4 - 12
Bordering Uganda and the Congo, rise the mysterious Rwenzori Mountains, which Roman astronomer and cartographer Ptolemy famously named the 'Mountains of the Moon', and for centuries were mistakenly considered to be the source of the River Nile, which actually originates in Sudan & Ethiopia, further north.
This incredible wildlife adventure takes you hiking in this wondrous outpost of the world; including Mountain Gorilla tracking in Bwindi National Park, game drives and immersive experiences with local communities.
(Available as a small group tour or tailor-made holiday)
The Rwenzori National Park, covering nearly 100,000ha in Western Uganda, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to Africa's third highest peak, Mount Margherita at 5109m. 70% of the park is over 2500m in height and is renowned as one of Africa's most beautiful alpine areas, with glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. Rich in biodiversity thanks to the nearly constant temperatures, humidity and high insolation, the mountains are home to many endangered and endemic plant species, such as giant heathers, groundsels and lobelias.
Managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwenzori National Park is considered a model for the integration of cultural values into the Protected Area Management framework, as an innovative approach to resource management - the first of its kind in Africa. The name Rwenzori stems from ‘nzururu’, which means 'place of snow' in the Bakonzo language. 217 bird species have been recorded and the montane forests are home to threatened animals such as the African forest elephant, eastern chimpanzee and L'Hoest's monkey.
Gorilla permits cost $700 per person (not included) and are issued by the UWA on a first come, first served basis. For this reason, you need to book this holiday as far in advance as possible to ensure we can secure you a permit. In addition to your £300 or $350 deposit, we will ask you for a £600 or $700 downpayment on your adventure to purchase your permit once the departure is confirmed. This is refundable (on cancellation by you) only if our partner agency is able to re-sell the permit on to another operator (which they make every effort to do).
You will be met at Entebbe International Airport and transferred to your hotel, and given any help you need to check in and settle. Your guesthouse is just a 10-15mins drive from the airport.
To leave you flexibility to rest after your journey and acclimatise to Uganda, as well as to allow clients flying in from different countries to all arrive and settle, we leave this afternoon and evening free for you to do as you wish. We can advise you on where to eat, and if you would like some ideas of where to explore.
We have an early start this morning in order to transfer to the airport for a scheduled flight (Duration 1hr 35m - price included) departing at 07.00. Prepare to be struck by the beauty of the often mist-shrouded peaks of the Rwenzori mountains as you come in to land.
On arrival you will transfer to Kilembe (25mins) and the Trekkers hostel / 'base camp' for your 3 days of trekking (1450m).
Having settled from your journey, you will set out late morning from the hostel, with the support of porters to help carry your trekking gear, plus supplies for the adventure. Your goal today is the Sine Hut (2596m), just below the bamboo line, reached in a walk along the valley floor through the Afro Montane Forest zone, rich with bird life and with the potential to see blue monkeys scampering through the canopy. You climb steadily during the first 6kms, and after a river crossing starts the slightly steeper ascent to Sine Camp.
The camp consists of wooden huts set between the trees, with a welcoming campfire, on a narrow ridge with long views. Enocks Falls are just 200m from the camp and offer a fantastic opportunity to breathe in the scenery and take photos of the bright green lichen growing on the many vines hanging from the trees.
We set off after a hearty breakfast, at 08:30, entering the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone, which involves steep ascents on steps for around 500m in altitude. It can be muddy underfoot, particularly in the wet season, so the going is at a slow and steady pace - all the better for immersing yourself in this beautiful forest...something out of 'Avatar' for those that have seen the movie!
We pause for coffee at Kalalama Camp (3147m), in the Heather-Rapanea zone: the Rwenzori are renowned for the endemic Giant Heather which reaches up to 15m in height and are truly spectacular. Kalamala offers views of the valleys and foothills across to Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you will be heading later during your adventure.
Continuing on our trail towards Mutinda camp, we pass up and over several small knolls, along a ridge top, over streams and past striking waterfalls. The trees are adorned with moss and 'Old Man's beard' lichen (Usnea lichen) creating a mystical ambiance, to which the transient mist clouds only add.
We arrive to relax and rest at Mutinda Camp, set up near a small river and waterfall where you can freshen up. This afternoon you have the highly recommended option of continuing to climb up to Mutinda Lookout (3925m). It is a walk of approx 3 hours (2 hours up, and 1 hour down), and well worth it for the breathtaking views across the Rwenzori and down to Kasese and Lake George.
Climbing up a rocky river bed, we are reminded that the lush vegetation of the mountains (and the diversity of animals it supports) is thanks to the abundant rainfall during the wet season (which we are avoiding!). Even in the dry periods, plenty of boggy areas remain, which we traverse before climbing up to the top of a high waterfall, partly on boardwalks constructed for the purpose of giving us access here. After a little more ascent, we head down through Hunwick's Pass, a new trail that crosses through between two high peaks (known as Twin Peaks), where you have a good chance of seeing a Hyrax or Red Duiker, as well as seeing various birds of pray nesting high on the cliff faces.
We descend into a valley with an abundance of lobelia flowers, through further tall heather trees and on to Kiharo camp. Only 200m from camp is another stunning high waterfall cascading down moss covered rocks - well worth a visit.
It is sadly time to re-join the 'real world'; we take a trail down the Nyamwamba Valley - a stunning descent with incredible views for much of the way; the deep valleys, high cliffs and dramatic waterfalls are possibly the best in the Rwenzori mountains. The trail you follow was discovered only 6 years ago, and is by no means a well trodden path. In 1937, the explorer and geologist McConnell tried to find a way up this valley and failed, but thanks to the work of local guides in evolving and maintaining the paths, we are now able to experience this valley.
We start off following the river path as it flows down towards the valley, moving away when it becomes steeper, with waterfalls, to follow a narrow ridge for a while. We later re-join the waterway to pass back down through the bamboo forest and Afro Montane Forest zone, teaming with birds and primates - a suitably magnificent ending to a 'once in a lifetime' trek.
On our return we will transfer just under an hour to Kazinga Wilderness Safari Camp in Queen Elizabeth National Park, for a shower and delicious dinner.
We continue our travels south, down through Queen Elizabeth National Park for another 350kms this morning (approx 5hr drive), arriving in Bwindi National Park, home to the Mountain Gorillas (gorilla beringei beringei), by lunch. Bwindi lies on the edge of the albertine Rift Valley, with mountains ranging in height from 1,160 - 2600m high. The forest itself dates back to the ice ages and is one of Ugandas oldest and most ecologically diverse. It is home to 23 endemic species of bird as well as a host of mammals that include the Gorillas of course, Baboons, Chimpanzees, Elephant and Antelope.
After a pause to settle into the Gorilla Conservation Camp, run by the Conservation through Public Health NGO, we set off to visit a local coffee plantation, before returning to the lodge for dinner, and to stay overnight.
The excitement of seeing Mountain Silverback Gorillas up close in the wild will probably mean a light sleep, so it is no problem to arise early today for breakfast and to transfer to the park offices where we split into groups of 8, each with a Uganda Wildlife Authority tracking guide. Each group is allocated a gorilla family and the unforgettable experience begins to meet these gentle giants of Bwindi. Before your hike into the jungle starts, you will be given a briefing with information about your gorilla family as well as any health & safety considerations.
You will enjoy a transfer to the trailhead but from there you will be hiking to track the gorillas who build new nests every day so are always to be found in a new place. Expect uneven ground, potentially muddy conditions with rain overhead, and steep gradients at times. Depending on where your gorilla family are found, you might be walking for between 2 and 8 hours. On sighting the gorillas you spend an hour with them as they go about their daily life; a totally unique and breathtaking experience.
After the hour, your group will be guided back to the trailhead where a driver will be waiting to transfer you back to the Gorilla Conservation Camp for a well deserved shower and meal.
Echuya Batwa, commonly known as pygmies, are an endangered group of people around Echuya Forest Reserve in Kisoro and Kabale District of South Western Uganda. Originally forest dwellers, they have been almost entirely dispossessed of their land by the combined pressures of Government Gorilla conservation efforts and cultivators claiming land. Their home, before eviction, was the Bwindi impenetrable National Forest of Uganda where they were hunter gatherers and had spiritual and religious ties with the forests. Specific sites are revered and considered central to their existence.
This morning we have a fascinating tour by a Batwa guide to demonstrate their hunting techniques, gathering honey, pointing out medicinal plants and demonstrating how to make bamboo cups. Women of the community perform an emotive and traditional song and we gain an insight into the richness of this fading culture. Our accommodation this evening is 300kms (5hr drive) away, but we have much to reflect on from the last few days, and plenty to see en route. Lake Mulehe Lodge is a peaceful oasis with individual Twin and Double cottages that have en-suite facilities and views of the lake.
We enjoy a delicious breakfast, fuelling up for our full day of hiking (14kms,1300m ascent, approx 8 - 9 hrs) today. We are climbing Mt Sabinyo at 3669m, an exciting route that takes us up and over 3 peaks. From the summit, you will be on the border between 3 countries: Rwanda, Uganda & the Democratic Republic of Congo!
The trail to our first peak is a ridge walk with fantastic views, along the Eastern side of the mountain. Continuing to the second peak offers us breath taking drops into the gorges of Rwanda and Uganda. Our third and final peak is a steep hike with some technical aspects: ladders and some scrambling. Expect to see a diverse range of wildlife during the trek: duikers, Rwenzori turaco and sunbirds, as well as the endemic and endangered golden monkey (Cercopithecus minis kandti). Between 2 and 4000 individuals exist, living in troops of about 100, led by an Alpha male and feeding on bamboo shoots, seasonal fruits, flowers, leaves and small invertebrates.
We return to Lake Mulehe Lodge for a welcome shower and dinner after a wonderful trek.
With some big distances to cover between Bwindi and Entebbe, today we reluctantly leave the sanctity of the lakeshore and start the journey Eastwards. We are by no means winding down from your experience yet though - we drive this morning, until lunch, before entering Lake Mburo National Park for a wonderful game drive this afternoon. Although one of Uganda's smaller National Parks, it has a wonderful selection of African birds and mammals to spot: impala, warthog, zebra, buffalo and is particularly known for its hippos and African fish eagles.
Tonight you stay in an eco friendly hotel/restaurant nestled on a scenic outcrop at the edge of the park: a secluded retreat in the Ankole ranch lands where we stay in comfortable and spacious 'cottages' dotted around the hill. During dinner the game spotting continues as herbivores often congregate at the water hole beneath the dining area.
We start our last full day in Uganda in the best way possible- with an early game drive to see the savannah awakening and the sun rising. Later, we transfer to Entebbe with a stop at the equator for photos and a little souvenir shopping. We will arrive in Entebbe during the afternoon, and check in at our familiar guesthouse located within easy reach of the airport for tomorrow's departing flight.
Depending on your flight departure time, after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. Time to start planning the next adventure!
Single rooms are available on a first come, first served basis. There are no single rooms available during the Rwenzori mountain trek (Day 2 - 5). We will charge on a pro-rata basis if a single room is not available to book for part of the trip where it would have been possible.
Carbon Compensation is not the perfect solution, and it is important to first reduce our carbon emissions as much as we can, yet trees remain an excellent natural technology to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow global warming.
For every client and guide who attends a YellowWood Adventure, we donate £30 to our partner charity WeForest to plant 15 trees to (over) compensate for the carbon footprint of the tour.
We also invite our clients to match this with an optional additional £30 for another 15 trees to be planted to help compensate for the carbon footprint of their international flights.
WeForest run many tree planting and tree maintenance projects such as this seedling nursery in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil and many other projects in other countries including Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & India.
Click Here to find out more about their amazing projects around the world.
We fully believe in, and practice Responsible Tourism, using local hotels, owned and run by locals. We put time and effort into building our relationship with them to ensure you have a a great trip.
We choose hotels based on cleanliness, comfort, safety, proximity to our route (to avoid unnecessary extra road travel), and a warm client welcome, as well as reliability in their service to us. Some hotels will be basic, in modern buildings or in town centres. Wherever we can, we will choose smaller more characterful, individual hotels, but in areas where tourism is still developing, this may not be available. An aspect of our adventures is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles and to experience new things which are exciting and memorable, and reflects the countries we are visiting.
This is adventure travel and on occasion the advertised services at a hotel (eg wifi, or hot showers, or continuous power) may not be functional on our arrival. This tends to occur in the smaller, more remote hotels. Very rarely a hotel lets us down and we are required to find alternative suitable accommodation that might not be our first choice. This trip involves a range of guesthouses, eco safari lodges and thatched roof riverside tents
The list below gives information on our first choice of accommodation for this adventure; where hotels and hostels are fully booked or unavailable, we will use an alternative of a similar standard, and equally well situated. We will provide you with an accurate list of accommodation, with contact information to leave with relatives, prior to departure on your adventure.
Entebbe (Day 1 & 11): Paypyrus Guesthouse
Kilembe (Day 2): Trekkers Hostel
Rwenzori Mountains (Day 3 & 4 & 5): Mountain Refuges - dormitory style, basic.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (Day 6 & 7): CTHPGorilla Conservation Camp
Lake Mulehe (Day 8 & 9): Lake Mulehe Lodge
Lake Mburo National Park (Day 10): Rwaboko Rock Lodge
With the exception of some of the higher class hotels in Entebbe, hotels generally do not have heating or air conditioning. As nights can be chilly, please bring appropriate sleepwear if needed (see packing list for further information).
In areas where malaria is a problem, hotel rooms come with mosquito nets.
Unless you have booked a single room (where they are available) and paid the single room supplement for those nights, you will be sharing a twin room with another client (of the same gender).
Supporting you on your holiday will be a local, English speaking Ugandan guide and a YellowWood Adventures Guide. They will be joined by a trekking guide for the trek in the Rwenzori Mountains (Day 2 - 5) and for the hike up Mt Sabinyo (Day 9). You will also be joined by a tracking expert from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority for the Gorilla tracking (Day 7). This ensures you are in excellent hands in the mountains, and that you have access to local knowledge as well as being closely supported by YellowWood.
We work closely with our Ugandan Tour Operator partners both before and during your adventure to ensure that they understand your needs and the standard that YellowWood Adventures expects. We believe that it is a very important positive aspect of Responsible Tourism, to employ the expertise of local suppliers, as well as offering you a much more informative and authentic experience.
Your group will be any number from our minimum group size of 4, up to a maximum of 12 clients. This number works really well with the ratio of guides, and ensures the optimum level of service to you during your adventure.
We get clients booking alone, as couples and in small groups of friends. If you have a group of friends or family who are interested in having their own customised trip, then please let us know and we can cost it for you.
Your itinerary involves trekking over passes, summiting peaks and traversing plateaux and mountain valleys. You will encounter rough terrain, steep gradients and some scree and boulders at varying times. You will not always be walking on a defined path. The hike up Mt Sabinyo has some technical sections where you will use ladders and some scrambling techniques.
To get the most of out of this adventure, you need to be a regular walker and in good physical condition. The terrain requires that you are used to walking up and down steep gradients, and hiking for extended periods of time and on consecutive days. You will be walking at altitudes of up to 3669m.
Any hiking is undertaken at the natural pace of the group, with regular stops. Walking boots that have already been worn in are essential on this adventure. You will be carrying just a day pack with camera, spare layers and a bottle of water
For convenience, peace of mind, and to reduce the purchase of single use plastic water bottles, we highly recommend a filtration water bottle such as Aquapure Traveller (offer available - see section on Water)
As with all active holidays, the fitter you are, the more you can relax and enjoy the stunning route, and the better you can cope with challenges such as the outside elements.
You are advised to get into a regular walking & or running pattern before the trip as convenient.
Please note that you need to have an open mind to adventure travel, and experiencing different cultures to your own, first hand.
For general information on health issues in Uganda, please see the general information on Uganda, however, for this specific adventure, the following points are worth separate consideration.
The highest altitude that you will be experiencing is at around 3669m which can be difficult for people coming from lower altitudes.
While we do our best to create an itinerary that allows for some time for acclimatising, altitude affects everyone differently, and to varying degrees. If you experience any of the following symptoms during this adventure, make sure to inform your guide and they will support you in descending to a lower altitude as soon as possible.
There is no malaria in Addis Ababa and in many places in the northern highlands (with the exception of Bahir Dar), as the malaria-carrying mosquitoes do not travel to higher altitudes, generally above 1800-2000m. For this reason it is also not present in the Bale National Park.
However, Malaria is present in lower-lying areas. We travel through these areas by car, en route from Addis to Bale Mountains National Park and back. The only guaranteed way not to contract malaria is to not get bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito.
Suggested ways to avoid contracting malaria include:
Your YellowWood adventure starts at the airport in Entebbe on the start day of the trip. We understand that arriving into an unfamiliar airport can be very daunting, so we aim to give you as much information here as possible to help you prepare.
Flights are not included in the cost of your holiday, and whilst we are happy to help advise you, responsibility for booking the correct flights rests with you. We recommend that you use a comparison tool such as www.momondo.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net when searching for flights. We will send you a Flight Information Sheet with further pointers on which flights to book for your adventure.
In order to benefit from the natural and undisturbed beauty of the National Parks in Western Uganda, we need to be prepared to travel some distance, by road, to reach our destinations on this adventure. There are several days (Day 3, 6, 7 and 13) where you will be in private transport (minibus) travelling long distances. The roads are not always in great condition and the journey may be hot and dusty at times. However this is very much part of the adventure, and a wonderful opportunity to absorb the ambiance of East Africa, so we ask you to embrace the travel days, as without it, we would not be able to access the remote areas we then enjoy.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. As the situation in our destination countries can change, please do ensure you check regularly before your adventure. We also receive notifications direct from the FCO so we are always aware of the ‘status’ in our destination countries.
Holiday insurance is essential for all Yellow Wood Adventures. Unfortunately anyone without insurance is not able to take part in the holiday, so please make sure you arrange cover. We recommend sorting your insurance when you book so that if you have problems during the run up to your holiday, and need to cancel, you are covered, particularly in the light of effects that the pandemic has had on travel.
Prior to the holiday, we will ask you to send us details of your insurer, policy number, 24 hr emergency assistance contact details and the name, address, and telephone numbers of your NOK or persons to be notified in the event of an emergency.
Your insurance needs to cover you for hiking /trekking with the following fairly standard inclusions:
We would also recommend that you have cover for the following optional items:
For information on Uganda, such as climate, weather, language, social norms, food & drink etc, please have a read of our Country specific information.
All adventures can be tailored as private bespoke trips.
Please contact us for more information:
+44 207 846 0197
Select dates & add any extras or 'Add on' adventures. Complete our Booking Form
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'Make Booking': You will be redirected to secure WorldPay to make your deposit (£300/$400/person) payment (receipted), if booking >56 days before your adventure or full payment if 56 or <56 days before your adventure. Your monies are held securely by the Travel Trust Association.
Your booking will show as 'pending' in your YellowWood online account.
Enter booking information for all guests in your party.
We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to confirm your booking or discuss any availability limitations. Do not book transport/flights until we have emailed you to confirm your booking (receipt of your booking form is not confirmation). We will change the status of your final invoice from 'Pending Approval' to 'Outstanding', when it becomes payable online.
This payment is due 56 days before departure date (we send reminders).
Contact us with any questions about your adventure or booking.
+44 207 846 0197
To help you choose the right adventure for you, we have given each itinerary a grading that relates to the level of Walking / Trekking you will experience during the trip. This grading can be found on the Yellow map on the adventure page of the website.
All of our trips involve a level of general activity so are designed for people who are in good health, enjoy the outdoors, and have a taste for adventure and some level of fitness. As will be clear from our destinations, the climate (and altitude) may be different to that which you are used to, so please take this into consideration when choosing the most suitable holiday.
Please read our Adventure Itinerary & Essential Information for more information and don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to chat through whether you have found a suitable adventure for you.
You need to be in good physical health to enjoy your active holiday, but you don’t need to be an experienced hiker. These itineraries offer a mix of sightseeing and easier walking for around 2-4hrs a day, with the emphasis on sights and cultural experiences.
Walks will be well marked or on defined pathways, and often around sites of interest. The expected amount of descent/ascent will depend on the landscapes of the destination, but will not exceed 400m/day, and will often be much less. Walks are at low altitude (below 3000m).
You will not be required to carry more than a day sack with water and essentials. Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have a pair of comfortable and worn in walking shoes/boots.
You need to have a good level of fitness and be a regular walker for these adventures, with ideally some trekking experience. You can expect to be walking for 3-6 hours per day, not including rest stops, normally on good trail paths but with some uneven surfaces at times.
You will not be required to carry more than a day sack. You may be walking in more challenging temperatures. You will generally be walking at low altitude (below 3000m) but may walk at altitudes up to 4000m. The amount of ascent could be up to 800m in a day but will frequently be less. You may walk on consecutive days.
Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable clothing for this adventure.
You need to have a good level of fitness with previous experience of trekking. Extra training before your trip will ensure that you get the most out of your adventure. Areas will be remote and terrain uneven.
Expect to walk for 5 – 8 hours a day, not including breaks, with some very steep ascents and descents. You will be walking at altitude (over 3000m but not higher than 5000m).
Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable equipment/clothing for this adventure (see the packing list for your adventure).
Please check individual itineraries for details of what you will need to be carrying with you.
Get in touch via our Enquiry form to check our availability, discuss the adventure and check we can meet your needs.
Complete our Enquiry Form; contact details, additional requirements (eg diet or health requirements) & questions you may have. Include as much information as you are able to, so we can help you with the detail you are looking for
Click on 'Send Enquiry' (receipted).
We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to answer your questions and help you plan your adventure.
+44 207 846 0197