CHIMPANZEE & GORILLA TREKKING

UGANDA: Gorilla & Chimpanzee trekking

7 DAYS

WHY YOU’D LOVE IT!

Journey through the home of almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the extraordinary Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Unlike the adrenaline-pumping thrill of predator pursuits on savannah safaris, the fascination of chimp trekking is more personal. Imagine seeing yourself reflected in the expressive face of an animal with which you share 98% of your DNA.

In the heart of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, trek through mist-covered slopes in pursuit of the world’s largest living primates.

Kibale National Forest is referred to as the primate’s capital of the world because of the sheer variety/density of primates and for being the best place to track chimpanzees in East Africa!

Highlights

 

OVERVIEW

Itinerary at a glance

◽️ DAY 0    | Travel

      Departure

◽️ DAY 1    | Kenya

     Nairobi arrival

◽️ DAY 2   | Uganda

     Entebbe arrival

 

◽️ DAY 3-4 | Uganda

      Kibale National Park

◽️ DAY 5-6 | Uganda

      Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

◽️ DAY 7 |   Travel

     Return / Onwards Travel

 

MAP

MAP

Visualize your journey!

What to Anticipate on a Gorilla Tracking Adventure

WHAT TO ANTICIPATE ON A GORILLA TRACKING ADVENTURE

Prepare for an early start to the day. Make sure to set your alarm for an early wake-up call, as you’ll need time to freshen up, get dressed, and have breakfast before departing from camp at 7:45 am. Opt for neutral-colored clothing and pack rain gear. It’s essential to wear long sleeves and trousers tucked into your socks to guard against ants, stinging nettles, and brush.

Upon reaching the park headquarters, you’ll join your guide(s) and tracker(s) to commence tracking. The lead tracker will search for clues like footprints, chewed bamboo, or dung to pinpoint the gorilla group’s location.

It is highly recommended to hire a personal porter (arranged and paid locally) to assist during the trek.

NOT JUST A WALK IN THE PARK

Mountain gorillas thrive in densely vegetated areas with abundant low-growing vegetation, often scaling steep slopes for their preferred food. Consequently, tracking them can be physically demanding. Expect a trek of three to four hours or longer, traversing challenging terrain like mud, slippery slopes, stinging nettles, and thick vines.

Proper footwear and attire are crucial, as is good health and physical fitness. Engaging in pre-departure exercises such as walking, stair-climbing, or cycling can help build endurance. Consult your doctor for personalized recommendations.

Trackers typically allow brief rest breaks, but they maintain a brisk pace to ensure ample time for gorilla observation within daylight hours. If you lag behind or encounter difficulty, a staff member will stay with you while the rest of the group proceeds.

SCENTING GORILLAS!

You might detect the gorillas’ scent before spotting them. As you draw nearer, the tracker may emit soft sounds to signal your approach. If your trek isn’t overly long, you may encounter gorillas during their midday rest and playtime.

During the visit, the dominant male, usually a silverback, may lounge while youngsters frolic in the surroundings. Females tend to nurse and interact with infants. While curious adolescents might approach, touching gorillas is strictly prohibited.

Keep Low and Quiet

Your group will be instructed to crouch and stay together while observing gorillas. The dominant male prefers visibility to ensure his family’s safety. Avoid direct eye contact, as gorillas interpret it as aggression. Maintain a submissive posture and observe them from a low angle.

Occasionally, a male gorilla may charge as a display, but it’s typically a bluff. Remain crouched and composed; the gorilla will likely retreat. Such displays are part of their behavior, especially with habituated groups.

Tracking groups spend up to an hour with gorillas per excursion to minimize stress. Photographs are allowed from a low position without flash, and touching gorillas is strictly prohibited.

CAN I TAKE PHOTOS OF THE GORILLAS?

Yes, photography is permitted, but it must adhere to the constraints of a gorilla visit: photos should be taken from a low, crouched position with slow and minimal movement. Avoid taking an excessive number of photos and never use a flash. Recording videos of the gorillas is allowed, but only without illumination lights.

CAN I TOUCH A GORILLA?

Absolutely not. Gorillas are naturally curious, particularly the younger ones, who may approach or try to touch human visitors. It’s essential not to reciprocate this behavior. Guides may intervene to discourage such interactions, as they could provoke a response from the dominant male. Under no circumstances should you attempt to approach or touch a mountain gorilla.

IS THE TREK DURATION AND DIFFICULTY PREDICTABLE?

Tracking conditions vary based on the gorillas’ location, making it impossible to forecast the specific difficulty of any trek in advance. It’s conceivable that you might locate the gorillas swiftly and return in time for lunch, or the trek could extend for three to four hours or longer each way, concluding near sundown.

WHAT IF THE TREK BECOMES TOO CHALLENGING?

If you find the forest trek too demanding, inform your guide. Depending on your stopping point, you may either return immediately to the trail’s base with a tracking staff member or remain in place until the group returns.

CAN I ARRANGE A PRIVATE GORILLA VIEWING?

No, all gorilla tracking occurs in small groups of four to eight people per gorilla family. Visits are restricted to one hour per family per day to minimize stress on the gorillas, regardless of the group size. Given the limited time available, private visits cannot be arranged.

WHAT IF I'M UNWELL ON THE DAY OF THE EXCURSION?

If you have a cold, respiratory infection, or diarrhea, you won’t be able to visit the gorillas, as these illnesses can be transmitted to them. Notify your guide, and your gorilla tracking permit fee  might be refunded. If you proceed with the trek while unwell and are detected by the guide, you’ll be escorted back immediately, and the permit fee won’t be refunded.

DOES A&K GUARANTEE QUALITY TIME WITH THE GORILLAS?

No one can guarantee uninterrupted gorilla encounters. Although trackers are skilled at locating signs of gorillas, success isn’t guaranteed. Additionally, consistent clear viewing at close range may be challenging due to dense vegetation where gorillas roam.

Please Note: Afrca Photo Safaris are not  involved in the management or operation of Uganda’s national parks and reserves, including Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where gorilla tracking occurs. These areas are solely under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

GORILLA TREK PACKING LIST SUGGESTION

Kindly note that the packing list below is just a mere guideline as you may have your own preferences

  • 1-2 long sleeved shirts
  • 3 short sleeved t-shirts
  • 2 –3 pairs of light weight slacks/trousers – that can dry quickly (if wearing on treks)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 sweater or sweatshirt
  • A waterproof and windproof jacket
  • 1 skirt ( for women)
  • Gloves – gardening or similar (for gorilla trekking)
  • Strong waterproof walking boots – pants should be tucked into socks and boots while trekking
  • (heavy soled rain boots also work well)
  • Pair of sports sandals like Tevas
  • Hat-wide brim or with a visor for sun protection
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight wool socks
  • Swimsuit (and a plastic bag)

 Miscellaneous

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Insect repellent with DEET
  • Small day pack
  • Flashlight
  • Binoculars
  • Extra batteries
  • Camera and extra lenses
  • Film particularly fast film for the gorillas.
  • Personal toiletries
  • Prescription medicines and possibly prescription itself

First Aid Kit including rehydration sachets, anti-diarrhea medicine, aspirin, cold medication, antiseptic cream, band-aids, motion sickness pills, lip balm, eye drops and personal medication.

DAY 0  |  Dates to be updated

YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS NOW!

📍 Depart home

DEPARTURE

Your adventure starts now!

Embark on an African safari and anticipate witnessing breathtaking landscapes, encountering diverse and majestic wildlife in their natural habitats, and immersing yourself in the rich cultural experiences of the continent.

* See your safari itinerary for transfer logistics

DAY 1 | Date to be updated

NAIROBI (Kenya)

Nairobi overnight

📍 Tamarind Tree Hotel

TAMARIND TREE HOTEL

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city. In addition to its urban core, the city has Nairobi National Park, a large game reserve known for breeding endangered black rhinos and home to giraffes, zebras and lions. Next to it is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Located in Nairobi, with easy access to Nairobi's Wilson airport. The perfect arrival spot  and arrival overnight accommodation.Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is approx 10 miles away

B&B

HOTEL

OVERNIGHT

DAY 2 | Date to be updated

ENTEBBE (Uganda)

Entebbe overnight

📍 The Boma

THE BOMA

Guest House Overview

Arrival at Entebbe Airport, where you will be welcomed by a representative and transferred to the guesthouse (5–10 minutes) Welcome to the Pearl of Africa! On the shores of gorgeous Lake Victoria, Entebbe is an attractive, verdant town that served as the capital city during the early years of the British protectorate. Visit nearby natural attractions like the Botanical Gardens, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Mabamba Swamp Visit, and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

The charming property is situated in tropical gardens on the outskirts of Entebbe, just 5 minutes from Entebbe International Airport. A tastefully restored colonial homestead consisting of comfortable bedrooms Each of them is decorated with African themes and has their own private bathroom. A diners’ bar is set in a landscaped garden with lake views. The main house includes a private dining veranda and a living room for overnight guests.

Arrive, unwind, relax, enjoy lunch or dinner, and get ready for your Gorilla adventure!

B&B

LODGE

OVERNIGHT

DAY 3-4 | Date to be updated

KIBALE FOREST

Chimpanzee Trekking

📍 Primate Lodge

KIBALE NATIONAL FOREST

Area Overview

Kibale National Park is covered with tropical rain forest containing big tall trees where the primates inhabit from, plays, feed and build their nests to sleep in.

The park is recorded to inhibits 13 famous primate species that is the interesting endangered chimpanzees, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, L’hoest’s monkeys, Uganda Red Colobus Monkeys, Central African Monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey and many more. Of all these amazing primates chimpanzees have the highest population with over 1500 chimpanzee individuals.

The endangered chimpanzees in Kibale National Park offer the most interesting and exciting chimpanzee tracking experience and chimpanzee habituation where you get a chance to see your close related cousins!

Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee trekking day! Kibale Forest is the capital of primates which consists of the highest population of chimpanzees with over 1500 individuals and note that Uganda hosts a total number of about 5,000 chimpanzees in different natural habitants but the biggest number can be encountered in Kibale.

Day schedule:

After breakfast, transfer to the Park offices to meet your Chimpanzee tracking Guide/Ranger. Following a pre-tracking briefing, you drive to the trailhead for the start of an unforgettable adventure – hiking in the footsteps of the large habituated family of chimpanzees, over 120 strong, that has made Kibale the foremost tourism destination in Uganda.

Upon sighting the chimpanzees, you will stay with them for one unforgettable hour as they go about their daily life – growling, grooming, barking, feeding, taking care of their young; agilely climbing up trees and dropping off like thuds before disappearing like they were spirits all over and around you Afterwards, you hike back to the trailhead to re-join your Driver/guide and drive back to the lodge for a welcome shower and lunch, and story time galore.

PRIMATE LODGE

 Lodge Overview

Primate Lodge Kibale’s principal edge is it's location:  tucked deep in the forest and right next door to the starting point for Chimpanzee tracking excursion as well as the incredible Chimpanzee Habituation, really, two of the most genuinely breath-taking wildlife experiences on the planet.

All of the 9 spacious and en-suite luxury cottages, each secluded deep in the forest for maximum privacy and a natural ‘living in nature’ feel, come complete with 2x Double size Bed or 1x King Size Bed, a sitting area with two comfortable arm chairs, a reading table and an adjoining large veranda with excellent views to the forest.

Arrive at Kasese Airstrip where you will be welcomed by a representative and transferred to the lodge. Arrive, unwind, relax, enjoy lunch/ dinner and get ready for your next adventure!

 

 

FULL BOARD

LODGE

TREKKING

DAY 5-6 | Date to be updated

BWINDI FOREST

Gorilla Trekking

📍 Mahohany Springs Lodge

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

Area Overview

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest! is a biodiverse, mountainous area in southwest Uganda. An ancient rain forest, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest extends over a series of steep ridges in the Virunga Volcanoes mountain range. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site due to its ecological uniqueness and natural beauty, roughly half of the world’s total gorilla population live in this park.

The Mountain Gorillas are among Uganda’s top tourist attraction. While trekking these great creatures, the experience and excitement you encounter while with them is really worthwhile. Tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest can be conducted all year round.

Gorilla trekking is a unique, thrilling and fulfilling experience – it is a journey leading one to appreciate the hidden treasures of Uganda. There are over 36 gorilla groups within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest but only eleven can be visited for gorilla tracking since others are still undergoing habituation process. Visiting one or more habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is worth as each of them tells different stories which afterwards rewards visitors with unforgettable experiences of a life time. The habituated gorillas are now used to humans but they are wild. So anything unexpected can happen-follow the guides rules you will get no harm normally you do not eat or drink when you’re with the gorillas. You should keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, although of course the gorillas themselves are unaware of this and will often get very close, in which case you should try to move away.

ACTIVITIES
Meet the gorillas eye to eye in the wild and spend a full hour watching, photographing and learning about these great apes that are only found in Uganda!

.

 

 

Activity:Gorilla Trekking

 MAHOGANY SPRINGS

 Lodge Overview

Set on the banks of the pristine Munyanga River and facing the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest! A huge terrace wraps around the main building, from where guests can enjoy views of the forest and relax to the sound of the river flowing gently by. Sink into a chair in front of the fireplace in the living room with a book, or enjoy a drink from the bar before sitting down to dinner in the restaurant or out on the terrace.

Most of the produce used is grown on-site to ensure everything is as fresh as it is delicious.

FULL BOARD

LODGE

TREKKING

DAY 7 | Date to be updated

RETURN

RETURN

Morning transfer to Kihihi airstrip. Depart Kihihi to Entebbe. Fron Entebbe, depart on a commercial flight to Zanzibat, with layover in Nairobi.

SAFARI COST

Click button below to DOWNLOAD the PDF

USD $ 6,335 to be updated / pps*

____________

*pps=per person sharing

Minimum of 2 pax traveling

INCLUDES:

Return Flights between Nairobi & Entebbe 

Domestic Flights: One way- To Kasese Airstrip from

Entebbe Int’ Airport

Permits: Chimpanzee Tracking USD 200.00 

Domestic Flights: One way- from Kasese Airstrip to

Kihihi Airstrip

Permits: Gorilla Tracking- Non Residents USD 700.00 

Domestic Flights: One way- From Kihihi Airstrip to

Entebbe Int’ Airport

SAFARI DATES & DETAILS

Click button below to DOWNLOAD the PDF

____________

* Always check the document date and refer to the latest version

TRAVEL INFO

  • Health & Vaccines, Visas & Passports, Connectivity, Power adaptors, Travel insurance, Credit Cards, Tipping guide,Packing list and more

INCLUDED*

  • Experience of a lifetime
  • Accommodation
  • Road transfers
  • Tours & Activities
  • Meals & Drinks
  • Tour Guide (where applicable)
  • Airport & airstrip transfers
  • Park fees, levies & taxes (unless otherwise indicated)
  • Inter-Africa commercial & light aircraft flights

____________

* As indicated on your detailed safari itinerary

EXCLUDED*

  • International airfare
  • Personal gifts & purchases
  • Incidental charges
  • Travel insurance
  • Conservation fees*
  • Visa fees
  • Balloon safari* (if applicable)
  • Laundry*
  • Tips

____________

* Unless otherwise indicated on your itinerary

GORILLA TREK PACKING LIST SUGGESTION

Kindly note that the packing list below is just a mere guideline as you may have your own preferences

  • 1-2 long sleeved shirts
  • 3 short sleeved t-shirts
  • 2 –3 pairs of light weight slacks/trousers – that can dry quickly (if wearing on treks)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 sweater or sweatshirt
  • A waterproof and windproof jacket
  • 1 skirt ( for women)
  • Gloves – gardening or similar (for gorilla trekking)
  • Strong waterproof walking boots – pants should be tucked into socks and boots while trekking
  • (heavy soled rain boots also work well)
  • Pair of sports sandals like Tevas
  • Hat-wide brim or with a visor for sun protection
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight wool socks
  • Swimsuit (and a plastic bag)

 Miscellaneous

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Insect repellent with DEET
  • Small day pack
  • Flashlight
  • Binoculars
  • Extra batteries
  • Camera and extra lenses
  • Film particularly fast film for the gorillas.
  • Personal toiletries
  • Prescription medicines and possibly prescription itself

First Aid Kit including rehydration sachets, anti-diarrhea medicine, aspirin, cold medication, antiseptic cream, band-aids, motion sickness pills, lip balm, eye drops and personal medication.

KENYA VISAS

  • Note that your need to apply for a MULTIPLE ENTRY visa for  Kenya
  • Local host details to be used for Tanzania & Kenya  applications

TANZANIA VISAS

  • Note that your need to apply for a MULTIPLE ENTRY visa for  Kenya
  • Local host details to be used for Tanzania & Kenya  applications

UGANDA VISAS

  • Note that your need to apply for a SINGLE visa for Ugand
  • Local host details to be used for Uganda  applications

    PASSPORTS

    • Email or Whatsapp a clear color copy of your passport
    • Expiration date valid at least 6 months past return dates
    • Please check the number of blank Visa pages required by each country

    CONTRACT

    • Download the Safari Contract
    • Take a picture with your phone of the first & last page and email back
    • Include APPENDIX C / Indemnity for each person going on the safari

    GUEST INFORMATION