THIS ADVENTURE IS FULLY BOOKED
About This Photographic Safari
In February 2017 Randy Hanna will lead a private group of photographers to Uganda and Rwanda to photograph Africa's Great Apes: magnificent mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and the endangered Golden Monkeys. This safari will focus on photographing Africa's wild chimpanzees, mountain gorillas and Golden Monkeys up close. Photographing these incredible primates is unlike any other experience in Africa or the world. Mountain gorillas, chimpanzees the golden Monkeys are under increasing threat and these are some of the last remaining places where one can spend time with them in protected areas. We will have three FULL days of chimpanzee viewing and photography in Kibale National Park near the Ruwenzori Mountains in southwestern Uganda. There are a VERY limited number of full-day chimpanzee permits allocated each day (our permits allow full days spent with the chimps while the majority of the permits are only for one hour of viewing) and we have secured the full-day permits for three days. We then head to Rwanda and Volcanoes National Park for three days of photographing mountain gorillas and one day dedicated to the Golden Monkeys. If you have ever wanted to spend time up close with the great apes, you will love this experience.
• Three full days of chimpanzee viewing in Uganda's Kibale National Park.
• Three days of mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park.
• One day trekking for the Golden Monkeys.
• Our chimpanzee permits are FULL-DAY habituation permits. These are VERY limited in number and allow our group to spend the entire day (6am until dusk) with the chimps, allowing for unmatched photographic opportunities. Be prepared to blow through 50-100GB of images per day.
• Private air charters between Entebbe and Kibale and again from Kibale to the Rwandan border (from the border it is a short drive to our gorilla trekking lodge).
• Extra luggage allowances to accommodate the special needs of our photographic equipment. Note that big lenses (anything over 200mm) are generally not needed for photographing these great apes.
• This itinerary focuses on up-close and real wildlife experiences.
Feb 15, 2017; (1 Night) LAKE VICTORIA SERENA HOTEL - Entebbe, Uganda Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be met by our local representative, who will transfer our group by road to our hotel. The drive takes approximately 45 minutes. We will overnight at this lovely oasis before heading to Kibale the following morning. Styled to replicate the lines of a classically rustic Roman villa, Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa is located between Entebbe and Kampala and on the shores of Africa's largest lake. Opened in October 2009, it will be complemented by the addition of a golf course, marina and luxury residential complex. Rising above white-terraced rose gardens, which descend through water cascades and fountains almost to the shores of Lake Victoria, this tranquil resort offers a gracious terracotta and cream palace with a central citadel encircled by broad café and cocktail terraces, where cushioned sofas invite relaxation. Widely spaced amongst the rose gardens, clusters of pastel-painted villas offer a choice of rooms and suites, all with panoramic lake views. On the morning of the 16th, our group will be transferred to the nearby Kajansi Airstrip, where we will board our private charter flight to Fort Portal airport. Estimated departure time is 0830 hours and a flight time of 1 hour, 40 minutes. On arrival we will transfer by road to our lodge.
February 16, 2017; (4 nights) Kyaninga Lodge, Uganda
Set against a stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the legendary Mountains of the Moon beyond, Kyaninga Lodge is the spectacular result of one man’s vision and six years of unwavering commitment to creating an experience of Africa’s beauty unlike anything else. When Englishman Steve Williams first saw the lake on his way to visit the gorillas, there was nothing there aside from unspoiled natural beauty and breathtaking vistas. There aren’t many people who could stand on the rim of an ancient crater lake thousands of miles from home, and have the vision to imagine building a luxury lodge entirely out of timber.
Kyaninga Lodge’s eight cottages are built on platforms and set apart to offer privacy and tranquility. Access to the cottages from the main lodge is via a raised wooden walkway. Each spacious cottage is beautifully appointed with a a choice of twin or double beds made up with the softest bed linens and feather pillows. An indoor sitting area leads out to a private deck where one can enjoy morning tea or coffee and views over the lake and the Mountains of the Moon beyond. The ensuite bathrooms boast marble countertop basins set atop beautifully crafted Elgon Olive pedestals, claw footed freestanding baths, glass walled showers and plenty of hot water from solar water heaters. Lighting in the cottages is also solar powered, and each cottage features an electrical socket for the charging of laptops and other appliances, providing the comforts of home in an extraordinary setting. Extra beds, hypoallergenic pillows and bedding are available on request. Kyaninga Lodge will be our lodge base for the next three days of chimpanzee trekking. Our first afternoon here will be spent relaxing at the lodge, lunch and dinner and some photography around the area.
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee. It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
February 17, 2017: Today we rise early for a 30-40 minute drive to join the Chimpanzee Habituation Team that goes out every day to study and habituate the chimpanzees. Our activity starts at 5:30am and ends in evening at around 6:30pm. There is an option to end the habituation experience earlier than nesting time each day and we will make that decision based on that day's specific situation and photographic opportunities. Our days with the chimps are spent following them as they move from feeding trees (generally large fig trees that are fruiting) and along the ground as they move within their home range.
There are around 1,450 chimps in Kibale, of which 320 are habituated to human visitation. The group visited for tourism includes 120 chimps, but often times the group is split between two or three sub-groups. The alpha male also spends time with seven or eight other large males as he patrols through the forest and we may spend time with him if we encounter him. Our guides are in radio contact with the trackers and researchers and so we will have ample opportunity to photography multiple sub-groups throughout our day. Other primates that we will have a good chance of seeing each day include Grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkey, L'Hoest's monkey, blue monkey, red colobus, black-and-white colobus and olive baboon.
After our long day of chimpanzee viewing and photography, we will return to our lodge for dinner and downloading of our images.
February 18 & 19, 2017: Today we will again head out for a full day of chimpanzee viewing with the Habituation Team and our guides. Today and tomorrow will be our second and third days of chimpanzee viewing with the Habituation Team and our guides.
February 20, 2017: After breakfast at the lodge we will be transferred by road to Kasese Airport for our short charter flight to Kisoro Airstrip. At Kisoro we will be met and transferred to the Kyanika border post, clear through immigration to the Rwanda side and transfer by road to our lodge in time for lunch.
February 20-23, 2017: MOUNTAIN GORILLA VIEW LODGE - Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is situated in the foothills of the mighty Virungas, the chain of 15,000-ft volcanoes stretching through Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Accommodation comprises five double cottages, two suites and one family suite. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terra cotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms finished with Venetian plaster, and a sheltered veranda. Heat exchangers in the fireplaces provide a plentiful supply of hot water. The main lodge building comprises reception, sitting room with snug area, dining room, library / games room, a responsible tourism / community awareness room, shop and bathrooms. Two patio areas afford wonderful and dramatic views to the Virunga Volcanoes and the surrounding lowland farmland.
February 21, 2017: Early breakfast and drive to the park offices, where we will have a briefing by our trackers and then drive to the beginning of the trail. From there we will begin our trek up the path to meet up with the gorillas -- (see important information on gorilla trekking below). Upon sighting the gorillas, we will stay with them for a magical hour before returning to the base where our driver will be waiting for us. Lunch is back at the Lodge (depending on how long our trek was and what time we return). The afternoons are free for downloading and processing images. There is also an option (time permitting) to do some shopping at the local cooperative shops or a visit to the ex-poachers' village, where you can learn about the traditional methods of fire-making, archery, traditional medicine, traditional dances and other local customs. Should time allow, we will venture into the local city for a glimpse of life Rwandan style. Dinner is at the Lodge.
February 22, 2017: Up early again for our second day of gorilla trekking. Today we will visit a different family of gorillas (specific families visited are only determined at the Park HQ on the morning of the trek). Lunch, afternoon and evening as per the prior day.
February 23, 2017: Our third and last day of gorilla trekking, where we will visit yet another family of gorillas. Lunch, afternoon and evening as per the prior day.
February 24, 2017: Up early again for out last trekking event as we head off to spend an hour with the Golden Monkeys. We will return to the lodge for lunch, collect our bags and head to Kigali to catch our flights. Along the way we will take an early dinner prior proceeding to the airport. ***NOTE: It is very critical that you coordinate you departure flight times with the Eyes on Africa staff BEFORE you book your flights. This will ensure that you have ample time to get down the mountain and have our early dinner then onward to the airport.
Gorilla Tracking Information
The gorillas you will track in Volcanoes National Park will belong to one of ten 'habituated' family groups. Eight permits per day are issued for each group.
For many years, these groups have undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually made them used to the presence of humans and allowed a few privileged visitors to interact with them briefly in the wild. The gorillas are by no means tame. They are completely wild animals, which even now tolerate human presence for an hour a day at most. Experienced guides will accompany you on your tracking, many of whom have been involved in the habituation process themselves. These guides will brief you in detail on your arrival on the various aspects of 'gorilla etiquette', but the information contained in this set of guidelines is to help you arrive for your track well prepared and ready to enjoy this unique opportunity to the full.
Visitors may track for as many days as they like, on purchase of the required number of gorilla permits. The permits are in extremely short supply, and are often booked as much as 18 months in advance. Only persons over the age of 15 are allowed to track the gorillas.
Gorilla tracking is a year-round activity, with no season as such. The rain forest is moist, and it rains very often in Volcanoes National Park, even in the dry season. Tracking commences every morning from the park headquarters at 8:30 AM. There is a daily maximum of 8 visitors to each gorilla group, and each group is accompanied by a guide and by porters who will carry your shoulder pack for you.
The gorillas cover large distances throughout the day and they are never constantly in one area. The guides will use their knowledge of the gorillas' habits and information from the previous day to locate the group's whereabouts. Because of this, the time taken to track the gorillas varies enormously, from as little as half an hour to as much as 9 hours before returning to camp. The terrain is sometimes difficult, with steep trails (often steeper than a flight of stairs) covered in dense vegetation that gives the park its name. In addition, the altitude of 5200 feet and more means participants do need to be physically fit to enjoy the track. Once the gorillas are located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. After this, you will return to the park headquarters and your camp.
The Cost: The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $14,750.00 per person. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (except as noted above and in exclusions below).
What is Included?
• Accommodation on a shared basis (single rooms may be available - please inquire).
• 1x trip leader (Randy Hanna).
• Private meet and assist services at the airport in Entebbe.
• Road transfers to/from the airports and the hotels.
• Private air charters: Entebbe to Kibale and Kibale to near the Ugandan border with Rwanda.
• Luggage allowance for air charters: approximately 30-35 kgs per person in total.
• All meals at Kyaninga Lodge and at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (drinks are for your own account).
• Breakfasts at Lake Victoria Serena.
• Tips for the ground support team and drivers and ALL trekking permits for Uganda and Rwanda.
• Private vehicles and drivers for all road transfers throughout the trip.
• The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Tax.
What is Not Included?
• International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Entebbe, Uganda and from Kigali, Rwanda back home.
• Dinner / drinks in Entebbe on Day 1.
• Gratuities for hotel staff in Entebbe.
• Gratuities for gorilla and chimpanzee trackers, guides, and porters. Recommended tips (in US Dollars) are $35-$40 per trek (7 treks total).
• Drinks at Kyaninga Lodge and at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
• Laundry cost at hotels and lodges.
• Visas, travel insurance, personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
• Optional pre-/post- safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari (we would be happy to arrange any and all additional overnights or extensions).
• Suggested cash gratuities (US Dollars) for chimpanzee / gorilla trek guides and trackers are recommended at USD $35 to $40 per trek (6 treks in total).
What Do I Do Next? Our group size is limited to only 7 people and we expect that this trip will fill up. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to Randy Hanna at email@example.com. To book this trip please call Nicky at Eyes on Africa at 800-457-9575 or Nicky@eyesonafrica.net and tell her you want to join the Randy Hanna Primates Adventure for 2017.