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How to book this Adventure Package

Overview
Daily Itinerary
Details

“Pearl of Africa” Ugandan Safari: Overview

EMS Photo Adventures in collaboration with BIC Tours, Kampala, Uganda, Africa

Winston Churchill, My African Journey: “For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life – plant, bird, insect, reptile, beast – for vast scale…Uganda is truly the Pearl Of Africa.”

  • Uganda is a total ecotourism experience. Located in East Africa and bordering Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Rep. of Congo and South Sudan. It sits on the Equator with 91,344 square miles in size, of which 18% is made up of bodies of fresh water.
  • It is home to endangered mountain gorillas, chimpanzee and 12 other types of primates
  • The wildlife numbers continue to grow in Uganda – they now having more than 50 large animals
  • The avian diversity is unrivaled and it is considered to be the best-suited country in Africa for birding with over 1,000 species. Uganda has 50% of Africa’s Bird Species and 11% of the World’s total bird species
  • As one its many attractions, it boasts of being the source of the Nile River, which flows from Lake Victoria to other neighboring countries
  • Uganda is populated throughout the country by many tribes which broad diversity of culture, lifestyles, traditions and languages
  • To best view what the “Pearl of Africa” has to offer, we will:
    • Visit the four largest national parks in Uganda to give participants an opportunity to photograph as much variety of wildlife mammals as possible. What one park may lack another one makes it up for it, i.e. zebras.
    • Drive the natural reserves while in search of land animals; we’ll boat along its waterways to find water animals. As well as constantly be on the lookout for birds
    • Be introduced to several significant Ugandan cultures and see how they live in harmony with nature.
    • Have the option to visit the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National park a UNESCO Heritage site (if this is something you want to do, please see all the details on this adventure)

    For additional information see:

    • BIC Tours EMS Photo Adventure – to see a map of our adventure;photos of national parks, lodges and wildlife, and to get travel and documentation information.
    • Birds in Uganda to see photos of some of the amazing birds in Uganda.
    • Drone Video shot flying over some of the parks we will be visiting.

“Pearl of Africa” Ugandan Safari: Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Entebbe / Visit Entebbe Botanical Garden

  • Meet and greet at Entebbe Airport
  • Transfer to Entebbe Town
  • Check in at the Lake Heights Hotel
  • Visit Entebbe Botanical Gardens:
    • A wonderful introduction into Ugandan wildlife
    • In addition to being greeted at the entrance of the gardens by a pair of Verreaux Eagle Owls, which are beautiful giant owls that are grey in color, there are Black and White Casqued, Uganda Hornbill, hummingbirds, different types of monkeys (even the single red tailed monkey), a 30 year old termite nest, fox bats
    • The gardens are also home to a multitude of plants species from the tropics, subtropics, and temperate zones. To date, there are over 300 species of plants, 200 of which are exclusive to Uganda.
  • Welcome Dinner at Hotel

Lodging: The Lake Heights Hotel – Meals: D

Day 2: Entebbe: Daytime Cruise on Mabamba/Makanaga Bays / Sunset cruise on Lake Victoria

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Depart for Mabamba/Makanaga bays, a wetland on the edge of Lake Victoria
  • Take a boat ride to search for the prehistoric looking for the elusive, prehistoric-looking Shoebill stork
    • Even non-birders will enjoy this trip through this unique march fringed with paypyrus
    • Expect to see many birds, at least 50 species including the Malachite Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatchers, African Purple Swamphen, African Water Rail, African Jacana, African Pygime Goose, White faced whistling duck, Squacco heron, Blue breasted Bee eater and Saddle billed Stork
  • Return to Entebbe town – Lunch on own at selected restaurant in Entebbe
  • Enjoy an evening sunset boat cruise on Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest lake and the world’s second largest freshwater lake
  • Dinner at Hotel

Lodging: The Boma Guest House – Meals: B/D

Day 3: Fly to Kidepo Valley National Park / Safari

  • Breakfast at the Lodge
  • Transfer to Entebbe Airport – Take 12:00 pm Aerolink flight to Kidepo
  • Arrive Kidepo Valley NP and check in at Ugandan Wildlife Athority (UWA) Gate
  • Lunch at the Lodge
  • Enjoy a game drive to the Narus Valley with UWA Ranger Guide:
    • Where we will search for African Bush Elephant, Zebras, African Wild Dog, Black-Backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox,12 Antelope species (Jackson Hartebeest, Oribi, Elan and Klipspringer) and Ostrich
    • In addition, some of Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds are found in Kidepo. A great birding destination for birds of prey with 58 species recorded (Verreaux’s eagle, the pygmy falcon, and Egyptian vulture), 14 raptors and five species of hornbills.
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Kidepo Savannah Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 4: Kidepo National Park / Safari / Kalimajong Tribe Cultural Experience

  • Breakfast at the Lodge
  • Early morning game drive to the hot springs in search of lions, cheetahs and the largest African Buffalo (Cape Buffalo) herds. Note that the African Buffalo is one of the Big Five.
  • Lunch at the Apoka Lodge
  • Evening: Enjoy community walk to see the Karamojong culture and enjoy their colorful, cultural performances. This unique tribe has co-existed with the park’s wildlife for a long time. They have grossly rejected civilization and still live communally and practice their ancient traditions.
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Kidepo Savannah Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 5: Fly to Murchison Falls National Par / Safari

  • Breakfast at the Lodge
  • Depart Kidepo for 12 pm flight to Murchison Falls National Park
  • Murchison Falls Conservation Area ( MFCA ) comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves.
    • The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland.
    • Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.
  • Lunch at the Lodge
  • Game drive
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Paraa Safari Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 6: Full Day Murchison Falls National Park / Safari / Boat Cruise

  • Early morning snack
  • Go for early morning game drive in search of lions.
  • Return to Lodge for breakfast and relax at the Lodge
  • Lunch at the Lodge
  • Afternoon boat cruise upstream to the bottom of the Murchison Falls. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks, buffaloes and, of course, birds
  • Relax and dinner at Lodge

Lodging: Paraa Safari Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 7: Safari / Fly to Queen Elizabeth National Park / Safari

  • Breakfast at the Lodge
  • Early Morning Game Drive in Kasenyi Sector in search of Lions – expect to see herds of buffaloes, elephants, water bucks, leopard and lots of Uganda Kobs
  • At 12:00 p.m. depart Pakuba for flight to Queen Elizabeth National Park
    • The park has a variety of Flora and Fauna and it’s acknowledged to be a habitat for over 95 mammal species with about 612 species of birds.
    • The various species in this park, has made it a unique park most liked by tourists.
    • Geographers will say that the park has around 57 vegetation but in actual sense, it has five levels of vegetation. Namely bushy grassland, Acacia woodland, Lakeshore or swamp vegetation along with forest grassland.
    • The grasslands of the park settles wildlife such as Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, waterbuck, warthlog, lion, leopard, hyena, giant forest hog as well as elephants.
  • Arrive Kasese Airstrip and drive to the Park
  • Lunch at a selected restaurant in Kasese Town
  • Enjoy an evening game drive
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Mweya Safari Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 8: Queen Elizabeth National Park / Safari / Boat cruise

  • Early Morning Snack
  • Early Morning Game Drive
  • Return to the Lodge for full breakfast
  • Relax at the Lodge – enjoy Swimming OR sauna at the Lodge OR a Massage at own cost
  • Lunch at the Lodge
  • Afternoon: Take a breathtaking boat ride on Kazinga Channel Boat. Expect to see lots of animals and many varieties of birds at a close range.
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Mweya Safari Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 9: Queen Elizabeth National Park / Bwindi National Park

  • Breakfast at the Lodge
  • As we depart QENP for the drive to Bwindi National Park we will take a game drive through the Ishasha Sector of the Park in search of the tree climbing lions
  • Lunch will be either a packed lunch from Mweya Safari Lodge or at Savannah Hotel in Kihiihi
  • Proceed to Bwindi National Park arriving at around 3:30pm
  • Take an optional Village walk
  • Dinner at the Camp

Lodging: Silverback Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 10: Bwindi National Park / Gorilla Trekking OR Nature Walk

  • Breakfast at lodge
  • Gorilla Trekking (important – see Details Section – Gorilla Trek and Permit Details):
    • There are about 750 Mountain Gorillas in the world – half of which are found in Uganda. You can only track Mountain Gorillas in the in the wild in Uganda, Rwanda & DRC.
    • Meet at Park Headquarters for Briefing on Gorilla Trekking
    • Enjoy Gorilla trekking in the thick Jungle
    • Packed Lunch in the Jungle after Gorilla Trekking
  • Nature Walk:
    • There are 346 bird species and more than 200 butterfly species, about 324 species of trees, ten of which are only found in this areas in the whole of Uganda
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Silverback Lodge – Meals: B/L/D

Day 11: Drive to Mbarara / Igongo Cultural Center / Ankole Cow Experience

  • Breakfast at the Lodge
  • Depart Bwindi for the Igongo Cultural Centre, Mbarara
  • Lunch at Igongo Cultural Center and Country Hotel
    • A lovely garden awaits you with its flowers and plants reflecting the local countryside
    • Traditional dishes such as millet bread, matooke with ghee – local drinks made from millet and sorghum
    • The ingredients come from local gardens and are organically grown which is a win-win situation for you giving a of taste the freshest ingredients and from the local farmer who makes an income by selling to Igongo Cultural Center.
  • Visit the Museum: The center houses one of the best museums in western Uganda highlighting the Ankole culture—one of the most diverse and rich cultures in Uganda—showcasing the history, art and culture of the Ankole people in Western Uganda.
  • Evening: Enjoy the Ankole Cow experience:
    • The majestic Ankole cow—the “Cattle of Kings”—sports beautiful long horns and coats.
    • Since the Middle Ages, Ankole Cattle have been in Uganda descended from the Ethiopian Sanga Cattle (that originated in Eurasia) with a lineage that goes back for thousands of years
    • Images of long-horned cattle have been found in Egyptian drawing and art
  • Dinner at the Lodge

Lodging: Ingongo Country Hotel – Meals: B/L/D

Day 12: Transfer to Entebbe for Flight Home

  • Early Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Depart for Entebbe
  • Lunch en Route at selected restaurant
  • Drop off at Entebbe for flight home

Meals: B/L

“Pearl of Africa” Ugandan Safari: The Details

Group Size: This will be a small group adventure – minimum of 8 – maximum of 12 participants.

Costs Per Person:

  • Double Occupancy: $9,800
  • Single Supplement: $880
  • Optional Gorilla Trek Permit: $618

Package includes:

  • Meet & greet at Entebbe Airport
  • Transfer to Entebbe Airport
  • Airfare for flights within Uganda
  • Safari Vehicle with Pop up Roof with for Game viewing
  • English Speaking Driver Guide
  • Park entry fees to all National Parks as per the Itinerary
  • Game Drives as per the Itinerary
  • Boat Cruise as per itinerary
  • Nights Accommodation as per selected Hotels and Lodges
  • Meals as indicated
  • Safe drinking mineral water bottles in the vehicle all the time of the holiday.

Package does not include:

  • International Flight
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Soft Drinks, Alcohol and spirits
  • Tips & Personal Presents
  • Souvenirs
  • Gorilla Trek Permit
  • Visa
  • Tipping

Gorilla Trekking and Permit Details

  • To track the Gorillas you need a permit ($618), that has to be booked at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Head Quarters in Kampala, to participate in the Gorilla Trek in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
  • Because the permits are limited, are in demand and sell out quickly:
    • A non-refundable, booking deposit of $180 must be paid separately no later than May 1, 2018.
    • There are only four access locations for the Gorilla Trek in Bwindi, two of which are close to our lodge: Buhoma is the closest and Ruhija is a two-hour drive away.
    • Truthfully, this really is a first-come concept:
      • As of January 2018, there were only 15 permits remaining for closest location – Buhoma
      • Therefore, people who book early and confirm their Gorilla permits have the best chance to obtain one of the available Buhoma permits
      • Those confirming Gorilla permits later, may find the only remaining permits available are at Ruhija (and even this is not a given)
    • The balance must be paid separately before or by July 1, 2018
    • Our Ugandan collaborator will make the unique arrangement with the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Authorities and secure the permits
    • Once paid and the permit issued, the cost of the permit is not refundable by the Uganda Wildlife Authority
  • It’s advisable to book 6 months in advance to be sure the requested dates are available.
  • Only 8 persons only can visit a given gorilla family per day.
  • In Uganda, 12 families have been adapted in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and so can host 96 persons tracking the mountain gorillas on any day.
  • There is a $15 per person cost for a porter to carry your equipment during the Gorilla Trek at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Knowing the above make you decision wisely – Gorilla Tracking can be actually challenging, but equally a very rewarding experience. This trek is not for those not in the peak of physical condition – please read about the trek before making your decision: www.bwindinational park / http://www.bic-tours.com/gorilla-trekking/
  • IMPORTANT:
  • Participants need to know that the Gorilla trek is a potentially tough trekking experience. Each day is different.
  • Porters will be hired to help you and carry gear to decrease the difficulty at a minimum fee of $15 per porter.
  • It is recommended to bring walking sticks to aid in the trek. Note: local walking sticks will be provided for free.
  • There is an option for those who would like to do the Gorilla Trek but are not sure they can handle the tough trek. It is possible to arrange for you to be transported on a comfortable carrier on poles to help track the Gorillas with ease at a cost of about $300.

Additional Costs:

  • Minimum fee of $15 per Gorilla Trek Porter
  • Visa Required:
    • You can obtain a Single Entry VISA through the e-visa system for $50 – see https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
    • You can also obtain a visa on arrival at the Airport Immigration office by paying $50
  • Tipping Guidelines:
    • Drivers: $5 per day per person
    • Park Rangers/Guides: $10 per day per person
    • Ugandan Guide: $15 per day person
    • Gorilla Trek Guide Team: $15-20 per person
Highlights

  • This “Pearl of Africa” uniquely-designed adventure is based on personal experience acquired while traveling through the National Parks. As well as with the input and collaboration from BIC Tours, Uganda safari owner, Sam Mugisha.
  • Opportunity to photograph a wide range of wildlife and birds uniquely and prolifically found in Uganda while visiting four of Uganda’s national parks:
    • Kidepo Valley National Park
    • Queen Elizabeth National Park
    • Murchinson Falls National Park
    • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • An option to complete your tour with a Gorilla Trek in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Fly from park to park to maximize time photographing wildlife. Extra weight has been allotted for photographic gear on all internal flights
  • Designed with only 4 participants plus a leader/guide in each 7-person Safari vehicle in order to facilitate photographing wildlife without hindrance (with leaders/guide rotating between vehicles)
  • Use of a Tour Guide Communication System (listening devices) to facilitate photographic instruction and guidance and information imparted by rangers

Participants: Min 8 / Max 12

Tour Location: Uganda, Africa

Dates: October 3-15, 2018

2018 Package Price:
Note: Payment for the Adventure and the Gorilla Trek Permit are separate entries

  • Double Occupancy: $9,800
  • Single Occupancy: $10,680
  • Optional Gorilla Trek Permit: $618

Deposit:

  • Double Occupancy: $2,450
  • Single Occupancy: $2,670
  • Optional Gorilla Trek Permit: $180

Registration Deadline: May 1, 2018

Final Payment: July 1, 2018