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Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Uganda

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Trekking mountain gorillas is heralded as one of the most exhilarating bucket-list experiences in the world. There can be no better place to experience the gorillas than in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the birthplace of mountain-gorilla trekking.

Allow us to show you the most magical aspects of Uganda. Aside from tracking a family of mountain gorillas, you’ll take time exploring the jungle paradise of Bwindi.

You’ll also spend time with the Keepers of the Forest – the Batwa people, and get to know their culture and history. This safari also allows you to seek out the tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and to explore the biodiversity of Entebbe Botanical Gardens.

A bucket-list pilgrimage: mountain-gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park


Overview

Length: 6 Days / 5 Nights
Group Size: Flexible – you tell us how many in your party
Location: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park
Departure Dates: To suit you

From US$ 3,380 per person sharing (6 days)

Prices and dates

Number of travellers

Price per person sharing

Jan-Jun

Jul-Dec

1

US$ 3,955

US$ 4,055

2

US$ 3,380

US$ 3,480

3

US$ 3,185

US$ 3,285

4

US$ 3,120

US$ 3,220

5

US$ 3,080

US$ 3,180

Single person supplement

US$ 275

Price includes:

Accommodation and meals, gorilla-trekking permits, domestic return flight, transfers from the airfield, park entrance fees, guide fees and drinking water.

Price excludes:

International flights, personal insurance, beverages like beers and sodas, laundry and souvenirs

Number of travellers

Price per person sharing

Jan-Jun

Jul-Dec

1

US$ 6,370

US$ 6,470

2

US$ 5,920

US$ 6,020

3

US$ 5,720

US$ 5,820

4

US$ 5,655

US$ 5,755

5

US$ 5,520

US$ 5,620

Single person supplement

US$ 400

Price includes:

Accommodation and meals, gorilla-trekking permits, domestic return flight, transfers from the airfield, park entrance fees, guide fees and drinking water.

Price excludes:

International flights, personal insurance, beverages like beers and sodas, laundry and souvenirs

This epic gorilla-trekking safari allows you to explore Bwindi, one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa. Bwindi’s misty Afromontane forest is home to a wealth of birds (including Albertine Rift endemics), primates, orchids, majestic trees, shy ungulates, brightly coloured butterflies and enchanting waterfalls.

We offer a range of prices to suit your budget and aspirations. In Entebbe, you’ll stay at Karibu Entebbe (or a similar hotel), which allows easy access to Entebbe Botanical Garden.

Choose our budget option, and you’ll stay at Ride4aWoman, which offers guesthouse accommodation with an authentic Ugandan experience within close proximity to Bwindi’s gorilla trekking headquarters. The lodge is deeply engrained in the local Buhoma and Bwindi communities and helps to drive the local economy by supporting the progress of women and their families in Uganda.

Choose our mid-range option, and for the rest of your journey, you’ll stay at Buhoma Lodge, one of only two lodges set within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda – home of mountain gorilla trekking. The lodge is located a short walk from the trek briefing area.

Itinerary

Arrive in Entebbe, where you will meet an Africa Geographic representative and be transferred to your hotel.

After checking into your room, and taking some time to refresh, you can take a stroll to the nearby Entebbe Botanical Gardens – a lakeside paradise of blooms, lush vegetation, gnarled trees, and troops of stunning pied colobus monkeys.

Later, you will return to the lodge for dinner, and a brief rundown of what to expect the following day, before retiring to your room for a well-deserved rest. Your evening spent at the hotel will be on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.

Overnight at Karibu Entebbe or similar.

Shortly after breakfast you will be transferred to Entebbe Airport to catch a light aircraft flight to Kihihi Aistrip (1 hour). On arrival you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative who will whisk you off to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park for a morning of game viewing.

Located in the western arm of the Great Rift Valley, the park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephant, leopard, lion, hippo, buffalo, Uganda kob, baboon, and many species of birds. Featuring both a riverine and savannah habitat, the southern Ishasha area includes the massive Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda, and is home to the tree climbing lions typically found in the area. You’ll also enjoy an afternoon game drive, and continue your search for the area’s fascinating creatures.

After wrapping up your game drives, you’ll head to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a World Heritage Site. Considered the most diverse forest in Uganda, Bwindi is one of the richest ecosystems in East Africa and home to over 120 mammals, 345 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and 160 species of trees. The park contains an estimated one half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site.

You’ll reach your lodge in good time for a shower and a change of clothes, and then take a well-deserved chance to unwind at the bar or restaurant whilst your dinner is served.

After supper you will be debriefed about the following day’s trek – the single most exciting day of your trip, where your first mountain-gorilla trekking experience is in store.

Overnight at Buhoma Lodge or Ride4aWoman.

After breakfast you will be taken on a short drive to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest headquarters where you will meet with the park rangers, local gorilla-trekking guides and trackers who will lead you into Bwindi’s Mountains for your first trek with gorillas. Before departing, you will be given an informative talk on gorilla trekking etiquette, and assigned to your gorilla family group.

Your gorilla trek commences in the general direction of the last sighting of your assigned family group. The trekking can take between 1–6 hours and you could climb to altitudes above 7,500 feet / 2,300 metres. The terrain in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park can at times be muddy and slippery, but your experienced trackers, rangers and porters will ensure that the group progresses at a pace that is comfortable for everyone, with frequent stops and opportunities to experience the views and take photographs.

Although the gorilla-trekking experience can be physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery always makes trekking a worthwhile experience. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten – replaced by the joy and amazement of watching the gorillas go about their daily routine. The gorilla group is likely to be chilled out and eating wild celery, indulging in grooming, or involved in other primal social activity.

After your experience with the gorillas, you will return from your gorilla trek to the lodge for a shower, a change of clothes and a well-deserved relaxing afternoon.

Overnight at Buhoma Lodge or Ride4aWoman. 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has six main hiking trails that fan out from Buhoma Lodge. Nature walks offer a rewarding adventure that allow you to explore and discover Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. You will set off from your lodge with an armed park ranger to protect you and guide you through the wealth of biodiversity that you will find every step of the way. Expect to get up close and personal with a wealth of birds, primates, orchids, majestic trees, epiphytic plants, shy ungulates, brightly coloured butterflies and enchanting waterfalls. A choice of falls has been selected and there are various options available to suit a wide range of fitness levels.

After lunch you will be taken to visit one of the coffee-growing farms that are supported by Gorilla Conservation Coffee, a social enterprise that buys coffee from farmers who live adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – paying a premium price and giving a donation to sustain the critical health and conservation work of Conservation Through Public Health.

Gorilla Conservation Coffee trains coffee farmers to improve their coffee quality and increase production yield, helping farmers protect the forests and thus conserve Uganda’s mountain gorillas. The coffee blend is named after Kanyonyi, the legendary silverback gorilla from the Mubare family.

Overnight at Buhoma Lodge or Ride4aWoman.

For thousands of years, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has been home to the indigenous Batwa people. On Day 5, you’ll set out to meet and learn about the Batwa people, their lifestyle, history, traditions and ancestral knowledge of Bwindi.

The original dwellers of this ancient jungle, the Batwa are known as “the Keepers of the Forest.” The Batwa have a long and rich history with the forest. They previously survived off of the forest, hunting small game using arrows or nets and gathering a wealth of plants, berries and fruit. The Batwa lived in huts constructed of leaves and branches, moving frequently in search of fresh supplies of food. The Batwa lived in harmony with the forest and its creatures, throughout Africa’s equatorial forests for 60,000 years or more.

In 1992, the lives of the Batwa changed forever. When Bwindi Impenetrable Forest became a national park and World Heritage Site to protect the 350 endangered mountain gorillas within its boundaries, the Batwa were evicted from the park. They had no title to land, nor compensation. The Batwa thus became conservation refugees in an unfamiliar, unforested world. Many Batwa died during the early years of exile, and the tribe’s very existence was severely threatened. In 2001, medical missionaries purchased land and established programs to improve conditions for the tribe. With the community, they set about building homes, schools, a hospital and clinics, and developing various projects around water and sanitation and income generation, in turn promoting indigenous rights. These activities are now being assumed by the Batwa and other local staff through the Batwa Development Program (BDP).

After spending time with the Batwa, you will return to the lodge for lunch and an afternoon at your leisure. For those feeling energetic, head out on a mountain biking trail on Bwindi’s trails and tracks. Talk to us to arrange this activity.

Overnight at Buhoma Lodge or Ride4aWoman.

After a lazy morning wake-up routine, you will enjoy breakfast and transfer to Kihihi airstrip.

Here you will board your light aircraft to return to Entebbe. An Africa Geographic representative will meet you and assist you to find your way into the International terminal where your outbound flights depart.

*Should your flight depart later in the day, let us know and we will arrange a day-room nearby, or design a final day program - there are plenty of options on offer to tailor-make your last day in Uganda.

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