ULTIMATE UGANDA – HORSE RIDING & GORILLA TREKKING

11 Nights: From $5 950

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Two bucket list adventures – horse riding along the River Nile and gorilla trekking in Bwindi

A gorilla trek is often one of the major reasons why people visit Uganda. Combine this once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience with 7 days of horse riding along the world’s longest river, and you have an unforgettable adventure.

This horse riding holiday gets you entirely off-the-beaten-track! For those looking for something a little less ordinary, we’ve put together the perfect action-packed vacation package.  The adventure starts in Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria. On the drive to Jinja, you’ll get to see what the early explorers set out to find – the source of the longest river in the world! Leaving the city behind, you’ll be immersed in rural Africa, riding through traditional villages, rich farmlands and stunning rain forest. During the week, you’ll stay in some unique lodges, from a cabin in the forest to an island retreat in the middle of the Nile! Besides incredible horse riding, there is a day set aside to take on the famous white water rapids, head out on a sunset cruise or just take in the endless views.

Horse riding in Uganda is phenomenal, with ever-changing terrain and incredible vistas. Enjoy long gentle rides overlooking the rushing river below before following the trail to get lost in the sugarcane fields. Weave your way through the tea and coffee plantations and feel like a jungle explorer as you make your way through the dense Mariba forest. The dirt tracks through the farmlands are perfect for long canters, and there are some brilliant spots for faster gallops! Ride uphill to viewpoints overlooking the seemingly endless Lake Victoria and see the river snaking its way through the emerald countryside.   The horses are incredibly well trained, forward going and love showing off their little piece of paradise. To get the most out of this exciting experience, we recommend that you are confident in the saddle, being able to trot and canter for long periods – You’ll be well rewarded!

Roughly half of the world’s gorillas live in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, just over an hour’s flight from Entebbe. Stay on the shores of Lake Mutanda, where the distant mountains and volcanoes form a magical backdrop to your adventure. The lake offers a variety of exciting activities and is the perfect base for your gorilla trekking experience.  The hike, which requires a reasonable amount of fitness, takes you through spectacular rainforest and bamboo covered slopes of the park, accompanied by expert guides and trackers. The walk can be tough in places, but when you catch your first glimpse of a silverback and his family, the excitement makes it all worthwhile. It is an extraordinary feeling being in the presence of these incredible creatures and an experience you will never forget.

  • QUICK FACTS
Jinja, Uganda
Entebbe International Airport
Set departures – Closed April, May and November
From 11 nights
Group Size: Max. 6
Minimum: 2 
Beginner and Above
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ride alongside the majestic River Nile and to its source at Lake Victoria
  • Go trekking into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for an unforgettable encounter with mountain gorillas
  • Enjoy a multitude of activities such as a sunset boat cruise, white water rafting and swimming on horseback in the Nile
  • Incredible views of the Ugandan countryside and an insight into rural Africa at its best
  • Stay at some of Uganda’s most unique lodges, from a cabin in the forest, a luxury lodge in the middle of the River Nile and a beautiful lake resort with endless views.
THE DESTINATION

The River Nile & Lake Victoria

The iconic River Nile is generally regarded as the longest river in the world. Famous as the historic source of the Nile River, Jinja is considered the adrenaline capital of East Africa. Here you can get your fix of white-water rafting, kayaking, quad biking, mountain biking and horse riding in a gorgeous natural setting. Riding along the banks of the River Nile, you’ll reach the shores of Lake Victoria, stretching all the way to the horizon – appearing more like a sea than a lake. The tropical climate means that the shores of Lake Victoria and the River Nile are lined with lush forests and green farmlands.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Part of the green swathe of rainforest that cloaks the Rift Valley mountains, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa. Home to around half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, it offers Uganda’s best gorilla trekking. Professional guides will take you into the heart of this teeming ecosystem in search of habituated gorilla families, and you’ll spend a magical hour with these incredible creatures.  The lush forest is also filled with 11 other species of primates as well as a haven for shy forest elephants, over 350 bird species and a number of colourful butterflies.

DATES & RATES

From USD6 150 per person sharing – this rate is dependant on the time of year and number of travellers. Once we have an idea of dates, we can give you an accurate quotation. 

Set-departures throughout the year – best time of year June – September

Enquire for specific dates

Includes

  • 11 nights Accommodation throughout the trip
  • Transfers to and from Entebbe Airport to Jinja
  • Return flights from Entebbe to Kisoro (approx $530)
  • Gorilla Trekking Permit (approx $700 each)
  • All meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All drinks at meals and when riding (excluding Lake Mutanda)
  • All riding on well-trained and responsive horses
  • Activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Knowledgable and Professional Guiding

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Visas (approx USD50)
  • Drinks at Lake Mutanda
  • Lunch, dinner and drinks in Entebbe
  • Additional overnight in Entebbe if applicable
  • Comprehensive Travel and Medical Insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Additional activities like White Water Rafting, Village Walks etc
YOUR ITINERARY

** Please note that this is a sample itinerary, and may change due to weather etc. All changes will always be with your best interests at heart. On riding days, the riding may be longer or shorter than indicated in the itieneary.

We recommend doing the horse safari first, followed by the gorilla trekking. This may be affected by availability of accommodation and the limited number of gorilla trekking permits.

There is no fixed itinerary at Mutanda Lake Resort. We will book your Gorilla Trekking permits for you – the trekking is a full day activity. Some guests choose to do 2 days of trekking or embarking on other hikes in the area. Let us know your interests and we can advise you. On non-trekking days, you can do one of the many of the other activities available at the lodge which can be organized on arrival. Should there be no availability at Mutanda Lake Resort, we can look at alternative options around Bwindi.

Day 1 - Arrival and introductory ride

Book your international flights to Entebbe International Airport. Many flights arrive in the morning so you can head straight to the start of your adventure.  If you choose to arrive a day early and overnight in Entebbe, we can arrange a hotel for you. On the first day of your trip, you will be met at around 9am and transferred to Jinja. It’s about a 3-hour drive, depending on the traffic, and takes you through lush farmlands and colourful markets.

Arrive at Holland Park near Jinja where you’ll be welcomed by a cold drink and endless views of the River Nile. Once you’re settled in, take a short walk down to the edge of the river and board the River Nile boat cruise. Enjoy lunch as the team briefs you on what to expect over the next exciting week.

After meeting the horses and your guides, mount up for a 1 and a half-hour ride to get to know your horse. Riding in the beautiful afternoon light, as the sun starts to sink, you will explore the local village and the banks of the River Nile.  Enjoy dinner overlooking the Nile and spend the night at Holland Park.

Day 2 - Ride through the sugar and tea plantations

After waking up to a glorious African morning and delicious breakfast, set off for a 4-hour ride through the sugar plantations and traditional villages. This is a circular route through the lush and fertile countryside. Riding up the hills to your lunchtime picnic spot; there are some stunning vistas of the countryside below. You will have the opportunity for some long canters, and if you’re keen, some blood pumping gallops – Reveling in the freedom and wide-open landscapes. Spend the night at Holland Park.

Day 3 - The shores of Lake Victoria

After a delicious breakfast, hop in the car for a day of adventure. The horses will be transported to your starting point and if you like, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a local school before you mount up. Feel free to bring any primary age books you can spare to donate to the library! Then set off for a wonderful 5-6 hour ride around Lake Victoria, along winding roads and through beautiful forests and plantations. Cool off in the waters of Lake Victoria after many epic canters (and even a few sneaky gallops if you’re up for it!) before ascending to the viewpoint where a picnic awaits. Today’s lunch spot is nestled in the hills overlooking the lake and Jinja town. The ride boasts stunning views of the lake, surrounding sugar plantations, and traditional villages. After your ride, you’ll be transported to Rain Forest Lodge where you’ll spend the night.

Day 4 - Rainforest Ride

After breakfast, mount up and spend 3 and a half hours winding your way through the endearing Mabira forest, searching for rare forest primates like Grey-cheeked Mangabeys and other local monkey species that are only found in this forest. This can be an adventure in itself, as the forest can be muddy in patches and your guides might have to create a new path for the horses, cutting through the jungle. There are even a few streams to ford or jump over, but it’s all part of the fun! Riding around the corner, you’ll find a lovely lunch and birdwatching spot set-up in the shade of the beautiful forest canopy. Return to Rain Forest Lodge in the afternoon for an afternoon siesta, a chill session by the pool or even indulge in a massage. Spend the night at Rain Forest Lodge.

Day 5 - Rainforest to river

Today you will enjoy around 5 hours of riding through tea plantations, lookout points and forest terrain. Lots of scenic walks and brilliant fast canters! Arrive at your next destination – the Haven – in time for a late lunch, or have enjoy another picnic lunch set up in the tea plantations. Spend the afternoon by the pool or even take a dip in the river as you enjoy views of the impressive white water rapids. Fish Eagles, otters and monitor lizards are regularly seen from the bar. As the sun goes down, the red-tail monkeys put on an acrobatic display as they leap from tree to tree. Spend the night at The Haven.

Day 6 - Optional White Water Rafting or other activity

Today is a free day to enjoy other activities in the area. Spend the day thrill seeking with some of the most spectacular white water rafting in the world with warm water and excellent rapids – an unforgettable experience! If rafting isn’t your thing you may wish to go quad biking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, kayaking or a birding trip up the river. None of these activities is included as part of the trip but can be arranged for you. Let us know if you have any special interests or chat to the team when you’re there.  You can also choose to just relax at the Haven on your private verandah complete with a hammock. Spend the night at The Haven.

Day 7 - Horseback swim and ride to Wildwaters Lodge

Rising on your last morning of the trip, enjoy an early horseback swim in a beautiful bay with a sandy bottom, no hippos or crocs, followed by a scrumptious breakfast. The Nile provides some great views of the rapids as we follow the river downstream. Your final ride will give you a lookout point for a birds-eye view of the Nile and then a fast-paced ride to Kalagala Falls. After saying goodbye to your horse, you will board a small boat to Wild Waters Lodge – a breathtaking lodge situated on an island in the middle of the Nile. Enjoy lunch and drinks as you take in the scenery, then check into your luxury room for the night. Enjoy an afternoon swim, in the incredible pool surrounded by massive white water rapids. Enjoy dinner, reminiscing over the week’s adventures, and taking in the wonderful and surreal setting. Spend the night at Wild Waters Lodge.

Day 8 - Onwards travel to Entebbe

Depending on your plans, indulge in breakfast and free time at the lodge before the drive back to Entebbe. While you’ll need to check out of your room at 10h00, you can still enjoy time around the swimming pool or reading in the lounge. You’ll be collected for your drive back to Entebbe where you’ll overnight at one of the comfy guesthouses. We recommend Guineafowl Lodge if you’re on a budget or The Boma.

Day 9 - Flight to Kisoro

It’s an early morning start as you get picked up for your flight from Entebbe to Kisoro Airport. As you fly over the country, you might get a glimpse of the Volcanoes and lakes below. On arrival, you’ll be collected and driven through the village and countryside, getting your first sight of Lake Mutanda through the groves of banana trees. On arrival at the lake, you’ll have a welcome drink and quick briefing. Settle into your room overlooking the lake before a late breakfast or early lunch. For those who want to catch up on sleep, relax in your room, take a nap in one of the garden hammocks or chill on one of the decks overlooking the lake. For the more active, go for a swim in the clear waters of the lake, hop on a SUP or head out on a guided boat tour of the islands. Dinner and overnight at Lake Mutanda Resort

Day 10 - Gorilla Trekking!

Another early morning, but definitely worth it! Your driver will collect you for a scenic drive to reach the park headquarters on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Your driver will chat with you about your expectations for the trek and your fitness level. He’ll do the registration on your behalf and chat to the head ranger about which family might suit you best. The park rangers will brief you on gorilla etiquette! It sounds strange but there is a certain way to behave when you encounter these amazing creatures; after all there will be nothing between you these incredibly powerful animals apart for a few metres of fresh mountain air! After your briefing, you’ll meet your rangers and porters and then head into the forest. The hike varies between 30 mins and several hours, depending on where the particular family is located that morning. There are eight gorilla families that are habituated in that section of Bwindi and you’ll get to spend an hour or so with them. It’s one of the most unforgettable wildlife encounters imaginable! You’ll get back to the lodge in the afternoon, with an incredible sense of achievement.

Day 11 - Free day or second trek

Many guests choose to do a second day of gorilla trekking – if this is something you would like to do, let us know in advance so we can purchase a second permit for you. There are also some great hikes in the area; perhaps you want to climb one of the intimidating summits in the distance, or venture into the Sabinyo gorge. You can also book a trip to the nearby Mhahina National Park to search for the Golden Monkies. If you’re not feeling overly active, today is one of those glorious days where you can sleep in after over a week of early mornings. You can enjoy a few hours canoeing or boating around the lake, relaxing in the gardens or visiting the local village. Overnight at Mutanda Lake Resort

Day 12 - Departure

Enjoy a last breakfast overlooking the lake before heading back to Kisoro airport as the sun comes out. Board your scenic flight over the lush green countryside, arriving back in Entebbe around 11 AM. Depending which airline you are travelling with, you might be able to fly on the same day otherwise you may require an additional night in Entebbe. If your flight departs at night, we can also book a day room for you to use.

THE ACCOMMODATION

Holland Park

This little gem of a lodge is located in a beautiful spot at the top of a hill and boasts wonderful views of the Nile. The cottages can accommodate up to 4 people and all overlook the river. Standard rooms are set away from the edge of the river, but overlook the tropical gardens. The lodge is surrounded by lush gardens and home to a variety of birds and monkeys. The pool and big veranda are the perfect spots to watch the river change colours throughout the day.

Rain Forest Lodge

The lodge is situated in the peaceful and magical Mabira forest. Each wooden room is secluded and has its own private balcony overlooking the rain forest so you are completely immersed in nature. Enjoy dining in the raised stone restaurant, have a sundowner by the bonfire or relax in the pool surrounded by the tall trees.

The Haven

A peaceful and relaxed River Lodge that boasts great views over the starting point of rafting at the first waterfall of the river Nile.  This tranquil setting allows you to relax and gaze into the fast flowing water of the longest river in the world. You can watch the fish eagle, otters, monitor lizards, monkeys and numerous species of birds from the spacious terraces and enjoy the delicious food of the restaurant and bar.

Wildwaters Lodge

Staying at Wildwaters is a unique and spectacular experience; the Lodge is situated on its own private island, surrounded by luxuriant rain forest, out in the middle of the flowing Nile River. This breathtaking property has 10 rooms, all with private decks offering views of the river and equipped with elegant free-standing baths and washbasins carved from the local pink granite. Walk along the raised wooden walkways which gracefully link the rooms to the restaurant and bar area. Here you can lose yourself in a book in their lounge, sunbathe on the deck, or dive into the beautiful pool. No matter where you are, you’ll be surrounded by incredible white water. You might not want to leave, so if you have a little extra time, how about adding one extra night?

Mutanda Lake Resort

This lodge is found on a private peninsula in Lake Mutanda with the Virunga Mountain Range as a backdrop. Guests can stay in one of 18 en-suite raised cottages that come in single, double/twin, and triple room configurations. Each cottage is perched on a wooden platform and has a private verandah with uninterrupted views of the lake.  Enjoy delicious meals from the restaurant and sundowners on the main verandah. Keep your binoculars ready to catch a glimpse of the otters that live on the shore! There are some amazing activities at the lodge and it is the perfect base for your gorilla trekking experience.

QUICK FACTS
Jinja, Uganda
Entebbe International Airport
Set Departures
From 11 nights
Group Size: Max. 6
Minimum: 2 
Intermediate and Above
View Gallery
11 Nights: From $6 150 pp sharing

See Detailed Rates

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS
Beginner
Novice
Intermediate
Intermediate Plus
Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ride alongside the majestic River Nile and to its source at Lake Victoria
  • Go trekking into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for an unforgettable encounter with mountain gorillas
  • Enjoy a multitude of activities such as a sunset boat cruise, white water rafting and swimming on horseback in the Nile
  • Incredible views of the Ugandan countryside and an insight into rural Africa at its best
  • Stay at some of Uganda’s most unique lodges, from a cabin in the forest, a luxury lodge in the middle of the River Nile and a beautiful lake resort with endless views.
DATES & RATES

From USD6 150 per person sharing – this rate is dependant on the time of year and number of travellers. Once we have an idea of dates, we can give you an accurate quotation. 

Set-departures throughout the year – best time of year June – September

Enquire for specific dates

Includes

  • 11 nights Accommodation throughout the trip
  • Transfers to and from Entebbe Airport to Jinja
  • Return flights from Entebbe to Kisoro (approx $530)
  • Gorilla Trekking Permit (approx $700 each)
  • All meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All drinks at meals and when riding (excluding Lake Mutanda)
  • All riding on well-trained and responsive horses
  • Activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Knowledgable and Professional Guiding

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Visas (approx USD50)
  • Drinks at Lake Mutanda
  • Lunch, dinner and drinks in Entebbe
  • Additional overnight in Entebbe if applicable
  • Comprehensive Travel and Medical Insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Additional activities like White Water Rafting, Village Walks etc
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

It was a great, amazing, cool, top experience to ride the Tuliblock in Botswana. 8 day's on a back of a horse and view a lot of game. The guides and staff were great. So I will come back!

Nicole PlasTuli Safari, Botswana
READ MORE REVIEWS

How we care for our horses

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses at the Nile are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:
  • Horses undergo a morning medical including checking temperatures, a physical exam for any cuts, bruises or lameness.
  • Horses are washed down each morning or taken for a swim in the Nile
  • Dentist, vet and farrier are flown in regularly for checkups. The team is well trained in hoof care, shoeing, veterinary, osteopathy and horse management.
  • Horses spend the morning in stables when not ridden, and afternoons and nights in large paddocks in a natural herd environment.
  • All tack is well-fitted and cleaned regularly by a dedicated team member

Please let us know if you have any more questions around this.

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