Located where the savannah meets the jungle, Uganda is rich with wildlife—on its open plains, in its lush rain forests, and by its shores on Lake Victoria. Uganda’s mist-covered hills also hold the hope of encounters with mountain gorillas—for an East Arican safari that is truly off the beaten path. During this extraordinary journey you'll be accompanied by Smithsonian scientist Don Wilson, a respected mammalogist and Curator Emeritus at the National Museum of Natural History.
Our new safari begins with a visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, then sets off to five of Uganda’s dramatically different National Parks. Murchison Falls is Uganda’s largest, with 450 bird species, forest primates, and big game, including four of the “Big Five.” At Kibale, home to abundant birdlife and some 13 species of primates, you’ll discover endangered chimpanzees on a morning trek through the tropical rain forest. Continue to Queen Elizabeth, Uganda’s most-visited game reserve, then to Bwindi, where you’ll encounter mountain gorillas on a challenging but rewarding trek through the forest and visit a Batwa Pygmy village. Stop at Lake Mburo, one of Uganda’s smallest parks, and see a surprising diversity of flora and fauna on a Sundowner cruise. After visiting a traditional drum maker, our tour concludes in Entebbe.Special Value!This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this tour!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at the top of the page!Itinerary
Days 1-3 — Depart U.S. for Entebbe, Uganda
Arrive in Dubai, UAE on Day 2 and transfer to an airport hotel for the night. Early the next morning, return to the airport for the flight to Entebbe, arriving mid-day. This evening gather for a briefing on the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner. DDay 4 — Entebbe, Murchison Falls National Park
En route to your first national park today, stop for lunch and a visit at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
, which is helping to reintroduce rhinos to Uganda’s national parks and reserves
. Continue to storied Murchison Falls, arriving late afternoon. B,L,DDay 5 — Murchison Falls National Park
At 1,480 square miles, Murchison Falls counts as Uganda’s largest national park. It is home to more than 450 bird species and a variety of forest primates and big game, including four of the “Big 5:” elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard; decimated by poaching, rhinos will be reintroduced as they breed at the Rhino Sanctuary. Take an early morning game drive then return to the lodge for breakfast and time at leisure. This afternoon hike around the top of the waterfall then embark on a boat safari along the Victoria (“White”) Nile that bisects the park. B,L,DDay 6 — Murchison Falls, Nile Delta
This morning embark on a boat ride about 12 miles south to the Nile Delta, the widest habitable area of the Nile and where the world’s longest river breaks into several branches. Rare wetland birds inhabit this area, including the shoebill and endemic papyrus species. Then, another late afternoon game drive followed by “Sundowner” cocktails. B,L,DDays 7-8 — Kibale National Park
Travel today to Kibale National Park, reaching your lodge late this afternoon. Preserved as a moist evergreen rain forest, Kibale forms a 111-mile continuous forest and wildlife corridor with adjacent Queen Elizabeth National Park
, hosting abundant birdlife and some 13 species of primates, including endangered chimpanzees. Set out to encounter the playful primates in their natural habitat on this morning’s chimp trek through the tropical rainforest. Enjoy lunch and a visit to a local tea plantation; later this afternoon take a forest walk through the park’s wetland. 2B,2L,2DDay 9 — Kibale, Queen Elizabeth National Park
On today’s journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park, stop at Katwe Explosion
and Salt Crater
, a huge extinct volcano whose salt pans are still mined today. Reach the national park in time for lunch and a late afternoon game drive. B,L,DDay 10 — Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s most visited game reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park hosts more than 500 species of birds and 95 species of mammal, including elephant, hippo, lion, and leopard. Cover some of the park’s 764 square miles on today’s morning game drive and afternoon boat safari. B,L,DDay 11 — Queen Elizabeth, Ishasha, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Enjoy more game viewing today en route to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, with a stop for a bush lunch along the way. On this afternoon’s game drive in Ishasha, you have the opportunity to see the black-maned tree-climbing lions unique to the area. Then continue to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, arriving late this afternoon. B,L,DDay 12 — Bwindi
Today embark on an unrivaled travel highlight: a trek through the forest to encounter mountain gorillas
in their natural habitat. The gorilla population here numbers about 340 – half of the world’s entire population of the endangered primate. With a good chance of meeting the habituated gorillas (and spending a proscribed hour with them), hike through ancient and diverse forest ecosystems (jungle, montane, and lowland) accessible only on foot. Along the way, see some of the park’s astounding variety of flora and fauna: 350 species of birds, 310 species of butterfly, 120 types of mammal (including 10 primates), 200 species of trees, and 100 species of ferns. B,L,DDay 13 — Bwindi
Early this morning set out on a rain forest walk in the national park. Later visit a village of Batwa Pygmy
, the indigenous people who lived in the adjacent forest before being displaced by the park. Here see a dance performance; meet with a healer; and visit the vital community hospital that began as an open-air clinic. B,L,DDay 14 — Lake Mburo National Park
Travel today to Lake Mburo, one of Uganda’s smallest parks but whose open and wooded savanna, lakes, thickets, and grassy rolling hills support a surprising diversity of flora and fauna, as you see on a late afternoon Sundowner cruise. B,L,DDay 15 — Lake Mburo
This morning take a game drive through this scenic park – the last safari of your trip. Then set out for Entebbe, stopping to visit a traditional drum maker. Tonight gather for a farewell dinner. B,L,DDay 16 — Entebbe, Depart for U.S.
After a morning at leisure, depart for the Entebbe airport and board your connecting flight to the U.S. BDay 17 — Arrive U.S.
Arrive in the U.S. today and connect with your return flights home.