Uganda Elephant safari with gorilla trek combo 10 days
Day one: An early start from Kampala or Entebbe, then begin the Uganda elephant safari tour of Uganda. A leisurely drive up north into the semi-arid regions or Nasasongola through the northern bank of Murchison falls park. Have a transit afternoon game drive along the main road after the karuma falls to observe African Elephants on the plains. Other animals in the park to see, include; giraffe which inhabit the acacia infested savannah or the Uganda Kobs. Later, transfer to the pakwach bridge for photo opportunities near the bridge and the Nile Delta. Elephant herds frequent the Borassus forest as well as splashing about in the marshland puddles. After an enroute game drive through the park, transfer to your overnight accommodations for dinner and overnight at a Riverside Tented Camp of Safari Lodge. Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day two: Elephant safari with Wildlife ranger guide
Breakfast at the restaurant, overlooking the river Nile Banks at sunrise. The dawn is broken clear with sights of the early morning drink by the Elephant families alongside Hippos. Thereafter, begin the morning wildlife viewing safari on the northern bank of the River Nile. See long columns of dead terminalia trees stripped of their bark by Elephants. Later, proceed through large single filed, spaced Borassus trees that form neat forests. As the Elephants feed on the Borassus fruit, they pass these out to germinate and grow in straight columns.
Along the Nyamusika faultlines in the park, guests are likely to encounter large herds migrating to the Delta area towards the water points. On the Elephant safari, other animals, as well as birds are seen. Look out for Jackson’s Hartebeest, Leopard, Oribi, Baboon and spotted Hyena. Also, look out for the white backed vultures at the tree tops as well as carmine bee eaters. The ever present ox peckers and piac piacs ride on the backs of Elephants alongside the graceful cattle egrets. With Luck, see a pride of Lions with a kill before heading for a picnic lunch.
Nile cruise boat ride for close ups of Elephant alongside Hippos
Begin the boat ride in the humid afternoon from the starting point at Paraa. The fibreglass or steel boat trip begins a 3 hour tour through the placid waters on the Nile. In the sweltering heat, large mammals descent the steep edges of the river to cool off and have a drink. A favorite location to see African elephants from as close as a few meters from the boat. Other animals seen along the banks of the Nile include; monitor lizard, Giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, Hippopotami and migratory birds.
A rare sighting from the Jurassic era is another surprise in form of the shoe billed stork. Other birds on the river include the African Kingfishers, Egyptian geese, Red throated bee eaters, African skimmers and many others. On rare occasions, guests are rewarded with leopard sightings after a baboon kill. From here, transfer to the safari jeeps and head back to the overnight accommodations to have dinner. Meal plan, breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight at a Murchison falls National park lodge or camp.
Day Three: Long transit to Fort Portal
Have a morning breakfast and begin a long transit through the scenic route near Lake Albert. At one of the view points, a game warden was trampled by a charging Elephant and a memorial obelisk stands visible. Proceed through the towns of Hoima and Kagadi arriving late in the evening after a picnic lunch break in the countryside. Towards the tea growing gardens around the Kibale forest national park, elephants transited through here to the Queen Elizabeth National park. Arrive in the late evening and have dinner at a local Ugandan restaurant before dinner and overnight at the Overnight accommodations around Fort Portal.
Day Four: Elephant viewing on the Kikorongo Lake area
After an early morning breakfast, proceed to the Queen Elizabeth National park through the Uganda Equator spot. The mid-morning game viewing centres around the Crater Lakes of Kikorongo as well as Lake George. Elephant families and the occasional solitary bulls forage through the euphorbia grasslands and occupy the salt floodplains of the lakes. The baby elephants or calfs are protected by the herd from any danger from Hyena’s or the Kasenyi Lions. After lunch at the lodge, spend the evening in the Crater area and the baboon cliffs in search of more of these Giants. Around Lake Katwe, Elephant herds blend in with the local fishermen. The salt mining area in the region also offers some flamingo viewing as well as Cape buffalo sightings. Meals and overnight at Kasenyi Safari Camp.
Day Five: Morning game drive and Kazinga Channel cruise.
Breakfast at dawn and begin a morning wildlife viewing safari in search of Elephants on the peninsula. Look out for Giant forest hogs and listen out for the elephant shrew or the noisy hyraxes allied to the Elephant family. Hippos begin their journey back to the water after a night of munching on the grass on land. After a lunch break and relaxing at a selected view point, the afternoon is spent on a second boat cruise on the kazinga channel.
Elephants are able to drink over 80 gallons of water at ago. See the Elephants at the edge of the Kazinga channel with the young and the Matriach as well as the bulls. Cape buffalo, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Monitor Lizard and colourful kingfishers grace the banks towards Kazinga village. In the evening, the elephants congregate in defence formations as they get to sleep for the night. Dinner and overnight at Kasenyi Safari camp or other lodge.
Day Six: Ishasha plains and tree climbing lions
Head out early then proceed through the Ishasha road, stopping along the Kazinga plains where large bulls roam free. Elephant dumps along the main roads are a godsend for the dung beetles that roll these into small chunks. Out in the open savannah, Elephants appear through the thickets as they scrape the barks off trees. As well as feeding on the acacia trees and elephant grass, elephants also take time at salt licks on earth mounds.
The evening safari into the Ishasha continues along the river ntungwe with elephant herds from the Congo cross into Uganda from the Virunga park. Large herds have been recorded here following the unrest on the other side of the border. In the fig trees, look out for tree climbing lions and the Topi Antelopes on ant mounds. Later, proceed to the overnight accommodations next to the Queen Elizabeth National park. Meals and Overnight at Ishasla Camp or Safari Lodge.
Day Seven: Communities affected by Elephant raids
Morning breakfast and transfer through the neighbouring communities close to the park. Due to the constant Elephant raiding of the gardens, bee keeping has been introduced in the area to ward off the Elephants. Stop by one of these projects and talk to the local farmers who share their encounters with the Elephants from the park. Later, drive through the banana farmland and proceed to the Bwindi Impenetrable forest to spend the night at the Mountain Gorilla Tented Camp close to the forest. Forest Elephants Inhabit a section of the Impenetrable forest and visit a section of caves in the night to lick the salt. If interested, a 3 hour each direction walking hike through the forest is possible if booked in advance.
Day Eight: Gorilla trek at Bwindi Impenetrable National park Uganda
Breakfast at the lodge and begin a morning trek into the forest looking for a family of Mountain Gorillas. The guides, as well as porters usher the gorilla tourists through the thick jungle over steep terrain to find the Mountain gorillas. A full hour with a close encounter with a gorilla family elapses faster than anticipated due to the quality experience. Thereafter, picnic lunches and water will be served in the jungle before heading back to the overnight ensuite camp. Dinner and overnight at the Mountain gorilla base accommodation.
Day Nine: Return to Kampala
Breakfast at the lodge and have an early morning departure out of Bwindi to Mbarara for lunch. Transit is through the steep valleys of Rukungiri and the cattle keeping corridor of Ntungamo. See large herds of the Ankole cattle before heading to the Equator for a stretch of legs before heading into Kampala. Arrive late in the evening for dinner and overnight at the Villa Kololo lodge.
Day Ten: The Uganda Elephant safari ends with breakfast and a short transfer to the airport for the departure flight.
Elephant safari price includes:
– Airport transfers from Entebbe to Kampala
– Accommodation and meals on tour
– Bed and breakfast in Kampala or Entebbe
– Park entrance fees
– Elephant safari game viewing drives
– Ferry crossing on the Nile where applicable
– Game viewing boat cruises on the Nile and Kazinga channel
– Murchison falls and Queen Elizabeth Elephant specialist rangers
– Boat cruises as well as Elephant safari guides on board
– a Gorilla trek at Bwindi
– Community excursion highlighting the Impact of Elephant raids.
– Private 4×4 safari vehicle with an English speaking guide.
What to pack on the Uganda Elephant safari
Guide books related to Elephants, as well as other wildlife of Africa.
A pair of binoculars to spot the Elephant herds from a distance, thereby saving driving time for a close up experience.
Sunscreen, in order to minimise effects of the sun’s rays while on safari.
For photographers, a tripod, rice bag or beanbag for camera stability and avoidance of shake, are advisable. A mobile elephant photography hide may also be a good idea. One however needs guidance from the ranger guides or warden on safety precautions during use.
If wishing to undertake a night time Uganda elephant safari in the parks, one is advisable to have a good spot light, as well as warm gear during the chilly outings.
Fawn or Khaki clothing is advisable for a safari day in the bush. One may also consider carrying along insect repellent. A section of the Murchison falls National Park is infested with menacing stinging bugs.
A record note-book. Helpful in taking down some important information provided by Elephant guides on tour. It is also advisable to carry extra snacks for the longer safari days before meals. Bottled water is provided in the vehicles and the guide can be consulted when in need.
It is advisable to carry a sunhat or cap which will be handy during the occasional walking safari for close up experiences of the wildlife.
Do’s and Don’ts while on a Uganda Elephant safari
While observing Elephants, especially when the herd is with a baby, kindly desist from getting too close. The elephant family is so protective of the baby and may charge the safari vehicle at the slightest provocation.
Elephant bulls in musth are so unpredictable and will charge without warning. For your safety, your guide looks out for signs of Elephant stress levels. These include; trumpeting and hind limb crossing which will mean an imminent charge. The final warning usually comes with the Elephant flattening the ears over their heads and charging at a vehicle.
Revving of the car engine or honking of the horn agitates the elephants and this doesn’t stop the elephant from charging. However, a shot from the ranger guide rifle is enough to scare away the offending animal in the worst case scenario. Guests are advised to keep in the vehicle at all time when viewing Elephants from close quarters.
Tourists and Safari camp residents are advised not to keep sweet smelling fruits in the rooms. Borassus fruit or pineapples tend to attract Elephants due to the aroma from these fruits.
Un escorted walks in and around the lodges especially in the nights are not advisable. Elephants have good camouflage against the trees which may pose a danger to the visitor.
Bright colours for a game viewing safari may contribute to Elephant anxiety and probable charge by the bulls.