Travel day to Entebbe, Uganda
If you are traveling from the US or similar distance, you will likely have to depart home today.
Enter the fascinating world of rare and elusive Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees in their forested habitats. Completely immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the rare and elusive Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees on this special Great Ape expedition. See through the eyes of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey as you get up-close and personal with these incredibly complex and social animals, all within the boundaries of Uganda’s forest habitats. Special access permits in Kibale National Park grant you an entire day with the Chimpanzees (most visitors have only two hours), giving ample photographic opportunities. For three full days, immerse yourself among Chimpanzee families, many times within just a few feet of them, witnessing and photographing intimate moments while chimps wake up, groom, forage, interact, and play together. Spend two days game driving in search of the tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park and a host of other African species. Delve into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; for three days, you will hike into the mountainous jungle habitat to locate and observe the rare and special Mountain Gorillas. Your time will be spent observing the daily routines of these gentle giants while they feed, socialize, parent, and trudge through the forest. You will leave with amazing images of Uganda and beautiful portraits of these remarkable creatures, but above all, you’ll leave with a sense of awe and wonder from the close encounters with our nearest ancestors.
• Leader Scott Davis is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel.
• Up-close encounters with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
• Three full days with Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park to observe and photograph behaviors.
• Enjoy a specially planned opportunity to join researchers as they track African Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
• Our exclusive small group keeps encounters private and without interference by other visitors.
Itinerary Updated: February 2017
|Oct 31||Travel day to Entebbe, Uganda.|
|Nov 1||Arrive in Entebbe.||Protea Hotel, Entebbe||D|
|Nov 2–5||Drive to Kibale National Park and then spend the next three days tracking Chimpanzees and observing behaviors.||Ndali Lodge, Ndali||B, L, D|
|Nov 6–7||Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park and explore during morning and afternoon game drives.||Katara Lodge, Queen Elizabeth National Park||B, L, D|
|Nov 8–11||Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, then spend the next three days tracking gorillas.||Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi||B, L, D|
|Nov 12||Fly back to Entebbe, Uganda, for connecting flights homeward.||Protea Hotel, Entebbe (Dayroom)||B, L|
|Nov 13||Arrive home.|
Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and leading tours. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments took him to the far corners of the globe. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, and renowned magazines used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.
If you are traveling from the US or similar distance, you will likely have to depart home today.
Arrive in Entebbe by this evening. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to our hotel to recuperate from your flights and prepare for your upcoming adventure.
We’ll drive from Entebbe to our lodging in the popular Kibale National Park. Kibale National Park is known for its variety and concentration of primates, such as Red Colobus, Vervet, l’Hoest’s, and Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Chimpanzees, and Olive Baboons. We may also encounter forest elephants, which are smaller and hairier than the Savannah Elephants.
Kibale National Park is home to about 1,500 Chimpanzees, all separated into various troops or some lone individuals. Several of the troops are habituated to humans, so we’ll be able to observe them throughout the day without them getting anxious or upset. We have special permits that allow us to spend a full day with the Chimpanzees. Plan to be up before dawn and hike into the forest, arriving at our focal chimp group just in time to see them wake up and rise from their sleeping nests. We’ll spend the day watching them as they eat, groom, play, take care of their young, and go through their daily routine in their natural habitat. Our expert guide will describe behaviors and point out other species we will see along the way such as other primates, bush pigs, dukiers, many amphibian and reptile species, and over 375 bird species.
On the last morning, we will take a tour of the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary to see other primate species and many bird species. The wetland boasts rich habitat and a great conservation success story. The area was once known for poaching and is now run and managed by the locals who directly benefit from the tourism. After touring Bigodi, we will follow our chimpanzee troop for the remainder of the day.
You will bid farewell to Kibale and the Chimpanzees and drive to the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is located within the famous Albertine Rift Valley and is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species due to the variety of habitats found here, including savannahs, wetlands, and rainforests. We’ll take an afternoon game drive to explore the park and have time to relax by the Kazinga Channel.
Depart for an early morning game drive in search of lions, elephants, and buffaloes and head to the mating ground of the Uganda Kob, a species of antelope that appears on the Ugandan national flag. Game drives in the Ishasha sector will hopefully bring us the famous tree climbing lions, elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, hippos, and many more wildlife in their natural habitat. We will spend half of one of our days with lion researchers as they track lions – a special opportunity most tourists never experience!
Take a scenic drive south to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home of the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei). This park lies on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley in southwestern Uganda, with a wide altitude range between 1,160m and 2,600m. The forest itself, dating back to the ice ages, is one of Uganda's oldest and most ecologically diverse forests with almost 400 species of plants, 350 species of birds including 23 Albertine Rift endemics, plus 120 mammal species, including many smaller mammals like rodents and bats, but also Mountain Gorillas, Olive Baboons, Chimpanzees, elephants, and antelopes.
Our knowledgeable guide from the lodge will take us out to track Mountain Gorillas each day. After a briefing by our gorilla guide who will tell us about our assigned gorilla family and appropriate safety precautions, we will drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure. Expect to hike long distances in steep and sometimes muddy conditions, taking anywhere from 2 to 8 hours to find the gorillas, so be prepared for a long day of hiking.
Once we arrive at our family of gorillas, we have one hour with them as they go about their daily life. We will observe feeding, moving, playing, raising their young, and sometimes wrestling by the juveniles. Coming face to face with a giant Mountain Gorilla is truly the most genuinely breath-taking wildlife experience on earth!
We’ll fly back to Entebbe on a private chartered plane. While In Entebbe we will have a dayroom to refresh before catching international flights leaving Entebbe tonight.
Arrive home today depending on your flight schedule.
Enter the fascinating world of rare and elusive Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees in their forested habitats.
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$12,500|
We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. Single rooms are subject to availability.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||March 1, 2017||$1,000|
|Final||June 1, 2017||Remaining Balance|
Payments will be due based on the following schedule. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.
Uganda generally stays the same temperature year round with a daytime range from 65 to 85° F (23–29° C) and nighttime temperatures in the mid-50s° F (~12° C), but with climate change weather is more variable, so prepare for varying climate conditions. November is the transitional month between the rainy and dry seasons in Uganda, so expect some rain. Bwindi National Park is rainy and fairly damp year-round.
Hiking in search of gorillas and chimpanzees will total two to six miles per day (over four to eight hours). Terrain can be steep, uneven, and muddy. We’ll hike regardless of the weather conditions. You can hire a local porter to carry your gear during hiking; this is highly recommended so that you can focus on photography and the rugged terrain. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
Airfare, except flight listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Plan to arrive in Entebbe, Uganda (EBB) anytime on November 1. Plan to depart Entebbe in the evening on November 12.
Flights we book for you: One-way flight from Bwindi to Entebbe on November 12. The cost of this booking is included in the tour cost.
Scott knows Uganda well and is eager to show you photographic techniques for optimal photography with primates. Our days are planned to spend as much time as possible observing and photographing wildlife behavior. Although this trip emphasizes photography, any skill level is welcomed and encouraged. You can forego photography altogether to watch animal behaviors for long periods of time if you choose. Our small group size gives us the flexibility to stay at a perfect photographic moment to capture world-class images. Scott will offer instruction on wildlife photography throughout the trip as well as offer one-on-one critique time in the evenings. If you have new equipment, familiarize yourself with it before your trip so that you can get the most out of Scott’s expertise.
• Your guides will review these rules before you visit the chimpanzees and gorillas.
• Do not approach closer than the minimum distance of 7 meters (21 feet) from the primates. This is to control disease transmission and to not aggravate the animals.
• Total silence, no smoking, no eating or drinking, and no pointing or staring directly at the primates.
• No flash photography.
• Follow the guide’s directions and actions at all times.
• Move slowly and be calm at all times.
• If you are feeling ill or know that you have a contagious disease, do not attempt to track the primates. Chimps and gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. You will not be allowed a refund of your permit if you cannot go trekking. Please respect this rule and put the primates’ health first.
We will be staying at high-end lodges and hotels. All rooms have private baths. Laundry facilities and additional amenities are available at all lodges, though may cost extra. After a long day of hiking to find the apes, you will appreciate the niceties of a warm shower, sunset views at the bar, good food, and a comfortable bed.
"Scott helped hone my photography skills; his guidance and encouragement were invaluable."
"I would definitely consider taking another Cheesemans' Ecology Safari tour. My total experience was a positive one and the memories (and photos) that were made, are cherished."
"Seeing Chimpanzees interactions and communications including drumming on the trees was special. Being close to a mother Mountain Gorilla while she nursed her one-month-old baby with tenderness is a memory I will have forever."