Dr Gladys’s Intimate Gorilla Experience

Premier Safaris known for providing some of the most intimate Safari experiences on earth has joined forces with Ugandan conservationist Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka to ensure not only an informative Gorilla tracking experience, but also to provide a unique insight into gorillas, their health as well as other conservation aspects that impact on their survival. This unique new way of approaching Gorilla Safaris is only available to Premier Safari’s tour operators. 

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest lies on Uganda’s southern border. Its home to more than half the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, and it’s where Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka goes to work. She’s been studying diseases in the gorillas for 15 years and is known as the Dian Fossey of Uganda.

Tracking gorillas is a small fraction of Gladys’ work. Next to Bwindi forest, CTPH reaches out to the local people, convincing them that healthy gorillas bring a better way of life to them. Instead of hunting gorillas and clearing the forest, keeping gorillas safe generates more income from tourism.

Although Premier Safaris forte is working with their clients to provide Unique Safaris to Africa according to their clients preference and needs the below will give you an idea of what you can expect when visiting Uganda to track gorillas.

4 Day - Fly to the Gorillas & Research (Intimate Gorilla Experience).


Day 1

Entebbe - Bwindi

Meet at the airport, assist through customs and board your domestic flight to Kihihi airstrip. You will be met and start an hours journey to the Lodge, driving through villages with stops at places of interest is amazing! Lunch at Silverback lodge.

In the evening, have a village walk with a visit of the local schools hospitals and craft shops. Meals and accommodation included


Day 2

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

There is an early morning entry into the gorilla sanctuary - depending on permit availability at the time of booking confirmation. The rainforest is spectacular, heavily vegetated and dense landscape crisscrossed by numerous animal trails, allowing access for trekkers. This park is best known for the fascinating gorillas, where the time taken and terrain varies according to the movements of these fantastic apes. The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving adventure that will leave you with long lasting memories of a truly unique experience. The gorillas are shy and peaceful animals and it is an unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact with each other. Meals and accommodation included. Your representative from CTPH will meet you at the gorilla family and lead you to their nests to collect samples for the next day’s research.


Day 3

Community Programme (http://www.ctph.org/)

Experience a day in the life of a Gorilla field researcher. Analyze the Gorilla dung collected from the nests of the previous days track to establish the health of the family. The dung analysis is a big part of the work done by the researchers to establish gorilla health of the family. Visit the frontline communities that directly come in contact with the gorilla families, the gorillas not only eat what is in their gardens but also come into contact with human diseases that can be transported to the families. The only long-term and sustainable method to improve the gorillas’ health is by improving the health of the people living around the park, and not just the people, but their livestock as well.


Day 4

Fly to Entebbe – Connect to international flight.

After an early breakfast (depending on your flight schedule), start for Kihihi airstrip. Depending on the weather, you may have the best views of the Volcanoes, villages and Lakes as you take off, proceed to the airport and connect to your onward international flight.

 

6 Day Wildlife & Gorillas (Queen Elizabeth & Bwindi).


Day 1

Kampala/Entebbe - Queen Elizabeth National Park

Meet on arrival at the airport, assist through customs and start for Queen Elizabeth National Park. Stop at the equator for photography and amazing experiments. Proceed to the park with views of plains, hilly landscapes and the mystical Rwenzori Mountain Range most of the journey. Enter the park, keeping an eye out for game where you may be rewarded with view of Waterbucks, Elephants, Leopards, Buffaloes, Hyenas and a variety of Antelope species. After lunch, have an afternoon siesta then venture on a game drive in search for big game. Meals and accommodation included 


Day 2

Queen Elizabeth National Park.

After an early morning rise, and a cup of your favorite beverage, embark on a morning game drive along Kasenyi track and Queens mile in the park and keep a watch out for Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Warthogs, Leopard, Hyena, Mongoose, Waterbuck, Ugandan Kob, and lots of the many small animals and birds. After the game drive return to the Lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a unique boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel and into Lake Edward. This trip passes through high concentrations of Hippos and a wide variety of animals may be seen drinking at the water's edge. This river cruise offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. The prolific bird life is colorful and stupendous with well over 600 recorded species having been spotted.  Meals and accommodation included


Day 3

Queen Elizabeth National Park - Bwindi

After Breakfast, start for Bwindi via the Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. As you drive along the road via Ishasha sector (famous for its tree climbing Lions), you should see a multitude of animals. Arrive at the camp in the afternoon, relax around the camp. Meals and accommodation included


Day 4

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

There is an early morning entry into the gorilla sanctuary - depending on permit availability at the time of booking confirmation. The rainforest is spectacular, heavily vegetated and dense landscape crisscrossed by numerous animal trails, allowing access for trekkers. This park is best known for the fascinating gorillas, where the time taken and terrain varies according to the movements of these fantastic apes. The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving adventure that will leave you with long lasting memories of a truly unique experience. The gorillas are shy and peaceful animals and it is an unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact with each other. Meals and accommodation included. Your representative from CTPH will meet you at the gorilla family and lead you to their nests to collect samples for the next day’s research.


Day 5

Community Programme (http://www.ctph.org/)

Experience a day in the life of a Gorilla field researcher. Analyze the Gorilla dung collected from the nests of the previous days track to establish the health of the family. The dung analysis is a big part of the work done by the researchers to establish gorilla health of the family. Visit the frontline communities that directly come in contact with the gorilla families, the gorillas not only eat what is in their gardens but also come into contact with human diseases that can be transported to the families. The only long-term and sustainable method to improve the gorillas’ health is by improving the health of the people living around the park, and not just the people, but their livestock as well.


Day 6

Return to Kampala. (We can also provide an additional day in Bwindi for the community activity) 

After an early breakfast (depending on your flight schedule), start for Kihihi airstrip. Depending on the weather, you may have the best views of the Volcanoes, villages and Lakes as you take off, proceed to the airport and connect to your onward international flight.

Some background on Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and her work.

Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London in 1995. She completed a zoological medicine residency and Masters in Specialized Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University and North Carolina Zoological Park in the USA in 2003. She also obtained a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University in the USA in 2003.

She pioneered the first wildlife translocations to restock Uganda's national parks following years of poaching during Uganda's civil wars. As part of her veterinary research, she identified parasite transmission from humans to mountain gorillas as a significant risk factor for gorillas.

Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka became Uganda’s chief veterinarian when she was 26. The BBC even made a documentary about her first year on the job. Nine months into her role as the country’s chief veterinarian, she was called to treat a family of gorillas that was suffering from a troubling new disease.

“Gorillas were losing hair and developing white, scaly skin. The baby gorilla had lost almost all its hair and was very thin. And the mother had also lost almost all of her hair where she was carrying the baby,” Kalema-Zikusoka recalls. “The baby was also making crying sounds, which is extremely abnormal for gorillas. I actually went and visited a human doctor friend of mine, because they could have picked it up from people. And she said it was scabies.”

Scabies is a minor skin infection for humans, but gorillas were new to the disease. For Kalema-Zikusoka, it was the first time she saw a human disease jump to mountain gorillas with fatal consequences. Recognizing this link between wildlife health and human health marked a turning point in her thinking.

“It made me realize that you can’t protect the gorillas if you don’t think about the people living around the park, who have very little health care,” she says. “And because we’re so closely related genetically, we can easily get diseases from each other. The only long-term and sustainable method to improve the gorillas’ health is by improving the health of the people living around the park, and not just the people, but their livestock as well.”

“When you go to visit them in the wild, you actually feel like you’re connecting. They look at you. You look at them, and there’s some kind of connection. It’s actually very therapeutic watching them. And the infant gorillas are very playful, just like humans. When I see them playing, I think of my two children.”

Kalema-Zikusoka has received a number of honours, awards, and other public recognitions of her environmental and humanitarian work. In 2009, she won the Whitley Gold Award, the top prize awarded in what is considered the "Green Oscars". The San Diego Zoo gave her its Conservation-in-Action Award. Seed Magazine named her one of their eight Revolutionary Minds in Science.

Kalema-Zikusoka was profiled in the BBC documentary, Gladys the African Vet. She has also been featured in documentaries in National Geographic, Animal Planet, MNet and Uganda Television.

Why not include our exclusive Gorilla Conservation and Research access to your East African Safari or Ugandan exploration? We would gladly tailor make a Safari that suits your needs! Be sure to join Premier Safaris and CTPH on the “Intimate Gorilla Experience”

For more detailed information please contact operations@premiersafaris.com or gm@premiersafaris.com for bookings or any questions you might have.