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Visiting the Mountain Gorillas

from US $1300 (PP Sharing)

Visit vibrant Uganda, in search of beautiful fauna such as climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park and visit our close relatives, the gorillas.

Dates: Year Round 

Group Size: 1 - 10 - For prices on a sliding scale see the Itinerary tab.

Overview

Winston Churchill coined Uganda "the Pearl of Africa". And indeed, this small country combines the best of East Africa: its varied and unique fauna, its hospitable and colourful people, its beautiful lakes and landscapes. Visit this vibrant country, in search of beautiful fauna such as  climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park and visit our close relatives, the gorillas.

The visit to the mountain gorillas of Uganda, a unique species that cannot survive in captivity, has been described as many as a life changing experience. These beautiful mammals, whose males are called the Silverbacks, share 98% of our DNA. To have the chance to see them close gives us a new perspective on who we are and how we, as are species are acting today, on our planet Gaia.


About the Operator

We are an enthusiastic team of anthropologists, naturalists and specialists in responsible tourism, offering tours in West and Central Africa since 2005. We all share a passion for this unexplored part of the African continent and believe that well-managed tourism is the key for protecting and maintaining the delicate natural ecosystems, cultural diversity and traditions while offering a better future for the inhabitants of these areas. 

We organise individual and small group tours to the most interesting parts of Central Africa. We aim to combine nature and ethnographic aspects and bring our clients in close contact with hidden mountain, jungle or desert tribes and explore the unbeaten path.  

Despite that focus, quality lodging, food and transport are fundamental elements for the development of our tours. Plus, we strongly believe that the person guiding the group is key for a successful travelling experience. Our common motto: “a good guide means a good trip”.  You will be introduced to your guide before you travel.

Our tours are orientated towards responsible tourism, adventure and are as eco-friendly as possible. We use mostly local services in order to make sure the communities receive the benefit from tourism. At the same time we help to protect the environment and work with the locals to maintain their ways of living, which are largely endangered by several external factors. We also collaborate with different NGO’s on projects for water distribution, small income generating projects for widow groups, sponsoring of orphans, school projects, etc. 

Responsible Tourism

Being a responsible tour operator is at the heart of what we are all about. Minimising the impact upon the diverse cultures, communities and environment we interact with, plus a serious commitment to socially conscious, grassroots style travel, has driven us on our tourism project from the very first day we started in 2005. 

That is the reason why we work with local communities in order to develop responsible tourism opportunities that help local economies to advance and prosper. At the end of the day, and mainly due to their own input and work, the local population is able to improve education and sanitary systems and increase quality of life. 

Tourism can help to recover, and maintain, local traditions and cultural expressions, such as crafts, dances and songs. Avoiding unnecessary rural emigration is a key aspect of our project. Our aim is to offer possibilities to younger generations so they stay in their villages and work as guides or drivers, sell arts and crafts or agricultural products and even set up a food stall or offer lodging possibilities. It’s a way of reinforcing identity and preserve cultural heritage while working towards a better future.  

We are committed to operate according to our codes of conducts available to all parties involved so everybody is aware about our obligations and commitment towards Responsible Travel

At the same time we aim to travel in spirit of humility, interact with, and learn from, local people, observe and enjoy different ways of life. Reflecting on these new experiences and sharing thoughts and views with fellow travellers and the guide will lead to enrichment of our own lives. 

We are involved in different community and environmental projects. All these are small scale projects. It is not our aim to change the world but we do believe we can help make a difference and assist to build up something positive for the future of many.  

Our sustainability rules for staff and for travellers:

Minimize impact on environment; do not litter, use biodegradable soaps and detergents and pick up litter left by others. Remove packaging from items before leaving home or take them back home again. Conserve water. Do not distribute non-degradable, breakable gifts or items in non-degradable packaging. Do not buy, or consume, plant products harvested illegally from nature. Accept that campfires are inappropriate in areas where wood is scarce or during the dry season.

Minimize impact on wildlife; do not disturb wildlife, instead; observe and move along cautiously and quietly. Do not collect any souvenirs from nature and do not use recordings or loud noises to attract wildlife or birds. Observe (and respect) locally established rules and regulations for correct conduct and do not buy, or consume, animal products from unmanaged wild populations.

Minimize impact on local inhabitants; interact with local inhabitants in the different areas visited. Act directly to accomplish conservation and community development. Make donations to schools, local museums and community groups (the organization or our guides can help you here). Attend village dances and cultural pageants. Discuss conservation with locals and inform family, friends and colleagues back home about the sustainable use of the natural environments visited. Respect local cultures and provide a balanced view of Western material culture. Take photographs within the guidelines suggested by your guide. Purchase souvenirs made by the villagers whose town you visit or at a craft centre. Do not excessively bargain. Dress neatly and conservatively. Listen, learn and teach; do not preach or criticize different cultural practices. 

Avoid non-responsible practices; avoid accommodations, organizations, vendors, operators, villages, or individuals who consciously violate environmental, wildlife and ethical regulations or principles or support any kind of corruption.



International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP)

The option to add a donation to this programme to your payment will be offered to you by Gaia Conscious Travel. 

The goal of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is to ensure the conservation of mountain gorillas and their regional afromontane forest habitat in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A unique partnership:

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) was formed in 1991 as a coalition programme. The IGCP coalition currently consists of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The partnership also incorporates the respective protected area authorities of the three countries in which IGCP works: the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN).

Mission:

To conserve the critically endangered mountain gorillas and their habitat through partnering with key stakeholders while significantly contributing to sustainable livelihood development.

Philosophy:

IGCP recognizes that the earth’s survival is dependent on humanity’s ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.

Objectives:

IGCP’s ultimate aim is to protect the afromontane forest and the many species it harbours, by ensuring that it is managed sustainably and by tackling the threats to its survival. In order to achieve this goal, it has set itself twin objectives: to reduce the threats to mountain gorillas and their forest habitat by creating widespread support for conservation among local communities, interest groups and the general public; and to improve the protection of gorillas and their habitat by encouraging the relevant authorities to adopt a consistent, collaborative approach to conservation policy and legislation throughout the region, grounded in conservation science.

There is a growing recognition among conservationists that a regional, ecosystem-based approach to management is crucial to effective long-term species and habitat protection, particularly in areas of political instability. One of IGCP’s main objectives is to increase collaboration between the protected area authorities and their partners in the region. The programme provides a mechanism for the respective countries to develop a regional approach to the conservation of a shared habitat.

Further information:

Discover all the land, wildlife and people projects run by IGCP here.
Or watch this 2 min video testimony by David Attemborough:


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Accommodation Options

    There are no extra accommodation options for this Experience. Please contact us for accommodation options before and after your trip

Optional Activities

    There are no optional activities features for this Experience. Please contact us if you would like us to enquire further

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