Ultimate Hike (Shortened) with Lake Mburo NP
Are you looking at our Ultimate Hike, wanting to add some safari elements but wondering if you have the time? This is an example of a condensed walking trip in the highlands with a touch of zebras and giraffes. (If you wish to treat yourself to more than a night in the wildlife-filled plains, consider Queen Elizabeth and/or Akagera National Parks instead.)
Hiking part zoom-in:
• experience the best of our Volcano Quest and Parks Reunited treks on a condensed schedule
• track mountain gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
• visit Lake Mburo National Park for a safari bonus
• take in some nightlife in the city of Mbarara
area: Kigali – Lake Bunyonyi – Lake Kayumbu – Mgahinga National Park – Lake Mutanda – Mbarara – Lake Mburo National Park – Entebbe
mode of transport: on foot and by car
total days on the ground: 8
DAY 1 (Kigali — Lake Bunyonyi)
As you wish to maximise your time, you will be catapulted from Rwanda’s capital straight onto Ugandan trails! The sooner you can leave Kigali the better, and after a couple of hours of driving you will find yourself on the tantalising shores of Lake Bunyonyi. Your overnight destination: Tom’s Homestay on Habukomi Island. Half a day of hiking and dugout canoeing shall be enough for you to get there — with stops at a traditional healer, a craftmaker (lunch stop) and a couple of tremendous viewpoints. A 40-minute intense climb will be included, but otherwise this is an easy day to warm you up for the physical challenges ahead!
[estimates: walking hours: 2-3 • start altitude: 1,950 m • peak altitude: 2,100 m • end altitude: 1,950 m]
DAY 2 (Lake Bunyonyi — Echuya Forest Reserve — Lake Kayumbu)
Today’s Big Trek means crossing the mountains and the forest and the swamp of Echuya Forest Reserve to reach Lake Kayumbu on the other side. This is a full-day affair, and you are going to start it early in the morning from the western shores of Lake Bunyonyi. You will be in the best possible hands: guided by a leader from the Batwa ”Pygmy” community. Gum boots for the marsh will be provided too, don’t worry. Your lunch will be in the form of a picnic somewhere on the way. As you sweat on the slopes, your vehicle will be making its way around, bringing your luggage, the tents and cold beer to our hosts at Lake Kayumbu. The second and last local dinner will be served here, and the little lake is very inviting for swimming.
[estimates: walking hours: 7-8 • start altitude: 1,950 m • peak altitude: 2,500 m • end altitude: 1,900 m]
DAY 3 (Lake Kayumbu — Mgahinga Gorilla National Park)
This is the day of picturesque hiking on the edge of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, however, first you will need to get to the other side of the tarmac road that connects Uganda to Rwanda. Prepare for gorgeous views but also quite some effort, as you will be walking on wobbly volcanic rocks. Your lunch will be a picnic again, and dinner served at Amajambere Guesthouse at the park gate where we will pitch our tents. After two nights away from power supply, electricity should be available here (but power cuts are sadly normal too).
[estimates: walking hours: 5-6 • start altitude: 1,900 m • peak altitude: 2,340 m • end altitude: 2,340 m]
DAY 4 (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park)
You have been granted the privilege to track gorillas in a tiny national park where not much physical effort is normally required. Gorillas move all the time, so it is possible that the bus will need to take you to another park gate for your tracking. Still, the activity is usually completed before lunch. The afternoon is for you to take easy, sipping beer while admiring volcano vistas. Your last night of camping will take place at Amajambere again.
DAY 5 (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park — Lake Mutanda)
Depending on how strong you still feel, you can hike to Kisoro Town or take your bus. In the town, there will be lunch awaiting you at a German lady’s little restaurant, and an opportunity to stock up at an Indian supermarket. In the afternoon you will hike across the hills to Lake Mutanda, enjoying a coffee tour on the way. Finally you will be then be taken by motorboat to the other side of the lake where a Dutch establishment, Mutanda Lake Resort, will become your home. This is a serious accommodation upgrade — let the end of your shortened Ultimate Hike be sweet and comfortable!
[estimates: walking hours: 4-5 • start altitude: 2,340 m • peak altitude: 2,340 m • end altitude: 1,800 m]
DAY 6 (Lake Mutanda — Mbarara)
You will be able to enjoy the morning on the lake in dugout canoes or paddle boards, or dip yourself in the waters. After lunch, however, you will need to hit the road with the bus for 4-5 hours. This is to reach Uganda’s second town, Mbarara, before the evening. Still strong enough for some night life?!
DAY 7 (Mbarara — Lake Mburo National Park)
About an hour away from the city, on the highway to Entebbe Airport, lies Lake Mburo National Park. It is not considered one of Uganda’s major parks but very conveniently located to give you a taste of the savannah. Zebras and giraffes are the main attraction here, and lack of predators allows for an unusual activity if you are so inclined: a walking safari. This is your last night in Uganda, perhaps you feel like splurging a bit?
DAY 8 (Lake Mburo National Park — Entebbe Airport)
You can devote your last morning in Africa to another game drive, a mountain bike trip, a horse ride or a swimming pool hour. After lunch the bus will takes you across the equator (definitely a photo moment!) towards Entebbe. This last ride should take about 5 hours, but it depends on the traffic very much … Your flight out is thankfully scheduled for late in the night.
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