Gorillas & Chimpanzees of Uganda

These safaris take you in search of Mountain Gorillas in their largest surviving habitat: the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; and wild Chimpanzees in the Kibale Rainforest Reserve. Two gorilla permits and two chimpanzee permits are included, taking you trekking twice in each location in your quest to experience both of these Great Apes.

Your chances of seeing more wildlife besides is very good, including the haunting Shoebill Stork of the Mabamba Swamp; other primates such as Black & White Colobus Monkeys; and a host of tropical birds.

Your safari will begin with a visit to the Mabamba Swamps. These are famous for the Shoebill Stork, whose huge beak is designed to snare large lungfish, catfish and eels, as well as the more meaty stuff of monitor lizards, baby crocodiles and snakes. Famously, these storks give birth to two young, but will allow the weaker of the two to starve to death.

From Entebbe, we will drive you through Uganda's towns and countryside to the Kibale rainforest. This location is incredible for primate watching, Whilst Chimpanzees will be our primary target, it is not unusual to find mixed groups of as many as 5 species of monkey here. Other primates here include red colobus, blue monkeys, the gray-cheeked mangabey and l'Hoest's monkey. Though Chimpanzees can sometimes be difficult to spot, you will be in no doubt of their presence as the forest is alive with their rather intimidating screeching.

The birdlife is abundant at Kibale too, as it is in the neighbouring Bigodi Wetlands where you have the option to take a guided walk on one of your two days at Kibale. Here you can hope to see Blue Turaco and the rare Papyrus Gonolek. We also hope you will see Sitatunga, which are antelopes whose splayed hooves have adapted them perfectly to swampy ground. Red colobus monkeys are another elusive resident.

From the forests of Kibale we head west to an area of mountains which provides the largest remaining habitat for the Mountain Gorilla.  This is the Bwindi 'Impenetrable Forest' - a stunning area of forested mountains where approximately half of all surviving mountain gorillas live.  Here we will take two days to track gorillas through dense tropical forest, watching as we go for orchids, birds and other wildlife.  Chimpanzees are often heard screeching across the mountains, whilst black and white colobus monkeys can often be seen leaping from branch to branch. At this altitude, branches are already strained by dense collections of mosses and bromeliads.

Bwindi's scenery itself is quite breath taking, which in the distance includes the Rwandan haven for the mountain gorilla: the Virungas of the Parc National des Volcans.  All this is reason enough to want to visit this part of the world, but intimate encounters with our largest close relative can make this one of our natural world's most magical experiences.

Your safari will end at the Kihihi airstrip, from where you can take a flight back to Entebbe, or the Masai Mara or the Serengeti in Tanzania.

The number of gorilla permits released is strictly controlled. We will need to receive your deposit and then try to purchase your gorilla permit(s) before we can confirm your booking. In the event that permits are fully booked for the period you need them then we will refund your deposit in full. This itinerary includes 2 gorilla permits and 2 chimpanzee permits, but we can extend your stay and apply for permits on an extra day or two.


Gorilla & Chimpanzees of Uganda

Day 1 - Arrive Entebbe

Arrive Entebbe airport where you will be met and transfer to a hotel in this city which sits beside Lake Victoria. You will be staying here for 2 nights on a b&b basis.

Day 2 – The Mabamba Swamp

Today, we will take you to the Mabamba Swamp in search of Shoebill Herons and other birdlife. You will be in a canoe powered by an outboard engine.

Day 3 – Entebbe to the Kibale National Park Rainforest

After breakfast, you will be collected from the hotel by your driver / guide, before heading to Kampala, Mityana and Kyanjojo, before arriving at Fort Portal for lunch at a local restaurant. You will then drive to your lodge set inside the rainforest. You will have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the sounds of African rainforest.

Dinner at the lodge.

Day 4 – Chimpanzee Tracking (& optional Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary)

Spend the morning tracking the exuberant chimp families in the Kibale forest. Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor, is a thrilling experience. Though they can be difficult to spot, you will be in no doubt of their presence as the forest is alive with their noisy calls.

You are likely to come across other primates whilst you are tracking chimps. These might include l'Hoeste's monoey, red colobus, blue monkeys, red tailed and gray-cheeked mangabeys. You will have a packed lunch to extend your time in the forest.

Later the afternoon, you have the option (additional cost) to be taken to explore the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The reserve is abundant with butterflies, plants, animals and, in particular, birds. Spectacular birds like Great Blue Turaco and rare Papyrus Gonolek will be of great interest to birders. The swamp is also home to more elusive animals such as Red Colobus monkeys and Sitatunga antelope.

Day 5 – Chimpanzee & other Primate Tracking in the Kibale Rainforest

You will spend another morning and early afternoon tracking chimpanzees and other primates in the Kibale rainforest.

Day 6 – Kibale to Bwindi

After breakfast you will depart the Kibale Forest and take a leisurely drive to Kasese Town, passing through fertile agricultural land and the lower slopes of one of Africa's largest mountain ranges: the Rwenzori Mountains.

You will cut across the Queen Elizabeth NP - no game drives, but you might see some savannah wildlife. Yu will eventually arrive at your montane forest lodge in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi.

You will have lunch here and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure or optional guided community village walk (no extra cost). Dinner and overnight at the Camp.

Days 7 & 8 – Two Days Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Early morning departure from the lodge to the trailhead at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for your mountain gorilla trekking experience. You will receive a briefing from a Park Ranger, which will touch on aspects of gorilla behaviour, details on the gorilla family you will be searching for and  safety precautions. Your adventure will then begin!

Gorilla trekking can be strenuous, so a certain level of fitness is required. Trekking can take from 30 minutes to three-quarters of the day, so one needs to prepare for both. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is one of the most memorable wildlife encounters in Africa, if not the world. Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are a critically endangered species. At least 400 mountain gorillas inhabit the Bwindi Mountains and live at altitudes from 1,160m - 2,607m above sea level. There is a feeling of mutual understanding as you watch them in their home, going about their daily business. Youngsters will often show off, jumping to demonstrate their motor skills. Silverbacks may beat their chests as a sign of dominance, an exhilarating experience! Or they may sit peacefully as a family, chomping on bamboo and grooming each other, watching you with the same intrigue you are showing them.

Gorilla trekking is for sure a life-changing and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Daily visits have an impact on gorilla activity patterns and are a source of animal stress - therefore the firm justification for the "only spend one-hour" rule. This is adequate time for photography and observing these great primates in their natural habitat. Afterwards, return to base where your driver will be waiting to transfer back to the lodge.

Day 9 – Bwindi & Departure

Transfer from the lodge to the Kihihi airstrip. Leave with the 09:45am (arrive at 11:25am) return flight to Entebbe (NB: baggage allowance is strictly 15 kg in soft sided duffel bags). You will be able to connect with an Air Kenya flight to the Masai Mara, or Auric Air to the Serengeti.


Enquire / Book 01 Jun - 31 Oct 2024 - from £ 5,590
from US$ 6,690

9 day safari starting Entebbe ending Kihihi
includes 2 Gorilla tracking permits & 2 Chimpanzee tracking permits
Assume 2 persons sharing. Single room occupancy add £525 / US$630
Deluxe accommodation: add £2,340 / US$2,770 pp sharing

Enquire / Book 01 - 30 Nov 2024 - from £ 5,340
from US$ 6,390

9 day safari starting Entebbe ending Kihihi
includes 2 Gorilla tracking permits & 2 Chimpanzee tracking permits
Assume 2 persons sharing. Single room occupancy add £510 / US$620
Deluxe accommodation: add £1,540 / US$1,790 pp sharing

Enquire / Book 01 - 31 Dec 2024 - from £ 5,590
from US$ 6,690

9 day safari starting Entebbe ending Kihihi
includes 2 Gorilla tracking permits & 2 Chimpanzee tracking permits
Assume 2 persons sharing. Single room occupancy add £525 / US$630
Deluxe accommodation: add £2,340 / US$2,770 pp sharing

Price includes
All transport starting Entebbe airport & ending Kihihi airstrip
Expert naturalist driver / guide
B&B accommodation at Lake Victoria / Entebbe
Full Board accommodation at game lodges
Entry fees to national parks
Government taxes, hotel levies and service charges
2 Gorilla Tracking Permits per person
2 Chimpanzee tracking permits per person

Price excludes
Travel insurance
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks
Excursions or services not listed within the itinerary
Extra gorilla permits (currently US$700 per person per day)

  • Mountain Gorilla in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Chimpanzee in the Kibale National Park Rainforest of Uganda
  • Adolescent Mountain Gorilla in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Senior Mountain Gorilla at Bwindi


  • Aqua-Firma 4 Wheel Drive Toyota Land Cruiser Safari Vehicle
  • Chimpanzee in the Kibale Rainforest National Park
  • Turaco in the Kibale Rainforest
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