The overview

This 8-day Uganda Cultural and Wildlife Tour takes you in the authentic culture, thrilling wildlife encounters, breathtaking scenery, and the warm and welcoming attitude of the people in the “Pearl of Africa.” This tour begins in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, with a drive west to Fort Portal, where you will tour Amabere Cave, hike to the Fort Portal Crater Lakes field, visit Toro Palace, Karambi Royal Tombs, travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park, drive to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to undertake the Batwa Heritage Trail, transfer to Nshenyi Cultural Village in Ntugamo, and finally return to Kampala.

The highlights of this safari

  • Drive from Kampala through the scenic landscapes of western Uganda.
  • Cruise the Kazinga Channel to see some of the globe’s densest hippos populations.
  • In Mgahinga Gorilla Park, you can learn about the ancient culture of the Batwa, a hunter-gatherer people.
  • Throughout the day, you may enjoy excellent bird watching.
  • Tour Nshenyi Cultural Village to learn about the Banyankole people’s traditional way of life.
  • Study the old Nakayima tree, a well-known Bachwezi-related sacrificial site in Buganda.
  • Visit Amabere ga Nyinamwiru Cave, which is associated with the rich Chwezi culture.
  • Hike to the spectacular Fort Portal Crater Lake field.
  • Explore the Toro Royal Palace and the Karambi Royal Tombs.
  • Discover the Toro Kingdom’s historic culture and traditions.
  • On a game drive, look for lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, Uganda kobs, and other animals
  • During the Kampala cultural tour, learn about the Baganda people’s distinct culture and traditions.
  • Take a visit to the Uganda National Museum.

The detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer from Kampala to Fort Portal

Have an early breakfast at your Kampala lodging. Then set out on a 5-hour journey to Fort Portal, traveling through stunning Uganda scenery, towns, and rural communities along the way before stopping at Mubende to see the Nakayima tree. This tree is named after Nakayima, the wife of Ndahura, the founder of the Bachwezi dynasty that reigned over the Bunyoro Kitara Empire centuries ago. Scientists believe that this Nakayima tree is roughly 600 years old. The senior guides at the site will provide themed interpretations. Afterward, proceed to Fort Portal, a lovely town set in the gentle hills of Tooro under the backdrop of the “Mountains of the Moon.” Sir Gerald Portal, the British Special Commissioner to Uganda, was named after Tooro’s largest city.

When you arrive, have lunch at one of the nicest restaurants in town, and then proceed to Amabeere Cave, which was named for the live stalactite creation, Amabeere ga Nyinamwiru, which translates as the Nyinamwiru Breasts. The breast-like characteristics in the caves are thought to have belonged to Nyinamwiru, King Bukuku’s daughter who was considered to be so lovely that no male would leave her alone. Once the King became tired of receiving marriage proposals from undesirable suitors, he went as far as cutting off his daughter’s breasts in order to render her less desirable.

Even this was unable to prevent Nyinamwiru’s many lovers, so the king hid her in a cavern that is now known as Amabere. The Batembuzi King Isaza found her there and impregnated her with a son. Because Nyinamwiru lacked breasts, she remained in the cavern with her son, giving him the hazy limestone milk that drops from the cave’s stalactites. The stalactite formation raised a child who grew up to become King Ndahura of the fabled Bachwezi dynasty.

From the caves, trek through the impressive Fort Portal Crater field and climb the famed Kyeganywa hill, which gives stunning views of the crater lakes and crater cavities below, as well as vistas of the Rwenzori Mountains on a clear day. After this eventful day retire at your lodge in Fort portal town for dinner and an overnight stay.

Meal plan: All meals are provided

Day 2: Visit Toro Royal Palace, Karambi Royal Tombs, and Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

After breakfast, take a visit to the Toro Royal Palace, also known as Karuzika. It is the royal house of Oyo Nyimba Iguru, the world’s youngest King and King of the Tooro Kingdom. The Palace is located at the apex of Kabarole Hill, which overlooks Fort Portal City and the surrounding suburbs. The Kingdom of Tooro has existed for a period of over 180 years. The Kingdom began as a chiefdom under the Empire of Kitara: a Rutooro word that means ‘The Empire of Light,’ and has since progressed through three dynasties: Batembuzi, Bachwezi, and Babiito.

You discover the royal regalia and the interpretation of the king’s coronation process as you tour the palace. Transfer to the Karambi Royal Tombs, which are around 5 kilometers from the Palace. Three of Tooro’s notable Kings, including the founding father, King Kaboyo, are buried here. The custodian will allow you to enter some of the mausoleums, which include personal possessions of the monarchs such as royal drums and spears. You listen to their fascinating stories before returning to Fort Portal for lunch.

After lunch, travel 3-4 hours to Queen Elizabeth National Park, taking in the breathtaking views of Africa’s highest mountain range, the Rwenzori Mountains, check in the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Meal plan: All meals are provided

Day 3: Morning Game Drive in Kasenyi Sector and afternoon Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise

After a hot cup of Ugandan tea, go on a game drive over the savannah plains of the Kasenyi region of the magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kasenyi also serves as one of the most beautiful areas of the park, particularly during the golden light of sunrise, as the first rays of sunlight fall over the savannah. Keep an eye out for elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, hyenas, waterbucks, bushbucks, Uganda kobs, hippos, and other animals. Look out for rare bird species such as the Grey-crowned crane, Uganda’s national bird, Red-throated spurfowl, Yellow-throated longclaw, White-backed vulture, White-headed vulture, Long-crested Eagle, Black-bellied bustard, African Skimmer, and Brown Snake Eagle, among many others. Return to the lodge for some downtime and lunch.

In the afternoon, take a 2-hour boat ride through the Kazinga waterway, which connects Lakes George and Edward. Elephants, crocodiles, and numerous water birds, including African Open-billed, Yellow-billed, and Saddle-billed Storks; Marabou storks, African spoonbills, African jacana, Water Thick-knee, and Pink-backed Pelicans, will be plentiful. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight after the boat cruise.

Meal Plan: All meals are included

Day 4: A visit to Katwe Salt Lake and transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

After an early breakfast, drive to Katwe Salt Lake in Queen Elizabeth Park, which is located southeast of the snow-capped Rwenzori mountains along the western end of the Kazinga Channel. This odd lake is too salty to sustain any wildlife, but it has ensured the survival of the Katwe locals since the sixteenth century, who devote their days wandering through the network of roads that crisscross the lake and extracting salt out of its milky waters. This trip will provide you with an in-depth look at the interesting yet difficult procedure for traditional salt mining. Cross the mud paths and visit a traditional grass house to see villagers at work on the lake. You will also travel by the neighboring bird sanctuary lake, which is home to thousands of species, including flamingos.

After this activity returns to your lodge to check out and transfer to Mgahinga national park where you will check in the pre-booked lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Meal plan: All meals are included

Day 5: Go for the Batwa Heritage Trail in Mgahinga Park and Relax at the Lodge

After breakfast, transfer to the Ntebeko tourist center for an 8.30 a.m. briefing on the Batwa Trail trip. The route introduces you to the Batwa people, a hunter-gatherer group who relied on the forest for shelter, food, and medicine. The trail is guided by a local Twa guide who describes the way they used to live in the forest until being forced to leave when it was designated a national park. You follow the path along the lower parts of Virunga while a Twa guide illustrates several customary skill sets such as lighting a fire by rubbing sticks together, constructing a bivouac in which they lived, trapping and hunting techniques, shooting targets with bow and arrow, and fetching water in a bamboo cup.

Discover food harvesting, nutritious leaves, plants, and berries found in the woods that you may not be aware of, and the plants, roots, herbs, and tree bark that the Batwa have utilized as medicine. The walk concludes within the 342-m-long Garama Cave, where a group of ladies sings a melancholy song about the demise of their beloved forest and their yearning to return back to what is now a national park. The path also includes a description of Batwa’s current condition. It is a voyage back to the original culture, which is currently on the verge of extinction. The Batwa Trail Experience lasts approximately 7 hours before returning to the lodge for leisure, dinner, and overnight.

Meal plan: All meals are included

Day 6: Drive to Nshenyi Cultural Village to learn about the Banyankole people’s traditional way of life.

After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Nshenyi Cultural Village in Ntugamo District to learn about the Banyankole people’s traditional way of life. Before reaching Ntugamo, the drive will take you through stunning countryside vistas and will allow you to explore the local people’s settlements.

Nshenyi is a pastoral region. The landscape is defined by infinite rolling hills, savanna grass, and acacia trees, making it excellent for cattle ranching. Many farms in the area also have extensive banana farms and a variety of subsistence and commercial crops. Nshenyi is located approximately 30 minutes from Ntugamo town and roughly an hour from Mbarara town. You arrive at the lodge to unwind, have dinner, and sleep.

Meal plan: All meals are included

Day 7: Explore Nshenyi Cultural Village before returning to Kampala.

After breakfast, proceed on a cultural encounter to learn about the Banyankole people’s traditions. You are going to take part in the customary hand milking of long-horned Ankole cattle, discover the traditional cattle therapy process, naming process of cows and the way calves know the names of their mothers and themselves, flossing the cow clean of dirt using the local brush called Enkuyo, and setting out to grazing field to observe herdsmen to learn how to play instruments such as the flute and traditional songs.

You water the livestock in the locally created soil trough before returning to the cultural village. You can opt for a traditional lunch, in which guests may take part in the preparation. After that, drive back to Kampala, stopping at the Equator to stand in both hemispheres and snap photos, and at the Mpambire drum village to buy some goods as souvenirs. Check in the lodge for dinner and night stay upon arrival

Meal plan: All meals are included

Day 8: Enjoy the Kampala Cultural Tour, which includes visits to Kabaka’s Palace, the Uganda National Museum, and craft centers.

Following a leisurely breakfast, go on a tour to discover the culture and heritage of Kampala, an urban center that has a rich and distinctive culture. You will visit Kabaka’s palace (Olubiri) on Mengo Hill to learn about the history and cultural treasures of the Buganda Kingdom, which is among Africa’s last surviving intact and significant kingdoms created over 600 years ago. You explore an ancient fire that does not put out unless the Kabaka (King) dies. You proceed along the royal road and link to the Bulange Royal Building, the traditional hub for Lukiiko (parliament), demonstrating that Buganda had an institutionalized parliament long before Europeans arrived.

Have Lunch is one of the city’s greatest restaurants. After which, you will visit the Uganda National Museum, East Africa’s oldest museum, which was founded in 1908. The museum houses a staggering collection that spans more than two million years of human history. Under one roof, you can learn about Uganda’s history, traditions, and many artifacts. The culmination of this thrilling 8-day Uganda cultural tour will be a visit to the craft centers along Buganda Road, the Nammo Gallery, and the National Theatre to discover the various artifacts created or sold in Uganda.

Meal plan: All meals are included