10 Days Wildlife and Gorilla Safari in Uganda

  • Kampala - Murchison fall national park - Kibale forest - Queen Elizabeth national park - Ishasha - Bwindi forest - Entebbe

African Adventure Safaris Uganda

Gorillas, lions, elephants, thundering waterfalls, and shimmering lakes. This is Uganda, the pearl of Africa and home to an extraordinary range of environments and experiences. For a budget traveler, this 10 day safari will bring you closer to beautiful spots in Uganda, giving you the opportunity to take part in game drives in the most known parks and also go on a gorilla tracking trip.

Highlights

  • Chimpanzee and gorilla tracking
  • 3 game drives and wildlife activities
  • Gorilla permit per person worth 600 USD
  • Chimpanzee permit per person worth 150 USD
  • Boat safari to Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Transfers to and from Entebbe International Airport (EBB)
  • English-speaking driver / guide
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 10 activity days
  • English
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You will be accommodated on different lodges and camps within or close by the areas that you will be visiting.

In Kampala you will be staying at Namirembe guest house on top of Namirembe hill where a big cathedral is located.

In Kibale National Park you will be accommodated at Kibale Forest Camp, in a basic camping tent, furnished with two single beds and a solar lantern. The tents share a communal ablution block with hot showers and flushing toilets (bedding and towels are provided) for you. You spend the late afternoon relaxing at the lodge, from which there is a lovely view of the forest and its wildlife.

During your visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will stay at Bush Lodge in a basic tent with two beds (bedding and towels are provided). Toilets and showers are close by. Bush Lodge is overlooking the spectacular Kazinga channel. Here you will be able to watch wildlife and fall asleep to the roaring of lions.

In Bwindi Forest National Park you will be hosted by the Gorilla Friends Camp, an organization which supports the community’s income by providing tourists with affordable accommodation. You will sleep in one of their nice “lazy camping” safari tents or bandas, with beds inside.

On the island of Bushara you will be accommodated at Bushara Island Camp, while your last overnight will be in Lake Mburo National Park at Eagle's Nest, a wonderful place to relax surrounded by nature.

Day 1 - welcome to Kampala

Your 10 day budget Uganda safari begins with a driver / guide picking you up at Entebbe Airport on arrival. Meet and greet and assist then you will be transferred to your hotel accommodation in Kampala. You will be staying at Namirembe Guest House on top of Namirembe Hill where a big cathedral is located. The journey from the airport to the hotel takes one hour and a half. No meal is included during this day.

Day 2 - travel to Fort Portal

You will start by heading towards west to Fort Portal where you will get to stay at Kibale Forest Camp. The journey today takes five hours to Fort Portal plus one hour through the forest. You have breakfast included in the meal plan.

Day 3 - chimpanzee tracking and swamp walk

Kibale Forest National Park boasts the highest number of primate species in the world, including the chimpanzees. Today, in Uganda, there are approximately 5,000 chimpanzees in the wild, which makes it a perfect place to see chimpanzee during this 10 day budget Uganda safari. An experienced forest ranger will take you on the search for chimpanzee during your tracking in the morning or afternoon.

Besides the chimpanzees, you might also see other monkey species that live here. Once located, you will have a full hour with the chimpanzees. Since they are still wild animals, there is never a full guarantee that you will see them and might have to settle with hearing their hoots and calls in the forest.

The forest and swamp of Kibale Forest is home to a dozen primate species including the red-tailed monkey, olive baboon, black and white colobus monkey, and the blue monkey. The bird life in the forest is also prolific and includes the beautiful great blue turaco.

An afternoon swamp walk which will last two to three hours, will take you through grassland, small communities, and some beautiful scenery, where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves. It is usual to spot three to four different primate species during this walk, though the highlight is catching a glimpse of the great blue turaco. Journey time today is two to three hours total, and breakfast is included.

Day 4 - Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today your safari continues as you will travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is Uganda’s second largest park at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountain range, adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. Many hippos and elephants inhabit the park together with Ugandan kobs, warthogs, and waterbucks. The park is host to lions and leopards as well. In the afternoon you will have a game drive. Journey time is three hours and a half, and you have breakfast included.

Day 5 - park game drive and boat safari

Today you wake up early. A little before sunrise breakfast will be served before you head out, at 6:30 a.m., for a long game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You will be in time to see the first rays of sun. Early mornings or late afternoon the animals are generally the most active!

You will search for all the wildlife in the park and are likely to come across elephants, buffaloes, lions, waterbucks, leopards, Ugandan kobs, and many warthogs. Uganda has over 1.000 bird species. This park has about 612, these include African skimmer, Chapin's flycatcher, pink-backed pelicans, shoebill stork, martial eagle, as well as the great flamingos.

In the afternoon you will take a boat safari along the Kazinga Channel which joins Lake George and Lake Albert. Here, you will see a lot of hippos (more than you can possibly imagine), as well as a variety of other animals which come to the waterhole to drink or bathe. You can expect to see buffalo, crocodile, bathing elephant, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour. After the boat safari you game drive back to the lodge. Breakfast is included in the meal plan.

Day 6 - via Ishasha to Bwindi Forest

The southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Ishasha, is famous for its tree-climbing lions. To escape from the heat during the day, the lions learned how to climb the fig trees. If you are lucky you might spot a few during your game drive at this side of the park.

After the game drive you head for Ruhija in the eastern part of Bwindi Forest. Journey time is two hours and a half to Ishasha plus three and a half hours to Ruhija. Today's meal plan includes breakfast.

Day 7 - gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest

Today you will prepare yourself for an encounter with the rare mountain gorilla. For most people this is the absolute highlight. The Uganda Wildlife Authority briefing point for the gorilla tracking is only about 500 meters from the camp. The gorillas you track belong to one of nine habituated family groups who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees - the only forest in Africa which can make this claim. It also hosts five other primate species, 113 species of mammal, over 200 butterflies, and 360 birds.

En route, your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity, including dung, nests, and chewed bamboo shoots. Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorilla family.

The time taken to track the gorillas can be as few as two hours to as many as seven hours. Once they have been located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Uganda’s very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

Day 8 - Lake Bunyonyi

A three-hour ride will bring you to Lake Bunyonyi, the lake of the little birds, where you will be staying on a beautiful island. Surrounded by steep hills rising out of the lake, it is called “The Switzerland of Africa”.

Time to relax at Bushara Island Camp, a wonderful place to relax surrounded by nature. The green hills and papyrus swamps offer many opportunities for bird watching. Eucalyptus trees and shady nooks along private paths provide quiet places to sit and read a book.

The volcanic lake is bilharzia-free and safe for swimming and canoeing. Journey time today is three hours.

Day 9 - Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast, you will drive to Lake Mburo National Park, one of Uganda’s smallest parks which certainly is not to be underestimated. It is the only Ugandan national park, besides to Kidepo Valley National Park, which is home to zebras, elands, and impalas, as well as an abundance of other wildlife - not to mention the lake itself, which is teeming with hippos and crocodiles.

You will stay just outside the park boundaries, but it will feel like being in the middle of the park. From your verandah and restaurant you have a great view over the park and its wildlife. Lake Mburo National Park is a wonderful place to relax surrounded by nature. Traveling time today is seven hours.

Day 10 - Bush walk and airport transfer

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the two parks in Uganda where it is permitted to go for a bush walk with an experienced ranger. From footprints and animal droppings the ranger will tell you which animal has left it and how long ago. It is exciting to approach the wildlife at such close range.

Instead of going for the bush walk, you can relax at your lodge or make a horseback riding safari in the park for 70 USD per two-hour session.

After brunch at the lodge, you will drive back to Kampala or Entebbe Airport, stopping at the equator for the requisite snapshot and a bit of souvenir shopping.

Accommodation for tonight is not inclusive in the program. If you wish to depart tonight from Entebbe Airport, make sure your flight is at 10 p.m. or later. Journey time today is six hours and breakfast is included in the meal plan.

Gorilla guidelines

  • To minimize possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of seven meters (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. If you are sick with a cold, flu, or other contagious illness, please do not visit the gorillas.
  • Viewing time is limited to one hour.
  • Maximum eight visitors per group.
  • Spitting in the park is strictly prohibited.
  • Should you need to cough, cover your mouth and turn away from the gorillas.
  • When with the gorillas, keep your voice low.
  • Try not to make rapid movements that may frighten the gorillas.
  • If a gorilla should charge or vocalize at you, do not be alarmed, stand still, look away from the gorilla and follow your guide’s directions.
  • Do not litter.
  • Tracking can be done by persons of age 16 and above.

Gorilla families

There are ten families living in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that are fully habituated and available for visits by the public, whilst others are habituated for scientific research purposes only. Each family consists of at least one silverback, but sometimes as many and four, along with several females, and a group of youngsters.

  • Boat safari along the Kazinga Channel
  • Bush walk in Lake Mburo National Park
  • Chimpanzee tracking and swamp walk in Kibale Forest National Park
  • Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest
  • Visit Ishasha and watch the tree-climbing lions
  • Visit to Lake Bunyonyi and to Bushara Island
  • Visit to the equator and souvenir shopping

This safari takes you for game viewing and primates tracking in Uganda's most famous national parks and areas with astonishing fauna.

Bwindi Forest National Park

Bwindi forest national park is located in southwest of Uganda, on the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. This rainforest was gazetted as a reserve in 1932. Today, it is a world heritage site recognized by UNESCO for Mountain Gorilla tracking excursions. Bwindi Forest National Park ranges at an altitude of 1,200 meters and 2,700 meters above sea level. The Bwindi Forest covers a series of steep ridges and valleys that form the eastern starting point of the Albertine Rift Valley, with annual rainfall on average at 1600 millimeters supplying five rivers that flow into Lake Albert as a source since it is a catchment area.

More than half the world’s wild mountain gorilla population is resident in Bwindi. Estimated at 440 individual gorillas in Bwindi Forest, living in separate 23 families. Though the focus is mountain gorillas in Bwindi, there is a staggering 93 mammal species living in this forest, more than any other national park in Uganda, except Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Although the list of mammals consists of mainly small ones such as rodents and bats, you will find chimpanzees, varieties of monkeys with common viewings of the blue monkey and black-and-white colobus. Occasionally, forest elephants can be spotted or heard, there are six species of antelopes, the bushbuck, and five types of forest duiker.

For bird lovers, Bwindi has 23 particular species characteristic to the Albertine Rift with 14 species found nowhere else but within Bwindi forest. Among them are the African green broadbill, the white-tailed blue flycatcher, the brown-necked parrot, the white-bellied robin chat, and the Fraser’s eagle owl. Bwindi Forest is best known for mountain gorilla tracking safaris.

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is part of the extensive Kibale Forest which lies in the Toro Kingdom. Kibale Forest is a tantalizing combination of adventure with a decidedly off-the-beaten-track atmosphere, wonderful scenery with a remarkable variety of activities. Kibale Forest National Park offers chimpanzee tracking everyday in the morning and in the afternoon until 6:30 p.m. You will enjoy some serious bird watching as well as the greatest variety and numbering of primates found in this single forest compared to any other East African country.

With a mushroom of crater lakes, some 30 crater lakes to the west of the Kibale Forest National Park, it is one of Uganda’s prime destinations. The vegetation type of the park is rainforest with patches of grassland and swamp. Kibale Forest is classified as a transitional evergreen forest showing elements of both afro-montane and lowland forest.

At least 60 mammal species are present in Kibale Forest. It is particularly known for primates, with 13 species recorded, the highest total in other park in Uganda. Primates found in Kibale Forest are vervets, red-tailed, L’Hoests, blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, red colobuses, black-and-white colobuses, olive baboons, and chimpanzees.

Other mammals in Kibale forest include buffalos, duikers, civet cats, and the third largest population of elephants in Uganda. These are forest elephants, smaller and hairier than their savannah counterparts. Birds are abundant with at least 325 species, as are clouds of fluttering butterflies.

Kibale National Park is an enchanting park full of lakes, grasslands, marshes, and forests. It is 30 kilometers south of Fort Portal at the northeastern end of the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda. Fort Portal itself is nothing more than an overgrown village, but is a pleasant enough place surrounded by tea plantations.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is outstanding amongst all Uganda national parks because of its popularity and number of visitors it receives for safaris in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth runs from the base of the Rwenzori Mountains all the way down to Ishasha in the south. The park protects the entire Ugandan shore of Lake Edward and the western shore of Lake George.

Close to 600 species of birds live in the Queen Elizabeth National Park area with these being common: great white and pink-backed pelicans, white-winged terns, papyrus canary, malachite, woodland kingfisher and pied kingfisher, black-rumped buttonquail, gabon and slender-tailed nightjars, beautiful black-headed gonolek, and African fish eagle.

The checklist includes virtually every water bird species resident in Uganda, with a variety of woodland and forest birds with Mweya outstanding for the myriad water birds on the Kazinga Channel and the forest at Ishasha is a good place to see more unusual species.

North of Queen Elizabeth National Park - Kazinga Channel

This is where you find the main tourist circuit. Some more than 95 mammal species have been recorded in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ten primate species including chimpanzees, vervet, L’Hoest, black-and-white colobus, and olive baboon can be spotted there. 20 predators are residents in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including leopards, lions, spotted hyena, side-striped Jackal, and tsavo cat.

The most common antelope species is the Ugandan kob, bushbuck, topi, and Deffassa waterbuck with the elusive papyrus swamp antelope the sitatunga antelope found around lake George, while four Duiker species are defined to the Maramagambo forest.

Cape buffaloes are common and they are often reddish in colour leading to interbreeding with forest buffaloes which are a redder race of buffalo living across the border in Congolese rainforest. The elephants in the park also show strong affinities with the smaller much hairier forest-dwelling race of elephants found in the Congo.

Southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park - Ishasha

Ishasha is the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and one of the most alluring game viewing areas in East Africa. The park is dominated by light acacia woodland and savannah. The most common large mammal species in this habitat are Uganda Kobs, topi, and buffalo. Elephants are found in the sector. Most famous are the tree-climbing lions. The northern circuit is rated famous and best known for tree-climbing lions, it also pass a swamp where shoebills are frequently seen. While the southern circuit is better for general game viewing with large herds of Cape buffalo.

You will be served six breakfast during the safari, as stated in the itinerary.

Bird watching

The east African rain forests stretching into the west-African tropical forest together with the safarilands boasts a health superb bird life, enough to convert those who really did not know that they cared about birds. Steady Safaris have a number of excellent, specialist guides both freelance and company guides, who are simply fantastic and can advise on special interest trips. Whether you are interested in rare species or just that one special bird you have been waiting to see in years.

Boating safari

Safari from a boat is a very different experience to game driving. You can view wildlife from a different perspective - seeing elephants interacting in the water up close is something you just cannot do from a 4×4. There is also no better way to view crocodiles and hippos as they eye each other up across the water. Relaxing with a sundowner and watching the sun set over the Victoria Nile in Murchison falls is an experience that cannot be beaten.

Fishing safari

There are various options for fishermen of all interests, with testing fly-fishing on the river Nile and from the islands of Ssese, and lots of deep water action for pulling in some serious kilograms on Lake Victoria. Dedicated fishermen should look to Uganda, and rest assured that all of these provide great safari possibilities for non-fishing traveling partners.

Local culture

The world is one according to God. But mankind decided they have to create a separation in form of territory using borders. Much of the joy of travel is the experience of other cultures and traditions and taking time to know and understand the local heritage of your chosen country. Cultural tourism is a tricky thing to accomplish well, but if it is done well it is incredibly worthwhile. The opportunity to interact on a personal level with the people whose country you are visiting will enhance your experience no end.

Rafting adventure

The early colonialists and the earlier Egyptians never knew what sort of adventure could be taken advantage of in the powerful flowing of the river Nile.

Walking

Uganda is “the pearl of Africa”, a land best explored on foot. Stunning landscapes, great guides, getting out and about on foot awakens the senses and brings you closer to the action in a way that is empowering and enlightening. There are numerous myriad choices for walking in all of the best safari destinations operated by Steady Safaris, briefly or over a period of days; different destinations provide a variety of landscapes and wildlife.

  • 1 chimpanzee permit per person (150 USD)
  • 1 gorilla permit per person (600 USD)
  • 6 breakfasts provided according to the program
  • 9 nights accommodation as listed in the program
  • Airport transfers from and to Entebbe International Airport (EBB)
  • All activities described in the itinerary
  • All fuel for the tour
  • English-speaking Ugandan driver / guide
  • Park-entrance fees according to the program
  • Transport in a 4WD mini bus with pop-up roof for excellent safari view viewing
  • A porter during the gorilla tracking
  • All expenses of personal nature
  • Entry visa to Uganda
  • International air fares
  • Meals that are not part of your accommodation
  • Personal medical and travel insurance
  • Tips and gratuities

Arrival by airplane

Please book flights for Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Steady Safaris will pick-you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by Sian from Belgium

    "I have used Steady Safari's more than once as I coordinate group travel. They are the most timely safari operators I've ever worked with, know Uganda very well, and are very safe. An all round great experience. "

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  • Review by Melanie from United States

    "Our drivers while in Uganda were terrific! We were always safe, they were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. The night safari was well planned and definitely a highlight of my life. Our driver, Kenny, became a fast friend and taught us tremendously about Uganda. Steady Safari is the way to travel! "

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  • Review by Ricky Waterford from United Kingdom

    "We had a short safari organized by Steady Safaris a local company run by two blocks who are brothers. Carlos and Steve own the company. Our initial communication was done by Carlos who responds to emails immediately, which I found very professional since we did not waste to much time waiting. Steve did our orientations for both before and after the safari. They really and I must emphasize this, really understand the business asking the right question and keeping everything within cost. So please next time you are in or going to Uganda consult Steady Safris limited to organize yours."

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  • Review by Stephen Madgwick from United Kingdom

    "Stephen, Carlos' brother, was my guide. We spent two full days in the Park, having driven up from Kampala. The organisation by Steady Safaris was excellent and Carlos came to meet me personally a few days beforehand at my accommodation in Kampala with a typed folder of the itinerary. Stephen's English was excellent and he made sure I was at ease throughout the trip. He had even caught the bird sighting bug by the end and was quite prepared to stop anywhere to have a closer look. I chose a mid range level of accommodation and the Murchison Falls River Lodge is well situated on the bank of the Nile. Stephen was able to arrange that one of the bird-knowledgeable rangers accompany us for a full day which increased our bird spotting rate a lot. He just knew where to find that elusive shoebill stork."

    "It was a thoroughly enjoyable safari with a capable and confidence inspiring company. I would certainly use them again."

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  • Review by Krista K. from United States

    "I went on a safari with Steady Safaris a few weeks ago and it was an absolutely unforgettable experience! The whole process was easy and we were given exceptional care throughout our entire trip. Our guide Carlos was phenomenal! He was incredibly knowledgeable and so fun to be around. We had such a fun time and learned so much. Carlos took care of everything for us, we didn't have to worry about a thing! He really tried to make sure we saw everything we wanted to see while we were there as well as giving us so much information on the animals, plants, and surroundings. I would say it's a once in a lifetime experience, but after doing it once you will want to go back again and again. The experience is truly indescribable. I would definitely book with Steady Safaris over and over again!"

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  • Review by Faith from United States

    "The safari was amazing! We had a great time! Our tour guide was Carlos, and he was very personable and professional. He made sure we were drinking enough water, wore plenty of sunscreen, and had insect repellent. We saw every single animal on our list, even the super rare ones. 100% satisfied!"

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  • Review by Mark Smith from United Kingdom

    "We had a wonderful three days in Murchison Falls national park with Steady Safaris. From initial contact and planning with Carlos to our time with our guide Noel the whole experience was to class. Carlos was very happy to work within our budget and to help us make the most of our short time and always responded to emails promptly and in a professional but friendly manner. And from the moment we were met at the airport by Noel, through the drive up to the National Park, through driving around, through conversations over dinner (excellent food in Fort Murchison!) and through bring dropped off at the end, we were looked after really well. Noel was so knowledgeable and always happy to answer questions and point things out, and also just good and interesting company! Sadly we didn't see lions or a leopard - but this wasn't Noel's fault! And it gives us a good excuse to return! And if and when we do we'll definitely be using Steady Safaris - I would recommend them to anyone. "

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  • Review by Emily from United States

    "Some friends and I went on a safari the beginning of this year and it couldn't have been better! From start to finish we were taken care of completely. The safari itself is magic. Pictures and words don't do it justice. If you are thinking about booking a safari I would go with Steady Safaris without any hesitation. "

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  • Review by Isabeau from United Kingdom

    "I was very impressed by Steady Safaris - we made a last minute booking, the company responded quickly and efficiently to our requests, kept within our budget, and delivered us safely and on time to the airport at the end of the holiday. Steve was a great guide, he liaised with the lodge and the national parks team at Lake Mburu to make sure that we got the most out of our stay, his driving was excellent (no matter what the terrain), and he ensured that we had a smooth and enjoyable trip. Thank you!"

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  • Review by Betty and Simeon from Ireland

    "I have been dreaming of going to Africa for over ten years and this year that dream finally came true. Our travel company was wonderful (Steady Safaris Uganda Limited) - particularly our agent who helped us every step of the way (Carlos Olaaka). I gave him some vague ideas and s"

    "he came up with a wonderful itinerary and recommendations on where to stay. We went through several iterations and our agent was always helpful and very responsive. If I contacted him during business hours I never waited more than an hour or two for a response and many were much faster. Every partner they worked with in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya was very professional, on time, and provided excellent service. Honestly, after having visited I would imagine that you can't go wrong - everyone we met had nothing but positive things to say about everywhere they had been. If you're on the fence or worried, don't be!! Everything was taken care of every step of the way and I felt 100% safe and cared for the entire time. "

    "What were the most enjoyable or memorable parts of our trip? We were fortunate enough to see four leopard on our trip - a mother with two cubs and another with a kill in a tree. We saw a pride of lions feeding on a zebra that must have been killed during the night. We didn't see the actual hunt but we saw one of the splinter groups that split off and even that was pretty incredible - zebras and wildebeest everywhere in Kenya. The absolute craziest thing we saw was a group of crocodiles eat a hyena. It was the most awesome and horrific thing I've ever seen! And the highlight was the gorilla trekking"

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Kampala, Uganda

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