We leave the picturesque hills of the national park and make our way to the lush and stunning ‘Lake Bunyonyi’ (‘Place of many little birds’). This lake is 27 km long, 7km wide and at an elevation of 1950 metres above sea level is surrounded by undulating hills between 2200m to 2478m high. With a depth of nearly 900m in parts this lake is the second deepest lake in Africa (the deepest being Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania). With twenty-nine islands that can be visited by local boats, the lake is a great place to unwind, relax and explore on the days that we don’t trek to see the mountain gorillas.
Over the next two days the group will be split with one group trekking to the mountain gorillas while the others relax at Lake Bunyonyi to enjoy the many activities on offer.
There are many activities to do here such as hiring canoes to visit some of the lakes’ islands, visit local tribes and villages, visit the local orphanage, bird watching and nature walks. Alternatively, just relax around camp, catch up on your travel diary or postcards to home.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
This region of Africa is home to the world’s remaining 700 mountain gorillas, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. [We may travel into neighbouring Rwanda to trek for the gorillas on rare occasion].
On the day of our trek we gather in the early morning to meet our local guide and tracker. Walking in small groups we trek into the thick rainforest. The trek can be demanding at times with uneven terrain and hilly rainforest but the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle primates makes the effort well worthwhile. To many people the day’s trek and time with the gorillas remains their most exciting wildlife encounter in Africa.
The usual procedure, once we have located the gorilla ‘family’, is to squat or sit down and simply observe them for around an hour – the time set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (the national body charged with controlling and maintaining the gorillas in Uganda). Gorillas are sociable creatures, living in groups between 12 and 20 individuals, usually led by an ‘alpha male’ (the ‘silverback’ – so called because of the silver hair on his back which grows once the male gorilla attains maturity). Most people find that the gorillas are remarkably human-like at close quarters – particularly in the social interaction between family members and in ‘play’ activity in which the young engage. Photography is permitted (although not with a flash and there are restrictions for those who wish to use a video camera.)
Your permit allows you one trek and gorilla viewing (time limited to one hour). However, because the authorities maintain strict limits on the number of visitors allowed to view the gorillas each day we may spend several days in the area while all passengers in our group complete the trek and viewing.
- Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Stop/ Gorilla Trek area – Twin share accommodation with en-suite facilities
- Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- WIFI: Yes
- Optional Activities: Island Boat Trips US$25 – US$80
Village Walk US$10
Traditional Dance US$60
Bird Watching US$20
Canoe Hire US$10