A Once-in-a-Lifetime Gorilla Safari Combo

“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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAPi9rgsv3w

See below for full itinerary:

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.

Gorilla Trekking – All You Need to Know

No wildlife adventure can compete with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla. This is an endangered species that will certainly take your breath away. Because their numbers are diminishing and because the treks are a highly-restricted activity, encountering wild gorillas is considered to be an unforgettable and essential travel experience. Here are a few things you need to know about gorillas, gorilla trekking and permits:

Tracking take place all year-long, even during Rwanda’s two rainy seasons. Despite muddy trails during, it does not rain all day.

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 3

 

Children under the age of 15 cannot track mountain gorillas. However, there are special activities offered by the lodge to keep the young ones occupied while the parents trek.

Wear practical clothing for your journey. Often guests are not dressed appropriate for the occasion and it can spoil their day as the focus is shifted from the gorillas to their discomfort. Wear protective clothing to protect you from nettles, thorns and branches. There are not many mosquitoes found on a trek, but there are flies and ants.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

Make sure you have packed all the necessary gear like rain jackets, snacks and a packed lunch, a walking stick, and water.

Carry your gorilla permit with you as you leave your hotel the morning of your gorilla trek.

Gorilla Treks Rwanda Uganda Iconic Africa

Don’t forget your passport along with your permit and gear as you head to the park for a safety briefing. Your gorilla permits will be crosschecked with your passports to verify that you are the right owner of the permit. Be prepared to begin your journey at any moment after the briefing as there is no certainty about the time you will take to meet your gorilla family.

It may take as little as 30 minutes to find your gorilla family and as long as five to seven hours.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

You will be put in groups of up to 8 people and each group is assigned one gorilla family to track.

Guests are assigned to a group based on their age and fitness. Older and less fit guests are given the ‘easy to find’ gorilla families to track which usually stay close to the trail heads. If you are unsure about your fitness level, you should let your guide know and can hire a porter at the park gate. The fee is dependent on what he is going to be carrying.

Gorillas Trek Iconic Africa Experiences Graham Wood Golden Monkey

Each group will have a pair of trackers sent out early before your trek to find the location of your specific gorilla family and to consider where they may be headed. Trackers communicate the gorilla family’s movements to the guide so that he can decide on the best route to meet your gorilla family.

The ‘easy-to-find’ gorilla families are not necessarily the better option as the animals may wander in search of food and water. Similarly, those gorilla families allocated to the physically fit guests and regarded as strenuous to track may be found quicker on a particular day.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

Gorilla Tracking is safe and there have been no issues with security in both Rwanda and Uganda. Trackers are sent out before your trek to search for your group’s gorilla family and assume their movement patterns. The path is decided before you begin the trek. On your gorilla trek, rangers will guide you along with an armed escort.  The reason for such protection is against wild elephants or angry gorillas. The scouts are trained to fire shots into the air first in order to scare away the animals but this is only done on rarest occasions. Guides first ask trekkers to hide and remain quiet until the animal moves on.

Trekkers can follow the gorillas if they are moving but at a recommended distance of no less than 7 metres.

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 4

Trekkers are advised to stay quiet, and move slowly. Avoid sudden movements and direct eye contact in order to not irritate the gorilla. Lower your gaze to indicate that you are submissive.

Take as many photos as you’d like but remember to remove the flash and sound.

Gorillas Trek Iconic Africa Experiences

Iconic Africa will guide you through the booking process for your gorilla trekking permits. It is a hassle-free process, but should be booked at least ten months in advance as they sell out quickly and there are only a limited amount of permits available.

Do not make the mistake most travellers make – making gorilla trekking an add-on experience. This once-in-a-lifetime experience should not be an afterthought. Avoid hearing that permits are sold out and book yours now!

 

5 Tips for Trekking with the Gorillas

 

Gorilla trekking is an experience that belongs at the top of any wildlife-lover’s bucket-list. It is both awe-inspiring and breath-taking – to say the least. Gorilla trekking takes place in either Rwanda or Uganda, so it’s up to you to decide where you would like to visit. Once you’ve made this decision, there are a few tips to keep in mind before you embark on this adventure of a lifetime. Here are our top five tips for trekking with gorillas.

Iconic-Africa-Rwanda-Gorillas

  1. Do research before you go

It’s imperative to do research before your trip because there are a few very important formalities that you need to be aware of. One crucial piece of advice is to make sure that you have a permit to trek. The permits cost between $500 and $800 and they ensure that you get a one hour visit with the gorillas. Permits are necessary because the gorillas are endangered and are victims of poaching. Do some research about specific gorilla groups that you can visit because there might be a particular group that you’d like to see.

Rwanda Gorillas

  1. Be honest about your level of fitness

Don’t try to be a hero. You need to be realistic about how fit you are—Rwanda has a high altitude which might have an impact on your trekking abilities. Keep in mind that trekking to the gorillas can take between half an hour to ten hours, so be upfront about your abilities and if you hardly ever exercise, be sure to take one of the shorter routes! Otherwise you may not be a very happy camper…

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

  1. Dress appropriately

Make sure you pack in thick gloves, knee-high hiking garters, thick pants (but not thermals), and a long-sleeved light-weight shirt—remember, it’s not a fashion show. Also be sure to pack in a comfy pair of hiking boots and a rain jacket.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

  • Verse yourself in gorilla etiquette

Your guides will give you tips when it comes to this, but there are some important things to keep in mind. Firstly, you shouldn’t look a gorilla directly in the eyes because it may come off as aggressive. Secondly, don’t ever run from a gorilla, and thirdly, don’t eat or drink in front of gorillas.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

  1. Hire a porter

Porters will carry your bag for you and they will help you at any tricky parts of the hike which will definitely maximise your experience. By hiring a porter, you will also make a contribution to the local community and gorilla conservation because most porters are ex-poachers.

For more information about the gorilla trekking experiences we offer, click here.