Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Guru Guru Caves
Nyero Rock Paintings
Source of the Nile
Kidepo Valley National Park
This tour starts from $880.00
Day 1: Zziwa (ZIWA) Rhino Sanctuary and Guru Guru caves
Your safari adventure starts after an early breakfast at around 7 am with a 3 hour drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. You will be guided through the only rhino ranch in Uganda and you will also enjoy other wildlife such as elephants and monkeys. Following your visit, you will head to Kabalega Resort for lunch before hitting the road again for an additional 4 hour journey to the Guru Guru caves. This is a historical site where the British colonialists sought to impose their rule on the Acholi people who retaliated, sparking the famous Lamogi rebellion. But the historical import aside, the location is picturesque, offering a great opportunity to sight monkeys which can be seen on trees along with a variety of birds. From Guru Guru, you will drive for 1 hour and arrive to your lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Luxury: Baker’s Fort Hotel
Midrange: Bomah Hotel Gulu
Budget: The Dove’s Nest Hotel
Day 2: Aruu falls, Kitgum market and transfer to KidepO Valley National Park
Following your early morning breakfast at the hotel, you will embark on your journey to Kidepo Valley National Park through the plains of Paider and Kitgum. Being the land of nomadic pastoralists, one can always have a glance at the large herds of cattle and small huts (manyattas) which make up these people’s homesteads. You will have stopovers at Aruu Falls Campsite to view the breathtaking falls located 5 kms off Gulu-Kitgum road, and then head to Kitgum Market to experience the Northern Uganda market life. Following the stop, there will be an approximately 3 hours’ drive to Kidepo. You will reach in the afternoon, which is early enough to check in and enable you have a late lunch, relax and after have a guided village walk in Karenga to check out the famous manyattas (Karamajong homestead settings). You will be invited here to a cultural performance before heading back to your accommodation for dinner and overnight stay at your lodge.
Luxury: Apoka Safari Lodge
Midrange: Nga’ Moru Wilderness Camp
Budget: Apoka Rest Camp
Day 3: Game drive in Kidepo Valley National Park and transfer to Kumi District
Rising to the sounds of mother nature you will have an early morning breakfast and head for a 3 hour morning game drive in Africa’s true wilderness along the Kanangorok hot springs which also has variety of wildlife of buffalos and giraffes and on a lucky day you may also spot lions, cheetahs and leopards as well. Thereafter, you will have a longer 4 hours’ drive to have lunch at Sipi Restaurant, and then a 1 and 1/2-hours’ hike on the Soroti rock with a lovely view of Soroti and its surrounding. This will be followed by an additional 1 hour drive. You will arrive at Kumi Hotel at about 6pm, then have your dinner, rest and overnight stay.
Day 4: Nyero rock paintings, Source of the Nile and Departure
After breakfast you will embark on an hour’s drive to Nyero for the rock paintings exploration. The Nyero Rock is an early Iron Age stone site and the paintings depict animals, canoes and concentric circles. This type of rock art is part of a tradition often depicted in red pigment which matches the late Stone Age hunter-gatherers culture attributed to Batwa pygmies. You will start your journey back to Kampala via Jinja town, which is a 3 hours’ drive from Kumi, to experience the Source of the Nile where you will have a lunch break after relaxing on the Nile river on a 3 hour boat cruise that gives you exceptional breathtaking views of the surrounding islands with plenty of wildlife such as lizards, African kingfish, eagles and herons. You can visit the spot which John Speke claimed as the source of the Nile and visit the souvenir shop selling art and crafts. You will thereafter head back to Kampala, reaching in the evening. You can head back to the hotel or airport for your flight.
Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Zziwa (or Ziwa) Rhino Sanctuary is home to Uganda’s wild endangered rhinos. Located in Nakasongola District, near Nakitoma Village, Ziwa covers around 70 square kilometers. Uganda used to have a large number of both black and white rhinoceroses, but the civil wars of 1970’s and early 80’s diminished their numbers close to extinction. In 2005 the sanctuary was established and rhinos were re-introduced by the Rhino Fund Uganda for purposes of breeding rhinos back for reintroduction into the wild.
This Rhino Sanctuary is the foundation of the restoration of rhino population for all of Uganda, and so they are protected 24 hours a day from poachers by an electrical fence and security personnel. The sanctuary started with 6 rhinos but currently the number has grown to about 19 animals.
A trip to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary gives you a rare opportunity to track rhinos on foot, have an up-close experience and some great and unusual photo opportunities. The white rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary are gentle giants – and approaching them on foot poses no danger to you. You will have the guidance and company of a sanctuary ranger who is knowledgeable about the behavior of the rhinos.
Apart from the rhinos, Ziwa is also home to a number of bird species, reptiles, and 40 other mammal species including antelopes, crocodiles, hippos, monkeys, among others. The sanctuary has become increasingly popular with tourists for rhino trekking, boat riding, bird watching, night walks and nature walks. The accommodation units offer fine foods ranging from local to international cuisines.
Guru Guru Caves
The Guru Guru caves are located some 25 kilometers from Gulu, the biggest city in Northern Uganda. The caves have an interesting history, and are said to have been used as a hiding place during the 1911 Lamogi rebellion against the British rule. The rebellion was begun by the Acholi people, the largest ethnic group in the region, and they were protesting against the taxes and exploitation by the British, but their resistance was violently put down. What evidence is left of the rebellion are the drops of blood that are said to be visible on the large boulders that have survived the weather for more than a century. The rather arid landscape around the site is home to a variety of reptiles and on a sunny day, there are butterflies, birds and monkeys in abundance.
Nyero Rock Paintings
The Nyero Rock Paintings are located in eastern Uganda in Kumi District, some 8 kilometers from Kumi town. They are among the most important rock art in East Africa dating before 13th century, but were first documented only in 1913 and added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on 10 September 1997. This type of rock art is part of a tradition often depicted in red pigment, spreading across east, central and parts of southern Africa, matching the distribution of the Late Stone Age hunter-gatherers’ culture. This art is generally attributed to the Batwa hunter-gatherers who are of pygmy origin, and are today found in small groups near the Rwanda/Uganda border and eastern DR Congo.
The ingenuity in which the rocks were painted demonstrates a high degree of appreciation of their aesthetic values. The main site has a big white wall covered in groups of red circles, boats and some vaguely human and animal forms. Archaeologists have yet to unravel the significance of the designs, who painted them and even when they did so. If the caretaker is around, he will charge for a tour; otherwise local kids will show you around. The surrounding countryside is littered with boulder-covered peaks and cacti, giving it a Wild West feel. The rock art sites are believed to have been sacred places of the gods. In the past, the Iteso people of Nyero would make sacrifices and give offerings to the gods for problems of rain, misfortune, blessings and child bearing.
The Source of the Nile
The Nile is the longest river in Africa and the start of its 6,500 kilometer journey to the Mediterranean Sea is near the adventure capital of Uganda, Jinja district. There are other places beyond Lake Victoria and Uganda that have claimed to be the rightful sources of the great Nile waters but even if they were right, Jinja will not relinquish its pride in being associated with this great river.
According to John Speke, the first European explorer who discovered the source of the Nile in Jinja, 30% of the Nile water comes from underground at a spot just a few meters from Lake Victoria. One can actually see the water bubbles at that spot which indicate there is water coming from underground. The remaining 70% is contributed by other water bodies, the biggest being Lake Victoria and others that contribute to the Lake Victoria waters.
The Nile has contributed to the modernization of Uganda, notably the Owen Falls Dam, the source of hydroelectricity for much of Uganda.
The Nile at Jinja that starts with such calm increases its intensity as it flows over several undulating rocks, squeezing through gorges and negotiating around numerous small islands. It plunges into a multitude of rapids punctuated by a series of astonishing waterfalls popular for white water rafting, kayaking and a variety of other water adventures. The white waters of River Nile combine with the lush vegetation along the its shores, on islands and peninsulas, the several bird species and the cool weather to create such fascinating scenery that feels almost spiritual to be amidst.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is the most isolated national park in Uganda. It is located in the rugged, semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with South Sudan and Kenya. Kidepo means “to pick from below,” and the valley was visited by people coming to gather fallen borassus fruit for fermenting to make palm beer. Kidepo has an abundance of wildlife, ranking it among Africa’s finest wildernesses. The park contains two rivers, Kidepo and Narus, which dry out in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife.
A trip to Kidepo is also ideal for a cultural walk, especially in the local communities around the park including the pastoral Karamajong and the Ik, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened. These nearby local communities possess teams of cultural entertainers that are normally accessible to offer performances on request. These performers have a wide range of traditional dances as well as songs for example the Emuya of the Nyangia as well as the Naporre ethnic groups along with the Larakaraka plus Apiti dances performed by the native Acholi people.
Kidepo has several exciting tourism activities in the wilderness of this area including nature walks, sightseeing, birding and hiking with game viewing of different game while driving in vehicles on the dirt roads that crisscross the southern and western parts of the park and the few improved roads exist and are easily passable no matter the weather.
Some of the favorite locations include Apoka Tourism Centre overlooking the game-rich Narus Valley and home to an upmarket lodge and simple UWA-run cottages. Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. Ranger guides are stationed at Apoka to escort tourists on game drives and walks.
Other sites of interest are the Kanangorok Hot Springs that lie 11 kilometers beyond the Kidepo river on the Southern Sudan border. This is a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier. There is also Mount Morungole that stands at 2,750 meters high and is crossed by the Kidepo and Narus rivers that nourish the park’s wildlife and this natural habitat as a whole.
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Transportation in a Tour Van/Landcruiser
Service of an English-speaking tour guide/Driver
All activities mentioned in the itinerary
Accommodation on full board
Entrance fees to all destinations as per the program.
Transfers to and from Airport/Kampala
Free WIFI for the entire trip
All activities not mentioned in the program
Phone call bills
Visas to Uganda
Gratitude to tour guides
Personal effects of any nature
Hotel fees before and after the safari