This month’s top and not-to-be-missed experience is a Safari with a Purpose. Embark on a journey with meaning… with one of four hand-crafted adventures. Submerge yourself in something bigger. Wander off the beaten track, interact with indigenous tribes, help conserve Africa’s wildlife and give back to wonderful projects so that the world can, in turn, give back to you. Iconic Africa, in partnership with Wilderness Safaris, would like to offer the discerning traveller the opportunity to find their travel purpose in Rwanda, Seychelles, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa by taking part in a world of philanthropy, conservation, wildlife, culture and adventure.
Whether it’s working with endangered mountain gorillas, collaring wild dogs or elephants or conserving sea turtles – we’ve got just the thing for you here:
Great Apes and Rainforests: Experience behind-the-scenes conservation work in Rwanda; meet the Endangered mountain gorilla and help habituate chimpanzees for future ecotourism.
Paradise with Purpose: Explore one of the most beautiful islands on earth while actively participating in a survey and ringing of the Seychelles white-eye population and translocating some of the North Island population to other islands to further protect the species.
Kenya Natural Wonders: Experience the Great Rift Valley, a dormant volcano, a vital water tower and learn more about the rare and elusive Critically Endangered mountain bongo.
Hwange Elephant Collaring: In west Zimbabwe, amongst its grasslands and mopane woods are large herds of elephant. Help collar elephants, count wildlife, discover anti-poaching patrol, and meet neighbouring communities.
Enquire about adding one of these experiences to your itinerary with one of our team members. You can have a magnificent time with plenty of adventure and also leave a positive impact on the place you’re visiting at the same time.
“Spending time with these gorillas changed my life.” – Ellen Degeneres.
Global tourism has been mesmerised by this spell-bounding experience and we are already taking 2022 bookings! Availability is going fast! No wildlife adventure can compare with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla – truly the ultimate wildlife experience.
There are less than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the wild – with infants born only every 4 years. Half of these gorilla families are found deep in the forests of Rwanda and Uganda. Getting up close to these majestic giants can be physically challenging, expensive and daunting… but completely worth it! This awe-inspiring experience should be bumped to the top of your travel bucket list before it’s too late.
So that leaves the question, where do you go to see these great silverback gorillas – Rwanda or Uganda?
Well, wherever you go, you will need to trek – up slippery paths, down narrow pathways, through muddy hills and thick vegetation. But as soon as you catch a glimpse of the first infant or family of gorillas, any exacerbation will fall void and you will feel nothing but joy as you see them groom each other and amble around.
Safari trips to Rwanda and Uganda are becoming increasingly popular, especially among U.S. travellers, but the available numbers remain limited and are planned and booked almost 18 months in advance. Here are our top reasons to visit both Rwanda and Uganda for your ultimate gorilla safari:
The vegetation is less dense in the Rwandan forests making sightings easier.
Travel distances between places are short making road travel more pleasant and convenient.
You have panoramic views of the volcanoes which are a sight to behold.
The treks are shorter, despite the higher altitudes.
You can visit the Dian Fossey Foundation.
Travellers looking for the ultimate luxury accommodation nestled in the heart of the forest can look to book at Bisate Lodge or Singita Kwitonda.
Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit with magnificent views and lush forests.
Nyungwe Forest has over 100kms of trails and home to 13 different primates.
Golden Monkey trekking adds an additional experience to your visit.
Gorilla trekking is a sustainable operation that benefits local communities in Rwanda.
Rwanda has better infrastructure.
The permits required for trekking and luxury accommodation contribute to the sustainability of wildlife operations and communities.
Uganda is significantly more affordable than Rwanda – both with permits and accommodation.
There is a wider variety of accommodation from entry-level to luxury lodges.
Trekking in Uganda can be challenging due to the frequent downpours, steep slopes and thick vegetation, but there are amazing chimp-trekking programs that make this adventure worthwhile.
Experience interactions with the indigenous Batwa people in the Bwindi region.
Gorilla trekking is a sustainable operation in Uganda as the public/private partnerships are designed to save endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda and benefit communities.
Gorilla tracking permits bring in more than $1 million dollars a year.
Expeditions have also contributed more than $1.18 million to transform Bwindi Community Hospital, reducing infant mortality by 50%.
Both Rwanda and Uganda offer great opportunities for gorilla trekking, and the choice often lies at the availability of permits – especially if you’re booking last minute.
Both countries allow only 8 guests to visit a gorilla family per day and require guests to know their fitness level before deciding. If you’re looking for ultimate luxury accommodation, Rwanda would be the ideal destination. However, if you’re looking to experience the wonders of the mighty Silverback gorillas and other outdoor adventures on a smaller budget, Uganda is preferable as it has over half of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas.
Due to the huge demand for a safari & gorilla combo prices have increased and we have thus carefully crafted an incredible 7-night tour at a combination of our selected Sanctuary Retreats giving you a MASSIVE 33% saving! Read more here.
“Spending time with these gorillas changed my life.” – Ellen Degeneres.
No wildlife adventure can compete with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla – it truly is the ultimate wildlife experience.
“They are so incredible and so closely linked to us, sharing 98 per cent of our DNA. There are only 880 of these majestic creatures left on this planet,” adds Degeneres. So don’t leave it too late!
Due to the huge demand for a safari and gorilla combo, we have carefully crafted an incredible 7-night tour at a combination of our selected Sanctuary Retreats giving you a MASSIVE saving! Save over 33% on this amazing experience. Witness the iconic mountain gorillas now and bask in unimaginable luxury surrounded by the densest vegetation and the world’s most revered wildlife population. Pay a visit to the elephant orphanage in Kenya; see large prides of lion in Tanzania before stopping in Uganda to visit the majestic mountain gorillas.
Best times to visit:
The best times to visit the gorillas are December to March and June to September as the rainy season is from April to May and October to November, with the wettest month being April. You can expect tropical climates and change in weather depending on your altitude.
When to book:
Bookings fill up quickly and we recommend securing your trip between 12 and 18 months beforehand.
Our very own director John Holley travelled to Rwanda to see Gorillas up close in their natural habitat. He had no idea how close….. that could be. Here’s a sneak peek… to give you an idea just how close he came!
Spend 1 night at the Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi on a Bed & Breakfast basis.
Situated along the Nairobi River in beautiful Kenya, Nairobi is East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city. It serves as an excellent starting point for African safari trips around Kenya. Nairobi is Africa’s 4th largest city and is a vibrant and exciting place, with some fascinating attractions: its cafe culture, unbridled nightlife, the National Museum, the Karen Blixen Museum and most notably just 20 minutes from the city centre wild lions and buffalo roam in the world’s only urban game reserve. Make sure you pay a visit to the elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
This journey will then take you to the Masai Mara National Reserve offering wonderful scenery and plenty of game. It is perhaps the only region left in Kenya where the visitor may see animals in the same super-abundance as existed a century ago.
Spend 4 nights at the Sanctuary Olonana Camp in the Masai Mara on an all-inclusive basis.
The Masai Mara together with Tanzania’s Serengeti form Africa’s most famous wildlife park, the Masai Mara National Reserve. The image of acacia trees dotting endless grass plains epitomises Africa for many, then add a Maasai warrior and some cattle to the picture and the conversation need go no further. The undeniable highlight of the Masai Mara National Reserve is undoubtedly the annual wildebeest migration traversing the vast plains of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. It is known as the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet – with more than a million animals following the rains. Large prides of lion, elephants, giraffes, gazelles and eland can also be spotted in the reserve. Aside from horse riding safaris and traditional vehicle safaris, hot-air ballooning over the Mara plains has become almost essential.
Finally, fly to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwestern Uganda. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and accessible only on foot, it is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa providing habitat for over 90 mammals (including 11 primates), 346 species of birds (including 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics), 202 species of butterflies, 163 tree species, over 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and other endangered species. chameleons, geckos and other endangered species.
Spend 3 nights at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on an all-inclusive basis.
Located in southwestern Uganda, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is said to be Africa’s oldest rainforest. It is world-renowned for its excellent gorilla-sighting opportunities. The rugged landscape features dense jungle, cascading waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, deep valleys and steep ridges. This untouched forest has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its breathtaking natural beauty and unique ecological significance. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the spectacular Virunga Volcanoes. Bwindi is, however, most notable for her 340 Mountain Gorillas, about half the world’s population of this critically endangered primate.
The opulence doesn’t end with your luxurious room! All guests visiting &Beyond safari lodges can now enjoy the use of a complementary pair of Swarovski binoculars, for the entire duration of their stay!
This offer is in high demand and difficult to get availability for, so don’t wait to book your once-in-a-lifetime experience. This offer is based for 2 adults sharing. The percentage discount varies based on selected property, seasonality and length of stay.
*Please be sure to carefully check your passport & visa requirements for yourself and all the guests accompanying you on your trip.