Ultimate Wildlife Tour in Uganda

Indulge your sense of adventure in Uganda, where the landscapes are a canvas of natural beauty, and the wildlife, from hippos to chimpanzees and the mighty gorilla, takes centre stage in this ultimate wildlife tour.

Dubbed "the pearl of Africa", Uganda weaves together outstanding landscapes, from dense rainforests to shimmering savannahs, lifeblood lakes and the Rwenzori Mountain range. This mosaic of natural wonders creates an extraordinary setting for wildlife viewing, positioning Uganda as a top-tier destination for lovers of African wildlife and, more specifically, primate enthusiasts. With over 345 mammal species and over 1000 bird and butterfly species, alongside the country's generous and warm hospitality, Uganda sets the stage for an ultimate wildlife tour filled with unbelievable encounters, leaving you with memories to cherish and stories to regale for generations to come.

Walk among endangered golden monkey troops, meet the otters of Lake Mutanda, venture out on game drives in search of elusive leopards in Lake Mburo National Park, float past pods of hippos peering above the water’s surface on a lazy afternoon boat trip, and spend time with one of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees. Finally, journey into the depths of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and sit in the presence of the nation's renowned jungle titans, the endangered mountain gorillas. 

Tour Highlights

  • Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
  • Golden Monkey Habituation Experience
  • Otter Habituation Experience
  • Lake Mburo National Park Game Drives & Boat Trip

Speak To A Travel Expert

Lauren Mackinnon

Itinerary

By joining this tour, you'll be encompassed by rich Ugandan culture and fascinating wildlife while playing an active role in conservation efforts. Helping with the habituation process of animals in protected areas allows researchers and visitors to spend more time with them, and the permit fees included in the tour price are used to preserve the national parks, mitigating poaching and habitat loss.

Day 1

Day 1: Arrival in Rwanda

Arriving at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, a project representative will welcome you and transfer you to your first night's accommodation. You'll have the chance to settle in and meet the rest of your group before enjoying a welcome dinner together. After, you can rest and recharge before the adventure begins the following morning!

Day 2

Day 2: Travel to Kisoro & Dian Fossey Museum

Following breakfast, you'll take a three-hour private transfer to Kisoro, pausing to visit the Dian Fossey Museum along the way. Explore the Ellen DeGeneres campus, where you'll have a culmination of years of gorilla conservation research at your fingertips. You'll also have the chance to immerse yourself in a 360-degree cinematic and education experience which will enlighten you about the achievements and difficulties that gorilla conservation has faced over the years, alongside a virtual pre-empting of what seeing the gorillas in the wild will be like for the very first time. You'll indulge in a leisurely lunch before traversing the Rwanda/Uganda border along the route. Upon reaching Kisoro, take some time to settle into your accommodation, and relax in the manicured gardens with the magical Virunga volcanoes serving as a backdrop.

Day 3

Day 3: Golden Monkey Habituation Experience & Travel to Lake Mburo National Park

Today, you'll join researchers and park rangers for the Golden Monkey Habituation Experience in Mgahinga National Park. You will start early in the morning and begin your trek to find these "Old World Monkeys", categorised as such by their nostrils that point downwards rather than outwards. Once you locate the troop which could include 4-6 hours of trekking, you'll spend an hour with them learning about their distinct species, complex social webs, and the threats they face, causing their populations to be classified as endangered. After lunch, you'll transfer to Lake Mburo National Park, arriving in time for dinner.

Day 4

Day 4: Lake Mburo National Park Game Drives & Boat Trip

This morning, you'll head out on a morning game drive where you may happen across zebras, giraffes, warthogs, elands, hyenas and more that roam the grounds, while over 350 species of birds grace the skies above. After lunch, you'll board a boat, journeying across Lake Mburo in search of hippo pods and Nile crocodiles, and you may even spot rare shoebill storks fishing for lunch on the banks of the river. Rounding off an amazing wildlife viewing day, you'll venture out on a night drive looking for leopards, bush babies and other fascinating nocturnal life that call the national park home.

Day 5

Day 5: Travel to Kalinzu Forest & Eco Project Afternoon

Journey to Kalinzu Forest, reaching your eco-friendly accommodation in time for lunch. The Cielo Country Inn, a charming family hotel, actively engages in various eco-projects that contribute to both the environment and the local community. This afternoon offers the opportunity to participate in activities like tending to the eco-garden, working with community members to harvest Tea leaves, a main cash crop in the area, helping out at a banana plantation or visiting a nearby primary school to promote environmental conservation, such as proper disposal of plastic material.

Day 6

Day 6: Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Embark on a trek today to check off another bucket list item – locating troops of wild chimpanzees! Following the whooping and calling from the troop, which travels impressive distances, you’ll traverse the forest until you catch your first awe-inspiring glimpse. You’ll then immerse yourself in the troop's habituation process, spending up to 4 hours with them and taking note of the family members, including the infants and adults, from a safe distance. You'll leave with a deeper understanding of the nuances of their unique social hierarchy and behaviours while learning about the legacy and future of chimpanzee conservation efforts.

Day 7

Day 7: Transfer Back to Kisoro & Lake Mutanda Otter Habituation

This morning, you’ll transfer back to Kisoro, and in the afternoon, you can enjoy the serene and peaceful surroundings of Lake Mutanda while participating in an Otter Habituation activity. This one-of-a-kind experience will give you the opportunity to observe and learn about the behaviour of clawless African otters whose populations are facing endangerment. The habituation process aims to familiarise the otters within the protected lake with people for an upcoming behavioural study. This leisurely boat ride also offers the chance to lounge on the lake while enjoying the stunning scenery!

Day 8

Day 8: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The grand finale of wildlife adventures on this tour will culminate in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where you'll follow in the footsteps of your forest guides in search of endangered mountain gorillas. As the branches are pulled back to give you your first sighting of the gorillas, you are bound to be filled with a rush of emotions, and as you step inside their world to sit among their family, you will create memories that will stay with you forever, rooted in all senses. From finally experiencing the reward of a challenging trek to the feeling of acceptance from the Silverback as he governs over his family, this unparalleled experience is set to rival any wildlife encounter you have in the future!

Day 9

Day 9: Departure Day

Sadly, this whirlwind tour has come to an end, and while you may be leaving Uganda, Uganda will have left its mark on you, and with a bag full of memories, you will transfer back to Kigali and back to the airport if you have arranged to catch an evening flight. Should you prefer to stay overnight and travel the following day, or if you're staying in Rwanda for longer, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Kigali.


Start Dates & Prices

Duration Price
Please choose a trip using the select menus to the left.


Accommodation

Tour Comfort: Comfortable

This tour has been categorised as 'Comfortable'. This is based on the modes of transport used, the comfort level of accommodation and any modern facilities that they have to offer. In terms of comparison, this level of travel would be similar to that of a 3-star status.


Hotel Chez Lando (NIGHT 1)

Your night in Rwanda will be spent at the Hotel Chez Lando. You’ll be accommodated in a quaint twin-share room with an ensuite bathroom and all the amenities that make for a comfortable stay, including Wi-Fi, TV, and a balcony with lounge furniture. Elsewhere on the grounds, you’ll find the beautiful gardens and can indulge in the warm Rwandan hospitality at the on-site restaurant and bar, where you’ll enjoy your welcome dinner with the rest of your group.

Travellers Rest (NIGHT 2, 7, 8)

Travellers Rest is one of the oldest hotels in Uganda and is steeped in gorilla conservation history, with Dian Fossey even referring to it as her second home. You'll be accommodated in a cosy twin-share room with an ensuite bathroom overlooking the manicured gardens. Inside, you'll find a lounge, restaurant and bar, all decorated with Congolese artwork and comfy furnishings. Outside in the beautiful gardens, you'll be treated to incredible views of the Virunga Mountain range.

Kigarama Wilderness Lodge (NIGHT 3, 4)

During your time in Lake Mburo National Park, you'll enjoy a luxurious stay at the Kigarama Wilderness Lodge. This small yet stunning lodge is home to 12 spacious cottages, a swimming pool, craft shop & museum and organic gardens and is complete with panoramic views of Lake Mburo and the park itself. Your beautiful twin-share cottage is complete with a spacious ensuite bathroom, high-quality linens and mattresses, mosquito nets, and a sitting area with a swing overlooking tranquil views of the park seen from your bed!

Cielo Country Inn (NIGHT 5, 6)

While exploring Kalinzu Forest, you'll be staying at the sustainable, family-run Cielo Country Inn. Here, you'll be accommodated in a twin-share room with a large ensuite bathroom. All rooms have mosquito nets, Wi-Fi access and a TV. The Inn gardens are beautifully kept and deserve a stroll during your stay! This hotel is also home to a number of eco-projects that take place on the Cielo Ecofarm and have a community support angle; it's here where you'll have a chance to lend a hand and work with the community on a fascinating agritourism activity like learning to harvest honey!


Tour Details

Getting There

You will need to arrive at Kigali International Airport (KGL) on your project start date, where a project representative will meet you and transfer you to Hotel Chez Lando, where you'll spend your first night. We recommend booking a flight arriving before 6pm, as there will be a welcome dinner at approximately 7pm. If booking a flight arriving later than 6pm, a transfer can still be arranged, though you may miss the welcome dinner with your group.

On the last day of your project, you'll be transferred back to Kigali Airport. Please make sure your flight departs from Kigali International Airport after 7pm. It's important to allow enough time, as you may not arrive in Kigali until 4pm. Alternatively, you can book another night at Hotel Chez Lando and fly the next day, but this will come at an additional cost.

Visa Requirements

Most nationalities will require a tourist visa to enter Rwanda and Uganda. It may be possible to obtain a visa on arrival, but if not, we recommend obtaining an East Africa Visa, as this allows you to travel between Uganda and Rwanda, and means you only have to apply for 1 visa. Tourist visas for Rwanda can be applied for online at https://irembo.gov.rw/user/citizen/service/dgie/request_a_visa, and tourist visas for Uganda can be applied for online at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/.

Fitness & Skills 

This tour involves extensive trekking, often in humid and rainy conditions, which can be challenging. Therefore, all volunteers should have a good level of fitness to participate in regular treks lasting anywhere from 4-6+ hours.

Meals & Beverages

During the trip, you will be provided with three meals per day. Most of the time, you will have a full menu to choose from. Beverages are not included, but you can purchase them at each accommodation and throughout the trip. While participating in the chimpanzee habituation and gorilla trek, you will be given a packed lunch and water.


What's Included

  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms
  • Three meals per day
  • Golden monkey habituation permit
  • Chimpanzee habituation permit
  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Two game drives (Lake Mburo National Park)
  • Two Boat Trips (Lake Mburo & Lake Mutanda)
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers

What's Not Included

  • Beverages (both soft and alcoholic)
  • Flights
  • Visas