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“Gorillas in the Mountains”

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Book In Advance
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$1,700.00*
and up
3 day Gorilla Tracking Tour to Bwindi National...
Ranked #1 of 19 things to do in Kabale
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 4, 2014

Just completed the trek up the mountain to see some of the worlds last remaining gorillas. Expensive and now $600 (aud) for the permit, but well worth it and would not have missed it.
Our small group (5) saw a family of five - Silverback, 2 females and 2 young. The youngest certainly loved an audience and kept us entertained.
It can be a tough trek, but with the enlisted help of porters, the trek is much easier. Not to be missed and is very safe.
Tour was organised very efficiently by Gorilla Tours in Kampala. www.gorillatours.com. Violet is the lady to contact as everything was so well organised in a friendly manner. Highly recommended.

1  Thank Garry C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"once in a lifetime"
in 59 reviews
"mountain gorillas"
in 87 reviews
"gorilla family"
in 52 reviews
"bucket list"
in 20 reviews
"local community"
in 25 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 28 reviews
"their natural habitat"
in 21 reviews
"walking stick"
in 17 reviews
"two hours"
in 13 reviews
"gorilla experience"
in 14 reviews
"up hill"
in 8 reviews
"life changing experience"
in 6 reviews
"hiking boots"
in 10 reviews
"worth the effort"
in 8 reviews
"these magnificent creatures"
in 10 reviews
"starting point"
in 8 reviews
"taking pictures"
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Reviewed March 3, 2014

This is truly one of those "buck list" "once in a life-time" experiences that you do not want to miss!
I cannot describe the wonder of seeing the amazing Mountain Gorillas in their own wild habitat and being able to spend some time with these gentle and beautiful giants. Although costly we felt it was worth every penny and more. Especially because a lot of the money goes into their conservation and they are doing a great job at conserving the gorillas, with a doubling in population in the last 10-20 years. The local community also gets great benefit from the people coming to see the gorillas and really appreciate that and the gorillas and recognise their importance and the need to protect them.
It certainly involves some strenuous hiking but for us this was part of the fun and adventure and we loved this part of the experience too. The forest is very beautiful and you really see what the Gorilla's environment is like and see them as they truly are.
I wont downplay the level of physical effort involved, the mountains are very steep and the forest very thick, the terrain sometimes very trecherous, it can be hot, humid, wet, muddy but still wonderful and leaves you with a real sense of achievement at the end!
I would recommend that if you are planning on doing this and are not very fit then some preparation (ie hiking and especially hill hiking training) would be a good idea.
Hiring a porter is a great idea for 3 reasons - it is a huge help not to carry a pack (and you do need to take enough water in case your hike is very long and strenuous - about 2-3L per person - a packed lunch, rain jacket etc - so the pack gets pretty heavy), the porters will be a huge help to you over uneven and treacherous terrain if you need it and best of all you are helping the locals who earn important money for themselves this way.
My recommendations:
A good idea to take some heavy duty gloves to protect yourself from thorns when you are climbing and trekking.
Take enough water (if your trek is 6-8 hrs in hot humid conditions (as some can be, just depends on your luck!) you will need at least 2-3 L per person)
Take a packed lunch - as above if your hike is very long you will need it and if not you can share with the guides/porters or eat it later anyway!
Wear very comfortable and sturdy hiking boots.
Wear Gaiters or strong long pants (that you don't mind being ripped a bit by thorns)
Wear a long shirt (that you don't mind being ripped a bit by thorns)
Tie long hair back so it doesn't get caught on thorns/branches etc
Take bug spray
Be prepared physically
If you have ankle or knee injuries/problems - strap them!!
Take a walking stick (or hire/borrow one there)
Also if you are unwell at all you should NOT go as the Gorillas can catch diseases from us which can be devastating for them and their family so please do not put them at risk.
If you are a photographer - you wont have time to change lenses so decide on 1 and make sure it is not too heavy (the gorillas may well be moving through the thick forest during the hour you spend with them so you have to be able to carry/handle the camera while trekking through thick and treacherous forest). I suggest a moderate zoom eg 70-200 or 300mm with as large an aperture as possible. There is not a lot of light in the forest so you will need the largest aperture possible! A wide angle is also good but it is not really manageable to have 2 cameras or change lenses so maybe a small camera or a friend using the wide angle? The gorillas are pretty close (in fact sometimes too close for a zoom lens at all!) so don't be tempted to take a really long heavy lens. Take some kind of secure carrying system as you may need both hands to trek up mountains through the forest when you have your camera out.
Be prepared for the gorillas to come up close to you sometimes, not really for someone who is afraid! Although you are meant to stay 7m from them, sometimes the gorillas have other ideas and it is hard to move away in the thick forest. They are very gentle and non threatening though as long as you are calm too.
This is a fantastic experience and one I highly recommend but you will enjoy it even more if you are well prepared!
We did 2 treks, on the first we were very lucky and the gorilla family were very close (only 5 min trek!) but the second trek was 6.5hrs of the most steep and treacherous terrain I have ever hiked but it was incredible and something I will never forget and always cherish.

8  Thank Onelifeliveit2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Trip of a lifetime!!! Our permits were for a more "strenuous part" of the park and that was an understatement. Thank goodness for the porters who not only carried our packs and water, but also helped pull us up unimaginably steep and slippery ravines. Take a few photos, but most importantly, relax and observe these magnificent creatures. We stayed at The Clouds lodge which was also amazing. Sounds expensive, but the food and service were incredible. Each day we were met with hot towels to wipe the dust off and freshly squeezed fruit juice. They have an extensive garden to provide fresh vegetables. Every night our turn-down service included a fire in the fireplace and a hot water bottle in the bed which was appreciated by my tired and worn knees.

2  Thank Hall S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

Great experience, very expensive but once in a lifetime. I would definitely recommend long pants and sleeves, which I had. I wore running shoes, which I would have changed as I slid a lot; would have at least changed to high tops or something sturdier. Would have brought bug spray also. We brought too much water--probably a single bottle for each of us would have been fine (we brought 3 each). The guides cajoled us into renting rain jackets, which were totally unnecessary. Also, we brought a lunch which was packed by the lodge--this too was overkill and ended up being more that we carried but didn't need. A granola bar would have been fine.

Thank scody1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 23, 2014

Gorilla trailing is the most amazing experience. We hiked up and down the steepest hills for a couple of hours before the trackers found them and then spent an hour watching them. A dyker came across them when we were there a watching their reaction to it was amazing. We also got really close. Much closer than I ever dreamed.
If you're thinking of doing this be aware that you may be required to trek for hours on difficult terrain in hot and potentially wet conditions. Unless you're incredibly fit, invest in a porter. These are local people that for a small fee will carry your bag and help you do the trek. They're worth their weight in gold and you're putting money back into the local community.

2  Thank jo l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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