Wild mountain gorillas, black eyes fluttering seductively, redolent faces poking from trees. There's a whole troop and an entire storyline of images, a memoir to nature and evolution. The photos don't seem real and the experience becomes surreal. Yet gorillas are Africa's most challenging wildlife subject. Evoking their beauty on film requires skill, practice, and tutoring. This safari experience does just that, taking you on three gorilla treks with expert photographic tuition and guidance.
Kigali – Relaxing in the Land of a Thousand Hills
Touch down in Kigali and there's excitement in the air, the land of the gorillas just two hours drive to the north. Rwanda's relaxed capital eases you into the photographic adventure, particularly at sunset, when the hues flicker across the hills that the country has named itself after. After being greeted at the airport, you're transferred to a central five-star hotel. Rest, relax, or head out into the city as the guide takes you to prime points for landscape photos. You have two guides for the duration of the trip, one a native Rwandan, the second a respected wildlife photographer. They combine to bring a local experience and the best possible images.
Volcanoes National Park – Introductions to the Misty Hills of Remote Africa
Volcanoes National Park – Golden Monkeys and Rural Community Life
Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking for Wildlife Photographers
Volcanoes National Park – Second Gorilla Trekking Experience
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Exploring the Cloud Forests of Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Third Gorilla Trek
Kigali – Relaxed Day in the Hills of East Africa
Kigali – Departure
- Capture the world's rarest primate on three enchanting gorilla trekking experiences
- Visit three different gorilla troops in three distinctive parts of East Africa's forests, photographing the diversity of the great ape families
- Travel with an experienced wildlife photographer guide and absorb the lessons on how to capture one of Africa's most challenging subjects
- Get to within seven meters of the gorilla families and photograph their charming display of emotions, interactions, and behavior
- Test out the conditions with a day spent tracking and photographing golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park
- Explore the cloud forests of both Rwanda and Uganda, creating images that revel in their mystery
- Photograph East Africa's other charming residents with visits to remote local communities
Emotive and endangered, gorillas provide one of Africa's most rewarding images. As enchanting as some of the images appear, gorillas are also one of Africa's most challenging photographic subjects. Mist swirls through the forest as shards of light flicker unpredictably beneath the canopy. Deep-set eyes and matt black fur are exhilarating from seven meters away, but difficult to truly capture in the lush forest. Finding the subject isn't hard as an entire gorilla troop surrounds your camera. Yet it's never easy to find an angle that reflects the interactions and emotions of these rare primates. Get it right and the photos become the work from magazine covers, dreamy shots of the giant apes in their mountainous forest kingdom. And with this gorilla trekking itinerary, you have all the possible opportunity to get these revered wildlife photos.
On this 9-day safari, you go on three distinctive gorilla treks, visiting the mysterious primates in their remote realms of Rwanda and Uganda. A specialist wildlife photographer guide leads your journey, revealing the tips and tricks for wild gorilla portraiture. Two days in misty forests help prepare you for the conditions, with golden monkeys an inspiring subject for testing out the light and drama of East Africa's forests. Then on each gorilla trek, you spend an hour with a troop; by already understanding the conditions, you're able to maximize this time, rather than use half of it experimenting with settings and lenses. Both the setting and subject provide a challenge when photographing gorillas, so having these two experimental days are essential stepping stones before meeting the giant apes.
The next couple days are spent with two gorilla troops in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. Wander through the thick forest until you're just seven meters away – although you often get closer as the primates are oblivious to the seven-meter rule – then create a compelling storyline of family interaction and human-like emotion. Each troop is different: baby gorillas scrambling through the branches, epic silverbacks standing tall, mothers hiding gracefully amongst the trees, curious youngsters scampering before your camera. With two hours photographing Rwanda's gorillas, you build a collection of images that reflect the behavior and drama of some of the less than 1000 mountain gorillas that remain in the wild.
Next, you cross the nearby border in Uganda, a journey that traverses spectacular landscapes and remote green kingdoms. A third gorilla trek provides a final opportunity to photograph gorillas. Visiting three troops enhances the opportunity to capture the full range of behavior and family scenes, including iconic shots like silverbacks proudly beating their chests. It also provides a degree of flexibility as conditions are difficult to predict in these remote worlds; go gorilla trekking just once and a flickering drizzle may dash any dreams of the perfect primate photos. The guide continually provides new tips as you learn through experience, meaning this third gorilla trek is likely to be the one that creates the most revered of images. From this short stay in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you drive back through Rwanda to Kigali, where good flight connections mark your departure from East Africa or an onward journey to the region's other iconic wildlife photographs.
$12,865 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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