KINGDOMS OF THE WHITE NILE
Entebbe – Kampala – Jinja – Fort Portal – Queen Elizabeth National Park – Lake Mutanda –
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Mbarara
Tentative dates: November 17–30/December 2, 2022 (14/16 days)
With Optional Rwanda Extension
November 29 - December 2, 2021
✔ Discover “the Pearl of Africa’s” beautiful and diverse scenery, from the savannah to the rainforest, the snow-capped mountains to the Great Lakes, and visit the source of the world’s longest river – the Nile.
✔ Explore four of the traditional kingdoms of Uganda, each of which has a sitting king, and learn about the cultures and traditions of the indigenous monarchies and their people.
✔ Spot some of the “big five” in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including the leopard, lion, buffalo and elephant, and join an optional trek with the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
✔ Optional extension to beautiful Rwanda – the “land of a thousand hills”.
Depart for Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
After arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, transfer to your hotel to break up the journey to Uganda. Get some rest or enjoy a short visit to the city. Get together with fellow tour members and catch a good night's sleep.
Depart for Uganda. After arrival in Entebbe, transfer to the capital, Kampala. Settle into your hotel on the edge of Lake Victoria.
Mengo Palace, Kampala
Discover Kampala city, starting with the tombs of the Buganda kings, who were traditionally buried in their palaces. Visit the palace of the current king, which was a military barracks under the regime of Idi Amin, and the coronation site where monarchs have been crowned for the last 700 years. Sample a local lunch.
This afternoon, explore the downtown area, from the neoclassical and modernist buildings to the local markets. (B,L,D)
Kasubi tombs, Kampala © notphilatall
Depart Kampala and head east to quaint Jinja, home to the source of the Nile. Visit the spot on the banks of the river where John Hanning Speke first saw the source in 1862. A monument has been erected at the spot, similar to the one commemorating Speke in Kensington Gardens in London. Enjoy lunch overlooking the banks of Lake Victoria, sampling some delicious locally caught tilapia.
Boat cruise to the source of the world’s longest river. (B,L,D)
Evening on the Nile © Rod Waddington
Walking tour of the historic town centre of Jinja, which was home to Uganda’s thriving Asian traders before their expulsion under the brutal military dictator Idi Amin. Lunch at an Indian restaurant.
Afternoon visit to a local craft project. (B,L,D)
Jinja War Cemetery
Depart Jinja and visit a local school; tour the institution, see classes in progress and join the students and teachers for lunch.
Continue on to Fort Portal, the seat of Tooro Kingdom today. Explore the tombs of the last three kings of Tooro and learn about the death and burial rituals within the kingdom. Continue to the palace of the sitting king, who ascended the throne in 1995 at the age of three and grew up under the patronage of Colonel Gaddafi of Libya. (B,L,D)
Head to a tea manager’s house turned lodge, explore the surrounding tea plantation. Enjoy lunch overlooking a crater lake.
This afternoon, learn about the art of dyeing and weaving traditional raffia baskets at a women’s cooperative. Journey on to Queen Elizabeth National Park, named after Queen Elizabeth II of England after her trip to Uganda in 1954. (B,L,D)
Water carrier © Rod Waddington
Spend the morning in the company of lions, elephants, giraffes and wild game that the park is famous for, with a morning game drive. Lunch at the lodge.
Enjoy an afternoon boat cruise through the Kazinga Channel, which connects Lake Edward to the smaller Lake George, and are named after England’s King Edward VII and King George V respectively. From the boat, you will have the chance to see elephants, hippos, buffalo and crocodiles. Head back to the lodge and look out for the lions that often pass by as you have dinner overlooking the plains. (B,L,D)
Elephant, Queen Elizabeth National Park
After a morning game drive, make the journey south past Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Stop in the town of Kabale for lunch.
Learn about the local Bakiga culture at the Kwanzi Cultural Centre. Journey on to Lake Mutanda, a scenic freshwater lake ringed by a papyrus swamp overlooked by the Virunga volcanoes. Take a sundowner cruise to watch the sunset. (B,L,D)
Golden sunset © Mutanda Lake Resort
Today you will have the option to trek to see the rare and endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (not included; additional cost $1,015). Trek through the park under the guidance of a trained ranger, and spend an intimate hour in the company of a group of gorillas. Experience these gentle giants as they socialize with one another, feed their young and relax in their natural habitat.
Those not trekking will explore Lake Mutanda in a traditional canoe, visiting several of its islands. The first stop will be Kyangushu Island where the local people buried their ancestors. Continue to Lake Mutanda, the only inhabited island on the lake which, on clear days, offers views of Bunagana (Congo border), Lake Mulehe and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will also have the option to visit a local nursery school, meet a traditional healer and visit a craft maker. (B,L,D)
NB: Gorilla permits are in high demand and their number is limited. Part of the funds go towards conservation projects and infrastructure development such as schools and hospitals for the local communities.
Gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Journey to Mbarara, the capital of Ankole Kingdom, and explore the past at the town’s cultural centre.
After lunch, head to the Biharwe Eclipse Monument, which commemorates a historic eclipse in 1520 AD and consists of three pillars representing the three kings of Buganda, Ankole and Bunyoro. Visit the royal palaces and tombs of Ankole Kingdom in Mbarara – the only kingdom that did not reinstate the monarchy in 1993. (B,L,D)
Biharwe Eclipse Monument © Igongo Cultural Centre
Transfer to Entebbe to fly back to Canada. Those joining the Rwanda extension will take a 50-min flight to the capital, Kigali. (B)