Uganda Gorilla Shortbreak Trip Notes

    • 4
    • YGAG
    • 4.72 out of 5
    • Total twin price tool tip
      GBP £1,330
      NZD $2,637
      ZAR R20,252
      CHF FR1,907
      USD $2,012
      CAD $2,142
      AUD $2,225
      EUR €1,547
      *
    • Total single price tool tip
      GBP £1,790
      NZD $3,550
      ZAR R27,260
      CHF FR2,570
      USD $2,710
      CAD $2,885
      AUD $2,995
      EUR €2,085
      *
    •  
       
       
       
       
    •  
       
       
       
       
    • Overland, Wildlife
    • Basix
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Last Modified: 25 Jun 2014
Uganda Gorilla Shortbreak
Trip code: YGAG-B
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Journey to Uganda and embark on a quest to meet one of the world's most endangered species - the noble mountain gorilla. Encounter birdlife, frogs and butterflies while hiking through the thick jungle with an experienced local tracker. The first glimpses of mountain gorillas will be sure to capture hearts and render most speechless - a just reward for the challenging trek. This adventure is action packed and sure to satisfy.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
StyleSpending moneyFinish point
ThemesImportant notesFinish point description
MapGroup sizeEmergency contact
ItineraryYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
Also available to purchaseAccommodationVisas
We also recommendMealsIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerTransportWhat to take
Culture shock rating Group leaderHealth
Physical ratingJoining point Travel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Map
Uganda Gorilla Shortbreak
Itinerary
Day 1 Kampala/Lake Mburo
Ki kati! Welcome to Uganda.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 09:00am at our joining point hotel.
After the meeting we make our way to Lake Mburo National Park ( approximately 270km, 3hrs ).
The flora of Lake Mburo National Park is acacia woodland, different to most other parks in East Africa, which means its fauna is also different to other reserves. It's the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope and has about 68 different species of mammals including zebras, impalas, buffalo, leopards, hyenas and jackals. There are five lakes within the park which are home to hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds, while the papyrus swamps provide cover for the sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek. This small park is less well-known among tourists so it's much quieter than some of the more famous East African parks.
This afternoon we take a game drive through the park before settling into our accommodation in Mbarara for the night.
Accommodation
Rwizi Arch Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This morning we rise early and make our way towards Bwindi Impenetrable forest ( approx. 3hrs ).
Famous for its remarkable biodiversity, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to many endangered species including roughly half of the world's remaining mountain gorillas.
Visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals.
The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day or even over two days depending on the time of permit issue and group size. There's a maximum group size of 8 on each gorilla visit and only 24 gorilla trekking permits available each day.
Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable and may reach altitudes of almost 2000 metres above sea level. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid, but the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Once a trekking group encounters one of the gorilla families, your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.
We will be trekking on either Day 2 or Day 3 depending on the availability of permits. The other day will be free to check out some of the local sights and optional activities.
Our campsite for the next 2 nights is located on the edge of Bunyoni Lake just 6km from Kabale. Facilities include restaurant, bar and fireplace, laundry service, TV, and internet connection. We will be camping in fixed mobile tents and all bedding is provided.
Upgrades into furnished safari tents or self contained cottages may be arranged locally subject to availability.
Included Activities
  • Bwindi Gorilla Trek
Optional Activities
  • Bwindi Forest Nature Walk - USD50
  • Village visit and cultural performance - USD20
Accommodation
Bunyonyi Camping Mobile Tent or similar (2 nts)
Day 4 Kampala
Today is a long travel day as we make tracks back to Kampala stopping along the way to take pictures at the equator and enjoy a picnic lunch.
This tour ends at our finish point hotel at approximately 4pm. No accommodation is included tonight. If you would like to stay longer, we can book your post-tour accommodation at our finish point hotel if required. If you are planning to fly out tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9pm to allow for any delays.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • Masai Mara Walk (YGAE-O)
    • Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda (YGAR-C)
    • Gorillas, Chimps & Game Parks (YXOG)
    • Gorillas, Chimps & Game Parks (YXOG)
    • Masai Mara Walk (YGAE-O)
    • Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda (YGAR-C)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    Money Exchange
    UGANDA
    The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).
    The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
    CASH:
    Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
    ***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2006. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2006 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2006 SERIES***
    EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
    TRAVELLER'S CHEQUES:
    Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
    VISA AND MASTERCARD:
    With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Important notes
    GORILLA PERMITS:
    Gorilla Permits need to be bought in advance. In order to secure them, an additional non-refundable deposit of ( AUD1000, USD1000, EUR800, NZD1250, GBP650, CAD1000, ZAR8000, CHF900 ) is needed to secure the permit at time of booking. We also require full passport details at time of booking. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 90 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking. Full kitty payment is applicable on Day 1 of the trip.
    DFAT WARNING:
    When booking this tour we ask you to consider that it travels to areas which are currently classified by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) at a Level 5: "do not travel".
    http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Uganda
    While there are many reasons for an adverse travel warning and not all national governments classify these reasons to the same degree, travelling in spite of a warning is a serious decision and we strongly advise you to consider the potential ramifications to you and your family before booking.
    We also recommend that you check before departure that your travel insurance is valid for travel in these regions.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    Accommodation
    Bunyonyi Camping Mobile Tent or similar (2 nts), Rwizi Arch Hotel or similar (1 nt)
    Meals
    3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 100.00
    Transport
    4x4 Safari Vehicle
    Group leader
    Intrepid Short Break Adventures are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader. Local guides may be used on some itineraries.
    Joining point
    Fairway Hotel
    Kafu Road
    Kampala
    UGANDA
    Joining point description
    The Fairway hotel is a simple, clean and comfortable hotel located within walking distance from Kampala City. All rooms have air conditioning, refrigerator, satellite TV and in room safes. The hotel facilities include a gym, swimming pool, restaurant, cafe, several bars and a business centre.
    Joining point instructions
    If you have pre-booked a transfer with us your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals section holding an Intrepid board with your name. The driver will wait for an hour after your scheduled arrival time. If you are unable to find your driver please phone: +256 752 504 301
    If you are delayed beyond one hour after your scheduled arrival time, please make your own way to the hotel.
    The Fairway Hotel is located about 40km ( 1hr drive ) from Entebbe airport.
    If you are making your own way to the hotel there are safe and reliable airport taxis outside the building which should cost approximately US$45-50 oneway, and must be paid in Ugandan Shillings.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Fairway Hotel
    Kafu Road
    Kampala
    UGANDA
    Finish point description
    The Fairway hotel is a simple, clean and comfortable hotel located within walking distance from Kampala City. All rooms have air conditioning, refrigerator, satellite TV and in room safes. The hotel facilities include a gym, swimming pool, restaurant, cafe, several bars and a business centre.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of an on ground issue or problem Intrepid's Kenya Office can be reached on their 24 hour number +254 733 523 813
    In case of genuine crisis or emergency (ONLY), you can reach our local operator on: +254-736-213-383.
    For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
    www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    UGANDA:
    Visas are required by most nationalities, including the EU, US and Australia. Visas are available at point of entry to most nationalities. Some nationalities are required to obtain visas in advance - you MUST check before departure. If you plan to purchase your visas on arrival, you will need new (post 2003), clean American dollars cash and the cost is around US$50. When on one of our gorilla itineraries visiting Rwanda, you may require a double entry visa to Uganda. This is dependent on the border guard of the day and can be easily purchased on re entry from Rwanda for nationalities which qualify for visa on arrival. Please allow US$50.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    GORILLA TREK:
    Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. You will need a comfortable pair of waterproof, hiking boots. Some of the foliage in the forest has sharp spikes and can be prickly. A typical gardening glove with a hard surface on the palm will make it easier to grab onto trees and bushes as you pull yourself up the hillside. It's also a good idea to pack a pair of long socks so that you can tuck your trousers into them and avoid any ants or insects getting to your ankles.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
    CLOTHING:
    You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
    CLOSED-IN SHOES:
    As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    YELLOW FEVER:
    A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
    It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 239.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
    Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.