences while on this Uganda safari trip. Moreover the places to visit involve mostly the less travelled parts of Uganda and the national parks that harbor diversity of wildlife including the rare ones like Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Golden monkey and the big five.
- Cultural encounters and local village tours
- Wildlife viewing and game drives
- Boat cruises
- Hikes and nature walks
- Chimpanzee tracking
- Gorilla trekking
- Cultural sites visits
- Bird watching
- Uganda Equator crossing monument
Day 1 – Arrival at Entebbe International Airport and hotel transfer
Upon arrival at the airport, staff from Jungle Escape Africa shall warmly receive you and transfer you to the hotel for your relaxation after a long flight and overnight stay. You shall be briefed about the next day’s program and the set off time, which can be adjustable or fixed.
Day 2 – Sezibwa falls cultural site, Source of the Nile tour in Jinja
We are to start the day after breakfast at the hotel and our first visit shall be to the Sezibwa falls site, located a few meters off the Kampala-Jinja highway. It has an interesting cultural legend that shall be shared by one of the site guides as you marvel at the beautiful waterfalls. Sezibwa cultural tales are basically connected to the Baganda, one of the dominant tribes in Uganda. Drive to Jinja for the source of the Nile River tour. Here you will ride on the boat to see the spot believed to be the start of the Nile’s 3 months journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Jinja is home to majorly the Basoga tribe and much of their culture shall be shared during this boat ride. After lunch in Jinja, we shall drive to Mbale through Palisa. Mbale is a town for the Bamasaba tribe living at the slopes of Mountain Elgon and are known for circumcision of men among other practices in their culture.
Day 3 – Sipi falls tour and Sebei people in Kapchorwa.
We shall leave Mbale town early morning and drive to Kapchorwa, the home of Sipi Falls and the Sebei people who are known for circumcision of women. The hike/walk to the waterfalls will be an interesting one since the site guides are Sebei who take much pleasure in sharing their culture as they take visitors around these 3 amazing waterfalls. After lunch in the afternoon, we shall engage in another interesting activity called the Coffee tour where apart from getting to know how coffee was introduced in Uganda from Ethiopia and how it became part of many cultures, we shall have a hands-on experience in the stages involved in local coffee production, processing up to consumption stage. Evening cultural entertainment by the Sabiny people.
Day 4 – Sipi falls – Nyero Rock Paintings
From this Sabinyi land after our breakfast, we shall have a scenic drive with views of Kapchorwa hills and Mount Elgon ranges to the relatively flat lands of Teso where the Nyero Rock Paintings site is located. Nyero Rock Paintings are one of the oldest stone age sites in Africa. It is of great historical and cultural significance to not only the Iteso, the dominant tribe in the area, but also to the Batwa people whom we shall meet during some of the last days of the trip.
Day 5 – Bokora People, Mount Napak and Karamoja Museum
After an early breakfast, we are to take a drive to the region of the Bokora people through Katakwi. During the drive, we shall be treated to uninterrupted views of Mount Napak, one of the highest peaks in this generally flat Karamoja region. We shall take a visit to the Karamoja museum and the local market in Moroto.
Day 6 – Full day visit to Matheniko and Jie communities.
We are to leave the lodge after breakfast and go out to the communities to visit the Jie and Matheniko people. Traditional dance and cultural performances shall be made in which we shall note the meagre differences in these 2 different tribes with almost similar cultures. Evening take a visit of the local market in Kotido.
Day 7 – Dodoth and Ik communities visit and transfer to Kidepo Valley Park
The slopes of mount Morungole are home to one of the indigenous tribes in Uganda called the Ik. After breakfast at the lodge, we shall visit the Dodoth and Ik communities. Afternoon transfer to Kidepo Valley Park. Check into your lodge on arrival.
Day 8 – Game drive and Karamajong community visits
Go out for an early morning game drive after breakfast. You shall do a game drive in the park to see many animals like the lions, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, leopards and others. Evening visit to the Karamajong communities where you will admire the architectural designs for their Manyattas(homesteads). Karamajong communities are one of the few where the term authentic cultural encounters find its true meaning. You will be here to witness this!
Day 9 – Travel to Murchison falls National Park
After breakfast in the morning, we shall leave Kidepo for Murchison falls National Park. We shall make a stop in Kitgum to visit the Aruu falls. Lunch will be in Gulu town after which we shall continue with a drive to Murchison Falls National Park arriving in the evening. Depending on where we shall stay or the time we shall get there, an evening game drive might be or not possible.
Day 10 – Game drive and boat cruise to the bottom of the falls
A game drive in this extensive park shall be done early morning to spot the abundant wildlife inhabited here. Four of the Big5, the birds, flora species and many others make visits and game drives in this park so enjoyable. We shall get back to the lodge for lunch after which we shall slope down to Paraa landing site for an afternoon boat cruise on the Victoria Nile up to the bottom of the falls. Be on the lookout for some exciting wild life scenarios like viewing elephants swimming in the river, the birds, crocodiles and a lot more. Hike to the top of the falls from where your driver can pick you or ride back with the boat to the starting point at Paraa.
Day 11 – Chimpanzee Tracking in Budongo Forest and Lake Albert hot springs
Drive to Budongo Forest Reserve for Chimpanzee tracking in the morning. Briefing shall be done on arrival at Budongo forest offices after which you shall disappear into the forest with armed rangers who will lead you through the trails until you find these amazing forest gems, the chimpanzees. Lunch shall be at Budongo Eco Lodge after which we shall drive to Lake Albert for the hot springs and Kibiro village/community tour.
Day 12 – Fort Portal town, Tooro Kingdom Palace
Leave Hoima town after an early breakfast at the hotel and drive to Fort portal. We shall visit the Tooro King’s palace for a deeper dive into the Tooro culture with a kingdom that currently has the youngest reigning monarch in the world. This king ascended to the throne at the age of 3 years after the demise of his father. We shall visit Amabere caves in the afternoon after lunch.
Day 13 – Bigodi swamp walk near Kibale Forest and crater lakes tour
Breakfast in the morning and drive to Bigodi swamp for a nature walk to see primates, birds, many other animals and a cultural encounter. Visit the crater lakes in the afternoon/evening and this can involve the top of the world’s walk too.
Day 14 – Semliki hot springs and Batwa Pygmies community visit
We shall leave after breakfast and transfer to Semliki national park for a community visit to one of the Batwa Pygmies communities in Uganda. You shall have a tour of the hot springs located at the edge of Ituri forest in Semliki wildlife reserve. There is a closer link with the Batwa people, the hot springs and the forest, all of which you shall get to know from the park and site guides.
Day 15 – Queen Elizabeth National Park boat cruise and community visit
We shall leave after breakfast for a crater lakes tour as we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. We are to visit the fishing villages at Lake Katwe and the salt mining areas for an extensive visit to the communities with in Queen Elizabeth National Park. In the afternoon, we shall have a boat cruise on Kazinga Channel for an exciting wildlife encounter along this water channel that links Lake George to Edward.
Day 16 – Game drives and Tree climbing lions
Early morning game drive at the Kasenyi Plains before crossing to Ishasha in the south of the park for the magical tree climbing lions. You shall be amazed at how they climb to such great heights and outstretch their bodies on to the tree branches. Other than the tree lions, Ishasha is a hide out for wild game like the elephants, buffaloes, kobs, birds and a lot more.
Day 17 – Ishasha to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
We shall check out of our Ishasha lodge after breakfast and do a last visit to the tree climbing lions after which we shall drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Optional Batwa Pygmies Community and cultural visit in the evening.
Day 18 – Gorilla trekking day and community visit
We are to leave the lodge after breakfast with our packed lunch boxes to attend the briefing on the Gorilla trekking etiquette at the park offices. The visitors for the day shall be split into groups that will be allocated different Gorilla families and the rangers who will lead the search for them as well as giving protection/security through this dark forest. The Gorilla search length for today shall determine whether we shall remain with time to reach out to the communities or not. Coffee and a hot dinner will be your great companions in Bwindi’s ever chilly evenings.
Day 19 – Bwindi – Mount Mgahinga Gorillas Park
We shall have an absolutely scenic drive from Bwindi Forest Park to the beautiful Kisoro town and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Lake Mutanda boat ride in the afternoon shall be the best way to enjoy the spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes in its backdrop. On a clear day especially, it’s as if they can’t help but to give an excellent optical therapy with those spectacular sceneries.
Day 20 – Full day Batwa trail Experience
Wake up to the misty and chilly weather of Kisoro, have breakfast before walking/driving to Mgahinga Park offices to register for the Batwa cultural experience. This Batwa trail at Kisoro encapsulates all the experiences we shall have had with the Batwa Pygmies whose origins and movements we had earlier traced at
Day 21: Kisoro – Lake Bunyonyi.
For all departures from Kisoro, there seem to be no better way to start the journey than viewing the volcanoes fresh and full of life. We shall leave this beautiful town, the home of the Mufumbiro Mountains and Mgahinga Gorilla Park, to Kabale, another picturesque area. Bakiga people are the dominant tribe in the area and a tour of Lake Bunyonyi with a boat will take us to its various islands including Akampene Island where unmarried pregnant girls were damped to starve and die. In the Kikiga tradition, girls were not supposed to get pregnant before/without being married off by their parents. Evening relaxation at the lodge.
Day 22: Lake Bunyonyi to Lake Mburo National Park
As you marvel at the lake with its islands and the adjacent terraced hilly lands, have a tasty breakfast at the lodge after which we shall drive off to Lake Mburo National Park via Mbarara city. The views of the long horned cattle grazing in the fields is quite an amazing one and impromptu stops shall be made for an interaction with the herdsmen and other local people. The Banyankole are the dominant tribe in Mbarara where another stop shall be made at Igongo cultural centre for lunch and a tour of the museum that tells more about this pastoral community. We shall proceed to the nearby Lake Mburo for an evening boat cruise on the lake to some encounter with some of the wildlife in Uganda’s smallest savannah park, Lake Mburo.
Day 23: Game walk and depart for Kampala.
For an immersion into nature and another closer encounter with wildlife, take a morning game walk in the park after your breakfast at the lodge. The car will pick you at some point to start the drive to Kampala. It will be via the Equator and where a stop shall definitely be made for lunch, photo moments and local souvenir shopping, if interested. Another stop will be at Mpambire local drum makers’ village. Continue with the drive up to the busy Kampala city with people full of life. With their endearing smiles, many will happily wave at you as it’s a ‘norm’ for Ugandans to treat visitors to a home feeling experience.
Day 24: Full day Kampala city and Cultural tour
After breakfast, we shall start out to visit cultural and religious sites in Kampala. They are quite many but we shall visit among them; Kasubi tombs, King’s palace, Namirembe Cathedral, Gadafi Mosque, the Uganda Martyrs Shrine at Namugongo and the local market Owino. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Kampala and in the evening, we shall have a cultural performance by the Ndere cultural group at Ndere Centre.
Day 25: Airport transfer and departure
Stay at leisure until transfer to the airport for your flight back home or you can reach out to Entebbe wildlife Education Centre for the behind the scenes wildlife experience. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Entebbe. End of the 25 Days Best of Uganda Culture and wildlife Safari.