Still one of the world’s best kept natural secrets, Uganda receives far less visitors than its neighbouring countries. Characterised by dramatic scenery throughout, it is home to deep lakes, stunning waterfalls, towering mountains and incredible wildlife.
Uganda also has the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the mountain gorilla – now one of the rarest animals on the planet. There are just over 1000 mountain gorillas in the world and since the establishment of the epic Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda as a protected reserve, the population of mountain gorilla has increased from less than 300 individuals to 400 according to the latest census.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site situated in the southwest corner of Uganda. The park is 331 square kilometres and impresses with a truly theatrical landscape and bio-diversity – this is a region of volcanoes, jagged valleys, waterfalls, lakes and dramatic mountain ranges. Birders come thousands of miles to see the more than 350 species that live within the area. There are also rare forest elephant, giant forest hog and eleven kinds of primates, including red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboons and chimpanzee. You can also find forest duiker antelopes and bush buck antelopes, as well as over 200 species of butterflies.
Bwindi is home to 400 mountain gorillas, almost half of the world’s population of this critically endangered ape. The gorillas are completely wild but have become used to seeing a few humans after years of habituation. Many of the expert guides have been involved in this process since the beginning, and are able to explain the complicated etiquette involved in meeting a giant silverback. This is an opportunity afforded only to a select few, as just eight visitors are allowed to view each group every day.
Tracking through dense forest with steep slopes means that participants do need to be physically fit. Once the gorillas are located, you spend a maximum of one hour with them before returning back to camp. Please note only children aged 15 and above can track gorilla. Guests taking part in this activity must have a permit.