Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Posted by Kathy Kachele on 18th Mar 2022

The following account was written by volunteer Kathy, who joined The Great Gorilla Project with her husband Drew in January this year:

We just had the best trip on The Great Gorilla Project (January 17-30, 2022). We chose this itinerary - firstly because we liked having two chances to see gorillas, and secondly we wanted more experiences with real Ugandan people in their community.

Our reservations were in jeopardy up till the very end due to the omicron variant popping up two months prior to departure. We crossed our fingers it would happen... and it did! Nothing was more welcome than arriving at midnight at the Entebbe airport and seeing a man outside holding a sign with our name.

Gorilla Family

From then on, everything went smoothly (at least as far as our group of 4 knew. The group being us two old geezers (ages 68 and 77) and two young ladies from UK and Ireland). Our only concern after arriving was if the gorilla trek was going to be as hard as we had heard. And yes, it was a workout... for all 4 of us. But, we did it, got great photos, and that’s all that matters. It would have been easier if we were 20 years younger, but it is what it is. Honestly, our porters were lifesavers - our packs were small, and we could have carried them, but it was nice not to, and it was the taking of our hands and giving us a needed pull now and then up the extra steep spots that were SO HELPFUL. Our hiring porters support them and their families, so it’s good for everyone. And seeing the gorilla families up close, watching them watch us, especially when the silverback fake-charged us... what a thrill!

Silverback Gorilla

The trips to the local schools were great fun. Driving in and seeing over 800 excited kids run up to greet us is something I’ll never forget. That and how well behaved they were.

School Kids

Visiting classrooms with no electricity, no running water, or plumbing was hard to imagine. Hiking with several deaf students and a blind boy, watching the headmaster speak in sign language, all this made for a memorable experience few tourists ever get on a regular safari.

Uganda Classroom

Sheba, our local host from the Mahinga Community, was awesome. Playing drums and dancing in the evening with him and the lodge staff was a true highlight of our stay in Kisoro, it made for crazy dance videos to send home for the family to make fun of.

Drum Night

All our lodgings were comfortable with lots of variety, great food, and wonderful service. I was happy to have two safari tent stays (Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth) - another feature I had looked for in a tour. With many nights at the Golden Monkey in Kisoro, the staff felt like family by the time we left.

Safari Tented Accommodation

We lucked out with good weather - little rain, mild and not hot temperatures, and no bugs. Note that some things we counted on paying by credit card (extra hotel days, Covid test, etc.) instead required cash. Those charges, plus tips (fairly significant - not because of paying a lot, but because of a lot of people to pay: each trek had 7-8 people), required we take about 2-3 trips to the ATM. The unexpected non-visa payments, plus miscellaneous purchases (we wanted to buy school supplies to donate, which included a unique trip to the Kisoro store), a voluntary donation to the Potter’s Nursery, plus the various tips added up to a significant amount... But, don’t get me wrong - it was all totally worth it! Just something to be prepared for.

Gorilla Trackers and Protectors

This was a fabulous trip! Thanks to Michael from The Great Projects for holding my hand and answering all my questions, our two travel friends who made the trip so very, very enjoyable, Sheba and Festus for showing us their invaluable community projects, and Peter and Dennis for safe driving and making this trip HAPPEN in such a GREAT WAY!!

Baby Gorilla

We look forward to taking another trip with The Great Projects in the future!

Thanks to Kathy for her review and lovely photos, head over to the project page: The Great Gorilla Project to find out more.

Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.

Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.

Brenda Gallanree commented 6 months ago
So pleased you had such an amazing trip and shared your blog with us. It has inspired me to consider rebooking this gorilla project that was cancelled for us during the pandemic
We are fit ladies in our 60/70s and although we have done several projects we were concerned about the treks being too hard, so thankyou for reassuring us that we should be ok
Enjoy all your other trips

500 characters remaining

Featured Blog Arcticles

Featured Videos

Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Discover The Great White Shark Project

Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.

Volunteers Review Their Experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

Latest Blog Arcticles

The Team Returns - James & Lauren's South Africa Experience

The Team Returns - James & Lauren's South Africa Experience

Lauren and James have returned and are ready to relay tales...

The Great Projects On Tour: Upcoming Staff Trips

The Great Projects On Tour: Upcoming Staff Trips

Team members Lauren and James, joined colleague Georgia to...

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteer Lynne Coe shares her valuable tips on what to...

10 More Orangutans Released Back Into The Wild From Nyaru Menteng!

10 More Orangutans Released Back Into The Wild From Nyaru Menteng!

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Borneo...

Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary May Update

Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary May Update

The Great Projects volunteer coordinators, Matt and Niamh,...

Latest At The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Latest At The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

The Great Projects' volunteer coordinators Matt and Niamh...

Volunteer Update From Samboja In April 2023

Volunteer Update From Samboja In April 2023

As the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project begins once again...

Inge’s Experience at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

Inge’s Experience at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

Inge volunteered at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary in...

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987