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Uganda -Gorillas, Chimps and other primates in the jewel of East Africa

6th – 15th September 2021

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Some of the tour highlights:

  • Two days visiting the mountain gorillas – in both Mgahinga and Bwindi National parks
  • One full day with the chimpanzees in Kibale National park
  • The endangered golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park
  • The mythical and charismatic shoebill stork in the Mabamba swamplands
  • Fantastic birdlife with several really colourful species, of which the great blue turaco is the Crown jewel
  • We visit during what is seen as the best season of the year in Uganda
  • The tour guide takes you to his favourite sites, providing personal photographic advice and tips in a small group of like-minded people
  • Includes economic support to “Cool Earth”, an NGO investing in rainforest conservation by buying land and logging rights to keep the forest in place

“The Jewel of East Africa” 

During the British colonial era, Uganda was nicknamed “The Jewel of East Africa” – a name that still stands today. The country is a real natural jewel, with a huge variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. At the top of the list is probably the mountain gorilla, one of the world’s most endangered mammal species. Today, it is estimated that there are just under 1,000 mountain gorillas remaining and all live in the borderlands of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo-Kinshasa. In Uganda, in the Virunga mountains, as well as in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. 

Mountain gorillas 

Experiencing mountain gorillas in the wild is something that you will never forget, perhaps it is even one of the greatest natural experiences possible. In order for us to both experience and photograph these gorillas in the best possible way, we have not only one “gorilla trek day” visit, but two. Visits to the gorillas are tightly regulated and the time spent at the gorillas is limited. By including two gorilla visits, we want to create as good conditions as possible for our photography. We will visit the mountain gorillas both in the Mgahinga National Park and in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

Chimpanzees

The chimpanzee is one of Uganda’s other truly brilliant Jewels of Nature. Along with the bonobo, the chimpanzee is the great ape most closely related to humans, sharing about 99% of its DNA with modern humans. In order for us to experience this our closest relative up close and calmly both photographing and just enjoying the experience, we have both a full day of chimpanzee encounter, and what is called a “regular chimpanzee trek”. During our full day of chimpanzees, we start really early in the morning to catch the chimps before they wake up for the day. Then we follow them in their daily life, pretend that we eat what they eat, we do what they do, etc. all to get as close as possible to them and to experience the chimpanzee’s everyday life. During the “regular” chimpanzee walk we then start the day  a bit later and when we find the chimps we stay with them for about an hour.

Golden monkeys and other beautiful and rare monkey species

During our days in Mgahinga National Park, we will also spend a day looking for the very endangered Golden monkey, that exists only in the Virunga Mountain range in the border area between Rwanda, Uganda and Congo-Kinshasa. During our days among gorillas, chimpanzees and Golden monkeys we will of course also get opportunity to photograph many other exciting mammals and birds. Eastern black-and-white guereza (Colobus guereza), gray-chested mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) and black-chested white nose (Cercopithecus ascanius) are some species that we have a good chance of photographing.

Shoebill stork

Our journey, however, actually begins with our visit to the Mabamba swamplands, in order to try to photograph the mythical bird called the shoebill stork. It lives in large Papyrus swamp areas and it is nowadays estimated that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals of them remaining in the world, with the majority found in the Sudan. Outside of the Sudan, the Mabamba swamp is considered the best place in the world to meet that amazing bird. With a body length of 150 centimeters, the shoebill stork is one of the world’s largest birds. The beak is huge and wide, looking a bit like a wooden clog shoe, with a light pink to orange root tone with dark spots and gives the bird an unmistakable appearance.

Amphibians and reptiles

Our tour leader Jan Pedersen has previous experience from all the areas we visit and you will therefore get to know also several other creatures here, more than the big mammals and birds. Uganda for example hosts many exciting reptiles and amphibians. During the trip we will also have instructive photo workshops where we go through different photo techniques to prepare for different kinds of photography that can be used here. We also go through image composition and show each other our best pictures, all in order to help develop your personal photographic style.

Travel facts

Dates
6th – 15th September 2021

Price
€ 5 390

Tour leader
Jan Pedersen

Number of participants
Min 6
Max 10

Last date to register
31st July 2021

Price includes
2 gorilla permits, 1 chimpanzee full day visit, 1 golden monkey permit, entries and fees to national parks, local guides, photo tour leader, photo workshop sessions, local transportation (Toyota Landcrusiers or similar, transfer to and from the airport. Accommodation in hotels and lodges of good medium standard (shared double room) and meals according to program.

Single room fee
€ 600

Price does not include
Flights to and from Entebbe, tips, travel insurance, cancellation insurance, visas, drinks, meals not specified in the daily program, telephone, internet fees, personal items and anything not mentioned as specifically included.

Airport
The tour begins and ends at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda.

Photo equipment
Since we will have opportunities for many different types of motifs, ranging from landscapes to reptiles, big mammals and small birds, it is wise to bring everything from wide-angle to telephoto lenses. A macro lens is also recommended. On safaris, whether in jeep, boat or on foot, lenses from 70-200 mm to 500 mm are very useful. To increase the focal length, you can use a teleconverter. During safaris in vehicles, it is important to have protection for the camera equipment as it can be very dusty. Keep in mind that it can rain in the mountains and the rainforests any season and therefore it is important to bring good rain cover for your camera gear.
If you have two camera bodies, it is good to have these with slightly different focal lengths. This is to avoid having to change lenses. Tripods are difficult to use in safari vehicles, here bean bags work better. The alternative is a monopod but this is quite difficult, in the quick situations and it is easy to miss shots because of being just a little bit slower.

Clothing
The climate in Uganda is tropical which means that both day and night is warm, often the temperature rises above 30 degrees during daytime and rarely below 20 at night. However, nights are colder at higher altitudes in the mountains so you will need a good sweater in the morning. Pack light and cool but durable clothing. A thinner rain jacket or poncho is a must. Bring a cap against the strong sunlight. Hiking boots or a pair of sturdy sneakers is the best choice for your feet. And then any kind of sandals/flipflops to wear at the middle of the day.

Accessibility
The accommodations have no restrictions on accessibility. The safari vehicles and boats we use may mean a slightly more difficult accessibility if you have reduced mobility. The gorilla photo hikes in the mountains can be a bit physically demanding and are not suitable for people with disabilities.

Payment – terms and conditions
The registration fee is paid against the invoice upon registration. Final payment is made no later than 60 days before departure.

Passport and visa
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after arrival in Uganda. Please check what rules and regulations apply for entry to Uganda for your nationality.

Insurance
Please contact your insurance company and check your travel insurance and cancellation policies. We always recommend you have insurance cover that also includes emergency transport both on-site and at home.

Health
Contact your physician for advice on vaccinations. To enter Uganda, you must show proof that you have protection against Yellow fever. Don’t forget your yellow “vaccination passport”

Group and language
Our trips are open to all nationalities, which means that the group can be international.
The tour leader speaks Swedish and English.

Travellers Rights
Information on key rights according to Directive (EU) 2015/2302

Terms and conditions

Itinerary

Travel day
Flights from your home country to Entebbe, Uganda.

Day 1 6th September (Lunch – Dinner)
Arrival to Entebbe during the day. Transfer to our lodge and lunch underway. After check-in and some rest, we do a tour briefing and a first camera settings talk. Dinner and overnight.

Day 2 7th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After breakfast we go to the Mabamba wetlands on our quest for the shy and elusive shoebill stork and other exciting wetland birdlife. We return to the lodge for lunch and some rest. In the afternoon, we head out again into the wetlands to look for the shoebill stork. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 8th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Early breakfast and check-out and a final visit to the Mabamba wetlands for the amazing shoebill stork and the other exciting birds a last time. We then travel towards Mgahinga National Park for the rest of the day, but we make stops along the way. We will pass the equator and here we stop to take the “mandatory” pictures there. Along the way we travel through the colourful, rolling countryside of Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4 9th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Early breakfast and out for a hike into the rainforest, in search of the golden monkeys. Packed lunch from the hotel. Finding the monkeys can take some time, depending on where they are at, but we expect to be out pretty much all day. Mgahinga National Park is part of the Virunga massif that extends within the three countries Uganda, Rwanda and Congo-Kinshasa. Dinner and overnight.

Day 5 10th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Today is the first day with big G – our first gorilla walk is on the agenda. Early breakfast and then we head out into the Mgahinga National Park, searching for the mountain gorillas, led by our extremely experienced local guides. Just like yesterday, it is difficult to say exactly how the day will develop, because it depends on where the gorillas happen to be this day, but when we find them, we will spend an hour with them. An experience you will never forget. In the late afternoon we travel onward to Bwindi National Park. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6 11th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Just like yesterday, we spend the day visiting the mountain gorillas but this time in the beautiful Bwindi National Park. Expect a full day out in the amazing montane rainforest here. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7 12th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Today we move on to the Kibale National Park. Our journey there starts after breakfast and we will make some stops along the way, planning to arrive at Kibale in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8 13th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
A full day with the chimpanzees and we start off extra early to catch up with the chimpanzees before they leave their overnight hangouts. Packed lunch. We will then try to follow the chimps all day. In order to get really close to them, we pretend to participate in their everyday lives as best as we can. Expected return to the lodge in the late afternoon / evening. Dinner and overnight.

Day 9 14th September (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Early breakfast and then out into the Bigodi swamp to look for a few other primate species. Expecting great photo opportunities of eastern black and white guereza colubus monkey (Colobus guereza), gray-tailed mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) and black-tailed whitenose (Cercopithecus ascanius). Here are also many charismatic bird species, including possibly our best chances on the impressive great blue turacos. A morning tour and an afternoon tour in the area. Dinner and overnight.

Day 10 15th September (Breakfast – Lunch)
After breakfast and a transfer to Entebbe, our tour ends at the Entebbe airport for flights homeward.

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Uganda -Gorillas, Chimps and other primates in the jewel of East Africa 6th - 15th September 2021

NOTE! When you have made your booking you will immediately get a confirmation e-mail. If you don´t get the confirmation e-mail please check your spam e-mails or contact us by telephone, +46730 662 007.

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