This month sees the release of fantasy blockbuster Kong: Skull Island in cinemas, starring Tom Hiddlestone, Samuel L Jackson and Brie Larson, it tells the story of a team of explorers brought together to venture into an unknown island in the Pacific, unaware that they are entering the domain of mythic giant ape, Kong.
But if it’s a real life primate adventure you are after, forget the South Pacific and head straight to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest Uganda known for its awe-inspiring diversity, it’s also home to just over half the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas – making it the ‘go to’ spot for a once-in-a-lifetime gorilla tracking adventure.
For those willing to take a walk on the wild side, a safari here offers up a tantalizing opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the most rare animals on Earth. Dotted by forests and lakes and dominated by the dramatic Virunga mountain range, just under 350 mountain gorillas live and play here among the mossy undergrowth of the forest floor.
Tucked away on a on a flat ridge deep within the Forest, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is the ideal base for your encounter with Bwindi’s mountain gorillas. This exclusive camp comprising just eight tents is one of the most remote and atmospheric in Africa. Frequently visited by gorilla families on account of its unique location, guests are permitted a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with these mountain giants in their natural habitat.
The gorillas tracked here belong to one of the ‘habituated’ family groups in northern Bwindi. Only eight visitors are allowed to view each gorilla family every day, where Sanctuary Retreats’ expert guides, many of who have been involved in the habituation process themselves, will explain the etiquette involved in meeting a giant silverback. For less mobile guests, there’s even a specially customised sedan chair with support and harness which allows them to be carried into the rainforest to track the gorillas in their natural habitat.
As well as gorilla trekking, guests have an opportunity to meet local Batwa Pygmies and visit Sanctuary Retreats’ philanthropy project at Bwindi Community Hospital located on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which provides much needed healthcare to almost 100,000 locals in the area.
Prices at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp start from US$266 per person per night based on a 3-night stay for 2 people sharing including all meals and drinks (not premium brands).
Terms and conditions apply.
Permits are also required and need to be applied and paid for in advance.