The Great Gorilla Project

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Enjoy witnessing the stunning Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat on this gorilla conservation project!

This award-winning gorilla project gives you the chance to get up close and personal with captivating and endangered mountain gorillas in the lush greenery of their natural Ugandan habitat. The work undertaken on this project is essential in bridging the gap between indigenous communities and the gorillas who share their vulnerable rainforest homes.

As a volunteer, you will not only be able to actively contribute to the ongoing protection of these incredible creatures, but you will also have the privilege of watching them roaming freely in their natural habitat. Your gorilla treks will take place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - a sanctuary that is home to half of the world's endangered mountain gorillas, and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Here you will collaborate with the local communities on environmental protection efforts, along with livelihood initiatives. Additionally, you will help to educate the local community on the importance of gorilla conservation and help them implement strategies to actively contribute towards this cause.

As well as two permit-inclusive gorilla treks, this volunteer project also includes an excursion to Uganda's renowned Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here, you and your fellow volunteers will have the opportunity to track wild chimpanzees on a chimpanzee trek, join an unforgettable boat trip on the Kazinga Channel and venture out on game drives in search of elephants, tree-climbing lions and other species.

Not only is this an incredible opportunity to experience the majesty of Ugandan wildlife species in all their natural splendour, but it is also a chance to make a real difference to the conservation of one of the continent's most treasured great apes. So what are you waiting for? Secure your spot on The Great Gorilla Project today!

This award-winning gorilla project gives you the chance to get up close and personal with captivating and endangered mountain gorillas in the lush greenery of their natural Ugandan habitat. The work undertaken on this project is essential in bridging the gap between indigenous communities and the gorillas who share their vulnerable rainforest homes.

As a volunteer, you will not only be able to actively contribute to the ongoing protection of these incredible creatures, but you will also have the privilege of watching them roaming freely in their natural habitat. Your gorilla treks will take place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - a sanctuary that is home to half of the world's endangered mountain gorillas, and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Here you will collaborate with the local communities on environmental protection efforts, along with livelihood initiatives. Additionally, you will help to educate the local community on the importance of gorilla conservation and help them implement strategies to actively contribute towards this cause.

As well as two permit-inclusive gorilla treks, this volunteer project also includes an excursion to Uganda's renowned Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here, you and your fellow volunteers will have the opportunity to track wild chimpanzees on a chimpanzee trek, join an unforgettable boat trip on the Kazinga Channel and venture out on game drives in search of elephants, tree-climbing lions and other species.

Not only is this an incredible opportunity to experience the majesty of Ugandan wildlife species in all their natural splendour, but it is also a chance to make a real difference to the conservation of one of the continent's most treasured great apes. So what are you waiting for? Secure your spot on The Great Gorilla Project today!

On this gorilla project, you will engage in a wide variety of activities within the local communities, supporting areas of mountain gorilla conservation in and around the national parks. You will also take part in two breath-taking treks to see the beautiful endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Gorilla Trekking
Take part in two gorilla treks (on separate days) to see two families of endangered mountain gorillas in the stunning Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The treks can last anything from 45 minutes to several hours, but once the gorillas are located you will get to spend a whole hour observing the family of apes as they feed and socialise with each other. Each family differs in size and personality, so you will gain a unique insight into how the social structures and behavioural patterns of the two differ.
Chimpanzee in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking
You will have the chance to take part in a once in a lifetime chimpanzee trek in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It really is 'into the forest we go' to search for these great apes in the midst of their treetop homes - and hearing a chimp call for the first time is a truly unforgettable experience that will stay with you for life! While the chimps may be slightly easier to find than the gorillas, you will still need to keep your eyes peeled to spot them, and don't forget to bring your camera along for the journey too!
Ellen DeGeneres Campus - Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Ellen DeGeneres & Dian Fossey Museum
Take a guided tour around the Ellen DeGeneres campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda. You will learn more about gorillas and the local environment and gain an insight into the important work that is being done to help conserve gorillas in Rwanda. There is also a beautiful on-site restaurant where you will get to enjoy lunch and look out at the stunning Volcanoes National Park.
Mgahinga Community Development Organisation
Mgahinga Community Development Organisation
Spend time with the local communities of Uganda as you assist with the varying community development projects run by this inspirational charity. These projects focus on environmental aspects such as tree-planting and reforestation work, through to livelihood and farming projects. This activity is primarily for the purpose of teaching the locals more about the issues surrounding deforestation. Plus, some of the seedlings planted may also provide the community with materials they can use for handicrafts!
Local School Visits
Local School Visits
You will visit some of the schools in Kisoro where you will help to educate the local children, through singing, dancing and other workshops. These activities help to expand their knowledge on the importance of gorilla conservation and the preservation of other Ugandan species which are on the brink of extinction. Additionally, you will help to educate the children and their parents on the significance of waste management and sanitation in the area for having a healthy environment for both humans and wildlife to inhabit.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park
You will take a trip to Mgahinga National Park with some of the local school children to educate them first-hand about the fascinating biodiversity in the area. The children who will be joining you come from the only special needs school in the district: the Kisoro Demonstration School. This gives the children an opportunity they would not otherwise receive, as part of the money you will have paid will pay for their entry into the park and this activity is particularly rewarding for this reason!
Tree Climbing Lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game Drive
Join a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park in search of various species of African wildlife. This park offers some incredible opportunities for spotting big game such as elephants, and potentially even the rare tree-climbing lions that call this park home. The stunning landscapes of this national park and the wildlife it beholds truly provide ideal photo opportunities, so make sure you keep your camera at the ready because you never know what animals you may encounter!
Boat Trip on the Kazinga Channel
Boat Trip
Spend an afternoon aboard a boat cruising along the Kazinga channel to spot large pods of hippos and incredible birdlife. You may even see the occasional elephant or lion coming to the water's edge to drink! You will spend two hours out on the water where you can witness more of Uganda's stunning landscapes. Throughout this activity, you may want to keep your camera to hand at all times, as beautiful photo opportunities are sure to arise!
Children at Potter's Village in Uganda
Potter's Village
Spend a day visiting the Potter’s Village child crisis and medical centre. As one of the charities you will be supporting as part of your project fee, you will collect items that have been purchased and deliver them directly to the centre to help support the babies and children that so desperately need them. You will then get involved with some more hands-on activities as you support the centre by helping with some small maintenance tasks or assist with the nutrition programme. This offers a wonderful eye-opening experience, and you will leave knowing you have made a real impact to the lives of the children here.

Please note, itineraries are subject to change and what follows is simply a rough guideline. All trips, however, will include two gorilla treks, one chimpanzee trek and work with the local communities.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will be met upon arrival into Kigali International Airport by a project representative and be transferred to your accommodation for your first night's stay. Here, you will meet the rest of your group and enjoy a welcome dinner together before getting some rest before the adventure begins the following morning.
Day 2 – Travel to Kisoro & Dian Fossey Museum:
After breakfast, you will take a private transfer to Kisoro which is approximately a 3-hour drive. Along the way, you will visit the Dian Fossey Museum and take a tour of the Ellen DeGeneres campus where you will also enjoy a spot of lunch. You will then finish your journey to Kisoro, crossing the Rwandan/Ugandan Border as you go, and upon arrival, will have some time to relax and settle into your accommodation.
Day 3 - First Gorilla Trek:
Today you will join your first of two gorilla treks as you head into Mgahinga National Park. You will be led by park guides who will impart their local knowledge and wisdom about endangered mountain gorillas, their habitat, and their conservation. This will be where some of the best memories are created as you witness the family of apes interacting and communicating with each other.
Day 4-5 - Community Development Projects:
These days will be spent taking part in sustainable projects run by the Mgahinga Community Development Organisation which aim to give the local community a better life. These projects can range from teaching kindergarten and primary school children to helping with small building and agricultural projects and are a great way to integrate with and learn about the local communities.
Day 6 - Second Gorilla Trek:
Today you will go on your second gorilla trek, this time into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, for a chance to see the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. You will be going to see a different gorilla family, offering you the chance to understand and appreciate the difference in behaviours between the two groups of apes.
Day 7 - Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Today you will transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This will give you the perfect chance to take in the surroundings of one of the most beautiful countries on earth as you pass through the varying landscapes of verdant Uganda. Upon arrival, you will have some time to relax before having dinner and getting some rest.
Day 8 - Kazinga Channel & Game Drive:
Spend the morning driving through the wonders of the national park looking for all manner of iconic African species. After going in search of herds of elephants and the majestic African lion, you will spend the afternoon aboard a boat cruising along the Kazinga Channel, where you can expect to see more hippos than you could ever imagine!
Day 9 - Chimpanzee Trek:
To check another primate off your list, you will spend the morning searching for chimps as you embark on a chimpanzee trek. The call of a chimpanzee can be heard from impressive distances, so this is an animal you will definitely hear before you see!
Day 10 - Transfer to Kisoro and Organic Coffee Tour:
Today you will take an overland transfer back to Kisoro. After arriving, you will visit a local family project where organic arabica coffee is made. You will see all parts of the process from planting to consumption, and then get the chance to participate in the process, before tasting the coffee of course. The evening will then be free for you to relax back at your accommodation.
Day 11 - Kisoro Demonstration School:
Today will be spent visiting the Kisoro Demonstration School, which works primarily with deaf and blind children and children with special needs. This will be hands-on, and you may get involved in a variety of activities from teaching and playing games with the kids to helping renovate a classroom.
Day 12 – Reforestation & Mgahinga National Park:
In the morning you will take part in a reforestation activity as you plant trees in the buffer zone of the national park and local community. Then, having already spent time with the children at the Kisoro Demonstration School, you will get the opportunity to trek through Mgahinga National Park with some of the children in the afternoon. This not only provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with the kids on a personal level and share experiences, but you will also be providing them with a direct education in the forest they are being taught to protect.
Day 13 – Potter’s Village:
After breakfast, you’ll take a trip to Potter’s Village, a local child crisis and medical centre. Here you will see the compassionate work undertaken to care for Uganda’s abandoned, orphaned, and sick children. Included in the project fee is a donation to Potter’s Village so you will stop on route to collect the items that have been purchased and deliver them directly to the centre, allowing you to see how your participation in this project is making a real difference to local communities in need.
Day 14 – Final Day:
Today you will transfer back to Kigali and you will then be taken to the airport if you have arranged to catch an evening flight. Should you prefer to stay overnight and travel the following day, or if you will be staying in Rwanda for longer, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Kigali.

To secure a place on this project a deposit of $245 is required at the time of booking with a further deposit of $1,500 required 6 months prior to your start date. This is required so your gorilla trekking permits can be secured. Your final balance payment will then be due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.

Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!

It is possible for groups of 2 or more to book dates not listed below but this is dependent on the availability of permits. Please enquire for more information.

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Accommodation

Your first night will be spent at a beautiful hotel close to Kigali International Airport. You’ll be allocated a spacious room overlooking the gardens with an en-suite bathroom. The following accommodation in Kisoro, where you’ll be based for most of your time on the project, is more basic but clean and comfortable with mosquito nets and en-suite bathrooms. There is also a bar/lounge area with free Wi-Fi available.

In Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will stay in a self-contained Banda in a stunning bush lodge, where you'll be surrounded by wildlife. The rooms have large mosquito-netted windows that offer a 180-degree view of the Kamera River, as well as a private terrace. All rooms are furnished with comfortable beds, bedside tables and power outlets, and the ensuite bathrooms include western toilets and hot showers.

All rooms are allocated on a same-sex, twin-share basis, although double rooms are available for couples. For more privacy, it is also possible to upgrade to a single room for an additional fee.

Meals & Beverages

3 meals per day are provided and for most, you will have a full menu to choose from. All beverages (including alcoholic) are not included but are available at each accommodation and throughout the trip. When taking part in the gorilla treks, water and a packed lunch will be provided.

When is the best time to volunteer?

The most popular months to go gorilla trekking in Uganda are from May to September and December to February, as whilst it is warm throughout the year with average temperatures of 25-28°C (77-82°F), these are the driest months and so offer the best conditions for trekking.

Average Monthly Weather in Kisoro, Uganda

We offer select group start dates during these months but can also offer private trips for groups of two or more throughout the year, except for in July and August as the schools are closed for holidays.

Getting There

You will need to arrive into Kigali International Airport (KGL) on the start date of your project, where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to Hotel Chez Lando in Kigali for your first night's accommodation. Arriving before 6pm is preferred as there is a welcome dinner at approximately 7pm, but if you have a flight arriving later, a transfer can still be arranged.

On the final day of the project, you are transferred back to Kigali in the afternoon and so will need to book a flight that departs Kigali International Airport after 7pm. This is because you may not get back to Kigali until 4pm so this will ensure you have enough time and will not miss your flight. You can also book another night at Hotel Chez Lando and fly the next day if there are better flight options but this will be at an additional cost.

Visa Requirements

Most nationalities will require a tourist visa to enter Rwanda and Uganda. It may be possible to obtain a visa on arrival, but if not, we recommend obtaining an East Africa Visa as this allows you to travel between Uganda and Rwanda, and means you only have to apply for 1 visa. Tourist visas for Rwanda can be applied for online at https://irembo.gov.rw/user/citizen/service/dgie/request_a_visa, and tourist visas for Uganda can be applied for online at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/.

Fitness & Skills

This project does not involve much in the way of physical labour but is heavily based around trekking on the gorilla tours - usually in fairly humid conditions. Therefore, all volunteers should have high enough levels of fitness to be able to partake in regular treks. No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims. You must be prepared to work alongside other members of the team and to bring an upbeat, positive attitude to the endeavour as a whole.

Vaccinations

All visitors to Uganda are required to have a yellow fever vaccination and must present the certificate upon arrival. Any other vaccinations will depend on your medical history, so we recommend speaking with your GP/Doctor regarding your own vaccination requirements.

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What's Included

  • Two gorilla-trekking permits
  • One chimpanzee-trekking permit
  • A game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • A visit to the Ellen DeGeneres Dian Fossey Museum
  • A boat trip along the Kazinga Channel
  • All accommodation and meals
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers
  • A monetary contribution to the Mgahinga Community Development Organisation and the Potters Village Child Crisis Centre

What's Not Included

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

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   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987