By Nadia Eckhardt, Africa Easy & Expedition Easy Founder
Imagine the opportunity to see chimps and gorillas in one trip!
Join me in September 2017 – on a gorilla trek in Rwanda and a safari in Uganda – followed by a chance to view the annual migration in the Serengeti, and chimp trekking in the Mahale Mountains on Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania.
Chimp Trekking in Tanzania
Without a doubt, one of my top five experiences ever was my chimp experience in Tanzania in 2014. We spent four days at Greystoke Mahale – often referred to as one of the greatest places on earth – and I agree!
You know you are on the edge of the map, as you land in a light aircraft at the base of the Mahale Mountains, and take a 90-minute boat trip to Greystoke Lodge.
The beach is made up of beautiful, fine, white sand. The accommodations are huge and unique, and the sundowner venue is like no other.
This is a true paradise with daily outings in search of one of the largest populations of wild chimpanzees. There is also kayaking, fishing, waterfalls, and nature walks, but the main reason you go to Greystoke, and to this remote area of the Mahale Mountains, is to spend time with the chimps!
Each day, the trackers start way up ahead of the guides and guests, and they call back once they find the chimps’ location. At times you hike straight up on steep paths, sometimes for hours on end to find the chimps; and other times, chimps can stroll right into the camp behind the guest accommodations offering awesome close up views.
You hike in groups of four, with excellent guides and trackers who are passionate about the chimps. The chimps move in large family groups, and once your team of trackers find a group, you sit and spend the most amazing hour photographing and watching these incredible primates.
Wildlife Safaris and Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Uganda and Rwanda have so much to offer in the way of wildlife viewing. Experience outstanding game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park and tree climbing lions in Ishasa, to chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge and then into the deep jungle of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the Mountain Gorilla.
It is often an early start from the lodge in small-guided groups for gorilla tracking. Suspense and excitement builds as you move through steep, densely forested hills and then become camouflaged in the vegetation. Guides will warn you when a family of gorillas are close, and sometimes right in front of you!
We suggest allowing at least two full days for gorilla trekking…just in case you don’t see them on day one.
Permits are required for gorilla trekking (and part of the proceeds go to the communities living around the gorilla parks). They need to be purchased at the time of booking, and often a year in advance to ensure space, as the permits are limited.
You do need a certain level of fitness, as tracking in thick forest can be up to heights of 3,000 meters while traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines.
*Porters can be hired to assist you and to help carry equipment.
In Uganda, gorillas are seen in Bwindi National Park and Mgainga National Park. In Rwanda, they can be tracked in the Volcanoes National Park, where Diane Fossey did her research.
I highly recommend a gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda. Overall, Rwanda offers good, but steep access to view gorillas, whereas Uganda requires more time, but is less steep and difficult.
Anyway you look at it, you need to allow quality time when going in search of gorillas. I highly recommend a Uganda and Rwanda trip, with a Serengeti safari.
Your Next Trip
The 2017 Africa Easy trip to Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania will have an option to add on chimp viewing at Greystoke Mahale – a very memorable experience for sure. I hope you might consider joining me in September 2017 on a Gorilla and Chimp Wildlife Safari.
For questions about where and how to experience a gorilla and chimp wildlife safari, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!