So you’ve decided you want to go trekking for gorillas in Uganda. Great decision! Now what does that actually look like?
Regardless of which company you pick to trek with, your itinerary will probably be very similar to ours, which I’ll explain below. We went with Bella Africa Safaris. Our tour was called “8 Days Primates and Wildlife Safari.”
Day 1: Arrival
Arrived in Uganda in the evening. Our guide was waiting at the airport with a sign and drove us about 10 minutes to our hotel in Entebbe.
Day 2: Travel Day
Ate breakfast at the hotel. Drove about 6 hours to the Chimpanzee forest. Had lunch along the way in Fort Portal.
Took a walk around our camp and spotted lots of different monkeys (who kept us up all night!).
At dinner and slept at Kibale Forest Camp (affectionately called KFC).
Day 3: Monkeys & Chimpanzees
Ate breakfast at KFC. Drove to the Bigodi Swamp area to spot some monkeys and other wildlife. Saw a few types of Columbus monkeys, cows, and some gorgeous birds.
Drove back to the lodge and ate lunch. Drove to Kibale National Park for an afternoon of chimpanzee trekking. We were lucky and got to hang out with a group of about 10 chimps while they cooled off in the shade.
You get to stay with the chimps for a maximum of one hour. The guides were very professional.
Before dinner, we watched a children’s choir sing and dance to traditional songs. One of their songs was permanently stuck in our heads for the rest of the trip!
Ate dinner and slept at KFC.
Day 4: Boat Safari & (Short) Game Drive
Ate breakfast at KFC. Drove to Queen Elizabeth National Park, the second largest park in Uganda. We ate a boxed lunch along the way.
At 2, we took a boat safari. We saw tons of animals in/near the water such as elephants, hippos, buffaloes, birds, and some crocodiles. We also go to see the local fishing villages living harmoniously with all these animals.
On our way to the next lodge, we did a short game drive where we saw plenty of bush bucks, birds, monkeys and buffaloes.
Ate dinner and slept at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge. This lodge was definitely the most rustic of all the places we stayed.
Day 5: Game Drive & Chimpanzees
Ate breakfast at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge. Did an early morning game drive, but didn’t see many animals. We saw more of the same – bush bucks, buffalo, warthogs, and birds.
After a disappointing game drive, we drove to the oldest active salt lake in Uganda and learned how it produces salt.
We also visited a local fishing village and saw some pretty crazy fish.
Our luck changed at lunchtime when we got a viewing of a lifetime. While eating, we heard the trumpeting sounds of elephants and ran to see the source. There were about 70 elephants cooling off in the water right outside our lodge! It was a highlight for sure.
In the afternoon, the original plan was to track some chimps in the gorge. Our plan was foiled by the extremely hot and sunny weather; all the chimps in the gorge were basically hiding. Our guide found another way for us to track chimps, but alas, after three hours of hiking through a jungle, we didn’t see any chimps.
Ate dinner and slept at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge.
Day 6: Travel Day
Ate breakfast at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge. Drove to Bwindi National Park; the scenery along the way was breathtaking.
Our hotel offered an arts & crafts experience with the local community (for a pretty hefty price – $15/person). It was a pretty ridiculous excursion – instead of making arts & crafts together, we just watched them make their gorillas out of wood for an hour. We’re glad we got to support the local community, but we wouldn’t recommend this experience.
Watched local children dance in support of the orphanage.
Ate dinner and slept at Rushaga Gorilla Camp.
Day 7: Gorilla Trekking
The big day!
Ate breakfast at Rushaga. Brought packed lunches and plenty of water. Walked to the gates and waited to be briefed for the trek.
We were the first group back – we took 2.5 hours.
Day 8: Travel Day
Drove back to Entebbe – about 9-10 hours!
Stopped at Lake Mburo National Park to see some zebras and kob.
Also took a pit stop to take pictures at the equator.
Cost: $1400 Per Person (this was the cost when we booked the tour and we added an extra day)
The price includes everything except tips and beverages.
Be prepared for a lot of driving!
Want more Uganda? Check out these posts:
Abundance in Africa – my mom’s post about her experience