19 Days Discover the Pearl of Africa

Safari Overview 

Discover the Pearl of Africa covers the highlights of Uganda’s national parks. Get off the beaten track and explore some of Uganda’s best-kept secrets. Explore Sipi falls, Kidepo National Park then down to the Magnificent Nile River in Murchison Falls NP further to the tropical forest of Kibale – home of the chimpanzees onwards to birders’ paradise Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth Park proceeding to home of the Mountain Gorillas, Bwindi Forest for an encounter with the gentle giants and further to Lake Bunyonyi –Land of many Islands getting immersed in the culture of the crest. Visit Mgahinga NP for golden monkey hiking onwards to Lake Mburo for amazing game safaris, quad biking and nature walks. 

 

Safari Highlights 

  • Kidepo Valley National Park with sprawling savannah wildlife scenes and soaring mountains, Kidepo National Park might be the most picturesque park in Africa. 
  • Adventure town of Jinja for the source of the Nile cruise and white water rafting
  •  Murchison Falls NP for a boat ride on the mighty Nile river to the bottom of the Falls, and a game safari in search of the Big 5 Game. 
  • Rainforests of Kibale. Primates and chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest NP
    • KIchwamba Orphanage Foundation for a cultural experience.  
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest NP
  • Golden monkey hiking in Mgahinga 
  • Quad biking and Night game drive in Lake Mburo 

 

Tour Itinerary for the discover the Pearl of Africa Tour

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport (15mins)

Upon your arrival in Entebbe, you will be picked up by a company representative transferred to your hotel on the start of your Discover the Pearl of Africa Tour. Accommodation at the Boma Guest House. 

Day 2: To Jinja 

After breakfast at 7:30 am, we will depart Kampala and head towards the unknown east to Jinja. The name ‘Jinja’ means ‘rock’. this was named so simply because, in Africa, rivers like the Nile hindered migration, this explains the ethnic boundaries along the Nile as one moves north from the river’s source on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. It covers an area of 767.7sq km of which 701.9 sq km island and the rest (65.8 sq km) is covered by water bodies. Boat cruise on the source of the Nile before checking in. Alternatively – Get wild and wet while participating in White water rafting. Accommodation and Meals at Gately on the Nile 

Day 3: To Sipi Falls 

Breakfast at 7:00 am then head to Sipi Falls arriving in time for the Sipi Falls Hike using the upper loop. This is a 3-3.5 hrs activity depending on the pace set by the group. This is an amazing walk that takes you on an up climb to the top of the upper waterfall and beyond, walking through community plantations before reaching the national park boundary. On a clear day, you can see the peaks of Elgon, the top of Wanale Ridge, and the distant plains below. Accommodation and meals at Sipi River Lodge 

Day 4: Sipi Falls – Kidepo National Park 

Breakfast and transfer to Kidepo National Park with lunch en-route arriving in the evening for check-in. Accommodation and Meals at Kidepo Savannah Hotel 

Day 5: Kidepo National Park

A full day in one of the most beautiful and certainly most remote national parks in Uganda! Early in the morning, you will explore the Narus River Valley by game drive or safari walk. Go in search of giraffes, ostriches, zebras, elephants, and lions. The park is also a birder’s paradise as it boasts a bird list with over 475 species. Have lunch and relax before going on a visit to one of the local Karamojong communities. The Karamojong tribe is well known for its unique nomadic lifestyle and rich traditions of storytelling. Accommodation and Meals at Kidepo Savannah Hotel

Day 6: Kidepo – Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast, head to Murchison Falls National Park arriving in time for lunch and relaxation. Accommodation and Meals at Murchison River Lodge 

Day 7: Game drive & Launch cruise

After breakfast, you will continue to Murchison Falls National Park with a game drive on the northern bank of the Nile, giving you a greater chance of seeing animals such as giraffes, elephants, lions, hartebeest, and different species of birds. In the afternoon, you have a boat trip on the base of the falls. Look out for the Nile crocodile, hippos, waterbucks, and a variety of bird species at the bottom of the falls, an amazing scenic view of the Nile awaits you as well before returning to the lodge. Accommodation and Meals at Murchison River Lodge

Day 8: Drive to Fort Portal Town – Kibale National Park 

After breakfast head towards Fort Portal with lunch en route. The lovely town of Fort Portal rests in the shadow of the fabled Mountains of the Moon and is famous for the many tea plantations. Proceed to Kibale National Park, home of the primates arriving in the evening for relaxation. Accommodation and Meals at Kibale Forest Cottages 

Day 9: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park

Today the forest opens its doors for sensational chimp tracking. Kibale Forest is reputed for having the highest concentration of primates in East Africa. Enjoy a guided nature walk in the tropical rainforest in search of the wild chimpanzee, red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey, and many others.  After lunch, we transfer to Bigodi Community. Here you will have the choice to join a guided Swamp Walk through the Wetland Sanctuary, which is famous for the many birds and primates that live in this area. Or you may decide to go for a Village Walk. Accompanied by a guide who can tell you everything about the traditional customs and lifestyle of the inhabitants, you will follow the village path and visit a catholic church, traditional homesteads, learn about the crops and listen to the storytelling of a Mzee (elderly man). Both activities are an initiative of the inhabitants of Bigodi Village and the revenues are shared by the local community. Accommodation and Meals at Kibale Forest Cottages

Day 10: Rwenzori Foothills – Queen Elizabeth National Park 

Today you can enjoy the majestic Rwenzori Mountains in their full glory! Have a guided walk at the foothills of the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ and learn about the local culture firsthand. Enjoy the scenic views, have a glimpse of the village life, and meet the locals. Thereafter transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park arriving in time for late lunch. 

In the evening, you may head out for an evening game drive or head out to the Kichwamba Orphanage Foundation, a community-based organization dedicated to bringing hope to the hopeless by elevating orphans, other vulnerable children, and elderly whose parents and guardians died from the wildlife attacks, anti-poaching ranger patrols, HIV/AIDS scourge, wars and poverty into improved and better lives through care, education and empowerment. Have a coffee tour experience learning about the processing of coffee and later a cultural dance session. Accommodation and Meals at Queen  Elizabeth Bush Lodge 

Day 11: Lion Experiential Project and Boat cruise Kazinga Channel

After breakfast, you will visit a lion experiential project. This experience allows visitors to actively participate in monitoring the pride in the park, using locator devices and learning habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings, and behavior. The results are added to researchers’ databases, contributing valuable information to the overall understanding of wildlife ecology, and helping to conserve this wonderful ecosystem. 

 After lunch, head for the scheduled 3 hrs boat ride along the Kazinga channel joining lake Edward and Lake George with excellent wildlife sightings including, multitudes of hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles, wallowing buffaloes on its reedy banks, elephants, multitudes of birds including many endemics as well as hundreds of other plains game that come to it for water.

After the boat cruise, head out to the Kichwamba Orphanage Foundation, a community-based organization dedicated to bringing hope to the hopeless by elevating orphans, other vulnerable children, and elderly whose parents and guardians died from the wildlife attacks, anti-poaching ranger patrols, HIV/AIDS scourge, wars and poverty into improved and better lives through care, education and empowerment. Accommodation and Meals at Queen  Elizabeth Bush Lodge 

Day 12: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi National Park 

After breakfast head to Bwindi National Park, the home of the mountain gorillas with lunch en-route, take time to look at the amazing scenery and homesteads of the local communities. You will arrive in the early evening for relaxation. Accommodation and Meals at Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge 

Day 13: Gorilla Trekking

In the early morning, you will be briefed on gorilla tracking at the park headquarters and assigned groups of 8 people per group. Accompanied by a guide and your packed lunch, you will go in search of the gorillas in a small group. You walk through the forest, sometimes you descend again and then climb up a slope again. The duration of gorilla tracking is unpredictable. 

The walk can be quite strenuous due to the muddy trails and mountainous areas and can take up to 8 hours depending on how far the gorillas have moved in search of food. It is definitely worth it and what awaits you, in the end, is indescribable. For an hour you can admire these peaceful ‘Gentle Giants’ as they go about their daily activities of grooming, feeding, and playing.   It is a once-in-a-lifetime memorable experience on your Discover The Pearl of Africa Tour.        Accommodation and Meals at Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge

Day 14: Bwindi NP – Lake Bunyonyi

After breakfast to Lake Bunyonyi arriving in time for lunch at the Lodge. After lunch, you will embark on a 5-hour experience on Kyabahinga Peninsula. You will canoe across the bay to the terraced hillsides of the Kyabahinga peninsula. Have a stopover at Edirisa Nursery School if school is still in session, a trading center above the school where the local brew is made, as you proceed to climb the slopes of Kyabahinga for about 30 minutes till the top of the hill, you will meet Omugurusi Jeremiah, a traditional healer, a well-known herbalist who will share with us some carefully chosen secrets of tropical highland flora. Kyabahinga is uniquely located with an outlook over most of Lake Bunyonyi, its 29 islands, and the distant Muhavura volcano. You will hear some of the colorful tales, legends and historical facts related to these islands. Thereafter proceed to the ridge where you will find a home of a crafts maker who will demonstrate how the crafts are made, you can try out as well. A descent down the hill and a short canoe ride will bring you back to our starting point. Accommodation and Meals at Travelers Rest Hotel 

Day 15: Lake Bunyonyi – Mgahinga NP 

After breakfast, head to Mgahinga National Park for a golden monkey hiking briefing about the rules and regulations of the park. The trek starts at 8am as you proceed along the Gahinga Trail in search of the golden monkeys. The treks usually take between 30 mins-3 hours depending on how far they move in search of food. You will spend 1 hour with the golden monkeys as you watch them go about their daily activities. Later descend back along the trail back to the starting point. Accommodation and Meals at Travelers Rest Hotel 

Day 16: Mgahinga – Lake Mburo National Park Boat cruise 

We drive to Lake Mburo National Park and as we enter the park it is likely that you will spot some wildlife, like impalas, zebras and buffaloes arriving in time for relaxation and lunch.  In the afternoon you can go on a boat ride on the lake and enjoy the rich birdlife and the hippos that are cooling off. In the evening, you will have an evening game drive in search of zebras, buffalos, giraffes, impalas among others.  Accommodation and Meals at Rwakobo Rock.

Day 17: Quad biking safari and Night Game drive 

After breakfast head out for the Eland trail which takes about 2 hours. Get up close with nature and game as you proceed along the trail. Look out for Zebras, Waterbucks, Elands, Impalas OR embark on the Ankole trail 3-hour quad biking session getting to know more about the sacred sites of the Ankole tribe.  Later return to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. In the night, you might have a night game drive in search of the nocturnal animals in the park. Look out for the hyenas and leopards during this time. Later,  head back to the lodge. Accommodation and Meals at Rwakobo Rock. 

Day 18: Lake Mburo National Park – Entebbe 

Early start of the day as we will go for a bushwalk guided by a ranger. Lake Mburo National Park is renowned for its rich birdlife and beautiful lakes. Enjoy a nature walk searching for zebras, warthog, buffalo, impala and, if you’re lucky, see the largest of Africa’s Antelope, the beautiful eland. Return to the lodge for breakfast and with a game drive on our way out we depart the protected area heading back towards the capital city. En route, we will pass the Equator where we will make a stop for lunch, photos, and souvenir shopping. Accommodation and Meals at the Boma Guest House.

Day 19: Departure 

After breakfast, depending on your flight details, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight back home at the end of your Discover the Pearl of Africa Tour.

End of the 19 Discover the Pearl of Africa Tour

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