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Join gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and chimpanzee walking in Kibale National Park. Meet some of the rarest primates of Africa one amazing trip. You will have the chance for once in a lifetime encounters with mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the afromontane and tropical rainforests of Uganda.
The maximum participants in the group is 7.
A long cherished dream of an Africa enthusiast came true in 2013, the establishment of the lodge in the the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Gorilla Valley Lodge is situated at the southern edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park on a hill near Rushaga, close to Rushaga Uganda Wildlife station.
The lodge consists of 12 rooms, with spacious private bathrooms, toilets, and dining and waiting areas beautifully situated in lowland evergreen forest allowing breathtaking views of the African eden, rich with wildlife and at a close distance the majestic Virunga Volcanoes. Every room has been lovingly furnished with twin beds and decorated in a modern retro style.
Gorilla Valley Lodge is a slice of wilderness paradise far from the madding crowd; a place of renewal and reconnection with the natural world. One could never get closer to Bwindi! The gentle giants are at home at the lodge. Sometimes the gorillas come out of the forest to spend some time feeding and playing in the gardens. From the veranda of the rooms you can almost touch this national park and home of the famous mountain gorillas.
On the highest part of the hill is the location of the main building with restaurant and bar. From here the view is amazing! At the lounge, you can relax by the fire but you can also make yourself comfortable on the veranda. In the restaurant, they offer the best of two worlds: an international buffet prepared by an Ugandan chef.
Where better to capture the thrill of a howling black and white colobus or to listen to the wood owl calling his partner, than from the comfort of your tent in Kibale Forest Camp? Get absorbed by forest smells and sounds, spot primates swinging through the trees and observe rare birds and beautiful butterflies fluttering around. Have a break from your daily concrete jungle life and experience the real thing.
Kibale Forest Camp offers an affordable classic canvas experience in the form of 10 African safari style tents, tucked away in a lush forest. A budget alternative is the lazy camping on their campsite. Complemented by excellent food, served in a cozy grass thatched restaurant, the camp forms your perfect base if you are looking for an affordable and comfortable place from where to explore the area.
Kibale Forest Camp is located in a patch of evergreen forest, just outside the southern part of the national park. It borders the Magombe swamp, known for the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and is a mere ten minutes drive to Kanyanchu visitor center, the place from where your chimp track will start.
Early in the morning, Gorilla Tours will pick you up from the hotel or guesthouse of your choice and you will leave for Kibale Forest Camp. In the afternoon, you will arrive at Kibale Forest Camp, sleeping with the sounds of the tropical rainforest. The journey is around six and half hours driving. You will stay in Kibale Forest Camp for the night.
At 08.00 a.m., you will start with four hours chimp walk - during which you may also get to see ten other primates! Kibale park is also known for all the butterflies and birds. In the afternoon you will walk through Bigodi Swamp which is home to a community based project.
After breakfast, you will depart Kibale National Park for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. You will pass via Queen Elizabeth National Park towards the south, to the southern sector of the national park. This part is called Ishasha and is famous for the tree climbing lions. Along the way, you will stop for some animals and also stop at Savannah Resort in Kihihi for lunch. You will continue the journey through Rukugiri district passing villages, cultivated farms, and hills before you reach Bwindi later in the evening. You will stay at Gorilla Valley Lodge and have your dinner.
This is the day of gorilla tracking! You will travel by car to the starting point of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Once there, you will first receive a briefing, and at 8.30 you will start the tracking. Once you have found the gorillas, you will be able to spend up to one hour with them. You will be expected back to the starting point by 19.00 at the latest. Being physically fit is recommended.
Early in the morning after breakfast you will travel back to Kampala. On the way back to the city you will have lunch in Mbarara town, and after Masaka there will be an opportunity to a stop at the Equator for photo shoots, buying souvenirs, and have tea or coffee. Gorilla Tours will then bring you to a guesthouse, campsite, or hotel of your choice in Kampala or Entebbe - or, if you continue your holiday somewhere else or back home, they will bring you directly to Entebbe International Airport (EBB) for an onward flight. The journey takes around nine hours driving.
It is always best to hear from other visitors, and this is Stella and Trudy’s story about the gorilla tracking day: “At a distance of about fifteen feet, a mountain gorilla with her baby appears. She comes out of the bushes, looks at me, and lies down. My presence does not seem to bother her. She just wants to rest, whether I am there or not. I can almost touch her. My heart dances with joy. I am in a good position to take pictures, so I let my camera do its work. It is the thrill of a lifetime. I cannot but agree with the American zoologist George Schaller, the first to study gorillas in the Virunga volcanoes, who once said: ‘No one who looks into the eyes of a gorilla, gentle and vulnerable, can remain unchanged.”
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is situated in the South-Western part of Uganda. The park is inhabited by a population of about 400 individual mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), known as the Bwindi population, which make up almost half of all the mountain gorillas in the world. The rest of the worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga National Park. A 2006 census of the mountain gorilla population in the park, showed that its numbers had increased modestly from an estimated 300 individuals in 1997, to 320 individuals in 2002, and to 340 individuals in 2006.
There are 11 species of primates, including chimpanzee, and monkey varieties such as Hoest’s, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, and olive baboon. Specially, Bwindi is home to about 400 Gorilla beringei beringei, a half of the total remaining world population. There are 346 species of birds registered in here, as Bwindi contains 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics, hard to experience in any other place in East Africa, and 200 species of butterflies.
Gorilla tracking is the park’s main tourist attraction. Tourists wishing to track gorillas must first obtain a permit to do so. Selected gorillas families have been habituated to human presence and the number of visitors is tightly controlled to prevent degradation of the habitat and risks to the gorillas. Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season.
Kibale National Park is located in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge. The park has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees, as well as the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest monkey. The park is also home to over 325 species of birds, four wild felids, various species of primates, a total of at least 60 other species of mammals, and over 250 tree species. The predominant ecosystem in Kibale is moist, evergreen, and semi-deciduous forest.
There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey, including the Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae), the Ugandan red colobus (Procolobus tephrosceles), and the L’Hoest monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include the black colobus (Colobus satanas) and the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis). The park’s population of elephants travels between Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushpigs, warthogs, and buffalo.
The carnivores that are present include leopards, bushpigs, three species of duiker, and two species of otter. In addition, lions visit the park occasionally. Bird life is also prolific. The park boasts 325 sited species of birds, including the olive long-tailed cuckoo, Western green tinkerbird, two species of pittas (African and green-breasted), and the African grey parrot. The ground thrush (Turdus kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale National Park. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180 kilometers-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
During the safari tour, you have included in the price four breakfasts.
Please book your flights to Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Gorilla Tour will pick you up from the hotel or guesthouse of your choice in Entebbe.
"We used Gorilla Tours in March 2009. We were nervous before booking (and after booking), but we had nothing to worry about. Our trip went smoothly and exceeded our expectations. Our driver / guide was Richard, who is excellent and answered all of our questions. Hope you enjoy your trip!"
TripAdvisor website, edited