Allison W. was in Uganda for work and decided to take advantage of her time in the country for a quick safari. She worked with Africa Adventure Consultants to ensure everything was well planned and that she wouldn’t have to worry about any of the details.
After a night in Uganda’s capital city of Entebbe, Allison and her driver guide set off early in the morning for Lake Mburo National Park. A beautiful five-hour drive from the city took her to a park not often visited by travelers. While there, she enjoyed an “awesome” game drive where she saw a variety of animals at close proximity.
"We were the only people in the park - we had it to ourselves!”
Allison loved her brief stay at Rwakobo Rock. Her accommodations were right in the middle of nature and she even saw baboons from the breakfast area. The property offers both easy and challenging walking safaris, as well as mountain biking and night drives. Allison opted for a walking safari and during her walk, she and her guide were able to approach a giraffe family in the park. She found walking to be very different from game driving – being so close to the flora and fauna made her feel more exposed while also feeling more a part of nature rather than an observer looking in from the outside. During her walk she also had the chance to see zebras running towards their watering hole and witnessed the daily life of the wildlife. She saw Cape buffalo, waterbuck, impala and a large range of plains game.
From Lake Mburo, Allison and her guide drove to the Kisoro area in Uganda’s far southwestern corner. She stayed at Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge, scenically nestled on the shores of Lake Mulehe. In addition to being a great base for gorilla trekking in the tiny gem of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Lodge offers experiences with the Batwa people, the chance to track golden monkeys in Mgahinga or Echuya Forest, canoe boat rides on Lake Mulehe and community walks.
Allison was excited for her gorilla trek and headed out to the park early, as is customary for all treks. She was a bit nervous as she knew the hike could take hours. Timing depends on the gorilla group that you are assigned and where the gorillas have decided to spend the night. Allison’s trek ended up being easy for her as it only took about an hour to reach the primates. Her group was walking and suddenly, they could hear the grunting of the gorillas and in a moment they were upon the whole family! The gorillas were relaxing, playing and eating.
Allison was extremely fortunate to have only three people in her trekking group, which is quite unusual. She said that the Uganda Wildlife Authority guides that accompanied their exclusive group were great in helping them get the best photos and showing them the best places from which to view the gorillas. She found the experience to be “unbelievable.” The family that they spent their magical hour with consisted of three silverbacks, three females, a young baby and several juveniles.
“The guides were great in helping us to get the best photos and views of the gorillas - they were excellent! It is obvious that they love their jobs.”
As she spent time with the gorillas, Allison had the chance to observe a variety of behaviors. At one point, one of the juvenile gorillas ambled up to hug a silverback. She also saw a juvenile playing with the young baby gorilla. Others would walk together then flop over to rest for a while. Their time in the forest made gorilla life look idyllic.
Allison was in a happy daze for hours after her trek. The chance to see the gorillas up close in their natural setting was “really remarkable.” She found them to be huge yet incredibly quiet – “they barely make a sound as they move through the forest or climb up trees.” She loved seeing their family interactions.
“Don’t think twice about - do it! Even if it takes hours to find them it would be totally worth it. It was an unbelievable experience!”
Allison advises that if you are even remotely considering a gorilla trek that you don’t think twice about it – just do it! This was her third trip to Africa, and she says it “never gets old. Seeing a giraffe in its natural setting is so much better than a zoo. Every time is an awesome experience.”
She was a bit nervous before going but found that there was nothing to be nervous about. She never felt unsafe. She found her guides to be fantastic. “From start to finish it was an excellent experience.”
“The trip was amazing!! Everything went off without a hitch. The game drive was great, the nature walk was fantastic and the gorillas were unbelievable. I was in a happy daze for several hours after and still can’t quite believe it happened. Thank you so much for organizing this, troubleshooting things and being so available for all my questions. I only wish I had had more time in country. So grateful for all your help and for organizing this trip!!”
Photos courtesy AAC Livingstone Club member Allison W. and Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge