Day 1: Arrive Nairobi/ Fly Entebbe / drive to Kyaninga
Welcome to Entebbe where you will be met by a representative from Kyaninga. The drive form Entebbe it is about 6 hours on a good tarmac road .Tonight we stay at Kyaninga Lodge perched on the rim of the ancient volcanic Crater and set against a stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the legendary Mountains of the Moon beyond. This lodge offers the ultimate luxury experience in one of Uganda’s most beautiful locations. Raised on stilts and entirely built from hand carved eucalyptus logs, the main lodge is magnificent as are the 8 beautifully appointed cabins with their own private terraces and marble bathrooms. The lodge offers a wide range of activities which can be booked directly at the lodge.
Meal plan is full board.
Day 2: Drive to Ndali
After lunch, the Ndali Rep will be waiting to transfer you to Ndali Lodge perched on the rim of an extinct volcano which, since its demise, has filled with water to become the breathtaking Lake Nyinambuga and the drive is about an hour. The spacious cottages are all ensuite and a private verandah, perfect for watching the sun setting behind the Ruwenzori Mountains, the snow-capped peaks of which are clearly visible on a clear day. Meal plan will include dinner tonight.
Day 3: Full Day with the Chimps
Ndali will organise a vehicle to drop you off with a picnic box at Kibale Forest National Park, famous home of the largest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa, as well as a bewildering variety of other primates, birds and butterflies and it is about a 45 minutes drive. The full-day Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) works with a chimp community which is undergoing habituation.
The driver will be waiting for you after a thrilling day spent with the Chimps. Dinner and overnight at the Ndali Lodge.
Day 4: Fly to Bwindi / Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
After an early breakfast a transfer will be provided to Kasese Airstrip which is approximately an hour away for the Ndege Aviation charter to Kisoro Airstrip. You will be met by the Lodge vehicle and enjoy a scenic drive for about 2 hours to Clouds Mountain Lodge where we stay for 3 nights on a full board meal plan. Laundry and all drinks apart from premium spirits and champagne are also included
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is set high up on Nteko Ridge, on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The views are breathtaking and in the shadow of three volcanoes, looking down into the thick treetop canopy of Bwindi and beyond to the golden grasses of the Western Rift Valley. The eight en suite stone cottages come with fireplaces, soft armchairs and warm duvets. Enjoy delicious meals made from local produce and good wines. Enjoy a stroll in the lush botanical garden, a quiet moment in the cosy library or simply relax on the sheltered verandas and enjoy the stunning views. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is part owned by the local Nkuringo Community and by staying here you will be directly contributing to improving the local area and ensuring everyone benefits from the gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a rainforest, said to be 25.000 years old, making it one of Africa’s most biodiversity habitat. The altitude of this mountain park ranges from 1200 - 2600 meters. Five rivers and a high annual rainfall make it rather humid. Besides its major attraction, the mountain gorillas (gorilla gorilla berengeri) the National Park is also home to an amazing 120 mammal species, 350 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies and over 200 species of trees.
It is believed that about 350 gorillas remain in several stable groups in the park. Due to conservation efforts there has been a steady increase of the population over the years.
Although best known for its mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest also attracts spectacular birds. There are 23 of the 24 Albertine rift endemics including the African green broadbill, bar tailed trogan and other beautiful forest species.
Day 5 & 6: Gorilla trekking
We will be up relatively early on both days and after a hearty breakfast a transfer will be provided each day in the lodge vehicle to the starting point slightly under an hour’s drive. We report to the ranger station for registration and a talk by one of the rangers; the guides will then take you through the bush pushing your way through the undergrowth, parting thick creepers, to track the gorillas. The trek can take from half an hour to 7 hours – a reasonable degree of fitness is required as well as a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
Once you are close to the group the guides will ask you to leave behind your bags as no food items should be carried close to the gorillas. Just take your cameras with you as you are about to meet the gentle giants! Sit in the forest amongst the gorillas, listening to them grumble to each other and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant male; the silverback. It is an extraordinary feeling sitting in the dense rainforest knowing you are with a few of the last remaining mountain gorillas – sadly enough there are only about 650 of these beautiful creatures left. You are allowed exactly one hour with the gorillas before returning to the base station.
On 25th July we visit the Nshongi gorilla family and on the 26th we visit the Kahungye gorilla family.
We return to the Lodge and spend a late afternoon by the fire enjoying a drink while reminiscing about your close encounters with the gorilla's during the day.
Notes: Please listen to the instructions of the local rangers at all times. It is forbidden to approach the gorillas closer than 5 meters, to feed them or to use flash photography. Likewise for your and their safety! You will be accompanied by armed guards which guarantee your safety in an area where wild buffaloes are sighted. While walking, please feel free to ask guides
to slow down if they are going too fast and if you need a rest. There is the additional option to hire porters on site.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority does not allow a trekking when you are sick as gorillas are very susceptible of human diseases. Should you feel sick the day of the trek we urgently advise you to abide this rule. In order to receive a 50% refund of the permit cost you MUST get a doctor’s report that day (please ask your guide to arrange this for you).
We must also stress that, while you have a very good chance of seeing gorillas, success is NOT guaranteed. They are wild creatures with no fixed routine and finding them requires the skills and experience of your tracker sand guides, as well as luck. The trackers and guides have helped to habituate the gorilla groups and know them intimately. They will take you to the area where they left the gorillas the day before. Before leaving they may be able to suggest how long the hike might be.
Day 7: Fly Entebbe / Nairobi
After breakfast we depart by road to Kisoro Airstrip where you will board the Ndege private charter to Entebbe in time to check in for flight back to Nairobi .On arrival in Nairobi you will be met and driven in a private vehicle to Hemingways Nairobi booked on a bed and breakfast meal plan.
Kyaninga and Ndali do not accept credit cards or US dollar notes printed before 2006.
The permits we have are for two different gorilla families and on 25th July we visit the Nshongi gorilla family and on the 26th we visit the Kahungye gorilla family. Clouds will provide transfers on both dates to the trekking points.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge only accept visa card with a 5% surcharge and the card details would have to be communicated to their Kampala office to run the card.
Ndege Charters maximum weight for passengers and bags is 200 kgs.
The Ndege Aviation private charter from Kasese to Kisoro will depart at about 9.00 am and the flight is approximately 58 minutes.
The Ndege Aviation private charter has flexible timings for the flight on 27 July and they have advised any time from 9 am – 12.30 pm latest will be fine and the flight from Kisoro to Entebbe is 1.30 hr/min