Leaving the city behind we drive south-west to Masaka, stopping en route to have snacks and take photos at the equator. Then we travel west to Igongo Cultural Village, pausing to visit the village centre and fascinating Ankole Museum, housing interesting cultural and historical displays. From Igongo we continue west to Mbarara where we have lunch at a motel.
After lunch we cover the remaining distance to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, home to nearly half of the African mountain gorillas surviving in the wild today. This World Heritage Site encompasses one of the most biodiverse and lush rainforests in the world - an ancient montane forest inhabited by rare and endemic creatures, from endangered primates to montane forest butterflies and birds.
Arriving in the southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park we head to our lodge, perched on a hill overlooking the rainforest, near Rushaga. Tonight we have dinner at our lodge and prepare for our incredible gorilla encounter tomorrow.
On day two we are up early for breakfast, before our gorilla trek; which starts with a briefing at 08h00. The short talk is given by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff and covers gorilla trekking procedures and rules.
After the informative talk we set off into Bwindi National Park, following the UWA ranger into the dense rainforests. We walk with a researcher and guides on this gorilla experience, as we will be spending up to four hours with one of the two gorilla groups that are being habituated to humans.
Spending four hours with the endangered African mountain gorillas is an incredibly rare opportunity! On other mountain gorilla treks visitors get to spend only one hour with the gorillas, but the habituation process allows you to spend more time in the company of these majestic apes. You will be trekking in small groups, consisting of only four guests, the guides and the researcher. Gorilla trekking is usually done in groups of eight, so the small group size is another remarkable aspect of the gorilla habituation experience in Uganda.
Our intimate gorilla encounter gives you the chance to watch the gorillas go about their daily activities. We observe the mountain gorillas feeding, dozing off and interacting with each other on the forest floor - an extraordinary wildlife experience. Spending extra time with these gentle giants is an incredible privilege providing greater insight into the social primates, and is only possible during the two year period of habituation.
Trekking through the forests and swamps of Bwindi can be challenging and tiring, especially in the rainy season (March to May), but spending time with the gorillas is worth every bit of effort. The lodge provides packed lunches for the trek and you need to take along your own water and snacks. Bring a rain jacket and ensure that you are wearing sturdy hiking or jungle boots.
After our once-in-a-lifetime gorilla experience in the wild hills and valleys of Bwindi Park, we return to the lodge for dinner and a good night's rest.
This morning we wake up to the lush forest surroundings at the lodge and enjoy breakfast in this peaceful setting.
Then we leave the Bwindi Forests behind, driving back to the capital of Uganda, Kampala. We drive via Mbarara and Masaka, stopping for lunch and crossing back over the equator along the way. Arriving in Kampala we drop you off at your post-tour accommodation or transfer you to the Entebbe International Airport for your onward flight.