Uganda | Gorillas, Nile Waterfalls & Remote Valleys | 9 Nights Bwindi Impenetrable Reserve, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley

This luxury Uganda safari offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from gorilla trekking in the jungle and cruising along the Nile to the base of Murchison Falls to exploring the remote Kidepo Valley. Whether on foot or in a boat or safari vehicle, there were plenty of opportunities to discover the best of Uganda’s wildlife and people.

Two nights at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

After arriving at Entebbe, we were whisked through customs and to our hotel, which gave us time to explore the beautiful beaches on the shores of Lake Victoria.The early morning sun glimmered as we flew over several islands on Lake Victoria the next day, then the landscape changed as occasional hills gave way to an uninterrupted mountainous area and the town of Kisoro. After a short transfer, we arrived at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, literally perched in the clouds overlooking the Virungas volcanoes to one side and the vast Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to the other. After lunch, we strolled through the forest, while our guide called out the names of the birds we saw fluttering above us. Later, we dined under an impossibly bright sky, feeling a thrill of anticipation for our gorilla safari the following day.After a hearty breakfast, our group set off, eager to encounter some of the world’s only remaining mountain gorilla. Penetrating the dense jungle-like foliage with our nimble guide was hard going, but occasionally we’d stop to take in the lush beauty that surrounded us. A while later, we encountered a family of gorilla in the middle of a stand of bamboo, and took some incredible macro shots. Back at the campfire after a relaxing massage, I nearly shed a tear as we recounted our experience. Seeing these gentle and endangered giants, with such a profound connection to humans, had touched us deeply.We woke up very early for a last forest walk before breakfast and our transfer to the airport and next destination, Murchison Falls National Park.

After arriving at Entebbe, we were whisked through customs and to our hotel, which gave us time to explore the beautiful beaches on the shores of Lake Victoria.

The early morning sun glimmered as we flew over several islands on Lake Victoria the next day, then the landscape changed as occasional hills gave way to an uninterrupted mountainous area and the town of Kisoro. After a short transfer, we arrived at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, literally perched in the clouds overlooking the Virungas volcanoes to one side and the vast Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to the other. After lunch, we strolled through the forest, while our guide called out the names of the birds we saw fluttering above us. Later, we dined under an impossibly bright sky, feeling a thrill of anticipation for our gorilla safari the following day.

After a hearty breakfast, our group set off, eager to encounter some of the world’s only remaining mountain gorilla. Penetrating the dense jungle-like foliage with our nimble guide was hard going, but occasionally we’d stop to take in the lush beauty that surrounded us. A while later, we encountered a family of gorilla in the middle of a stand of bamboo, and took some incredible macro shots. Back at the campfire after a relaxing massage, I nearly shed a tear as we recounted our experience. Seeing these gentle and endangered giants, with such a profound connection to humans, had touched us deeply.

We woke up very early for a last forest walk before breakfast and our transfer to the airport and next destination, Murchison Falls National Park.

Two nights at Baker's Lodge

Our transfer by air and road to Baker’s Lodge was a seamless and rather pleasant experience, punctuated by mesmerising scenery including the winding path of the Nile River and the Murchison Falls National Park.The luxury Ugandan lodge lies on the Nile’s southern bank, under shady trees in the heart of the national park. Sitting on the deck after lunch, we were entranced by this tranquil expanse of water, here, more like a lake than a river. Although we could walk in the forest or go chimpanzee trekking, we decided to do a game drive on the banks of the Nile. It yielded plentiful photography fodder: hippo, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan kob, as well as several ominous Nile crocodile. To see red-throated bee-eaters zipping between their nests was a particular highlight.While early explorers traced the convoluted path of the Nile to find its source, we were happy with a boat ride to Murchison Falls, where we observed how this mighty river is improbably squeezed through a 8m-wide gap to tumble into the gorge below. Thrilled at the chance of further adventure, we hiked through the gorge to the top of the falls, which allows for phenomenal views. Later, we sipped at cocktails while my partner pointed out some of the Nile’s birdlife, including the unusual-looking shoebill! Soon, everyone was involved, and our guide laughed as we (mostly) got them right.After a quick coffee and breakfast the next morning, we left Baker’s Lodge for our transfer to the remote Kidepo Valley, where we’d be staying at Apoka Safari Lodge.

Our transfer by air and road to Baker’s Lodge was a seamless and rather pleasant experience, punctuated by mesmerising scenery including the winding path of the Nile River and the Murchison Falls National Park.

The luxury Ugandan lodge lies on the Nile’s southern bank, under shady trees in the heart of the national park. Sitting on the deck after lunch, we were entranced by this tranquil expanse of water, here, more like a lake than a river. Although we could walk in the forest or go chimpanzee trekking, we decided to do a game drive on the banks of the Nile. It yielded plentiful photography fodder: hippo, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan kob, as well as several ominous Nile crocodile. To see red-throated bee-eaters zipping between their nests was a particular highlight.

While early explorers traced the convoluted path of the Nile to find its source, we were happy with a boat ride to Murchison Falls, where we observed how this mighty river is improbably squeezed through a 8m-wide gap to tumble into the gorge below. Thrilled at the chance of further adventure, we hiked through the gorge to the top of the falls, which allows for phenomenal views. Later, we sipped at cocktails while my partner pointed out some of the Nile’s birdlife, including the unusual-looking shoebill! Soon, everyone was involved, and our guide laughed as we (mostly) got them right.

After a quick coffee and breakfast the next morning, we left Baker’s Lodge for our transfer to the remote Kidepo Valley, where we’d be staying at Apoka Safari Lodge.

Three nights at Apoka Safari Lodge

Arriving in our open safari vehicle, we felt like we’d truly found African wilderness. Set around some rocky granite outcroppings, the 10 stone and thatch cottages of Apoka Safari Lodge merged effortlessly with the rugged savannah.Although we were surrounded by a dry and arid landscape, the Narus region, where we were based, has a year-round supply of water, making it a haven for visiting wildlife. We spent the afternoon in the rock-hewn swimming pool, cooling off and lounging on the sundecks. It’s as much an attraction to us as it is to passing wildlife – several zebra came by for a thirst-quenching sip, ignoring us completely. Later, we bathed in the outdoor bath at sunset, watching the waterhole as a herd of timid oribi slaked their thirst, their flanks shivering nervously.Breakfast followed a reviving morning soak, and it was time for our game drive exploring the Kidepo Valley National Park. We were the only vehicle out that day, a privilege we truly appreciated when coming up to a thousand-strong wildebeest herd. Seeing a tree-climbing lioness somewhere other than Ishasha, and being able to observe her uninterrupted, was another rare pleasure. Later, we visited the local Karamojong at their village, learning more about their culture and way of life. As we sat around the campfire back at the lodge, we took stock of our day (and our photos!).We enjoyed a bush breakfast after a morning walking safari, where the magic of the waking Kidepo Valley was revealed. It was fascinating to take note of details like a dewdrop on a leaf and the flurry of a vanishing lizard, while we were elated to see giraffe and cheetah on the yellow savannah. Our guide told us about the other tribe found in this region – the Ik, a once hunter-gatherer tribe that subsists in the Morungole Mountains. Back at the lodge’s swimming pool that afternoon, we pointed out some of the 500 bird species found in the Kidepo Valley.Our safari experience didn’t end the next morning – the sight of a striped hyena on the road transfer to the airstrip kept the magic alive all through our travels back to Entebbe, where we spent our last night reminiscing about our Bwindi, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley safari before our flight back home.

Arriving in our open safari vehicle, we felt like we’d truly found African wilderness. Set around some rocky granite outcroppings, the 10 stone and thatch cottages of Apoka Safari Lodge merged effortlessly with the rugged savannah.

Although we were surrounded by a dry and arid landscape, the Narus region, where we were based, has a year-round supply of water, making it a haven for visiting wildlife. We spent the afternoon in the rock-hewn swimming pool, cooling off and lounging on the sundecks. It’s as much an attraction to us as it is to passing wildlife – several zebra came by for a thirst-quenching sip, ignoring us completely. Later, we bathed in the outdoor bath at sunset, watching the waterhole as a herd of timid oribi slaked their thirst, their flanks shivering nervously.

Breakfast followed a reviving morning soak, and it was time for our game drive exploring the Kidepo Valley National Park. We were the only vehicle out that day, a privilege we truly appreciated when coming up to a thousand-strong wildebeest herd. Seeing a tree-climbing lioness somewhere other than Ishasha, and being able to observe her uninterrupted, was another rare pleasure. Later, we visited the local Karamojong at their village, learning more about their culture and way of life. As we sat around the campfire back at the lodge, we took stock of our day (and our photos!).

We enjoyed a bush breakfast after a morning walking safari, where the magic of the waking Kidepo Valley was revealed. It was fascinating to take note of details like a dewdrop on a leaf and the flurry of a vanishing lizard, while we were elated to see giraffe and cheetah on the yellow savannah. Our guide told us about the other tribe found in this region – the Ik, a once hunter-gatherer tribe that subsists in the Morungole Mountains. Back at the lodge’s swimming pool that afternoon, we pointed out some of the 500 bird species found in the Kidepo Valley.

Our safari experience didn’t end the next morning – the sight of a striped hyena on the road transfer to the airstrip kept the magic alive all through our travels back to Entebbe, where we spent our last night reminiscing about our Bwindi, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley safari before our flight back home.

What sets it apart

Our luxury Uganda safari took us to three very different and unique locations: the jungle-like Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the banks of the at-times placid and at-times tumultuous Nile River – which snakes through Murchison Falls National Park – and the isolated, unadulterated wilderness of Kidepo Valley National Park.These diverse landscapes were brought to life through the knowledge and skill of our guides, local Ugandans with rare insight into the unique conservation challenges of this once-turbulent region; home to some of the last remaining mountain gorilla on earth, extraordinary birds like the shoebill and the elusive striped hyena.Strictly-controlled conservation areas allowed us intimate encounters with Uganda’s wildlife, whether watching them at play, hunting, mating or lying supine in the branches of a tree! Most of the time, we couldn’t believe our good fortune when we were the only observers.We also experienced the heart and soul of Uganda through its people, whether they were guiding us, entertaining us through dance or song, or sharing their way of life with us on a village tour. Since conservation and communities are inextricably intertwined, it’s both appropriate and ethical that the lodges on this safari contribute to both.Most of all, we left with a feeling of gratitude – for finding a sense of place and a deeper connection to all around us, and a very real sense of wholeness and belonging. Whether staring into the eyes of an endangered mountain gorilla, sharing a laugh with our guide as we tried to outdo each other identifying birds on the Nile (he won of course!), or playing with a Karamojong child in one of the most isolated places on earth, we didn’t feel like tourists passing through, we felt like travellers returning home.

Our luxury Uganda safari took us to three very different and unique locations: the jungle-like Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the banks of the at-times placid and at-times tumultuous Nile River – which snakes through Murchison Falls National Park – and the isolated, unadulterated wilderness of Kidepo Valley National Park.

These diverse landscapes were brought to life through the knowledge and skill of our guides, local Ugandans with rare insight into the unique conservation challenges of this once-turbulent region; home to some of the last remaining mountain gorilla on earth, extraordinary birds like the shoebill and the elusive striped hyena.

Strictly-controlled conservation areas allowed us intimate encounters with Uganda’s wildlife, whether watching them at play, hunting, mating or lying supine in the branches of a tree! Most of the time, we couldn’t believe our good fortune when we were the only observers.

We also experienced the heart and soul of Uganda through its people, whether they were guiding us, entertaining us through dance or song, or sharing their way of life with us on a village tour. Since conservation and communities are inextricably intertwined, it’s both appropriate and ethical that the lodges on this safari contribute to both.

Most of all, we left with a feeling of gratitude – for finding a sense of place and a deeper connection to all around us, and a very real sense of wholeness and belonging. Whether staring into the eyes of an endangered mountain gorilla, sharing a laugh with our guide as we tried to outdo each other identifying birds on the Nile (he won of course!), or playing with a Karamojong child in one of the most isolated places on earth, we didn’t feel like tourists passing through, we felt like travellers returning home.

Day 1

You might see a gorilla family near Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.

Your international flight to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, will connect with a scheduled flight to Entebbe International Airport in Entebbe, Uganda. You’ll be met there on arrival, and assisted through customs and immigration. You’ll then take a transfer to The Boma Entebbe, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 2–3

Make sure you dress for the jungle when going gorilla trekking in Bwindi. © Uganda Safari Company

After a transfer from The Boma Entebbe to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Kisoro. A transfer will then take you to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, where you’ll spend two nights.

Day 4–5

The impressive Murchison Falls can be seen near Baker’s Lodge. © Baker’s Lodge

After a transfer from Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Entebbe, and another to Bugungu. A transfer will then take you to Baker’s Lodge, where you’ll spend two nights.

Day 6–8

Bush breakfasts are a must in the Kidepo Valley. © Uganda Safari Company

After a transfer from Baker’s Lodge to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Kidepo Valley National Park. A transfer will then take you to Apoka Safari Lodge, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 9

Luxury safaris in Uganda will allow you to see mountain gorilla.

After a transfer from Apoka Safari Lodge to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Entebbe. You’ll then take a transfer to The Boma Entebbe, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 10

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya.

After a transfer from The Boma Entebbe to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled flight to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, to connect with your international flight.

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