Uganda Primates Experiential Safari

Uganda Primates Experiential Safari – 5 Days

Overview | Highlights | Detailed Itinerary | Includes | Lodges



The 5 Day Uganda Primates Experiential Safari is a highly thrilling package in which you take part in the processes of habituating Gorillas and Chimpanzees to make them get used to the presence of human beings around them. You will take participate in the exercise of habituating Gorillas which is done from nowhere else in the world except in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwestern Uganda and attend a similar exercise for Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park in mid-western Uganda. These are experiences that will leave an indelible mark on your memory and ensure that you never remain the same!

Safari Highlights

  • The opportunity to accompany the researchers through areas of the park normally off-limits to tourists
  • Spending 4 hours with a family of semi-habituated Mountain Gorillas and another 4 hours with a family of Golden monkeys and enjoying the thrilling moments of watching them as they respond to the simulation of researchers in the process of making them get used to the presence of humans.
  • Gaining insights into the habits, behaviour, security consciousness and survival mechanisms of these highly social creatures that have a lot in common with human beings
  • An opportunity to film and capture perfect photo shots of the habituation exercise
  • Getting the additional bonus of viewing several other wildlife in the parks visited for habituation and tracking experience
  • You can also make a valuable contribution to longstanding research projects as the data collected is used by the researchers to improve the tourism industry.

Activity Schedule

Day 1: Travel to Kibale National Park; guided primate walk in Bigodi Wetland
Day 2: Chimpanzee habituation experience
Day 3: Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Day 4: Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Day 5: Travel back to Kampala / Entebbe

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Safari Itinerary

Day 1:  Travel to Kibale Forest National Park; Primate Walk in Bigodi Wetland

Primate Walk in Bigodi Wetland

You will have breakfast and travel to Kibale Forest National Park in western Uganda. You will be driven through a beautiful countryside of rolling hills and plains dotted with homesteads, gardens and plantations of Bananas and tea. This is a 5-6 hour Uganda Primates Experiential Safari journey with lunch en route and you will get to the Park in the early afternoon hours. You will check in at the lodge of your booking for a short rest after which you will visit a nearby forest swamp to see primates like black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos and other forest animals.

Expect to see a variety of birds like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, green-breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee-eater and the rare great blue turaco.

At the eastern edge of the Kibale forest is Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is maintained by the local community.

Day 2: Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Today you will accompany researchers on a chimpanzee habituation exercise. You will get to the forest early enough to watch the chimps as they leave their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30 am and follow them throughout the day as they hunt for food, feed, copulate, breastfeed, rest, patrol and play until it is time to build new nests around 7 pm.

Unlike a normal chimpanzee trek, the unrushed nature of the habituation trek allows for a far more relaxed study of the exciting life of the chimpanzees; enables you to gain an insight into their behaviour and to appreciate the challenges of the researchers in getting these elusive apes get used to the presence of humans without changing their natural behaviours.

The exercise ends as the chimpanzees climb into their newly built nests to sleep. This is an experience never to leave you the same!

Day 3: Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Batwa in Bwindi - Uganda culture tourJohn Enjoys A cultural Dance in the Bawa Community in Bwindi

You will have breakfast and drive south along the Albertine rift to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Southwestern Uganda near the border with Rwanda.

This part of the Uganda Primates Experiential Safari is a 9-10 hour journey that will take you through a countryside richly endowed with scenic geographical features, lush green savannah grasslands, bamboo forests, farm gardens, plantations and traditional homesteads along the way.

You will arrive late in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day at the lodge of your booking resting till dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

You will wake up early in the morning and head to the park headquarters to join other visitors for a briefing about the dos and don’ts while with Mountain gorillas on a habituation exercise. After the briefing, you will start your trek into the forest guided by researchers and guides to find a family of Gorillas under habituation.

Unlike a normal Gorilla trek, this experience offers something far more intensive and educative as you will spend about 4 hours watching the moves of the Gorillas to see how they respond to the simulation by the researchers to make them get used to the presence of people around them.

This exercise presents you with the opportunity to gain insights into their lifestyle, mannerism and survival instincts and to film and capture perfect photo shots.

The exercise is incredibly stupefying!

Day 5: Travel to Entebbe and Departure

You will have a relaxed breakfast and set off on a return Uganda Primates Experiential Safari journey to Kampala. You will have a stopover at the Equator where you will have an opportunity to stand in two hemispheres at the same time and take some photos.

You will arrive in Kampala in the late afternoon and either be transferred to the airport for your departure flight or to the hotel of your booking for dinner and overnight.

End of the Uganda Primates Experiential Safari

Requirements for Uganda Primates Experiential Safari

  • Uganda Visa (USD50) which can be paid on arrival at the Airport
  • Chimpanzee and Gorilla habituation permits (paid for in advance through our company)
  • Travel & Health insurance arranged for from your home country
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate
  • Physical fitness

Cost Includes

  • Airport transfers on the first and last day,
  • Transport in a 4×4 safari vehicle
  • Services of an English-speaking driver guide
  • Fuel for the whole trip
  • Accommodation and meal plan as per the itinerary
  • All park entrance fees
  • Drinking water while in the vehicle

Cost excludes

  • Gorilla Habituation permit at USD1500 per person
  • Chimp permit at USD250 per person
  • Pre and post-tour accommodation in Entebbe or Kampala
  • International airfares
  • Uganda Visa (USD50)
  • Items of personal nature such as tips, drinks, and laundry

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What to Expect on the Experiential Gorilla Safari

For a great gorilla trekking experience you need to be fairly fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and in good health – gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses but don’t have our immunity, which means a common cold can be deadly to a whole family of gorillas and you won’t be permitted to trek if you are unwell. Even in the dry season, the rainforest is a challenging environment: it’s humid, wet and muddy with some steep slopes, plenty of insects and thick vegetation. It is worth the effort to spend time with gorillas in the wild, but be prepared to exert yourself on the trek.

Your professional gorilla guide and tracker leads you into the forest’s secret paths, looking for a habituated gorilla family. Once found, you’ll approach the gorillas quietly and settle down to observe them from between 7 and 10m (22 to 32 ft) away. You’ll spend between 40 minutes and an hour with the gorillas, watching the adults forage and groom each other while the babies tumble and play. You’ll be under the watchful gaze of the great silverback patriarch, whose soft brown eyes constantly sweep over his family protectively. Witnessing gorillas express typically human gestures and emotions is a truly profound experience and one of the reasons that gorilla trekking is such a life-changing encounter.

You’ll be asked to leave any personal items or bottled water you’re carrying with your porters and approach the gorillas with only your camera. You are not allowed to use a flash and it’s best to use a camera that doesn’t make loud clicks, whirring or other mechanical noises.

Quick links to gorilla trekking tips

When To Go – The best time to go on a Gorilla Safari in Uganda

Although a Uganda Gorilla Safari can be conducted all year round in the Virunga Mountains, due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest jungle in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting in the dry seasons where traversing the jungles is somewhat doable – and that is the months of June to September as well as from December up to February. You can visit Bwindi at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit prices.

Temperature & Weather

Up the mountain Forest in Bwindi could be very cold, especially in the morning & night. The annual mean temperatures range is 7°C to 20°C with the coldest months being June & July. Hence warm clothing is required, plus wet weather gear because Bwindi receives up to 2390mm of rain every year. This is centred on 2 wet seasons, short rains in March-May & heavy rainfall in the months of September-November. In Bwindi, rain often falls as long hours of soft drizzle, instead of the short tropical deluges. Our Tour Experts will help you prepare depending on the season.

Getting There

Bwindi is located in western Uganda approximately 9 hour drive from the Entebbe International airport. For the Experiential Gorilla Safari, you can choose to drive up to the destination and enjoy the scenic country views or you can take a chattered local flight from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip where you’ll pick up and drive approximately 1:45mins to Bwindi.

Bwindi has various gorilla families in different locations, be careful not to select the accommodation not close to the briefing point of the Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari.

The gorilla permit

The gorilla permit on the Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari is the second most important document next to your Visa and passport, The gorilla permit costs $800, and the gorilla habituation experience costs US$1500, a hefty sum but very much worth it. You should know that some of this money is used to take care of these creatures, help them repopulate and protect them from rampant poaching.

Acquiring a gorilla permit can be strenuous, especially in peak season. We would recommend buying them months in advance to avoid the long queues. The permit per person in most cases is included in the package price, so you’ll not need to hustle to acquire the document.

Once you have the gorilla permit and you’re guided into the jungle, prepare your emotions because seeing the mountain gorillas is guaranteed.

What To Wear on the Gorilla Safari.

Experiential Gorilla Safari gear guide: Good quality walking boots if trying any hikes or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude.

However, during the day, the sun is strong even when cloudy therefore always remember to carry and wear sunscreen as well as a sun hat. In addition, you may have to carry along waterproof bags to safeguard cameras plus additional equipment for the hike. Water plus snacks are additional recommended items plus a packed lunch for people doing full-day expeditions.

What else after the gorilla safari?

While in Uganda, besides visiting the mountain gorillas, you can take a game drive safari to Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo National Park and other interesting tourist areas that are worth checking out. Most tourists on African trips combine Tanzania safari adventures with gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda in addition to a safari in Kenya or Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking in Tanzania.

Where Else Can you see the Mountain Gorillas?

After your 3 Days Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari, a visit to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is a great opportunity to see the other half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world.

You can combine your Rwanda or Congo gorilla tour with climbing mount Nyiragongo. Most tourists who take on African safari holidays usually combine more countries in various destinations.

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Quick Safari Details

Number of people: Tailored

Leaves When: Any Day

Start/End: Entebbe, Uganda

Activities: Road Drive/Local Flight, Gorilla Trekking, Jungle Trek, Bird Watching

Destinations: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Price: Request a Quote

Best time to go: June to September and December up to February.

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