Gorillas in Uganda

Face-to-face with a Mountain Gorilla

Yes, we know they're not birds but seeing mountain gorillas was definitely one of the real highlights of our Birdwatching Trip to Uganda! We visited Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP which offers one of the best opportunities for seeing these special apes in the world.

Gorilla briefing

First we were given a briefing on our gorilla trek: What to expect and how to behave, such as not to get closer than 7m to the gorillas and not to look them, especially the male silverback, straight in the eye. Next we were assigned our ranger for the trek and our porters, locals from the nearby villages to help us with our packs and the trek up and down the trails in this hilly area - a real benefit to us on the trek, and by hiring them, a great way for us to support the local community, a real case of sustainable ecotourism.

It didn't feel like we'd been trekking long before our ranger told us we were close to the gorillas. We left our porters and followed our ranger off-piste through the vegetation, and suddenly there they were, a mountain gorilla family going peacefully about their daily business. Adult females, teenagers and youngsters relaxing, eating leaves, climbing branches, grooming, and all completely relaxed about having humans nearby.

Huge silverback takes it easy!

The vegetation started moving and a huge male silverback came bursting through, clearly the 7m rule didn't apply to the gorillas! This enormous but totally peaceable creature sat just feet away from us and munched contentedly on leaves. Cameras clicked and whirred as we all took photos of this magnificent animal as it fed placidly. It was obviously aware of us but not disturbed by our presence in any way, and despite its huge size, at no time did any of us experience any fear at all of this wonderful gorilla and its family group.

Gorilla-watchers and porters enjoying the gorillas

We were allowed one hour with the gorillas, perhaps the quickest hour we have ever known! All too soon we had to leave these magnificent creatures, rejoin our porters and with their help make the challenging trek/climb/scramble back out of the forest. We may have had to leave our ownderful gorilla family, but we took with us plenty of photos and memories to last a lifetime.

Lots more exciting bird and mammal adventures in Uganda to come, so please check back for more Bird Blogs.

We're planning another Birdwatching Trip to Uganda in December 2020 so if you'd like more information about the trip or to register your interest in joining us, please email us on:


We look forward to hearing from you and sharing great birds and mammals with you!

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