The safari of choice for primate enthusiasts, this epic journey will give you the chance to track both mountain gorillas and western lowland gorillas on six separate trekking excursions (with the possibility of a seventh trek added in for good measure).
The gorilla may not be humanity's closest living relative – that honour goes to the chimpanzee and bonobo – but for many, there are few experiences more powerful in the natural world than coming face to face with gorillas. This ultimate gorilla safari is tailored for the ultimate gorilla fan, providing no fewer than six opportunities to see the apes first-hand. Spending time with these amiable apes is an experience that will last long in the memory – pay close attention to the play of light and shadow among the foliage and watch how the gorillas interact with one another, from the smallest baby to the mighty silverback. By all means, take your camera, your batteries and your equipment, but try to take to time to truly immerse yourself in your surroundings, and connect with these intelligent primate cousins of ours as they go about their lives mere metres away from you. Watching a gorilla through a lens is magical enough in itself, but to look into one’s eyes with your own is to truly get a sense of our place in the world.
A "true island in the sky", Volcanoes National Park is home to some of the world’s few remaining mountain gorillas, which were first studied here in 1959 by George Schaller, and through the 1960s by Dian Fossey and her colleagues. The gorillas are by no means tame, and are completely wild animals. However, experienced guides will accompany you on your gorilla trekking, many of whom have been involved in the habituation process themselves. The guides will use their knowledge of the gorillas' habits and information from the previous day to locate the group's whereabouts. An early start to make your way to the park headquarters where you are assigned a ranger and a gorilla group. Tracking the gorillas can take anything from four to eight hours in steep, muddy and lush green terrain! It is, however, the experience of a lifetime... coming across these amiable primates in their natural surroundings is quite awe-inspiring as you watch them go about their daily lives, playing, grooming and eating!
Set out for a kayaking excursion on the Lekoli River and keep your eyes peeled for forest buffalo and colobus monkeys as you gently drift down the river. Parking your kayak on the banks, set off on a walk through the forest with your guide on hand to point out various local species of flora and fauna.
Watching from your camp vantage point out into the marshy bai in front of camp which attracts huge flocks of African grey parrots and African green pigeons, and at night, forest elephants. Look out for the multitude of resident bird species that make this forest their home – over 2,500 species are found here due to the diverse array of pristine habitats this area offers. Transfer from Lango Camp to Mboko Camp via a game drive and a walk along a wooden path raised over a swamp. Add to your birding count or seek out red river hog and harnessed bushbuck, which are regularly seen around camp.
The mountain gorillas in Bwindi are part of a worldwide population of just 1,000. The gorillas you can track belong to one of three habituated family groups. For up to five years each, these groups have undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually brought them to tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day, allowing a few privileged visitors to interact with them. The gorillas are by no means tame, and are completely wild. Experienced guides will accompany you, many of whom have been involved in the habituation process themselves. 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 nine hours. Ideally, try to spend as little time a possible behind your camera lens, so you can fully appreciate this remarkable experience.
Track some of the world's few remaining mountain gorillas in both Uganda and Rwanda. Embark on further tracking excursions in the Republic of Congo, in search of the western lowland gorilla.
Immerse yourself in the montane forests of Bwindi in Uganda. Discover rare species such as forest elephant, forest buffalo, bongo, sitatunga, various monkeys and the many rare birds that inhabit the wilderness of the Republic of Congo.
In the depths of a tropical marantaceae forest, on the edge of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Ngaga Camp offers a true gorilla experience. Built from local, sustainable materials and inspired by the designs of the Ba’Aka Pygmy groups, it has been built with the lightest possible environmental impact.
Nestled into the South Central section of the Republic of Congo’s Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Lango Camp gives guests the opportunity to explore the rainforest in seclusion. Built using naturally sourced, local materials and inspired by the designs of the local Ba’Aka Pygmy Groups, the camp blends into its surroundings for minimum environmental impact. Secluded within dense gallery forest, each of the rooms overlooks the productive Lango Bai from a wrap around viewing walkway.