Depending on the time of arrival we can take a tour around Lake Victoria or chose to rest after a long flight
After breakfast, we take a historical drive around Entebbe. Drive to Kigungu Landing site. The first Catholic missionaries to settle in Uganda landed at Entebbe on 17th February, 1879. Fr. Simeon Lourdel and Br. Amans Delmas had left Marseille with the first caravan of White Fathers on April 22, 1878. They landed in Zanzibar on 30th May and on 17th June the whole caravan ventured on foot into the interior of Africa, opening up their way through the wilderness. From the South of Lake Victoria, two missionaries went northwards across the lake to explore the situation in Uganda. On their arrival at Entebbe, the main gateway into Uganda, Lourdel and Amans landed on the Kigungu Peninsula. A modest monument still marks the spot. On their way to Rubaga, they spent the night at Kisubi.
When King Mutesa learnt of their arrival, he had them taken to Kitebi, 3 miles away from Rubaga. They spent 15 days in Kitebi, sometimes without food, shivering with fever, uncertain of the fate awaiting them. Finally, summoned to the kabaka's court, Fr. Lourdel informed Mutesa that he and four others had been sent to establish a Catholic mission in Uganda. Mutesa consented to the coming of the Catholic missionaries to Uganda and promised to send canoes to get the rest of them. Other sites in Entebbe that could be of interest are the Zamugula site and the Muzinga square site. We will then travel to Kampala arriving in the late evening.
Kasubi Tombs is globally recognized as a major Heritage site. It is where four of the former Kings of Buganda were buried. It is a royal palace enclosure that was first built in 1881. Here there are huge traditional reed and bark cloth buildings of the kabakas (kings) of Buganda Kingdom. The Kasubi Tombs, also known as the Ssekabaka’s Tombs, are the royal tombs where the four former kabakas of Buganda are buried. This site is a masterpiece of human creativity both in its conception and execution. It bears eloquent witness to the living cultural traditions of the Baganda. The spatial organization of the Kasubi Tombs represents the best example of a Buganda palace or architectural ensemble. Built in the finest traditions of the Ganda architecture and palace design, it reflects technical achievements developed over many centuries. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site's main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity
The Ndere Troupe is a group that brings you the magnificent performances from and around Uganda. The word “Endere” means flute hence the Flute troupe. The flute was chosen as a symbol of beauty and unity. Mr. Rwangyezi Stephen, who founded the Troupe in 1984, is convinced that art is one of the most powerful ways of transforming Ugandans into people who are proud of themselves
We shall have a stopover at Ssezibwa Falls in Mukono. Ssezibwa falls is a place for traditional healing (according to many people in Uganda), set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is here that the 'black river water' tumbles over the rocks into the pool below. A traditional healer performs ceremonies for those seeking love, children, a good harvest, financial success, and so many other material things. There is a cave shrine covered in bark-cloth, said to be inhabited by Musoke, the god of the rainbow. This god helps women to become pregnant. In this shrine are pots and spears, each with its own unique importance. The locals bring coffee beans and cowrie shells as offering to the gods. At the site are two giant trees believed to have been planted by Kabaka Mwanga and Kabaka Muteesa to show their love for the falls hence both trees are regarded as sacred gifts from the two kings
After SSezibwa Falls we continue to drive through sugar cane and tea fields toward Jinja, we cross Owen Dam that was built by British Colonial Authorities into Jinja where we stop at the Sunset Hotel where we have a view of the River Nile and Owen Dam, plus freight-trains moving toward Kampala from Kenya.
After Lunch we continue toward the Source of the Nile Park which is actually quite beautiful with its plants, trees including flowering trees in season.
The highlight of the trip, a walk to experience the three Sipi Falls. These are big water-falls and you will get a great view of them as well as get so close so you can hear the roar of water and feel the water splashing on you! You will also enjoy a walk in the coffee plantations, mingle with communities and enjoy a wonderful scenery
We shall have lunch in a community home and enjoy the real African Culture experience
We shall drive around Mt. Elgon to enjoy the beautiful scenery and a good view of mountains and hills. Overnight in Mbale Town
Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, it is Uganda's largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river's energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda's most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
This is where 22 young men were burnt alive on the orders of king Mwanga for refusing to denounce their newly found faith in Christ. The impressive Namugongo martyrs shrine is where 22 Christian converts were executed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II in 1886. On the visit of Pope Paul VI to Uganda in 1969, the victims were canonized and since then the shrine has become an important site for Uganda Christians and tourists. The site has been host to three popes (1969&1993 and 2015), and thousands of other religious, political and civic celebrities. To this day, every 3rd of June, Christians from all walks of life make a pilgrimage to Namugongo to commemorate these young heroes. There are two churches built at the site; one for the Anglicans and the other for the Catholics. We spend the evening at leisure
Lake Mburo National Park habours several species not observed elsewhere in Uganda. It is the only place in Uganda to support a population of impala (from which Kampala city derives its name), and only one of the three protected areas countrywide where Burchell’s zebra occurs, the other two being the far less accessible Kidepo and Pian-Upe. Other antelopes easily seen are topi, bushbuck, common duiker, oribi, Defassa waterbuck and Bofor reedbuck, while the lake and lush fringing vegetation support healthy populations of buffalo, warthog, bush-pig and hippopotamus.
Large herds of the majestic eland keep roaming the park. The sitatunga confines itself to the swampy areas of the park. Only two diurnal primates occur in Lake Mburo: the vervet monkey and olive baboon. Nocturnal calls of the spotted hyena can be heard through the night. Leopard, side-striped jackal and various smaller predators are also present, most visibly the white-tailed mongoose and three otter species resident in the lakes
Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa. Bunyonyi – means the “place of little birds,” not only is it a place for birds, but a restorative place, a place of solace, of rest, of quietness, of reflection and tranquility. There are 29 Islands to explore on Lake Bunyonyi, you can explore the quaint Villages, forest, nature walks are all possibilities while here. We shall take a dugout canoe with guide and discover the world of Uganda’s magical Lake
We shall drive around communities, Visit the black smith and have interactions with people in the communities
We shall visit Garama Cave. Garama cave is one of the caves where the once crafty Batwa (Pygmies) who were warriors lived and fought their neighbours, the Bantu. The cave is 3kms from the park headquarters and it takes about 4 hours The guide will show you how the Batwa lived and fought out of the cave. The cave is 342m in length and 14m deep and is now inhabited only by bats.
In Uganda, the Virunga ranges comprising Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabinyo peaks are located in kisoro district in south western Uganda. We shall have a chance of Viewing platform/hills. On top of this platform one is able to view the magnificent scenery of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the surrounding areas. There are display panels at the hill point that give you information about what you see. The hilly nature of Kisoro caused by volcanic activity gives the visitors opportunity to hike, which is one of the rapidly developing activities
We shall drive through a beautiful scenery of terraced hills, and through the thick impenetrable Mgahinga and Bwindi National parks
On this day, w set off early after breakfast, and with packed lunch, and head to the Park Headquarters for briefing prior to Gorilla Tracking. It is the most exciting lifetime experience of all time. The gorillas are gentle animals and it is an unforgettable experience to photograph them as they interact. It is a wonderful experience to stare in to the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that you must never miss. Each encounter with the gorillas is different and has its own rewards; you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display
Those who are not going for gorilla tracking will be entertained by cultural dances and will have community walks, get to interact with people
Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda is 1978sq. km large and enjoys a stunning location on the rift valley floor where it rises 481m from 91m at the Kazinga Channel to 1390m in the explosion crater field. It is located between Lakes George and Edward where a mosaic of habitats supports 95 mammal species and a whopping 612 bird species. This diversity is as a result of an impressive range of habitats. Fifty seven vegetation types have been identified in this Uganda national park though these can be summarized; forest, grassland, bushy grassland, acacia woodland and lakeshore/swamp vegetation.
We will have an afternoon boat ride on the Kazinga channel where you will have a good view of hippos in the water, and numerous birds like the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Button Quail, African Skimmer, Chapin's Flycatcher, Pink-backed Pelicans, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo and the rare Shoebill. You may also be able to see water birds like Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squacco Heron, African Open-billed Stork, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, African Jacana, Water Thick-knee, Malachite and Pied kingfishers, Swamp flycatchers, Black Crake, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, and Yellow-backed Weavers.
After breakfast, we have an early morning game drive. The fact that Queen Elizabeth national park has got a diverse eco system of savannah to rain forest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward is a major contribution to the fact that it boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world. Therefore, while on the game drive, with the massive Rwenzoris as a backdrop, you will have excellent opportunities for wildlife such as Lion, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Deffassa Water buck, Uganda Kob, topi, and bush buck among others.
After breakfast, we drive to Fort Portal to visit the palace of the Omukama (king) of Toro Kingdom located on Fort Portal’s highest hill. The Omukama (King) of Toro is so far the youngest king in Uganda and the whole world. He succeeded his father’s throne when he was only four years old following the premature death of his father. At 23 years of age now, he is the world’s youngest ruling monarch. Toro is one of the four traditional kingdoms located within the borders of Uganda. It was founded in 1830 when the Omukama Kaboyo Olimi I, the eldest son of Omukama Nyamutukura Kyebambe III, rebelled and established his own independent kingdom. Incorporated back into Bunyoro-Kitara in 1876, it reasserted its independence in 1891. Like Buganda, Bunyoro and Busoga, Toro's monarchy was abolished in 1967 by the government of Uganda, but was re-instated in 1993. Toro has had 15 kings ever since it became an independent monarchy.
We will visit the Nyakasura historical cave locally known as Amabeere ga nyinamwiru (Breast Caves). It is locally believed that these were formerly breasts of the ancient princess of Chwezi Kingdom and that they were cut off and grew into a good scenic rock “dripping with milk”. According to this legend, the beautiful girl, called Nyinamwiru, misbehaved and she was punished by cutting off her breasts. Later in the evening, you may have some entertainment from the Batooro Cultural Dancers
Kibale forest is the best safari destination for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda and the whole of East Africa. It contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of all tropical forests in Uganda. It hosts 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee. It has 1450 chimpanzees and these represent Uganda's largest population of this endangered primate. It is also home to the rare L'hoest's monkey and East Africa's largest population of the threatened red colobus monkey.
Other primates that you may see include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked Mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto. Kibale forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park. Kibale is highest at the park's northern tip which stands at 1590m above sea level. The park also boasts 325 bird species, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine rift region. They include the black capped Apalis, blue headed sunbird, and collared Apalis among others.
(We shall visit local markets where you can buy souvenirs to take back home)
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