Days
9
Price from
$5,430USD

Get close to the rare mountain gorillas of Uganda on this intimate and unforgettable adventure

The feeling of laying eyes on a family of rare mountain gorillas in the wild is a hard one to describe. Crouching in primeval forest as a mother plays with her babies close by is an experience few humans ever get to have, and for good reason. There are only about 700 mountain gorillas left in the world, and half of them can be found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Led by a local driver/guide, join a small group of eight travellers on this special expedition into the untouched Ugandan wilderness. Spend two full days trekking in the park to see the gorillas, learning about the important conservation work of local rangers and wildlife organisations and falling asleep to the sounds of the forest. You'll also explore Queen Elizabeth National Park – home to elephants, tree-climbing lions, buffalo and Ugandan kobs – on exciting game drives. If you're after a truly wild and unforgettable adventure, this is it.


Start
Entebbe, Uganda
Finish
Kampala, Uganda
Country
Uganda
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Wildlife
Code
PFGU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 4, Max 8

Why we love this trip

  • Spend two days trekking (with an optional third) through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to get close to Uganda's rare mountain gorillas. With plenty of time in the park, you'll get to see two different gorilla families interacting in their natural habitat.

  • Both Gorilla Permits are included in the trip price!

  • Travelling in an intimate group of maximum eight passengers allows for greater mobility and more face time with your local guide and expert conservationists.

  • With all transfers done by 4x4 or plane – including a flight from Entebbe to Queen Elizabeth National Park – you'll spend less time on the road and more time exploring Uganda's wildlife-rich wilderness.

  • Enjoy a bush breakfast and keep an eye out for elephants, antelope, birds and famous tree-climbing lions on game drives through Queen Elizabeth National Park.

  • Wake up to spectacular views of the forest canopy during a four-night stay at Buhoma Lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  • Sit down to dinner with a local park ranger, learning about life in the wilderness and their special relationships with the mountain gorillas. This is one dinner conversation you've likely never had before!

  • Meet with a representative of Gorilla Doctors and gain insight into their important veterinary and conservation work. Their international team of veterinarians are the only group providing these critically endangered animals with direct, hands-on care in the wild.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, humid, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous walking. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours up and down hills (perhaps pack some gardening gloves to assist in any up-hill climbs). But the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty.

  • Travelling in November will allow you to take advantage of cheaper Gorilla permits and cheaper prices. However this is the rainy season and you should be prepared for some rain, but don't let this deter you. See the 'Climate and seasonal information' for more details on what to expect. July is considered to be Peak season ( Dry Season ) for trekking in Uganda and both permits and prices in general are more expensive.

  • The gorilla trek is a shared activity. You may be split into different groups according to fitness level, and be accompanied by other travellers on your trek. However there will only be a maximum of 8 people per gorilla family, plus a local Uganda Wildlife Ranger, and trackers.

  • We will be stayjng in a wilderness camp in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Spacious canvas rooms are comfortably furnished and boast large porches. They have ensuite bathrooms and dressing areas with running water for hand-basins and flushing toilets, with hot ‘bush’ showers.

  • On this trip you will be accompanied by a local driver/guide who will meet you on arrival at Kihihi Airstrip on Day 2. However you will be met and briefed by our local operations Manager on Day 1.

Itinerary

Jambo! Welcome to Uganda. On arrival into Entebbe, meet your Peregrine representative and transfer to your guesthouse (approximately 15 minutes away). There will be an important group meeting at 6 pm this evening at the accommodation. Please speak to reception for details, and ensure that you're there on time.

If you arrive into Entebbe with time to spare, spend some free time getting to know the city. Perhaps wander through the town's old colonial gardens, or take a walk by Lake Victoria.
Accommodation
  • Boma Guesthouse or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Entebbe - Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

This evening at the welcome meeting you will receive a full trip briefing by our local operations manager. Your driver/guide who will accompany you on the rest of the trip will meet you on arrival at Kihihi Airstrip tomorrow along with the vehicle.

A compulsory on ground payment of $100USD per person is payable on Day 1 of this trip. This includes a donation to the Gorilla Doctors and directly supports the great work they do.
Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Kihihi Airstrip (the flight is just under 2 hrs). On arrival at the airstrip, the group will jump into 4x4's with the our driver/guide and transfer to our camp, situated within the Southern Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Ntungwe river.

En route to your camp ( a further 25km's ), enjoy a game drive through the park. Recently designated a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity by UNESCO, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda's most outstanding treasures. Covering around 2,000 square kilometres, it encapsulates a remarkable variety of eco-systems, from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannahs and swamps.
It is the home of the famous tree-climbing lions, the Uganda kobs and other antelopes as well as elephants, buffalo's, hippos, baboons, leopards, and chimpanzee. Over 500 species of bird have been recorded here making it a prime target for birdwatchers.

After the game drive, settle into your camp and enjoy dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Ishasha Wilderness Camp or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The flight to Kihihi will be unacompanied and we will be met on arrival by our driver/guide who will accompany us for the rest of the trip.

Our Camp has ten spacious framed canvas rooms, situated in the wooded area besides the river. They are comfortably furnished with large mosquito netted beds, private en suite bathroom and dressing area providing running water. Hot water ‘bush’ showers and a flushing eco-friendly toilet.
Early this morning head back into Queen Elizabeth National Park on another game drive, keeping your eyes peeled for elephants, tree-climbing lions, buffalo and Uganda kobs. The park is also home to other antelopes, hippos, baboons, leopards and chimpanzees, as well as over 500 species of birds. Afterwards, make your way back to the camp for lunch.

Later in the afternoon, head out on another game drive and enjoy a relaxing, scenic sundowner in the middle of the African wilderness. As usual, dinner will be served back at the camp.

Accommodation
  • Ishasha Wilderness Camp or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game Drives
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, share a bush breakfast with the group before departing Queen Elizabeth National Park and heading towards Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. As it's just a short 60-kilometre drive, we should arrive in time for lunch.

Check into Buhoma Lodge, your home for the next four nights and the feature stay of this trip. The lodge commands spectacular and uninterrupted views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which is home to the rare and elusive Mountain Gorilla. Situated within the park, the lodge is a short distance from the meeting point for gorilla tracking and other activities in the area.

Accommodation is in spacious cottages, each with its own private porch, allowing wonderful views of the forest canopy. Inside you'll find comfortable beds and an ensuite bathroom with flushing toilet and hot shower.

This afternoon, put on your boots and enjoy a walk to some waterfalls inside the forest.
Accommodation
  • Buhoma Lodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Bush Breakfast
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Forest Walk to Waterfalls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
During your stay at the lodge all meals are included and hot beverages are available throughout the day on a self service basis. A complimentary laundry service is also included for guests. The lodge also offers a free massage for all guests during their stay. Make sure you book this is in on arrival to ensure you don't miss out!
Solar power is used for lighting at the lodge, with power points ( UK square 3-pin plugs 240v ) limited to a central area allocated for recharging cameras and videos.
An early morning wake-up call comes in the form of hot tea or coffee delivered to your cottage this morning. After breakfast, take a short walk ( 5mins ) to the park headquarters where you’ll be briefed on the gorilla trek by the Uganda Wildlife Authorities.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was declared a World Heritage site in 1994 because of its incredible biodiversity. This small pocket of primeval forest in the Virunga Mountains protects about half of the world's remaining 700 mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees and several species of monkeys.

Gorilla trekking is highly controlled, with only 24 gorilla trekking permits available each day. Once a trekking group encounters one of the gorilla families, only one hour is granted in the presence of the great apes before trekkers must leave, however reluctantly. Be aware that the trek can be strenuous and may reach altitudes of almost 2,000 metres above sea level. Depending on weather conditions, some of the paths can be slippery and these paths themselves can change depending on the location of the gorillas. Therefore it is very hard to predict how long you will need to walk for, but a very good level of fitness is recommended for this trek.

You can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, and seeing their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. From a safe distance, watch them eat, sleep, groom and play – the giant silverback surveying the scene. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the wilderness.

After the trek, head back to the lodge for dinner, where the group will be joined by a local ranger from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Rangers have some of the most important roles in conservation – protecting the gorillas and their habitat from the wider world and acting as the eyes, ears and voice of the forest. In an often harsh environment, they manage to build intimate, lasting and life-saving relationships with the animals. Tonight's dinner presents a great opportunity to ask questions about gorilla conservation and the life of a ranger.
Accommodation
  • Buhoma Lodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Gorilla Trek and Permit
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Dinner with Ugandan Wildlife Authority Park Ranger
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The gorilla trek is a shared activity. You may be split into different groups according to fitness level, and be accompanied by other travellers on your trek. However there will only be a maximum of 8 people per gorilla family, plus a local Uganda Wildlife Ranger, and trackers. If you have any concerns about the duration of the trek or your fitness levels please speak to your guide who can arrange for you to be assigned to one of the shorter treks.
Walking sticks are available on loan (FOC) from the lodge. They will also pack us a more than ample lunch and cold water flasks will be provided.
You will need to bring your own day pack to carry your lunch, water and camera. Local porters can be hired to carry your packs. This can be arranged at the start of the trek.
Check out the packing list for other essential items.
Rise early for another day of trekking to see these incredible animals – this time with a different gorilla family. This evening we'll have the opportunity to meet with a representative from Gorilla Doctors.

Gorilla Doctors operate in all three countries where mountain and Grauer’s gorillas live: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Their veterinarians monitor each and every habituated mountain gorilla living in these parks on a routine basis. They are only able to monitor and treat gorillas in habituated groups—groups that have grown accustomed to the presence of humans. Luckily for the veterinary team, most of their patients are easy to find and comfortable being observed at close range.

In addition to monthly visual health checks, Gorilla Doctors relies heavily on the observations of trackers working for the national parks and organisations like the Karisoke Research Center of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The trackers see the gorillas every day and are trained to look for any behavioral changes and other signs that could indicate illness and injury.

Yoiu can read more about the great work they do here:
http://www.gorilladoctors.org/saving-lives/gorilla-health-threats/infectious-disease/
Accommodation
  • Buhoma Lodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Gorilla Doctors Educational Talk
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Second Gorilla Trek and Permit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enjoy a bit of a sleep in today before enjoying a late breakfast. Afterwards, drive on to Kanyonza tea factory (approximately 30 minutes). The factory's manager who will explain the steps involved in picking, processing and packing tea. Tea is one of Uganda's major export products.

Head back to the lodge in the afternoon, where you may like to enjoy a complimentary massage to loosen up any stiff or tired muscles. Dinner will be at the lodge in the evening.

Please note that if you are interested in trekking to see the gorillas again today, this can be arranged. Please speak to your booking agent about purchasing an additional gorilla permit.
Accommodation
  • Buhoma Lodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kanyonza - Tea Factory Visit
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Complimentary 1 hour massage
Optional Activities
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Village visit and cultural performance - USD20
  • Bwindi Forest Nature Walk - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Passengers who opt for a third optional trek today will not be able to join the group at Kanyonza tea factory.
Today is a long travel day (approximately 520 kilometres). Check out of the lodge and depart Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for Kampala, stopping over at the equator on the way. The group should arrive into Kampala sometime in the early evening.

Uganda's capital has evolved into a thriving modern hub. Head outside of the city's chaotic centre up Nakasero Hill and you'll find peaceful streets lined with trees, embassies, shops and exclusive restaurants popular among the expat community.

Check in to your boutique hotel and enjoy one last final dinner with the group, perhaps exchanging contact details and reminiscing about your Ugandan wildlife adventure.
Accommodation
  • Kololo Villa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kampala - Visit to the Equator
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Your adventure comes to an end today after breakfast. If you'd like to stay on and explore Kampala on your own, we're more than happy to organise extra accommodation (subject to availability). Please speak to your booking agent.

Our sister company Urban Adventures offers a number of great day tours in Kampala. Please see their website for more information:
http://www.urbanadventures.com.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
A departure transfer can also be arranged ( for an additional cost ) if you are flying out of Entebbe Airport. Please ensure you allow approximately 1hr to get to the Airport.

Meals

8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

4x4 Safari Vehicle, Plane

Accommodation

Lodge (4 nights), B&B (1 night), Suite (1 night), Wilderness Camp (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Entebbe - Complimentary airport arrival transfer
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game Drives
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Bush Breakfast
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Forest Walk to Waterfalls
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Gorilla Trek and Permit
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Dinner with Ugandan Wildlife Authority Park Ranger
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Gorilla Doctors Educational Talk
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Second Gorilla Trek and Permit
  • Kanyonza - Tea Factory Visit
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest - Complimentary 1 hour massage
  • Kampala - Visit to the Equator

Dates & availability

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Important notes

MINIMUM NUMBERS:
This trip requires a minimum of 4 passengers to depart. Please do not book any non-refundable flights or services before the departure is guaranteed to depart.

GORILLA PERMITS AND DEPOSIT:
Gorilla Permits need to be bought in advance. In order to secure them, an additional non-refundable deposit of ( AUD1000, USD1000, EUR800, NZD1250, GBP650, CAD1000, ZAR8000, CHF900 ) is needed to secure the permit at time of booking. We also require full passport details at time of booking. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 65 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking.

ARRIVAL TRANSFER:
An arrival airport transfer is included on Day 1of this trip. Please ensure your flight details are provided to your Travel Agent at least 15 days prior to your departure.

INTERNAL FLIGHT:
There is an internal flight on Day 2 from Entebbe to Kihihi Airstrip ( Queen Elizabeth National Park ). This flight will be unescorted. The luggage allowance on this flight is strictly 15 kilos in soft bags. This allowance includes all hand baggage.
A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for more information.

GROUND PAYMENT:
A compulsory on ground payment of $100USD per person is payable on Day 1 of this trip. This includes a donation to the Gorilla Doctors and directly supports the great work they do.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.