Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Churchill’s Pearl Safari

Two weeks in Uganda - Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking in the Albertine Rift, visiting six national parks, including 4 nights in the remote and magical Kidepo Valley - staying in luxury accommodation and traveling by safari vehicle and light aircraft
Day 1: Arrive Entebbe Airport, Uganda. Relax on the shores of Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake. Take a stroll down to the Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre, for a sample of the wildlife that awaits you. Overnight at Lake Victoria Serena Resort

Day 2: Transfer (4 ½ hrs) by road to Kibale Forest National Park, the most accessible of Uganda's major rain forests and home to a remarkable thirteen primate species, including habituated chimpanzees, our closest relative in the wild. Overnight at the Primate Lodge

Day 3: Morning chimpanzee trekking. Kibale’s 1,450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Other primates include l’Hoest’s monkey, red colobus monkey, black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto. Transfer (½ hr) by road to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and see how local communities are working together to maintain this stunning wildlife reserve. Night walk to look for nocturnal primates. Overnight at the Primate Lodge 

Day 4: Transfer (2 ½ hrs) by road to Queen Elizabeth National Park, surrounded by stunning views of the Rwenzoris (Mountains of the Moon), the Albertine Rift escarpments (eastern in Uganda, western in Congo), as well as Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel. Afternoon game drive to spot lion, leopard and other predators, as well as elephant, warthog, kob and hartebeest. Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 5: Late morning boat trip along the shores of the Kazinga Channel, connecting Lake George to Lake Edward, to spot buffalo, hippo and rare bird species. Transfer (2 hrs) by road to Ishasha, famous for its tree-climbing lions, for an afternoon game drive to spot lion, elephant, hippos and a vast array of antelope, some only found in this remote corner of the Albertine Rift. Transfer (2 ½ hrs) by road to Bwindi Forest. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp 

Day 6: Early morning gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on the steep, rain-soaked slopes of the Bufumbira Mountains. Come face to face with those who Dian Fossey regarded as, “the greatest of the Great Apes” in their lush mountain forest habitat. Bwindi comprises 331 square kilometers of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest, and is accessible only on foot.  The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. Afternoon walk to the Pygmy community for a rich cultural exchange with Africa’s original inhabitants. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp

Day 7: Birding and primate forest walk. Bwindi’s birding ranks with the best in Uganda, with 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics present. The national park also has 90 mammal species, including 11 primates, of which the black-and-white colobus, with its lovely flowing white tail, is prominent,. the 3 hour walk will follow magnificent trails through waterfalls and forest - one of the most spectacular nature walks in Uganda. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp

Day 8: Transfer (4 hrs) by light aircraft to Kidepo Valley National Park. This park harbors in a remote corner of East Africa has a greater diversity of animal species than any other Ugandan park. Of the 80 species of mammals listed, 28 are not known to occur anywhere else. Five species of primate are found in the park of which the Kavirondo bush baby is endemic. Carnivore species unique to Kidepo and Karamoja region include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog. Other carnivores present include lion, leopard and several small cats. Less common ungulates include the greater and lesser kudu, Chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, dikdik and bright gazelle. Among other large ungulates are elephant, burchell's zebra, bush pig, warthog, rothschild giraffe, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, jackson's hartbeest and oribi. Sundowners overlooking the valley. Overnight at Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp

Day 9: Kidepo is rugged savannah, across a vast caldera (collapsed volcano) dominated by Mt Morungole, Mt Zola and Mt Ram, and transected by River Kidepo and River Narus. Morning and evening game drives through the southern sector of the park, to view lion, leopard, baboon, zebra, elephant, side-striped jackal, giraffe, an array of antelope, plus many  more wild surprises. Overnight at Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp

Day 10: Sit back and enjoy the setting for a morning, with the possibility of a short visit to Idi Amin’s half-finished and abandoned hotel in a rocky outcrop nearby, and/or visit to nearby Iron Age caves. Afternoon cultural performance by the Karamajong. Overnight at Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp

Day 11: Morning trip (4 hrs) to meet the Ik people, an ethnic group numbering about 10,000 people, living on Mt Murongole. The Ik were marginalized after being displaced from their land by the government in order to create the national park, and were famously the subject of Colin Trunbull’s controversial book, The Mountain People, published in 1972. Overnight at Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp

Day 12: Transfer (6 ½ hr) by road to Murchison Falls National Park, to view one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in East Africa, in particular on the banks of the River Nile, teaming with hippopotamus and crocodile. Afternoon cruise up the Nile to the “Devils Couldron” at the foot of the falls. View elephant, waterbuck, crocodile, hippo and a vast array of endemic bird species. Overnight at Paraa Game Lodge

Day 13: Morning game drive through Murchison Falls National Park, on the northern bank of the Nile, to spot elephant, lion, buffalo, giraffe, hartebeest, waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, hyena, and on occasion shoebill and leopard. Transfer (2 hrs) by light aircraft to Entebbe. Relax by the lake, wander around town or visit the Botanical Gardens. Final “Out of Africa” dinner under the light of lanterns at the romantic Jahaza Grill, located in the middle of a forest overlooking the tranquil lakeshore and surrounded by primates and birds. Overnight at Lake Victoria Serena Resort
Day 14:  Transfer (10 min) to Entebbe International Airport and head for home, with the timeless memories of your safari of a lifetime.


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