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I will never forget my first encounter with a family of wild mountain gorillas. I was sitting at my laptop watching YouTube. The clip – Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla – showed a family entering a camp near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A silver-haired tourist crouched beside a path while a silverback gorilla took up residence behind him. Little ones shimmied up to him for a closer look and gave his head a slow rummage, with a final pat before departing. A sort of ape pat of approval.
The footage is otherworldly. The man’s expression priceless. I have been having dreams about being tickled by these great apes ever since. Sometimes the dream ends with being flung across the jungle, but on good nights we have tea and scones together. My fascination with the mountain gorillas began after reading our Founder, David Ryan’s blog from 2007, Gorillas in the Mist and the sequel. His trip to Rwanda saw the birth of our gorilla trekking offering, and as a result, we’ve been sending clients to Rwanda and Uganda to experience the thrill of the apes consistently over the years.
In case you share my dreams and are having that “I must go now!” urge after reading this, we’ve put together two ready-made gorilla tracking tours for September this year – one to Uganda and one to Rwanda. Alternatively combine both in one trip. Find out more below and contact our gorilla experts to start planning.
While these tours are for set dates in September we can organise tailor-made gorilla trekking adventures for you at other times of the year too. Simply enquire for more info.
This three-night stay in northern Rwanda offers the opportunity to engage with the endangered mountain gorillas in the forests on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes. Experience one of the most captivating Rwanda gorilla tours we have to offer while also getting to immerse yourself in the local culture. Overnight at Virunga Lodge during your stay. COST: $5,271 per person sharing including 2 permits each.
8 Sept: Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda and travel to Virunga Lodge – about an hour’s drive from the entrance to Volcanoes National Park – with your expert safari guide. Includes lunch and dinner.
9 Sept: Go Gorilla Tracking in Parc National des Volcans; experience the Intore Dance Performance at Virunga Lodge; enjoy a complimentary massage. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
10 Sept: Go Gorilla Tracking – this second trip is usually a more engaging experience with more eye contact, as during the initial experience people are usually more focused on taking photos of the apes. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
11 Sept: Travel to Kigali and, time permitting, visit the Genocide Memorial. Includes breakfast and lunch.
Virunga Lodge is in one of the most stunning locations in Africa
This short three-night adventure takes you into the World Heritage Site of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of the mountain gorillas. Our ape cousins live throughout the forest so a variety of enchanting journeys are available through the primeval forest in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Overnight at Bwindi Lodge during your stay. COST: $ 3,062 per person sharing including 1 permit each.
6 Sept: Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda and travel to the Bwindi Lodge with your expert safari guide. Cross the border into Uganda and go on a self-guided River Walk. Includes lunch and dinner.
7 Sept: Go gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; witness the Orphanage Dance Performance; enjoy a Complimentary Massage. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
8 Sept: Go on forest walks in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; visit the Bwindi Community Hospital and the Ride 4 a Woman Community Sewing Project; go birding and explore the Batwa Trail. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
9 Sept: Travel back to Kigali and cross the Border into Rwanda. Time permitting, visit the Genocide Memorial. Includes breakfast and lunch.
There are several subspecies of gorillas, but the mountain gorilla is the most rare and most tracked. In the forested slopes of the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda there are several habituated family groups that tolerate the presence of humans. Accompanied by trained guides you will get to head up into the mountains to, hopefully, spend time with these most fascinating of primates, an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Find out more about gorilla tracking on our website and chat to our experienced travel experts about embarking on one of the above tours this September.
Tamlin has been exploring, writing about and photographing Africa ever since her first job as a photojournalist for Getaway Magazine. She's lived on an island, eaten with lions, sailed catamarans in the Indian Ocean, tracked wild dogs with Kinglsey Holgate, and white water rafted down the Zambezi and has kept just about every airplane ticket that has crossed her hands.
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