A true adventure in the heart of Africa!
Chemone Carpenter is part of our Sales Team and will have been with Nomad for 9 years this coming November. She recently went on an expedition into the heart of Africa to visit the mountain Gorillas of Uganda – This is her story.
Uganda is one of the most beautiful countries that I have had the pleasure of visiting. The culture, the vegetation, the climate and the ease in which the amazing and beautiful people of Uganda go about their everyday life.
The trekking day for the Gorilla’s is an early start and a late finish due to driving and estimated time of trekking until you find these amazing primates. You will start off with an amazing drive up a beautiful mountain where you can see an amazing view of the Rwanda Volcanic Mountains; it is a great photo opportunity. From here you will go to register for the trek, get the briefing done and there you will also be split up into your groups and get you’re trekking guide assigned to you. From there you will be told which family of Gorilla that you will be trekking to, information about the family, how they live and what to expect.
The ultimate mountain gorilla encounter is the main focus of this tour however there is also chimp trekking, boat cruising, pygmy visits, orphanage visits and so much more available.
The trek is strenuous; your trekking is at an altitude of 2,400 metres above sea level. The air is dense and vegetation is thick, the paths can at times very slippery and muddy depending on the weather conditions and that can make it a lot trickier. You have to be relatively walking fit to make sure that you will cope well enough with this trek. You could find the Gorillas in an hour or 7 hours so you have to be prepared. There are porters you can pay a small fee to carry your day pack for you, they will also help you along the way to make sure you get the best chance of seeing the Gorillas and make your path easy to follow.
Discover the best of East Africa on this all encompassing tour from Victoria Falls, taking in Zanzibar Island, the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Mountain Gorillas.
Once you reach the family that you are trekking to, you will be handed over to the Gorilla guides, you will leave your bags with your trekking guide and only take your cameras further. From there the vegetation gets a lot thicker and you have to be sure to listen to the guides and make sure that you are doing exactly as they tell you. This is not a zoo, nor is it a fenced “show” they are putting on for you; this is the true African wilderness.
After nearly 3 hours we reached the area where our family of Gorillas were feeding. We were handed over to the Gorilla guides and just along the path we were met by a female Gorilla feeding in the bush, it was one of the scariest and out of this world experiences I have ever had. Even adrenalin junkies will have their moment here.
Visit the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda and the Chimpanzees on Lake George on this “Once in a Lifetime” expedition.
They are peaceful, human-like and just incredible; it’s hard to believe that we have so few of these amazing primates left in the world to grace us with their amazing way of life.I have to suggest that you put your camera down at some point and be in the moment. Just sit there, observe take in this phenomenal moment that might only happen once in your life. Make it a very personal moment for yourself, one of those personal moments that can never be captured on film but never forgotten.
After an hour with the Gorillas, your time with them is up. The Ugandan people do not want to impose on the Gorillas way of life so by keeping the interaction to a minimum hopefully they will be able to keep them in their natural habitat for years to come. Sadly after this your long but excited journey back begins with a memory that you will carry with you for a lifetime.
This is definitely the biggest highlight on the tour but not the only.
You still have the opportunity of visiting the Pygmy’s, you get to do an amazing game drive in Murchison Falls National Park, followed by visiting the Murchison Falls which is also known as the Kabaraga Falls. We saw a massive lion who had just made a kill, he had already eaten and was fast asleep with a very full belly lying under a tree. We saw a lot of Giraffe, and also quite a few elephants.
The Chimpanzee trekking in the Budongo Central Forest is amazing! The Budongo Forest is the biggest Mahogany forest found in East Africa, very dense vegetation and very green, so beautiful! It was raining quite a bit the day we trekked for our chimps, as they are high in the tree tops and do not like the rain we only manged to see 3. They are so beautiful and graceful. It looked like they had been groomed just before we arrived. A truly special moment to just witness them moving around in the tree tops. They are so curious and constantly lurking at us down below.
Don’t write off East Africa as your next holiday destination. The roads are tougher and rougher, the accommodation is a little more African than what you might be used to, there might be more bugs than you can handle but this IS Africa, this is the real and true Africa; this is why you come to Africa, to see how diverse, special and beautiful our continent is. Our continent is pure, it’s true, it’s rare and out of this world.
Every country, city, town or village has their something special, Africa is our something special; you have not lived or even loved if you have not touched a bit of African soil.