The opportunity to see the rare and endangered mountain gorillas is surely one of nature’s most magical privileges. Totally different to any other safari experience, an exhilarating trek with knowledgeable rangers will lead you in to the heart of the gorilla's natural wild habitat.
You might first spot young gorillas – climbing, play fighting and testing the patience of their elders – their child-like behaviour endearing and enthralling. Watch as an adult female comes into view, a tiny wide-eyed baby clinging to her back. And there’s nothing like feeling the eyes of a dominant Silverback fixed upon you – not welcoming, not threatening but, for a moment, interested in you as another intelligent being.
The journey to reach these majestic creatures may be long, arduous and literally breathtaking – but the reward is a captivating and truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Uganda with its green savannah, deep lakes, soaring mountains and tropical forests is home to half of the world's last remaining mountain gorilla population. On a Uganda gorilla safari, travel deep into the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and see these incredible creatures from closer than you ever thought possible.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and alongside Uganda, one of the best places to see these majestic primates. Home to around 270 habituated mountain gorillas, it is the region where naturalist Dian Fossey carried out much of her valuable research.
All precautions are taken to protect the gorillas. Visitors are asked to keep a distance of seven metres between themselves and the gorillas to reduce the risk of transferring human diseases. Viewing times are limited to one hour to minimise the impact on the gorillas’ natural environment. There is a strict maximum of eight people per group, and only one visit to each gorilla family per day.
Permits are required, which do considerably increase the cost of gorilla trekking. The cost of a permit ia approx. £800 per person. However, the majority of these costs go towards funding the maintenance of the park and conserving its wildlife.
Safari in Uganda, Rwanda or Tanzania and you'll have the opportunity to spend some time with wild chimpanzees. They are real characters, living much of the time high in the trees but coming down to travel, they spend their days in search of food and new nest sites. A number of chimpanzee groups are habituated to human presence and the best places for seeing them are Mahale Mountains in Tanzania.
Kibale Forest in Uganda now has a programm where you can spend a day in the lives of chimps, walking with them and observing them throughout the day with expert guides. Other locations for chimpanzee safaris in East Africa are Gombe Steam in Tanzania, Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, throughout Uganda at Budongo, Semilki and Kyambura Gorge.