At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to Kenya scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. If you are interested in Kenya as a destination please contact us for further information.

Safari to the Pearl of Africa

The Great Apes and National Parks of Uganda and Rwanda

20-Day Natural History Trip


Day 1 – Thursday, June 7: Chicago (or other gateway city) to Europe

We will depart from Chicago (our gateway is likely to be Chicago, but it is possible that it could be New York or another gateway city) on our overnight flight to Europe. It is likely that we will fly into Brussels, Belgium (details to follow after we are ticketed). We will not depart until late in the afternoon or evening, so you will have plenty of time to reach our gateway city from your home cities prior to departure. Please remember that you must arrive at our gateway airport’s departure gate no later than two hours prior to our scheduled departure time.

Day 2 – Friday, June 8: Our European Gateway City to Entebbe, Uganda

We will continue our journey with our flight from our gateway city in Europe to Entebbe, Uganda. We should have some incredible views of Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the spectacular Sahara Desert as we fly to the heart of Africa. We will arrive in Entebbe at night, and after clearing customs and immigration, we will overnight at the beautiful Lake Victoria Hotel. Situated on the shore of Lake Victoria, and located close to the airport, the “Lake Vic” will be a welcome retreat after our long flights.

Day 3 – Saturday, June 9: Free Day to Rest

Today is a free day to rest up after our long journey. The only activity planned today is an optional trip to the Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are located close to the Lake Victoria Hotel and are a great place to look for birds and the occasional vervet monkey. The grounds are beautiful, full of native flowers and trees and will be a good place to warm up the camera gear. It will also get us out into the fresh air which will help us reset our internal clocks. We will eat our meals, and overnight, at the Lake Victoria Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Sunday, June 10: Travel to Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast we will proceed to Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo NP is a beautiful landscape of rolling hills and grasslands. Arriving in the afternoon we will get settled in our accommodations at Mihingo Lodge. Mihingo is a brand new lodge located just adjacent to the Park. The luxury tented rooms, built on wooden platforms and stilts, each have en-suite bathrooms, including hot and cold running water and showers. All of the buildings and the pool were designed to blend into the rocky outcroppings and savanna landscape; plus the main lodge and pool overlook a westward facing valley that offers views of animals below and magnificent African sunsets above. After settling in we will be off on our afternoon game drive during which we hope to see some of the more common residents of the park like Cape buffalo, warthogs, waterbuck, olive baboons and vervet monkeys. We could also see hippos in Lake Mburo. After our game drive we will have a bit of time to swim or relax prior to dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Monday, June 11: Lake Mburo National Park

Today we will enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the Park where we should see animals we will not encounter elsewhere on our safari including zebra, impala, topi, and maybe eland and klipspringer. If we are really lucky we could spot a leopard. The bird life in the Park is spectacular. Hornbills, rollers, bee-eaters and weavers flit among the acacia trees and crowned cranes (Uganda’s national bird) patrol the grasslands. We will overnight once again at Mihingo Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Tuesday, June 12: Early Morning Game Drive and Travel to Kinigi, Rwanda

We will leave at dawn for an early morning game drive and then after breakfast we will depart for Kinigi, Rwanda – the gateway to Volcanoes National Park and mountain gorillas. Our journey to Rwanda will be a long one, but very picturesque as the landscapes change from drier savannas to tea plantation covered hillsides and finally to the great Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda. We will stop along the way for lunch. We should arrive at Gorilla Nest Lodge, our accommodations in Rwanda, in the early evening with dinner waiting for us. (B.L,D)

Day 7 – Wednesday, June 13: Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park

We will arise early to begin a day of rare privilege as we trek to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Spending time with these gentle giants is a unique and uplifting opportunity. Our entire group will trek gorillas today, however, it is likely that we will not all trek together to the same gorilla group. This is due to regulations designed to minimize the impact of human visitation on the gorillas. Specifically, gorilla contact is strictly regulated and only 8 people at a time are allowed to view a gorilla group for a maximum of 1 hour each day. The climb to the gorilla groups can be very strenuous, but the reward is an experience that can only be described as magical. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Thursday, June 14: Continued Explorations of Volcanoes National Park

Although the gorillas are the main attraction in Volcanoes National Park the surrounding forest is incredibly diverse. It is especially rich in primates and birds. Today we will have a chance to explore the Park further with a choice of two optional activities. The first of these is the chance to trek to see a group of habituated golden monkeys. Golden monkeys are rare and endemic to the high altitude bamboo forests on the slopes of the volcanoes that surround Lake Kivu. Normally shy and elusive it will be a treat to view the groups that have gotten used to human visitation. As we hike to the monkeys we may encounter birds such as turacos, trogons and sunbirds. Because this Park is situated on the Congo border many of the Albertine Rift endemic birds are found here. The other option today is to pay a visit to Karisoke  – Dian Fossey’s former field station and the burial site for both she and Digit (and many other poached gorillas). This is a fairly long trek, but the forests of gnarled Hagenia trees draped in ferns, moss and orchids, and the chance to see wildlife and birds along the way make it a wonderful hike. Alternatively, you could choose not to hike today and relax at Gorilla Nest Lodge and recover from yesterday’s gorilla trek. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Friday, June 15: Depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast we depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. This will be a long drive, but we will stop along the way to stretch and take photos. Queen Elizabeth NP is located on the western end of East Africa’s Great Rift Valley and is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. On our way to our accommodations at Mweya Safari Lodge we will travel through the Ishasha sector of the Park where if we are lucky we can see the tree climbing lions. Mweya Safari Lodge will be our base of operations for the next 2 days. It is a beautiful old style luxury lodge perched atop a bluff overlooking the Kazinga Channel. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Saturday, June 16: Queen Elizabeth National Park

We will depart on an early morning game drive through Queen Elizabeth NP. Some of the potential wildlife we may encounter includes: lions, hyenas, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthogs, Uganda kob, buffalo, and herds of elephant. Olive baboons and vervet monkeys are also commonly seen.  If we are lucky we could see giant forest hog and leopard. Queen Elizabeth contains a myriad of birds including the huge martial eagle and the saddle bill stork. The afternoon will be spent on a boat launch on the Kazinga Channel that connects Lake Edward with Lake George. From our launch we will see groups of hippos and huge Nile crocodiles. It should also afford close encounters with buffalo and elephant. Many storks, kingfishers, lapwings and herons stalk the shoreline. We will overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Sunday, June 17: Queen Elizabeth National Park

This day will be spent on morning and late afternoon/early evening game drives to experience more of Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable wildlife. We will spend time visiting the Uganda kob lek to watch this fascinating behavior. The lek is also a great place to observe predators as they are drawn to the abundant, and often preoccupied, antelope. We will spend another night at Mweya Safari Lodge. Mweya offers an unparalleled view from its vantage point high above the Kazinga Channel. Sitting on the veranda with a cool drink watching the wildlife activity near the water is a magical experience. Mweya is also known for its delicious food. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Monday, June 18: Queen Elizabeth and Travel to Kibale Forest National Park

After an early morning game drive and breakfast we will depart for Kibale Forest National Park. Nestled in the shadows of the Rwenzori Mountains (the famed mist shrouded “Mountains of the Moon”) Kibale Forest is rich in animal life, including an astonishing 12 species of primate. Our prime objective is to trek to see the wild chimpanzees found within the forest. While visiting this Park we will stay at another spectacular lodge. Ndali Lodge is located outside Kibale Forest NP and is perched on the rim of an extinct volcano. The lake filling the crater is an intense shade of blue that contrasts with the green forests that ring the shoreline. If time permits, we will hike around the crater, as not only is it a beautiful hike, there are also many birds and monkeys that can be seen. Red-tailed monkeys frequent the tree branches and African gray parrots, Ross’s turaco and great blue plantain-eaters grace the fruit trees with raucous calls and splashes of vivid colors. The accommodations at Ndali consist of individual bungalows sumptuously appointed with mosquito-net draped beds, kerosene lamps and huge bathtubs with plenty of hot water. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – Tuesday, June 19: Kibale Forest National Park – Chimpanzee Trekking

We will depart early to trek chimpanzees. The forests of Kibale are breathtaking with towering trees. In our quest to observe chimpanzees we should also see gray-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus, red colobus, blue duiker and many other forest dwelling animals. Butterfly diversity is very high in the forest and the bird life is rich and varied. After chimp trekking we will have a picnic lunch and in the late afternoon, depending on how everyone feels, we will either have another hike in the forest or return to Ndali Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Wednesday, June 20: Bigodi Swamp

This morning we will depart early for a hike around Bigodi Swamp in search of birds and other primates. The Bigodi Swamp is located near Kibale and is a papyrus and tree filled swamp that is home to an abundance of birds and several species of monkey including the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. Baboons, red-tailed monkeys and both red and black-and-white colobus monkeys are also quite common. After a picnic lunch we will return to Ndali Lodge. The afternoon will be free to relax or hike around the crater lake. We will overnight at Ndali Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 15 – Thursday, June 21: Journey to Murchison Falls National Park

We will depart early for an all-day journey to Murchison Falls National Park. Leaving Ndali Lodge we will weave our way past tea plantation blanketed hills and small colorful villages. We will eat lunch on the way and will drive through the southern part of the Park arriving at the banks of the Nile River in the late afternoon. We will cross the legendary river by ferry and arrive at Paraa Safari Lodge in time for dinner. Paraa Lodge is yet another beautiful property situated on a hill overlooking the Nile and will be our accommodation for the next two days. (B,L,D)

Day 16 – Friday, June 22: Murchison Falls National Park

We will leave on an early morning game drive during which we should see giraffe, Jackson’s hartebeest, patas monkeys, lions, side-striped jackals and herds of elephant. The afternoon will be spent on a boat launch on the Nile River to observe hippos, Nile crocodiles, African fish eagles and if we are lucky the rare and spectacular shoebill stork. Our journey up the fabled Nile terminates downriver from Murchison Falls and we should have some great views of the falls as they boil over the rocks in the river’s last major obstacle on the way to Egypt and the Mediterranean. We will overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 17 – Saturday, June 23: Murchison Falls National Park

This day will be spent doing morning and late afternoon game drives among the abundant wildlife of Murchison Falls NP. Murchison Falls is a vast park and includes many species of birds and mammals not found in other parks we will visit. Each day is different and provides unique opportunities to observe a diversity of species. For example, during our 2003 safari we saw a leopard fade into the inky blackness of an African night on our last game drive of the trip. (B,L,D)

Day 18 – Sunday, June 24: Murchison Falls NP and Travel to Kampala

Murchison Falls NP is named for the famous waterfalls that form as the Nile River constricts and thunders over an escarpment. The falls have the highest volume of water moving through the smallest space on earth – a nearly inconceivable 325,000 cubic meters per second are forced over the precipice. We will have a chance to see the falls close up as we will drive back to Kampala via the top of Murchison Falls. Once in Kampala we will stay at the beautiful and luxurious Emin Pasha Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 19 – Monday, June 25: Kampala and Our Flight to Europe

Today is our last day in Africa and is a day in Kampala to go shopping before traveling to Entebbe and preparing for our journey home. We will spend the morning and early afternoon visiting the local craft markets in search of souvenirs. We will be able to store our luggage at the Emin Pasha Hotel during the day and once we are finished shopping we will return to the hotel for a chance to repack and freshen up prior to departing for Entebbe. Once we have arrived in Entebbe we have a farewell dinner at the Lake Victoria Hotel and late in the evening we will transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to Europe. (B,L,D)

Day 20 – Tuesday, June 26: Europe back to the US

We will fly out of our European gateway city bound for our gateway city in the US and home.

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.

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