Gorilla Habituation Experience, Chimps & Monkeys HABITUATION, LIONS TRACKING SAFARI- 8 Days

OVERVIEW
The 8 day gorilla habituation, chimps habituation and monkeys habituation experiences tour allows you more time with all Uganda's wildlife. It includes the full-day chimps habituation in Kibale National Park, lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park and game drives to see other BIG5 wildlife in the park, a boat safari on Kazinga Channel, mountain gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, as well as the golden monkeys' habituation experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The scenery on this Uganda safari along the routes we take is just fabulous, you will definitely love it, and take plenty of photos!
The 8 day tour allows you more time with all Uganda's wildlife. It includes the full-day chimps habituation in Kibale National Park, lion tracking in Queen Elizabeth National Park and game drives to see other BIG5 wildlife in the park, a boat safari on Kazinga Channel, mountain gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, as well as the golden monkeys' habituation experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.  
The scenery on this Uganda safari along the routes we take is just fabulous, you will definitely love it, and take plenty of photos!
  • Day 1: Kibale National Park, Afternoon guided primates' walk
  • Day 2: Full day chimpanzee habituation experience plus other primates
  • Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park, viewing Rwenzoris, crater lakes & wild animals
  • Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park - jeep safari, lion tracking, boat safari
  • Day 5: Tree-climbing Lions, Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 6: Gorilla habituation experience  in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Day 7: Golden monkey habituation exercise, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, transfer to Lake Bunyonyi
  • Day 8: Return to Kampala - Entebbe (flights to Entebbe can be arranged on request)


DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Start the Uganda Primates tour from Airport or your hotel in Entebbe or Kampala, drive Kibale National Park

Briefing on the safari before we drive westwards towards Fort Portal to the Kibale Forest National Park (about 5 hours).
Traveling on both asphalt and unpaved roads, you pass through traditional Ugandan villages where you see people at work tending their traditional crops of millet, sorghum, beans and maize. 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.
You arrive at Fort Portal, then, continue toward Kibale Forest, one of the great African rainforest research reserves. Years of study by scientists (who have cut a grid through the forest) have habituated many of its animals to human observers. This forest is famed for the variety of primates found here and it is a terrific area for birds. This rural Ugandan town (Fort Portal) is locally famous for its weaving and basketry, and we can spend some time briefly to examine some of this local art.
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 | Primate Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge
Moderate: Isunga Lodge | Turaco Treetops
Low Budget: Kibale Forest camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 2: Full Day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Plus Other Primates

Three large communities of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals.
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 behaviors. 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 | Primate Lodge Kibale | Ndali Lodge
Moderate: Isunga Lodge | Turaco Treetops
Low Budget: Kibale Forest camp | Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Day 3: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Viewing Rwenzoris, Lots of 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.

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market/Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge |  Katara Lodge
Mid-range: Ihamba Safari Lodge| Enganzi Lodge | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Budget: Bush Lodge (tents)|  Simba Safari Camp (tents) | Pumba Cottages 
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: 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.

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market/Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge |  Katara Lodge
Mid-range: Ihamba Safari Lodge| Enganzi Lodge | Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge 
Budget: Bush Lodge (tents)|  Simba Safari Camp (tents) | Pumba Cottages 
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: Tree-climbing Lions, Transfer to 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 | Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge
Moderate: Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge 
Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp 

Day 6: Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable NP-  4 hours' 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 | Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge
Moderate: Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge 
Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp 

Day 7: Golden Monkey Habituation Exercise, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, after, transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

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 Golden Monkey may not be the most well known primate, but is certainly an enjoyable, little creature that is worth visiting. It is a small curious monkey, golden in colour and loves to scamper around the trees. Golden monkeys are named after their golden-orange fur, and like mountain gorillas, are also considered endangered species. Conservation efforts have been put in place by the Uganda Wildlife Authority to ensure that the monkeys are protected – especially from poachers.
There is a habituated family of monkeys in Mgahinga, where tourists can track and stay with them for a period of four hours depending on where they nested the previous night and how far it is from the starting point.
It is estimated that Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has between 3000-4000 golden monkeys grouped in troupes of 30s led by a principal adult male. Golden monkeys are primarily to be found in the bamboo forest that skirt the lower slopes of the volcanoes. They are quite more  active in the bamboo canopy.  Golden monkeys are opportunistic feeders. What they feed on could be by the availability of fruits, leaves of bamboo trees, shoots of bamboo, shrubs, flowers, invertebrates and these makes it to be restricted to highland forest, mostly the bamboo forest.
Uganda Wildlife Authority now offers you the golden opportunity to experience a Golden Monkey Habituation in Mgahinga National Park. Accompany the researches in the morning or afternoon to track the Golden Monkeys and stay with them for 4 hours. You will have the unique chance to get close to these little primates and study their behavior in their natural habitat. A unique experience that will enhance your primate safari in Uganda!
How the activity is conducted
Golden monkey tracking starts at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park headquarters at 7:30am for pre-tracking briefing (on the dos and don’ts of tracking the golden monkeys). The actual trek begins at 8:00am. Hiking through the forests to sight the golden monkeys is not so strenuous like gorilla trekking because golden monkeys live in lower areas, so tourists do not track for more than 3 hours. When tourists encounter the golden monkey family, they are given one hour  (0r 4 hours in case your are doing the habituation experience) to spend with them (to take photographs and observe their behavior). With this activity, there is no minimum number of tourists who track each group and age limit is 12 years.
What to carry during Mgahinga golden monkey tracking.
There are several requirements that tourists need to have a memorable experience during golden monkey tracking. These include waterproof hiking boots, wear long sleeved shirt, long trousers, and carry a backpack for your lunch and documents. Also carry drinking water and snacks, carry a walking stick to support you during hiking, you can hire a porter to support you during hiking in slippery places and they carry your backpack, and do not forget to carry an insect repellant.

Accommodation Options (Full Board)

Up-market: Birdnest Lodge, Lake Bunyonyi
Moderate: Birdnest Lodge, Lake Bunyonyi
Low Budget: Bunyonyi Overland Resort


Day 8: 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.

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