An exclusive Uganda photo tour: photograph gorillas, chimpanzees, and a wealth of other African wildlife!
I've teamed up with my good friends at Penda Photo Tours to offer this fantastic trip. Join me 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! Not only that, but we'll enjoy many other wildlife photography opportunities across different habitats in Uganda. We'll visit the lush Kibale Forest Park to photograph our closest relative: the chimpanzee, as well as a variety of small monkeys and a wealth of birds.
As if that wasn't enough, we'll also visit two beautiful national parks for a true African safari experience: 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. I'll be on hand at all times to help you with camera settings and techniques so you can get the best out of every opportunity.
Due to the nature of the gorilla treks - which can vary from an easy walk on the flat to a few hours of quite strenuous exercise through rough terrain - a certain amount of fitness will definitely help!
Space is limited on this trip to only six people, so email me or phone on +44 7866 435 084 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: as much or as little as you want. I'll be on hand at all times
- Enjoy a fully inclusive trip, where luxury accommodation, meals, and transport are all provided
This photography trip is fully focused on wildlife photography and giving you the best possible opportunities for encountering an array of exciting Ugandan wildlife.
Undoubtedly a highlight will be photographing the critically 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 we find a gorilla group, the photographic opportunities make the effort so worthwhile. Whilst we have to keep a respectful distance (and can't use flash photography), 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 I'll 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 chimps (there are over a thousand in the park), as well as monkeys like the rare red colobus and 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 and varied.
To include a real photo safari experience, we’ll take you to Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you can expect to photograph the classic African wildlife, such as lions, elephants, giraffes, and buffalo. With its open terrain of rolling hills, the park offers the opportunity to frame the animals in a stunning larger setting, and to also indulge in some landscape photography. On our game drives, we'll be making use of the best photographers' light in the early mornings and late afternoons, in an open game drive vehicle, offering everyone a window seat with an ever-evolving tableaux of African savanna.
DATES & RATES
- Dates in Uganda: 10 - 19 January 2019
- Price: £ 3,895 excluding gorilla tracking permits - see below
The price includes:
- All accommodation at comfortable lodges and hotels
- All meals, except for dinner on the first day (we'll just pay for this at the hotel)
- All game drives, forest walks, and other activities as per the itinerary
- Chimpanzee tracking permits
- Park entrance fees
- Photographic tutoring by me 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 Penda's 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 (US$ 600 per track). You can choose whether to do one or two days of tracking
- International flights
- Travel insurance
I'LL BE YOUR GUIDE
I'm an award-winning wildlife and sports filmmaker / photographer. Based in the UK, I've worked with a wide range of clients including the BBC, the RSPB, Montane and Wild Planet Photo and Bird Watching magazines. In 2011, I published ‘Wildlife of the Farne Islands,’ an extensive photography and guide book that documents the islands’ natural beauty. I also lead photography safaris in Kenya and am passionate about creating incredible photographic opportunities for my participants!
Throughout this trip, I’ll be there as your photography guide, helping with settings, techniques and anything else photography related, so that you take the best possible wildlife images. I've been a pro wildlife photographer since 2008 and for the last few years a professional filmmaker, so if you want any hints and tips on filmmaking too, fire away.
Since we’ll be travelling in a small group, you’ll have the luxury of being tutored at your own level (whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced semi-pro), and you’ll be able to get as much or as little guidance as you’d like.
Tuition will be flexible and adaptable and will most likely include camera settings and techniques, exposure, composition, thinking creatively and, for those who want it, post-production. We'll do this both when we're out and about photographing and back at base if anyone would like an informal sit-down session.
Uganda has an incredible richness of diverity in wildlife and habitats; from dense jungles to open savannahs. Our main three destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale Forest Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
On the edge of the African Rift Valley, Bwindi's magnificent misty rainforest is one of Africa’s most ancient forests. It has produced an incredible biodiversity, with some 120 mammal species and over 350 bird species. Most famously, Bwindi is one of only three places in the world where you can find the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Some three to four hundred make Bwindi their home. 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 huge number and variety of primates and birds.
In contrast with Bwindi and Kibale, Queen Elizabeth National Park has classic wide savannah and wetland vistas mixed with large lakes and shady forests: a stunning backdrop for a fantastic abundance of wildlife, which includes 95 mammal species, 20 predators and over 610 bird species, the latter making the park a birder’s paradise. Four of the Big Five can be spotted here: 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 at 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.
MAKE AN ENQUIRY, OR BOOK YOUR PLACE
I'd love to hear from you! Email me or ring me on +44 7866 435 084 so I can help organise your perfect photographic holiday.
- Day 1 Arrive at Uganda's Entebbe airport. We'll meet you here and drive you to our first accommodation where we'll have a chance to meet each other and get settled in.
- Day 2 After breakfast, we'll drive to Kibale Forest, a spectacular jungle that's home to chimps, baboons, colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest monkeys, and a wealth of stunning birds. In the afternoon, 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. [Please note that this particular walk is optional and not included in the price.]
- 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 cross the equator, where we'll stop for a while. After enjoying lunch and settling into our lodge, we'll head out for our first game drive in the late afternoon, in that perfect photographers' warm light. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places in Uganda to see lions. You can also expect to photograph elephants, buffalo, hippos, and crocodiles - as well as smaller mammals and birds.
- Day 5 We'll start the day with another game drive. In the afternoon, we'll mix it up a bit with a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, which gives an interesting new angle on the wildlife we'll encounter. 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 take in some breath-taking mountain vistas.
We'll take our time - stopping for photography breaks whenever we want - and will 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 critically 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 completely 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. The gorilla permits are $600 per person per day.
- Day 9 After breakfast, we'll drive to Lake Mburo National Park, where we'll 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 enjoying the park for one last morning, we'll head back to the airport for our flights home.
I recommend the following equipment:
- DSLR / mirrorless camera that allows you to take creative control of the settings (not just point-and-shoot)
- 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 (preferably waterproof or with removable rain cover)
- Plenty of spare, cleared memory cards and spare camera batteries
- Camera battery charger
- 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 with memory card reader if you’re keen to improve your post-production skills, and/or if you’d like to review your images with me. A laptop is also useful to store backups of your photos.