Uganda Gorilla Trek & Wildlife Safari

Trip Overview

On AdventureWomen's October 2016 Uganda Gorilla Trek and African Wildlife Safari you'll see and photograph the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Uganda on one of the best African wildlife safari adventures you will ever experience!

This amazing African safari adventure in Uganda showcases the tropical forests of the Western Great Rift Valley in East Africa, Murchison Falls National Park and the birth of the River Nile, the savanna plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in western Uganda. In addition to tracking Mountain Gorillas, we'll find excellent big game viewing and African birding opportunities throughout our entire journey!

Home to over half the world's remaining Mountain Gorillas that still live in natural habitat, few wilderness experiences in Africa can compare with the thrill, and the privilege, of seeing the rare and endangered families of gorillas in the lush, misty forests of Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, located in southwest Uganda. Approaching these enormous yet gentle creatures on foot, and observing from only a few feet away as they feed and socialize, is a powerful one-of-a-kind wildlife experience that redefines unforgettable.

From rich savannas to virgin mountain forests, from teeming rivers to steaming jungles, Uganda's biological diversity and natural splendor are beyond compare. We begin at Murchison Falls, the source of the Nile, where 1,000 feet of water squeezes into a 23-foot gorge and explodes 130 feet down over the lip of the western Great Rift. In Murchison Falls National Park, we observe some of Africa's prime populations of game and bird life. On to Kibale Forest National Park, home to several families of habituated chimpanzees, it is one of the best places in Uganda to track chimps and other primates. Next stop is one of Uganda's remarkable wildlife sanctuaries, Queen Elizabeth National Park. A superb "big game" park, Queen Elizabeth lies in the shadow of the Ruwenzori Mountains, named "Mountains of the Moon" by 2nd century Egyptian explorer, Ptolemy. View vast herds of African elephants, buffalo, hippos, antelope, baboons, chimpanzees, and a dazzling variety of exotic East African birds. Take a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel in to view some of the largest concentrations of hippo in the world. We end in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for 2 days of gorilla tracking. Gorilla permits have already been secured for this trip, as they are extremely difficult to obtain.

Stunning East Africa accommodations and fantastic African wildlife guides round out the safari trip of a lifetime. Our Uganda safari is by 4X4 vehicles with photographic roof hatches. Accommodations range from lodges and hotels, to luxurious tented camps.

Limited to only 13 participants, come be part of this very special AdventureWomen African safari in Uganda, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Find out why AdventureWomen travelers are passionately (and hopelessly) obsessed with Africa and its many treasures.

Here is a video from our 2012 Gorilla Trek in Uganda & Rwanda. Sit back, relax, and TURN UP YOUR SOUND.

Main Attractions

  • Begin at Murchison Falls, the source of the world's longest river, the Nile, where 1,000 feet of water squeezes into a 23-foot gorge and explodes 130 feet down over the lip of the western Great Rift.
  • Visit the homes of the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with 2 treks for once-in-a-lifetime viewings.
  • View the chimpanzees in Kigali, Uganda.
  • Enjoy spectacular scenery from every angle of our journey in 4X4 vehicles through the magnificent countryside of East Africa.
  • View and photograph African wildlife on safari in Uganda's famous Queen Elizabeth National Park.
  • Stay in luxury safari camps, lodges, and hotels in East Africa with private en suite facilities and modern amenities, including pampering by first-rate staff and fabulous meals.
 

What You'll See and Do

  • 4x4
  • Birding
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Gorilla Tracking
  • Natural History
  • Photography
  • River Cruising
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking
  • Wildlife Viewing

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Uganda Gorilla Trek & Wildlife Safari

Trip Itinerary

Please Note: The itinerary for your Uganda Safari is correct at the time of writing, but is subject to change without notice.

Day 1

October 14, 2016 - Depart U.S.A. for Entebbe, Uganda
Morning departure from Washington's Dulles Airport for Entebbe, Uganda.
Meals Aloft

Day 2

Saturday, October 15 - Arrive Entebbe, Uganda
Afternoon arrival at Entebbe Airport, where we are welcomed by our guides who escort us to the Protea Hotel. If time permits, visit the famous Entebbe Botanical Gardens.

Tonight we have dinner on our own at the Hotel

Overnight at the Protea Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda
Protea Hotel
36-40 Sebugwawo Drive, Entebbe Road, Entebbe, Uganda
T: +256 41 4323132
www.proteahotels.com
The newly built 73-room Protea Hotel Entebbe is ideally located on the glistening shores of Lake Victoria and very close to Entebbe International Airport. Its sleek and modern rooms have air-conditioning, balconies, flat-screen satellite television, refrigerators, safes, executive work stations and seating areas. The Tides Restaurant serves full breakfast, lunch and dinner, with specialties including fresh Tilapia and Nile Perch. The Terrace, with its own special ambience and superb lake views, is the perfect place to kick off a decadent evening or to simply relax and enjoy the sunset with an aperitif before dinner.

Day 3

Sunday, October 16 - Depart for Murchison Falls National Park
Following breakfast at the hotel, we depart with our picnic lunches for a full day's drive to Murchison Falls National Park, where we arrive in late afternoon. Our scenic and interesting drive is via the towns of Masindi and Biso. Low hills are spread with small farms, with huge papyrus swamps in-between. The most conspicuous feature, however, is the ever-present banana. Vast areas are covered by well-tended plantations, and each homestead enjoys the shadow of the broad leaves of the banana tree. On overloaded bicycles and in thousands on the market's stands—bananas are Uganda's staple food.

After passing through Biso, we travel down the escarpment of the Great African Rift Valley (the Western Corridor), with spectacular views of Lake Albert. Our drive continues through forest and savannah along the edge of Lake Albert, along the valley floor to the southern banks of the Victoria Nile.

Uganda's largest and most spectacular national park, Murchison Falls National Park covers 1503 square miles. Flowing through this park, the Nile River continues on to bathe much of the vast African continent. This most immense river rises initially in the highlands of Rwanda, spilling into Lake Victoria (which links Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania). The Nile departs for the north through Uganda, at first aimlessly, then meanders along Lake Kyoga. With mounting deliberation, under the moniker "Victoria Nile", it aims northwest into Lake Albert. Fed by other waters from Rwanda, it will endure further name changes - Albert Nile, White Nile, Bahr al Jebel-as it flows north, on a fairly straight trajectory through the Sudan and Egypt, bound for the Mediterranean.

Our destination and lodging for the next 3 nights is the Nile Safari Lodge, located on the banks of the Victoria Nile.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight at the Nile Safari Lodge
Set amid papyrus forests, the Nile Safari Lodge offers accommodation in Uganda's largest national park, Muchison Falls. Each large, charming twin-bedded luxury tent has en-suite private bathrooms with flush toilets and outdoor "bush" showers and a private balcony that looks out over the river. The bar and restaurant also overlook the river, with beautiful views of the sun setting over the Nile. No camp would be perfect without an open fire, strategically positioned and perfect for gazing at Africa’s starlit hemisphere. A crystal-clear pool is also available!

Day 4

Monday, October 17 - Launch Trip to the Foot of Murchison Falls/Drive to the Top of the Falls
After an early breakfast we drive to Paraa, where we board the 7 a.m. ferry to the northern section of the park to begin our morning game drive. Some of the animals that may be seen today are elephant, oribi, giraffe, waterbuck, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, sitatunga, bushbuck, warthog, bush pig, lion, leopard, mongoose, genet, hyena, jackal, and bat eared fox! Following our game drive we cross with the ferry back to the southern sector and drive to the top of Murchison Falls for a picnic lunch. We hike to a viewpoint above the falls for spectacular views of the waters rushing into the gorge. Next we walk to the awe-inspiring sight where the Nile is forced through a 23-foot gap in the rocks. Hurling itself through this narrow gorge with all its sheer power, it plunges 130 feet in one breathtaking leap, forming Lake Albert at the bottom. It is said that this is the largest natural force of water in the world!

In the afternoon, we have a three hour launch cruise up the Victoria Nile to the base of Murchison Falls. On a steel-plated vessel built 40 years ago in England, this is the preferred way to view game in the park. We head up the Nile to the base of the falls, and have the opportunity to see elephant, hartebeest, giraffe, buffalo, crocodiles, hippo, and countless antelope and aquatic birds (including the rare shoebill stork) along the way. After getting as close to the falls as the current allows, we continue our relaxing journey back to our starting point.

Murchison Falls National Park, with its variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamplands to broad savannah, provides some of the greatest concentration of game in Uganda. African elephants have made a comeback here, and huge crocodiles bask on the banks of the river. Pied kingfishers, African skimmers, red-throated bee-eaters, sacred ibis, yellow-billed and great egrets are just a handful of the birds we'll view. Later we return to camp to relax before dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight at the Nile Safari Lodge

Day 5

Tuesday, October 18 - Murchison Falls National Park
This morning we embark on the morning Delta boat excursion down the Victoria Nile to where it gets swallowed into Lake Albert. This trip takes us through papyrus swamps filled with wildlife. The Delta is the best place Uganda to see the rare Shoebill stork. In the afternoon we take a ferry across the Nile to the northern sector of the park, where most of the game in the area is to be found. Some of the animals that may be seen today are elephant, oribi, giraffe, waterbuck, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, sitatunga, bushbuck, warthog, bush pig, lion, leopard, mongoose, genet, hyena, jackal, and bat eared fox!

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight at the Nile Safari Lodge

Day 6 - 7

Wednesday-Thursday, October 19-20 - Kibale Forest and the Chimpanzees
Today's full-day drive takes us to Kibale Forest National Park. Leaving the Rift Valley and passing through beautiful agricultural countryside, we see every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable that is grown along the way. Upon reaching Kyanjojo, in the lower foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains (the famous 'Mountains of the Moon'), we drive through lush, green tea plantations, and into the Kibale tropical rain forest. Kibale, with its ancient trees more than 150 feet high, is a wonderful place to experience first-hand the extraordinary diversity of life in a tropical rainforest.

Kibale Forest is known for its families of habituated chimpanzees. It is home to an astonishing 13 species of primates and provides one of the highest primate densities in the world. There are 9 diurnal primates including vervet, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon and the most famous of them all, the chimpanzee. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with the chance of finding them standing at higher than 90%. On our guided trek in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by birdsong, and over 144 species of butterflies. The walking is fairly easy due to the well maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain. We will locate the chimps by listening with our guide for their pant-hooting calls, then observe them as they feed in the trees, lounge, or hunt. Though they feed primarily on figs and other fruit, they are effective hunters.

We'll also take a guided walk through a wetland wildlife reserve on the edge of the park. This reserve has a mixture of forest and swamp, and wooden trails have been constructed to permit visitors to walk right into the depths of the marshland. Bigodi Wetland Swamp offers one of the best guided bird trails in East Africa and gives walkers the attractive prospect of seeing various different primates in just a few hours. The swamps are a haven for birds and butterfly species and so ornithologists will be in great delight as they trek through the rich swamplands accompanied by the great diversity of sights and sounds of the beaked and tuneful residents.

Our home for two nights is the Primate Lodge, located in the middle of Kibale Forest National Park.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

2 Overnights at Primate Lodge, Kibale Forest
This eco-friendly safari lodge is the perfect gateway for tracking the primates of Uganda, with a special focus on the wild chimpanzees that inhabit this African rainforest. Discover a place where the serene silence is only interrupted by the melodious sounds of the numerous forest birds. A place that combines comfort with adventure and perfectly blends with the natural environment. The safari cottages blend perfectly with the natural environment. Each has a private veranda with a splendid view of the surrounding forest. Interiors are tastefully decorated in African style, with 2 comfortable queen-sized beds, brightly colored bedspreads and large windows to take in the forest. En-suite bathrooms are finished with a natural touch of local stone, bamboo and wall paintings.

Day 8

Friday, October 21 - Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and Mweya Lodge
Today's 3 1/2 hour drive takes us to Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of Uganda's outstanding treasures that is designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity under UNESCO auspices. Passing through Fort Portal and then south along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains, we gently descend into the Great African Rift Valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park covers almost 324 square miles between Lake George and Lake Edward. Lying on the Western Great Rift, it includes a remarkable variety of ecosystems, from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannah, and swamps. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas, where flamingos seasonally reside.

We enjoy two full days of wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park to see waterbuck, bushbuck, mobs of mud-baked buffalo, and giant forest hogs. Elephant, hippopotamus, baboons, chimps, and the famous Kizezi tree-climbing lions may also be seen. This park is home to the Uganda Kob, antelopes famous for their fierce displays of male territoriality on the mating grounds. Rivals engage in horn-rattling contests of strength, while cattle egrets wheel and cry overhead as if they have a stake in the outcome.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge
Our accommodations are at the newly renovated, and wonderfully situated, Mweya Safari Lodge. The lodge is located on a scenic hill overlooking Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel, which connects both lakes. Vast rolling hills stretch away in grassy waves behind Mweya Lodge and are accented by wooded valleys and a chain of extinct volcanoes with the spectacular Rwenzori Mountains in the background. You can watch the forest hogs grazing the grass outside, as well as the odd curious hippo! All rooms are en suite and have a ceiling fan, 24 hr electricity and private veranda. Lodge amenities include a swimming pool, and the cuisine is of the highest quality, presenting a range of exquisite Continental, Indian and International meals.

Day 9

Saturday, October 22 - Kazinga Channel and Game Drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today we explore Queen Elizabeth Park with game drives and a water safari on the Kazinga Channel, an excellent way to view big game in the park. This game-rich stretch is filled with pods of hippos, elephant, Cape buffalo, and leopard. Photographic opportunities abound as we pass through one of Africa's most concentrated hippo populations. Bird life is extremely prolific and colorful. It is the breeding ground for such stunning birds as bee-eaters, malachite, pied kingfishers, white pelicans, cormorants, herons, hammerkop, ibis ducks and huge flocks of migrating birds. Queen Elizabeth National Park is said to be the best birding park in all of Africa, with 600+ recorded and with a record of 296 bird species seen in one 24 hour period.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 10

Sunday, October 23 - From Ishasha to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Leaving Queen Elizabeth National Park, we drive to the Ishasha region, in search of tree climbing lions, and continue our afternoon drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Passing through the scenic area known as the "Switzerland of East Africa," we continue on our 3 hour drive through stunning, mountainous scenery.

The forest of Bwindi National Park is aptly named. On its steep slopes and in deep valleys, the largest of the primates has managed to escape extinction. Scientists debate whether the Bwindi gorillas are mountain gorillas or members of the eastern lowland species (recent DNA tests prove them to be more mountain than eastern lowland gorilla). But there is no debating the fact the spending time with these gentle giants of the African forest is an awe-inspiring experience!

This afternoon we reach our accommodation for the next 3 nights, Mahogany Springs Lodge.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight Mahogany Springs Lodge
Mahogany Springs Lodge offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting. It is the perfect base from which to begin our gorilla trekking experiences. The lodge has 8 luxury and spacious suites, all with 2 double beds and en-suite facilities. Each cottage has its own private elevated terrace with chairs, table and stunning panoramic views. The suites are spacious with large double doors and beautiful windows. There are electrical outlets in the rooms as well as a dressing table/desk. All suites have large en-suite bathrooms with a beautifully designed open terracotta shower. For added comfort and peace of mind all the suites have an advanced mosquito net system that wraps around the entire area of the beds.

Day 11

Monday, October 24 - In Search of Mountain Gorillas - Day 1
After breakfast we take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet the rangers and our excellent local guides and porters, who carry our water and personal items and assist us during the trek. After a briefing on park history and gorilla viewing etiquette, we are off on our trek into the rain forest in search of the Mountain Gorilla.

The gorillas in Bwindi live on the slopes of ancient volcanoes in high elevation forests. Dense bamboo thickets give way to a combination of large meadows and a dense herbaceous vegetation zone highlighted by moss-laden hagenia and hypericum trees. Depending on the location of the gorillas, and where they were last seen, tracking them may be very strenuous, and as we have stated before, you must be in very good physical condition. Our trek takes us through a fairyland forest, an experience that itself is thrilling. As we trek, there is evidence that the gorillas have been present (gorilla spore). The treks can last from 1-6 hours (or more) to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet, over rough and muddy terrain.

Once found, there is an hour limit to the time spent with these majestic creatures, at a minimum allowable distance of 15 feet. Tracking gorillas through misty, seemingly impenetrable forests can be an exhausting process as the paths are often slippery, entangled, and wet. However, this effort is quickly forgotten the minute we encounter these beautiful creatures. They instantly capture our full attention with their acrobatic antics and cacophony of grunts, screeches, and chest beating.

We take a picnic lunch on our trek, and it is important to carry plenty of water per person. Make sure to bring extra batteries and a large memory card for your cameras! It can rain at a few minutes notice, so waterproof raingear is recommended, plus water-proofing is a good idea for all camera equipment (i.e., zip lock bags).

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bwindi's Impenetrable Forest is a true African jungle, so called because of the dense undergrowth, vines, and other vegetation which make it almost "impenetrable." It is both mysterious and awesome. The lowland rainforest and montane forest vegetation constantly struggle to reach heights that allow it to receive more light. Huge trees are festooned with creepers and parasitic plants such as mistletoe and orchids. Giant thickets of bamboo thrive in the humid atmosphere and, where sunlight breaks though, the elegant heliconia or lobster claw spreads its colorful petals. At least 120 species of mammals make their home here in one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. Besides the 10 species of primates, elephant, bush pig, giant forest hog, many species of bats and rodents, at least 346 species of birds including rare forest birds, 14 species of snakes, 27 species of frogs and toads, 6 chameleons, 14 lizards, skinks and geckos, and at least 202 species of butterflies are resident in the Forest. There are also several endangered species of birds with limited ranges.

PLEASE NOTE: Although approximately 98% of the gorilla treks are successful, there is no guarantee that we WILL see the gorillas.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight Mahogany Springs Lodge

Day 12

Tuesday, October 25 - In Search of the Mountain Gorillas - Day 2
Today we again track mountain gorillas using our second permit.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight Mahogany Springs Lodge

Day 13

Wednesday, October 26 - Fly to Entebbe and Departure for the U.S.A.
Today we say goodbye to the gorillas and Bwindi National Park and transfer by road to the Kihihi airstrip. Boarding our morning scheduled flight to Entebbe, we arrive to day rooms at the Protea Hotel until our transfer to the airport for flights back to the U.S.A.

Breakfast and Lunch

Day 14

Thursday, October 27 - Arrive in the U.S.A

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Uganda Gorilla Trek & Wildlife Safari

Traveling to Uganda


Passports and Visa

Citizens of the United States must possess a valid U.S. passport for travel to Uganda, East Africa. Your passport must be valid for 1 year beyond your intended stay in Africa.

U.S. citizens are required to get a visa for travel to Uganda. Make sure you have at least 4 completely empty Visa pages facing each other in your passport.

If you do not have a passport, APPLY NOW! Please do not wait until the last minute. You should always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you, in case of emergency (if your passport/visa is lost or stolen).

We will send you information about the Uganda visa at a later date.

Health Requirements, Physical Condition and Health Insurance

An international inoculation certificate against yellow fever must be presented at the point of entry into Uganda. This is the only mandatory immunization required for U.S. residents visiting Uganda. Please consult with your personal physician, local health department, travel clinic, or immunization center about any vaccinations you may need to update (tetanus, typhoid, polio, Hepatitis A & B), or others that may be personally recommended for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history. Anti-malaria medication is recommended.

Although this safari is rated as moderate in general, the gorilla trekking portion of the trip is rated as High Energy. Finding a gorilla group can take as little as half an hour or as long as 12 hours. If it rains, hiking conditions may become muddy and slick. We are hiking through dense jungle in steep terrain, where the downs are as unforgiving as the ups. You must be mentally, in addition to physically, prepared for a day of strenuous exercise, and be in excellent condition, without any heart problems. It is possible that we may join our trackers in jungle bushwhacking—cutting our own paths through the steep, jungle hillsides.

You MUST have your own health insurance, and have no physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by riding in 4x4 vehicles on rough, bumpy roads or trekking "high energy" trails through the jungle in search of gorillas!

Traveling to Uganda: Important Information About Flights & Airfare to Entebbe

Round-trip airfare from the U.S. to Entebbe, Uganda, is NOT included in the cost of the trip package. You are welcome to work with Ciretta Green, at Travel Café in Montana, or do your own air.

Just to give you an idea of current flight schedules and prices for Africa flights from the U.S round trip to Entebbe, Uganda (June 2015), there are two airlines (Ethiopian and Emirates) that have similar schedules and the BEST connections for Entebbe, Uganda. They both arrive in Entebbe at approximately the same time, and departures are within hours of each other:

Ethiopian Airlines -

October 14, 2016 Depart Washington DC/Dulles (IAD) at 11:00 a.m. and arrive Addis Ababa at 7:15 a.m. (Oct. 15)

October 15 Depart Addis Ababa at 10:40 a.m. and arrive Entebbe, Uganda at 1:05 p.m.

October 26 Depart Entebbe at 6:30 pm, arrive Addis Ababa at 8:30 pm. Depart Addis at 10:30 pm and arrive Washington Dulles at 8:30 am on October 27.

Current Price Per Person (Economy Class): $999.82 includes departure taxes/fuel surcharges

Emirates Airlines -

October 14, 2016 Depart Washington DC/Dulles (IAD) at 10:55 am and arrive Dubai at 8 am (Oct. 15)

October 15 Depart Dubai at 9:20 am and arrive Entebbe, Uganda at 1:30 pm

October 26 Depart Entebbe at 3:30 pm, arrive Dubai at 9:35 pm. Depart Dubai at 2:20 am on October 27 and arrive Washington Dulles at 8:35 am on October 27.

Current Price Per Person (Economy Class): $996.20 includes departure taxes/fuel surcharges

Please note: These flights cannot be booked until 11 months prior to departure, and all current air schedules and prices are subject to change with no advance notice!

Making Travel Arrangements to Uganda

Once you have booked your trip with AdventureWomen, we recommend that you please call Ciretta Green at Travel Café, Montana's Travel Agency, to look into your international air and your add-on airfare from your hometown city to Washington D.C, Dulles Airport.

1-800-247-3538 OR FAX 1-406-586-1959
email: ciretta@travelcafeonline.com
CANADIAN RESIDENTS, please call 406-587-1188

When calling, please identify yourself as an AdventureWomen traveler. If you leave a message on Ciretta’s voice mail, she will return your call promptly.

NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations up to 6 – 12 weeks prior to departure!

Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Liability Form and Final Payment

Part of what AdventureWomen, Inc. hopes to foster is the taking of more self-responsibility for our own lives, health, and safety. Please read the LIABILITY FORM carefully, return it with the remainder of your balance due by JULY 23, 2016.

Cancellations and Refunds

Notification of cancellations must be received in writing and the following per person cancellation/refund fees are applicable on this specific AdventureWomen trip, due to non-refundable gorilla and chimp permit fees:

*** VERY IMPORTANT! Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure date, and your FULL $1,500 DEPOSIT IS NON-REFUNDABLE. This deposit includes the full non-refundable fees for 2 gorilla permits ($600 X 2= $1,200), and $150 for the chimpanzee permit, plus administrative and cancellation fees. These permits have ALREADY been purchased by AdventureWomen and they are non-refundable.

You are highly encouraged to purchase trip cancellation insurance to cover emergency situations and trip cancellation. Information is sent to you in your registration packet.

Electricity

We strongly suggest you leave all electrical appliances (hair dryers, etc.) at home except those that operate with batteries (your cameras).

Plug Adapters and Outlet Shapes

Uganda uses the UK non-grounded power plug. This adapter is also known as type G, ungrounded.
Two parallel flat pins with ground pin - (Type G, Great Britain)

Water and Food

Bottled water is always available in our vehicles. If the water in our lodges/camps/hotels is not safe to drink, there is a thermos or a carafe of drinking water in your room, or you will be supplied with bottled water. It is important to take the advice of our guides whenever you are unsure about the safety of water. During safari, all food is very well prepared and safe to eat.

Currency, Credit Cards, Gratuities

Credit cards (Visa, MC, and sometimes AmEx) are accepted only in larger towns and some hotels but not in the markets and small towns. You should bring $600-$800 minimum U.S. cash (this should include your tip money).

Travelers are encouraged to obtain U.S. bills newer than 2003 for the best exchange rate. Make sure the money you bring is in NEW bills, not worn or torn bills, as they will fetch a lower value at all Forex Bureaus or may not be accepted outside Entebbe. Small U.S. bills in the denominations of $20, $10, $5, $1 and coins also fetch a lower value on the Ugandan market. It's therefore important that you carry newer bills in the denominations of $50 and $100 to use for the best exchange rates in Uganda. You can bring smaller denominations for using in the markets, etc. but make sure they are not worn or torn.

Uganda's currency is the Ugandan Shilling, but the U.S. dollar is traditionally the preferred currency. The Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. Please check the latest exchange rates before you go to Uganda.

You usually get the best money exchange rate at the airport upon arrival, and at a bank. Changing money in the hotels does not yield as good a rate.

For Tips/Gratuities, you can leave U.S. dollars or Uganda shillings.

Returning U.S. residents are allowed to bring back $800 worth of merchandise, duty free. Expensive camera equipment and jewelry purchased in the U.S. (we recommend NEVER bringing or wearing expensive jewelry) should be registered with U.S. customs prior to your departure; or you may retain your sales receipts as documentation for re-entering the U.S.

*Important information about credit cards! Please note: You should bring at least one smart card, usually referred to as a chip card, or chip-and-PIN credit card for travel to Europe and to other overseas destinations. These new cards are more secure and you are more protected from credit card fraud.

These so-called smart cards have embedded microchips in them. You will see the silver or gold microchip on the front of your card. They also have the traditional magnetic stripe, so can be used the same as your regular credit/debit card. You'll either sign for purchases, or enter a 4 digit PIN into a terminal. (Confirm with your bank that your PIN, or 4 digit number, will be the number that you use the FIRST time that a PIN is required for use with your new card. So just make sure you remember it for all future transactions!)

It is best to have your chip card as a VISA or MasterCard, since American Express is often not accepted in many places. In Europe and in parts of Asia, they simply don't acknowledge magnetic-strip cards anymore unless they are chip-and-PIN enabled. In addition, in any automated transactions such as train stations and gas stations, ONLY chip-and-PIN cards are accepted.

Chip-and-PIN cards have become standard in many European countries because of their superior fraud-prevention abilities. Now countries in Asia, North America and South America, and Canada are doing the same.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Uganda Gorilla Trek & Wildlife Safari

What's Included:

  • 14 days/13 nights includes fully guided wildlife safari in Uganda.
  • 2 gorilla permits and one chimpanzee viewing permit: to view mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda; and one permit to see chimpanzees in Kibale, Uganda.
  • Transportation throughout your Uganda safari in open-top 4x4 vehicles driven by knowledgeable, English-speaking driver-guides. A window seat is guaranteed for all your safari game drives.
  • Transfer to the Protea Hotel in Entebbe on arrival, if you are arriving with the majority of the group.
  • Superior accommodations throughout, in luxury safari camps, African lodges, and hotels with private en-suite facilities and modern amenities, based on two people sharing a twin room.
  • Full board, table d'hote breakfast, lunch, and dinner while on safari, as per itinerary.
  • Complimentary bottled water in vehicles.
  • All applicable hotel and lodge taxes, plus gratuities for baggage handling.
  • Entrance fees to all reserves and game parks.
  • Please note: The cost for 2 gorilla permits ($600 X 2 for Uganda = $1,200) and 1 chimpanzee permit ($150), are included in the cost of this trip, and they have already been secured.

What's Not Included:

  • International round trip airfare to Entebbe, Uganda (quoted separately), plus S. and foreign airport taxes.
  • Transfer to the Protea Hotel in Entebbe if you arrive on your own (day before, or at a different time when the majority of the group arrives). Fee is $45 for a special transfer.
  • Passport fees, plus visa fees and service charges for obtaining a visa for Uganda.
  • Excess baggage fees charged by airlines.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry and alcoholic beverages.
  • Any meals not included in the itinerary.
  • Optional insurance coverage for Baggage, Accident, and Trip Cancellation/Interruption. See Travel Insured International on the AdventureWomen Web site.
  • Gratuities to naturalist/driver-guides and other staff:
    • Professional Safari Driver-Guides: $10-$12/client/day (one guide per vehicle).
    • Lodge Staff: $6/client/day (communal tips shared among the staff).
    • Assorted other tips: bartender (depending on use!); guides for nature walks and other activities, a few dollars.
    • These gratuities total a minimum of approximately $250 per client

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Uganda Gorilla Trek & Wildlife Safari

Travel light to Africa! Whatever you pack for your safari, you will most likely find it to be too much! When packing, keep in mind that you are only allowed 50 pounds on international flights. This is your suitcase weight limit. If possible, use soft luggage, which is easier to pack and transport in 4 X 4 safari vehicles.

In addition to a soft-sided suitcase/duffel with wheels, you should bring a small carry-on bag with everything you cannot live without (all camera equipment, toiletries, prescription medication, anti-diarrhea medication, all money, important travel documents, passport, etc.). Please go to www.tsa.gov/travelerinformation on the Web for airline regulations regarding carry-on luggage.

Select your safari clothing based on comfort. Safari clothes should be washable, cotton or the new fabrics (not synthetics like rayon), and loose fitting. Coolmax, Supplex, and Polypropylene are excellent. Clothing should be light colored (tan, khaki, or neutral colors) on safari; it keeps you comfortable and is unobtrusive and non-threatening to wildlife.

  • A well broken-in, comfortable, and waterproof pair of lightweight hiking boots for gorilla trekking.
  • Walking shoes and/or pair of sport sandals.
  • 2-3 long-sleeved shirts. Make sure that one of these shirts can close up completely, and button to the neck (for gorilla trekking).
  • 2-3 short-sleeved shirts and/or T-shirts.
  • 2 pairs of shorts or 2-3 pairs long pants that zip off for shorts.
  • Underwear, socks, sleepwear.
  • Toiletries, including Wash & Dries.
  • Prescription drugs (with the labels on).
  • A lightweight fleece or light jacket for cool evenings.
  • A lightweight day pack for carrying camera, hat, sunscreen, etc. (you can also use your day pack as your carry-on bag).
  • A lightweight camera vest, which is very convenient while in vehicles and on safari, for putting camera equipment, binoculars, sunglasses, etc in during the daytime. Look at amazon.com under "weekender traveler air vest."
  • Moneybelt or waistpack for money/passport.
  • Washcloth (not supplied in most lodges/camps).
  • 2-3 cotton bandanas (for uses too numerous to mention. Anyway, it's an AdventureWomen tradition!).
  • Bathing suit and pair of rubber "thongs" for the showers.
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen.
  • Lightweight, wide-brimmed hat (a must).
  • A spare pair of glasses (if you wear glasses).
  • A pair of cotton or lightweight gloves for gorilla trekking (some of the plants in the forest are prickly, and you might have to grab onto vines and trees, so it is a good idea to wear lightweight gloves).
  • Waterproof poncho or rain jacket for gorilla trekking.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Ziploc bags of various sizes.
  • Earplugs. We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drug stores, or at www.earplugstore.com. Good to 22 decibels!
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Small flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Small, lightweight binoculars (a MUST) for game viewing and birds. You will be very disappointed if you do not have a good pair of binoculars. Nikon or Minolta make fine, lightweight viewing binoculars. Try a general game viewing 7 X 28, or 8 X 20 binocular.
  • Field guides to the mammals and birds of East Africa and/or Uganda. You can purchase these at amazon.com
    • The Collins Field Guide to the National Parks of East Africa [Hardcover] by John George Williams. I have had this book since 1986, and it is great for identifying wildlife and birds while on safari. You can buy used copies on Amazon.com in very good condition for as little as $1.00 or less.
    • The new edition is called National Parks of East Africa (Collins Field Guides - Dec. 1995) by J.G. Williams. New copies are around $30.

Photography, Video and Camera Equipment

Since photography is such a large part of this trip, we suggest you bring the following:

  • Digital camera, more memory cards and batteries than you think you will possibly need, battery charger, and adapter. You can charge your digital batteries in hotels and lodges, and often in our safari vehicles. Most digital cameras have a built in converter so you only need to bring an adapter (Type G - see description under "Electricity.") Adapters can also be bought while in-country.
  • If you want to get great pictures of African animals and birds, a long lens is a must. I have an 80-400 mm Nikon lens and can get just about anything that I want to take photos of on this trip. There is really no need to have anything larger than a 400 mm lens. You will, of course, need a normal or wide angle lens (somewhere between 24 – 70 mm), to take pictures of people, villages, and general photography during the trip. Many lenses on newer cameras are "all in one" (i.e. 28 – 400-500 mm). Get advice from a good, reputable camera shop!
  • Bring plenty of Ziploc plastic bags to put your camera equipment in while gorilla trekking. You also need a camera bag, pouch, or something in which to carry your camera and equipment, or you can use your daypack or camera vest.

Personal First Aid Kit (bring in small amounts and in small containers)

  • Cloth, not plastic Bandaids; about 10 individually-wrapped alcohol pads; and a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
  • Benadryl cream for itchy bites.
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
  • Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops.
  • Adequate quantity of sweat-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 rating or higher, and lip balm with SPF.
  • Tweezers.
  • Systemic antibiotic (prescription).
  • Prescription medicines in their original bottles.
  • Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for "new" flora.
  • Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine.
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle).
  • Laxative tablets.
  • Visine or similar eye drops.

Last Minute Reminders

  • Make photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport, plus any visas (if they are stamped inside your passport) and put them in different locations (suitcase, carry-on bag, etc.).
  • Bring 2-3 extra passport size photos to use in emergencies.
  • Your valuables should be insured for the duration of the trip, but better yet, leave them at home.
  • Remove extra credit cards, driver’s license, and personal items from wallet or purse.
  • Make sure passport and airline tickets are valid and in the correct name.
  • Check with airline to reconfirm reservations and departure time (most airlines want to hear directly from the client for confirmations).

Some Extra Items to Add to your "What to Pack" List
We think these items help make your long airline flights much more comfortable and even more bearable:

  • Neck pillow - Inflatable neck pillow for blissful support and deep sleep. For packing, it folds into itself. Self-sealing valve means nothing to close. Soft microfleece cover removes for washing.
  • Sleep mask /Comfort eye shade - Ultra lightweight and comfortable, the Comfort Eye Shade screens out light and distractions for a cozier flight. Ultra-soft micro fleece for comfort. Adjustable elastic strap for a perfect fit. Made of Molded Polyester Micro Fleece.
  • Travel compression socks - Reduce ankle and leg swelling and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. These doctor-designed socks stimulate circulation through gradual compression that stops swelling and guards against (DVT). Made of coolmax®-lycra®-nylon. The TravelSox® cushion Walk Socks have extra-padded soles and are made of moisture wicking SoftPrim®.
  • Noise canceling headphones - Block out unwanted sounds of children crying and airplane engine drone, and/or enjoy great audio sound. Reduce distortion and increase perceived loudness so you can enjoy sound at a lower volume. Get the around the ear design, which is very comfortable.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.