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Gorilla trekking in Uganda and the greatest wildebeest show on earth
Africa is, of course, known for its incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether that’s seeing your favourite animal roaming in the wild, or staying in a jaw-dropping lodge and looking out onto unspoilt wilderness as far as the eye can see, an African safari is - quite simply put – a life changing experience.
We’ve experienced many ‘pinch me’ moments during our travels to this magical destination. We’ve seen powerful lions waiting to pounce, we’ve heard the loud crescendo of hooves and the snapping of crocodile jaws as a pack of wildebeest hurriedly race across the river, and we’ve come face to face with a majestic gorilla in the heart of a verdant rainforest. These are moments we’ll never forget, and we can’t wait for you to experience them too. We couldn’t count the amount of amazing experiences that can be had whilst on safari, but here are two of our favourite iconic experiences that you won’t want to miss.
Meet gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
There’s nothing quite like gorilla trekking in Uganda.
The world of gorillas is unlike anything you’ll have seen before - an untouched rainforest with a tangle of tropical flora and huge trees winding up high into the sky, your path unseen until your tracker cuts through the lush greenery to create it. These magnificent creatures can only be found on foot, taking as little as half an hour, to up to four hours. You’ll feel unbearably hot, your feet will ache, beads of sweat will form on your brow, but as soon as you see the mighty stature of a gorilla in front of you, all will be forgotten.
Looking into the eyes of a gorilla, you’ll see that these primates are just like us – full of emotion. Changing from an air of caution and curiousness, you’ll soon feel like nothing else exists as you watch a couple of infants swinging in the trees, the sound of a gigantic silverback pounding on his chest in the background. You’ll only have an hour with the troop, so as to not disturb them too much, and those 60 minutes will whizz past in the blink of an eye. So, make sure to take it all in. Put down your camera for a few minutes, and just experience it – you’re standing in the middle of a rainforest with a troop of gorillas, and it’s a moment that will change your life.
There are two locations where you can gorilla trek in Africa: Bwindi National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda – both beautiful and enticing. Bwindi has more habituated troops living within its wilderness, but they take longer to get to compared to those living in Volcanoes National Park. Nevertheless, Rwanda has recently doubled the prices of their gorilla permits, making the experience an eye-watering $1500pp, and therefore perhaps drawing travellers towards making the longer, but much cheaper trek through Uganda. For us, we find that the treks in Bwindi which are priced at just $600 are more than worth it – and there’s many other cultural and wildlife experiences to enjoy in this fascinating country known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
Uganda isn’t solely just about the gorilla trekking, either. Call up our travel experts at our sister site Africa Sky, and we’ll be able to create an incredible itinerary that you probably wouldn’t even fathom as possible. Gorilla trekking, chimp trekking, walking with rhinos, and visiting five national parks all in one trip – it’s holidays like these that are truly unforgettable.
Grab a front row seat to the annual wildebeest migration in Kenya
Named by many as the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, the annual wildebeest migration won’t fail to take your breath away. The sound of clattering hooves and gruff grunts comes first – and then you’ll see them. With such a huge, muscly build and impressive curved horns, when these animals come together to form a herd, the results are simply astounding.
The journey for them isn’t easy. Draw your eyes away from the herd and you may see a stealthy female lion slinking through the bushes, or watch the migration by a river and you’ll see the piercing eyes of a crocodile emerge from the water. This is your chance to see the natural cycle of the African wilderness, and it’s as shocking as it is beautiful.
This migration of almost two million wildebeest, zebras and other species is certainly a spectacle that should be on your bucket list. The migration winds through Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara National Park in Kenya – and one of our favourite times to witness it is between August and September, when the herd begins its treacherous journey over the river to southern Masai Mara. From July to October, the herd makes its way through southern Masai Mara, offering ample opportunity to see thousands of magnificent wildebeest roam the verdant plains – unsuspectedly grazing whilst predators wait to make their move.
Our Luxury Migration Flying Safari is a fantastic way to follow the migration as it makes its way through the Masai Mara. Running from June to October, you’ll fly between four of Porini’s rustic camps, all located in different beautiful conservancies and all offering a new, unique view of the spectacle. Head to our sister site Africa Sky to find out more.