Queen Elizabeth National Park – Lake Bunyonyi Rest Day or Gorilla Trek Day, Uganda
We leave the national park and make our way to the lush and stunning ‘Lake Bunyonyi’ (‘Place of many little birds’). For the duration of the next 2 days our group will be split. One group will trek to see the mountain gorillas whilst the others spend the day relaxing at Lake Bunyonyi. The group staying at Lake Bunyonyi can look forward to plenty various activities, such as canoeing to visit the surrounding islands, local tribes and villages, or even visiting the local orphanage, bird watching and embarking on tranquil nature walks. Those who wish to simply relax are welcome to do so and are encouraged to catch up on diary entries or homeward-bound postcards.
The group going Mountain Gorilla Trekking has much to look forward to as well. Africa is home to the world’s remaining 700 mountain gorilla population, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Occasionally we may even travel into neighbouring Rwanda to seek out these gorgeous creatures. On the day of the trek, the group gathers in the early morning to be introduced to our local guide and tracker. Following this, we walk in small groups trekking through the lush rainforest. This journey can be physically demanding at times due to uneven terrain and the hilly forest itself, but the privilege of spending quality time with a family of these gentle and peaceful primates definitely makes the effort well worthwhile. Even to people who live permanently in the continent, this trek and encounter with the gorillas has proven to be one of the most exciting wildlife experiences in Africa.
The usual protocol once our group has located a gorilla family is to sit down and simply observe the magnificent creatures for about an hour, which is the time set strictly by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Gorillas are rather sociable, living in groups of between 12 and 20, each usually led by the alpha male – the ‘silverback’, named so due to the silver hair on his back that begins to grow once the male gorilla attains maturity. You will find that the gorillas and their tendencies are remarkably human-like, especially in the social interaction that takes place between the gorilla family members and their play time, in which their children are encouraged to engage. Photographers may take as many photos as they like, but are under strict instructions not to use any flashes. There are also certain restrictions for those who wish to videotape their experience.
Your permit allows for one trek and gorilla viewing with your time limited to one hour. However, because the authorities maintain strict limits on the amount of visitors permitted to view the animals each day, we may spend several days in the area so as to allow for all members of the tour to complete their trek and viewing.
PLEASE NOTE: Depending on the availability of the chimpanzee and gorilla permits, the tour itinerary may vary in day-to-day running order which is based on the brochure itinerary. From time to time, keep in mind that we may have to trek on different days. If, by any chance, our Gorilla trek should be in another neighbouring country such as Rwanda, this may entail extra visa fees (although we shall endeavour to advise you before departure of any significant changes to the tour itinerary. Please take the above itinerary as a guideline only. This applies to days 48-50 of this tour.
Trip Highlights: Gorilla Trek. Lake Bunyonyi
Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Stop/ Gorilla Trek area – Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Distance Covered: +/- 240 kms
Approximate Driving Time: 5 hours
Optional Activities: Island Boat Trips US$25 – US$80, Village Walk US$10, Traditional Dance US$60, Bird Watching US$20, Canoe Hire US$10