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Gorilla Safaris in Rwanda and Uganda

There has been a huge swell of interest in gorilla safari vacations in recent years and in particular the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda. With current stability in both countries combined with the existence of experienced, first class companies operating the tours, luxury safari lodges, guides and trackers there has never been a better time to visit. Currently the mountain gorillas are split between the Virguna Mountains of Rwanda and Bwindi in Uganda. For those travellers that have already enjoyed holidays to Africa and in particular luxury safari vacations a gorilla safari offers something a little different to other Africa safari ideas.

All gorillas and their fragile habitat are protected by the strictly enforced limited issue of trekking permits and many of the lodges totally embrace an eco friendly operation. Skilful guides, comfortable lodges, with good food and combined with the tantalising prospect of seeing these majestic primates in their natural habitat make for a memorable Africa safari.

Although access to the gorillas is on a limited basis there are many other activities to enjoy within the many stunning National Parks such as visits to golden monkeys, primate walks and many cultural opportunities. Primate walks are also protected by means of specifically issued permits which, as with the gorilla permits, must be secured ahead of your arrival.

Children under fifteen years of age are not permitted to trek gorillas and indeed the very activity of trekking, at altitude, requires some physical stamina and definitely sure footedness. Reliance on the skill and knowledge of the guides is as paramount as obeying the rules! Huge importance is placed on making as little disturbance as possible to the forest, rightly so and great emphasis is placed on the correct behaviours during the trek, up to the identified observation point and whilst you are in the act of observing the gorillas is strongly communicated by the guides and trackers at every briefing. Ensuring that visitors are in good health, for these creatures can easily becoming contaminated by human illness and restricting the time spent in the “company” of the gorilla group to one hour, always at a distance of six metres, helps to minimise disruption or contamination from the human animals.

The various permits and interest of visitors, together with the fame of the mountain gorillas are assisting their continued survival and growth. The revenue is essential to protect and fund the work undertaken by the partnership of local people and conservation professionals to protect the lush hills and forests as well as the wildlife within and thereby also benefitting the host country and safari vacation visitor.

Lodge accommodation in Rwanda and Uganda, as with anywhere, range from luxurious through to ‘rustic’ although undoubtedly, whilst the sight of the gorillas in the wild may be the icing on the cake, luxury safari accommodation could very well be the ‘cake’. Both Entebbe and Kigali, the starting point of a gorilla trekking safari, are well served by a relatively short scheduled flight from Nairobi affording uncomplicated access and thereby potentially offering two African safaris in one by combing a gorilla trekking vacation with a safari in Kenya.

The future of the mountain gorillas is an improving one compared to that predicted not so long ago but crucially depends on the continued respect of man to gorilla.

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Cost per person: 3000 - 4000       4000 - 5000       5000 - 6000       6000+
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