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MOUNTAIN GORILLAS, CHIMPANZEES & PRIMATES SAFARI

 

Gorilla trekking in Uganda

 

Expedition:

Safari focusing on mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and Uganda's other endemic primates. Plus lions, forest elephants and much more!

Location:

Uganda

Accommodation:

Various hotels and lodges around Uganda.

Fitness Level:

Some jungle treks plus jeep and river safaris.

   

2018 Dates:

July 9th - 17th FULL

July 18th - 26th SIX SPOTS AVAILABLE

2018 Price:

$3595* Double occupancy per person. $1000 Single room supplement

*Price may change slightly if the gorilla permit price increases.

2018 Leader:

Andy Murch

 

What's included:

Arrival and departure transfers from Kampala (Entebbe) Airport.

Nine day tour in a comfortable chauffer driven vehicle.
Accommodation in a mid range double occupancy hotel rooms / lodges (single room upgrade available)

All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
All park entrance fees including government taxes to sites, reserves and parks.

Gorilla tracking permit.

Chimpanzee tracking permit.
Jeep rental and drivers.

River Boat rental.
Services of expert local guides.

Photography coaching.

 

Not included:
Flights, alcoholic beverages and tips.

 

Silverback gorilla tour

 

A PRIMATE SAFARI YOU WILL NEVER FORGET!

Imagine spending a wonderful morning walking through the Central African cloud forest. The sounds and smells of the pristine jungle fill your senses. Birds fly overhead. Perhaps a few small primates swing in the branches above you. Rounding a corner on the trail your guide calls for quiet. Ahead of you the forest floor is filled with large dark shapes, vaguely human but bigger.

You hunker down and quietly marvel at the troop of Mountain Gorillas - some of the few great apes left in the wild. The gorillas are relaxing, feeding on leaves and grooming each other. There is no hostility but you move slowly and carefully so as not to disturb them. The enormous dominant male silverback comes over to look at you. You can feel his gaze upon you and you look down submissively. Satisfied that you pose no threat to his family, he moves on.

This is the encounter you have dreamed about for so long. The pinnacle of an unforgettable 9 day adventure through Uganda's many national parks and reserves. You have seen lions sleeping in trees, elephants crashing through the bush, huge troops of playful chimpanzees cavorting in the forest and a dozen other primate species. It has been an incredible trip but this single defining moment will stay with you forever.

 

Baby mountain gorilla adventure

 

A GORILLA, CHIMPANZEE & PRIMATE SAFARI YOU WILL NEVER FORGET!

 

Day 1 - Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park, Hike to the Murchison Falls, Launch Cruise
Pick-up from the Airport or hotel 7.00am depending on your flight. Your driver/guide will brief you on the day's program shortly before the start of a 6 hour scenic drive to Murchison Falls National Park. On the way, you will pass by Ziwa Rhino sanctuary to see the Rhinos. You could make a stopover to pick some local fruits (pineapples, jackfruits, passionfruits), then proceed to Masindi town for an early lunch at Masindi Hotel/Court View Hotel. After lunch you will head out of town to a dirt road for the short drive to Murchison Falls National Park. After clearance at the park gate, you will be ushered intoe Murchison by a congress of playfull anticipating baboons in the road.
This is the start of some great picture moments. Continue the drive as you savor the beautiful grassy landscape to the start of the hike to the top of the Murchison Falls. At the top you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Falls. About 300 - 400 cubic meters per second of Nile waters force through a tiny gorge 7 meters wide, and then plunge into a violent tempest about 42 meters below. It is a beautiful sight that you will likely never forget. After enjoying the granduer of the falls you will be driven to your lodge for dinner and overnight
 

Day 2 - Early Morning Game Drive,
Be up for early breakfast at about 6.00am. The driver picks you up and along with a game ranger and you set out for the game drive by 7.00am. Early morning is a great time to catch the early risers, nocturnal prey species and their hunters before they return to their hideouts.

The River Nile divides the park into two: the southern and northern sections. We will take you to the northern side where there is a higher concentration of game than the south. Here you have the chance to explore the major game trails (especially around Paraa). Expect great wildlife sightings including giraffes, lions, elephants, spotted hyenas, warthogs, Uganda kobs, Jackson's Hartebeests, waterbucks, and leopards among others. After 11am when the jungle heats up and the animal sightings slow down, you return to the lodge for lunch.
At 2.30pm it is time to board a launch to explore the River Nile (Victoria Nile). This is the biggest highlight of any Murchison Falls Safari. This relaxing ride of about 3 hours treats you to such beautiful wildlife sightings. There are lots of water animals like the infamous hippos and enormous Nile crocodiles.

This is a world class photo opportunity. Lots of other animals come to the river to drink water, cool off from the scorching heat and for others to eat fresh grass along the banks. Expect sightings of elephants, buffalos, antelopes and a cocktail of birds including (among others) kingfisher, herons, and fish eagles. The launch will take you to the very base of the Murchison Falls for yet another angle to savor these lovely falls. At 5.30pm you will return to terrafirma and be driven back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
 

Day3- Transfer to Kibale National Park via Hoima, Kejonjo and Fort Portal towns. Reaching there late in evening overnight in the lodge. Many photo opportunities along the way!

Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking - Tracking over 12 primates in Kibale National Park
After assembling at Kanyankyu River camp at 0800hours, you will go for the most popular activity in Kibale; Chimpanzee tracking! Chimpanzees are man’s closet cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate’s species. As well as large troops of chimpanzees, you will have the chance to meet more primates including Black and white Columbus monkeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Grey cheeked Mangabey, Red tailed monkeys, bush babies and pottos. You can also expect to see many bird species like the yellow spotted nectar, ramped tinker bird, Little greenbul, green breasted pitta,  crowned eagle and black bee eater. And if that is enough to fill up your memory cards, you may also see other  mammals like Elephants on this walk.
Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.
Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. Once we find these special primates, you will be able to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt other primates. During the afternoon you will head to Bigodi swamps to look for even more species of primates.

Evening dinner and then overnight at a lodge near Kibale.
 

Day5: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Today expect breathtaking views of the Rwenzori Mountains with lots of crater lakes and wild animals.
After an early breakfast, we shift to Queen Elizabeth National Park about 3hrs away from Kibale. Leaving through Fort Portal town, you turn south to enter Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains; the famed "Mountains of the Moon". This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the South West by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Zaire Parc Du Virunga. You can expect to see teeming herds of impala-like Uganda Kob, as well as topi, elephants, lions, giant forest hogs and Cape buffalos. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally. In the afternoon you will have the chance to enjoy another wildlife packed boat cruise and then be whisked to your lodge for a sumptuous supper.
 

Day 6: Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game drive to see lions, leopard, elephant, buffallo, and more!
We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park (on the Kasenyi Track) in search of lions, elephants and solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for opportunities to view the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kob. You have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range. In the afternoon we will go for a launch trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at a mere feet away from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle-billed storks and many others.

Day 7: Drive to Bwindi to track gorillas and other primates
Mid-morning after breakfast we continue further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking adventures of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Roads permitting, we will pass the southern sector of the park – Ishasha, a remote and beautiful extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park that is host to a large variety and volume of wildlife. It is a fabulous site to see lions draped from the branches of trees. Nowhere else in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha sector.

Arrive at the lodge late in the evening, relax and prepare for the main event!

Day 8: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Tracking Mountain Gorillas and other primates
Today is the day! After breakfast, you will receive a briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip - Gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day. We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. Once the troop has been sighted, visitors will be guided to within a few meters of  the gorillas. You will have a chance to sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.
It is important to be mentally prepared. Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Some parts of the trail can be steep and muddy, sometimes with rain overhead. Consequently, try to get in the best condition you can before the trip and eat a good breakfast at the lodge before you set out.

For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.
Although the trek may seem arduous, the time will go by quickly because you will be walking through one of the most pristine, ancient rainforests on earth. While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles over at least 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterfly, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 types of mammal including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's monkey, redtailed monkey, blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.

Bwindi is also a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN have red listed and 90% are all Albertine rift endemics - species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.
 

Day 9: Depart from the Gorilla Tracking Park, Drive to Kampala
After an early breakfast we will embark on our return to Kampala, driving down the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’. This area is a highly fertile, mountainous region with steep sided hills covered from top to bottom in neatly terraced cultivated rows. As we traverse Mbarara, don't miss the impressive long horn Ankole cattle. As a final memory of a wonderful  journey, we will stop at the Equator line for a group photo opportunity before driving onward to Kampala.

We will be in Kampala in the evening before fond farewells and your flight back home.


END OF SAFARI

 

Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda

 

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Silverback gorilla photography

 

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Chimpazee trekking

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS

THE PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT

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READ THE LATEST:

2017 GREAT HAMMERHEAD TRIP REPORT

 

Andy Murch Trip Leader

Andy Murch

EXPEDITION LEADER

Andy Murch is a fanatical big animal diver.

He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most people on this planet and he's very good at it.

Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as National Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography,  and the Journal of Zoology.

Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding Shark and Ray Field Guide on Elasmodiver.com 

 

When not running big animal expeditions or on photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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Andy is also the driving force behind the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups. Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.

 

Find out more here:

PredatorsInPeril.org

 

Predators in Peril Project