Gorilla & Chimpanzee Trekking

Agency
·
founded in 2003
The Great Projects
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Coordinator | Emma
Coordinator | Emma
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

This award-winning gorilla volunteer project gives you the chance to get up close and personal with captivating and endangered mountain gorillas!
Experience the beauty of Uganda!
Actively contribute to the on-going protection of gorillas!
Local park guides will impart their local knowledge and wisdom about endangered mountain gorillas.
Another primate you will meet: chimpanzees!
Enjoy the thrill of a gorilla trekking tour on this conservation project, set in a sanctuary that is home to half of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

About the Project

This award-winning gorilla volunteer project gives you the chance to get up close and personal with captivating and endangered mountain gorillas in their natural Ugandan habitat. The work undertaken during this gorilla conservation tour is essential in bridging the gap between indigenous communities and the gorillas who share their vulnerable rainforest homes.

As a volunteer, you will not only be able to actively contribute to the ongoing protection of these incredible creatures but will also be able to experience them roaming freely in their natural habitat. Your gorilla trekking tours will take place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - a sanctuary that is home to half of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas, and the other in Mghahinga Gorilla National Park. Here you will collaborate with the local communities on reforestation efforts and will work towards educating these communities on the importance of gorilla conservation.

As well as two permit-inclusive gorilla treks, this volunteer project also includes a three-day excursion to Uganda's renowned Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here you and your fellow volunteers will have the opportunity to track wild chimpanzees on a chimpanzee trek, join an unforgettable boat trip on the Kazinga Channel and accompany game drives searching for elephants, lions and other species.

Not only is this an incredible opportunity to experience the majesty of Ugandan wildlife species in all their natural splendour, but it is also a chance to make a real difference to the conservation of one of the continent's most treasured great apes.

The success of this tour, founded in 2011, was recognised and celebrated by leading travel experts and was voted as one of the most innovative eco-travel initiatives in the Guardian's Green Travel List 2011. This is the most responsible and sustainable manner in which to view endangered mountain gorillas in the wild, as the programmes that this project supports have truly remarkable positive impacts on local communities.

One of the most remarkable of these is the Kisoro Demonstration School for blind and deaf children, which this project supports financially. This school provides a safe learning environment for blind and deaf children in the area, who may not otherwise have access to effective education. We are thrilled to be able to support these children on a year by year basis, and seeing their progress each time volunteers visit is a real thrill and a privilege. 

Volunteers in Uganda are essential in all the work and success of this project, as their enthusiasm and passion help to empower the local people with knowledge and strategies. Both the initiatives the project supports and the interaction of the volunteers helps greatly to bridge the gap between local communities and the endangered mountain gorillas that inhabit the same land.


Prior to Arrival

You will need to arrive into Entebbe International Airport on the start date of your project.

You will need to apply for your visa online via https://visas.immigration.go.ug/, you will require a tourist visa for entry into Uganda which costs US$50.

Typical day

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins: 
Arrival at Entebbe International Airport. Our project leader will meet you at the airport and take you to the guesthouse which is approximately 5 minutes from the airport. Settle in and meet your fellow volunteers.

Day 2 - Lake Mburo and Evening Game Drive: 
Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park (approximately a 4-hour drive). On the way, you will stop for lunch and upon arrival, will have some time to relax before heading out on an evening game drive. 

Day 3 - Kisoro and Potters Village: 
This morning, you'll transfer to Kisoro where you'll spend the next 7 days. You'll arrive and settle into your accommodation before taking an afternoon trip to Potters Village, a child crisis and medical centre.  

Day 4 - First Gorilla Trek: 
Today you will join your first of two gorilla treks, you will enter Bwindi Impenetrable Forest led by local park guides who will impart their local knowledge and wisdom about endangered mountain gorillas, their habitat and their conservation.

Day 5 - Community Development Projects: 
You will take part in sustainable projects today that aim to give the local community a better life. These projects can range from teaching kinder garden and primary school children to helping with small building projects. These activities depend on what is needed from the community at the time and are subject to change.

Day 6 - Gorilla Organisation:
Spend the day with the Gorilla Organisation involved in one of their incredible community projects, you may find yourself teaching reformed poachers how to provide for their families through alternative means or experience beekeeping with local farmers.

Day 7 - Second Gorilla Trek: 
Today you will join your second gorilla trek, this time in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for another chance to see the endangered gorillas in their natural habitat. This will be a different gorilla family offering you the chance to appreciate the difference in behaviours between the groups.

Day 8 - Gorilla Cinema: 
Join the Gorilla Organisation for a full day with their pedal-powered cinema. You will spend a day with the team who are taking the pioneering pedal-powered cinema system to remote schools and communities showing conservation, education and gorilla-based films.

Day 9 - Mgahinga National Park: 
Trek through Mgahinga National Park today with the children of the local school which works primarily with disabled children. Each child will get a direct education in the forest they are being taught to protect. On this day, you will visit the park with them and possibly learn a thing or two along with the children whilst witnessing their passion and drive to protect the world they live in.

Day 10 - Queen Elizabeth National Park: 
Today you and your group will transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you'll spend the next few days exploring.

Day 11 - Game Drive and Kazinga Channel: 
Head out on a wild game drive in search of iconic African animals such as lions and elephants! Then you’ll board a boat that afternoon and cruise along the Kazinga Channel where you can expect to see more than just a hippo or two! 

Day 12 - Chimpanzee Trek: 
Today, you’ll be exploring the forests of the national park as you go in search of another primate. This trek will see you following the calls of different chimpanzee troops and witnessing these incredible apes in their natural habitat. 

Day 13 - Transfer back to Entebbe: 
Pack up and transfer back to the Entebbe guesthouse for your final night in Uganda. You'll stop for a leisurely lunch along the way and upon arrival, will have some time to relax before enjoying a farewell dinner.

Day 14 - Final Day: 
Take a short transfer to the airport for your flight home or to commence your onward travel plans.

Free-time activities

You will be taken to see the national parks, boat rides and game drives.

Game Drives

Join game drives in Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in search of various species of African wildlife. The parks offer some incredible opportunities for elephant views, lion viewing, and even the occasional leopard and hyena have been spotted!

Boat Trip

Spend an afternoon aboard a boat on the Kazinga Channel to spot large pods of hippos, incredible birdlife and occasional elephants and lions coming to drink. You will spend 2 hours out on the water, with your camera in hand, taking some of the most incredible wildlife pictures. This is a definite must for bird enthusiasts.

Water Sports
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims. You must be prepared to work alongside other members of the team, and to bring an upbeat, positive attitude to the endeavour as a whole.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

What's Included

Services by The Great Projects

Two gorilla-tracking permits and one chimpanzee-tracking permit - A monetary contribution to the two charities involved in the project - Transfers to and from the airport - Full orientation and support from the project managers - Accommodation and meals as indicated.

Airport Pickup at Kigali International Airport

You will need to arrive into Entebbe International Airport on the start date of your project, where they will be met by a project representative and transferred to Entebbe Airport Guesthouse for your first and final night stay.

You will be transferred back to the airport on the final day of the project.

Accommodation

On arrival, you will be transferred to a guesthouse in Entebbe, close to the airport where you will spend your first and final night of the project. You will be allocated a twin-share room with an en-suite bathroom. 

The accommodation provided at the project base in Kisoro includes basic but comfortable twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms and mosquito nets. There is also a bar/lounge area with free Wi-Fi available. 

In Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will stay in tented accommodation in the middle of the park’s wildlife. The tents are raised on platforms and have beds and electrical outlets. The Lake Mburo accommodation have their own bathrooms with bush showers and eco-toilets and the Queen Elizabeth bush lodge had a shower block and western-style toilets a short walk from the tents. Both parks offer incredible views and wildlife from the accommodation alone! 

All rooms are allocated on a same-sex, twin-share basis unless travelling as a couple. Upgrades to single rooms may be available for an additional fee.

Guesthouse Bedroom (Single) Youth Hostel Camping
Food & Beverages

3 meals are provided a day and you have a full menu to choose from daily. Beverages (including alcoholic) are also available at the guesthouse but are not included in the cost.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali. We assist you to find cheap flights to Uganda.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Uganda provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Uganda you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Uganda.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

The following start dates are available for individuals, couples or small groups to join, and those participating will be part of a larger group of up to 6 volunteers:

In 2022: January 3rd, January 17th, January 31st, February 14th, May 16th, May 30th, September 5th & December 5th

If you are a group of 2 or more, then it may be possible to organise a privately run trip for you throughout any month of the year (except July and August) but this is dependent on the availability of gorilla trekking permits. Please get in touch if you would like some further information.

 


Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 2 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$4,313
2 weeks (max. stay)
$4,313
Average fees
$2,157 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. The Great Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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We refund your fees if The Great Projects cancels your trip
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All program fees are charged directly by The Great Projects.

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Gorilla & Chimpanzee Trekking

Enjoy the thrill of a gorilla trekking tour on this conservation project, set in a sanctuary that is home to half of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas.

$1498/week

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