Uganda Gorilla Safari
4 days / 3 nights
It is a privilege to spend time with gorillas. I know this for a fact because I count myself extremely lucky to have tracked and observed Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi, Uganda several years ago. Bwindi is situated on Uganda's extreme western border, very close to the geographical heart of Africa where the confluence of the Rift Valley and the Great Lakes have created an eco-system that perhaps defines the very essence of the continent. Fittingly, Bwindi is one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an enduring pocket of a huge primeval forest that once stretched from the Virunga Volcanoes in the South to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North. The fertile 331 square kilometers of the park contain 113 species of mammals (including a herd of the rare forest elephant), 200 species of butterfly, over 360 species of birds and a prodigious 324 tree varieties (10 of which are endemic to the park). In addition to this incredible diversity, Bwindi is home to seven species of primates, attracting the attention of international conservation efforts, of which the most endangered is that elusive giant of Africa- the Mountain Gorilla. Only 600 of these magnificent animals remain worldwide, and Bwindi is home to just over half of them.
This 4 day fly-in safari takes you into the heart of Bwindi, staying in the only property within the park’s boundaries, affording you a unique opportunity to enjoy gorilla tracking, primate viewing and birding excursions in the park.
Your overnight stops:
• Gorilla Forest Camp (3 nights)
• Accommodation as specified
• Permits for 2 days’ Gorilla Trecking
• All inter-camp charter flights as mentioned in the itinerary
• All meals and drinks as specified
• Activities as specified
Meals included each day are indicated (B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
Day 1 Arrive Uganda – Transfer to Gorilla Forest Camp (L,D)
On arrival into Entebbe you will be met by a local representative and transferred to your charter flight to Bwindi in the Mountains of the Moon where you stay at the Gorilla Forest Camp. Gorilla Forest Camp is a permanent luxury tented camp nestled in the mist-swathed rainforests of a mountainside in the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla Forest Camp has been designed to blend seamlessly into this most atmospheric of environments, carefully-appointed towards the misty valleys and looming, forest-clad mountains that protect this fragile eco-system. Accommodation is in 8 double tents, raised on wooden platforms, each with en suite facilities and hot and cold running water, WC, basin and unusually – a bathtub looking out onto the forest. Each tent has a spacious wooden verandah where guests can relax, enjoy a private meal and absorb the exotic mystery of the surrounding rainforest that provided the inspiration for the animation of Disney's The Jungle Book.
The Gorilla Forest Camp offers a bar and dining cottage overlooking the rain forest, as well as a raised natural platform for open air dining. At night, a traditional African campfire is lit from where a lecture might be given by a visiting primatologist, the gorilla briefings are undertaken or guests simply admire the myriad brilliance of Bwindi's crystal clear mountain sky.
Days 2&3 Gorilla Tracking (B,L,D)
The gorillas you will track will belong to one of the three ‘habituated’ family groups in Northern Bwindi. The Mubare Group, the Habinyanja Group and the Rushegura Group. For up to five years each, these groups have undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually made them used to the presence of humans, and allowed a few privileged visitors to interact with them briefly in the wild.
The gorillas are by no means tame. They are completely wild animals, which even now tolerate human presence for an hour a day at most. Experienced guides will accompany you on your tracking, many of who have been involved in the habituation process themselves. These guides will brief you in detail on your arrival on the various aspects of ‘gorilla etiquette’, but the information contained in this set of guidelines is to help you arrive for your track well prepared and ready to enjoy this unique opportunity to the full.
Gorilla tracking is a year-round activity, with no season as such. The rain forest is moist, and it rains very often in Bwindi, even in the dry season.
Tracking commences every morning from the park headquarters at 0830 hours. There is a daily maximum of 8 visitors to each gorilla group, and each group is accompanied by a guide and by porters who will carry your shorter pack for you. The gorillas cover large distances overnight, and they are never constantly in one area. The guides will use their knowledge of the gorillas’ habits and information from the previous day to locate the group’s whereabouts. Because of this, the time taken to track the gorillas varies enormously, from as little as half an hour to as much as 9 hours before one returns to camp. The terrain is extremely difficult, with steep slopes (often steeper than a flight of stairs) covered in dense vegetation that gives the park its name. In addition, the altitude of 5200 feet and more means participants do need to be physically fit to enjoy the track.
Once the gorillas are located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. After this, you will return to the park headquarters and your camp.
Day 4 Bwindi National Park – Entebbe (B)
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast at the camp before your charter flight to Entebbe, where you connect with international flight to your next safari destination.
For more information or to book your Uganda Gorilla Safari, please contact us.
photo copyright: Craig Sholley