Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe and transfer to accommodation
Today is an arrival day in the Uganda capital for the start of our African photo safari.
You will be met at the airport by an ORYX representative, who will escort you to your lovely guesthouse via a short drive (5 – 10 minutes, depending on traffic).
Tonight we will meet for dinner and our tour leader will discuss this exciting upcoming Uganda adventure in more detail.
Day 2: Excursion for Shoebill, drive onwards to Kibale Forest
After breakfast we will head out for this morning’s primary photographic target, the legendary Shoebill. After heading across a section of Lake Victoria, we transfer to motorised wooden canoes and enter Mabamba Wetland, where we will search for this iconic bird.
Thereafter, we will continue through rural Uganda to Kibale Forest, where will be based for the next three nights.
Days 3 & 4: Chimpanzee Trekking & Habituation
We have two full-days in the wondrous forest of Kibale searching for our closest living relative – the Chimpanzee. They are often noisy and, when we manage to come across a troop, their thrilling whoops, shrieks and grunts are likely to betray their presence long before we see and photograph them!
On Day 3 we will embark on two trekking sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Once located, we will have 1 hour to spend with the Chimpanzees, revelling in their antics and documenting a piece of their lives with camera in hand. On Day 4, we will set out early on a Chimpanzee habituation trek, which gives us the better part of the whole morning in the field.
Day 5: Depart Kibale Forest, cruise Kazinga Channel, transfer to Ishasha, Queen Elizabeth National Park
We depart Kibale Forest this morning and make our way to Queen Elizabeth National Park. As we near the park, we will pass an area that is dominated by explosion craters (evidence of the regions volcanic origins!) before routing to the boat dock on Mweya Peninsula, where we begin our boat cruise. The Kazinga Channel is home to wonderful numbers of animals: herds of buffalo laze on its shores, frequently in close proximity to the numerous hippo that are resident (some of Africa’s densest concentrations of Hippo can be found here!) along with good concentrations of Nile Crocodile (a recent colonist of the channel). Elephant can often be seen browsing on riverside vegetation, and additionally, birds are found in huge numbers.
After our cruise, we will transfer to the remote southern section of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we will spend the next three nights.
Photographic targets include Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyaena, African Buffalo (this form sometimes known as Lake Chad Buffalo), Uganda Bushbuck, Hippo, impressive Defassa Waterbuck, Olive Baboon and comical Warthog. Uganda Kob form some impressive leks, fleet-footed Topi scan the grasslands for competitors, and African Elephant stroll through the plentiful savannas, browsing the nutritious Acacia’s that dot the area.
Days 6 & 7: Ishasha area
The Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is the place to search for “tree climbing lions”. These cats favour larger trees, especially figs, and we will visit a few key areas that regularly attract these cats. Spotting a Lion in a tree is uncommon over most of the Lions range in Africa, however in Ishasha, this behaviour is seen regularly. It is wonderful to see Lions lazing on a bough and enjoying the breeze the elevation affords!
Isasha receives minimal tourist traffic when compared to the north of the park, and typically only a handful of game vehicles are to be found in the area at any time. As our camp is the only camp within this section of the park, we have flexibility in the timings of our morning and afternoon drives and will often have a sighting completely to ourselves.
Day 8: Road transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
After a final morning game drive, we will transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for our next leg of the journey; 2 days of trekking Mountain Gorillas.
Days 9 & 10: Gorilla Trekking
On these mornings, we will head a short distance to the debriefing area (3 minutes’ drive), before departing to the starting point for our hike (this could be a walk from the park HQ, or it could be a drive over 1 hour long).
Depending on where our allocated Gorilla family are located, our treks will vary in length and ease from one trek to the next. Upon reaching the Gorillas, we will spend an hour with these gentle giants which is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting and emotional wildlife experiences on Earth.
Although the Gorilla families are habituated, they are still wild and sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, there is a 99% success rate of meeting a Gorilla group when trekking in Uganda
Day 11: Fly Kihihi to Entebbe and depart
Today sadly marks the end of our Uganda photo tour as we transfer to Kihihi in time for flight back to Entebbe International Airport with this safari concludes.