Exploring Uganda by helicopter – a country covering just 1% of the planet’s land mass, yet home to an astounding 10% of the world’s biodiversity! This is where the East African Savannah meets the West African jungle. Its fertile soils support an immense range of wildlife and bird life, and along with the primeval tropical forests and wildlife plains, one of the sources of the River Nile starts right here – in the permanently snow-capped Rwenzori mountains.
Linking the most exciting destinations that a country has to offer, our partner Tropic Air’s helicopter safaris are an adventure of a lifetime. Each unique – each time exploring new lands, meeting traditional people along the way, encountering Africa’s most charismatic wildlife up-close, whilst being guided by the outstanding personalities that makes Africa so fascinating and special.
Best time to visit: March - May
First Stop: Kipedo National Park (2 nights)
The first 2 nights are spent in KIDEPO National Park, located in the north-eastern most corner of eastern Africa.
From the base of Apoka Lodge, a Wildplaces Africa property, you can explore the savannah plains - a 1,440km2 wilderness with two river systems (Kidepo and Narus), surrounded on all sides by distant hills and mountains, and with a rich diversity of wildlife and birdlife.
The scenery alone is spectacular, yet its remoteness (Uganda's least visited park), density of buffalo, herds of giraffe and elephant, the iconic sausage trees and the vast borassus palm forests, all add to the appeal.
Second Stop: Murchison Falls, Western Uganda (2 nights)
The next two 2 nights are spent at Murchison Falls, western Uganda. At the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the Bunyoro escarpment merges with palm-dotted Savannahs, lies Uganda’s largest and oldest Park. Bisected by the Nile, Murchison Falls National Park is best known for its diversity of wildlife and birdlife - 76 species of mammals and 451 birds have been recorded here, and in addition to tradition game drives, a boat cruise is another exceptional way to enjoy the wonders.
In the heart of the park, the Victoria Nile meanders through multiple rapids before being forced through a tiny 6 meter gap, creating one of the most powerful forces of water – the Murchison Falls!
Baker’s Lodge, with 10 charming thatched cottages, raised on decks and positioned along the water front – are spacious and luxury. Every possible home comfort is provided, with wifi throughout, solar lighting and even solar fans that run through the night! The pool is a refreshing escape from the heat of the day, and the mess areas have multiple decks, for a different venue for every meal!
Third Stop: Crater Lakes Region, Western Uganda (2 nights)
The following 2 nights are spent in the Crater Lakes region of Western Uganda in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountain range. Ancient volcanic activity has created ‘explosion craters’ in which today lies dozens of beautiful fresh water lakes, each of varying colours of blue. Aside from being spectacular, they offer great places for swimming and nature trails, with an incredible variety of birds.
On Lake Nyinambuga is one of our most favourite places - Ndali Lodge, privately owned and managed.
This is the most exceptional base to visit the forests of Kibale National Park, where two habituated troops of Chimpanzee, three groups for research only, and several wild groups live here. 1450 in total throughout the 800km2 Park, with one of Uganda’s most stunning tropical rainforests - home to 12 other primate species.
Fourth Stop: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (1 night)
The final stop of your hell-safari brings you to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the last strongholds of the mountain gorilla. About 400 individuals (nearly half of the world’s total gorilla population) live in this UNESCO-protected national park.
You will be accompanied by local guides, who have an amazing rapport with habituated groups, as you trek to see the gorillas in their natural habitat. Truly one of the most unbelievable wildlife experiences on earth!
On the south-western edge of the park is Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge a Wild Places Safaris property. The 8 luxury cottages and central living areas are furnished with fire places, sheep-skin rugs, and warm décor – as it gets pretty cold and rainy in the late afternoon due to its location at 7,000 feet, and the fact that it's surrounded by rain forests!
The views from Clouds are spectacular, over the forests and towards the Virunga Volcanoes that sprawl across the Ugandan borders to Rwanda and Congo, with the glow of Nyiragongo Volcano that can be seen on a clear night.
Image Credits: Tropic Air, Ben Simpson & Richard Roberts (gorilla trekking)
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