You meet with your safari guide and the rest of your group in the morning and then set off on the southbound road out of the city center into the rural countryside. You proceed to Fort Portal via the town of Mubende set in rolling hills. Time permitting you may take a two hour detour to visit the Nakayima Shrine, a 400 year old tree venerated in local folklore as holding the spirit of an ancient king. Make an offering to the spirits! You have a picnic lunch en route and arrive in Kibale in the late afternoon. Ndali Lodge is perched on the rim of an extinct volcano which, since its demise, has filled with water to become the breathtaking Lake Nyinambuga – 250 acres in size and 130 metres deep. Accommodation is in eight luxurious cottages. The cottages face west to offer a panoramic view to the spectacular 'Mountains of the Moon'. They where designed by Captain Mark Price and are built of local stone and thatch. Each cottage is large enough to accommodate a family and has en-suite facilities with bath, shower, wc and hand basin and a private verandah, perfect for watching the sun setting behind the Rwenzori mountains. The lodge has no electricity or generators to destroy the tranquility and atmosphere. Lighting is by candles. The sitting room, reception and dining room open out onto Lake Nyinambuga and are connected by two open passage-ways or breeze-ways: fruit bats, owls and frogs like to use them as a highway to the crater lake. All Ndali's water comes directly from the lake, pumped up by hydraulic ram based on technology invented in the 1770's. Activities include a visit local historical and wildlife attractions, and an ideal stopping off place for parties moving from Queen Elizabeth National Park up to the famous Murchison Falls National Park; Queen Elizabeth is within 2 and a half hours drive. Also close by is the Bigodi wetland sanctuary, a community-based conservation project. Ndali provides local guides for walks around the 1000 acre farm, to the Mahoma Waterfalls, and a boat for relaxing contemplation of a large variety of birds, butterflies and primates. Walks will take you around crater rims, past alcohol brewing in oil drums, through banana plantations, coffee terraces, plots of cassava, groundnuts, sorghum and millet. You can swim in the lake, soak up the sun or simply get away from it all. Ndali is a few kilometres from the heart of Uganda's tea growing region and historically has close links with Rwetera tea shamba (plantation) which can be reached by foot and is possible to visit by prior arrangement.
Alternative accommodation option: Primate Luxury Tented Camp consists of safari tents and cottages in African style. The safari tents are raised on a wooden platform, with a private veranda overlooking the forest. Each of them is tastefully decorated in African style, with comfortable twin beds, large windows and en-suite bathroom. The cottages are privately situated in the forest, with their own veranda, spacious bedroom and en-suite bathroom. You can also enjoy an exciting night high up in the tree in the unique Sky Tree House. It is located at a 10-15 minutes walk from the main lodge and overlooks the scenic elephant wallow. It offers a simple bedroom and basic washing/toilet facilities at the foot of the tree. There is also a well-maintained camp site with shared washing facilities available for backpackers who want to bring their own tent. Natural stone pathways lead you to the main lodge with a spacious dining room, serving local and international meals. The adjacent well-stocked bar provides a fresh cup of coffee, cold beers or any other drink, while you enjoy the magical forest that encloses the lodge. The open lounge area is decorated with comfortable large chairs, sofas and soft cushions, making it the ideal place to unwind and listen to the chattering of the red-tailed monkeys in the branches. In the slightly chilly evenings you can find shelter in a unique cave where a fire will be lit to warm yourself. And as the night falls and you drift away to sleep by the peaceful sounds of nature, you might even hear the exciting trumpeting of the meandering elephants in the forest....
Chimpanzee Trekking - You set out with a packed lunch to track the noisy chimps and other primates crashing around through the high canopy of the forest with colourful birds squawking nearby. After lunch you walk in Bigodi to see the swamp dwelling bird life. The tourism and conservation activities in Bigodi wetland have helped build a number of community projects including a local library and a new secondary school.
Overland transfer from Kibale to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 4 - Chimpanzee Trekking
Situated on the edge of the Kyambura Gorge and Queen
Elizabeth National Park, in Uganda, one of Africa’s finest national parks,
Volcanoes newest lodge, Kyambura Gorge
Lodge, has stunning views over the Gorge and the lush savannah of the park,
with the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. The main lodge
building was originally a coffee store and processing plant, surrounded by
coffee plantations. The original structure has been sensitively restored to
create a stunning living space, balancing the history of the building with the
location and creating a series of distinct luxurious contemporary spaces for
guests. Four beautiful, spacious bandas have been carefully nestled into the
hillside, each with their own luxury bathroom. Each room has a different aspect
of the panoramic views across the gorge, savannah and mythical Rwenzoris. Each
banda is uniquely appointed, adopting a different colour theme. From the Lodge
guests can go chimp tracking in the Kyambura Gorge or Kalinzu forest. Chimps
are very mobile, tracking them as they crash through the canopy screaming and
whooping can take stamina. Guests can also take a game drive on the
plains of Queen Elizabeth to spot lions, elephant, antelope, buffalo and some
of the 600 birds species that live in this national park such as the spoonbill
stork, or take a boat out onto the Kazinga Channel to spot the many birds and
animals which come to cool off at the waters’ edge. Guests can also take a
guided walk around the lodge grounds to tour the community coffee processing
plant and other projects supported by Volcanoes, or through the wetland to spot
bird species. Alternatively simply relax in the beautiful atmosphere of
this unique lodge and watch game on the savannah plains below, listening to the
sounds of the chimps and birds in the gorge.
Chimpanzee Trekking- You go on an excursion to Kyambura Gorge to track the fast moving elusive chimpanzees, one of man’s closest relations. The chimpanzee population is quite mobile and viewing is unpredictable. The walk in this "lost world" is nevertheless enchanting. Time permitting, you will visit the Tropical Bee Care Centre to look at their community projects, which include bee keeping, honey making and a community nursery for children. Alternatively go for a nature walk in MaramagamboForest, this forest harbours some unusual species - red-tailed and L’Hoest’s Monkey, potto, giant forest hog, pygmy antelope, and giant elephant shrew. You can also visit the bat caves and the blue lake. In the afternoon you embark a cruise along the Kazinga Channel, linking Lakes Edward and George, this is especially rewarding for seeing many animals and birds. Look out for the rare shoebill stork!
Overland transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Day 6 - Gorilla trekking (subject to permit availability at the time of booking)
Depending on road conditions, you travel either via Ishasha, home of the tree-climbing lion or through many hills and villages to Buhoma. Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge is the only property in Bwindi which has magnificent views of the forest. Gorillas, chimpanzees and birds can often be heard screeching near the river below. Bwindi Lodge overlooks the primeval Bwindi forest, home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and birds. Amidst the many noises of forest life, it is the perfect place to experience the magic of this impenetrable forest. Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge offers an immersion into Uganda where gorillas, chimpanzees and birds can often be heard screeching near the river below. Each of the eight individual chalets has adobe walls, thatched roofs, and its own verandah, with chairs and a table, overlooking the valley and the forest on the opposite side. All chalets provide excellent views. The rooms are comfortable with twin beds, a vanity area, chairs and a coffee table. Five windows let in ample light with curtains for the evenings and privacy. Each room has an en suite shower and toilet that are of eco friendly design to prevent water from being wasted and provide care for the local environment. The showers are of a large canvas bucket style with water provided by the lodge staff. A separate toilet area, being of the dry chemical type, works automatically and free of any odors. The thatched bar/dining area with open sides and a log fireplace provides a cozy and warm gathering area with excellent views of the forest. Gorilla trekking - Tracking the gorillas through the forest requires patience and stamina, sometimes walking for a few hours in the mud and in wet conditions. Finally coming across these majestic creatures in the undergrowth is an inspiring moment. In Bwindi there are about 300 mountain gorillas and two of the families are habituated; it is also rich in other primates, some unusual bird species and butterflies. The gorillas live in a lower, more humid, denser forest with thick undergrowth and generally have to be tracked up and down a series of switchback hills. The total trekking time is between 4-7 hours and can be strenuous when the gorillas are deeply hidden, but your sense of achievement and wonder when they are found, is an ample reward for the effort.
Overland transfer from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Kampala
You make an early start for Kampala, retracing your steps through this green and pleasant land, and enjoying a picnic lunch en route. You arrive in Kampala late in the afternoon and continue with your onward travel arrangements.