Ruwenzori Mountains gorilla safari, Uganda and Rafting, 12 days trip
Day one: Arrival in Entebbe or Kampala to begin the Ruwenzori Mountains gorilla safari expedition in Uganda’s Mount Ruwenzori and the Impenetrable forest at Bwindi. The two hour airport transfer to Kampala through the market places and roadside shops. Eventually, end at the Lake Victoria Kigo Hotel or the Lake Victoria Serena for overnight.
Day Two: Morning breakfast and load up the luggage and climbing gear enroute to the Ruwenzori Mountain ranges. A short stopover in Fort portal to have lunch and later follow the shadow of the mountains, proceed through Kasese for overnight. Meals and night at the Magherita Hotel or Mountain base in Nyakalengija.
Day Three: We commence our Ruwenzori Mountains gorilla safari with a morning breakfast. Later, proceed to the Mountain base in Kilembe for weigh in and formalities relating to the climb. Assigned porters and a guide begin the first day of the climb in the Rwenzori Mountains making final checks. The assembly at the park gate usually starts as early as 08:00am for the more than 8 kms Ruwenzori hike. Through the low lying vegetation, hear calls of the Black and white colubus monkeys and troops of wild chimpanzees. Maybe, the occasional sightings of the red-tailed monkeys along the trail head.
Commence the hike from around 1700 metres and your guide will allow for some stops for resting or photo opportunities. Later, the vegetation breaks into clear spaces and rocky outcrops towards the lunch break point. By this time, you have gained climbed over 1000metres and you will be enjoying beautiful views of the lower areas of Queen Elizabeth National park and the Crater Lakes. The overnight accommodations and dinner is another 1,000metres above sea level at a place called Samalira, which translates to “admire“ in the local language.
Day Three: Giant Heather and Moss altitude
Breakfast at the overnight camp at Samalira thereafter, begin the next climb which takes an average of 5 hours through the 4 mile trail in the mountains. The hike this day is through some steep valleys covered with Giant Heather and Moss which mountain landscape evens out after a couple of metres on the strenuous climb. Thereafter, lunch on the mountain then hike up to your next hut, accessed through the banks of the River Nyambwamba. The hut is at the nearby Kiharo which is at an altitude of 3,380 metres above sea level.
Day Four: Your Mountain chef serves breakfast and the porters move ahead with the gear. You depart from the Kiharo hut at (3,380meters) and climb via the Nyamwamba river valley into the giant lobelia section. This rocky out crops and heath land also features spectacular bogs, moss and lichens. After lunch, you hike up towards the Lake Kopello where you also have spectacular views of the 9 Mountain tarns surrounded by alpine vegetation. After about 5 hours of Mountain climbing, arrive for dinner and overnight at the Bigata Camp.
Day Five: Morning breakfast then begin the hike from your overnight accommodation at the Bugata Hut(4059 metres above sea level). This day’s climb is through some narrow ridges through some beautiful waterfalls, and bare rocky areas covered in moss and heath with scattered lobelia mountain plants. On the steep climb, enjoy the views of Mount Stanley, Mutinda and Mount Baker Peaks seen on clear days. Later, your mountain climbing team prepares lunch on the trail before your ascent to the Weisman hut. The conditions at this altitude are mostly chilly, with the peaks covered in glaciers on some occasions. Dinner and overnight at the Weisman Mountain Hut.(4,620metres)
Day Six: Rwenzori Descent
This would be a long day with a downhill descent after breakfast. The long descent leaves the bare earth with sections of moorland and scattered tussocks. Also, several beautiful waterfalls of Mountain tarns. On the way down, you will stop at several view points to see the distant peaks of Margherita, Baker, Stanley and the Kilembe town on the way down. Stop over for lunch, and descend through a section of mountain vegetation of everlasting flowers and moss before heading to the overnight accommodation on a mountain hut at Kalama. You will be lulled by the sounds of the rock Hyraxes and in the early afternoons, you may also spot the rare Rwenzori Red Duikers feeding on the vegetation. Dinner and overnight at the Kalama hut. (3,134 metres above sea level).
Day Seven: Exit to Kasese
Breakfast at leisure and pack up the Mountain gear, before heading down through the Bamboo section as the vegetation gets greener. The bird sounds welcome you at the base of the Rwenzori Mountains and the montane forests come into view you finally end the climbing tour at Kilembe ranger post to meet with your safari guide for the short drive to Hotel Margherita where your Ruwenzori Mountains gorilla safari guides will see you off. Meal plan, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Day Eight: Ruwenzori Mountains Gorilla safari from Kasese to Bwindi Impenetrable National park
A lovely drive through the Queen Elizabeth Park on the main road from the Kasese area precedes breakfast and will yield some wildlife along the way. Later on, spot red-tailed monkeys, baboons, Cape buffalo, Elephant, Water buck and possibly the tree climbing lions along the main road. You will later, proceed to the Bwindi Impenetrable National park arriving in the afternoon for a late lunch or you could have a picnic lunch along the way. Dinner and overnight at the Gorilla Resort Bwindi.
Day Nine: Gorilla trekking experience
Breakfast at the lodge and head out at the park offices for a short briefing on how to behave whilst in the presence of the Mountain gorillas. Later, with lunch packs and plenty of water and a walking stick, begin the day’s gorilla trekking experience in the Impenetrable forests of Bwindi. Guides and trackers follow gorilla tracks into the thick vegetation and begin the actual tracking from the gorilla nests. The Mountain gorillas make a new nest for the overnight bed every day. All the family members including the silver-back sleep for the night. The gorillas are located feeding on shoots and forest vegetation, then an hour of viewing and interaction. Visitors may take pictures or film footage by camcorder. After picnic lunches in the forest, return to the base camp for a warm shower, dinner and overnight at the Gorilla resort Camp.
Day Ten: Bwindi to Kampala
Breakfast early and set off for the drive back to Kampala. Later on, drive through banana plantations, deep valleys and grazing lands of the Ankole cattle on the hilltops in Central Uganda. After a lunch break around Mbarara for your picnic lunch, or a warm one at the Motel Agip. Have another stopover at the Uganda Equator before heading to Kampala and overnight at the Hotel Africana.
Day Eleven: After breakfast, the white water rafting party will pick you up for the day trip to Jinja. The rafting begins a short distance from the source of the River Nile. Have a full day of white water rafting adventure on the river. The trip through the grade 5 rapids glides through the evergreen forested trees along the banks of the Nile. Teeming with birds, butterflies and the fishing local tribes people who catch the huge Nile Perch. Proceed to the mid-river Island for a buffet lunch and drinks, later float down river to exit. The trip ends about 25kms downstream with refreshments of beers, sodas and bottled water before heading back to Kampala. Overnight at the Hotel Africana.
Day Twelve: The Ruwenzori Mountains gorilla safari finally ends with a morning breakfast at the Hotel. Later, proceed to the airport on a 2 hour road transfer for your outward departure flight.
End of services:
Ruwenzori Mountains gorilla safari includes:
- Airport transfers
- accommodations and camp meals
- Park entrance fees
- Mountain guides
- Camp kitchen
- Private cook
- Hut fees
- Gorilla permit
- white water rafting on the Nile
- Private 4×4 safari vehicle
- complimentary bottled water in vehicle
- English speaking guides and
- game viewing through Queen Elizabeth park o main road