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Gorilla Trekking Safaris for Teens

Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda

On safari you can expect to spend many hours in your four-by-four vehicle – and front-row seats to the most amazing wildlife show on earth is nothing to complain about. However, when we’re planning a safari for families with teens or young adults, we strongly encourage our guests to also incorporate activities – ranging from high adrenaline like shark cage dives in South Africa or bungee-jumping in Victoria Falls to the more subdued like a canoe-paddle through the Okavango Delta.


Teens on Safari in Uganda

Gorilla trekking is a perfect example of a higher level activity safari for teens and young adults aged 15 and older. And Uganda is a great destination for blending vehicle-based game-viewing with an activity that will stretch your teen’s legs, and change their thinking about the natural world for years to come. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas are fewer in number than 900 and can’t be seen in zoos – you must go to high altitude forests in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo and seek them out. Your adventure begins with an early wake-up, after which your group of 6 to 8 guests will set out in search of one of the habituated family groups of mountain gorillas with experienced trackers. While the duration of the hike can vary based on the gorillas’ location, expect to walk for 2 to 6 hours in terrain that can be steep, slippery and thick with foliage. Your interesting surroundings, the occasional black and white faced  L’Hoest monkey jumping overhead, and your guide’s interpretation of the gorilla’s traces combine with your anticipation to make the hike more than worthwhile.


Baby Gorilla in Rwanda

In your hour watching gorillas, you’ll first note their striking physical characteristics. Insulated by thick coats, males may grow to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 400 pounds, with a lifespan of 40 to 50 years. Perhaps more amazing, however, are the behavioral characteristics they share with humans, including hugging, playing, laughing and throwing objects at one another when provoked.


Gorilla Forest Camp Traditional Dance in Uganda

Back at camp, share your impressions around a roaring campfire at a comfortable camp close enough to the action that gorillas actually wander through camp 4 to 6 times per month. In addition to gorillas, the camp offers community visits including a tea farm, a banana beer brewery, and a local hospital, as well as an optional one-day visit to experience the hunter-gatherer traditions of the local Batwa people, who are the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. Both of these cultural experiences are conducted on foot, keeping you and your teens active in mind, and body.

The first version of this article was posted on 11 April 2014 at 2:01 PM.

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