Mountain Gorilla Protection

Help with conservation efforts for the protection of mountain gorillas and the incredible Bwindi forest.

About the Program

Big Beyond’s conservation program predominantly takes place within the communities, raising support for the conservation of the forest, its gorillas and other natural resources. We focus on both children and adults, aiming to show them the value of protecting their remaining forest. We are also striving to regenerate the natural environment within the communities and work closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to achieve a variety of goals, inside and outside the National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an ancient forest in Africa's Western Rift Valley, renowned for being home to half the world's rare and endangered mountain gorillas. Its survival is important for various reasons. Gorillas live in a small island amongst cultivated land, relying on this pocket of forest for survival. Bwindi is also a very important and rich ecosystem with great biodiversity. Bwindi could be a contributor to climate change challenges and is a critical water source for the local people, amongst many other human benefits. Conservation within the national park is therefore critical for the residing wildlife, the neighbouring communities and Uganda as a whole, through tourism.

Location

Big Beyond Uganda volunteers live within the Great Rift Valley on the edge of a mountain rainforest called Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in the far south west of the country. It's a breathtaking little corner of the world, home to one of the world's most endangered primates - the incredible Mountain Gorilla.

Green, lush, mountainous and remote, it's not dry dusty Africa some may know and you'll be travelling away from the masses, to a very friendly community we know you'll enjoy living in. We're nestled in a beautiful small village right on the southern borders of one of Africa's most impressive national parks, surrounded by rolling hills, majestic lakes, tropical rainforest, extinct volcanoes - it's an awesome landscape with immense biodiversity.

Projects are based in and around the "town" (or big village) which will sometimes involve walking to reach the people you're working with, particularly if it's the Batwa tribe who live right on the edges of the forest where there's no road. It's a place where you'll keep fit (if you like that sort of thing), but for those that don't, nothing is very far away. In your free time the hiking is brilliant, the wildlife surreal, you're surrounded by nature and you get to live and work with fun, inspiring local people. This unique opportunity offers you authentic immersion in rural Africa where you'll feel totally safe, relaxed and inspired every day.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day

You will be working from Monday to Friday including the following activities.
  • Helping to collect indigenous tree sample and seedlings and contributing to the Big Beyond plant nursery for community reforestation initiatives;
  • Helping to develop a botanical garden for the use of locals, tourists and scientists;
  • Contributing to an archive of flora specimens for both educational and research purposes, working closely with members of the local Batwa and Bakiga tribes to document their botanical knowledge before it gets lost;
  • Educating the local community about conservation through documentary film screenings and debates;
  • Part of a team organizing an event in the community to engage on conservation matters;
  • Engaging the community on the importance of reforestation and conducting tree-planting sessions;
  • Developing the first bird database for the southern sector of the Park;
  • Inspiring future conservationists in the community through the school wildlife club; or
  • Facilitating workshops that stress the importance of living sustainably.

We do not work directly with the gorillas, but we do a critical work to help with both their survival and that of the forest which they inhabit.  Conservation work is incremental, dynamic and varied.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Required Documents
Pre-trip organisation questionnaire
Other Skills
Conservation projects are dynamic and can include a range of physical and educational tasks for people with different skills and experience.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Uganda? Volunteer World directly connects you with Big Beyond

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Free-time activities

You're well placed to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Africa! We can help organise incredible adventures, from cultural explorations to wildlife and wellness experiences. The local area is perfect for trail running, hiking, gentle strolls, bakiga dancing and learning new skills from the local people.

Of course one thing you shouldn't miss when you come to this part of the world is gorilla trekking. You need a permit to track gorillas in Bwindi and only 12 permits are issued per day per gorilla group, in order to limit human to animal contact. We can help organise your permit.
Day or weekend trips could also include climbing the Virunga Volcanoes, relaxing at Lakes Bunyoni or Mutanda, or perhaps safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Activities are not included in the programme, fee but we will help make arrangements for you in advance of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the excitement of what’s to come. If you’d prefer to decide once you’re out there - that’s no problem either, just speak to our expert team in Uganda and they’ll organise everything for you.

Water Sports
Swimming
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/Meditation

Services

What's included?
Accommodation - Three meals a day - Water - Transport to project location from Kigali - Transport to project sites for work - Ugandan SIM card - Big Beyond shirt
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

You’ll be escorted by one of the Big Beyond team from Kigali, across the border to your new home in Uganda. The journey is a combination of private vehicle and public transport. The journey takes about 5 hours door to door and goes past some beautiful scenery, so get a window seat and start getting excited!

Accommodation

Our cosy and rural retreat has bed space for ten people. Depending on how many volunteers are around, you may have your own room, although it’s more likely that you’ll be sharing. Some rooms have bunk beds, others singles and there’s a double bed for any resident couples. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. We harvest water from rain and heat it over a fire, so you'll be able to indulge in hot showers. There's also a cosy, communal living and dining area, both inside and out.

Dorm Room Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

We will provide three vegetarian, nutritious and locally-sourced meals a day, sometimes traditionally Ugandan (chapatti, sweet potato and rice) and sometimes a little more international (pizza, homemade bread and lentil curry). There's not refrigeration and there's also not a wide range of food available here, as you may be used to, but we try to be creative at mealtimes.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs
2 weeks (min. stay)
$2012
3 weeks
$2260
4 weeks
$2507
5 weeks
$2755
8 weeks
$3498
10 weeks
$3993
24 weeks (max. stay)
$7460

You can volunteer at the project site in Bwindi/Uganda between 2 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Big Beyond will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$658/week
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 Big Beyond during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Uganda

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Uganda. Please check the visa regulations for Uganda.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Uganda and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Uganda.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Uganda.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Kigalin International (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.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Uganda you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Uganda.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Uganda while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Uganda upfront.
Rubugiri, Bwindi, Uganda