6 DAYS KIDEPO VALLEY AND MURCHISON FALLS

Kidepo valley national park is a semi-arid savannah and boosts about 77 mammals compared to Murchison falls national park. Kidepo is surrounded by mountains that border Kenya and South Sudan, creating a valley where animals can stay without crossing the other sides.

At Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow. Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna with acacia trees and dominated by woodland and forest patches in the south. The park is the Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 415 species of birds.

Tour highlights.

  • Game drive
  • Birding
  • Boat cruise
  • Cultural tour
  • Hot springs

Day 1: Transfer to Kidepo National Park.

Upon the arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be welcomed by representatives from Prime Tours Uganda.Transfer to city hotel to relax and refresh at Avestahotel/Speke hotel/Rochester hotel

Embark on 12 hour journey to Kidepo National Park which is approximately 543km via Soroti. Stopover in Nakasongola district to visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary-home to endangered white rhinos. Continue northwards to Karuma falls where you will sight troops of baboons by the road. The spectacular view of the Karuma falls presents a beautiful scenery worth taking photos. Proceed to Kitgum town where you shall have late lunch at Boma Hotel. Head to Kidepo Valley National Park in Kaabong district. You surely are exhausted by the long Journey – check in at Apoka Safari Lodge/Nga Moru Wilderness Camp/Kidepo Savannah lodge.

Day 2: Game drive and Birding

Have your early morning breakfast at 7:00am, and then go for a morning game drive through the rugged savannah dominated by mount Morungole and transacted by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Expect to see various wildlife dotted in the plains that include buffalos, warthogs, waterbucks, hartebeest, ostriches, lions, giraffes, zebras, elephants to name but a few-this is the only park where zebras and giraffes are found together in Uganda. Have your packed lunch in the bush.

Proceed to Namamukweny valley located north-west of the park to see various birds that include Eastern Paradise Whydah, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller, Green Wood Hoopoe, White-crested turaco among others. Dinner and overnight stay Apoka Safari Lodge/Nga Moru Wilderness Camp/ Kidepo Savannah lodge

DAY 3: Cultural tour.

Have your morning breakfast at 8:00am. Visit craft shops at Apoka Tourism Center- you could relax as you read some books and watch the beautiful sunrise over the rolling grassland plain enclosed by distant mountains-the Narus valley. The Narus dam and waterhole nearby is a perfect observation point for game especially in dry seasons. Have lunch at your lodge.

In the afternoon, drive to Mount Morungule and have a cultural tour of the IK people who live on the mountain slopes-this is the smallest ethnic group in Uganda with a unique culture. Dinner and overnight stay Apoka Safari Lodge/Nga Moru Wilderness Camp/ Kidepo Savannah lodge.

Day 4: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.

Enjoy your morning breakfast at 7:30am. Drive through Kidepo valley dotted with Borassus plants to Kanangorok Hotsprings that lie 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border. This is a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier. Have lunch in Gulu town at O café Gulu/Serenity café/Sam’s restaurant. Continue southwards to Karuma falls where you will turn from the junction and head on to Murchison Falls National Park via Pakwach.  Check in at the lodge and refresh as you watch the beautiful River Nile on its journey to Sudan.

Go for the pre-arranged boat cruise to the Albertine Delta. This is where River Nile passes at a tip of Lake Albert forming the Albert Nile. Expect to see the Nile crocodiles, hippos, aquatic birds to name but a few. Dinner and overnight stay Paraa Safari Lodge/Fort Murchison lodge/Murchison safari lodge.

Day 5: Game drive and Boat cruise.

Take your early morning breakfast at 6:30am. Game drive through the winding tracks of the large park as you watch the beautiful sun rise. Expect to see elephants, Jackson’s heart beast, kobs, baboons, monkeys to name but a few.

Have lunch at your lodge. After lunch go for the afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. Expect to see Nile crocodiles basking at the river banks, schools of hippos swimming in the water, aquatic birds among others. You will be swept off your feet by the spectacular view of the Nile waters gushing through a narrow gorge only about 7 meters wide falling to a depth of about 40 meters. The Nile waters divide at the top forming Uhuru falls on the other side also make it more fascinating.

The boat will dock at a point a few meters away from the Devil’s Cauldron where you will begin your hike to the top of the falls. The hike is a rewarding experience as you will have various views of the waterfalls and you could spot the rainbow casted by the waterfalls on a sunny day. Dinner and overnight stay Paraa Safari Lodge/Fort Murchison lodge/Murchison safari lodge.

Day 6: Birding and departure.

Take your morning breakfast at 8:00am. Drive through the Royal Mile stretch in Budongo forest and with the help of a skilled guide you can ably view  several bird species that include the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Chestnut Crowned Eremomera, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Yellow-browned Camaroptera, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Slender-billed Greenbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Forest Robin, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Little Green Sunbird, Western Black-headed Oriole, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow-manted Weaver, Crested Malimbe and Cassin’s Hawk Eagle to name but a few.

Also you should expect to see primates like the Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys and Grey-cheeked Mangabeys swinging on tree branches.

After this activity you will exit the park via Kachumbayobo gate and proceed to Hoima town for lunch at New Court View restaurant/Happy Land Gardens/Happy Hours restaurant Hoima. Thereafter transfer to Kampala city.

END OF TOUR

 

NO. OF PAX 1 2 3 4 5 6
PRICE ($) 2,950 2,900 2,840 2,770 2,690 2,600

 

Cost Exclusion

  • Park entrance fees
  • 4×4 Safari vehicle with
  • Full board accommodation
  • Tour activities as per the itinerary
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Government levies & taxes
  • Professional English speaking guide

Cost Exclusions

  • Visa costs
  • Insurance costs
  • Personal expenses
  • Laundry costs
  • Extra food and drinks
  • Extra activities not in the itinerary
  • Tips

Commonly Visited Gorilla Destinations

Bwindi Impenetrable national park a large primeval forest located in the South Western part of Uganda is a home to over half the worlds 1,000 mountain gorillas.

mountain-gorilla-in-bwindi-impenetrable-national-park

Bwindi Impenetrable national park

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK

Bwindi Impenetrable National park is found in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district. It covers an area of 332kms. When we talk of gorillas in Uganda, we talk of Bwindi and this is Africa’s oldest rainforest, it hides much more than just gorillas but more other wild animals but when gorilla tracking became an activity it made it even more appealing. Bwindi is commonly known for its 400 endangered gorillas with many families, Batwa trails, the Batwa are the first and last forest people who anciently lived in the forest for a long time also known as hunters, gatherers and fierce warriors and 350 bird species. Buhoma as one of the gates apart from gorillas it’s the right place for bird watching.

ACTIVITIES
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is found in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district, when we talk of gorillas we talk of Bwindi, but it not being the only activity, Bwindi has a variety of activities all incredibly good and as Gorilla Trips Africa here are some of the activities

Gorilla Tracking
Gorillas in Bwindi are habituated making them less dangerous and this is one of great activity done, the tour guides guide tourists through the forest on their way to track gorillas, gorillas act more like humans which keeps you wondering about God’s will, you can interact with them offer them yellows and even can have pictures with them creating memorable moments. Bwindi has a number of gates for example Buhoma gate with three gorilla  groups habituated, Nkuringo gate with two groups , Ruhija with four groups of gorillas habituated, and Rushaga with the most habituated groups and others are still under habituation with six groups

Gorilla Habituation Experience
During habituation Gorillas are tamed to be more of human, not to be dangerous around people, tour guides will take you through the process they go through while habituating the gorillas, it’s a terrifying experience but worth to go through and this is so because the gorillas are not yet fully habituated, this is most popular at Rushaga gate it being with the large gorilla habituation

Batwa Trail
Experience the ancient life of Batwa people. The Batwa trail is a celebration of the forest first people and still they are the last forest people who are also known as hunters, gatherers and fierce warriors. When you get a chance to see them you can see the forest in their lives and all through their eyes, this trail is guided by the Batwa guides who provide insights into their traditional forest life and culture. It runs  from the lower slopes of the muhavura and Gahinga volcanoes and ends in the Batwa community, throughout the trail you will be surprised all through for example showing you how incredibly  they made fire using friction of sticks, having a taste of the wild berries which they used to eat before going to hunter, seeing the huts the built using the tree leaves lastly after reaching the Batwa community you will get the unforgettable performance of your life since the Batwa are well known for their music and dance.

Nature Walks
Tourists who have a short time for nature walk usually do it near river Munyanga and river Ivy on the way you get an opportunity to see baboons, monkeys and birds. And if you continue to the Batwa pygmy community you will be surprised by the energetic dance of the Batwa, you will meet woman making craft giving you and opportunity to buy craft from the Batwa. Nature walk to the Mubwindi swamp is the right spot for the birders and if you use the path of the forest descending through the majestic rainforest it will give you great scenery of the green nature. Amazingly the name Bwindi came from Mubwindi swamp.

Bird watching
Bwindi is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda the pearl of Africa, it being the oldest forest in Uganda surely means it’s the ideal habitat for the variety of bird species, Bwindi is estimated to have around 350 bird species for example Jameson’s Antpecker, pink-footed puff back, Waller, crested Guinea fowl, Barred long-tailed cuckoo, Grey crowned crane, White headed saw wing and so many more. Migratory birds are present from November to April and if you want the main spot for bird watching is along Buhoma waterfalls trails.

gorilla-in-mgahinga-gorilla-national-park

Mgahinga Gorilla national park

MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is in the southwestern corner of Uganda, located in Kisoro district although the volcanoes stretch to the far parts of Rwanda and DRC. Mgahinga National Park was gazzetted in 1991 despite it being declared an area of game sanctuary in the early 1930s by the British Administration and it covers 33.9 square kilometers. As the name “Mgahinga” suggests, the park was mainly established to protect gorillas that inhabit the depth of the forest, other than that the park has a significance to culture “the Batwa culture”. Most importantly Mgahinga National Park has great features which are the beautiful extinct volcanoes, a great fauna, primates which include mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, bird species include handsome francoin, red throated alethe, Rwenzori batis, collared apalis, mountain masked apails, stripe-breasted tit, blue- headed sunbird, strange weaver, red –faced woodland warber, regal sunbird, Rwenzori turaco among others.

Top Activities Done At Mgahinga National Park

Gorilla Trekking

Mgahinga National Park is the right place for gorilla trekking and that’s so because it has half of the world’s Gorillas thus making it the most popular activity done at Mgahinga, it has one habituated gorilla family called “Nyakagezi Gorilla family” and this family at times moves to the parts of Rwanda and DRC. Gorilla trekking at Mgahinga usually starts from 8:30 in the morning and it takes 3-8 hours, trackers take visitor through the routes to the place they had left Gorillas a day before and that’s where they begin the trekking from, Gorillas are habituated making them less dangerous to humans. All in all Gorillas trekking is best done in dry seasons because it makes the hikes easier for tourists.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Mgahinga National Park is the best place for Golden Monkey trekking and it’s among the most interesting activities done for primate safari, the estimated number of golden monkeys at Mgahinga is 3000-4000. If you participate in this activity you will have an excitement of your life time since it offers you an opportunity to view, take pictures of the monkeys before heading back to the lodges.

Volcano Hiking

At Mgahinga Gorilla National Park despite Gorilla trekking visitors have an opportunity for hikes to the summit of Mountain Muhabura which requires more than one day to hike it but still tourists who prefer a one day hike can opt Gahinga trail aa their best and this takes 6 hours. During this hikes you will come across various bird species, also have a view of the famous extinct volcanoes.

Batwa Trail

Batwa are also known as the forest people. While at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Batwa trail begins from the Muhavura cave with the Batwa guides who will give you an insight of their ancient life and culture in the forests where they lived in harmony with the gorillas. Batwa people lived as hunter-gatherers, built houses using tree leaves but later they were displaced from the park although some are still with in the park taking part in tourism as tour guides and others as porters.

Bird Watching

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the ideal place for birders because its blessed and enriched with over 180 bird species all unique in one way or the other and these birds can be spotted in the wetland areas , forests, Buffalo wall among others. These unique bird species include Rwenzori turaco, regal sunbird, strange weaver, mountain masked apails, stripe-breasted tit, handsome francoin, red throated alethe, collared apalis among others.

Garama Cave Exploration

Beneath a plateau northern edge of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park you will come across the great Garama Cave lying on the length of 342meters and this believed to have been used as a retreat and council for the Batwa where they met to solve conflicts and problems among Batwa members.

gorilla-in-volcanoes-national-park

Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park also referred to as Parc National des Volcano in French and Pariki y’Igihugu y’Ibirunga in Kinyarwanda local language. The park is situated in the north-western province of Rwanda in a small town called Musanze formerly Ruhengeri.

The park is the oldest national park in the African continent and harbors the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. Gorilla tracking is Rwanda’s main tourism activity. Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in DRC and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda. Besides its huge population of Mountain Gorillas, it also harbors the endangered Golden Monkeys, primate specie that apparently offers the best diverse tourism activity within the national park at the moment.

Volcanoes National Park also shelters five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga massifs which are: Mount Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo: covering over 160 km2 of rain forest and bamboo. The park acted as a base for American zoologist Dian Fossey.

Fauna of the forest in addition to endangered species of mountain gorilla includes: golden monkeys, buffaloes, black-fronted duiker, hyenas then bushbucks. A few reports also clam that a small number of elephants can be found at the park but on very rare occasions. The bird life spans at 178 species, with about 12 of the main species and 15 of the subspecies being endemic to the Virunga conservation area and the great Ruwenzori Mountains.

The Volcanoes National Park is one of the three other only habitats for Mountain gorillas on the planet and the only possible destinations for Mountain gorilla trekking expeditions in Rwanda. The rainforests are at a higher altitude and temperatures are generally lowest in the African region. The tropical sun brings with it effects of heat, evaporation of vapor and rain forming. In Volcanoes National Park, it rains at any time regardless of the season. Factor is the volcanic soils that are fertile and very rich in plant mineral content, resulting in an evergreen rain forest; some parts have bamboo trees, small patches of shrubs and grassland areas, swamp and wetland vegetation in the valleys, and heath on the tips of the volcanoes. These are the ideal conditions for the survival and the existence of the Mountain gorillas and other unique wildlife species.

Mammal species

Volcanoes National Park is a rich ecosystem, a habitat with vibrant and unique mammal species. Mountain gorillas and Golden monkeys are most recognized than other wildlife species because the Virunga volcanoes region is their only habitat on earth. There is high mammal presence in the park, though harder to spot because of hilly and rugged terrain, coupled with  a thick and enclosed rainforest. The mammals in such habitat adapt to a solitary or pair lifestyle, shy away from intruders and are very aggressive if cornered. Save for rare physical encounters, there are signs that indeed show Forest elephants, buffaloes, bushpigs, bushbucks, giant forest hogs, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, duikers, vervet and colobus monkeys and other primate species reside in the park. Volcanoes National Park is very popular as a Rwanda gorilla trek and Golden monkey tracking destination. There are other Rwanda travel destinations to easily spot and have maximum interaction with the rest of mammal species.

Predominant activities include:

Gorilla tracking, Golden Monkey tracking, twin lakes visit, mountaineering, visiting Dian Fossey’s tomb, Iby’Iwacu cultural village and other community visits.

Rwanda is an exciting destination with a number of national parks in addition to the famous Volcanoes national park; say the Akagera and Nyungwe national parks plus Lake Kivu for water excursion.