Welcome to Uganda! With a population of over 30 million, this country is one of the five that make up the East African community. It's a country of great cultural diversity, and in recent years has been one of the most progressive in the region in terms of health education relating to HIV. On arrival in Entebbe Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Kampala by our representative. There will be an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Afterwards, head out into Kampala for an included group dinner to get to know your fellow travellers.
Head towards Nakasongola District where Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is located. Check into your lodge, then take short nature walk to stretch your legs. There will be a talk to the group about the rhino re-introduction project at the sanctuary and learn your lodge helps the Rhino Fund of Uganda, with 10% of their revenue going towards operations and the upkeep of the rhinos. Bordering the sanctuary is the Lugogo Wetlands. This wetland is an integral part of the ecosystem and is home to a multitude of animals and rare birds. In addition to the shoebill canoe ride scheduled for tomorrow morning you'll be able to check out the birdlife on a optional nature walk.
Rise nice and early this morning for a canoe ride in search of the unique shoebill bird in the Lugogo Wetlands. Avid birdwatchers will be delighted; in addition to the shoebill, more than 350 species of bird are found on the sanctuary. Among them are white crested turacos, giant kingfishers, palmnut vultures, barbets, and 11 of the woodpecker species, including the speckled-breasted woodpecker. After lunch at the lodge, we head into the sanctuary to track rhinos on foot. Accompanied by a well-trained guide you'll learn more about not only rhinos local botany, general bush knowledge, birds and other animals seen on the savannah. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and its resident beasts are patrolled and monitored by Rhino Fund Uganda’s own rangers on a 24/7 basis.
After breakfast, check out and proceed to Murchison Falls National Park. We'll drive through the park and cross the Victoria Nile river to arrive at our lodge. After lunch and some free time, take a boat ride along the river towards Murchison Falls, looking out for crocodile and hippos. When reaching our destination we hike a short distance to check out the impressive falls. While the cascades don't drop a large distance to the river below, the force of the water is quite amazing; the Nile forces its way through a small gap in the rocks before flowing westward into Lake Albert.
Today is a free day to either relax or take up some optional activities. A great option is to visit Kaniyo Pabidi, on Masindi road – it's a beautiful natural forest dominated by giant mahogany and ironwood trees. Here chimpanzees can be tracked from Kaniyo Pabidi tourism site, which is run by the Jane Goodall Institute. Birdlife here is also abundant and includes the chocolate-backed kingfisher, the white-thighed hornbill, and Puvel’s Illaposis which are endemic to the region. Another option for today is to explore Rabongo Forest is an island of tropical river forest set in a sea of grassland in the south-east of the conservation area (it's roughly a 1.5 hour drive from the lodge). Exploring on foot there is highly recommended – you might come across primates such as the black-white colobus, red tailed monkey, baboon or even a chimpanzee.
Today we farewell the lush Murchison Falls National Park and head back to Kampala. After the long drive we anticipate to be back at the hotel before 6 pm, at which point the trip draws to a close.