UGANDA'S GREAT APES & BIG GAME

GORILLAS & CHIMPANZEE TREKKING - SAFARI ON SAVANNAH PLAINS

Where
UGANDA
When
YEAR ROUND
How long
17 DAYS
How much
FROM £9,980 PP
why
A PRIVATE EXPEDITION TO FOLLOW THE NILE ENCOUNTERING SHOEBILLS, GORILLAS, RHINOS, CHIMPANZEES & LIONS IN THIS EXTRAORDINARILY DIVERSE AND BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY
staying in
AUTHENTIC SAFARI CAMPS

THE ICONIC MOUNTAIN GORILLAS ARE THE BIGGEST DRAW, WITH THE COUNTRY HOLDING AROUND A THIRD OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION. TRAVEL BEYOND THEIR MONTANE HABITAT AND YOU'RE SURE TO BE REWARDED WITH A CORNUCOPIA OF WILD BEASTS, BOTH FEATHERED & FURRY

THIS TWO AND A HALF WEEK EXPEDITION TAKES IN THE BEST OF UGANDA, TRAVERSING SAVANNAH, FOREST, MARSH LAKE AND MOUNTAIN.

Uganda's tremendous diversity is due to its position on the three-way junction of the East African savannah, Central African Rainforest and semi-arid Sahelian zone of North Africa. No country in Africa offers such variety in such close proximity and the ideal way to explore the country is on a private road trip by engaging a guide and 4x4 staying in a variety of excellent camps, lodges and the occasional hotel along the way.

I never knew a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.”

- Ernest Hemingway

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DAYS 1 - 3

ENTEBBE & MABAMBA SWAMPS

Arrive in Entebbe and spend a day in the Mabamba Swamp seeking out the enigmatic Shoebill. Meet your guide and receive a full pre-safari briefing before heading up to Masindi via the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary - the only place in Uganda where you can walk with rhinos. Overnight in the Masindi Hotel, opened in 1923 this grande dame of the East African safari-circuit has billeted Hemingway, Bacall, Bogart and Hepburn and still excudes the charm of its salad days.   

DAY 4

THE ROYAL MILE

One of Uganda's best forest-birding sites the Royal Mile supports a wide range of localised and sought-after species. Various monkeys are also likely to be encountered along with Giant Forest Squirrels and the bizarre Chequered Elephant-shrew. 

DAYS 5 - 8

THE MURCHISON FALLS

Drive to Murchison Falls, stopping at the top of the falls enroute. Take a sundowner boat cruise to the base of the waterfalls and spend the following day sport fishing for large Nile Perch and Tiger Fish. Explore the Delta region by boat for another chance to see Shoebill and other papyrus specialists and explore the park by vehicle.

DAY 8-10

THE CHIMPANZEES OF KIBALE

Uganda's premier chimpanzee-tracking destination is dominated by rainforest, interspersed with tracts of grasslands and swamp. At least 60 mammal species are present in Kibale National Park, primates being particularly well represented with 13 recorded (the highest total for any single area in the country). Kibale Forest is an important stronghold of Uganda Red Colobus and supports eight more diurnal primates - other mammals such as elephant, leopard, buffalo and Giant Forest Hog, while present are difficult to spot. The aptly named Primates Lodge is less than five minutes walk from the Chimp-tracking trailhead.   

DAY 10 -13

SEMLIKI

Uganda's original tented safari camp, Semliki Safari Lodge is one of the best in the country, boasting a truly remote bush setting overlooking a stretch of riverine woodland teeming with birds and monkeys.

Semliki is much less visited than Murchison and being ecologally linked to to the Congo offers a very different safari experience. Exploration by boat, vehicle and on foot.  

DAY 13 - 15

ISHASHA WILDERNESS

Drive from Semliki to the wild Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth NP via the Kazinga Channel. An astonishing 547 bird species have been recorded in QENP one of the highest figures for any single protected area in the world - but you need not be a birder to enjoy the Park. Famed for its fig-tree climbing lions this is Uganda's best big-game area and there are plenty of elephants, large herds of buffalo, leopards, Giant Forest Hog and thousands upon thousands of Uganda Kob.

Ishasha Wilderness Camp is certainly one of Uganda's finest and the only lodgings actually inside this sector of the park. Perched deep within riparian woodland on the edge of the Ntungwe River there's always something stirring.   

DAY 15 - 16

THE GORILLAS OF BWINDI

The drive from Ishasha to Bwindi is straightforward and interesting, climbing in to a picturesque tea-growing region before hitting gorilla country. While Bwindi Impeneterable Forest National Park is perhaps not quite as impenetrable as its name suggests it is definitey an impressive forest of enormous hardwood trees, giant ferns, tangled understory and great hanging lianas. The gorillas are of  course the main reason most people come here with five habituated groups being visited by groups of up to eight tourists on any given day, but anyone with an ornithological bent is likely to delight in what must be some of the most productive and rewardind deep forest birding to be found anywhere. 

DAY 17

HOMEWARD BOUND

From Bwindi it's back down the hill to Kihihi to catch the schedule flight to Entebbe for your international flight out. 

A NOTE FROM ROD

INSPIRATION AND MISCONCEPTIONS

"We're gonna go and see the gorillas then head over to Tanzania for a safari" a fellow passenger told me on a flight across Uganda towards Bwindi earlier in the year.

For too long Uganda has been associated primarily with Great Apes and birding - both of which are admittedly spectacular here - but for some reason the many more mainstream safari attractions are always spoken of in apologetic tones. Rare indeed is any article on Ugandan wildlife that doesn't mention the poaching during the Amin era (1971-1979). The truth is that there's not a country north of the Zambezi that didn't suffer a poaching apocalypse through the 1970's & 80's: Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya certainly all did, yet not everything that you read about their parks drones on about recovering numbers.

Uganda's wildlife is spectacular and in my view holds its own against anywhere. Go to the right areas and you are almost certain to encounter lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, hippo, an array of antelope a couple of hogs, multiple monkeys as well as gorillas and chimpanzees. The birdlife is arguably better than any on the continent and the variety of habitat extraordinary. Further to this the parks are rarely busy so sightings seldom shared, you can often walk (a rare treat in East Africa) and the whole country has a wonderfully fresh and uncomplacent feel to it - as if it is just emerging as a safari destination, waiting to be discovered. And in some ways it's exactly that - a recently as 1992 there were no facilities to track gorillas, nor any realistic chance of getting close to chimpanzees and security problems through the nineties and noughties put areas now as mainstream as Murchison Falls out of reach.  

I was born in Uganda although we left for Zambia before I was old enough to hold any memory of it my parents were there before and during the early years of the Idi Amin madness. There's always been a touch of melancholy in our family history about the country; a once wonderful place full of hope and promise destroyed by the actions of a single deluded despot, a land of lost content.

On a recent trip to Uganda it struck me how the long shadow of Amin's relatively short reign (8 years), which ended almost 40 years ago still casts such a long shadow over its reputation - and yet the reality on the ground is that it offers an absolutely first-class safari experience. The need for any apology is definitely over.

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Our experienced travellers include:

Olly Williams
Olly Williams
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Reviews

First class. Experts in the holiday adventure field. Great to deal with

"First class! Natural High are experts in their field. All the boxes are ticked which leaves you to travel without any worries. Excellent destinations, superb accommodation and all the logistics are taken care of. Natural High tailor holidays exactly to your needs. Would highly recommend and we will be using Natural High again."

Anonymous

Perfect family Safari!!

"Our family Kenyan safari trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary was perfectly planned by Catherine from the moment we landed in Nairobi, to our last day. We traveled to Ol Malo in Laikipia, Lewa House in Lewa Downs, and Tangulia Mara in the Maasai Mara. Each place offered incredibly talented and informative guides, and gracious, loving staff. The variety of animals we saw was breathtaking. Our grand daughter celebrated her 14th birthday with special pancakes and singing in Ol Malo, and then a beautiful candlelit dinner under the starry night in Lewa. Our 50th wedding anniversary was celebrated at Tangulia Mara with an amazing day watching the migration of the wildebeest in the Maasai Mara, and beautiful intimate dinner party and dancing with the entire staff during the evening.
Thank you, Natural High, for the best trip of our lifetime!"

Anonymous

Fantastic Zambia holiday - South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi

"We cannot thank Natural High and Catherine enough for such a fantastic holiday. During the planning, Catherine answered endless questions from our family and supported us every step of the way in coordinating our separate itineraries (which can't have been easy when we were a party of 11 and all travelling from different locations!). The South Luangwa has become our favourite Africa destination - and Flatdogs our favourite camp! Catherine was very thoughtful in arranging extra surprises for our group as we were celebrating a special birthday. The staff at Flatdogs treated us so well, and they were very open to letting us have large family dinners at various locations around camp. The guides were so enthusiastic the entire week!
We had our own separate holiday afterwards for just the two of us at Chongwe River Camp in the Lower Zambezi. Catherine was so supportive and flexible in helping us identify a suitable camp within an easy distance of Flatdogs, which also provided a different range of activities (boat safaris, tiger fishing and canoeing in addition to game drives!).
All in all a brilliant holiday (Flatdogs and Chongwe were the perfect combination), and everything went so smoothly. We are very much missing enjoying our G&Ts whilst watching elephants in the sunset...!"

Edgar & Alexandra Bailey CR

Absolutely amazing Family Celebration at Flatdogs!

"Outstanding service from Catherine who really understands what we want from our holiday. Catherine always goes the extra mile to choose the very best camps for us; to make sure all arrangements are in place; and to make sure we are treated as special guests when we arrive. This trip was an extra challenge given the size of our group - 11 with age range from 4 to 64 and wide range of "Africa experience" and in choosing Flatdogs, she made the best call possible - it was an amazing trip and could not have been better! Jess, Adrian and all the staff made sure our stay was fabulous; the guides were superb; the accommodation wonderful; and the "treats" -sundowners; brai; pimms; picnic; evening meals together (with hippos, bushbabies and elephants in attendance) and drinks at the fire were all that we could have hoped for - all in all, a really special family holiday."

Anonymous

outstanding organisation and service

"really know the regions they deal with well, excellent organisation of our trip, great understanding of our needs, flexibility and quick follow up, outstanding local representatives, very good pricing. we used them before and will for sure do again."

VCA

 

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