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Private Departure - Gorilla and Chimp Safari
11 days
Uganda - Trip code PJUG

Private Departure - Gorilla and Chimp Safari

Join us for a chance to see the incredible primates and wildlife of the Ugandan rainforest. We spend two days in Kibale Forest, the best place in Africa to spot chimpanzees. From our comfortable eco-lodge we explore the forest with a population of over 1000 chimps and 13 varieties of other primates including Red-Tailed monkey, Colobus monkey and many others. We take a day walk in the majestic Rwenzori Mountains also known as 'Mountains of the Moon' and visit local villages around the area. We join a cruise in the Kazinga channel, a real highlight and a chance to observe hippo, crocodile, buffalo and herds of elephants at close range before taking game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park where we hope to spot the famous tree climbing lions. We then travel deep into the rainforest near Bwindi, where we experience the ultimate wildlife encounter: we get up close and personal with the endangered mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. We also take a swim or a canoe ride in Lake Bunyonyi, surrounded by verdant rolling hills and a walking safari in Lake Mburo.

Trip highlights

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game viewing in Uganda's finest reserve.
  • Kibale National Park - The best destination for chimp tracking.
  • Rwenzori Walk - An exciting day walk at the foothills of the majestic 'Mountains of the Moon'.
  • Kazinga Channel - An exhilarating cruise looking out for hippo, crocodile, elephant and birdlife.
  • Bwindi National Park - On foot in the equatorial rainforest in search of Mountain gorillas.
  • Ugandan People - Some of the friendliest and most hospitable of Africans.
Accommodation grade:
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you’ll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.


Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join tour Kampala

Join tour Kampala and transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure to relax by the pool or visit the capital city.

Accommodation: Cassia Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Drive to Kibale rainforest

After breakfast we will depart Kampala and head west to Fort Portal. On your way look out for black and white colobus monkeys as many of these primates are hiding in trees along the road. Fort Portal rests in the shadow of the fabled Mountains of the Moon and is famous for the many tea plantations. From this lovely town we will continue to Kibale National Park for a stay within the tropical forest.

Accommodation: Primate Lodge Kibale(or similar)

Premium Lodge
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 3 - Chimp Trek in Kibale followed by a Swamp Walk through the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Today the forest opens its doors for sensational chimp tracking. Kibale Forest is reputable for having the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. Enjoy a guided nature walk in the tropical rainforest in search of the wild chimpanzee, redtailed monkey, black and white colobus monkey and many others. After lunch we transfer to Bigodi for a complete different walk. Here you will have the choice to join a guided Swamp Walk through the Wetland Sanctuary, which is famous for the many birds and primates that live in this area. Alternatively, you may decide to go for a Village Walk. Accompanied by a guide who can tell you everything about the traditional customs and lifestyle of the inhabitants, you will follow the village path and visit a primary school, Catholic church, traditional homesteads, learn about the crops and listen to the story telling of a Mzee (elderly man). Both activities are an initiative of the inhabitants of Bigodi Village and the revenues are shared by the local community (you can choose which activity to join locally. This is included in the package). Please note we might have to split the group for the chimp trek (morning and afternoon trek).

Accommodation: Primate Lodge Kibale(or similar)

Premium Lodge
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 - Day walk at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today you can enjoy the majestic Rwenzori Mountains in their full glory on a guided walk in the foothills of the 'Mountains of the Moon'. As well as enjoying the scenic views, we will get a glimpse into local village life and meet some of the locals and visit a waterfall. After this walk we transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we spend the next two nights.

Accommodation: Kingfisher Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 - Game drive Queen Elizabeth National Park; Kazinga Channel river cruise

The day begins early when we start with a morning game drive and head to the mating ground of the Ugandan kobs. We search for lion, elephant, buffalo and other animals in their natural habitat before returning for lunch. Alternatively, there is the possibility to take an unforgettable optional early morning balloon safari over the national park. This would allow you to see the park from a completely unique and different perspective. This can be pre-booked directly with the supplier before departure to guarantee a place. Please note this is subject to weather conditions. (Please see details below under optional excursions).

In the afternoon we take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a natural channel between Lake Edward and Lake George. Thanks to the abundant birdlife as well as the herds of elephants, buffaloes and hundreds of hippos that are cooling off at the shores, this cruise will be one of the highlights of your tour.

Accommodation: Kingfisher Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 - Short game drive in the Ishasha sector; transfer to Bwindi National Park

After breakfast we head towards the south, passing the southern sector of the National Park (if road conditions allow). This part is called Ishasha and is famous for the tree climbing lions. After a short game drive in this area we continue to Bwindi. While driving through a verdant countryside, you will pass traditional homesteads and enjoy panoramic views. In the afternoon we will arrive in Bwindi National Park, the home of the endangered mountain gorillas.

Accommodation: Silverback Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 7 - Gorilla trek

Today you'll experience what some people define a life changing event: a meeting with the gentle giants of Bwindi! Expect to walk a long distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. But it will definitely be worthwhile as you observe them closely while they eat, play and rest, a unique and unforgettable experience! Unfortunately, Mountain gorillas (as opposed to Lowland gorillas) are one of the world's most endangered species so the entrance and gorilla tracking fees revenue generated from tourism in protected parks such as Bwindi, offer them their only chance of survival. Distinct from their cousins who live in the open spaces and lowland forests of West Africa, Mountain gorillas are found at an altitude of between 1520m and 3650m. Gentle giants and vegetarians, they are normally peaceful unless provoked. Our groups have been rewarded with the thrill of very close encounters.

Accommodation: Silverback Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 8 - Nature walk and time at leisure in Bwindi

Today you have the option of joining a guided nature/village walk to explore the surroundings of Bwindi. Due to availability issues, we often will have to split the group in 2 for the gorilla trek. Those who didn't take part on the gorilla trek on day 7 will be going on trek today.

Accommodation: Silverback Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 9 - Drive to Lake Bunyonyi through coffee plantations and rolling hills

After breakfast we depart to Lake Bunyonyi, the second deepest lake in Africa. The drive itself is very scenic through small villages, coffee and banana plantations and rolling hills. Upon arrival there should be ample time to relax, visit the local village or explore the surroundings by traditional canoe.

Accommodation: Arcadia Cottages(or similar)

Standard Bungalow
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 10 - Transfer to Lake Mburo and game drive

Today we head to Lake Mburo National Park, enjoying lunch en route. Lake Mburo is the only National Park in Uganda where you can experience a safari on foot and if we have time this evening we will enjoy a game walk at dusk, otherwise we will make our walk the following morning. With spectacular panoramic views over the plains, our accommodation for the evening is the ideal spot in which to enjoy our last night of the tour.

Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock Safari Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 11 - Drive to Entebbe where the tour ends

After enjoying one final game drive, we depart the protected area and drive back to Kampala, where our tour ends with a transfer to the airport in Entebbe.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Why book this trip

This tour is perfect for travellers who are seeking the ultimate wildlife encounter, coming face to face with the mountain gorilla. Though the real highlight of this tour is the people and colours of Uganda; every day you come across smiling, friendly people with a backdrop of green vegetation and vibrant forest. This is not the Africa that you see on television, but a land of hope, promise and full of life.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 10
  • Lunch: 7
  • Dinner: 9
  • Boat
  • Minibus
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader / Driver
  • Local Guide(s)
  • Ranger(s)
  • 1 nights standard bungalow
  • 7 nights standard lodge
  • 2 nights premium lodge

Trip information

Country information



Although conditions are tropical, hot and humid in the centre and west, the rest of Uganda has a pleasant and comfortable climate. The dry season is generally from December to early March and June to the end of August/early September. Temperature can vary from around 28°C during the day to 12°C in the evening. High mountain areas become much cooler at night. Most of Uganda experiences a double rainy season. Rainfall is moderate, only exceeding 1250mm a year in the higher areas. But it may rain at any time of the year, particularly in equatorial rainforest such as Bwindi. Lake Victoria influences the local weather patterns considerably and ensures the surrounding region is wetter than elsewhere. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Up-to-date information on the weather worldwide can be found by following the BBC weather link on this page.

Time difference to GMT



3 Pin Flat


Christian, Roman Catholic, Islam


English, Swahili

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.

Queen Elizabeth National Park - Q.E. National Park Balloon Safari - US$380 per person. (Please note all bookings for this activity must be booked directly with the provider 'Uganda Balloon Safari' at, and this activity is subject to weather conditions).


Temperatures are warm and humidity is high all year round. But as much of our route in Uganda is driving across high country or at a reasonable altitude, warm clothing is needed particularly at night and in the early morning. Do not bring green fatigues or camouflage jackets/trousers that might be considered of military origin. Lightweight, hard wearing gloves are useful for protecting hands during the gorilla and chimp search. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers are recommended for protecting arms and legs.


Sturdy walking boots for the tracking and sandals or trainers/light shoes for travelling.



Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage (a soft bag or holdall for ease of loading onto vehicles) plus a daypack.


Take a torch (ideally a head torch), insect repellent and a personal water bottle. Binoculars will be useful for game viewing as is a camera with telephoto lens for close-up wildlife shots. Accommodation has mosquito screening where necessary so nets are not required. Walking poles are strongly recommended. A hat and long socks so you can tuck your trousers in for the gorilla trek are also recommended.


Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow approx. US$ 40 for tipping.

In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

Country Information


Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Lunch price
Dinner price
Beer price
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Ugandan Shilling.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
You should take the majority of your spending money in US Dollars cash some of which to change into Ugandan Shillings. Please be aware that notes issued pre- 2006, or are not the "Big Face" kind, are not normally accepted in East Africa at all. Take mixed denomination bills in good condition and note that higher Ugandan Shilling rates are available for larger ($50- $100) US Dollar bills. Dirty and torn US Dollar notes are NOT accepted at all in Uganda. GBP Sterling is easily exchanged in Kampala only.
Where To Exchange
Your Tour leader will advise you
ATM Availability
Very limited and unreliable.
Credit Card Acceptance
Travellers Cheques
We do not recommend travellers cheques

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Boat, Minibus

Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Ugandan entry visas are required by UK, AUS, NZ, CAN and USA citizens and should ideally be obtained before departure. A visa authorisation document is mandatory in order to apply for all visas either on arrival or via an Ugandan Consulate prior to departure. You can apply for your visa authorisation document ( with a validity of approximately 3 months) via:
Visas can be obtained on arrival for some nationalities, but this takes time as queues can be long and processing slow. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. You are required to have 6 months remaining validity on your passport to enter Uganda.
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Non refundable permits



We recommend protection against malaria, measles, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio and yellow fever. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling. A yellow fever certificate is required for entry into Uganda.

Dates, prices and booking

Price from

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