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Gorilla and Chimp Safari UG

Visiting: Uganda
Tour Duration 11 Days
Reviews for Gorilla and Chimp Safari 4.5 out of 5 based on 14 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Gorilla and Chimp Safari tour available at present.

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5 Michelle Rea, 29/07/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

I booked this tour purely as a way to see the Gorillas. From day 1 it proved to be way more with everyday filled with highlights. It was so well organised and the amount and close proximity of the wildlife left everyone on a high at the end of each day. The accommodation and food far exceeded my expectations for the price of this tour. What can I say about the gorillas other than the experience blew my mind! Unbelievable so much so that I am planning my next trip.

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5 Roberts, 25/07/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

This was our first Explore trip. All the lodges exceeded our expectations. Food was good and all the staff were lovely. We originally went to see the Gorillas, but for myself I loved the Chimps, with their screeching, and we actually got closer to them than the Gorillas. I also loved the Lions at Ishasha. That was amazing. Our Gorilla track started early, and we were to see the ORUZOGO group, which we came upon around half an hour into our treck. It wasn't an easy treck as it was down a steep ravine and very slippery. My porter was my lifesaver, but she could'nt save me from falling when we left her. We came upon 2 silverbacks, 1 grumpy black back, 1 female, and a baby climbing a tree. We could see the bushes moving all around us so knew the other group was there, but they were shy. Never the less, we got some amazing pics. All our other activities were brilliant. From the walks to visiting villages and schools. Uganda is a beautiful country, and we were amazed at some of the stunning views.

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5 Michelle Rea, 25/07/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

I joined this tour purely with just experiencing gorillas in the wild as the highlight but I came home having experienced so much more. From day 1 to day 11 there was new and exciting experiences each a new highlight. I have fallen in love with Uganda, its people and the wildlife. I could not fault in any way the three guides we had. Their professionalism and general knowledge was second to none and I can not remember having laughed so much for a long time.

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4 , 09/02/14


Nick Ward

Tour Name

Gorilla and Chimp Safari

Tour Code


What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Apart from the wonderful views of Gorillas and Chimps (which given the name of the tour, you'd probably expect), my other memorable highlight was the tree climbing lions - recently fed and with stomachs bulging down between the branches! Also the boat trip at the Kazinga Channel - great for birders.

Tour Leader Name


How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Competent, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful. A really good tour leader.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Don't believe you need to take US Dollars to then change on into Ugandan Shillings. Take Sterling and change to Shillings on the first day at a good rate. With not a lot of extras to buy (except good Ugandan beer!), we spent less than £100 per person (although you may want more to be on the safe side - opportunities to change cash are few and far between after leaving Kampala). Change leftover shillings back at the airport on the way home.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Be prepared for some backache (and possibly travel-sickness too) on the bumpier sections, especially around Bwindi. The Toyota minivans used may have 4wd but certainly don't have the sophisticated long travel suspension you get on something like a Land Cruiser. An upgrade to the vehicles would be a definite plus on this tour.

5 , 15/08/13


Anne Swain

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

So difficult to say, there were so many. Of course the gorillas and chimps but also the lions (at QENP) and the elusive leopard (at Lake Mburo) which we spotted on our way back from a game drive. The other people on the tour and fantastic leader and drivers. The accommodation was good, some amazing views and good food. The Ugandan people and the children shouting hello and waving as we passed by.

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

The tour leader (Neil) and the drivers (Peter and Noel) were brilliant. Good fun, extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Nothing was too much trouble.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Book It, you'll love it! Remember to take some warm clothes for the evenings and early mornings. You'll be living out of you bag as there's a lot of travelling - we did 1500 km! Be prepared for some very bumpy roads. Take more than one pair of long trousers and socks for tracking, you'll need them for the chimps, gorillas and the walking safari. There isn't much free time for chilling so make the most of it when you can. Some lodges have a pool so take you swimming stuff. Some lodges have wifi but not all of them.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

I was expecting a lot from this trip and it exceeded my expectations in every way.

4 Richard Jackelman, 28/06/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

"To see the gorillas in their own environment,so close for a whole hour with just seven other travellers is a highlight in any ones life and certainly one I feel a must for all would be travellers.The walk although rather tough for some seem to add to the experience when finally the gorillas are found by the excellent guides.

The boat trip into the Kazinga Channel is also a highlight with even lions being seen,as well as many elephants,hippos and much much more.The Chambura Gorge was  disappointing .

FineThe drives can be long but always very interesting and there is much to admire about the people,landscape and of course animals,particularly gorillas.A MUST SEE EXPERIENCE.....ENJOY  "

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0 DL, 20/02/12
Bumping along the red earth roads, a call breaks through the hum of the engine..."hellooooo helloooo!". The sound of children's voices provides the underlying soundtrack to travelling through Uganda, everywhere we went children wave and smile at us as we passed through their towns and villages. Uganda is lush and green, the people are friendly and courteous and the wildlife is all around. It truly is a beautiful country.        Kampala, our first taste of Uganda, is a busy, bustling city. Hot and dry, a cool dip in the hotel pool was a welcome start to a great week. Knowing we would have a free afternoon, before leaving the UK we had arranged through Stuff your Rucksack to take some things out to a charity for boys who had previously been orphaned or abandoned. The warm welcome they gave us will stay with me forever and I very much hope to stay in touch with them.         On to Hippo Hill, this was a complete contrast to the urban throng of Kampala. Peaceful and calm, the campsite is in a beautiful location looking down to a lake. Sunset here is just lovely. The campsite is well named...hippos really do wander round the tents during the night!        From previous reports that chimps are hard to find and people often don't get to see them, we expected Chambura Gorge to mainly be just a pleasant walk. Shimmying along logs to cross the river, following the tracks of forest elephants and listening to birdsong as we made our way through the wooded valley, our tracker suddenly stopped at the distinctive aroma of wild chimpanzee. A little further on and we saw her nest, one leathery foot dangling out lazily high in the canopy above. We were very lucky, as we watched she made her way out along the branch for her morning ablutions, keeping a casual eye on us before moseying back to bed.           This trip is so varied, there are too many highlights to write about in one short review... amongst so many, the trip along the Kazinga Channel held more wildlife just a few metres from our boat than I've seen on any safari trip, on to Buhoma to find that the campsite is in the heart of the village, so sitting on the verandah overlooking the hills beyond and listening to the drums and singing of the children after a days trekkiing is a very lovely moment in life. The local people are so friendly and meeting the local school master, visiting the hospital, listening to a traditional healer and meeting the Batwa gives a little more insight into how life really is in Uganda.        And then there are the mountain gorillas... Wow! Our family, the Habinyanja group, comprised tiny babies beating their chests in anticipation of growing up to be King Kong one day, teenagers playfighting in the trees above us and the silverback majestically ignoring us as he tucked into the forest foliage - all within just a few feet of where we were sitting. Not just a lovely moment in life but an amazing one too.         I normally travel independently rather than with organised groups but I was really impressed with Explore - the guide was knowledgeable, the accommodation was good and the trip schedule really made the most of the time we had in Uganda. Definitely to be recommended!
0 Ben Wilkie, 20/02/12
This is certainly not a holiday for everyone, but for me it was an absolutely perfect trip. The highlight of course was seeing the gorillas, but there was so much else packed in that it's now hard to choose favourites.     Uganda is a beautiful country, with loads of wildlife and absolutely lovely people. Everywhere we went we had kids waving at us and people coming up to talk. The chimpanzee expedition is a bit of pot luck, we were fortunate to see one but the guide said that many people don't. There's so much else to see, though, that it probably wouldn't matter - elephants, hippos, loads of birds, plenty of other animals. Uganda and its people are desperately poor, though, and while you're not going to see anyone starving, it's quite a culture shock to see how little people have and how quickly the children have to grow up.    Though there's never any guarantee about seeing gorillas, it's pretty likely - our guide had been taking groups for 20 years and only missed them twice. It's a fairly strenuous hike (especially if it has recently rained) to see them, though - our walk was about two hours each way, but it can be more than twice that. So employ a porter!    So, the good: the people, the wildlife, the accommodation. The food in the camps is great, and you'll put on a few kilos by the end of the week even with all the exercise. The optional village walk in Bwindi is well worth doing, and take the opportunity to walk around the village and meet people. And, of course, the gorillas!    The bad: Nothing really, although there are a couple of long driving days along very bad roads in a vehicle best described as 'reliable'.    This was my first Explore trip, and it won't be my last. The tour leader and driver were both top notch, and I feel I really got the most out of a short break. The rest of the group (there were six of us in total) were all lovely, and made a great experience even better. I'm already saving for the next one!
0 Benita, 27/10/11

For me, the highlight of this tour was always going to be seeing the mountain gorillas, but as the trip unfolded there were many other highlights that exceeded my expectations.  The wildlife in Uganda was in abundance, visible from the roadside as well as in the National Parks.  Unfortunately we missed out on seeing any chimps in the Chambura Gorge, which was really disappointing, but we did see lots of baboons instead!  The boat trip on the Kazinga Channel was fabulous for spotting incredible birdlife, elephant, crocodile, hippo, water buffalo, and others I was unable to identify!  The gorilla group we were assigned in Bwindi took us about an hour’s walk to track, and we were rewarded with an amazing opportunity to observe them at close range, feeding, eating and playing.  There were lots of photo opportunities and therefore great memories to keep.  Whilst staying in Buhoma, it was really worth while doing a Community Walk with a local guide through the village.  I found this was a great way to see the life of the villagers, their handicrafts, subsistence lifestyle, traditional medicine, the Batwa Pygmy’s, their school and hospital, and even how they make their home brew!  Even at the end of the tour there was great game viewing at Lake Mburo, so the trip finished on a definite high.   

Be prepared for some long drives on bumpy roads which can prove tiring, dusty and uncomfortable.  It was therefore good to arrive at comfortable accommodation with en-suite facilities at the end of each day.  The food provided was plentiful, tasty and there was always a good selection available.  The tracking was not difficult, so anybody with a reasonable level of fitness should be fine.  Unfortunately you can only go as fast as the slowest person! (UG -29th July 2011)

0 Alan Pringle, 17/05/11
Obviously the main point of this trip is to see the Mountain Gorillas at Bwindi but the trip starts in the Queen Elizabeth National park which borders Lake Edward. Large mammals here included elephant, waterbuck, warthog, anubis baboon and the rare Giant forest Hog ( which eluded us , sadly ) Accommodation was in large comfy tents high on a slope overlooking the lake. The huge numbers of bats around the campsite at night were amazing and made the torchlight walk from the dining area back to your tent a memorable trip ! Group split one day, with half tracking Chimps in the Chambura Gorge while the others took a boat out on the Kazinga channel, that joins Lakes Edward and George, to look for birds. Each group then did the other trip the next day. I was lucky enough to see three chimps at the Gorge on my visit ( they are not easy to spot ) and then was really impressed by the bird life in the channel (where some of our party saw a leopard !!) Huge numbers of waterbirds including skimmers, saddlebill storks, goliath herons and pink-backed pelicans as well as hippo and a few crocodiles.  En route to Bwindi we saw the famous tree-climbing lions that the park is known for ( an unusual habit for these largely terrestrial cats)  as well as Uganda kob, topi, colobus monkeys and L'hoests guenons.  The trip to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is long and bumpy but well worth the effort though we arrived at our tented camp in a downpour. Fortunately, on the day of "our climb" the weather was perfect. The climb, with accompanying guides and armed guards, up the mountain was the hardest thing I have ever done !! Three hours zig-zagging up almost vertical, forest clad slopes in hot and humid conditions !! It matters not though, for the experience that awaits you once you are up there. We spent an hour in the company of Makora, the silverback, and his family group which included female Nyabuche with a three-week old infant and numerous other adults and juveniles. It is every bit as magical as you imagine and, when the journey back to camp was over we were all exhausted, but very happy !!  The final visit of the trip was to Lake Mburo National Park where we saw impala, zebra, reedbuck and LOTS of hippos - some very close to the boat !! The bird highlight here was the elusive Finfoot and Pied Kingfishers and Fish eagles on just about every branch !!  Uganda may not have vast herds of animals like Kenya or Tanzania and it's gorilla set-up may not be as slick as in Rwanda but I would still recommend this trip because the park's are not teeming with tourists and there is still lots to see, especially if you are into birds. The importance of Bwindi for the continued survival of the Mountain gorillas cannot be overstated and so the more who visit, the more inclined the Ugandans will be to protect it. Met some  lovely people on this trip and had a good few laughs too !! Tour guide, food, transport and accommodation were all fine too.
0 Chloe Ellis, 22/09/10
The whole trip was amazing, the obvious highlight was the day of Gorilla trekking - a truly unforgettable experience. I must also mention Vicky our brilliant guide. The most unexpected thing about the holiday was the fantastic quality of the accommodation that we stayed in- I had definitely expected to be roughing it far more than we were! (UG- 27th June 2009)
0 Jenny Shepherd, 22/09/10
I had always wanted to see the mountain gorillas, but most trips were either too expensive or involved basic camping. This trip struck the right balance. Although it involved some nights under canvas, the tents were really quite luxurious with plenty of space, comfortable permanent beds and your own en-suite facilities. At Bwindi we even found hot water bottles in our beds as it was a little chilly! Seeing the gorillas has to be the highlight of the trip, but there were plenty of other amazing things to do and see. Our guides and drivers were anxious to please and made sure we didn't miss a thing. We looked for ages for the elusive tree lions and when we finally found some we got closer than I ever dared to imagine. The same with the gorillas, I never dreamt that we would get so close to the magnificent creatures. This was an trip that lived up to all my expectations and more, I thought that after making the trip I would be able to cross it off my list of things to do, but it's still firmly on the list because I want to go back and do it all again! (UG- 2nd October 2009)
0 Roger O'Neill, 22/09/10
There are no two ways about it. It was a hard trek. A half hour climb up a steep track then striking out into the bush along the side of an almost sheer hill side. But our guides were magnificent. Showing us where there was a good footing; stopping us from falling when we gotit wrong... and smiling all the while. And then they left us to go forward on our own. Without warning the ranger comes to halt and raises a finger to his lips and points below his feet. We edge forward and there he is. A silverback sitting on a nest of branches looking out into the forest, unconcerned at our presence. Then there is some noise behind us. With difficulty I take my glance off the gorilla and look back. To my shock and delight there is a female and a juvenile striding purposefully towards us. We part to let them through but as they reach us they stop and look us up and down. The female reaches a huge hand towards us then looks away and continues walking on. For the longest time no-one says anything before the ranger breaks the spell. "You are very lucky," he says before moving to follow the departing gorillas. The tour as a whole was marvellous. We had seen chimps in Kyambura, crocodiles in Kazinga and Cobs in Queen Elizabeth National Park but nothing could compare with that one moment of stillness. Lucky indeed! (UG- 18th September 2009)
0 C.H, 20/09/10
Highlights: Spending an hour with a family of gorillas in Bwindi, seeing chimps in the Chambura gorge, the rare tree climbing lion and all the many birds and animals in the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth Park. Unexpected was the very long (and bouncy!) road trips. We could have done with better vehicles. The trek to the gorillas although only 1.5 hours was very tough (steep and slippery) and hiring a porter was an essential for me (as I'm small and not super fit!). However some in our group (N.B. it is apparently rare for all the Explore group to be in one group when trekking to the gorillas) took only 15 minutes to find their gorilla group. Also be warned it can take 2 hours by road to reach the start point for the gorilla trek which I'm told was very arduous in the type of vehicle (4 wheel drive mini-van) that Explore use. The land rover type vehicles were much faster. So all in all a great experience but with some hard travelling. (UG- 7th August 2010)
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