Travel 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. You’ll have ample photography opportunities with special access permits in Kibale National Park that grant you full days with the chimpanzees (most visitors have only two hours). 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. Game drive for two days in search of the tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park and a host of other iconic African animals. Delve into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; for three days, hike into the mountainous jungle habitat to locate and observe the rare and special mountain gorillas. Observe 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: August 2020
|Sep 24||Travel to Entebbe, Uganda.|
|Sep 25||Arrive in Entebbe.||Protea Hotel, Entebbe||D|
|Sep 26–29||Drive to Kibale National Park and then spend the next two-and-a-half days tracking chimpanzees and observing their behaviors.||Ndali Lodge, Ndali||B, L, D|
|Sep 30–Oct 1||Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and explore it during morning and afternoon game drives with special lion tracking.||Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Queen Elizabeth National Park||B, L, D|
|Oct 2–5||Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and spend the next three days tracking gorillas.||Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi||B, L, D|
|Oct 6||Fly to Entebbe for flights homeward.||Protea Hotel, Entebbe (Dayroom)||B, L|
|Oct 7||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, where our local agent will transfer you from the airport to rest 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 monkey, red colobus, black-and-white colobus, chimpanzees, and olive baboons. You may also encounter forest elephants, which are smaller and hairier than the savanna elephants you’ll see in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
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 can observe them throughout the day without them getting anxious or upset. We have special permits that allow you to spend full days with the chimpanzees, so plan to wake up before dawn to hike into the forest, arriving at your focal chimp group just in time to see them wake up and stir from their sleeping nests. You’ll spend the day watching them eat, groom, play, take care of their young, and go through their daily routine in their natural habitat. Your expert guide will describe their behaviors and point out other animals, such as other primates, bush pigs, dukiers, many amphibians and reptiles, and some of the more than 375 birds that inhabit this area.
On the last morning, you will tour the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary to see other primates and many birds. This wetland boasts a rich habitat and great conservation success story. The area, once known for poaching, is now managed by the locals who directly benefit from 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 mammals and over 600 birds because of the variety of habitats, including savannahs, wetlands, and rainforests. You’ll take an afternoon game drive to explore the park and relax by the Kazinga Channel.
Depart for an early morning game drive in search of elephants, hippos, buffalos, 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 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 plant species, 350 bird species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics, and 120 mammal species including rodents, bats, 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 a long day of hiking as you will hike long distances in steep and sometimes muddy conditions, taking anywhere from two to eight hours to find the gorillas.
Once you arrive at your gorilla family, you will spend one hour with them as they go about their daily life. You will observe feeding, moving, playing, and raising their young. Coming face to face with a giant mountain gorilla is a truly breath-taking wildlife experience!
Take private charter flight to Entebbe. You can refresh in your dayroom before catching your 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||$14,500|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except for one-way flight from Bwindi to Entebbe), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||September 15, 2020||$2,000|
|Final||April 15, 2021||Remaining Balance|
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another trip 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’s temperatures generally stay the same year-round. Daytime temperatures range from 65 to 85°F and nighttime temperatures in the mid-50s°F, but with climate change weather is more variable, so prepare for varying climate conditions. September through 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.
You may hike to search for gorillas and chimpanzees for two to six miles per day (typically spending more than four to eight hours) in steep, uneven, and muddy terrain. You’ll hike regardless of the weather conditions. Plan to hire a local porter to carry your gear during the hikes 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.
Unless listed as included, airfare 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. Please let 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: Arrive in Entebbe, Uganda (EBB) anytime on September 25. Depart Entebbe, Uganda (EBB) in the evening on October 6.
Flights we book for you: The one-way flight from Bwindi to Entebbe is included in the trip 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.
In Entebbe, you will overnight at a modern hotel. While elsewhere, your lodging is at luxurious cottages and tented camps. All rooms have private baths. 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