Uganda gorilla tracking and wildlife safari holiday

Description of Uganda gorilla tracking and wildlife safari holiday

Take your Uganda gorilla tracking holiday a step further and venture into wildlife-rich national parks to spot zebra, giraffe, elephant, lion and buffalo, amid the beautiful savannah and forest landscapes of Uganda. Along the way, you’ll be staying in tented camps or comfortable safari lodges, and treated to the wonderful Ugandan hospitality.

Lake Mburo National Park, close to Kampala, will introduce you to some of East Africa’s many plains species, with waterbuck, impala, zebra, eland and giraffe as well as 350 species of birds thriving along the banks of the park’s placid lakes, papyrus swamp and encroaching woodland. Your Uganda gorilla tracking holiday continues onto Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – home to half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. In the company of an experienced guide, you’ll trek through densely forested hillsides in search of one of the park’s habituated families, and spend time in the company of one of our closest cousins.

Murchison Falls National Park is your last stop. Named after the powerful waterfall created by the Victoria Nile River as it plummets 45m into the Rift Valley, Murchison is Uganda’s largest national park, and home to four of the Big Five. River cruises reveal huge hippo pods along with elephants striding along the banks, and elegant, dancing grey-crowned cranes, while game drives bring you up close to lions, large herds of giraffe and powerful buffalo.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Uganda gorilla tracking and wildlife safari holiday

Environment

We're committed to sustainability, in the communities in which we operate and in the ecosystems we encounter. We seek to minimise the impact of our trips by minimising and properly disposing of waste created, by conserving energy and water, and by ensuring that endangered wildlife and environmentally compromised areas are treated with respect.

• Environmentally-focused community development projects in Uganda. the community development aspect of our trip is directly focused on improving the natural environment and human living conditions. These projects include planting trees and helping preserve endangered animals, birds and plant species.
. $500 permit fee that you pay for the gorilla tracking aspect is vital in government's conservation policies and it what is continuing to make the difference. So by paying the permit fee you're already helping to conserve these endagered primates.

• Environmental training: all of our guides, employees and drivers are trained in principles of environmental sustainability and will offer travellers’ tips on how to conserve water, reduce waste and otherwise minimize the environmental impact of their trip. We hope that our travellers will be able to take some of the conservation tips they learn from our guide’s home with them.

• Corporate recycling/energy policy: wherever possible our employees use recycled paper and recycle waste created in the office, as well as attempting to minimise waste created and be a “paper less” office. We also work to minimise energy and water consumption in our offices, and we encourage our partners to follow similar waste management.

. We will send information regarding our gorilla viewing code of conduct in order to minimise your contact with the gorilla. There are already guidelines given by the UWA in terms of how far you should be from the gorillas.
. Our dedicated experienced ex- gorilla tracking guide will help you understand the lives and nature of these gentle giants.

Community

Use of Local Guides: we're committed to using local guides, all our drivers and guides in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia are all local English speaking guides and we are committed to the training and mentoring of local people with the potential to become guides. Our guides are trained in responsible tourism and will help our travellers to be both culturally and environmentally sensitive and on top of that they understand the local areas.

• Retention of trip costs in local communities: we're committed to investing in local communities, and we aim to retain a significant portion of our travellers’ trip cost in the destination country. We use locally owned and operated hotels and restaurants. We offer opportunities for travellers to purchase local crafts and food, and our guides will provide guidance on appropriate places to shop for these.

• A real hands-on community development work: all of our trips involve a component of community development work and as such, travellers have an opportunity to contribute directly to the local communities they visit.

In addition, a portion of each traveller’s trip cost goes to support the development project for that trip. For instance, where our travellers are painting a classroom at an orphanage, the cost of the materials required is included in the trip cost.

In other areas, the trip cost includes a donation to the charity supported by that trip. Our development projects are carefully selected in conjunction with local charities and other organisations to ensure that our travellers’ work will be of maximum benefit to the local community
. We will give 10% of any profit we get from this trip to new medical Clinic that we have been helping to set up.

Reviews of Uganda gorilla tracking and wildlife safari holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were several: spending 10 hours with the chimps in Kibale forest was enthralling, although they are not always as playful as you might expect, they can be quite wild and even violent; the two days tracking and meeting mountain gorillas at close quarters was enchanting, they are much more docile - at least if they are not disturbed by you ; the Nile whitewater rafting was unforgettable - this is big water (although not the longest or most technical of grade 5) and you
will inevitably be tipped into a grade 5 rapid at some point; and at Rwakobo Rock we had our first cycle safari which was brilliant and allowed us to follow a herd of eland through the bush. There were many opportunities for other activities: a night walk at Kibale; an unusual and relaxing boat safari on the Kazinga channel; don't miss the chance to take your own dugout canoe out on Lake Bunyoni. However the holiday was unforgettable for the fabulous landscape which is an
uninterrupted green patchwork of exotic plants and crops, Uganda is certainly the Pearl of Africa.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you are accustomed to tailor made trips in the underdeveloped world, you will be fine but don't expect extensive trip dossiers, free document wallets and trek bags or even a comprehensive website of trip notes and tips. The holiday provider is a UK based, Ugandan run company focusing on volunteering trips and tailor made safaris and you will have to do some of the running yourself.
However the owner, Wycliffe, will listen to you and delivered to us probably the best trip we have experienced across all continents. Our accommodation was generally boutique/ecolodge and the quality of these was excellent; there was always a wonderful welcome and great service. Two of our stays fell below this standard but we had anticipated this. It is difficult to pick out the best
from the others but I would predict that no-one will be disappointed with a visit to Chimpanzee Guest House, Jungle Lodge, Bird Nest Lodge, Rwakobo Rock or Wildwaters Lodge. Buhoma Haven would be my favorite pick because of the location, the wonderful service and the fabulous huge rooms and the bath with a view....and it is owned by and profits the community.
We traveled in June, the shoulder season and the start of the dry season. This proved excellent because any rain was an infrequent shower and we were the only guests in three of the lodges (which had only 3-8 rooms). It can be cool at night in the mountains so warm clothing is required.
When tracking gorillas and chimps, it is rain forest, so take waterproof trousers as well as tops in all seasons. Gaiters are advisable as safari ants are everywhere, if not stick your trousers in your socks.
The benign climate means that insects and pests are rare and although we took anti-malarials we did not encounter mosquitos anywhere.
Entebbe airport is probably the most efficient that I have passed through and visas are easily obtained on arrival. However although not travelling from a yellow fever zone, we were asked to show our certificates before entry.
Travel in Uganda was relatively easy - although many of the roads are laterite and after rain they are like ice so care, patience and a Landcruiser are needed. The high level drives through the mountains are precipitous but thrillingly memorable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We have always tried to tailor make our trips to leave as green a footprint as possible. However even using Responsible Travel, I often feel some of the operators pay lip service to the impact of their activities on the environment and community. Often we do not get enough time to meet with the community or visit projects and we are not convinced that hotels and "local" contractors
are supporting the local economy as much as we would like. However on this trip the holiday provider provided us with excellent guides and accommodation that were largely Ugandan owned, in one case community owned and they could all demonstrate how they were benefiting the community. We visited some of Sandfield's projects at Mityana and also took the Village Walk run by the community at Buhoma.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Having traveled several times in Africa as well as many times in Asia and South/Central America, without a doubt this trip exceeded our expectations more than any and Uganda proved to be our favorite destination in Africa. The guide chosen by Wycliffe, Hamid, is simply the best driver/guide we have used anywhere (and that includes a Wanderlust Guide of the Year!) - he
worked tirelessly to get the best for us, anticipated our every need, was an excellent safe driver and managed to combine this with superb spotting ( including the tree-climbing lion in Ishasha) and great knowledge. The Ugandans are incredibly friendly and there is a greater feeling of security than elsewhere in Africa. The mountains are beautiful and the climate is like a perfect
English summer. If you want the Big 5 then go the Serengeti first but if you want to find the real pearl of Africa, visit Uganda.

Reviewed on 29 Mar 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The main highlight of our trip to Uganda had to be seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. It's an experience hard to describe ... exciting, magical and definitely unforgettable. But the holiday provider had put together a trip for us with many other memorable activities. Tracking chimpanzees, visiting the source of the Nile and the spectacular Murchison Falls, crossing the equator, going on game drives and bush walks in a number of the National Parks ... Murchinson Falls NP, Lake Mburo NP and Queen Elizabeth NP where, amongst other things, we attempted to find the tree climbing lions.

Our guide for the trip, Hamid, was extremely knowledgeable as well as being very friendly and, from him, we learnt much about the country as well as the wildlife. Nothing was too much trouble and he took amazing care to ensure that we had an amazing trip. Our heartfelt thanks to him, to Vincent, the operators country manger who met us at the airport and initially introduced us to Uganda, and to Wycliffe the companies CEO who arranged our trip from the UK.

One of the most notable part of our holiday, though, was the help and support provided by Responsible Travel ... most notably Rosy Everitt ...when our initial trip organiser became insolvent just a few weeks prior to our departure. Re-arranging a holiday in just three weeks when dates have been fixed and flights have already been booked is no easy task and Responsible Travel and the holiday provider "pulled out all the stops" to ensure that we did make it to Uganda and that we saw the gorillas.

We can't speak highly enough of Responsible Travel and how Rosy ensured that we were able to "get away". We'll certainly be using the company again to arrange our next trip.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Speak with Rosy and her team at Responsible travel before booking any trip ... they have a great wealth of knowledge.

Do invest in a good camera with a decent telephoto lens ... wildlife doesn't always "come close".

Don't expect all the roads to be tarred ... many of the dirt roads will leave you feeling that you've been on a roller coaster ride!!! But it's all great fun and part of the experience.

It's also worth adding in some cultural aspects to your tour e.g. archeological remains. We didn't have time but it would have been interesting to have done so.



3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We were aware, before we went, that the holiday provider had a "Responsible Tourism" philosophy and that 10% of the profits from our trip were reinvested in Ugandan community projects. However, it wasn't until we were in Uganda that Hamid, our guide, provided us with a much more detailed picture as to what the money was used for and the projects that were undertaken with it. The most recent one being the provision of medical facilities in Butebi.

They also only booked us into lodges/guest houses that operated policies designed to reduce environmental impacts so a "tick in the box" there.

Our trekking fees and National Park entry fees also supported conservation though, it has to be said, how much went towards conservation and how much into governmental and other pockets is debatable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Visiting and interacting with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat was an unforgettable experience ... as was touring Uganda and meeting the people who were friendly and welcoming.

Five stars to Responsible Travel and to the holiday provider.

Reviewed on 14 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The gorilla trek was 2 and a half hours of tough trekking the majority of which was up a very steep hill so not for those who aren't at least reasonably fit and
able, however the sight of the first gorilla washed all the tiredness away. The rangers were great clearing the plants to enable amazingly clear views and shots
of the gorillas including three youngsters at play near their magnificent silverback dad. The hour spent with them was one of the best hours of my life capped
off by the moment the silverback walked between my daughter and I brushing past my daughter as he did.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do not expect luxury during your nights in Kampala but this was more than made up for by the great accommodation at the parks?
Do not expect service levels to be the same as those you would expect in Europe/the states as they have not developed this yet. Many of the staff are from the local community and have little service training but it is good they are involved.
If you want to see rhino at the rhino sanctuary go after 4pm en-route to Murchison falls, otherwise they are likely to be sleeping.
Spend time with the local community especially the orphan charity in Bwindi, who give a great dancing performance, as it helps develop your connection
and understanding. Do not take offence by the hard sale approach, enjoy the experience and just give if you want.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes the fact that many of the staff were locals and accommodation was owned by the local communities I feel it definitely helped the local communities and
that tourists such as will help motivate the locals to preserve the environment and wildlife.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday provider organised a series of wonderful experiences for which we are very grateful with the only downside being the Kampala accommodation, but I would rather have that than compromise the great accommodation and experiences provided at the parks. It is a holiday I will never forget and definitely rates as one of my best ever.

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