Rainforest Friendships: Gorillas and Chimpanzees

Seeing our primate cousins in their natural habitats is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most famous attractions. It’s the trip of a lifetime for a lot of people, so it’s important to get it right. The first step is to decide where you will go. 

Explore Uganda's Primate Haven: Gorillas and Chimpanzees.

Uganda boasts the unique opportunity to witness both gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural habitats. The awe-inspiring Uganda gorilla experience can be found in two incredible locations - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park. Additionally, Uganda's Kibale National Park is home to our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. Getting to these prime destinations is convenient, with options to drive or fly between them.

Uganda offers an advantage over neighbouring Rwanda, providing more habituated groups of mountain gorillas to observe. Notably, the gorilla trekking permits here are more budget-friendly at $700 per person, half the cost of Rwanda's gorilla experience. Keep in mind that trekking can be physically demanding, requiring a good level of fitness due to challenging terrain, dense vegetation, and steep slopes within the rainforest.

Once you locate the gorillas or chimpanzees, you have the privilege of spending up to an hour observing them in their natural habitat. For the more adventurous, Uganda also offers habituation treks with gorillas that are in the process of being habituated. While these treks are longer and do not guarantee time with the gorillas, they can be incredibly captivating.

Uganda extends beyond its primate encounters, offering excellent safari options like Murchison Falls and the lesser-known gem, Kidepo National Park.

Gorillas in the rainforest

Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park: A Luxury Primate Hub

If luxury is your preference, Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park is easily accessible and boasts high-end accommodation options that will resonate with gorilla nest enthusiasts. Be mindful that during the high season (July-August), the park headquarters can become crowded as all treks originate from there.

In both cases, it’s important to remember that you only really need one or two treks with the gorillas. More than that can get very expensive. Beyond Uganda and Rwanda, it’s easy enough to connect to other safari destinations like Tanzania. These days you can fly across Lake Victoria directly into the Serengeti from Entebbe and Kigali. This brings plenty of options like the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire into play across a 10-day, 2-week or longer trip.

Discover Tanzania's Chimpanzees: Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains

Don't forget that Tanzania has its own chimpanzees, residing along the shores of Lake Tanganyika at Gombe Stream and the enchanting Mahale Mountains National Park.

Venture to the Other Side of Africa: Lowland Gorillas Await

On the other side of Africa, you can embark on an intrepid adventure to encounter lowland gorillas. These incredible creatures can be found in Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Cameroon. It's essential to note that Congo should not be confused with its larger and less stable neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Congo is perfectly safe, whilst the Virunga in the DRC, for example, has been closed to tourism for a number of years. Gorilla trekking in Congo is done in small groups, straight from the lodge, with local guides. This is intrepid stuff in vast tracts of wild rainforest where you will encounter other unique wildlife like forest elephants, grey parrots and even bongos. Sometimes, together in the famous forest clearings known as bais. It is a perfect trip for privately guided groups.

Start Your Primate Adventure Today!

Embark on your primate adventure today, and immerse yourself in the captivating world of gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural African habitats. Whether you choose Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, or Congo, you're in for an unforgettable journey filled with wildlife encounters, stunning landscapes, and memories that will last a lifetime. Don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with our primate cousins in their element.

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