Home #WHERETONEXT Africa Gorilla Trekking & Primate Conservation: A 10-Day African Odyssey

Gorilla Trekking & Primate Conservation: A 10-Day African Odyssey

The dense rainforests of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are home to the world’s only remaining mountain gorillas – one of the biggest, most powerful living primates on our planet.

Venturing through the untamed landscapes of volcanic peaks and ancient forests of these parks in search of these mighty creatures not only promises an unforgettable adventure but actively protects the parks and their endangered ape populations.

Gorilla trekking generates crucial funds that go towards supporting their conservation. In fact, the population of mountain gorillas living in the wild in Uganda in particular has increased by over 313% in just 30 years, thanks to gorilla trekking tourism. 

And one travel company is providing the ultimate African Primates Expedition. The trip offers unparalleled access to these glorious African primates and an opportunity to intimately observe them in their natural habitat.

Highlights of the 10-day itinerary include helping to track mountain gorillas in the company of a renowned conservationist and walking through wild rainforest undergrowth as chimpanzees hoot and scamper across the canopy above you. 

What’s more, all of this is experienced as part of an intimate group of just five other travelers, with all of you contributing directly to vital primate conservation efforts through your expedition.

Nkuringo Safaris is a licensed tour operator that offers unforgettable, safe, intimate, and authentic wildlife experiences in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The company customizes gorilla trekking tours to fit travelers’ preferences.

The adventure begins by touching down in the Ugandan town of Entebbe. After a night’s rest, wave the charming town goodbye to venture deep into the Ugandan jungle to Kibale Forest National Park, the primate capital of the world.

Here, you can head out to explore Bigodi Swamp led by a knowledgeable guide. Listen to the mighty calls of the primates reverberating around you, as you follow the winding paths and black-and-white colobus monkeys swing from branch to branch along the forest canopy above. 

You may even catch a scarlet flash as a red-tailed monkey leaps through the undergrowth of the swamp. Then, retreat to your plush Primate lodge to dine under the stars as the sounds of the nocturnal wildlife take center stage. 

On your third day, join researchers and skilled trackers to venture deep into the wild landscape of the Kibale Forest, a lush rainforest home to one of the largest chimpanzee populations in East Africa.

In this unspoilt wilderness, you can experience unparalleled access to these magnificent humankind’s closest relatives. As you descend through the wild undergrowth, hear chimpanzee calls echo through the trees around you as they dominate the tropical canopy above.

Take your time observing the lively chimpanzee community, witnessing the social dynamics of their playful interactions, grooming rituals and hierarchical structure.

The following morning, bid farewell to Kibale Forest as you hop on a flight to the glorious mountains and picturesque valleys of Kisoro, where a transfer will whisk you away to Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge.

The lodge is one of the first carbon carbon-neutral certified properties in Uganda and lies perched on Nteko Ridge at an altitude of 7000 ft, overlooking the dense rainforests and chains of volcanoes home to the only remaining mountain gorillas in the world.

An Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger will talk you through the conservation efforts in place for the local mountain gorillas before you sit down to a delicious dinner as the sun sets over the nearby mountains.

Day five sees you tick off the surreal experience of going gorilla trekking with Dr. Gladys Kalema. Uganda’s first wildlife vet, she is a renowned conservationist and the CEO of Conservation Through Public Health, an NGO that promotes biodiversity conservation. 

She has helped increase the number of mountain gorillas in Uganda from 300 to around 500 throughout her three decades of fieldwork. 

Skilled trackers will lead you and Dr Kalema through the enchanting depths of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the most awe-inspiring rainforests on the planet. 

As you carefully wade through the untamed landscape, the calls of exotic birds will resound around you, keeping you entertained before you reach a gorilla family. Witness the immense creatures playing out their daily life and social interactions – foraging, playing and grooming one another. 

In the afternoon, delve into the rich human history of Bwindi Forest by visiting the Bungo Forest to meet the Indigenous Batwa people who once called Bwindi Impenetrable Forest their home. 

Listen as they share stories and insights into their traditional way of life and connection to the forest and its mighty primate inhabitants. The following morning, the Rwanda element of your trip begins as you depart for Volcanoes National Park, the legendary home of 10 habituated gorilla groups.

After arriving at Virunga Lodge, your home for the next few days, an esteemed Gorilla doctor will hold a session to teach you about the critical veterinary care and health monitoring work they provide to support mountain gorilla conservation. 

Spend the remainder of the day immersing yourself in Rwandan culture by visiting the Iwachu Center: a vibrant hub of traditional Rwandan life through music, dance and storytelling, where local artisans will teach you about local craft techniques and the rich local heritage.

Come the seventh day of your adventure, hike deep into the bamboo forest of Volcanoes National Park, where you will stumble across the legendary golden monkeys. Gaze in awe at these rarely-spotted, golden-furred creatures as they effortlessly leap from tree to tree above you.

After a night’s rest, set off on a day-long journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach the sweeping expanses of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The lush rainforest and its bamboo slopes are home to a thriving population of eastern lowland gorillas, a distinct subspecies of the mountain gorillas previously encountered on the trip.

Accompanied by seasoned park rangers, embark along guided gorilla trails through lush forest paths before reaching a habituated gorilla family and observing them snacking on fruits and leaves, playing with their young and socializing with each other. 

Come your tenth and final day, you will return to Rwanda and begin your homeward journey.