Gorilla and Chimp Experience, Safari in Kenya
March 16–28, 2022
Join us in Kenya and Uganda for a safari like no other! We will focus on two of Africa’s iconic primate species, the mountain gorilla and the chimpanzee, with an opportunity to also see the “Big Five” and so much more!
Apes in Africa are under increasing threat, and the reserves we’ll visit provide one of the last remaining strongholds for these animals anywhere in the world. We’ll be tracking habituated families on foot, with a chance to get quite close. Our goal is peaceful, meaningful encounters, with ample opportunity to capture great images of natural behaviors and interactions.
We’ll begin our journey in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to visit with the mountain gorillas. Treks will start early in the morning. A minimum of two hours hiking is usually required to see the gorillas, but can involve a full day if they’ve moved a longer distance away. It’s all up to them, but either way it’ll be more than worth the effort!
For the chimpanzees, we will be based in Kibale National Park. The trailhead for chimp trekking is quite close to the lodge. In addition to chimps, we’ll also be looking for other species of primate—forested, wildlife-rich Kibale is home to 13 species, including black-and-white colobus monkey, red colobus monkey, blue monkey, and L’Hoest’s monkey.
We’ll travel next to Kenya, where we’ll spend four days in one of our favorite wildlife areas: Lewa. Situated near the base of Mt. Kenya—Africa’s second tallest mountain—Lewa Wilderness is one of Kenya’s oldest, most private, and most wildlife-rich safari ventures. The Craig family has passed down from one generation to the next a distinct passion for wildlife, conservation, and tourism, and they proudly continue to run Lewa Wilderness lodge with these tenets in mind. This place is as much a home as it is a truly unique and personal safari experience—while located in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, we’ll have the opportunity for rich game viewing without the crowds. There is a very good chance of seeing all of the “Big Five” and Lewa is one of the only places where visitors regularly see both black and white rhinoceros. With the backdrop of snow-capped Mount Kenya and the diversity of scenery from open plains, rolling hills, valleys, escarpments and rivers, Lewa is perfect for our photographic safari experience.
Travel between camps is by private bush planes and we have secured a generous extra weight allowance for our flights so that you can bring the necessary gear. Game drives will be in custom Land Cruisers with only one photographer per row. This is a small group workshop with experienced pros, so you can expect plenty of photography instruction in the field, post-processing guidance, and image reviews.
About the wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
March 16, 2022: Arrive into Entebbe, Uganda at anytime today. Transfer to Karibu Entebbe Lodge, then a welcome dinner.
March 17, 2022: After breakfast, we have a short ride back to Entebbe airport, and then a flight to Bwindi. Check in to Buhoma Lodge, our home for the next three nights.
March 18–19, 2022: These days will be spent gorilla trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We’ll return in the evenings to our lodge. Our accommodation at Buhoma consists of ten chalets, constructed using sustainable materials. The beds are very comfy, and en-suite facilities include flush toilet and spacious washbasin, with walk-in hot-water rain shower and/or bathtub. At the front of each chalet, there is a lovely veranda, where you can take time between activities to marvel at the forest scenery. The lodge’s communal areas are situated within a sustainable timber, stone, and thatch structure, which merges seamlessly with the surrounding forest. The lounge has sofas and stools around coffee tables, in addition to a cozy fireplace, with the bar set up along the back wall. The bar provides free Wi-Fi and recharging facilities. Adjoining the lounge and bar is the dining space, which offers tables of various sizes and sturdy wooden chairs. Most of the furniture in the communal lodge is made of local wood, so you really feel part of the forest! And as the lodge is open-sided, you’ll be treated to expansive views over the national park while you relax, have a drink, and enjoy delicious meals. There is also a spa treatment room, where all overnight lodge guests receive a complimentary massage!
March 20–22, 2022: After breakfast on the 20th, we’ll have a 30-minute flight to Kibale. We’ll then take a short drive to our lodge, where we’ll base our chimp trekking adventure. The cottages at the lodge are positioned within the forest surrounding the communal buildings. Constructed from stone and timber, with a metal roof and glass windows, they have a sturdy and practical appearance. Glass-paneled doors lead into a spacious bedroom, which is large enough to accommodate either a king-size bed or two double beds. Amenities include mosquito nets, bedside tables and lighting, snug rugs, a separate lounge area, and lots of storage space. A flush toilet, a washbasin, and a walk-in shower are included in the en-suite facilities. Each cottage also comes with a private veranda, where you can relax and take in the forest views. The communal buildings are located close to the Kanyanchu Visitors’ Centre in Kibale. Constructed from timber and stone, they provide many comfy spaces where we’ll be able to relax and enjoy the forest scenery. The lounge area contains plenty of seating, as well as a small library, while the restaurant has elegant chairs flanking wooden tables and the lodge’s bar. There are charging facilities for electronic equipment and free Wi-Fi. There is also a craft shop, and the grounds include a big stone fire-pit—perfect for gatherings with fellow travelers to swap stories about your days out in Kibale.
March 23, 2022: This morning after breakfast we’ll take a charter flight back to Entebbe, then on to Nairobi, Kenya. Overnight at the Tamarind Tree Hotel Nairobi.
March 24–27, 2022: After breakfast on the 24th we’ll have a short bush plane flight to Lewa. The game viewing at Lewa is unmatched, and we guarantee you’ll be awed by the quality, quantity, and diversity of wildlife! In addition to the twice-daily game drives, you can also take advantage of other activities such as walking safaris, horseback riding, and even a vintage airplane ride.
March 28, 2022: Return to Nairobi. We’ve arranged for day rooms as necessary. Flights home can be made for any time after 2:00 PM.
Moderate: You must be able to walk in the forest for 1–4 hours to the gorillas. There can be elevation gain and the temperatures can be warm.
Arrive Entebbe International Airport (EBB), Entebbe, Uganda anytime on March 16, 2022. Depart Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), Nairobi, Kenya after 4:30 PM on March 28, 2022.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $2,000 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- Internal flights during the workshop
- All transportation during the workshop
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- English speaking local guide throughout the workshop
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Photographic guiding and instruction from Placeholder Staff
- Travel to Entebbe, Uganda and from Nairobi, Kenya.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $2,000 supplement.
- Your non-refundable deposit of $6,995 will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment of $6,000 is due by August 1, 2021.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than December 1, 2021.
- In addition to our standard Terms and Conditions, for this workshop all payments are non-refundable, and this is why we recommend comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancelation.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
“I don’t know exactly how long we were hiking before we came upon them, but I remember looking up, gulping for the thin air of the mountains and spotting two gorillas hanging from a tree. While gorillas are capable tree climbers, they are ground dwellers. Generally, if there are gorillas in trees, they are children at play. If you’ve ever doubted that animals are rather like humans, just a few minutes with a family of gorillas will dispel that notion. They may not be our closest genetic relative, but they are certainly our behavioral relatives.rrI stood rooted in place as the children played. Despite this family being habituated to the presence of people, I felt like any move I made would disturb them. Like the entire scene was unfolding before me in a bubble that I might inadvertently pop. ”