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Trip Extensions

Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Extension

Duration: 4 days

This is a great extension if you wish to spend more time seeing mountain gorillas up close at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This extension also allows you the chance to see the rare Golden Monkey and learn more about Rwandan cultures.

Rwanda Cultural Extension

Duration: 4 days

Choose this addition to your Uganda trip if you wish to experience Rwandan culture, and perhaps partake of another opportunity to see the mountain gorillas up close at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. 

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive uganda

Paul Tamwenya, Journeys senior naturalist guide in UgandaPaul Tamwenya, Journeys senior naturalist guide in Uganda

Upon arrival at the international airport in Entebbe, you will be driven to your hotel, located in the capital of Kampala. From your countryside hotel you'll enjoy amazing views of Lake Victoria and the city.

Meals
None
Lodging
Cassia Lodge (or similar)

Day 2: kampala cultural tour

Kasubi TombsKasubi Tombs

After breakfast at the hotel, you'll head out on a cultural tour of Kampala. Start at the Naggalabi Coronation Site, ritual landmark of the Kingdom of Buganda. Also visit the Kasubi Tombs, burial ground for Buganda's kings and other members of the royal family. Several traditional kingdoms exist today within the geographic and political state of Uganda, Buganda being the largest. Learn how the national government and the kingdoms negotiate shared rule, and about the period of dormancy for these kingdoms from 1967 to 1993. Next, visit the Uganda Museum to see the cultural and natural history collections. Then, continue to the Namugongo Shrines, where Ugandan Christians were slaughtered by order of King Mwanga in 1886 for refusing to renounce Christianity. The unique Catholic Church standing on the site today, known for its beautiful and unique interior and exterior, is built close to the spot where St. Charles Lwanga and St. Kizito were killed.

Time permitting, you may also visit Makerere University, the oldest University in East Africa; Namirembe Cathedral, the oldest church built by European missionaries to Uganda; the Bahai temple, the largest and only temple of its kind in Africa; and a craft village where you can purchase African art including carvings and masks. Note: It may not be possible to include all these sites, so the most important will be given top priority.

Drive to Jinja (2 hours) for your overnight stay at a lovely boutique hotel on the Nile.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
The Haven Lodge (or similar)

Day 3: nangaiza village & birds of a feather

Make friends over a game of omwesoMake friends over a game of omweso

Today you'll visit Nangaiza village, birthplace of Journeys Senior guide, Paul Tamwenya. Meet locals in their traditional rural homes. See women cooking traditional dishes and men conducting the business of the town. Try your hand at traditional musical instruments, play omweso (the Ugandan version of mancala), and hear folk stories. Also visit the beneficiaries of Birds of a Feather, the non-profit organization started by Paul to support orphans, vulnerable children, and those with HIV/AIDS. Through education, the children and their guardians learn about nutrition and safe drinking water programs, poverty relief, agriculture, and more. Afterwards, transfer to Mbale for dinner and overnight.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Mt. Elgon Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: overland to murchison falls national park

Spot warthogs on safariSpot warthogs on safari

Today's drive (approx. 6 hrs) takes you through the remote corridors of Eastern Uganda to Murchison Falls, the largest protected area in Uganda and bisected by the Victoria Nile. It is a long drive, but there will be frequent rest stops and great scenery along the way. Murchison Falls National Park is home to a variety of wildlife species including over 76 mammals such as buffaloes, Jackson hartebeests, antelopes, lions, giraffes, hyenas, warthogs, etc. and 450 bird species. The wildlife is spread across the Savannah and you will see many during your game drives.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Pakuba Safari Lodge (or similar)

Day 5: murchison falls land and boat safari

Seek out the Shoebill Stork (photo by Tom Tarrant)Seek out the Shoebill Stork (photo by Tom Tarrant)

You'll have the morning free to relax and enjoy the natural scenery that surrounds the lodge, or take an optional early morning game drive to spot wildlife. Lunch will be at the lodge, followed by a boat safari for great views of the bottom of the falls, stopping just ten meters away from the infamous "Devil’s Cauldron." While on the water, marvel at the hippos, crocodiles, possibly elephants, waterbucks, and the Ugandan Kob. You'll also see a variety of birds including commorants, storks, ducks, and herons. Return to the lodge in time for dinner. If you like, accompany Paul on an optional night game drive.

We also recommend a Balloon Ride over Murchison Falls (additional $400 per person; availability is dependent upon weather conditions). This 45-60 minute balloon ride can be done in the early morning to see the sunrise or in the evening for sunset views. This unique experience allows for the best wildlife viewing and photography. The flight goes about 1,000 feet above ground for optimal views of the park and Murchison Falls and also hovers at tree level to view animals at close range. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Pakuba Safari Lodge (or similar)

Day 6: return to kampala via murchison falls

Murchison FallsMurchison Falls

Return to Kampala (approx 6 hour drive) via the Falls for which the national park was named, enjoying the fantastic scenery along the way. Murchison Falls, also known to locals as Kabalega Falls, is located between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the White Nile  River. At the top of the falls the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks only 23 feet wide and falls 141 feet into Lake Albert. On arrival back at the lodge in Kampala, you'll have the rest of the day free to relax.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Cassia Lodge (or similar)

Day 7: western uganda

Try your hand at baking traditional breadTry your hand at baking traditional bread

After a good night’s rest and breakfast, you'll head out on a cultural expedition to the southwestern part of Uganda with cultural stops along the way beginning with a stop at the Nagalabi Coronation Site at Buddo Hill where the Kabakas (kings) of the Buganda Kingdom have been crowned for the past 700 years. These ceremonies take place here because it was where Kintu, the first Kabaka of Buganda killed his brother Bemba and declared himself King in the 13th century. This is also the site of the coronation of the current king - Ssabasajja Kabaka Ronald Kimera Mutebi II. From the hill, there are excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Also stop at the Katereke prison, the site of a tragic event that took place in the Buganda Kingdom in the 19th century. King Kabaka Kimera, the third king of the Buganda Kingdom, feared a coup by one of his many brothers and sisters, so he ordered his siblings slaughtered. Today it is one of the most significant cultural sites in the Buganda Kingdom.  Continue on with a visit to Mpambire village, a traditional African village whose life is centered around drum-making and farming. Their unique drum-making style involves a high degree of dexterity and the use of raw materials. In fact, their drums were once made for the royal family of the Buganda Kingdom. Next, visit the Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara where you will have a brief introduction to the culture of the southwestern region, and particularly the ankole people. At the Erijukiro Museum on the grounds of the Cultural Center there are displays including local clothing, housing, and currency. You'll also have the chance to taste traditional Ankole foods.

Dinner and overnight will be at Nshenyi cultural village, located on a farm near Kitwe Town. The terrain here is ideal for raising cattle and banana plantations. For the best cultural experience, you will stay in a traditional but comfortable modern hut (banda) styled similarly to Ankole homes. Today's drive will be approximately 6-7 hours.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Nshenyi Cultural Village hut (or similar)

Day 8: nshenyi village experience

Ugandan longhorn cattle are essential to local economiesUgandan longhorn cattle are essential to local economies

Rise and shine! Spend the day at the Nshenyi cultural village to experience the Banyankole culture firsthand. You'll participate in the local chores including milking longhorned cattle, making ghee, preparing for ritual celebrations, and cooking meals. There is no better way to learn about local culture than to live the life of the locals, and the authentic (if not sponteneous) experience here is fun for all.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Nshenyi Cultural Village hut (or similar)

Day 9: pygmy cultures & amazing views

Visit the hills around BwindiVisit the hills around Bwindi

After breakfast, you'll continue driving southwest to Bwindi (4-5 hours), home to the majority of Uganda's mountain gorilla population. This afternoon, led by your naturalist guide, spend time learning about the communities that surround the gorillas and their way of life. Visit tea and coffee plantations and learn how the crops are processed. Then visit the Pygmies, an ethnic group whose average height is below 4'11". It is thought that pygmies may have evolved into their short stature to better thrive in the rainforest. These hunter-gatherers maintain their own culture according to unique beliefs, traditions, and languages that you will learn about today. Most pygmies are nomadic and obtain their food by foraging, hunting, fishing, and trading. Music is a very important part of their lives and includes various instruments such as the flute and musical bow, intricate vocal polyphony, and dance. 

Your lodge is located in a peaceful area on the edge of the park where you can relax while enjoying the breathtaking views. The Buhoma Community Haven Lodge is rated as one of the best accommodations in this region. The bandas & bungalows are all made of natural materials in an undeniably African style. The luxury bandas are traditional thatched huts with a full bathroom and a terrace with view of the Nile.  From the lodge, you'll be able to see fish, eagles, otters, monitor lizards, and monkeys, as well as numerous species of birds. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Buhoma Community Haven Lodge (or similar)

Day 10: gorilla tracking or other activities of choice

Bwindi gorilla trekking is challenging but hugely rewardingBwindi gorilla trekking is challenging but hugely rewarding

There are a variety of activities to choose from today, depending on your physical abilities and interests. Costs vary depending on activity.

  • Gorilla Tracking - Set off early today, with a packed lunch, to the park headquarters where there will be a briefing prior to the Gorilla tracking. The gorillas are gentle animals and it is an unforgettable experience to observe and photograph them up close. To reach the gorilla family, it may require hiking anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours. Game scouts are likely to have pre-located them and radioed back their location to your guide, but the animals tend to wander and don’t stick to the trails. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards. You are likely to enjoy a close-up view of adults feeding, grooming, and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display. Gorilla tracking involves part or all of one day in the Impenetrable Forest. In rare instances finding, reaching, observing and returning from a group takes an entire day of hard trekking. You need to be physically fit if you wish to maximize your chances. Very rarely, in spite of all efforts, the gorillas prove to be elusive. Depending on the time you finish, you may have an optional visit to the communities around the gorillas’ habitat. Note: The gorilla permit should be purchased as soon as the trip has been booked to ensure availability. The cost of this permit is currently $600 per person.
  • Bird Watching - Spend the day watching local birds and wildlife around the camp and on the park's islands. You can also hire a boat for a bird cruise on the river. Monkeys, otters, and monitor lizards are common sightings.
  • Explore local villages - Witness the villagers' traditional and simple lifestyle by watching fishermen trapping fish and farmers working the local fields.
  • Enjoy a day of horeseback riding.
  • Or just spend the day enjoying the fantastic surroundings or relaxing by the pool with a good book.
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Buhoma Community Haven Lodge (or similar)

Day 11: transfer to lake mburo national park

Black and White Colobus MonkeyBlack and White Colobus Monkey

After breakfast, make the estimated four hour drive to Lake Mburo National Park, a former game reserve until it became a national park in 1983. This is a great stopover on the way to the Entebbe Airport due to the beautiful scenery and wonderful cultural stories you'll hear about the people and the way of farming life. Lake Mburo is the smallest of Uganda's savannah national parks and a portion of the park's entrance fees are used to fund local community projects.  Here you'll enjoy a boat safari to possibly see zebras, topis, elands, buffaloes, hippos, and leopards as well as a number of water birds such as pelicans, cormorant, fish eagle, and storks. Other bird species include the rare white-winged warbler, brown parrot, and African grey hornbill. This is the only park in the country where you can see impalas, slender mongoose, and the giant bush rat.

If you like, take a night safari for the best chances to see some of the more elusive species of the park such as leopards, hyena, porcupines, etc. Recently a giant ground pangolin was spotted on a night drive not far from Rwakobo Rock.

Dinner and overnight will be at Rwakobo Rock (or similar), an eco-friendly, family run hotel situated on a scenic outcrop at the edge of Lake Mburo National Park. Zebras, warthogs, impalas, and bushbucks often congregate at the water-hole below the dining area and the sounds of the wild come to life at night. Every night (weather permitting), the staff set up a camp fire from where you can watch the sunset and enjoy the starlit sky.

If adding on the Rwanda extension, today you'll cross into Rwanda and stay at a lodge at Volcanoes National Park.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Rwakobo Rock Lodge (or similar)

Day 12: entebbe & depart

Drive back to Entebbe (about 4 hours), stopping along the way for cultural experiences and sight-seeing before being transferred to the airport for your evening onward flight or extend to other parts of Africa.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,600
- $7,650
Group size 6+: $5,600 Group size 4-5: $6,000 Group size 2-3: $7,650 Gorilla permit at Bwindi currently $600
Single Supplement:
$650
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates
Dec 1-12, 2019
Dec 6-17, 2020

Need to Know

See Journeys’ FAQ about Mountain Gorillas for detailed information on the animals and the logistics for visiting them.

Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Optional gorilla tracking, which can be quite strenuous
Group Size:
2-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

FAQ for Gorilla Safari Packages

It's the moment you'll never forget. That moment when, after trekking through mountainous terrain, it's time to remove your backpack and follow quietly. When the tracker …

Try your hand at local style cooking
Try your hand at local style cooking
Paul Tamwenya, Journeys senior naturalist guide in Uganda
Paul Tamwenya, Journeys senior naturalist guide in Uganda
Pygmies
Pygmies
Enjoy a walk -- or a game drive -- in search of wildlife
Enjoy a walk -- or a game drive -- in search of wildlife
Encounter rare Mountain Gorillas, a highlight of the trip
Encounter rare Mountain Gorillas, a highlight of the trip
Lilac Breasted Roller
Lilac Breasted Roller
Say goodbye to this unique, very special corner of the world
Say goodbye to this unique, very special corner of the world
You are sure to see giraffes along the way
You are sure to see giraffes along the way
Stunning views await you
Stunning views await you

Cultural and Animal Encounters in Uganda

Village visits and wildlife tracking in Kampala, Murchison Falls, and Bwindi

overview

Uganda's fascinating wonders go far beyond the famous mountain gorillas who dwell here. While travelers often come for the wildlife, they leave extolling the fabulous cultural experiences that are easily accessible. On this trip, the culture is a main focus. Delve deep into the myriad cultures of Uganda with your local guide and make friends along your route. Meet the Ankole people, Bagandas, and the pygmies of Kisoro. Learn about the semi-sovereign kingdoms remaining in Uganda. And see wildlife, too! Expect to spot large numbers of elephants, lions, cape buffalo, kob, crocodiles, hippos, other mammals, and many of the 612 species of birds that make the park home. Choose a day of gorilla tracking for a primate encounter that has been called life-changing -- or choose another village visit or a float among islands in a wooden canoe. Accommodations are in guest houses and tourist hotels; you will not be camping or backpacking. 

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

Uganda's fascinating wonders go far beyond the famous mountain gorillas who dwell here. While travelers often come for the wildlife, they leave extolling the fabulous cultural experiences that are easily accessible. On this trip, the culture is a main focus. Delve deep into the myriad cultures of Uganda with your local guide and make friends along your route. Meet the Ankole people, Bagandas, and the pygmies of Kisoro. Learn about the semi-sovereign kingdoms remaining in Uganda. And see wildlife, too! Expect to spot large numbers of elephants, lions, cape buffalo, kob, crocodiles, hippos, other mammals, and many of the 612 species of birds that make the park home. Choose a day of gorilla tracking for a primate encounter that has been called life-changing -- or choose another village visit or a float among islands in a wooden canoe. Accommodations are in guest houses and tourist hotels; you will not be camping or backpacking. 

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive uganda
    Paul Tamwenya, Journeys senior naturalist guide in UgandaPaul Tamwenya, Journeys senior naturalist guide in Uganda

    Upon arrival at the international airport in Entebbe, you will be driven to your hotel, located in the capital of Kampala. From your countryside hotel you'll enjoy amazing views of Lake Victoria and the city.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Cassia Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: kampala cultural tour
    Kasubi TombsKasubi Tombs

    After breakfast at the hotel, you'll head out on a cultural tour of Kampala. Start at the Naggalabi Coronation Site, ritual landmark of the Kingdom of Buganda. Also visit the Kasubi Tombs, burial ground for Buganda's kings and other members of the royal family. Several traditional kingdoms exist today within the geographic and political state of Uganda, Buganda being the largest. Learn how the national government and the kingdoms negotiate shared rule, and about the period of dormancy for these kingdoms from 1967 to 1993. Next, visit the Uganda Museum to see the cultural and natural history collections. Then, continue to the Namugongo Shrines, where Ugandan Christians were slaughtered by order of King Mwanga in 1886 for refusing to renounce Christianity. The unique Catholic Church standing on the site today, known for its beautiful and unique interior and exterior, is built close to the spot where St. Charles Lwanga and St. Kizito were killed.

    Time permitting, you may also visit Makerere University, the oldest University in East Africa; Namirembe Cathedral, the oldest church built by European missionaries to Uganda; the Bahai temple, the largest and only temple of its kind in Africa; and a craft village where you can purchase African art including carvings and masks. Note: It may not be possible to include all these sites, so the most important will be given top priority.

    Drive to Jinja (2 hours) for your overnight stay at a lovely boutique hotel on the Nile.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    The Haven Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: nangaiza village & birds of a feather
    Make friends over a game of omwesoMake friends over a game of omweso

    Today you'll visit Nangaiza village, birthplace of Journeys Senior guide, Paul Tamwenya. Meet locals in their traditional rural homes. See women cooking traditional dishes and men conducting the business of the town. Try your hand at traditional musical instruments, play omweso (the Ugandan version of mancala), and hear folk stories. Also visit the beneficiaries of Birds of a Feather, the non-profit organization started by Paul to support orphans, vulnerable children, and those with HIV/AIDS. Through education, the children and their guardians learn about nutrition and safe drinking water programs, poverty relief, agriculture, and more. Afterwards, transfer to Mbale for dinner and overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Mt. Elgon Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: overland to murchison falls national park
    Spot warthogs on safariSpot warthogs on safari

    Today's drive (approx. 6 hrs) takes you through the remote corridors of Eastern Uganda to Murchison Falls, the largest protected area in Uganda and bisected by the Victoria Nile. It is a long drive, but there will be frequent rest stops and great scenery along the way. Murchison Falls National Park is home to a variety of wildlife species including over 76 mammals such as buffaloes, Jackson hartebeests, antelopes, lions, giraffes, hyenas, warthogs, etc. and 450 bird species. The wildlife is spread across the Savannah and you will see many during your game drives.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pakuba Safari Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: murchison falls land and boat safari
    Seek out the Shoebill Stork (photo by Tom Tarrant)Seek out the Shoebill Stork (photo by Tom Tarrant)

    You'll have the morning free to relax and enjoy the natural scenery that surrounds the lodge, or take an optional early morning game drive to spot wildlife. Lunch will be at the lodge, followed by a boat safari for great views of the bottom of the falls, stopping just ten meters away from the infamous "Devil’s Cauldron." While on the water, marvel at the hippos, crocodiles, possibly elephants, waterbucks, and the Ugandan Kob. You'll also see a variety of birds including commorants, storks, ducks, and herons. Return to the lodge in time for dinner. If you like, accompany Paul on an optional night game drive.

    We also recommend a Balloon Ride over Murchison Falls (additional $400 per person; availability is dependent upon weather conditions). This 45-60 minute balloon ride can be done in the early morning to see the sunrise or in the evening for sunset views. This unique experience allows for the best wildlife viewing and photography. The flight goes about 1,000 feet above ground for optimal views of the park and Murchison Falls and also hovers at tree level to view animals at close range. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pakuba Safari Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: return to kampala via murchison falls
    Murchison FallsMurchison Falls

    Return to Kampala (approx 6 hour drive) via the Falls for which the national park was named, enjoying the fantastic scenery along the way. Murchison Falls, also known to locals as Kabalega Falls, is located between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the White Nile  River. At the top of the falls the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks only 23 feet wide and falls 141 feet into Lake Albert. On arrival back at the lodge in Kampala, you'll have the rest of the day free to relax.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Cassia Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: western uganda
    Try your hand at baking traditional breadTry your hand at baking traditional bread

    After a good night’s rest and breakfast, you'll head out on a cultural expedition to the southwestern part of Uganda with cultural stops along the way beginning with a stop at the Nagalabi Coronation Site at Buddo Hill where the Kabakas (kings) of the Buganda Kingdom have been crowned for the past 700 years. These ceremonies take place here because it was where Kintu, the first Kabaka of Buganda killed his brother Bemba and declared himself King in the 13th century. This is also the site of the coronation of the current king - Ssabasajja Kabaka Ronald Kimera Mutebi II. From the hill, there are excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Also stop at the Katereke prison, the site of a tragic event that took place in the Buganda Kingdom in the 19th century. King Kabaka Kimera, the third king of the Buganda Kingdom, feared a coup by one of his many brothers and sisters, so he ordered his siblings slaughtered. Today it is one of the most significant cultural sites in the Buganda Kingdom.  Continue on with a visit to Mpambire village, a traditional African village whose life is centered around drum-making and farming. Their unique drum-making style involves a high degree of dexterity and the use of raw materials. In fact, their drums were once made for the royal family of the Buganda Kingdom. Next, visit the Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara where you will have a brief introduction to the culture of the southwestern region, and particularly the ankole people. At the Erijukiro Museum on the grounds of the Cultural Center there are displays including local clothing, housing, and currency. You'll also have the chance to taste traditional Ankole foods.

    Dinner and overnight will be at Nshenyi cultural village, located on a farm near Kitwe Town. The terrain here is ideal for raising cattle and banana plantations. For the best cultural experience, you will stay in a traditional but comfortable modern hut (banda) styled similarly to Ankole homes. Today's drive will be approximately 6-7 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Nshenyi Cultural Village hut (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: nshenyi village experience
    Ugandan longhorn cattle are essential to local economiesUgandan longhorn cattle are essential to local economies

    Rise and shine! Spend the day at the Nshenyi cultural village to experience the Banyankole culture firsthand. You'll participate in the local chores including milking longhorned cattle, making ghee, preparing for ritual celebrations, and cooking meals. There is no better way to learn about local culture than to live the life of the locals, and the authentic (if not sponteneous) experience here is fun for all.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Nshenyi Cultural Village hut (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: pygmy cultures & amazing views
    Visit the hills around BwindiVisit the hills around Bwindi

    After breakfast, you'll continue driving southwest to Bwindi (4-5 hours), home to the majority of Uganda's mountain gorilla population. This afternoon, led by your naturalist guide, spend time learning about the communities that surround the gorillas and their way of life. Visit tea and coffee plantations and learn how the crops are processed. Then visit the Pygmies, an ethnic group whose average height is below 4'11". It is thought that pygmies may have evolved into their short stature to better thrive in the rainforest. These hunter-gatherers maintain their own culture according to unique beliefs, traditions, and languages that you will learn about today. Most pygmies are nomadic and obtain their food by foraging, hunting, fishing, and trading. Music is a very important part of their lives and includes various instruments such as the flute and musical bow, intricate vocal polyphony, and dance. 

    Your lodge is located in a peaceful area on the edge of the park where you can relax while enjoying the breathtaking views. The Buhoma Community Haven Lodge is rated as one of the best accommodations in this region. The bandas & bungalows are all made of natural materials in an undeniably African style. The luxury bandas are traditional thatched huts with a full bathroom and a terrace with view of the Nile.  From the lodge, you'll be able to see fish, eagles, otters, monitor lizards, and monkeys, as well as numerous species of birds. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Buhoma Community Haven Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: gorilla tracking or other activities of choice
    Bwindi gorilla trekking is challenging but hugely rewardingBwindi gorilla trekking is challenging but hugely rewarding

    There are a variety of activities to choose from today, depending on your physical abilities and interests. Costs vary depending on activity.

    • Gorilla Tracking - Set off early today, with a packed lunch, to the park headquarters where there will be a briefing prior to the Gorilla tracking. The gorillas are gentle animals and it is an unforgettable experience to observe and photograph them up close. To reach the gorilla family, it may require hiking anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours. Game scouts are likely to have pre-located them and radioed back their location to your guide, but the animals tend to wander and don’t stick to the trails. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards. You are likely to enjoy a close-up view of adults feeding, grooming, and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display. Gorilla tracking involves part or all of one day in the Impenetrable Forest. In rare instances finding, reaching, observing and returning from a group takes an entire day of hard trekking. You need to be physically fit if you wish to maximize your chances. Very rarely, in spite of all efforts, the gorillas prove to be elusive. Depending on the time you finish, you may have an optional visit to the communities around the gorillas’ habitat. Note: The gorilla permit should be purchased as soon as the trip has been booked to ensure availability. The cost of this permit is currently $600 per person.
    • Bird Watching - Spend the day watching local birds and wildlife around the camp and on the park's islands. You can also hire a boat for a bird cruise on the river. Monkeys, otters, and monitor lizards are common sightings.
    • Explore local villages - Witness the villagers' traditional and simple lifestyle by watching fishermen trapping fish and farmers working the local fields.
    • Enjoy a day of horeseback riding.
    • Or just spend the day enjoying the fantastic surroundings or relaxing by the pool with a good book.
    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Buhoma Community Haven Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: transfer to lake mburo national park
    Black and White Colobus MonkeyBlack and White Colobus Monkey

    After breakfast, make the estimated four hour drive to Lake Mburo National Park, a former game reserve until it became a national park in 1983. This is a great stopover on the way to the Entebbe Airport due to the beautiful scenery and wonderful cultural stories you'll hear about the people and the way of farming life. Lake Mburo is the smallest of Uganda's savannah national parks and a portion of the park's entrance fees are used to fund local community projects.  Here you'll enjoy a boat safari to possibly see zebras, topis, elands, buffaloes, hippos, and leopards as well as a number of water birds such as pelicans, cormorant, fish eagle, and storks. Other bird species include the rare white-winged warbler, brown parrot, and African grey hornbill. This is the only park in the country where you can see impalas, slender mongoose, and the giant bush rat.

    If you like, take a night safari for the best chances to see some of the more elusive species of the park such as leopards, hyena, porcupines, etc. Recently a giant ground pangolin was spotted on a night drive not far from Rwakobo Rock.

    Dinner and overnight will be at Rwakobo Rock (or similar), an eco-friendly, family run hotel situated on a scenic outcrop at the edge of Lake Mburo National Park. Zebras, warthogs, impalas, and bushbucks often congregate at the water-hole below the dining area and the sounds of the wild come to life at night. Every night (weather permitting), the staff set up a camp fire from where you can watch the sunset and enjoy the starlit sky.

    If adding on the Rwanda extension, today you'll cross into Rwanda and stay at a lodge at Volcanoes National Park.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Rwakobo Rock Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: entebbe & depart

    Drive back to Entebbe (about 4 hours), stopping along the way for cultural experiences and sight-seeing before being transferred to the airport for your evening onward flight or extend to other parts of Africa.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,600
- $7,650
Group size 6+: $5,600 Group size 4-5: $6,000 Group size 2-3: $7,650 Gorilla permit at Bwindi currently $600
Single Supplement:
$650
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates
Dec 1-12, 2019
Dec 6-17, 2020

Need to Know

See Journeys’ FAQ about Mountain Gorillas for detailed information on the animals and the logistics for visiting them.

Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Optional gorilla tracking, which can be quite strenuous
Group Size:
2-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Rwanda Gorilla Tracking Extension

Duration: 4 days

This is a great extension if you wish to spend more time seeing mountain gorillas up close at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This extension also allows you the chance to see the rare Golden Monkey and learn more about Rwandan cultures.

Rwanda Cultural Extension

Duration: 4 days

Choose this addition to your Uganda trip if you wish to experience Rwandan culture, and perhaps partake of another opportunity to see the mountain gorillas up close at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. 

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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