Day 1: Welcome to Uganda – the Pearl of Africa!
When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, an Igeno Safaris guide/driver will pick you up and take you to Laico Lake Victoria Hotel – a mere seven-minute drive from the airport – where you'll spend the night ahead of your trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park tomorrow morning. Time allowing you'll go on a tour of Entebbe and browse local markets, shop locally, or check out some of this chick colonial town's favourite eateries and pubs as you mingle with the locals – Africa's friendliest people.
Journey time: 7 Minutes
Day 2: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
After breakfast, you will embark on an eight-hour journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the iconic mountain gorillas. Bwindi plays host to about 53 per cent of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, which are currently numbering about 1,000 individuals, according to a 2018 gorilla census. The drive to western Uganda will fascinate with views of lush green vegetation and beautiful hills farmed in terraces. You will stop in Mbarara town for lunch – midway through the journey – and then continue through the verdant countryside to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Upon arrival later in the evening, you will check into your lodge for dinner and overnight. Expect sounds of birds and echoes of other forest residents to put you to sleep peacefully!
Hotel options: Gorilla Resort Lodge or Silverback Lodge or Buhoma Lodge or Gorilla Safari Lodge
Day 3: Gorilla trekking
In the morning after a quick, light breakfast, you will head out to the park headquarters for a briefing by the ranger guide. After equipping you with the dos and don'ts of gorilla trekking, the ranger will divide you and other trekkers into 14 groups, for there are 14 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi.
Gorilla trekking is a physically demanding activity because of the long hours it can take; depending on how far the gorillas will have moved, the trek could take anywhere between one and eight hours. However, from the onset, you will see various primates, coloured butterflies, birds and a variety of plant species.
Even though trekking can be strenuous, it will be worth it when you finally meet the gorillas! It's gratifying and memorable to come into contact with these peaceful, gigantic primates.
According to park rules, you will be allowed to watch the gorillas at a five-metre distance as the old ones feed and the juveniles play – and for not more than one hour.
After gorilla trekking, you will head back to the lodge for relaxation as you wait for the afternoon village walk to the Batwa community – former inhabitants of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest before it was gazetted – and get an opportunity to learn about their way of life. You will visit the community school, the women's crafts shop, as well as their traditional healer. Men, women and children will gladly entertain you with traditional songs and dances before you return to the lodge to rest, dine and slumber.
Gorilla trekking time: 1-8 hours
Accommodation options: Gorilla Resort Lodge | Silverback Lodge | Buhoma Lodge | Gorilla Safari Lodge | Clouds Lodge | Mahogany Springs Lodge | Gorilla Forest Camp
Day 4: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park
Today you will be driven to Kibale National Park to track the sought-after chimpanzees, human's closest relatives. Along the way, you will be awed by the beautiful Kibale landscape, calm weather, and locals working in their terraced farmlands.
Once you arrive in Kibale, you will head straight to your lodge, have lunch and a bit of relaxation before setting out for a rejuvenating forest walk to see the various primates that are resident here – such as the bushbabies, which have a surprising night cry. Later in the evening, you will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Hotel options: Primate Lodge | Ndali Lodge | Mountains of the Moon
Day 5: Chimpanzee trekking
After breakfast, you will head to Kibale Forest to track the chimpanzees. This is a magnificent experience that will bring you into contact with various primates, including White & Black Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Baboons, L'Hoest Monkeys, Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys and the Red Colobus Monkeys, among other wildlife. After a short hike in the jungles, you will meet the chimpanzees and observe them play, feed and care for each other. But you'll only be allowed to view them for one hour.
After chimpanzee tracking, you will return to the lodge for lunch and check out and head back to Entebbe. If your flight is scheduled then, you will be driven straight to Entebbe International Airport. If not, you will check into a hotel in Kampala ahead of your flight tomorrow, marking the end of your trip with Igeno Safaris.