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Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

While it is one of the most expensive hours you will ever experience, it is still worth it. Find out what it’s like to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda.

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A flash of silver surrounded by black is the first glimpse I catch as his gigantic body rises from leaning against the bamboo trunks. His monstrous head swivels atop a pair of broad shoulders.

Male Silverback Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

Male Silverback Gorilla in Uganda

“Hmmm-hummph”.

Frozen on the spot our guide imitated the universal Mountain Gorilla sound to let them know we were friends and everything was alright.

As the leading Silverbacks head finished it’s swivel, it locked it’s dark eyes on our group and didn’t even blink before turning back to it’s lunch of bamboo shoots and leaves.

Silverback Gorilla in Uganda

Silverback Gorilla in Uganda

Grinning at us our guide waved us closer.

“Don’t worry, they are happy with our presence.”

I wasn’t completely convinced, but when you are paying $550/hour trekking with Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, you don’t want to waste a minute. Inching closer we all began jostling for position. Elbow to elbow our cameras whirred away as we frantically tried to snap a few pictures under the very poor light conditions.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

And today the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was living up to it’s reputation as the heavy rainforest above our heads blocked out nearly all the available light.

Grasping the thick trunk with a fist that could crush your skull, the solo Silverback swung down the bank. Lumbering downhill towards his family on his knuckles, we followed at a safe distance.

Within minutes we spotted further movement ahead. A young male juvenile clambered up a tree just 10m from our position as his brother chased him. Launching from above he tackled his brother with a fistful of black hair sending them both into the undergrowth.

Gorillas in Bwaise Impenetrable Forest Park

Male Juvenile Gorilla in Bwaise Impenetrable Forest Park

The mother didn’t even react and I couldn’t understand why until movement over her shoulder caught my eye. A baby Mountain Gorilla, only a month old to the day, peered at us with intensely deep brown eyes before disappearing again.

New born Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

New born Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

As the dominant Silverback we had spotted earlier continued away from us, the rest of his 10 strong family followed in his wake.

For the next hour it felt like we were continuously harassing them as we snuck closer for a few minutes before they decided to move on. End even though we were not allowed to approach them closer than 7m, they would saunter closer to us on several occasions.

While they barely paid us any attention, it felt like we were constantly intruding on their territory and within their personal spaces.

Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda

The Trekking Experience – Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Only half of the experience is actually watching the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. One of the best parts of the day is trekking through the Bwindi Impenetrable Rainforest searching for them in the first place.

We were considered lucky as our maximum group of 8, accompanied by our guide and an armed guard to scare off potential poachers and wildlife, had slashed, stumbled and hiked only 45 minutes from our start point to our first sighting of our designated Mountain Gorilla family in Uganda, Bitukura.

In comparison, the other group from Oasis Overland, who I am travelling across Africa with, hiked over 3 hours each way before they spotted their first glimpse of the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda.

Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

Just 10 minutes into our Gorilla trekking in Uganda we were halted in our path as we caught glimpses of brown flanks downwind of us through the dense forest. A herd of Elephants were in a clearing ahead and were known to charge at “muzungus” in their path.

Smaller than their desert dwelling cousins, they use their size to ease their way through the undergrowth in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park. Their lighter weight also allows them to scale the, at times, near vertical Bwindi Impenetrable Forest valley walls.

Unslinging his AK47, our guard told us to run if they decided to charge us before sending them trumpeting into the bush with a single “CRACK” of the bullet whizzing above their heads. It’s slightly unnerving to see how quickly they can move in a forest that I can barely see through.

Gorillas in the Mist Uganda

Gorillas in the Mist Uganda

Slipping deeper and downhill in to the Ugandan Rainforest we were only given a 2 minute warning before we spotted that first male Silverback.

And bang on 60 minutes our excellent Mountain Gorilla guide slowly started to pull us away from the group. It was a magical experience that I will never forget.

Have you seen been trekking with the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda before? Is it on your Bucket List?

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Thomas Dembie

    May 19, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Great post! I recently did a similar trek in Rwanda. The hike to find the gorillas was extremely difficult, and it rained the whole time. Nevertheless, it was an awesome experience.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 23, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      We were really lucky that our hike was so short! And it only started raining after we finished 😉

  2. Candice

    May 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    I have always wanted to do this, and everyone I have spoken to that has, says it is worth the money! You got some amazing shots on your trip!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      Was really hard to get the photos as the light was so dark. Took 87 photos and these were the best!

  3. Walter Bailey

    May 21, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    Wow! Amazing pictures you have captured. I love to this as well but I can’t afford $550/ hour.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      It was lucky it was half price for 2 months this year due to Ugandan celebrations 😉

      • Instinct Safaris

        November 5, 2013 at 7:18 PM

        In the low season months it is always reduced to 350 USD! This promotion is in November, as well as March, April, and May. 🙂 So you don’t have to wait until the next 50th Independence Day to get a big discount.

  4. Jonathan Look, Jr.

    May 22, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    Wow! What an amazing adventure to get so close. Thanks for bringing some awareness to these amazing creatures.

  5. Justin @ True Nomads

    May 26, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    This is definitely on my bucketlist now!

  6. Kristy of Family Visa

    May 29, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    I was shocked about the price because it is a bit expensive but it shows that you really had a great time trekking and seeing those gorillas in personal on their territory through your pictures of the said trip.

  7. Shirley

    May 29, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    That was quite an adventure I must say, and quite risky in my opinion.. and you wrote it very well, engaging much that I felt your nervousness whenever the gorillas catch you eying on them.. ah, that must be intense!

  8. Jim

    May 30, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    You have a great way with words but these pictures are phenomenal. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Nomad backpacker

    June 3, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Wow, that’s insanely expensive! But at the same time unforgettable!

  10. tourism uganda

    June 4, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Uganda is naturally given the artificial wonders are even not given a lot of concern mainly because of competition from a lot of natural aspects.

  11. Stu

    June 6, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    WOW!!! That experience truly is once in a lifetime! It looks awesome and despite the cost you will never forget it! From a photographes point of view, photographing Gorillas in their naural habitat is definitley up there. I think i may need to add this to my bucket list! Photos are great considering the difficult conditions, well done 🙂

  12. We Travel and Blog

    June 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    550 an hour!!! Did you book locally or did you go through some kind of tour agency. Seeing silver back gorillas is definitely on my bucket list. It would be nice to be able to camp in the jungle though so you could have a chance at getting some better light on the gorillas.

  13. Amanda

    June 18, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Definitely something I would love to do – but that sure is a hefty price tag!

  14. Tyrhone

    June 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Wow, that looks incredible. I lived in South Africa and Zimbabwe so have been around wild animals a fair bit. But I never got to see gorillas. Sarah and I would love to do Africa after South America.

    Do you mind me asking $550 sounds like a lot! Was that for two of you? We would probably do a tour like the one your on, but I remember noticing some of the extras can add up to big money.

    Adventure on!

  15. Arti

    June 30, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    550$ for an hour?? That is a huge sum of money!!! But it must be one very unique and adventurous experience!!

  16. Bruised Passports

    July 3, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Wow! That looks like quite an experience. Tempted to book it right away – you guys have SUCH a way with words 🙂

  17. Martin

    July 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    What a great gorilla trekking. Great photos u share with us.

  18. Jeff

    September 4, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    A great adventure indeed though quite expensive. Great and quality pictures.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 6, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      Definitely expensive for just one hour. But also a once in a lifetime experience.

  19. Wild Whispers Africa Safaris

    December 6, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    These mountain gorillas are endangered and as such, the fee you pay goes to the conservation efforts. I see nothing wrong with charging $ 500 per person per trek.

    • Cole Burmester

      December 8, 2013 at 2:05 AM

      Exactly. It’s a great cause and a once in a life time opportunity.

  20. Peter @ Nairobi National Park Day Tours

    December 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    That Silver back just looks kingly. Great picks and Gorilla tracking travelogue cole.

    I agree, inorder to limit the numbers of visitors hence impact; and at the same time boost revenues, the $ 500 per person hour is justified.

  21. Africa Kenya safari

    February 27, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    You were the lucky one having to trek only for 45minutes and being treated to the rare sighting of the Gorillas.

    Though the Permits are expensive, We believe they are justifiable since the revenue generated go along way in the fight for survival of the Mountain Gorillas

    The whole experience of gorilla watching is thrilling and a must for everyone who can afford. Its a memorable experience given the fact that they are engendered species

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Adventure Travel

5 UK festivals to visit this summer

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The UK is so beautiful in the summer, why go abroad when you have thousands of fun things to do right here? People travel from all over the world to see our beautiful country, so get to know the UK better.

These are some of my favourite festivals for summer 2018. They are family friendly with entertainment for both parents and children.

BLISSFIELDS 5-8 July 2018 | Winchester. Whilst you’re getting your groove on, your children will enjoy making woodland fancy dress costumes in the Angel Gardens Family Area, having paint fights and dancing their socks off at the onesie disco and everyone’s in their happy place. Address: Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, SO21 3BL  Website: blissfields.co.uk Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £100; youths £85

LATITUDE 13-15 July 2018 | Suffolk. Latitude must be the closest grown-ups can get to a real festival experience with the kiddies. You can enjoy yourself while your cuties hang out in the Enchanted Garden where there’s circus skills classes, screen printing and wildlife craft sessions. Address: Henham Park, Nr Southwold, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 8AN  Website: latitudefestival.com Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £197; accompanied teens from £132.50; children from £15

GIVE 13-16 July 2018 | Leicestershire. This tiny celebration of soul, house, funk, reggae and blues, grew out of a series of club nights started by a gang of warehouse ravers in the 80s. While it is not a family festival, many regulars now bring their kids, who love it. This year, watch British Soul singer Corrina Greyson and then head to the treehouse, bouncy castle, karaoke and magic forest schools. Address: Stanford Hall, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 6DH  Website: houseofhoney.org Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £175; under 18s £55; under 13s £30

DEER SHED FESTIVAL 20-22 July 2018 | North Yorkshire. Kick off the school holidays with this weekend of fun at Baldersby Park in Yorkshire, combining music, cabaret, comedy, theatre, book readings, family films, science workshops and lots of scampering in the woods. Address: Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire YO7 3BZ Website: deershedfestival.com Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £135; 6-15 year olds £45; 3-5 £10; 0-2 free

CURIOUS ARTS FESTIVAL 20-22 July 2018 | Hampshire. It’s all snail racing, midnight bat walks and bee-keeping lessons at the Curious Arts Festival, in the grounds of stately Pylewell Park. The film and poetry workshops for kids are a must. Address: Pylewell Park, East End, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 5SJ  Website: curiousartsfestival.com Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £128; 5-13 year olds £23; under 5s free.

Sometimes one can get tired of driving all over the country to the festival of your choice, then you also have to think about how much alcohol you consumed the night before and whether or not you’re ok to drive. Why not ‘coach it’? Travelling by coach means you don’t have to worry about driving at all, you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride. Click here for some excellent discount offers and have a fabulous festival summer!

 

 

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Adventure Travel

Exploring Hawaii: A Guide

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There are said to currently be 195 countries in the world, and each has its own unique qualities and possesses its own beauty. Amongst them, one of the most popular destinations has to be the breath-taking Hawaii. This beautiful state has eight major islands and is surrounded by clear seas and white sands making it a perfect destination for the beach lovers. In the instance that you’ve been thinking about going to Hawaii or are curious about what exactly it has to offer, you’re going to find out a few interesting things about Hawaii in the following guide.

Helicopter Tour to see Kauai Landscapes

If you enjoy seeing things from a bird’s eye point of view, then you should think about trying a helicopter ride. There are endless beautiful landscapes and unforgettable views for you to see, with the Kauai landscapes being among them. It may also be interesting to know that many of the amazing scenes that you saw if you ever watched Jurassic Park were shot there. If you do decide to go on a helicopter tour, you’ll be able to see the astonishing waterfalls amongst many other views.

Kaanapali Beach

Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and Kaanapali beach is definitely a sight to behold. There is plenty of space to surf and sunbathe for those who are interested in pure relaxation. In case you want to do a little snorkeling, you should know that the waters are shallow and there’s also the possibility of seeing whales off the coast. In terms of accommodation, you could look for a nearby hotel or consider exploring different Maui Beach vacation rentals until you find one that suits your preferences and needs if you want something more personal.

Catamaran Snorkeling Excursion

For those who enjoy the mystique world beneath the seas, you may want to consider going snorkeling. If you’ve never been snorkeling before, it’s your chance to swim with all of the sea creatures and experience it firsthand. Some things that you can expect to see are exotic colorful fish, sea turtles, as well as dolphins. It is a chance to experience the Hawaiian waters in an intimate way and also an experience you’re likely to never forget.

Haleakala National Park

Another thing you can get up to in Hawaii is visiting the Haleakala National Park. This is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano. One of the most popular spots there happens to be the mountain which is 10,000 feet above sea level. Planning your visit in the morning would also make it special as you’d be able to see the sunrise which is said to be a beautiful sight. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you can then go down towards the mouth of the volcano. You can also visit the park’s most popular trail, Pipiwai, and take some stunning photo’s while you’re there.

Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations, and it has been for a few years. This could be a result of the stunning beaches, many activities, or local culture. For these reasons, it is definitely a spot worth visiting in the near future.

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Adventure Travel

Why Should You Choose A Couple Resort as a Romantic Getaway

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There’s no point in planning a couple’s holiday retreat if you aren’t choosing a place that speaks of romance. Different couples have different tastes, some prefer long drives while some are into adventures. A majority of couples also turn to beaches or pick places that are known for calmness and quiet.

This is why it is important to know what your partner prefers so that you can choose a destination that fits everyone. This may be difficult, but what if there was a place that offered all of the above mentioned things? There is. A resort can offer you all this and much more.

You just have to find the best resort for the family and you are good to go. Remember that not all resorts are created same. For example, some are close to the beach while some are not. You need to find a resort that offers all the activities you are interested in so that you can have a great time when you go for a holiday with your partner.

Without much ado, let’s have a look at why you should go to a resort when you plan a picnic in the future:

Excursions Included

If you are looking for memory making adventures as a couple then a couples resort is your best bet. Most resorts have their own excursions that you can opt for. This removes the need to find travel agents as you can book all that you need from the comfort of your room just by dialing the reception.

You can experience heart pumping activities like snorkeling, boat rides, jet ski and a lot more.

There’s no need to panic or worry if you haven’t gone through any of these activities before as you will be provided with safety equipment and training before you embark on your journey.

While all these are adventurous options, this is not all that a resort offers. You can enjoy other activities as well such as a couples massage and other relaxing activities.

Most top class resorts have their own spas where you can relax and allow your mind and body to soothe.

Top-Class Meals

Meals are the soul of a holiday trip and bad meals can definitely ruin your adventure by ruining your mood. However, couple resorts are said to have trained and top notch chefs who know how to make the diners go wow with their cooking skills. There’s a wide variety of foods available at a couple’s resort.

You can look at the available menu before you book a resort so that you know what kind of food you will get at the resort. Many resorts offer all-inclusive deals where you pay a lump sum for your stay and food. This is a good option as it takes the burden off your shoulder and allows you to relax without any worries.

Romantic Spots

What’s your definition of a romantic spot? Sunbathing under an umbrella? Getting drenched in a jacuzzi with your partner? Expressing love on a boat while you’re in the middle of the sea? A couples resort can make all your romantic wishes come true and get you two connected like never before.

Let the receptionist know of your plan and they will make it happen for you. Plus, if you go for a couple resort you will be able to enjoy intimate moments without any trouble as they understand the importance of privacy and will provide you with all that you need.

Pack your bags and start planning your next trip tomorrow. The key lies in being on the same page as your partner and planning in advance so that you do not only save money, but also make every moment count.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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