Gorillas - Chimpanzees - The Great Migration
This trip offers some of the most incredible wildlife experiences on the planet. Our safari begins in Uganda, one of the safest, friendliest, most secure and stable countries in Africa. In 1908, Winston Churchill referred to Uganda as “ the Pearl of Africa”. Situated at the heart of the African continent in the Nile Basin, with a long shoreline on Lake Victoria, the Ugandan landscape is lush and green. In 1858, British explorers John Speke and Richard Burton ventured through Uganda and discovered Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile River.
We will start our adventure in the lush forest of Kibale National Park tracking chimpanzees. For two days we will look for these lively and entertaining apes while also looking for many other primate species such as blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons and more. After our time in Kibale, we will spend a few days in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We will cruise through the Kazinga Channel filled with hippos and Nile crocodiles, track more chimpanzees in the lush Kyambura Gorge knows as "Valley of Apes" and look for tree climbing lions during our game drives. Then, our group will fly to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where we will have the unforgettable experience of tracking mountain gorillas in the Rwenzori Mountains, known as “Mountains of the Moon”. This is a Great Ape lover’s safari. The mountain gorilla tracking is physically challenging, but the rewards are so tremendous that the rigors are quickly forgotten. There is nothing like being in the presence of a 200 kg (450 lb) silverback mountain gorilla and his lively family.
After our three nights in Bwindi, we can either say “goodbye” to Africa or we can opt to bid farewell only to Uganda. We offer an extension to continue our journey to Kenya where we will encounter the oldest land migration on the planet. Nearly two million wildebeest and zebras cross the plains of the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara. The Great Migration is considered the “greatest show on earth” and we will make our home in a perfectly situated camp for the next four nights on the Maasai Mara. To experience the sights and sounds of this epic herd thundering across the plains and crashing through the rivers is to see Africa at its very best. Words cannot describe what is is like to be living in the bush during the Great Migration. Come with us to the real and wild Africa. This trip will change you forever and give you memories and images that you cannot forget.
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Please read the REVIEWS of our previous East Africa tours!
Duration9 - 15 days
Group Size8 people
$2.00 – $3.00
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Day 1: July 11Arrival at Entebbe International Airport and transfer to your hotel. Meals on your own as this is a travel day.Overnight at The Boma Guest House
Day 2: July 12Early breakfast at the hotel and prepare to check out during this time. We will transfer back to Entebbe Airport bright and early to board a private charter to Kasese which lies at the foot of the mystical Rwenzori Mountains (70 minute flight). We will be picked up in 2 safari equipped Landcruisers and transferred to Ndali Lodge. Our 1.5 hour scenic drive will take us through the Ndali-Kasenda Crater Area. We will make our way to Kibale National Park, which is located in southwestern Uganda. Kibale is a tropical rainforest that guarantees the best viewing opportunities in all of East Africa for endangered chimpanzees.Our check-in will be followed by early lunch. At 1300 hrs, we will depart for Kibale NP for the first chimp trek of our trip. After our exciting first trek, we will drive back to our lodge in time for our first sundowner and refreshing dip in the pool!!Overnight Ndali Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 2: July 12
Day 3: July 13After an early warm breakfast, we will make our way to the park entrance to track chimpanzees this morning. When we finish with our morning trek, we will stay in this area of the park and have a nice lunch at the Tinka House. We will relax there for a short while before engaging in another trek with the chimpanzees in the afternoon.Kibale is home to about 70 forest mammals including African buffaloes, forest elephants and various antelope species. Considered the primate capital of Africa and a primatologist's dream, Kibale has an abundance of primate species. There are 13 different primates that live in this forest including chimpanzees. Included in these species are: Red-tailed monkeys, Black and White Colobus monkeys, L'Hoest monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Olive baboons, Blue monkeys, Grey Cheeked Mangabeys, Uganda Red Colobus, Demidoff Galago, Potto, Patas monkeys and Uganda Mangabeys. This will be a fantastic day to see African primates. After our trek, we will drive back to our lodge to enjoy a relaxing dinner.Overnight Ndali Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4: July 14This morning we can sleep in a few minutes longer and have a leisurely breakfast. We will have a bit of time to photograph the morning atmosphere at the crater lakes and look for wildlife with our binoculars while enjoying a hot cup of coffee.At about 1030 hrs we will depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park which takes about 2.5 hrs drive. We will have a short game drive to the lodge before we check-in and have lunch.Shortly after lunch, we will take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel, a 32-kilometer natural channel that links Lake Edward and Lake George. Kazinga has a large concentration of hippos and Nile crocodiles as well as attracting many other species of animals. After our two hour cruise, our vehicles and guides are at our service if anyone wishes to have a later afternoon game drive in the park.Overnight Mweya Safari Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4: July 14
Day 5: July 15
This morning we will have have a quick cup of tea or coffee and leave early with a packed breakfast because we have a busy day in store. We will head to Kyambura Gorge, an underground tropical forest in Queen Elizabeth National park that is 100 meters deep and about 1 km long. It is often referred to as the "Valley of Apes" because of the small community of chimpanzees and other smaller primates that are trapped in this corridor of forest.
The chimp tracking here is more challenging than Kibale and it is not guaranteed to see chimps. We will be hiking up and down into a valley and we may need to trek for a few hours to find the chimps and then follow them while they forage. There are few chimps here due to the fact that this population of chimpanzees is completely isolated, so it is best to not set expectations high. However, the chance to explore an underground forest tracking chimpanzees in the middle of incredible flora and fauna is a rare treat. If we are lucky enough to find them, our time with them will be well spent as these chimps are very habituated and spend most of their time on the ground. We may also possibly run into other mammals such as walking hippos (yikes), hyenas, elephants and duikers. It is a morning well spent.
We will then drive back to our lodge for lunch and get ready for another boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon.
Overnight Mweya Safari Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6: July 16After a 0700 hrs breakfast, we will check-out and have a short (approximately 1 hour) game drive along the Kazinga Channel. We will then drive through the Ishasha sector of the park for about 2 hours which is known for tree climbing lions. Along the way we will stop for a picnic lunch before making our way to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to approximately 400 of the remaining 1000 critically endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are divided between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). After checking in, we will relax, enjoy dinner and prepare for our very exciting next day of trekking mountain gorillas!Overnight Mahogany Springs Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6: July 16
Day 7: July 17We will have an early breakfast and depart our lodge no later than 6:45am. We will arrive at the park headquarters for our “gorilla briefing”. The park rangers will tell us what to expect, and give us some guidelines as to how we behave when in close proximity to these massively wonderful great apes. They will also watch to make sure that we are not ill or sick with a head cold - a simple head cold can wipe out an entire family of gorillas for they do not posses the antibodies to fight off any human diseases. Our trek can take anywhere from 3 to 7 hours depending on the location of the gorillas. The terrain is steep and can be muddy. The rigors of our hike are quickly forgotten when we reach the gorillas. There is nothing that can compare to being in the presence of mountain gorillas. It is not only exciting, but also an emotionally touching experience. We will spend just over one full hour with these great apes. It will feel much longer than that, only because it is tremendously exciting.We will have a packed lunch with us and a porter can carry your day pack (approximately $15 - $20 per person). We will then return to our lodge for a delicious hot meal and enjoy the rest of the day to relax in front of the fire while reflecting on the amazing morning with the apes.Overnight Mahogany Springs Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 8: July 18
This morning will be our second and final trek in the mountains while tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi. We must also choose how we would like to spend our afternoon and our choices are between a nature/forest walk in the park (2 -5 hrs), a visit to the endangered Batwa (pymies) tribe (4-6 hrs), or a village walk (2 - 3 hrs). It will be an incredible day followed by a relaxing dinner on our last night in Bwindi, home of the mountain gorilla.
Mahogany Springs Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 8: July 18
Day 9: July 19After breakfast, we will check out of the lodge and prepare for our international flights. We will be transferred to the Kihihi Airstrip which is an approximate 2 hour drive. We will bid our farewells to the beautiful Bwindi landscape and prepare to say “goodbye” to Uganda. Depending on our outbound flight home or to Nairobi, we will either be transferred to the Boma Guest House for day rooms till 1800 hrs before our international flights out of Entebbe International Airport or connect to Kenya Airways to Nairobi.(Breakfast only, as this is a travel day).End of Services // Extension Maasai Mara, Great Migration
Day 9: July 19If we continue on to Kenya after arriving back in Entebbe from Bwindi, we will be transferred to the Entebbe International Airport and connect to our Nairobi flight. Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, we will be transferred to our Nairobi Hotel. Lunch will be on our own since this is a travel day.Overnight MacUshla House (B, D)
Day 9: July 19
Day 10: July 20Today we have a full day exploring Nairobi. Breakfast will be promptly at 7:00am Our driver will pick us up after breakfast to take us to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). This is an amazing story about conservation at its best. We will visit orphaned elephant calves whose mother's were killed by poachers. Wild Focus has adopted an elephant calf for each person in our group and the Sheldrick Center will close down to the public so that we can spend one hour playing with our little (and sometimes feisty) adopted elephant calves. We will watch the Keepers feed the babies milk from bottles and then have a chance to learn about our adopted little ones. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeTmE71uEaw). When we finish our time with our new elephant friends, we will spend the rest of our morning shopping in the Karen District for interesting African jewelry, beadwork and other artifacts before having lunch at the Talisman restaurant - one of Jami's favorites!After a relaxing lunch, we will visit the home of Karen Blixen, now a museum. This is the same home used in the filming of 'Out of Africa'. We will then return to the Sheldrick Center as Foster parents to our small elephants and watch the little ones being put to bed by their Keepers. We will then return to the MacUshla House for dinner, and prepare for our early departure in the morning to the Maasai Mara.
Day 11: July 21We will have another early breakfast and check out during this period. At 08:00 we will be picked up and transferred to Nairobi's Wilson Airport to board our flight to the Maasai Mara. We will arrive in camp at lunch time and relax until our afternoon tea. After our teatime, we will depart on our first game drive to experience the huge herds of wildebeest out on the plains of the Mara. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. You will now get to experience the beauty that is Kenya.Overnight Mara Bush Camp (B,L,D)
Day 11: July 21
Days 12, 13, 14: July 22 - 24We will spend the next 3 nights in our lovely camp where we will be awakened at night by the sound of hippos playing in the river and hyaenas and lions calling at night. We will have an early morning wake-up call by our room Steward who will bring hot coffee / tea to our tent to start our day. We will leave while it is still dark in order to look for the predators who use this early morning light to hunt. We will not stay in camp to have breakfast - there is just too much that we will miss and so we will have our breakfast ‘al fresco’ out on the Mara in the midst of the herds. On one afternoon, we will visit a Maasai Village where we will learn about their culture, dance and traditions. We will have an opportunity to buy some of their beautiful and unique beadwork (necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more). We will have a presentation in camp about photography where we can continue to learn and improve our wildlife photography skills in order to capture beautiful images. There is an option to take a hot air balloon ride over the Mara during one of the mornings that includes a champagne breakfast. This is at an additional cost. But our routine will be the same everyday. We will leave early and have a morning game drive and then return to camp for lunch. If however, something amazing is happening on the Mara, we will stay where we are and lunch will be delivered to us by our camp. Otherwise, we return to camp each late morning, have lunch, afternoon tea and then leave for our evening game drive at approximately 4pm. When we return to camp each evening, a roaring fire will be awaiting us with hors d’oeuvres and drinks. You are on safari in Africa, and this is the best way to end each day in the bush.Overnight Mara Bush Camp (B,L,D) - Inclusive of Selected Beverages
Day 15: July 25Sadly, this will be our last game drive (or you can opt to sleep in this morning) where we must bid farewell to the Mara and to Kenya. If we go out on a game drive, we will return to camp for a hot breakfast and then we must check out from our camp. We will be dropped at the airstrip by 10:30 hrs. and then fly from the Ol Kiombo Airstrip to Wilson Airport in Nairobi where we will prepare for our international flights home. You will have access to "day rooms" at the Four Points Sheraton where you can relax, freshen up and prepare for your long journey home. We hope you will have enjoyed your time in East Africa with us. Uganda and Kenya will miss you!Meal included; Breakfast onlyEnd of services
Day 15: July 25
- Accommodations for either 9 days (Uganda only) or 15 days (Uganda and Kenya) on double-share/single room basis with private facilities.
- All domestic land and air transfers in Uganda and Kenya
- Permits for Chimpanzee treks (Uganda Only)
- Permit for special Chimpanzee Habituation Program (Uganda Only)
- Permits for Mountain Gorilla Treks (Uganda Only)
- Boat trips on Kazinga Channel (Uganda Only)
- International flight between Entebbe, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya (Maasai Mara Great Migration Extension Only)
- All game drives
- Transportation and exclusive use of 2 custom built safari 4 x 4 Landcruisers with pop-up roof hatches and custom windows ideal for photographers
- National park entry fees
- Entrance fees to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust ( DSWT - Kenya only)
- Private Visit to DSWT (Kenya only)
- Guaranteed window seat in Landcruiser
- Batwa village visit / freedom to photograph (Uganda)
- Maasai village visit / freedom to photograph (Kenya Only)
- All meals excluding those on travels days and where noted
- Selected beverages where mentioned above
- Mineral water during game drives
- Wild Focus Expeditions Trip Leaders
- Experienced English-speaking drivers/guides
- Evacuation Insurance
- Domestic flights where mentioned above
- International airfare to and from Entebbe / Nairobi
- Change of itinerary
- Visa fees
- All beverages (unless where mentioned as included)
- Telephone calls
- Change of itinerary
- Optional hot air balloon rides over the Maasai Mara with champagne breakfast ($450 per person)
- Any items of personal nature such as beverages, laundry, telephone calls
- Tips / gratuities for your driver / guide and camp / lodge staff
- Travel/medical insurance
- Any extras not mentioned in the included list such as extra meals and activities
For the Uganda portion Only:
From May through August, temperatures are very comfortable. Mornings can be quite cool to cold while warming up as the day continues. Nights can be cold and midday temperatures range from 70ºF (20ºC) to 80ºF (26ºC0. Our Handbooks provide more detailed information about clothing and trip preparation.
We recommend that our travelers bring an adventurous spirit, as you will often enjoy the closest animal encounters.
East Africa's fascination lies in the richness and diversity of its natural and cultural history. Wherever you look you find excitement, colorful tribes, wildlife wonders, majestic landscapes. It is a photographer’s and adventurer’s paradise. I fell in love with East Africa over twenty years ago and have discovered its beauty and excitement during dozens of unforgettable trips.
Wild Focus Expeditions provides specialized, small group photography tours. Our photography expeditions are designed to get participants into distinctive, engaging locations around the world at the optimum times for photography. Our photo tours are created by our team of photographers who want to experience and photograph the world's top wildlife, nature and traditional cultures locations.
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