Come face-to-face with the magnificent mountain gorilla in its natural rainforest habitat, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This truly is the wildlife adventure of a lifetime.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to one of the planet’s most diverse ecosystems. But no creature here inspires more awe and respect than the mountain gorilla. This is your chance to encounter one of the world’s most incredible creatures in its natural habitat – the lush rainforests of southwestern Uganda. On this remarkable adventure, we’ll trek through dense underbrush with an experienced guide, tracking the mighty silverback and its family amidst a magical jungle setting. The majestic Virunga mountain range – and our luxurious camp – serves as the perfect backdrop to this amazing journey.
Gorilla Safari at a Glance
Day 1: We begin our adventure into the wilds of Uganda with a flight from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi. A short drive brings us to our camp, deep within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, one of Africa’s richest ecosystems and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’ll be time to relax this afternoon, or take a walk through the surrounding forest, a great way to orient yourself to the jungle environs.
Day 2: After an early breakfast, we meet our guide at the park headquarters for a briefing. The gorillas we’ll track today belong to one of Northern Bwindi’s “habituated” family groups. Over the past several years, each group has undergone a delicate process that has acclimated them to the presence of humans. Our experienced guides – some of them directly involved in the habituation process – will lead us on a thrilling trek into the gorillas’ jungle habitat. Once we locate a family, we can spend no more than an hour observing them.
Day 3: Join our guides for another jungle trek in search of more gorillas today, or choose an activity closer to camp. On a nature walk through lush forest, train your binoculars into the canopy to glimpse some of the 350 bird species that have been recorded here, including 24 that are endemic to the area. Or, pay a visit to the local Batwa pygmy tribe. It is a rare privilege to meet the Batwa of Bwindi. Though no one is sure how long they live, some believe their life span can extend to 110!
Day 4: After breakfast at our lodge, we return to the airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Entebbe, where you may connect with international departures.
THE PRIVATE COLLECTION ADVANTAGE
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Traveling To and From
Most Convenient Airport:
Entebbe International Airport
Meeting Time and Place:
Entebbe International Airport, in time for your flight to Kihihi on Day 1
Departure Time and Place:
Entebbe International Airport, upon the arrival of your flight from Kihihi on Day 4
Uganda Camp Overview: Luxury safari camp, offering superb facilities and accommodation. All tents have en-suite bathrooms.
Gorilla Forest Camp
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
Gorilla Forest Camp is nestled deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest Uganda, home to just over half the world’s last surviving mountain gorillas. Seeing these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a unique opportunity afforded to a select few, as just eight visitors are allowed to view each habituated group each day.
This camp is one of the most remote and atmospheric in Africa. Accommodation is in eight large en-suite tents which have two queen sized beds and a bathtub looking out onto the forest - ideal for relaxing after a day searching for gorillas in the forest. The camp has a bar and dining cottage overlooking the rainforest, as well as a raised natural platform for open-air dining. Guests can sit around the cozy campfire at night and enjoy Bwindi’s crystal clear mountain sky. There is a small gift shop at the camp offering a variety of local artifacts and practical supplies, and a mini spa.
Arrival in Kihihi and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
You’ll meet our representative after clearing customs at Entebbe International Airport. He will assist you to our scheduled flight to Kihihi, our gateway to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
When we touch down at the Kihihi airstrip, a guide greets us for our transfer to the Gorilla Forest Camp (approximately 50 km, or 30 miles). This deluxe safari camp is located deep within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There’ll be time to relax this afternoon, or take a walk through the surrounding forest, a great way to orient yourself to the jungle environs.
Gorilla Forest Camp is the perfect luxury base for gorilla tracking and rainforest exploration. Each large, en-suite tent offers two queen-sized beds and an outdoor verandah where you can greet each day. Your own private bathtub overlooks the misty forest, so you can savor a lavish soak after each unforgettable day. During your stay, share your gorilla-sighting stories at the camp’s bar or over a meal in the open-air dining cottage, perched on a raised natural platform. We close each day around a crackling campfire under Bwindi’s star-drenched, crystal-clear sky.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a remote, hushed, and spectacular haven and one of Africa’s richest ecosystems. Birders come from all over the world to seek out more than 350 species that live within this unspoiled sanctuary. The park is also home to the rare forest elephant, giant forest hog, and about 11 kinds of primates, such as the red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon and chimpanzee. You might also spot the forest duiker antelope, bush buck antelope, or one of the more than 220 species of butterflies. But the focus of much of our exploration is the magnificent mountain gorilla.
Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi
Hiking – moderate to strenuous, 2-8 hours over steep slopes covered in dense vegetation; elevation of hiking varies from 4,000-8,000 feet above sea level.
After an early breakfast, we proceed on foot to the park headquarters, about a 10-minute walk. A park guide gives us a briefing of what to expect during our trek and how to behave around the gorillas.
Tracking teams depart from the park headquarters every morning at 8.30. Today’s strenuous trek can take anywhere from 2-3 hours. However, depending on how deep in the forest the gorillas are, we might spot a family in as little as 15 minutes or as long as 4-8 hours. Regardless, our guides are prepared with supplies and snacks to keep us fortified, and we travel at a pace to accommodate all hikers.
The gorillas we’ll track today belong to one of Northern Bwindi’s “habituated” family groups. Over the past several years, each group has undergone a delicate process that has acclimated them to the presence of humans. Our experienced guides – some of them directly involved in the habituation process – will lead us on a thrilling trek into the gorillas’ jungle habitat. Once we locate a family, we’ll spend no more than an hour observing them.
It is an enormous privilege to spend time with these incredible primates. Mountain gorillas are endangered; only 650 remain – 340 in Bwindi – and there are none in captivity for breeding. Though their population has increased by some 10% since the late 1990s, habitat loss and poaching remain a threat. Perhaps one of the more interesting behaviors of the Bwindi mountain gorilla is its tendency to build their nests in trees.
Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi
Gorilla Tracking, Nature Walk, Batwa Pygmy Tribe, or Day at Leisure
Today is at your leisure. You may return to the park headquarters this morning to embark on another day of gorilla tracking (if you have purchased a second permit), choose from some other explorations, or simply relax in the calm quiet of our camp.
On a nature walk through lush forest, train your binoculars into the canopy to glimpse some of the 350 bird species that have been recorded here, including 24 that are endemic to the area. Throughout Bwindi, more than 200 tree species and 100 fern species create a rich forest environment that supports a massive array of wildlife. Our guide will keep his eyes open to point out some of the residents.
We highly recommend a visit to the local Batwa pygmy tribe. It is a rare privilege to meet the Batwa of Bwindi. Though no one is sure how long they live, some believe their life span can extend to 110! During our walk to their village, our guide shares his knowledge about their culture and history. For hundreds of years, the Batwa lived in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and relied on its rich resources for food and shelter. When Bwindi was declared a national park in 1991, the Batwa were moved to the periphery of the forest. Today, through the Batwa Development Program, they own 250,000 acres of land, on which they strive to keep their culture alive – making gin from bananas, farming goats for milk and for meat, and tapping the rich plant life for age-old medicinal uses.
The Batwa stand about four feet high and are very nimble. They are always delighted to host our visit and we are often greeted with a traditional chant. During our stay, we’ll learn, with help from a translator, how they hunt, make fires, build houses and use plants as medicine. They’ll even tell us how they bury their dead. Afterward, they may invite us to taste a traditional meal of goat stew, pap (ground milieu meal) and boiled green bananas with salt.
After dinner back at our camp, relax with a drink as you listen to folk tunes on the traditional Bakiga guitar.
Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi
After breakfast at our lodge, we return to the airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Entebbe, where you may connect with international departures.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary to take advantage of weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these should the need arise.
2014 Land Cost
From $1,995 per person
2014 Land Cost Details
Peak Season: June 21-October 31 and December 16-31, 2014:
$2,795 per person; Single Supplement: $535
High Season: January 1-March 31, 2014:
$2,495 per person; Single Supplement: $450
Low Season: April 1-June 20 and November 1-December 15, 2014
$1,995 per person; Single Supplement: $0
Pricing is based on a minimum of two travelers; please inquire for solo traveler pricing.
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement may be charged to participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. We have made every effort to eliminate or greatly reduce this cost for most of our scheduled small-group departures; however, these savings are limited to two single supplements per departure. Therefore, the first two single participants to reserve will receive the savings. This is not applicable to our Private Collection journeys.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary).* Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica. Please see these trip pages for more details.
Entebbe to Kihihi; Kihihi to Entebbe
Gorilla Tracking Permit
- Expert naturalist park guide
- Services of camp staff
- All accommodations as noted
- All meals and select alcoholic beverages
- All activities noted in the itinerary
- Meet and assist at Entebbe International airport
- Transfers from/to Kihihi airstrip
- Three nights accommodation
- Park fees (Price may be subject to change)
Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.
About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.
Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. For the Bwindi Gorilla Tracking, you will join a local guide from the national park..
Picture Yourself Here:
Spending time with these gentle giants in their natural habitat
On the lookout for the rare forest elephant, giant forest hog, and 11 types of primates
Spotting some of the more than 350 species of birds that live within the area
Learning about the forest ways of the Batwa pygmy tribe of Bwindi
Sitting around the campfire at night enjoying Bwindi’s crystal clear mountain sky
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"This trip was the perfect blend of fascinating history, stunning scenery, exhilarating hiking, contemporary Spanish and Basque culture, and delicious meals with excellent Rioja wines."
- Katharine Svenson, Spain: Vintage Rioja