The Essence of Uganda via Dubai
16 days in Uganda featuring Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Park. Dubai, Entebbe, Lake Mburo, Bwindi National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale Forest, and Murchison Falls National Park
Price per person in double is available upon request
Price is subject to change. Price does not include tips, taxes, or fuel charge
VIDA DOWNTOWN Hotel: is situated in the heart of Dubai, close to Souk al Bahar, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall. Also, it's 10 minutes away from Dubai International Airport. The hotel has an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. Business amenities at this 4.0-star property include a 24-hour business center and small meeting rooms. This romantic property has a restaurant, a bar/lounge, and a coffee shop/café. Dinner on your own
Dubai is the most populated and the second largest emirate of UAE. It has a spectacular combination of skyscrapers showcasing modern living and traditional architecture and souks displaying the age-old vibrancy of the place. This fantastic blend of modernity with tradition makes it one of the most favored tourist destinations in the world.
Discover new and old Dubai. The half-day tour will take you through some of Dubai’s beautiful landmarks. The magnificent Mosque in Jumeirah. Visit Burj Al Arab, the tallest standing hotel in the world, the Camel Race Track. Then we take a short break by the Creek to view the amazing architecture of Deira Towers before we visit the fascinating underground Dubai Museum. Our journey continues through the colorful textile market and the glittering gold souk where we feast our eyes on the dazzling display of gold jewelry.
PM: AT LEISURE or two optional tours available for purchase. Lunch and dinner on your own. BB
LAKE MBURO to BWINDI NATIONAL PARK – (7 hours including stops)
AM: We will board our vehicle for our 3-hour drive to the district of Kabale, where we will have our hot lunch at White Horse Lodge.
En route- we pass through Uganda’s Ankole District, where the people keep massively horned cattle, which have been bred in this region for centuries and are used as an indicator of personal wealth.
After lunch, we proceeded for another 3-hour drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in South-West Uganda. This is the richest forest in Uganda– one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age – is home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Also, the park has 90 mammal species, including 11 primates, of which the black–and–white colobus, with its lovely flowing white tail, is prominent. The valley bottoms contain a dense cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs with only a few trees hence its name, the impenetrable forest. Gorilla tracking began in this park on April 1, 1993. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at Bwindi National Park and spend the next two nights at MAHOGANY SPRINGS LODGE. Dinner and overnight. BB, L, D
DEPART from ORLANDO - USA
Depart from Orlando, Florida, to DUBAI on EMIRATES Airways Overnight & meals on board.
Arrive at DUBAI International Airport) you will be met, assisted, and transferred to Dubai to spend the next two nights at the deluxe four stars VIDA DOWNTOWN HOTEL (or similar) downtown in Dubai.
After your buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to Dubai International Airport for your Emirates flight to Entebbe (Uganda). Breakfast on board.
In the afternoon, we will arrive in Entebbe, where we will be met and transferred to the Lake Victoria Hotel for the next night. The hotel is a 5-minute drive from the Entebbe International Airport and a newly-refurbished four-star hotel. It is only 4km from Entebbe airport and 34km from Kampala City. Lunch and dinner on your own in Entebbe. BB
ENTEBBE / LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK (4-5 hrs drive, including stops)
In the morning, we will board our safari vehicle for our 5-hour drive to LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK—a small park surrounding a lovely system of lakes and papyrus swamps. Mburo National Park offers perhaps the best opportunities in Uganda to see birds associated with acacia woodlands, such as the Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Black-belled Bustard, Black-headed Gonolek, Grey Hornbill, and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater. Large animals are spotted Hyena and Leopard, but the park is home to many ungulate species, including African Buffalo, Topi, Uganda Kob, Oribi, Reedbuck, and Defassa waterbuck. This is the only place in Uganda where IMPALA is found. Nile Hippo and crocodiles are also fairly common in the park.
Our photo moment stop will be at the Equator for two reasons: we will watch local guides' demonstration of how water swirls in opposite directions in the northern & southern hemispheres at the Equator line. The 2nd reason is great shopping bargains: several crafts shops and art galleries are run by individuals and organizations, selling souvenirs and handmade products.
PM: Arrive at Lake Mburo, where we will spend the next night at MIHINGO LODGE.
Our activities are a game drive and a boat ride on Lake Mburo.
Lunch and dinner are included at the lodge. Overnight. BB, L, D
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST – (Gorilla Trekking)
After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to the Bwindi National Park Headquarters. The Uganda Wildlife Authority staff will brief you and allocate your trackers. If you are feeling unwell, please inform the park authorities. If advised not to trek by the authorities, please do not go on the trek. As the Gorillas are not immune to some human ailments, being in contact with an ill person could have tragic results for the whole Gorilla group. You will be refunded the Gorilla permit amount in full.
Each passenger will have one porter to help you with your trek, carrying your lunch box and camera pack. If you need an extra porter, you have to pay extra and go directly to him or her.
LET’S GO!! Hike into the forest to where the Gorillas were seen the previous day, and then begin tracking with your expert local guide/tracker. The trek can be from one to seven hours, including one hour with the Gorillas, and may climb to altitudes over 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough, with steep inclines and, at times, muddy stretches.
Once your guide/tracker locates the gorilla group, you can spend one hour with the gorillas. Your guide will position you to have the best viewing possible. Please do not go nearer than 5 meters distance and follow all your guide instructions.
(Please look at the real thing! Some passengers are so engrossed in picture-taking that they forget to actually look at the gorillas and only remember the experience as seen through a camera lens).
Picnic lunch is provided and taking plenty of water is very important. Cameras, extra batteries, and space on your memory cards are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is essential, including zip-lock bags for cameras & phones. After you visit with the Gorillas, you will descend to your vehicle and return to your lodge for Dinner & overnight. BB, Box lunch, D
BWINDI / QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK (6-7 hours, including picnic lunch and game drive)
After breakfast, we will drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda's most visited national park. It is home to various wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, waterbucks, hippos, cape buffalo, Uganda kob, baboon, and birds, all typical of riverine and savannah habitats. Sixty miles south of Mweya, ISHASHA, the park's remote southern provides an authentic wilderness experience. Diverse landscapes, including the Ishasha River, savanna woodland, and the Lake Edward Flats, support a variety of wildlife, including the famous tree-climbing lions and the rare shoebill stork. Also, visit the MARAMAGAMBO, one of Uganda's largest surviving natural forests, including Maramagambo Cave with bats and snakes. A lunch box will be included.
Late afternoon: After our game drive in the park, we go to MWEYA LODGE for the next two nights. The lodge is situated on a peninsula overlooking Lake Edward and Kasinga Channel. Mweya Lodge offers beautiful views of the park with the Rwenzori Mountains in the background. Mweya Lodge has been completely renovated to a high standard. It has excellent rooms with private bathrooms, a bar, a swimming pool, and a lovely outside dining area. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Lodge. BB, L.BOX, D
(There may be some warthogs around the lodge: these are not tame and should not be fed or encouraged. Also, you may experience small flies similar to mosquitoes; these are lake flies that are annoying but not harmful. Mosquitoes are not very common, but you may wish to wear long sleeves and long trousers and socks and to use an insect repellent in the early evening)
QUEEN ELIZABETH / KIBALE FOREST - (3 &1/2 hour drive)
After breakfast, we will board our land cruiser for a morning game drive in the Park to see game including, Elephants, Lion, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, and a very good variety of Antelope. Return to the Lodge for lunch.
After lunch, we start our 3 and 1/2 hours drive to Kibale Forest. We will leave the Rift Valley, passing through the beautiful agricultural countryside where every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable is grown. Upon reaching Kyanjojo, in the lower foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains (Mountain of the Moon), we drive through beautiful tea plantations and into Kibale tropical rain forest, where we will spend the next two nights at the Beautiful Ndali Lodge. Ndali Lodge: is situated on a high saddle between two crater lakes. The late Captain Mark Price, a British tea farmer, built the Lodge. The eight luxury bandhas offer views over the dramatic Rwenzori Mountains. The bedrooms are spacious. Four-poster beds draped in mosquito nets and decorated in local crafts and materials. The en-suite baths have hot & cold running water and flush toilets. There is no electricity at camp, but it is lit with solar power, and ample candle and oil lamps are provided in the evening, creating a romantic feel of Old Africa. Late afternoon, arrive at Ndali Lodge for dinner & overnight. BB, L, D
QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK – game drive and boat ride
After breakfast, you will board your land cruiser for another game drive in the Park to see the game, including Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Giant Forest Hogs, and a good variety of Antelope. Return to the Lodge for lunch. Late afternoon we will drive to the Kasinga/Kazinga Channel for your two-hour boat trip. The 40 km-long Kazinga channel that connects Lake George to Lake Edward provides the park's prime wildlife spectacle. Its shoreline attracts large numbers of birds, mammals, and reptiles year-round. These can be seen from our private launch cruise, which cruises between Mweya Jetty and the channel's entrance into Lake Edward. The plain north of the Kazinga Channel is the primary game-viewing area. A network of tracks enables you to find elephants, buffalo, and other animals in the mosaic of grassland thickets that covers the North Kazinga area near Mweya. However, lions are most reliably sighted on the open Kasenyi plain east of the Kasese Road, where they prey on a large population of Uganda Kobo game and are most rewarding in the early morning and late afternoon. After our boat experience, we return to our Lodge for dinner and overnight. BB, L, D
KIBALE FOREST- Chimp trek and Bigodi Swamp walk
Today, you will spend the day hiking through the dense overgrowth of the Kibale Forest in search of primates, both greater and lesser (therefore: you must wear your hiking boots and similar clothes you already have for the Gorilla trek – the paths can be overgrown, slippery and steep and you will be trekking through thick forest. Tuck your trousers into your socks to protect them from ants. Dress in layers to remove outer garments as required once the day heats up. You may wish to spray with insect repellent before commencing your walk. Again, please wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks, and use insect repellent in the early morning & evening).
This morning we will track habituated chimps – these delightful apes are more closely related to humans and are tremendously fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. The forest is home to over 13 species of primates. Three large communities of Chimpanzees each inhabit Kibale, each numbering over 200 individuals. Walking is not difficult; paths have been made in the forest, and all walks are with excellent English-speaking local guides. Typically you will locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls and observing them as they feed in the trees, lounge, or hunt. They move quickly through the bushy canopy hunting Colobus Monkeys and Bush Babies and occasionally capture ground dwellers such as Dik-Dik.
Once we have encountered the chimps, we will continue hiking through the forest, looking for birds and lesser primates, which may include Red-Tailed Monkeys, Red Colobus Monkey, Black and White Colobus Monkey, Gray Cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon and Vervet Monkey. Birders are in for a treat with 335 species recorded, including the endemic Prirogrin’s Ground Thrush.
The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier, moves seasonally into the developed part of the park while other terrestrial mammals include: buffalo, giant forest hog, and half dozen antelope species.
After our experience tracking Chimps and our swamp walk in Magombe Forest, we will return to our lodge for lunch.
PM: At leisure or optional night walk in Kibale Forest. Dinner and overnight. BB, L, D
KIBALE FOREST / MURCHISON FALLS – travel day with lunch box-8 hrs
We will board our vehicle to continue our adventure by driving northwards to Murchison Falls. This scenic drive is long but filled with exciting features, including passes through verdant countryside filled with fascinating scenery of the Albertine Rift and the past traditional homesteads and farms along Albertine Rift escarpments. En route, we will have a picnic lunch. Then we will continue until we reach Murchison Falls Park, where we will spend the next two nights at NILE SAFARI CAMP.
NILE SAFARI CAMP: is set amongst the rich papyrus forest on the southern banks of the Nile. It is close enough to see the elephants playing in the water and listen to the hippos grunting at night. Accommodation at the Nile Safari Camp comprises 5 log chalets and five luxury tents all with en-suite showers, flush toilets, and electric lighting. The comfortably furnished chalets and tents are cleverly positioned to maximize privacy and the stunning view from your balcony.
Enjoy drinks from the bar or relax on the large wooden deck that provides beautiful views of the river and surrounding bush. Find respite from the day's heat in the swimming pool and eventually end your day around an open fire, gazing at Africa's starlit night sky.
Our program includes a game drive at the park and a boat trip down the Nile to the thundering Murchison Falls. Other optional excursions include game drives, walking safaris, cultural village excursions, and fishing and boat trips. Dinner and overnight. BB, Box lunch. D
MURCHISON FALLS – Game drive and boat trip, including lunch box
We will board our safari vehicles for our early morning game drive in the park's northern sector. The game drive will take you through open grasslands and acacia woodlands. Dominating the plain's horizons are the blue-grey western wall of the Rift Valley and the shimmering waters of Lake Albert. Most of the game is to be found in the area north of the Victoria Nile River and East of the Albert Nile and Lake Albert. This is where part of the movie – The African Queen- was filmed. The game often seen includes elephant, oribi, giraffe, waterbuck, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, sitatunga, bushbuck, warthog, bush pig, lion, leopard, mongoose, genet, hyena, jackal, and bat-eared fox.
After our picnic lunch, get ready for the highlight of your day: we are going on a boat cruise to the bottom of Murchison Falls to view this magnificent spectacle from down below, where the Nile River is forced through a 21-foot wide gap in the rocks and drops 145 feet over the escarpment. This is said to be the world's largest natural force of water, creating what appears to be a boiling cauldron of water. This boat trip will allow you to get up close and personal with the animals. Along the stretch of the River, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles, and you will see elephants and buffalos, waterbucks and birds like Herons, Cormorants, Ducks, Bee Eaters, Fish Eagles, King Fisher and the rare Shoebill Stork which still can be seen. We return to our Lodge in the late afternoon: Dinner & overnight. BB, L, D
MURCHISON FALLS / ENTEBBE 5-6 hours drive, picnic lunch included
The tour starts with a 5-6 hour drive. Before you return to Entebbe, you must make an essential stop at the top of Murchison Falls, where you can walk within inches of crashing waters and feel the ancient rocks vibrate under your feet. Then proceed by vehicle heading south to Entebbe. A lunch box will be included.
Later that afternoon: Arrive at Entebbe, where you will spend the night at Lake Victoria Hotel. Dinner on your own. Overnight.
BB, Lunch box
ENTEBBE / DUBAI
Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Morning at leisure. In the afternoon, transfer to Entebbe International Airport for your Emirates flight to Dubai. Arrive in the afternoon at Dubai International Airport and proceed to the COPTHORNE HOTEL by shuttle bus to spend the next few hours at the hotel in Dubai.
DUBAI / ORLANDO
You will be picked up by the hotel shuttle bus to transfer you to Dubai International Airport for your Emirates flight to Orlando, Florida, USA.
Morning arrival at Orlando International Airport and connect with your flight to your next destination.
WELCOME BACK HOME.