moutain gorilla holidays PHOTOGRAPHY & WRITING BY IAN WOOD
Day 1 Entebbe Our rooms are centred around a beautiful garden full of birds - the perfect haven to chill out after your journey - or practise some photography. The tree lined streets of Entebbe shelter plenty of other birds with Hornbills and giant Marabou storks common - even in the town. We'll visit Entebbe's botanical gardens which slope down to the northern shores of lake Victoria; get our first sightings of black and white Colobus monkeys and watch the sun set before our evening meal. And all this - just 15mins drive from the airport ! Day 2 Mabamba Swamp One hour from Entebbe will bring us to the Mabamba swamp where we'll canoe in search of the prehistoric looking Shoebill. Standing up to 4 feet tall - with a bulbous bill and striking stare - it bears more than a passing resemblance to a Dodo. Other bird life here is outstanding; from Kingfishers darting overhead to Jacanas gingerly stepping on lily pads with their delicate feet. Day 3 & 4 Kibale It will take us about 5/6 hours to drive to Kibale - stopping for lunch on the way - until we reach the Kibale forest lodge which is a comfortable tented safari camp nestled amongst mature trees. Exclusive to our group, we have permits to track chimpanzees in Kibale forest. It's exciting tracking chimpanzees - this is no static encounter ! We'll follow the grunts, squeals, bangs, and hoots until we come face to face with our closest relative. We'll also visit The Bigodi wetland sanctuary which is a wonderful project where all the money raised from visitors goes back into local community projects. It also protects the Mgombe forest which is home to numerous birds including the vibrant Blue Turaco and several other primate species which we'll see up close. Day 5 Five hour drive to the Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth national park where we'll stay the night at the lovely Ishasha wilderness camp. Afternoon safari in search of elephants, hippos, leopards and the infamous tree climbing lions of Ishasha. Days 6 & 7 A dramatic change of scenery as we head from the savannah plains up to Bwindi forest to stay the next two nights at the Buhoma lodge. You'll feel a sense of expectation - knowing that tomorrow we'll come face to face with mountain gorillas in the wild. Exclusive to our group we have permits to track one of the habituated families of mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest. Early morning we'll trek up forest paths - mist hanging in the air - until we find these great apes. It's a humbling experience sitting just metres away from such iconic animals. Watching the silverback munch on bamboo while babies roll around on the forest floor has to be one of the world's greatest wildlife encounters. Days 8 & 9 4 hour drive to Queen Elizabeth national park where we'll stay at the lovely Kingfisher lodge with a swimming pool. Includes a wonderful boat trip on lake Edward which allows incredibly close encounters with classic African wildlife. DAY 10 3 hour drive to Fort Portal where we'll spend the night at the Rwenzori View Guest House DAY 11 Arrive back in Entebbe no later than 3pm. Depending on your international flight timings you can either stay another night or head on home.