Uganda trip extension

Old Apr 18th, 2022, 07:33 AM
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Uganda trip extension

We are seriously considering our first (and possibly only) trip to Africa. There is a 10 day tour of Uganda (with chimps, gorillas, etc) that we have our eye on. It would be in November of this year. Since we may only get to Africa once - and we are already in our 70s, we will probably want to extend up to maybe a month. We are totally open re further itinerary. So, seeking suggestions for two well travelled fit seniors who enjoy nature, birding, culture, food, etc. Travel mid level.... Both Kenya and Tanzania are close and not terribly expensive to fly to from Uganda. However, not sure how much different safari experience would be after Uganda. Also interested in fellow travelers experiences flying within Africa - and to Africa for that matter. We aren't mile collectors. Looks like Ethiopian, Turkish, and KLM make from cheaper flights from DC. None appear to be anyone's favorite airlines.....
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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 08:06 AM
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I think you will find either Kenya or Tanzania completely different from a gorilla and chimpanzee experience in Uganda. I haven’t been to Uganda, but tracked gorillas in Rwanda, and have been on safari in both Kenya and Tanzania.

The wildebeest migration is something to see if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, as the herds move between Serengeti NP in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya. Here is a moving map which shows approximately where they will be at different times of the year. I saw the herds in SE Serengeti in February, while others on the forum (Amy?) will have a better idea of where to go in November.
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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 12:57 PM
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I have been to both Kenya and Tanzania. I saw the wildebeest herds in southern Serengeti in February. They're in the Mara "generally" July-Sept. By November they've moved on to the northeast part of the Serengeti. Although in 2018 I was in the Mara the first 10 days of November and still saw assorted large herds, but nothing on the grand scale of the migration.

I've also been gorilla trekking in Rwanda. I agree with Heimdall, that is nothing at all like safari. It is a fair amount of exertion and I was glad that after three days of golden monkeys and gorilla treks (we did 3 treks total) that I had 6 days to lie about and do nothing strenuous on safari in the Mara! There are safari locations where you can experience something similar to what you get on safari in the Mara in Uganda (Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth NP). I'd be curious to know if those locations are part of the itinerary you're looking at.

Also, without knowing more about the company/itinerary you're considering, I would strongly suggest consulting with a safari planner rather than a pre-packaged tour operator. You can get a bespoke itinerary with exactly what you want to do without catering to a group of strangers, for a good deal less than some of these packaged tours. I advised someone on TripAdvisor to reach out to a couple of safari planners I've used rather than go with Micato or &Beyond, and he reported back that he was quoted nearly 50% less for a bespoke safari. I have personally used Wild Source, Expert Africa, Africa Travel Resource with great results.
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Old Jun 28th, 2022, 02:54 AM
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I live and work in Uganda and I agree with the preceding comments. Kenya and Tanzania will give you huge numbers of wildlife compared with Uganda. But this too will come with more tourists on the circuit. The Uganda leg is less traveled and fewer tourists on the tracks. In fact in some places like Kidepo Valley National Park, you would be a handful in a wild expense of savannah.

That said, the gorilla and chimp tracking is a whole world apart. Since you are fit and you could go for the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park hikes. There are many more gorilla groups in this section. Actually over 40% (2020 census) of the remaining mountain gorillas call this place home. Depending on the group you get in, or if you ask you could get section that matches you physical needs. Bwindi is also known to be one of the best places for birding in Africa. So besides the gorillas, you will get to bird if you so will. The other gorilla tracking park you may want to consider is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It is a easier on the knees (I am 50). This park is also the home of the old world golden monkeys and you can track them here.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of two or so places in the world where you will find the tree climbing lions. These lions spend most of their time in the trees as opposed to others.One of the major attractions of Uganda parks like Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo, is the safari cruise and birds. In Queen Elizabeth you can take the safari on the Kazinga Channel - a 40km connection between lakes George and Edward. Between Queen Elizabeth and Kibale national parks, you could add in a hike a day or two in the Rwenzori mountains - which has Africa's third highest peak and some of the remaining tropical glaciers. This mountain range is literary unexplored and is a world of wonders.

In Murchison Falls, the cruise is on the Nile River up to Murchison Falls. You can then hike up the Baker's Trial - the trail along which Ugandans guided early Europeans who were in search of the source of the Nile. The trail leads you to the top of Murchison Falls - a magnificent and awesome sight.If you are into fishing, you can do sport fishing (catch and release) at any of these parks. My personal best is Murchison Falls where the sport fishers have landed a single catch of over 200 pounds. In Lake Mburo National Park, you can take a boat safari on the lake and seek out hippos, crocs and lots of birds.You can also do a walking safari, safari on bikes or horses.

Depending on how you arrange your itinerary, you can plan rest stops at Lake Mutanda, Lake Bunyonyi or in Jinja the adventure capital. Jinja which sits at the source of the Nile River as it leaves Lake Victoria, is best known for adrenaline high activities - whitewater rafting, bungee, quadbikes,horse rides through villages and tea plantations, kayaking and more. There is also a day boat cruise from the source of the Nile into Lake Victoria. It is leisurely and a great one.

Uganda has 10 national parks spread all around the country - allowing you to not only enjoy the nature but the different cultures too. The highlight for every even year is the circumcision ceremony in eastern Uganda when boys are initiated into men. December is the peak of the initiation ceremony. This only happens with people from the cultures in eastern Uganda mainly the Bamasaba. This is also the land where Uganda's best arabica coffee comes from. So, if you cannot experience the ceremony, you may go for the coffee experience on the slopes on Mt. Elgon.

I highly recommend Uganda for birding and here is why:
  • Over 1070 bird species in an land about the size of Oregon.
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: 347 bird species
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park: Over 600 bird species
  • Kibale National Park: 370 bird species, over 45 butterfly species, high concentration of chimps and other primates
  • Murchison Falls National Park: 451 bird species
  • Kidepo Valley National Park: 475 bird species; superb unpolluted savannas great for star gazing. No light pollution at all.
  • Lake Mburo National Park: 350 bird species
Travel times between some parks may be long but there are domestic flights connecting them. These flights also connect with some parks in Kenya and Tanzania.

I hope this info helps.

Vincent | Kwezi Outdoors
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Old Aug 5th, 2022, 01:28 PM
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Belated thanks to all of you for the helpful responses. The itin for our Uganda trip is 10 days is Mabamba wetlands, Lake Mburo, Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Kibale. The focus is birding, gorillas, and chimps- and of course other mammals etc.

we are happy with and committed to that company and itin. But now for rest of trip. Think we will do some kind of Kenya and or Tanzania Safari. So happy to hear it wouldn’t just repeat Uganda. Since this may be our one and only trip to Africa, we kind of hate to miss Capetown, admittedly quite a long additional flight from Nairobi. Interested in opinions as to merits of adding that in. Another thought we had was Zanzibar. One of those might be a nice change from all that nature ….
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 01:29 AM
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Of the airlines you mentioned, I have flown KLM and Turkish Airlines and had good experiences with both.
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