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Itinerary: Gorilla Encounter

Gorilla Encounter

Open 4x4 game driving to view prolific birdlife and game animals at Lake Nakuru NP. Trek in search of the rare mountain Gorillas and the social chimpanzee's. Enjoy many optional activities at Jinja, the southern point of the River Nile.

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Gorilla Encounter

Early Bird Discount
Book 6 months in advance and receive 10% discount off the tour price. Terms and Conditions apply.

Quote promo code ‘AFG/ACA_5%_OFF’ when booking your tour direct and receive an additional 5% discount off the tour price. This offer is exclusive to Africa Guide customers. Terms and Conditions apply.

Daily Highlights * covered by mandatory Adventure Pass

01 Depart Nairobi, Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, LD
*02 Lake Nakuru National Park – Game drive, BLD
03 Eldoret BLD
04 Kampala BLD
05 Queen Elizabeth National Park BLD
06 Chimpanzee Reserve, lake Bunyonyi BLD
07 Lake Bunyonyi/ Gorilla Trek BLD
08 Lake Bunyonyi/ Gorilla Trek BLD
09 Kampala BLD
10 Jinja BLD
11 Jinja BLD
12 Jinja BLD
13 Eldoret BLD
14 Kenya, Great Rift Valley, Nairobi B

Day 1 - 2 Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret
Kenya is East Africa’s most popular destination and has a long tradition of tourism and welcoming visitors. Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, has seen rapid growth in recent years but still has a comparatively small city centre and interesting city market, numerous craft shops, book shops and plenty of cafes and restaurants. We recommend you arrive the day before the tour departure in order to relax and overcome any jetlag.

We depart Nairobi early on Day One and descend into the ‘Great Rift Valley’, an enormous cleft in the Earth’s surface stretching from the Red Sea to Madagascar but with particularly marked escarpments here in Kenya.

Our first stop is Lake Nakuru National Park, a relatively small park (by African standards) on the Rift Valley floor. The shallow soda lake attracts a huge variety of birdlife – especially flamingos, which may gather in such numbers that (when viewed from above) they form a strikingly pink ‘fringe’ around the lake-shore. However Lake Nakuru is not simply a bird sanctuary, it is also home to buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard, warthog, baboon, antelope, and a variety of smaller animals. A delightful introduction to East Africa’s wildlife diversity. From Nakuru, we continue northwest to Eldoret and the Uganda frontier.

Day 3 - 5 Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Bunyonyi
We cross into Uganda, Winston Churchill’s ‘Pearl of Africa’ and to the capital, Kampala. This is an attractive hilly city, bustling with roadside traders, markets and busy matatu (minibus taxi) stands.

From Kampala, we travel west to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Uganda is a wonderfully fertile country of green terraced hillsides, lush banana plantations, steep mountains and tangled forests.

We enter the QENP, with a view (further to the west) of the mountains that separate Uganda from central Africa. We drive to Kyambura Gorge for the trek to see the chimpanzees and if we are lucky en-route we may get to see the Uganda Kob (a type of antelope) as well as elephant, lion, buffalo, hyena and hippo. Unlike the larger gorilla, chimps live mostly in the trees and so our viewing is necessarily at some distance. However, the experience of seeing man’s closest relative in the wild is a memorable one.

Continuing deep into the Kigezi Highlands we come to the picturesque Lake Bunyoni, an ancient flooded valley, where we usually base ourselves for the gorilla trekking.

Day 6 - 8 Gorilla Trek, Kampala
This region of Africa is home to the world’s remaining 700 mountain gorillas, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

On the day of our trek, we gather in the early morning to meet our local guide and tracker. Walking in small groups we trek into the thick rainforest. The trek can be demanding at times with uneven terrain and hilly rainforest but the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle primates makes the effort well worthwhile. To many people, even those who stay in Africa longer than this two-week tour, the day’s trek and time with the gorillas remain their most exciting wildlife encounter in Africa.

The usual procedure, once we have located the gorilla ‘family’, is to squat or sit down and simply observe them for around an hour – the time set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (the national body charged with controlling and maintaining the gorillas in Uganda). Gorillas are sociable creatures, living in groups between 12 and 20 individuals, usually led by an ‘alpha male’ (the ‘silverback’ - so-called because of the silver hair on his back which grows once the male gorilla attains maturity). Most people find that the gorillas are remarkably human-like at close quarters – particularly in the social interaction between family members and in ‘play’ activity in which the young engage. Photography is permitted (although not with a flash and there are restrictions for those who wish to use a video camera.)

Your permit allows you one trek and gorilla viewing (time-limited to one hour). However, because the authorities maintain strict limits on the number of visitors allowed to view the gorillas each day we may spend several days in the area while all passengers in our group complete the trek and viewing.

Day 09 - 14 Kampala, Jinja, Nairobi
When all members of the group have completed the gorilla trek we pack up and make our way back to Kampala. Pausing for the night we continue on to Jinja and our camp on the grassy banks of the River Nile. It was in 1862 that the British explorer John Hanning Speke recognised Lake Victoria as the ‘source of the Nile’ settling a long-running dispute about Africa’s (and the world’s) longest river. From this modest monument, the Nile begins its 4132-mile course through Uganda, Sudan and eventually Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.

Our camp overlooks the Nile River itself. It is here that we usually have the option to try rafting - an exciting day out for those enjoying the thrill of ‘white water’. There is also the opportunity to make some difference to local children at a local school project: ‘Soft power’ is a locally run voluntary programme aimed at building and improving schools in the Jinja area to which your contribution of a few hours of painting or plastering is always most welcome. Other activities at Jinja include quad biking, village walks and even bungy jumping! From Jinja, we move on to Uganda’s capital Kampala.

Finally, we make our way back into Kenya, passing through Eldoret and the Rift Valley once again to the lights and bustle of Nairobi, where our tour ends.

[boldPLUS mandatory Adventure Pass US$ 150.00 .
Adventure Pass to be paid in the currency listed on the website (usually US dollars in clean, un-torn post 2008 edition notes) directly to your Tour Leader in Africa at the beginning of the tour, or pre-paid by arrangement.

The mandatory Adventure pass covers the following:
Lake Nakuru National Park, game drive

PLUS Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permit GB £640.00. The Gorilla permit is paid at the time of booking and is non-refundable. This covers your gorilla and chimpanzee permits.

Optional Activities & Excursions:
Community School Project US$50
Village/natures Walk US $10
Mountain Biking US$30
Quad Biking US$85
White Water Rafting US$160

Included in Price:
Fully equipped safari vehicle, camping and cooking equipment, all road tolls and vehicle taxes, all ground transportation, services of two crew, sleeping mattress, meals as indicated.

Not Included:
Adventure Pass excursions, visas, travel insurance, flights, departure taxes, airport transfers, sleeping bag, optional activities, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.

NB. Each gorilla permit allows one trek. We stay in Bwindi or an alternative gorilla national park for the time necessary to allow everybody to trek once. The day to day itinerary may, therefore, vary if trekking goes over time. Optional activities can be arranged locally when not trekking.

NB. Gorilla Viewing: To ensure we obtain gorilla permits, we may trek outside Uganda in neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, where gorillas have also been habituated for viewing. Trekking here involves a minimal detour from the described route.

Gorilla Trekking Excursion (Permits): The Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) set the gorilla permit price and stipulates that permits must be booked and paid for in advance. We, therefore, collect your gorilla permit money at the time of booking, along with your normal deposit. The Gorilla permit price is quoted in US dollars but is paid in your local currency at a rate fixed by us. Whilst the price is correct at time of going to press (Jul 2021), We reserve the right to pass on any increase in fee if the UWA raises the price. Finally please note, the gorilla permit fee is not refundable if you cancel your booking.

Note: This tour can be booked as an accommodated tour. Please request rates at the time of booking. Discounts do not apply.

To receive the full details of this trip via email please complete our enquiry form below, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will provide you with all neccessary booking information to peruse at your leisure. Please complete our enquiry form below, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will provide you with all neccessary booking information.

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