Meet the gentle giants of Central Africa

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Gorilla trekking in on everyone’s bucket list for a reason: There truly is something life-changing about being among a handful of people in the world who get to spend time with a family of mountain gorillas. Pulled back from the brink of extinction, our nearest relatives reveal ourselves to us in their gestures, expressions, interactions and movements. Mothers will cradle their babies just as we do our own and fathers will put up with the youngsters clambering all over him as they play. The fact that it is an effort to find and see them only adds to the specialness of the occasion. A safari to Rwanda and Uganda (with Congo becoming popular to see lowland gorillas) is a holiday to remember forever.

To ensure the continued survival of gorilla families (they are very susceptible to human diseases), only a limited number of permits are issued every day and all trekkers must be in good health and reasonably fit. Starting out in the morning, your guides and trackers will work hard to find ‘your’ gorilla family, finding a path through the dense rainforests of Central Africa they call home. Along the way, be sure to take in the birds, butterflies, bugs and other wildlife you encounter as these pristine forests pulse with life. When you find your gorilla troop, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them. Take a few photos and then just sit and savour this precious moment…


  • Contribute to the conservation of these highly endangered great apes
  • Hear how ex poachers are now some of their most dedicated protectors

  • See how communities’ attitudes have changed towards the preservation of gorillas
  • Be thrilled at the sheer power of the patriarchal silverback
  • Observe the tenderness with which females care for their babies
  • You may be lucky enough to see a newborn gorilla, an adorable bundle of black fluff!


The Impenetrable Forest may have a slightly foreboding name but it is arguably Uganda’s greatest and most famous national park. It’s impenetrability stems from the fact that this dense rainforest has a thick tree canopy that shields, shades and nourishes the mountain gorillas that live here. Half the world’s known population are found in Bwindi and it is an official World Heritage Site because of its incredible biodiversity. Not only is it a mountain gorilla stronghold but 120 other mammal species thrive here including chimpanzees and colobus monkeys. Its botanical variety is also unparalleled: more than a thousand flowering plant species are found here.


Another slightly foreboding name but you needn’t fear: there are no active lava streams in Rwanda’s premier gorilla-trekking destination. The national park is so named because it encompasses five of the Virunga Mountains’ volcanic peaks, called Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Muhabura and Gahinga. This is where pioneering primatologist Dr Dian Fossey did her ground-breaking work on gorilla habituation and conservation, and where you can see her grave. Trekking here can be tough as the slopes are very steep and can be slippery in the rainy seasons (good boots and gaiters are mandatory) but the reward is entering a gorilla wonderland.


Not as famous as nearby Rwanda and Uganda, the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville and not to be confused with the neighbouring DRC or Democratic Republic of Congo) is fast becoming a secret gem for adventurous travellers. Congo is home to a very healthy population of western lowland gorillas – reaching them on foot is much easier because of the flat terrain and because they don’t live at altitude on high forested slopes. Odzala-Kokoua National Park has a handful of amazing lodges that are perfect for the safari lover who is in search of something truly off the beaten track.


Here are our favourite Gorilla Itineraries to inspire you. All of our itineraries can be tailored to meet your specific requirements.


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