5 Day gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking safari to Bwindi and kibale national park
The safari starts and an end in Kampala Uganda and it includes a gorilla permit of $600 per person and $150 chimpanzee permit per person in the final costing. The safari takes you to two national parks were you will be able to track gorillas and chimpanzees. Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda and it’s one of the greatest rain forest in Africa. It has an altitude of 3,300 meters above the sea level. This national park is famous for the chimpanzees and many other primate species. Each community of chimpanzees has over 100 individuals and each group has got a complicated social structure. Each group has got an adult male and this one is responsible for dominating and defending the group against any incursions by the other male outsiders. The small chimpanzees always move in small groups. The chimpanzees can be located by listening to their pant hooting calls and then the area can be located where they are calling from. You are Usually given one hour to spend with these primate and get a chance to observe how they feed, play, care for the young ones and as they jump from tree to another.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park was opened to tourists in 1993 and it covers an area of 331 sq. meters of lowland forests and montane forests. The park has four habituated groups which include; Mubare, Habinyanja, Rusengura and Nkuringo gorilla group. In addition, the safari park has 12 gorilla families which are open to the tourists on daily basis. The park harbors many animal and plant species including; 348 bird species, 120 mammal species, 220 butterfly species, 27 species of chameleons, frogs, and the geckos, 1000 flowering plants, 104 fern species, 163 species of trees. Some of the bird species include; the turacos and the horn bills. On top of the gorillas, the park has many other primates including the chimpanzees and the colobus monkeys.
Day 1: Transfer to Kibale National Park
Day 2: Chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi wetland swamp
Day 3: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Day 4: Gorilla trekking
Day 5: Departure
Early in the morning after breakfast, leave Murchison National Park and proceed to Kibale National park. You will pass via the Lake Albert escarpments as you enjoy the good views of the lake. You will stopover in Hoima for your lunch and after proceed driving towards the park. You will also pass through the traditional villages and you enjoy the vegetation cover here which is ever green. Have a good time and also take some photos, approach fort portal and enjoy the foot hills of the Rwenzori mountains and then continue to Kibale National Park.
This forest is 1100 -1600 m above sea level and it contains both montane and lowland forests with 13 primate species including the chimpanzees and monkeys including the red colobus monkeys as well as the rare L’Hoest’s monkeys. The park was gazzetted in 1932 and established in 1993 to protect the then increasing number of animals and vegetation. The other species of animal species found in the park include; 250 tree species, 325 bird species, 13 primate species, 60 mammal species, and 14 wild fields.
On you arrival at the park, you will visit the scenic crater lakes region and get chance to check out the terraced tea states. Later on, proceed back to the lodge to relax for the evening and enjoy your dinner.
Luxury: Ndali Lodge
Mid-range: Chimpanzee Forest Guest
Budget: Kibale Forest camp
Early in the morning after taking breakfast, you will go to the park headquarters where you will be briefed about chimpanzee trekking. By 8:00am, you will be starting your search for the chimpanzees within the park. These primates are the closest relatives to the human being and they share 98% of their DNA with that of the human beings. There are also many other primate species which will be seen along with the chimpanzees and these include; the L’Hoest monkeys, golden monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys, grey checked Mangabey, red tailed monkeys, the bush babies, and many bird species which include; green breasted pitta, rumped tinker bird, yellow spotted nicator, and the green breasted pitta, this park is one of the great rain forest in Africa and it has the largest community of chimpanzees where by each community has 1 -100 individuals and each community has a complicated social structure.
In the group, the adult males dominate the group and provide protection to the territory against the rest of the males from other territories. The chimps are located by simply listening for their pant hooting calls, and then head to the place from which they replied from. Here you can observe them as they feed, play as well as socializing with each other.
Later in the afternoon, you will visit Bigodi swamp which is also good for watching primates and birds. It’s mainly maintained by the local people and they earn a living from there. You will enjoy many bird species here including; the great blue turuco, and many more, the other primate species to view here include; the baboons, mongoose, otters, bush pigs as well as the bush bucks.
Luxury: Ndali Lodge
Mid-range: Chimpanzee Forest Guest
Budget: Kibale Forest camp
Early in the morning after breakfast, drive directly to Bwindi via the ishasha sector were you will view many tree climbing lions. This is the only place in Africa were you will view tree climbing lions. You will also view many animals including; the monkeys, birds, kobs, antelopes etc. Arrive to the park in the afternoon and enjoy a nature walk were you will many animals including the monkeys, elephants, birds etc.
Luxury: Buhoma lodge
Mid-range: Silverback lodge
Budget: Ruhija Gorilla friend’s camp
Have an early morning breakfast, and after proceed to the park headquarters to have a briefing about the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking in Bwindi. The rangers will then accompany you to the rain forest to start your search for the gentle giants. This walk can sometimes be tough and it needs someone so strong. Trekkers are always advised to carry their rain coats and boots because the weather there is always unpredictable. There are also some potters who always help with the carrying of the luggage on behalf of the visitors but at a small cost. On sighting the gorillas, the rangers will guide you on handle them, especially by giving them a 6 meter distance as you enjoy them play around. It’s always not easy to predict how long gorilla tracking will take and this also depends on the location of some families since some of them are far from the park headquarters. However, it always takes 2 to 8 hours to come into contact with them and the rangers will always be there to guide you. Trackers are also advisable to be physically fit before going for tracking. After your trek, return to the lodge for your lunch and in the afternoon, you may opt to visit the batwa community to enjoy some cultural performances before retiring at your lodge.
Luxury: Chameleon Hill/ Mahogany springs
Mid-range: Silver back Lodge/ Gorilla mist camp
Budget: Ruhijja Gorilla friend’s Camp
Have breakfast at the hotel and after start your transfer to Kampala, have lunch at Mbarara town and have another stopover at the equator to have some photos and experiments. After, proceed to Kampala arriving in the late afternoon.
END OF SAFARI
The Trip Cost Includes
- Photography and Touring
- Chimpanzee & Gorilla Trekking Permits
- Full board Accomodation
- Full Time English Professional Driver / Guide
- All Tour Activities as detailed in the itinerary
- Bottled Water While on Safari
The Trip Cost Excludes
- Kampala hotel fees(the eve of the safari and the night after the safari)
- Laundry Services
- Beverages / Drinks
- International Flights
- Items of Personal nature
- Optional activities and and other extras not detailed in the above itinerary
Frequently asked Questions
Annapurna Base Camp is a Grade B or a moderately difficult trekking route. So any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you will to, you can.
On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day. One or two days can be as less as 3hrs and one or two days can be as long as 7hrs.
The highest altitude reached is 4190m. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. ABC is the highest we will climb in this trek.
Yes, you can charge batteries en route. Charger should be brought. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, hot water facility could be free at lower elevation.
No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You will have to draw enough cash in Pokhara or Kathmandu. There are a number of ATMs in these cities. Everything is paid in Nepali rupees. So money should be exchanged before the start of the trek.
Yes. Internet can be accessed in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you are used to and at times you can just lose connection.
Not really. It depends on you. If you want, ABC trekking can be done independently. You could hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during off season. It really depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but everything will be planned. You will only have to come, trek and return.
For Annapurna region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.