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 on-going 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.
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.
To secure a place on this project a deposit of $245 is required at the time of booking with a further deposit of $1,148 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.
This trip (founded in 2011) has been voted as one of the most innovative eco-travel initiatives in the Guardian's Green Travel List. This is the most responsible and sustainable manner in which to view endangered mountain gorillas in the wild, as the programmes that this project supports have truly remarkable positive impacts on local communities.
One of the most remarkable of these is the Kisoro Demonstration School for children with special needs, which this project supports financially. This school provides a safe learning environment for these children in the area, who may not otherwise have access to an effective education. We are thrilled to be able to support these children on a year by year basis, and seeing their progress each time volunteers visit is a thrilling privilege. One of the children who we have supported through their schooling is Gedion, and you can read about how this courageous young man is doing today here.
As of 2019, the Mgahinga Community Development Organisation have achieved much through their community projects: establishing a botanical garden, planting 200 medicinal and indigenous tree species, ensuring waste management systems, sanitation and hygiene at both the local school, and trading centre by Mgahinga National Park, and even installing garbage collection houses and recycling bins! All of these activities have been completed by project leaders, school children and volunteers combined, but perhaps the most vital achievement is the expansion in gorilla conservation education for the custodians of the Ugandan ecosystem: the local communities.
The initiatives this project supports, and the interaction and dedication of the volunteers help greatly to bridge the gap between local communities and the endangered mountain gorillas that inhabit the same land.
Volunteers in Uganda are essential in all the work and success of this project, as their enthusiasm and passion help to empower the local people with knowledge and strategies. Both the initiatives the project supports and the interaction of the volunteers helps greatly to bridge the gap between local communities and the endangered mountain gorillas that inhabit the same land.
Take a look at this detailed and exciting volunteer review written by Joanne Dutton after her trip to The Great Gorilla Project in Uganda. This is one testimonial you won't want to miss!Read More
Your first night will be spent at a beautiful guesthouse close to Kigali International Airport. There is an incredible garden grill restaurant here and all of the bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. The accommodation in Kisoro is more basic, but still includes rooms with mosquito-nets and ensuite bathrooms. This guesthouse also boasts a stunning view of the volcanoes on a clear day.
In Queen Elizabeth National Park you will stay in a hostel right in the middle of the park and will be surrounded by wildlife. The rooms are again shared with shared shower and bathroom facilities. This accommodation also offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities you will have whilst in the national park, as elephants and hippos are known to make frequent visits.
Throughout the project, rooms will be allocated on a same-sex twin share basis, although double rooms are also available for couples. For more privacy, it is also possible to upgrade to a single room for an additional fee.
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.
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.
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.
Whilst you are able to volunteer throughout the year there are certain elements that are unavailable in July and August, namely any work at the Kisoro Demonstration School or with its pupils. Therefore, we are unable to offer this project in these months.
Popular months to gorilla trek in Uganda are May to September and December to February due to the drier weather, although it is warm all year round with temperatures between 25 and 28°C (77-82°F).
You will need to arrive into Kigali International Airport on the start date of your project, preferably between 8am and 7pm, where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to Hotel Chez Lando in Kigali for your first night's accommodation.
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.
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. This can be applied for online at https://irembo.gov.rw/rolportal/web/dgie/east-africa-tourist-visa and costs USD100.
To meet the Gorillas was unbelievable. Another very precious moment was the pedal-powered cinema in the church. It was really a kind of holy atmosphere. We met very impressing and engaged people.
Silke Gerkrath, 2020
I will take the memory of the gorillas away with me forever, but also the people I met while travelling in Uganda!
Lara Olsha, 2019
I'll always remember meeting the two children (and their family) that have been sponsored through school. I'll also never forget getting so close to the gorillas. Finally, it was amazing to meet so many dedicated, passionate people who're trying to make a positive difference in their communities - these people will be friends for life.
Sally Jackson, 2018
There wasn't just one favourite moment. Seeing the gorillas was fascinating, and a memory I'll never forget.
Dolores Rothwell, 2018
Seeing gorillas in their natural habitat was definitely a highlight, but I have to say it is the people I met that will stay with me. Visiting the schools were my favourite days. Seeing the children and their smiling faces will definitely stick with me for a long time. I also really enjoyed learning about all of the organizations that are supporting the community. It was a wonderful trip. I really liked how we did so many different activities and learned so much about the community. I enjoyed all the people I met. The accommodations were what I expected if not better. I will say, you may want to add to the description that the gorilla trek can be very challenging. We had one member that struggled greatly with the trek. I enjoyed it...but it may not be for everyone. Overall, this trip has left a lasting impression on me. I am in communication with one of the directors of an organization and will be working with my 5th-grade classroom this year to communicate and donate supplies to one of the school's we visited.
Suzanne Brusca, 2018
I would have to say my favourite moment would have to be the when we visited one of the school projects and they sang us a thank you song at the end of our visit. it gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes!
Tracy Brightman, 2018
I couldn't believe it when I came face-to-face with a big silverback on our first gorilla trek. He was as chilled out as I was excited! The itinerary was absolutely sublime. Guide Sheba and driver Denis went all-out to show us as much of their beautiful country as they could fit into two weeks. We all also appreciated Sheba adding an unscheduled visit to Dian Fossey's tomb on our way back to Kigali. Although we only spent two days with the gorillas, the amount of other species we encountered was incredible. From tracking chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge to elephants visiting our garden in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the list goes on and on! Our time at the Golden Monkey Guest House with Baker and co was also wonderful.
Andrew Johnston, 2018
My favourite moment was meeting the mountain gorillas. Also the children, I got to meet my sponsored boy!
Frank Lomas, 2017
There are so many memories I will take away! Amazing wildlife encounters but obviously the Mountain Gorillas were stunning!
Margaret St.George Sproule, 2017
Walking into the orphanage and realising it wasn't just the gorillas that I'd come to help and protect. When I went to Gisoro primary school and I asked the crowd of excited boys and girls for a hug and they all hugged me. All of them.It brought me more joy and happiness than i could ever imagine. The work you're doing is great and I'd love to be a full-time volunteer out there.
Khristine Strain, 2017