Gorilla Habituation Experience, Chimps Habituation, Rhino & Lion Tracking Uganda Safari -10 Days

OVERVIEW
The all-inclusive Uganda tour includes gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, chimps habituation experience in Kibale, lion tracking, rhino tracking as well as other primates.
This Uganda gorilla safari is for spending more time with the gorillas (with gorilla habituation experience for 4 hours with gorilas instead of the 1 hour gorilla trek), getting closer to the lions in Queen Elizabeth NP as rhino tracking in Ziwa rhino sanctuary, and chimpazee habituation experience in Kibale.
There is also the golden monkey habituation experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, we do game drices in Murchison Falls NP and Queen Elizabeth NP.
The Uganda tour is private and can depart on any day from Entebbe/ Kampala or Kigali.

Gorilla Habituation Experience, Chimps Habituation, Rhino & Lion Tracking Uganda Safari -10 Days

10 day speciality wildlife deep-in experiences with rhino tracking,  chimps habituation experience in Kibale, mountain gorillas habituation experience in Bwindi, researcher-led lions tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park, golden monkeys habituation experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Murchison Falls and more.

This is the ideal safari to Africa for travellers who would love a deeper than ordinary experience with Africa’s unique wildlife.
We have made special arrangements with the national park authorities so that you have 2-5 times more the traditional amount of time with the rare and endangered mountain gorillas guided by scientific researchers and contributing to their research, wild chimpanzees and other primates, lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and intimate contact with gorillas, plus safaris for chimpanzees, tree-climbing lions, mongoose and more.
Our new Gorilla Habituation Experience, Chimps Habituation, Rhino & Lion Tracking Uganda Safari  is an incredibly unusual combination of truly “once-in-a-lifetime” safaris that feature scientific researcher-led up-close wildlife interactions for gorillas, chimps, golden monkeys and Africa’s Rare 5.
  • Day 1: Start from Entebbe or Kampala, Track rhinos, Murchison Falls National Park
  • Day 2: Wildlife/ game viewing experiences for Giraffes, lions, elephant, buffalo, boat safari to  Murchison Falls National Park
  • Day 3: Kibale National Park
  • Day 4: Full day chimpanzee habituation experience plus other primates
  • Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park, viewing Rwenzoris, crater lakes & wild animals
  • Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park, jeep safari, lion tracking, boat safari for more wildlife viewing.
  • Day 7: Tree-climbing lions, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 8: Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (a memorable 4 hours with instead of the standard 1 hour)
  • Day 9: Golden monkey habituation exercise, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
  • Day 10: Return to Kampala - Entebbe or depart from Kigali airport.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Start safari from Entebbe or Kampala, Rhino Tracking at Ziwa Sanctuary, continue to Murchison Falls National Park

 You visit and track white rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch located in Nakasongola district is the proud home of the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The Rhino re-introduction project is a project of Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority. 
We are conveniently located 176km (100 miles) north of Kampala on the Gulu highway towards Murchison Falls (branch off at Nakitoma trading centre). Ziwa is the only place where you will be able to see rhinos in the wild.
Presently the sanctuary is home to nineteen (19) southern white rhinos.
The sanctuary provides trained rangers who will ably guide you through this expedition. You will have the opportunity to observe the rhinos at a very close and safe distance. While at the sanctuary you will also encounter a range of other wildlife species including uganda kobs, reed bucks, oribis, rich bucks, hippos and crocodiles.

Ziwa Rhino
Stop in Masindi for lunch and after continue to Murchison Falls National Park. From here we will continue onto our accommodation place along the Nile River.

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market: Baker's Lodge |  Paraa Safari Lodge
Moderate: Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge
Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 2: Wildlife Game drive safaris in Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast head to the Delta in search for bird life and enjoy the game drive to look for lions, giraffes, herds of elephants, buffaloes and many more.
We will then go for an afternoon boat cruise to the foot of Murchison Falls. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles.
The bird life is stunning with brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks. If lucky, you may see the rare and prehistoric looking shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.
Finally you will be stopping at the top of the falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters.

Boat Trip to the Bottom of Murchison Falls

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market: Baker's Lodge |  Paraa Safari Lodge
Moderate: Murchison River Lodge | Pakuba Lodge
Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents) | Murchison River Lodge (tents) | Red Chilli Rest Camp

Day 3: Kibale National Park - "East Africa's Primates' Capital", Guided Primate Walk in afternoon 

More primates like black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee eater and mammals like elephants can be seen in this walk.
Early morning after breakfast we continue driving through the undulating highlands of southwestern Uganda on our way to the greener and beautiful Fort Portal area. The lush rolling hills of this region provide good photo opportunities. As you approach Fort Portal in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, you enter Uganda's famous tea plantation region. A carpet of green spreads before you, as far as the eye can see, and seems an unusual contrast to the countryside through which you have just passed.
In the afternoon we visit a nearby forest swamp that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. At the eastern edge of Kibale forest is Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is maintained by the local community. You will expect birds like the great blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bushbucks, bush pigs and among others.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge
Moderate: Isunga Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp
Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 4: Full Day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Plus Other Primates in Kibale

Today we’ll accompany Kibale’s researchers in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to a “soft” habituation project with chimpanzees. You’ll learn to safely observe the chimps during their daily activities, so they get comfortable with human presence without changing their natural behaviours. You will be able to experience the chimp families as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed.
Guided by biologists and researchers, we will enjoy unprecedented intimate access to these wild chimps for the entire day until they build their nests at bedtime.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Up-market: Kyaninga Lodge | Crater Safari Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge
Moderate: Isunga Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp
Low Budget: Tents at Kibale Forest Camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Viewing Rwenzoris, Crater Lakes & Wild Animals

We then drive to Queen Elizabeth. The game seen will depend on the season; the Kasenyi plains are good for lion and the Mweya peninsula for a variety of animals.
Shift to Queen Elizabeth National Park this morning (about 3 hours driving). Leaving through Fort Portal town, you turn south and early this afternoon enter Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000 foot Rwenzori Mountains - the famed "Mountains of the Moon".
This 767 square-mile conservation area is bordered on the north-east by Lake George and on the south-west by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Congo Parc du Virunga. You will expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda kob, as well as topi, elephant and lion, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

Overnight Lodges/ Camps:
Up-market: Mweya  Lodge | Katara Lodge| Mazike Lodge
Moderate: Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge| Bush Lodge
Budget: Bush Lodge | Simba Safari Camp

Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Jeep Safari, Lion Tracking, Boat Safari

See a different face of the park as we venture off road with a research team to track lions and contribute to a valuable lion research project in the Ishasha Sector. The researchers' Land-cruiser is fitted with radio-collar-receiving equipment. You get a full briefing on the animals with opportunity for as much lion photography as you can manage.
After a leisurely lunch on the Mweya Peninsula we’ll enjoy a two hour boat safari along the Kazinga Channel. This affords the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray and buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others.
Overnight Lodges/ Camps:
Up-market: Mweya  Lodge | Katara Lodge| Mazike Lodge
Moderate: Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge| Bush Lodge
Budget: Bush Lodge | Simba Safari Camp

Day 7: Tree-climbing Lions, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast we drive further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head to the southern sector of the park – Ishasha. This is the best area to see the famous tree-climbing lions draped from low hanging limbs of fig trees. Next we visit the Kob Mating Ground—a defined area specifically used by these stunning antelopes for challenging other males, enticing females and mating. Finally we’ll pass through beautiful savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles for over 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 species of mammals including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.
Bwindi is a prime destination for bird- watchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics – species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge (or request upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)
Moderate:  Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge 
Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp 

Day 8: Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Researcher-led gorilla habituation experience - 4 hour permit !

We have an early morning entry into the mountain gorillas’ sanctuary. Our intimate gorilla experience allows you to accompany the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Bwindi gorilla habituation team for the entire day, allowing you to have a minimum 4 hours in the presence of a mountain gorilla family – since regular permits only allow 1 hour, this is 4 times the amount of time spent up close with Gorillas – more than any other safari operator! During this time you will be able to experience the gorilla family as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed until they build their nests at bedtime.
The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving ad- venture that will leave you with long lasting memories. Spending more time with them than the norm means you are assured of the best possible experience, with 4 full hours for better photography, researcher access for more questions, and enough time to experience more intimate and unusual behaviors. The gorillas are shy and peaceful animals and it is an unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact with each other.
The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. Once the gorillas are sighted, you will be guided to within 6 meters of the gorillas, and be able to sit all around them while gazing into their big round eyes as the researchers note health, behavior and other characteristics.

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge (or request upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)
Moderate:  Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge 
Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp 

Day 9: Golden Monkey Habituation Exercise, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

After an early breakfast, set off for the national park for the Golden Monkey habituation experience which allows you up to 4 hours with the monkeys.
The monkeys are primarily to be found in the bamboo forest that skirt the lower slopes of the volcanoes. The monkeys are very active in the canopy of the bamboo where your guides mimic their calls to follow the group.

Golden Monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market: Mount Gahinga Lodge Lodge (or request upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)
Moderate: Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge 
Low Budget: Travellers Rest Hotel Kisoro 

Day 10: Return to Kampala - Entebbe (flights could also be arranged) or end tour in Rwanda

Early breakfast before embarking on our return to Kampala, driving down the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’. This area is a rows. Not to miss as we traverse Mbarara are the impressing longhorn Ankole cattle. A remarkable highlight of this journey is the Equator line and surely you will cross it as we have a brief stop here. We will be in Kampala in the evening before for your flight back home.


Start Planning Your Safari

Talk to a Uganda Safari Expert

Enquire about this special wildlife experience and habituation safari and tour prices.
Talk to one of our destination experts to start planning your Uganda safari.
Gorilla habituation is actually a process of getting wild mountain gorilla get used to being in the presence of humans. This can be for purposes of tourism - having tourists visit the gorillas (gorilla trekking) or for research purposes. It usually takes about 2-3 years to have the gorilla habituaiton complete and the gorillas would be ready for  gorilla tourism.
In Uganda's Bwindi, at least 18 gorilla families have been habituaited for gorilla trekking and research.
The gorilla habituation experience is a purely experiential tourism activity. In the gorilla habituation experience, we visit the Bikingi gorilla group of Bwindi. This gorilla group is now already completely habituated for tourists' presence.  At the begining when the experience was first open for tourism, these gorillas were kind of wild and avoiding human presence. It is now about 6 years since the gorilla habituation experience started and that means these mountain gorillas have been having humans visit them daily for the last 8 years. The group has 25 gorillas with silverbacks, black backs, juvenile gorillas and baby gorillas. It is very used to tourists' visits and you won't be disappointed. You will be in company of the trekkers and research assistants. The maximum number of tourists for the gorilla habituation experience is 4 persons per day.  The gorilla habituation experience permit is USD1500 currently.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda takes place in the Southern Area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the Rushaga Region. In 2019 there are only 4-Permits a day since there is only one Grouppresently undergoing the Gorilla Habituation Process. Since the beginning of this activity in 2016, there has only been few that have been part of the Gorilla Habituation Experience compared to the thousands that have been on a usual trek.  99% of those that have participated have loved it resulting in raves such as this one from one of our clients who called it “the Icing on the Cake of our time on Safari in Uganda.” 
Many African Travelers are in search of that “Gorillas in the Mist” – Dian Fossey Moment, that David Attenborough moment in time as he lingered among the Gentle Giants of the Forest. Nothing can replicate their moments in time with the Gentle Giants of the Forest, the Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is about as close as you can get without being a Researcher, ranger or tracker. Not only moments of Discovery the Habituation Experience is learning about the Primates and their ways, conservation and how the endangered Primates are on a comeback from near extinction and that in large part due to Gorilla Tourism and permits that pay for a large part of the conservation effort.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience is not for everyone. It takes more effort, more money for permits, at times more endurance since you are four hours with a Family plus there is the trek in and the trek out.  It takes a better than moderate fitness level to do the Habituation Experience. We suggest taking long walks, or even hikes before your arriving in Uganda.

Reasons we feel that the Gorilla Habituation Experience is well worth Your Time

  • You get more Time with the Mountain Gorillas – 4-Hours instead of 1
  • You become a participant in the Habituation Process, not just an observer like on a Gorilla Trek.
  • It is an All-Day Gorilla Trek
  • Fewer Fellow Trekkers – Half the Participants that on a regular Gorilla Trek – 4
  • Better Photo Opportunities – more time get better pictures.
  • Exclusive Activity-only 4 Permits
  • Learn the Habits and Ways of the Mountain Gorillas with Researchers & Rangers
  • You are a participant in the Habituation Process
  • Lowest Cost Per Hour Visit 
  • Close to Kigali – Rwanda – 4-Hour Drive Time
  • Value Priced mid-range – Upmarket – luxury – Exclusive Lodging Choices
  • Gorilla+ Add-Ons to your Gorilla Habituation Safari such as


Disadvantages  that we have found in our Experience about the Gorilla Habituation Experience;

  • Limited Permits – there are only 4
  • $1,500 Permit price – $900 more than standard Permits
  • Tougher Treks in regards to time spent in the Forest

It is only in Uganda where you can go on a Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari and that presently with is with one gorilla group being habituated in the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
The good news is that you can easily access Rushaga not only from points in Uganda but you can do so taking a short drive from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Rushaga Area.
Gorilla Habituation Experience Safaris can be any safari that now includes Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
We can adjust the safari to include the Habituation Experience – depending on permit availability, which is quite limited compared to regular Trekking.
Please Note:  Peak Season Months – June through September – December through March means limited permits and as people find out about the more time with a Gorilla Family, permits will even be in shorter supply.  One reason we suggest booking at least 6 to 9 months ahead.
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