This Gorilla Trekking Overland Adventure travels into the rainforests of central Africa to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Getting up close to these gentle primates in their natural habitat is an extraordinary experience!
Highlights on this overland camping trip include the beautiful countryside of Uganda, known as the Pearl of Africa, adventure activities in Jinja or a trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Crossing into Kenya, visit Lake Nakuru National Park, home to endangered black and white rhino, leopard and rich birdlife, as well as Lake Naivasha, which hosts large pods of hippo along with an array of beautiful water birds.
An incredibly scenic and special safari, exploring Kenya and Uganda where you encounter the rare African mountain gorillas in the wild!
This Gorilla Trekking Overland Adventure begins in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. We set off from Kampala early on the first morning travelling southwest to picturesque Lake Bunyonyi. Our long drive takes us through rural Uganda, known as The Pearl of Africa as Winston Churchill called it when encountering the incredible beauty here.
We spend our first three nights camping at a resort along the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, a scenic lake dotted with islands.
The deep crater lake serves as a convenient and pretty base from which to go African Mountain Gorilla Trekking over the next few days. We usually trek in Bwindi National Park or Magahinga National Park of Uganda. Sometimes the gorilla trekking takes place in Virunga National Park (DRC), or Ruhengeri National Park (Rwanda) if trekking permits are not available for Uganda. If trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, extra visas will be required at additional cost.
The price of the permit for gorilla trekking is currently about US$600, but is subject to change. The permit fee contributes to conservation, helping to protect the gorillas against poaching and snares. A handling fee of about US$120 (subject to change) is also charged per person for the return transfer and Wildlife Authority fees, and tips for guides are also recommended. The permit fees are payable in USD cash, at the start of this Overland Gorilla Trekking Safari. At the start of the safari your guide will brief you on the particulars of the gorilla trek and help with online visa arrangements for Rwanda if required. Please budget for extra visa costs if you plan to go gorilla trekking.
With only about 700 African mountain gorillas remaining in the wild, gorilla trekking is a rare and unforgettable experience. The cost of the gorilla trekking permits is mostly used by the national park to fund conservation and promote awareness.
If you have flu symptoms or any transferable disease you will not be allowed to trek gorillas, and a minimum age restriction of 16 years applies. The number of daily visitors allowed on the gorilla treks is limited, thus we trek in small groups over 3 to 4 days.
The rangers lead you into the rainforest to find a family of gorillas. Sightings cannot be guaranteed, but the gorillas are monitored improving chances of seeing the gorillas. Gorilla trekking can take between 45 minutes to 8 hours depending on the location of the gorillas. Groups spend a maximum of one hour with the mountain gorillas, to ensure that the animals do not get too accustomed to humans and to protect them from any of our diseases. The visit allows enough time to watch the gorillas up close and take photographs. Your ranger will be able to tell you more about the mountain gorillas as well as the local flora and fauna.
Spending time with the gorillas in the rainforest you will get to see them feed, interact and rest. Watching the young at play and the bonds between the gorillas is a remarkable sight, especially given how much their ways resemble our own. Amongst our closest relatives, being close to them can be a moving experience - seeing a mother and her baby together, noticing the protective silverback or watching the gorillas groom each other is truly special. After spending an hour with the gorillas we trek back to the meeting point and transfer to our resort at Lake Bunyonyi.
After trekking wild mountain gorillas in the rainforests and relaxing at Lake Bunyonyi we return to the city of Kampala. Along the way we pause at the Equator to take photos where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet.
Uganda covers diverse landscapes and ecosystems, with habitats varying from fertile forests and green zones around Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains and the semi-desert region to the north. Tourism and large-scale development have grown slowly and relatively recently in Uganda, therefore it is a less commercialized destination - offering a more authentic African experience. Travellers are drawn to Uganda because it is less westernized, in addition to being beautiful and hosting rare mountain gorillas.
Enjoy a night out on the town or rest after a long day on the road.
Today you can participate in optional activities or take it easy at the camp along the river and do some bird watching.
One of the most popular things to do in the area is to take a boat ride out to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria. Visiting the island you will get to see some of the over 40 orphaned chimpanzees living on the island, as well as spotting monitor lizards, an array of birds and other creatures.
Alternatively you can enjoy one of the adventure activities offered in Jinja. White water rafting on the White Nile is rated as some of the best in the world! Other options include quad biking, kayaking, horse riding, mountain biking and volunteering at a local community project.
On day seven we drive across into Kenya, heading into the Great Rift Valley and Nakuru town. Nearby Lake Nakuru National Park is set around the Rift Valley lake of the same name, a soda lake attracting abundant birdlife.
We stay on a farm near the town. The accommodation is operated by a non-profit organization and our stay contributes to the expenses of the orphanage it runs.
Spend the day game viewing in the scenic Lake Nakuru National Park, a relatively small yet important protected area.
The national park is home to one of the highest concentrations of rhinos in Kenya so we are likely to sight white or black rhino here. On our game drive we look out for Rothschild's giraffes, buffalos, zebras and even lions, and the occasional leopard. Hippos are always seen, along with baboons and warthogs. Lake Nakuru is renowned for its waterbirds, including migratory species and when conditions are right, massive flocks of flamingos.
In the afternoon you have the option of visiting the children at the local orphanage.
Today we travel up to Lake Naivasha, located 1880 m above sea level, this is the most elevated of the Great Rift Valley Lakes. The shallow lake attracts an abundance of birds, with over 400 species recorded, as well as hippos and other animals.
Optional activities at Lake Naivasha include a visit to Elsamere, the home of Joy and George Adamson who raised Elsa the lion, as captured in the movie and book called Born Free. Other options - taking a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride through the Hell’s Gate National Park just south of the freshwater lake.
On the final day of this Overland Gorilla Trekking Safari we have breakfast and drive to Nairobi, bringing our journey to a close early in the afternoon.
If you prefer fixed accommodation to camping there is an accommodation upgrade available for this tour. Please see the Full Pricing information above for details.
This safari departs from Kampala in Uganda early on Thursday mornings and ends in Nairobi, Kenya. Pre- and post-tour accommodation (extra cost) can be booked through African Budget Safaris.
This itinerary may vary depending on road, weather and political conditions, and group decisions. All prices and Local Payments are subject to change. Due to Tourism Laws there may be a truck and crew change during the safari.
For booking purposes please notify African Budget Safaris should you choose not to go Mountain Gorilla Trekking.
Please note this tour or a portion of this tour may coincide with a family departure, in which case, children from 6 years old may be included in the tour. Please contact African Budget Safaris to confirm.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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