This 14-day adventure through the heart of Uganda begins with an adventurous journey to the awe-inspiring Rwenzori Mountains, setting your sights on conquering its majestic summit. Trek through rugged terrains, lush forests, and dramatic landscapes, encountering unique flora and fauna along the way. From here, venture to the renowned Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you’ll witness the breathtaking beauty of the savannah, spot diverse wildlife including elephants, lions, and hippos, and enjoy breathtaking boat cruises on the Kazinga Channel.
Next, immerse yourself in the mystical Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, home to the magnificent mountain gorillas. Trek through dense vegetation and come face-to-face with these incredible creatures, an experience that will leave an indelible mark. Conclude your safari with a visit to the mesmerizing Lake Bunyonyi, surrounded by lush hills. Prepare to be enchanted by the tranquility of the lake and indulge in water sports or simply unwind and savor the beauty of your surroundings.
After an early breakfast, check-out, shopping in town and currency conversion among other quick requirements if you didn’t do any the previous day. If you did, get on board straight away and take the journey westwards towards Fort Portal tourism city. Continue with the scenic journey to the base of the mountain and overnight at our booked accommodation.
Early in the morning, after having a cup of coffee, drive to Nyakalengija Trailhead (1600m). Meet porters and guides and begin hiking up to Nyabitaba hut. Walk through the matooke/banana plantations on the side of the steep foothills, past the local Bakonjo homesteads. Continue with the trail along the Mubuku River, through landslides. After crossing the Mahoma River, climb steeply through bracken fern slopes and Podocarpus forest to Nyabitaba Hut. Dinner and Overnight at Nyabitaba Hut
From Nyabitaba follow the trail that drops down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge, just below the confluence of the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers. Passing through the bamboo forest, traverse through a long stretch of slippery moss-covered rock. From the Nyamileju rock shelter, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke can be seen before passing into the zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel. Finally reach John Matte Hut after passing through the tiring bog, for Dinner and Overnight at the Hut.
From John Matte Hut the trail drops down to cross the Bujuku River and enters Lower Bigo bog, the home of giant lobelias. Jumping from tussock to tussock, the bog is finally crossed but rarely without the feet sampling some of the freezing ooze below. The Upper Bigo bog gives way to Bujuku Lake, with views of Mt Baker to the South and Mt Stanley to the West. Bujuku Hut, well located in the shadow of Mount Baker and Mount Speke, is set in a narrow valley below Stuhlmann Pass.
Leaving Bujuku, the trail takes you through more bog, while climbing the steep slopes west of the lake and through the magical Groundsel Gully as it ascends to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. At the head of the gully, a metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail is divided into two. The trail on your right leads up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders, while the trail on your left leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes. Dinner and Overnight at the Coolly and Icy Elena Hut.
For those aiming at reaching Margherita peak (5109m), continue to the base of the Stanley Glacier. To reach the summit of Margherita, the climb takes about 5-7 hours depending on the weather conditions and the pace of climbing this mountain. This tough walk takes you over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very exposed areas which are open on many sides. Note that this climb is for only physically fit and technical climbers. Rwenzori may not be the highest in Africa, but it is believed to be the most challenging to climb. So, come prepared to sweat for this ultimate badge of honor.
Climbing on to the glaciers, cross the Stanley Plateau and proceed with the ascent. Acclimatized to fog, altitude sickness and cool weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita the highest peak of the Rwenzoris. Given the high altitude and the tough conditions even if you do not reach the peak, don’t get disappointed. You have already conquered this legendary mountain, and now you’re a legend too in your own right.
Prepare for your return through the Scott-Elliot pass where there are spectacular views back to Bujuku Lake and Mount Speke, up to Mount Stanley and down to the Kitandara Lakes. After the trail that takes you through an alpine zone of sparse vegetation and rough boulders, descend past the Kitandara Lakes for dinner and overnight at the Kitandara Hut. This is an average of 8-10 hours
From Kitandara, take on the trail that ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the mountain to Fresh Field Pass. At this point you can view into the Congo to the west and Mount Stanley to the north. From the pass, take on the long trail passing the rock shelter at Bujongolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906. Dinner and Overnight at Guy Yeoman Hut.
Take on the path down to Nyabitaba hut early in the morning. The path can be slippery and muddy and therefore requires careful balancing over the vertical mud or steep rock. Remember this is part of the adventure within this mountain. This can take about 3-4 hours.
After lunch at Nyabitaba Hut, descend gently down to River Mahoma and continue to the Base camp Nyakalengijo where you will find a Lush Africa Safaris driver waiting to take you to your hotel for an overnight or proceed to the next destination. This will also take an average of 3-4 hours.
At the base of the mountain, you will be assisted by your driver/guide who shall continue with you to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Settle-in at your lodge for Lunch and relaxation.
Wake-up to the sound of nature, get on board and embark on a sunrise game-drive. The vast savannah plains, swamps and forests of Queen Elizabeth are home to about 95 mammals and over 600 bird-species. Look-out for lions, leopards, elephants, warthogs, bushbucks, cape buffaloes and waterbucks among others. Our guides know how to make the best of earlier sightings, animal routines and a network of trails to maximize your chances of enjoying your game drive as much as possible.
After lunch, transfer to the pier/dock to arrive on time for your afternoon boat-ride on Kazinga Channel. A thread of water that joins lakes George and Edward, Kazinga Channel is both home and playgrounds for the Nile Crocodiles and it has arguably the highest concentration of Hippos anywhere on earth. Throw elephants and buffalos into that mix and you’re guaranteed wild drama. You will also encounter the majestic African Fish Eagle, different species of Egrets, Goliath Herons, and Saddle-billed Storks, Egyptian Geese and Cormorants among other bird species. The most special thing about the Kazinga boat ride is that you see animals from a very close distance. Return to the dock and exploit the remaining part of the day in the wild, and please don’t forget to get your camera out for the magnificent sunset over the Mweya Peninsula.
Watch the sunrise over the panoramic lakes George and Edward, breakfast, check-out and take an en-route game-drive as you exit Mweya Peninsula section heading to the Ishasha section that is renowned for the tree-climbing lions. We shall employ a network of trails in the southern circuit to create viewing avenues of the great predators hanging in Fig and Acacia Trees. After picnic lunch, proceed and follow meandering routes to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
A chilly and misty morning, wake-up and prepare for the summit of your Uganda Safari; the encounter with the critically endangered Gentle Great Apes! Pack lunch, water and rain gear and attend the briefing session to be conducted by the head-ranger. After the briefing, grab yourself a walking stick, carry your lunch, camera and binoculars and follow our allocated ranger-guide into the gorilla sanctuary. Follow instructions as shall be given by the ranger, maintain silence and you will appreciate nature. On sight of the gorillas, keep calm and watch them feed, play, swing from one branch to another and fully exploit the strictly one hour allowed in their presence. Nothing will prepare you for the awesomeness of clapping your eyes on the Mountain Gorillas. When you finally do, the remarkable encounter will almost certainly shoot to the top of the most amazing things you have done your whole life – doesn’t matter how old you are. Gorillas aside, Bwindi is an ancient forest with a diversity of flora and fauna for you to see, feel and experience. This is not your everyday jungle. This is the jungle of the mighty King Kong.
Return to the launch site, receive your tracking certificates and take a ride back to Gorilla Safari Lodge or Similar. Possible Batwa Community visitation if time permits.
On this morning after a tasty breakfast, say goodbye to Gorilla sanctuary as you will drive to Lake Bunyonyi also termed as a great destination for birders due to the various numbers of birds that are available, apart from that it has eye-catching sceneries including the waters, hills, forests, islands among others. Upon arrival you could opt to go for a canoe along the lake or just go for a nature walk around the area. In the evening retire at the lodge and have dinner.
Watch the sunrise over the panoramic view of Lake Bunyonyi; Africa’s second deepest lake. After breakfast the next morning, checkout and embark on a scenic road-trip to Mbarara town. Continue and break for lunch at Igongo Cultural Centre where you can also learn about the culture and history of the Ankole people. A visit to Igongo Museum is worthwhile. Proceed with the journey and stop at the Equator for a photo opportunity and shopping for curio items. A water flow demonstration at the Equator shall amaze you and teach you about the mysteries of the Equator. Proceed via Kampala to Entebbe, farewell dinner and finally drop-off at Entebbe airport for your flight back home.
Enriched with an experience of a lifetime and unforgettable memories you will say goodbye to the Pearl of Africa – for now. We are surely looking forward to seeing you again!