Day 1: Heading West!
You’ll be collected early in the morning from your pick up point in Kampala (or Entebbe) and head west passing through Kibale Forest National Park and arriving in Fort Portal town in time for lunch.
In the afternoon you’ll enter the Ndali-Kasenda crater lake fields just south of the town of Fort Portal. The crater fields were created during the volcanic upheaval of the creation of The Great Rift Valley and consist of many stunning pools dotting the landscape. You’ll be joined by a guide in the field, who will take you around the crater lakes, waterfall and lava pipe as well as identify to local flora and fauna.
You’ll then drive over to your accommodation for the night on the border of Kibale Forest National Park.
Day 2: Chimpanzee Tracking
This morning you’ll be up early to meet with your Uganda Wildlife Authority guides who will give you a briefing on tracking the chimpanzees in the forest. This is the best place in Uganda to find our amazing cousins and your guides will instruct you and provide detailed information along the way. Depending on where the chimps are, you should take around four to five hours to complete the tracking. Once you’ve found the group amongst the dense rainforest you will spend an intimate hour with them, watching them play, socialise and eat. You’ll then leave the forest for your own tasty lunch.
This afternoon you’ll drive south following the Rwenzori Mountain range, fabled ‘mountains of the moon’, and cross the equator before entering Queen Elizabeth National Park. You’ll then meander through the impressive explosion crater-lake fields in the northern region of the park before taking a short game drive, keeping watch for elephants, lions and a host of game herds.
You’ll arrive at your lodge by the river before dark to give you time to look around. You’ll be staying in the middle of the park so don’t be surprised if some of the local wildlife comes to visit! Don’t worry you’re perfectly safe.
Day 3: Game Drives and Boat Cruise
You’ll be up early to head out on a game drive to search for Queen Elizabeth National Park’s famous prides of lions on the Kasenyi plains with your Uganda Wildlife Authority guide. You’ll also be searching for elephants, game herds, leopards and a wide variety of birdlife. If you’re lucky, you might spot a leopard!
Then back to your camp for a lazy lunch by the river before we drive down the Mweya Peninsula to take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to the edge of Lake Edward. On the boat trip you will get the chance to search the riverside for elephants, buffalo, some of the many large hippo pods, Nile crocodiles and many species of bird.
You’ll then travel along the Kazinga Channel to your lodge by the river for dinner and a relaxing evening.
Day 4: Tree Climbing Lions
Today you’ll head down to Ishasha plains in the south of Queen Elizabeth National Park, an area particularly famed for its population of iconic tree climbing lions! You’ll meet a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide to maximise your chances of finding them relaxing in the cool shade away from the heat of the day.
In the early afternoon you’ll exit the park and start the winding drive south into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with breath taking views across the plains, mountains and rainforests so you are ready for your gorilla tracking the next day.
Day 5: Gorilla Tracking
Today is the day! You'll meet your Uganda Wildlife Authority Guide bright and early who will guide you through the impenetrable forest to be given an orientation on tracking the gorillas. The guides will be able to identify and explain the local plants, birds and wildlife as well the general ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The length of the trek to find the gorillas can vary depending on where they have spent the night and can range from thirty minutes to six hours.
Once you find these incredible creatures you will have a maximum of one hour with the family. This is for the gorilla’s protection as they can contract many of the same simple infections such as the common cold that we carry, but can prove very problematic for them, as they have no natural immunity. You’ll then make the return trek to your lodge where you’ll spend the rest of the day relaxing with views over the rainforest.
Day 6: The "lake of little birds"
After tracking the gorillas and game driving through Queen Elizabeth National Park you’ll want time to unwind and relax. Lake Bunyonyi is definitely the place for this!
A short drive away from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is Lake Bunyonyi with its sparkling waters, terraced hillsides and abundance of bird life hence the meaning of Lake Bunyonyi being “lake of little birds”. You will have the vehicle at your disposal to head into the local town of Kabale where you can explore the markets and find a wide variety of local arts and crafts, particularly the woven baskets for which the local Bakiga tribe are renowned. You can then return to the lake to relax for the rest of the day. Lake Bunyonyi is safe for swimming as there are no crocodiles, hippos or Bilharzia present. There are also canoes available if want to explore at your own pace, as well a motorboat available to you to venture deeper into the lake (at an additional cost*). Of course you can also just relax and enjoy the vast amount of birds and terraced hillsides surrounding your camp and read a good book.
Day 7: Find the Zebras
Most of the long drive back to Kampala will be completed today but you won’t be home just yet! On the way you will be stopping at Lake Mburo National Park. You should arrive at around 3pm with time for you to have a little rest before the evening’s activities. You’ll arrive at the shore of Lake Mburo at 5pm in time for you to take a boat ride out into the lake with knowledgeable guides who will show you the hippo pods, crocodiles and wide variety of birdlife.
As the sun sets, we’ll collect a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger to take you on a night game drive with some of the best chances to find a leopard in Uganda!
Day 8: A walk in the wild
You’ll head back into the park boundaries early in the morning to meet up with a ranger to take you on a walking safari through the plains of Lake Mburo National Park. You’ll have the option of walking up the ridge to take in the views over the park, along the banks of Lake Mburo or out onto the plains. These walks are an excellent way to view the park and get up close and personal with the wildlife.
There is also the option of replacing the guided walk with a guided horseback ride through the park if preferred (for an additional cost*).
After lunch back at the lodge we’ll be leaving Lake Mburo National Park and return to Kampala (or Entebbe). You’ll have you back to your drop off point at around dusk. If you are interested in browsing more images for our Best of the West Tour you can follow the links below;
Facebook Album, Flickr Set, Pinterest Board
The mountain gorilla is the world’s most endangered ape and is found only in a small portion of protected afro-montane forests in southwestern Uganda, northwest Rwanda and eastern DRC. The mountain gorillas are divided into two populations. The 2003 figures estimate the total population to be about 1092 individuals. One population consists of about 706 individuals, which are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in southwestern Uganda. The other populations are thought to be 386 individuals and spread across the Virunga Volcano range in Rwanda and DRC.
The threats to the Mountain Gorillas survival are many, including poaching, habitat destruction and disease transmission from humans. To address the issue of potential disease transmission to the gorillas and to reduce the behavioural disturbances to this fragile population, the following gorilla rules have been developed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority:
By following rules and through the purchase of your gorilla permit, you are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorillas. The Protected Area Authorities use the funds generated from gorilla permit sales for the management of the national parks and wildlife reserves to ensure their long term security from poachers and to maintain this delicate ecosystem. Ten percent of the funds raised is shared with the local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development projects and to improve natural resource management in the region.
On the Way to the Gorillas:
1) A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated gorillas in a day. This minimises behavioural disturbances to the gorillas and their risk of exposure to human diseases.
2) Always wash your hands before heading out to see the gorillas.
3) Do not leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest you should carry back out with you.
4) You will be taken to where the guides left the gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail to find them. Look out for their nesting sites along the way.
5) When you approach the gorillas, your guides will inform you when to get your cameras ready. You MUST NOT use any flash photography.
6) Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the fantastic birdlife and other wildlife in the forest.
When you are with the gorillas:
1) Keep a minimum of 7 meters from the gorillas. This is to protect the gorillas from human disease transmission.
2) You must stay in a tight group when with the gorillas, don’t wander off.
3) Keep your voices low at all times, however, it is okay to ask your guide questions.
4) Do not eat or drink while you are near to the gorillas to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
5) Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guide’s example – crouch down slowly. Do not look the gorillas in the eye wait for the animals to pass. Do not attempt to run away.
6) Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
7) The maximum time visitors are allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour to limit their disturbance. If the gorillas become too agitated or nervous, the guide will end the visit early.
8) After the visit, keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.
General Health Rules:
Remember gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following are ways to minimise the risk your visit might pose to them:
1) Respect the time limit imposed on the visitors are allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimises the risk of disease transmission and the stress to the group.
2) If you are feeling ill or have a contagious disease when you are already at the park, please volunteer to stay behind. An alternative visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money as per gorilla reservation guidelines.
3) If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimise the spread of bacteria and viruses.
4) Always stay 7 meters away from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
5) Do not leave any litter/garbage in the park. These items can harbour diseases or other contaminants. N.B. Any breach of these rules may lead to the termination of tracking without a refund.
This tour includes all meals as specified below. If you have any dietary requirements that need to be taken into account please inform us at the time of booking so that we can make alternative arrangements to accommodate you.
(B)=Breakfast, (L)=Lunch, (PL)= Picnic Lunch (D)=Dinner.
Day 1 - (L) Fort Portal café (D) Chimpanzee Guesthouse
Day 2 - (B) Chimpanzee Guesthouse (PL) Chimpanzee Guesthouse (D) Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Day 3 - (B) Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge (L) Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge (D) Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Day 4 - (B) Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge (PL) Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge (D) Mahogany Springs Lodge
Day 5 - (B) Mahogany Springs Lodge (PL) Mahogany Springs Lodge (D) Mahogany Springs Lodge
Day 6 - (B) Mahogany Springs Lodge (PL) Mahogany Springs Lodge (D) Byoonya Amagara
Day 7 - (B) Byoonya Amagara (PL) Byoonya Amagara (D) Rwakobo Rock
Day 8 - (B) Rwakobo Rock (L) Rwakobo Rock
Accommodation is based on a standard double/ twin or single room When you are a group of 1, 3 or 5 people one single supplement is included. If you want more single supplements you can contact us to make the arrangement.
If you would like to see more about the lodgings used in this itinerary then you can follow the links below to their trip advisor pages for impartial reviews.
Day 1 - Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse -
Day 2 - Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge - TripAdvisor Link
Day 3 - Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge - TripAdvisor Link
Day 4 - Mahogany Springs Lodge - TripAdvisor Link
Day 5 - Mahogany Springs Lodge - TripAdvisor Link
Day 6 - Byoona Amagara - TripAdvisor Link
Day 7 - Rwakobo Rock - TripAdvisor Link
Day 8 - Return to Kampala/Entebbe by evening.
VW Campervan Prices
We currently have three refurbished vintage VW Campervans all from the 1970's available to run this trip. For more information on our vehicles you can check out our Cars Page.
Based of 6 people travelling, $3005 per person.
Based of 5 people travelling, $3170 per person.
Based of 4 people travelling, $3190 per person.
Based of 3 people travelling, $3530 per person.
Based of 2 people travelling, $3740 per person. N.B.
Prices are are valid until the 31st December 2014.
Contact us for rates for children and infants.
Contact us discounts available for Foreign Residents and East African Citizens.
Terms and Conditions apply.
4x4 Safari Vehicle Prices
We have a variety of 4x4, air conditioned safari vehicles available to run this trip, if you would like a pop top roof as pictured for your trip please inform us at the time of booking. For more information on the variety of vehicles you can check out our Cars Page
Based of 4 people travelling, $3135 per person.
Based of 3 people travelling, $3445 per person.
Based of 2 people travelling, $3630 per person. N.B.
Prices are are valid until the 31st December 2014.
Contact us for rates for children and infants.
Contact us discounts available for Foreign Residents and East African Citizens.
Terms and Conditions apply.
This tour quote includes:
Below is a complete list of what is included in the price quote for this trip. We will confirm the price and full list of inclusions at the time of booking, incase we need to make any changes to your activities or accommodation.
Full time use of a Private Vehicle (as per your itinerary)
A Full-Time Private Driver/Guide (If you are travelling in a VW Kombi, your driver is also a trained VW mechanic)
Fuel for your entire journey (with an allowance for any necessary detours): 1783km
Accommodation (please see TripAdvisor links for impartial ratings)
- 1 night at Chimpanzee Guesthouse
- 2 nights at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
- 2 nights at Mahogany Springs Lodge
- 1 night at Byoonya Amagara
- 1 night at Rwakobo Rock
All Meals (provided by your accommodation – please view tab on Lodging & Meals)
Bottled Drinking Water (1.5 litres per person, per day in your vehicle)
- Guided Walk in the Ndali-Kasenda Crater Lakes
- Chimpanzee Tracking
- Explosion Crater Drive
- Boat Cruise on the Kazinga Channel
- Gorilla Tracking
- Lake Bunyonyi Cultural & Canoe Tour
- Boat Cruise on Lake Mburo
- Game Walk in Lake Mburo National Park
- Game Drives in National Parks (3 x Queen Elizabeth, 1 x Lake Mburo)
Wildlife & Tracking Permits
- Chimpanzee Tracking (UWA)
- Gorilla Tracking (UWA)
Park & Vehicle Fees
- Kibale Forest National Park x 1 day (Park Entry, Driver Entry, Vehicle Entry)
- Queen Elizabeth National Park x 2 days (Park Entry, Driver Entry, Vehicle Entry)
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park x 1 day (Park Entry, Driver Entry, Vehicle Entry)
- Lake Mburo National Park x 1 day (Park Entry, Driver Entry, Vehicle Entry)
Specialist Guides and Rangers
- Ndali-Kasenda Crater Lakes Guide (Independent Local Guide)
- Chimpanzee Tracking Guide & Ranger (UWA)
- Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise Guide (UWA)
- Gorilla Tracking Guides & Ranger (UWA)
- Lake Mburo Boat Cruise Guide (UWA)
- Lake Mburo Game Walk Guide & Ranger (UWA)
Collection from and drop-off at your desired location (in Kampala or Entebbe)
Lodging & food for your guide/driver (in guide accommodation at your lodge, where possible)
A dedicated Tours Manager based in Kampala in daily contact with your Driver/Guide and on call, 24/7 in case of an emergency.
Finally, we promise you lots of enjoyment travelling with Kombi Nation Tours Ltd!
Please carefully read your ‘packing list’ for ‘Items of a personal nature’.
This trip quote excludes:
Below is a complete list of what is excluded in the price quote for this trip. We will confirm the price and full list of exclusions at the time of booking, incase we need to make any changes to your activities or accommodation.
- Items marked ‘(*for an additional cost)’
- Alcohol (unless provided as complimentary by the accommodation)
- Souvenirs & items of a personal nature
- Personal Insurance
- International or Domestic Flights
- Visa’s (refer to your embassy)
- Laundry (unless provided as complimentary by the accommodation)
Terms & Conditions of Booking
Kombi Nation Tours Ltd organises safaris exclusively in Uganda and holds a Tour and Travel Licence with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage. Kombi Nation Tours is a full member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators: www.auto.or.ug, Uganda's leading tourism trade association, representing the interests of the country's leading and experienced professional tour operators.
Kombi Nation Tours’ services are subject to these Terms and Conditions, which should be read carefully before a deposit is made for your tour or safari. Please note that you must abide by the laws and regulations in Uganda where our services are provided and not those of your home country.
Bookings, Invoice & Payment
By paying your deposit to Kombi Nation Tours, you are confirming that you accept these Terms and Conditions. Please ensure that you read them very carefully. Please read your invoice and itinerary and ensure that they hold the correct information relevant to your safari; wildlife permits, park fees, number of travellers, arrival and departure dates, accommodation, meals and transportation.
We require a 30% non-refundable deposit on the full cost of the safari and additionally we require the full cost of specialist Uganda Wildlife Authority permits (where relevant). If other upfront payments are required, we will inform you at the time of raising the invoice. The final balance (indicated on your initial invoice) must be paid no later than 6 weeks prior to departure in order for us to make the relevant ground handling arrangements. We make an exception where a client books within 6 weeks of travel. All tours are subject to availability of vehicles and third party accommodation and activities on the date of invoicing.
A client booking indirectly with Kombi Nation Tours Ltd via a Tour Operator or Travel Agent is requested to check the bonding arrangements made with that Tour Operator or Travel Agent in order to make sure that you are correctly covered.
Wildlife & Tracking Permits
Gorilla and chimp tracking permits are subject to availability at the time of receiving your deposit. Once purchased, they are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Gorilla tracking with a permit does not guarantee that you will see a gorilla (the same applies to Chimp, Predator and Mongoose tracking). Whilst it is rare to not see them, we cannot accept liability if you are unable to view them. They are, after all, wildlife. Any refunds are at the discretion of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Kombi Nation Tours is a member of the Uganda Conservation Foundation (www.ugandacf.org) and our staff are members of the Uganda Safari Guides Association (www.ugasaf.org). We use registered Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers within the National Parks. We have a relationship with USAID funded ‘Peals of Uganda’ for community tourism activities who are managed by UCOTA, (www.ucota.or.ug).
Should you face a situation where you need to cancel your trip with Kombi Nation Tours, we require that you contact us via email. Cancellations by phone must be followed-up with an email. To cover our costs (which includes third party bookings made by us on your behalf and excludes your travel and health insurance), the following cancellation fees will be levied (per person): Loss of 50% of the final safari cost if the cancellation is made within 6 weeks prior to your departure (this covers booking fees that Kombi Nation Tours cannot recover). Regrettably, under no circumstances are we able to refund Uganda Wildlife Authority permits that have been purchased by us. In all scenarios, the client absorbs the bank charges associated to their booking.
Kombi Nation Tours provides two types of vehicle (refer to your itinerary). We own a fleet of Vintage VW Kombi Vans and we outsource 4x4 Safari Vehicles.
The VW Kombi’s are vintage vehicles - they’re all from the mid seventies, and have had long and eventful lives. We’ve put huge amounts of work into them to make them safe and reliable, and they’re all fully refurbished and refitted. However, they are still a bunch of old ladies, and this means that they do occasionally have hiccups, usually related to poor-quality fuel confusing their guts (we keep them off the gin though) and poor road surfaces in remote areas. In the event of an unscheduled stop, the drivers are fantastic mechanics who will find and fix almost any problem within minutes. In the meantime you’ll be with the guide, who will keep you entertained. Breakdowns are rare, but please be prepared to take your trip at the car’s pace.
Kombi Nation Tours also provides 4x4 road worthy and air conditioned vehicles to all clients with competent and trained drivers who are members of the Uganda Safari Guides Association.
We cannot accept liability for breakdowns or delays but we will endeavour to fix the problem as soon as possible and do our best to minimise the impact to your safari.
Accuracy of Information
All information provided by Kombi Nation Tours in respect of wildlife, weather, national parks, security, accommodation and particularly animal sightings are given to our clients in good faith, based on information available to us from a range of sources. We endeavour to provide as accurate information as possible. Unfortunately we cannot accept liability of responsibility for errors caused that are beyond our control.
Travel & Health Insurance
We advise that you purchase adequate travel insurance and send us this information for our records and for all of our peace of mind. Please be mindful when buying your travel insurance that you consider activities with a greater inherent risk such as white water rafting, walking safaris and tracking and mountain or volcano climbing. Insurance should cover loss of life, repatriation, personal injury, medical expenses, personal belongings and cancellation of your safari.
Inbound Travel Information
Whilst Kombi Nation Tours does not book flights for clients, we expect that you will send us all inbound travel information as soon as this is available so that we can make suitable arrangements for managing the start of your trip. We will send you an email and final itinerary on receipt of your final payment to ensure that all of the information that we have is current and accurate.
Once we have received your final balance, we will furnish you with a very comprehensive document called ‘Pre-departure information’, packing lists and other essential information required for you to prepare for your safari.
We require clients to report any claims immediately to their guide or by contacting Kombi Nation Tours on the number provided below, who will do their best to resolve the issue. We urge you to follow this procedure so that the issue can be dealt with in a timely manner.