All trips start at the crack of dawn so make friends with your alarm clock if you’re not an early riser. The drives are tailored with children in mind, meals are served at convenient times, and there are options for mid-range accommodation, luxury accommodation, and camping/backpacker facilities, depending on your taste.
Day 1: Home Airport—Entebbe International Airport
You will enter Uganda via Entebbe International Airport where our Chief Experience Officer CEO will be waiting to pick you up. Look out for someone holding a placard with your name. He will welcome you, drive you to your hotel, brief you on what to expect the following day, and help you settle in. If you need any assistance, do not hesitate to ask our CEO.
Optional: City Tour, Night Life
Day 2: Kampala—Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
You depart for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park first thing in the morning. The drive is between 8-9 hours through lowland country and high altitude terrain. Our first scheduled stop is at the Equator, a fantastic spot for photo-ops with one foot in the northern hemisphere and another in the southern hemisphere. There is a great craft shop here and a drum making workshop where you can see how traditional drums are made.
The next stop is in Uganda’s dairy capital, Mbarara. We’ll stretch, relax and have lunch before going back on the road for the final leg of the drive. The drive goes through green country roads with sightings of local village life until you start to the lush rainforest trees concealing the prospect of a breath-taking encounter with Mountain Gorillas.
Day 3: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Forest is home to more than half the world’s population of Mountain Gorilla—the world’s most endangered ape—and is one of Africa’s biggest tourist destinations. Mountain Gorilla are said to be man’s closest cousins and can only be found in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. A close encounter with these majestic beasts is unforgettable.
After an early breakfast in the clean, invigorating air of Bwindi Forest, there is a briefing by park management. You will be assigned a park ranger to guide you through the trip and arrange for you to visit one of the families living in the forest.
Uganda Wildlife Authority is strict on protecting this natural treasure. A maximum of 8 tourists per day are permitted to visit a habituated group, and once the first Gorilla is spotted you are allowed strictly one hour to stay with these majestic beasts, but every second will be worth it.
Watching these beautiful creatures go about their daily business—feeding, grooming each other, playing, resting, and completely unbothered with their admirers—is a truly incredible experience. It’s hard to believe how similar they are to their human cousins.
The Bwindi jungle is thick and lies on volcano slopes. The trek can be strenuous depending on your physical condition. If required, porters can be hired to carry your personal items and assist you during the trek.
Optional: Porter fees are between USD 10 – 20; Gorilla habituation experience is USD 1,500
Day 4 : Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park—Kampala
We depart for Kampala first thing in the morning. We’ll stop en-route at Igongo Cultural Centre, a cultural museum along the Mbarara-Kampala highway with a treasure trove of information on the norms and traditions of Western Uganda. Here you’ll be enjoy a meal of traditional Ankore cuisine, get a guided tour of the museum and learn about the history of Ankore Kingdom. We depart for Kampala after lunch and arrive early in the evening. If you’re up for it, our CEO can give you a guided tour of Kampala’s night life; few places in the world are as fun as Kampala at night.
Optional: Kampala Night Life
Day 5: Kampala—Jinja
We set off early for a day of fun in Uganda’s adventure capital, Jinja town. Set on the shores of Lake Victoria, at the point where the Great Nile begins its long journey to the Mediterranean Sea. The day’s main course is a hair-raising round of white water on the Nile, crowned with sundowners on a beautiful sunset cruise. If white-water rafting is not for you, Jinja has plenty of attractions like kayaking, quad biking and bungee jumping. No matter how many times you’ve done them before, if you haven’t done them in Jinja, try out some and discover the difference for yourself.
Optional: Kayaking, horseback riding, quad biking, bungee jumping, cycling, village walk
Day 6: Jinja—Kapchorwa
Today we kick off the Eastern Leg of the Pearl Highlights Safari with a trip to the picturesque hills of Kapchorwa to see one of the most heavenly sights anywhere on earth—the exquisitely beautiful Sipi Falls. We’ll check in at the hotel on arrival, freshen up, and take a lively hike through mountainous terrain to the falls.
After sipping in the beauty of the Sipi Falls, we’ll visit a coffee farm and savour the aromatic taste of hot coffee brewed with fresh beans picked from some of the richest soils on the globe. The farmers will induct you in the process of growing and brewing coffee, and when the day has worn off, you’ll head back to the lodge, kick off your shoes, and relax in the bewitching tranquillity of the Kapchorwa night.
Day 7, 8 & 9: Kapchorwa—Kidepo Valley National Park
The final destination on this leg is Kidepo Valley National Park, the ideal location for a classic African bush safari. Situated at Uganda’s border with South Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park but the adventurers lucky to make the long journey north, through tough terrain, find themselves saying as the forefathers of folk legend did, “let us settle here”. The scenery is different, the people are unique, and when it comes to the vast herds of wildlife, everyone’s breath is blown away.
It is a four-time World Travel Awards nominee and if famous for having large herds of zebra, antelope, bushback, and a wide range of herbivores. It is also home to Uganda’s largest population of lions. Of all the game parks in Uganda, Kidepo presents the biggest feast of game-viewing; which is what makes the perfect destination to close your tour of Uganda.
The journey is a 7-8 hour drive through rugged valleys and dusty plains outlined by distant mountain ranges in the desert-like region of Karimojong country. The Karimojong people are a nomadic pastoral-warrior culture similar to the Masai, and one of few communities whose culture and traditions are still intact today.
During your 3 day in Karimojong country, you will enjoy game drives through the park, visit a traditional village and witness how these unique beautiful people have lived for thousands of years. If you’re so inclined, there is the option of visiting Pian Upe and Matheniko game reserves, the only places with Roan antelope in Uganda. They also have ‘bright’ gazelle, ostriches, and lesser Kudu.
Optional: Pian Upe Game Reserve, Matheniko Game Reserve
Day 10: Kidepo Valley National Park—Kampala
The journey back to Kampala is about 8-9 hours’ drive, but through easier road this time. Our route takes us through Gulu Town where we’ll stop for lunch. Gulu was once the epicentre of a civil war that spanned over two decades but has made a remarkable recovery and is bustling with life. We head straight for your Kampala after lunch. There is an optional final city tour on arrival. Check out Kampala night life before you check out of Uganda, our CEO is available to give a guided tour.
Optional: City tour, night life
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