Travel day to Entebbe, Uganda
If you are traveling from the US or similar distance, you will likely have to depart home today.
Completely immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the rare and elusive mountain gorillas and chimpanzees on this special great ape expedition. See through the eyes of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey as you get up-close and personal with these incredibly complex and social animals, all within the boundaries of Uganda’s forest habitats. Special access permits in Kibale National Park grant you full days with the Chimpanzees (most visitors have only two hours), giving ample photographic opportunities. For two-and-a-half days, immerse yourself among chimpanzee families, many times within just a few feet of them, witnessing and photographing intimate moments while chimps wake up, groom, forage, interact, and play together. Spend two days game driving in search of the tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park and a host of other African species. Delve into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; for three days, you will hike into the mountainous jungle habitat to locate and observe the rare and special mountain gorillas. Your time will be spent observing the daily routines of these gentle giants while they feed, socialize, parent, and trudge through the forest. You will leave with amazing images of Uganda and beautiful portraits of these remarkable creatures, but above all, you’ll leave with a sense of awe and wonder from the close encounters with our nearest ancestors.
Itinerary Updated: January 2020
|Oct 23||Travel day to Entebbe, Uganda.|
|Oct 24||Arrive in Entebbe.||Protea Hotel, Entebbe||D|
|Oct 25 - 28||Drive to Kibale National Park and then spend the next two-and-a-half days tracking Chimpanzees and observing behaviors.||Ndali Lodge, Ndali||B, L, D|
|Oct 29 - 30||Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and explore during morning and afternoon game drives with special Lion tracking.||Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Queen Elizabeth National Park||B, L, D|
|Oct 31 - Nov 3||Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, then spend the next three days tracking gorillas.||Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi||B, L, D|
|Nov 4||Fly back to Entebbe for connecting flights homeward.||Protea Hotel, Entebbe (Dayroom)||B, L|
|Nov 5||Arrive home.|
Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments took him to the far corners of the globe. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.
If you are traveling from the US or similar distance, you will likely have to depart home today.
Arrive in Entebbe by this evening. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to the hotel to recuperate from your flights and prepare for your upcoming adventure.
Drive from Entebbe to Ndali Lodge in the popular Kibale National Park. Kibale National Park is known for its variety and concentration of primates, such as vervets, l’Hoest’s, red colobus, black-and-white colobus, chimpanzees, and olive baboons. You may also encounter forest elephants, which are smaller and hairier than the savannah elephants.
Kibale National Park is home to roughly 1,500 chimpanzees, all separated into various troops and some lone individuals. Several of the troops are habituated to humans, so you’ll be able to observe them throughout the day without them getting anxious or upset. We obtain special permits that allow you to spend full days with the chimpanzees. Plan to be up before dawn and hike into the forest, arriving at your focal chimp group just in time to see them wake up and rise from their sleeping nests. You’ll spend the day watching them as they eat, groom, play, take care of their young, and go through their daily routine in their natural habitat. Your expert guide will describe behaviors and point out other species you will see along the way such as other primates, bush pigs, dukiers, many amphibian and reptile species, and over 375 bird species.
On the last morning, you will take a tour of the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary to see other primate species and many bird species. The wetland boasts a rich habitat and great conservation success story. The area, once known for poaching, is now run and managed by the locals who directly benefit from the tourism. After touring Bigodi, you will follow your chimpanzee troop for the remainder of the day.
You will bid farewell to Kibale and the chimpanzees and drive to the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Located within the famous Albertine Rift Valley, the park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species due to the variety of habitats found here, including savannahs, wetlands, and rainforests. You’ll take an afternoon game drive to explore the park and have time to relax by the Kazinga Channel.
Depart for an early morning game drive in search of elephants, hippos, buffaloes, and the famous tree climbing lions. Then, head to the mating ground of the Uganda kob, a species of antelope that appears on the Ugandan national flag. Game drives in the Ishasha sector may also bring you many more wildlife in their natural habitat. You will also spend half a day with lion researchers as they track lions – a special opportunity most tourists never experience!
Take a scenic drive south to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home of the critically endangered mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei). This forest is part of a national park that lies on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, in southwestern Uganda, with a wide altitude range between 1,160m and 2,600m. The forest dates back to the ice ages and is one of Uganda's oldest and most ecologically diverse regions. It is home to almost 400 species of plants, 350 species of birds, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics, plus 120 mammal species including rodents and bats, as well as mountain gorillas, olive baboons, chimpanzees, elephants, and antelopes.
Your knowledgeable guide from the lodge will take you out to track mountain gorillas each day. After a briefing by your gorilla guide, who will tell you about your assigned gorilla family and appropriate safety precautions, you will drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure. Expect to hike long distances in steep and sometimes muddy conditions, taking anywhere from two to eight hours to find the gorillas, so be prepared for a long day of hiking.
Once you arrive at your family of gorillas, you have one hour with them as they go about their daily life. You will observe feeding, moving, playing, raising their young, and sometimes wrestling by the juveniles. Coming face to face with a giant mountain gorilla is a truly breath-taking wildlife experience!
Fly back to Entebbe on a private chartered plane. While in Entebbe, you will have a dayroom to refresh before catching your international flights home.
Arrive home today depending on your flight schedule.
Visit Uganda and completely immerse yourself on this special great ape expedition.
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$13,150|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except chartered flight from Bwindi to Entebbe), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement fee. Single rooms are subject to availability.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||October 1, 2019||$2,000|
|Final||April 1, 2020||Remaining Balance|
Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.
Uganda generally stays the same temperature year-round. Daytime temperatures range from 65 to 85°F with nighttime temperatures in the mid-50s°F, but with climate change weather is more variable, so prepare for varying climate conditions. October and November are the transitional months between the rainy and dry seasons in Uganda, so expect some rain. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is rainy and fairly damp year-round.
Hiking in search of gorillas and chimpanzees will total two to six miles per day (over four to eight hours) in steep, uneven, and muddy terrain. You’ll hike regardless of the weather conditions. You can hire a local porter to carry your gear during the hikes; this is highly recommended so that you can focus on photography and the rugged terrain. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
Airfare, except flight listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Pleaselet us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Plan to arrive in Entebbe, Uganda (EBB) anytime on October 24. Plan to depart Entebbe in the evening on November 4.
Flights we book for you: One-way flight from Bwindi to Entebbe on November 4. The cost of this booking is included in the tour cost.
Scott knows Uganda well and is eager to show you photographic techniques for optimal photography with primates. Our days are planned to spend as much time as possible observing and photographing wildlife behavior. Although this trip emphasizes photography, any skill level is welcomed and encouraged. You can forego photography altogether to watch animal behaviors for long periods of time if you choose. Our small group size gives us the flexibility to stay at a perfect photographic moment to capture world-class images. Scott will offer instruction on wildlife photography throughout the trip, as well as offer one-on-one critique time in the evenings.
• Your guides will review these rules before you visit the chimpanzees and gorillas.
• Do not approach closer than the minimum distance of 7m (21ft) from the primates. This is to control disease transmission and to not aggravate the animals.
• Total silence, no smoking, no eating or drinking, and no pointing or staring directly at the primates.
• No flash photography.
• Follow the guide’s directions and actions at all times.
• Move slowly and be calm at all times.
• If you are feeling ill or know that you have a contagious disease, do not attempt to track the primates. Chimps and gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. You will not be allowed a refund of your permit if you cannot go trekking. Please respect this rule and put the primates’ health first.
You will be staying at high-end lodges and hotels. All rooms have private baths. Laundry facilities and additional amenities are available at all lodges, though may cost extra. After a long day of hiking to find the apes, you will appreciate the niceties of a warm shower, sunset views at the bar, good food, and a comfortable bed.
"I will have lifelong and fond memories of my FIRST trip to Africa because the adventures were well planned and executed by people who love
animals as much as I do. Maybe the best thing I can offer about Cheeseman's is that I would recommend your company to anyone who has ears!!"
"This trip was a fascinating intimate look into the daily interactions of chimpanzees, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, redtailed monkeys,
and gorillas. The driver guides, porters, other team members, and of course, Scott, were highly professional, helpful, and caring. I have been telling
our friends how gentle and helpful the Ugandans were. The pacing of the trip was excellent, thanks to Scott and Cheeseman's."
"Very pleased with the Cheesman pre trip admin. Thank you Maureen. Scott is a real treasure and really enhanced our trip experience. Thank you