This competition is now closed. The winner is Cristina R.
Coming face-to-face with humanity’s second cousins is a life-changing adventure. Anyone who’s made the trek to visit the mountain gorillas of Eastern Africa in their ancestral home will understand the profound sense of connection it creates; the intense experience of looking into a face that reflects our own through the mirror of time.
Now, thanks to Broadsheet and G Adventures, we’re giving you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these majestic beings for yourself, on a nine-day guided overland adventure across Uganda, flights included, for you and a friend.
Should you be the winner, on your first day you’ll check into your hotel in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, home to some of Africa’s most spectacular architecture and art galleries.
Day two is when your journey really begins. You’ll hit the road early, heading south across the equator to Lake Bunyonyi in the tour’s custom-built 24-seat overland adventure vehicle (OAV) called a Lando. The Lando allows the entire group to travel together, and its height makes it perfect for wildlife viewing and enjoying an extraordinary vista of Bunyonyi, with its 29 islands and steep hills.
Each night on the tour will be spent at a designated campsite inside the country’s spectacular national parks – or occasionally, just on the edge. They’re generally pretty basic, but camping equipment (besides a sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied, including camp mattresses and dome tents. Camping under African stars and seeing incredible wildlife at your tent doorstep is – we guarantee – the experience of a lifetime.
On the third day, you’ll enjoy a guided trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to meet the mountain gorillas. The trek will take you deep into the park’s primeval volcanic forests for the chance to meet a family of mountain gorillas. A close encounter with these amazing animals is breathtaking.
Ugandan authorities permit only a maximum of eight people per day to visit any given gorilla family. The group will be split into different sub-groups for the trek, and depending on the number of travellers, different sub-groups may do their trek on different days. So your fourth day offers a range of possibilities; if you’ve already made the gorilla trek at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there’s swimming, canoeing and nature walks around the lake, or there’s the chance to take a day trip to Rwanda, “land of a thousand hills” and soak in the culture of the historic capital of Kigali with a local guide.
Day five is your chance to watch the Ugandan countryside pass by from the Lando on the journey from Lake Bunyonyi to the Kalinzu Forest Reserve, the home of our closest cousins, the chimps. You can also take a leisurely two-hour boat cruise around Crater Lake to see the stunning views of Wizard Island, Phantom Ship and other natural formations.
Day six starts early with a tracking excursion of the aforementioned apes through the scenic Kalinzu Forest Reserve, where you’ll trek along the ridges and valleys of the Rift Valley escarpment to visit chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Then you’ll visit a tea plantation before setting off for Lake Mburo.
On the seventh day the tour group will get back into the Lando and cross back over the equator, stopping off to enjoy a meal at the G Adventures-supported AidChild Equation Cafe. Surrounded by paintings and other crafts made by local artists, you'll enjoy a meal made using traditional Ugandan ingredients – with a modern twist.
Day eight will be spent exploring Jinja, Uganda's adventure capital, known for its thrilling outdoor activities. You can choose to raft down the White Nile River, mountain bike up and down the hills in search of monkeys, go bungee jumping, take a sunset cruise, or check out the local market.
And on your last day you’ll head back to Kampala, where the tour wraps up in the early afternoon.
Established in 1990, G Adventures specialises in providing travellers with a unique overseas experience. The driving force behind the organisation is the promotion of responsible tourism – working closely with local businesses, services and people to ensure travel dollars stay in the local economy.
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This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with G Adventures.