Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Advisor - Kim Walters
Curated By

Kim Walters

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  • Uganda

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • International Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Safari

  • Outdoors

  • Wildlife

Gorilla standing surrounded by green plants
Curator’s statement

Gorilla trekking is a precious activity experienced in Uganda and a few other nations in Africa. It differs from all other kinds of wilderness ventures and safaris because humans are only allowed a one-hour window to watch the animals and interact with them. Gorillas are precious and vulnerable species that can easily catch human diseases and get stressed; in order to protect the animals, their human contact is limited to an hour-long window. This guide takes you to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda for gorilla trekking and Lake Victoria for tranquil lakeside activity and unwinding. It is an excellent way to get to know Uganda and support its local communities.  

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Where to stay

Buhoma Lodge

Safari-style lodgings with views of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park known for the elusive Mountain Gorilla.

Karibu Boutique Hotel

Karibu Entebbe is a boutique hotel set in a former presidential residence catering to just a small number of guests at any one time.

Advisor - Kim Walters

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Day 1: Entebbe and Ngamba Island

Two chimpanzees sit together on platform with green trees in the background

Arrive in Entebbe and visit Ngamba Island, a chimpanzee rescue island. Take a tour of the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, the only chimpanzee rescue center in the world.  These chimps are rescued for various reasons but have complete access to 95% of the island's grounds. 

Day 2: Arrive at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Local Community Visit

Six people take pictures in bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda

Fly to Kihihi Airstrip and transfer to Buhoma Lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Buhoma Lodge is one of two lodges inside the national park. Soak in the beauty of the landscape as you travel to the lodge; you will see gorgeous views and many tea farms.  Take a locally guided tour of one of the Pygmy Villages. You will experience how they make fire, baskets, beer and bread, and dance and meet with a local medicine man.  

Next, you will visit a local school where the children will treat you to a warm welcome of singing.  Many of these children live so far away that they live on the property during the school months.  

Day 3: Gorilla Trekking

Two gorillas cleaning each other surrounded by green plants

Today is the day you are going gorilla trekking!  After breakfast, you will depart to the park headquarters to determine which gorilla group you will be trekking to.  Each mountain gorilla family is allowed up to eight visitors per day for a maximum of one hour. (Our group of six trekkers hiked to the Habinyanja Group.)  We were accompanied by a head guide, five porters, two armed guards and two trackers that left about an hour before we left to find where the gorilla family was resting for the day.

After we left the trail, our guide and one of the guards used machetes to chop down trees and shrubs so we could make a new path to get to the gorilla family.  Once there, you will be awe-struck.  It is incredible how close you are to the family of gorillas.  

This family comprised 14 gorillas, although we could only see about 9 or 10 of them. There was one Silverback, one silverback in waiting, females, three toddlers and two teenagers. The younger ones were the most fun to watch, as they were the most active, playing and wrestling. 

Once back at the lodge and showered, enjoy a one-hour massage to relax all of those tense muscles you used during the hike.

A note from Kim

Whether you need them or not, hiring a porter helps support the community. In addition, each porter only hikes with one gorilla family, so they know the terrain and are conditioned to the environment.

Day 4: Visit Lake Victoria

Man stands in canoe in Lake Victoria in Uganda

Gorilla treks are much shorter and faster than safaris due to the limited time humans are allowed with the animals. Today you will fly back to Entebbe. Take a tour of the Mabamba Swamp within Lake Victoria. Here you will spot the Shoebill Stork, Grey Heron, Egret, Egyptian Ducks, Gallinule, Squacco and Goliath, to name a few. The tranquil and peaceful nature of the lake will help you unwind and relax. 

Day 5: Lake activity and boating

People ride in boat on the water in Uganda

Take a boat ride to Bussi Island and visit Park Shoebill. This is a small island resort with an adventure course and beautiful views of Lake Victoria. There is a 3-level ropes course, zipline, cycling, zorb ball, boat rowing, and a nature walk. Enjoy the adventuring and then indulge in a feast.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Arlette Diederiks ’s trip report, 8-Day Uganda Adventure with Gorilla Trekking .

Advisor - Kim Walters

Travel Advisor

Kim Walters

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