Ultimate Uganda Wildlife Photography: Gorillas, Chimpanzees & African Safari
Photograph gorillas, chimpanzees, and a wealth of other African wildlife on an exclusive Uganda photo tour!
Join us for an exclusive Mountain Gorilla photography workshop in Uganda; a chance to encounter these magnificent animals in the wild, spend time observing them, and photograph them from up close. A truly unique and thrilling experience! But while photographing gorillas is undoubtably a highlight of the trip, you’ll enjoy many other wildlife photography opportunities; we’ll take you to Kibale Forest Park, a lush forest that offers encounters chimpanzees, a variety of small monkeys, and a wealth of birds. On top of this, we’ll have a true African safari experience at two stunning national parks; Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. In a setting of rolling hills, you can see four of the Big Five – lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo – as well as many small mammal and bird species. Get ready for some incredible wildlife photography opportunities! During this Uganda photo tour, you’ll be guided by wildlife photographer Kaleel Zibe, who will offer personal tutoring and bring out the best photographer in you. Space is limited on this trip, so let us know if you’re keen to join!
- Photograph the endangered Mountain Gorillas from up close; a true once-in-a-lifetime experience
- Encounter chimpanzees in the stunning Kibale Forest Park, as well as many monkey species and a wealth of birds
- Enjoy a true African safari experience in Queen Elizabeth National Park, famous for its tree-climbing lions
- Receive photographic tutoring by wildlife photographer Kaleel Zibe
- Enjoy a fully inclusive trip, where luxury accommodation, meals, and transport are all provided
- Where Uganda
- When January, 2019
- Focus Wildlife photography; gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, elephants, giraffes & much more
- Workshop Leader Kaleel Zibe
- Group Size Max. 6
- Price TBA
Uganda offers an incredibly rich wildlife experience in hugely varying natural settings; from dense jungles to open savannahs. Our main three destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale Forest Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Situated on the edge of the Rift Valley, Bwindi is a magnificent misty rainforest. Given its antiquity – it’s one of Africa’s oldest forests – it has produced an incredible biodiversity, with some 120 mammal species and over 350 bird species. Most famously, Bwindi is home to an estimated 300 to 400 Mountain Gorillas, and it’s one of three parks in Africa where these highly endangered primates still live. Another lush forest we’ll be visiting is Kibale Forest National Park. This 795-sq-km national park is made up of dense tropical rainforest, home to an enormous number of primates and birds.
In contrast with Bwindi and Kibale, Queen Elizabeth National Park offers wide vistas of savannah and wetlands, mixed with shady forests and large lakes. The park provides a stunning backdrop for its abundance of wildlife, which includes 95 mammal species, 20 predators and over 610 bird species, making the park a birder’s paradise. Four of the Big Five can be spotted; lions, leopards, buffalos, and elephants. And don’t forget to point your camera up, as famously, some of the lion prides spend most of their time in trees.
At the end of our trip, we’ll spend a night in Lake Mburo, a 370-sq-km National Park that offers some excellent game viewing. While lions are rare here, we might encounter hyenas, leopards, topis, and elands, and it’s the only place in southern Uganda to see zebras and impalas.
- Day 1 Arrival at Entebbe airport, where we'll meet you and drive you to our first accommodation. Here, we'll have a chance to meet each other and get settled.
- Day 2 After breakfast, we'll drive to Kibale Forest, a spectacular jungle that is home to chimps, baboons, colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest monkeys, and a wealth of stunning birds. After lunch at our lodge, we'll start exploring the park and photographing its inhabitants. Whoever is up for it can go on a night walk after dinner to spot some of the nocturnal creatures that live in the forest, like bush babies.
- Day 3 In the morning, we'll head out for chimpanzee tracking! In the afternoon, we'll head out to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, a wetland swamp with a hugely rich biodiversity. Bigodi was established by a local development organisation to protect the swamp area, which is home to around 200 species of birds. It's also good for spotting and photographing butterflies and small primates.
- Day 4 We'll head to Queen Elizabeth National Park for an exciting African safari experience. On our way there, we'll pass the equator where we will make a stop. After enjoying lunch and settling into our lodge, we'll head out for our first game drive late afternoon, in that perfect warm light. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places in Uganda to see lions. You can also expect to photograph elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles.
- Day 5 We'll start the day with another game drive. In the afternoon, we'll mix it up with a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, which gives an interesting new angle on the wildlife we'll encounter. (And get ready to be surrounded by many hippos! The Kazinga Channel has the highest concentration of hippos in the world.)
- Day 6 We'll drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, passing Ishasha Sector in the south of Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is home to the famous tree-climbing lions. On our way, we'll also pass through interesting villages and have some breath taking views of the mountains.
We'll take our time (and stop for photography breaks whenever we want!), and we'll probably reach Bwindi late in the afternoon, where we'll settle in and prepare for our upcoming gorilla adventures.
- Day 7 & 8 Two days of gorilla tracking! We'll have an early morning departure to search for the highly endangered Mountain Gorillas. The hike, guided by knowledgable local rangers, will be worth it once we find these magnificent animals. We'll be able to spend about an hour observing and photographing the gorillas.
You may wish to only do one day of gorilla tracking; this is up to you. If you decide to just join the first day, you'll have the opportunity to do village tours, shorter forest walks, or to just rest.
- Day 9 After breakfast, we'll drive to Lake Mburo National Park, where we can enjoy a game drive in the afternoon. While lions are rare here, we might encounter hyenas, leopards, topis, and elands, and it's the only place in southern Uganda to see zebras and impalas. In the evening, there's an optional night game drive, with high chances of seeing leopards.
- Day 10 After a last game drive or walking safari in the morning, we'll head back to the airport.
January 2019 (exact dates coming soon)
The price includes:
- All accommodation at comfortable lodges and hotels
- All meals, except for dinner on the first day
- All game drives, forest walks, and other activities as per the itinerary
- Chimpanzee tracking permits
- Park entrance fees
- Photographic tutoring by Kaleel Zibe throughout the trip
- Guidance by a local guide
- An indirect contribution to the Penda Trust, as part of our proceeds go towards funding the running costs of our charity
- A tree that will be planted on your behalf by Greenpop, as a way to help compensate for your carbon footprint
The price does not include:
- Gorilla tracking permits ($600 per track)
- International flights
- Travel insurance
This photography workshop is fully focused on wildlife photography, and giving you the best possible opportunities for encountering an array of exciting Ugandan wildlife. Undoubtably a highlight will be photographing the endangered Mountain Gorillas; a truly thrilling experience, and an absolute privilege. You do have to work a bit for it though; we’ll be trekking through the hilly jungles of Bwindi, and a trek can take anything from 2 to 6 hours. Once you find a gorilla group, the photographic opportunities make the exercise worthwhile. While we have to keep a respectful distance, the gorillas, with their inquisitive nature, might choose to approach us, which offers absolutely incredible photographic opportunities. We’ll be trekking exclusively with our group, and Kaleel will be there to help you make the most of the experience.
In Kibale Forest Park, you can expect to photograph plenty of wildlife at quite a close distance too. A dense tropical rainforest with an incredibly rich ecosystem, the park is home to an enormous number of primates. Get ready to encounter chimpanzees (there are over a thousand in the park), as well as monkeys such as the rare red colobus and the handsome L’Hoest’s monkeys. On top of this, Kibale has over 340 bird species, and plenty of small mammals. We’ll hike through a network of shady forest trails, where the photographic opportunities will be plenty.
To include a real photo safari experience, we’ll take you to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you can expect to photograph the larger (and perhaps most famous) of the African wildlife, such as lions, elephants, giraffe, and buffalo. With its open terrain of rolling hills, the park will offer the opportunity to frame the animals in a stunning larger setting, and to also indulge in some landscape photography. We’ll go out on several game drives a day, making use of the best light early mornings and late afternoons, in an open game drive vehicle, offering everyone a window seat with ever-evolving tableaux of African savanna.
Your Photography Workshops
Throughout this trip, you’ll be guided by Kaleel Zibe, an experienced wildlife photographer. He’ll be there to help you hone your photography skills, so that you take the best possible wildlife images. Since we’ll be traveling in a small group size, you’ll have the luxury of being tutored at your own level (whether you’re an absolute beginner or a (semi-)pro), and you’ll be able to get as much or as little guidance as you’d like. Tuition will most likely include camera settings, exposure, aperture, creative techniques, as well as post-production. The tuition will happen both while photographing and during sessions in between activities; it’s flexible and adaptable to everyone’s needs.
We recommend the following equipment:
- SLR camera
- Range of lenses (keeping in mind that you’re likely to get quite close to certain wildlife, like the gorillas, but that you might be photographing from a bit of a distance during game drives)
- Tripod or bean bag
- Sturdy camera bag
- Plenty of spare cleared memory cards
- Please note it is not permitted to use flash photography anywhere around the gorillas. Flash must be switched off altogether.
- Tripods and monopods can be useful during some parts of the trips, but they are forbidden during the gorilla treks, as unfortunately some of the gorillas have memories of poachers with spears, sticks and other weaponry, and can’t distinguish these from tripods.
- A waterproof cover for your camera and lens.
- A laptop if you’re keen to improve your post-production skills, and/or if you’d like to review your images with Kaleel
Kaleel Zibe is an award-winning freelance wildlife and sports photographer / filmmaker. Based in the UK, he has worked with a wide range of clients including the BBC, the RSPB, Montane and Wild Planet Photo and Bird Watching magazines. In 2011, he published ‘Wildlife of the Farne Islands,’ an extensive photography and guide book that documents the islands’ natural beauty in a stunning way. Kaleel also leads photography safaris in Kenya and Uganda and is passionate about creating incredible photographic opportunities for his participants.