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Uganda Gorrila Trekking

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Uganda Gorilla Trekking We’d been trekking for over three hours, three hours of absolute hell. Climbing all the time we had passed through banana plantations and up into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP. We ascended slowly through dense vegetation, constantly becoming entangled in tentacle like vines that felt like invisible arms attempting to hold us back and prevent us from our quest. The cool of early morning had long gone and it was sweltering as pushed on relentlessly.

Uganda Mountain Gorilla TrekkingThe tangled, twisted undergrowth, which we used as a grip for climbing, was full of thorns and prickles and our hands and arms were scratched and bleeding. We climbed on for about another hour, legs buckling, backs aching, and burning lungs screaming for oxygen. Our clothes were dripping wet from the heat and exertion, and black and muddy from scrambling up the hillside and often tumbling back a few paces.

Occasionally we stopped for a couple of minutes to take on much needed liquid, recover our breath, and to listen for sounds of the gorillas moving high above us.

We almost put our hands in the steaming heap of gorilla shit as we scrambled up yet another impossible looking ridge of mud and vegetation, surely we must be close now. We were, and no more than two minutes later all the trials and tribulations of the last four hours paled into insignificance as we confronted our quarry.

There are approximately 650 mountain gorillas left in the wild and half of them live in Ugandas two gorilla reserves, Mgahinga NP and here in Bwindi. It is impossible to describe the feeling you experience when first setting eyes on these magnificent creatures. Barely visible in the thick scrub a young female sat, relaxed, picking only the juiciest leaves and stuffing them into her already bulging mouth. The sun had yet to reach this side of the valley and the vegetation was dense, to put it mildly, standing in excess of two metres. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood on end as another gorilla, again a female, moved into view. It was a most humbling feeling. Here we were sitting no more than five metres from one of the most amazing creature alive.

For almost five minutes we just sat in awe, tears rolling uncontrollably down my face, without giving a single thought to reaching inside my rucksack for my camera. It must have been the sound of whirring motor-winds and the clicking of other cameras that stirred me into action, and during the next fifty minutes or so we got though three rolls of film. Only six people are allowed to trek them so it is essential to book permits well in advance (usually around six months). Such is the demand for permits that people often wait around for a few days hoping to pick one up by offering extortionate amounts for them.

Other national parks of unique interest include the Queen Elizabeth National Park, a more orthodox wildlife destination, the Rwenzori National Park, home to the Rwenzori Mountains, perhaps one of the most unique areas of mountain ecology in the world, Murchison Falls National Park on the Nile and the Semuliki National Park in the low lying west that is most famous for its extraordinary lowland forest ecology and prolific birdlife.

The Upper Nile River is host to some of the world’s most respected rafting rapids, second in order perhaps only to the Zambezi.

Culturally and socially Uganda is also a very attractive destination. Like quite a few other countries in the region the scars of an ugly past are not hard to find, and to a large degree these affect the artistic expressions of music, the visual arts and literature.

However the healing process has been underway for some time and those scars are not as livid as they are in say Rwanda, Liberia or Sierra Leone. Kampala has a great nightlife, it absolutely buzzes with energy, and refreshingly it is a town so preoccupied with commerce that on the whole has little time for begging, coercion, con-artistry or crime.

Feedback From Clients

Chuck Roosvelt & Job Harris Chuck Roosvelt & Job Harris

Davies, My husband and I want to thank Kivulini Safaris Staff and Wilderness Safaris for arranging our 'safari' in South Africa. We were very pleased with Thornybush Game Reserve and Chupungu Camp in general. The managers, Kerry and Nick, were very gracious hosts. Norman, our tracker, was so prompt at the 5AM-wakeup knock. All the staff was terrific. The meals were great as well as the South African wine!! Our tent was lovely!! The days we spent with Nick and Norman were great. Each time We were so surprised that we could get to see the animals so up close. Kerry, Nick, Norman and the rest of the staff made it so personal. Thornybush Game Reserve was so nice! All of the arrangements went smoothly - the meet-and-greet at the airport, h...

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