Behind the Scenes with Gorillas – Rwanda, Uganda and DRC

When to Visit:
Year round
South African Rand, US Dollar, Mozambican Metical
English, Native Languages
Time Zone:
GMT +8 to +11

Behind the Scenes with Gorillas – Rwanda, Uganda and DRC

Your host
Ian Redmond is a self-confessed gorillaholic who loves introducing people to wildlife worldwide. Since his time working at the Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda in the 1970s, he has guided hundreds of people, from Sir David Attenborough to John Lydon, teenagers to octogenarians, into the presence of our zoological next of kin. Ian says he is a naturalist by birth, a wildlife biologist by training and conservationist by necessity. He is known for his work with great apes and elephants. For more than 40 years he has been associated with mountain gorillas, and served as Ambassador for the UN Year of the Gorilla 2009 and for the UN Convention on Migratory Species since 2010.

As with his mentor, the late Dr Dian Fossey, the focus of his work shifted in 1978 from research to conservation work, after poachers killed Digit – a famous young silverback – to sell his skull and hands. Finding the headless, handless body of a gorilla he regarded as a friend was a turning point in his life. Ten years later in Kenya, the experience was repeated when some of the cave-elephants he was studying were killed by ivory poachers. Working with many NGOs, such as the Born Free Foundation, Gorilla Organization and Orangutan Foundation he rallies support for these endangered species and their forest habitat, stressing their interdependence in lectures, films, books and articles.

He established and chairs the Ape Alliance and became Chief Consultant and Envoy for GRASP – the UN Great Apes Survival Partnership he helped launch in 2001. Ian was awarded an OBE for services to conservation in 2006 and holds three honorary doctorates He has helped make more than 100 documentaries, written a dozen books and hundreds of articles and is now helping to develop ‘virtual ecotourism’ a new tool for conservation education He normally leads only one or two special interest tours per year.

Your journey
Encountering mountain gorillas in the wild is a sublime experience, and is sure to be a highlight of your trip. However, when you travel with Impact Destinations, not only will you do this (and more than once if you wish), you will be personally led by Ian, who, in consultation with you to ascertain your particular interests, will procure encounters with those who work to protect the gorillas, monitor their health and research their behaviour and the state of their forest habitat.

As you track the gorillas, Ian will show you how they prepare morsels of food – each plant requires a different technique you’ll be invited to try. And you’ll see the rich diversity of life on the misty slopes of the mountains, from giant earthworms (if it has been raining) to scarlet-winged Ruwenzori Turacos (if you are lucky).

In addition, Ian’s stories of over 40 years of adventures in the mountains will reveal to you “Gorillas in the Mist” – the true story. And if you are up for a physical challenge, you can hike Mt Sabinio with Ian, retracing the steps of the German officer, Robert von Beringe, who discovered the Mountain Gorilla for science in 1902 (of course the local people knew they were there all the time).

Other Philanthropic Encounters Around the World

Other Highlights in Southern Africa


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What our clients say about us

Incredible Experience

“My wife and I wanted to travel through Chile, Bolivia and Peru and were slightly daunted by the logistics of organising such a varied trip.

John Resse, USA

Best Trip Organiser

Chris was incredibly helpful not only mapping out the most exciting and engaging trip, but also using his extensive personal knowledge of the best things to do. They were reassuringly efficient in organising the trip, monitoring how we were doing during the trip and making adjustments to improve the trip.

Tracy Williams, UK

Fantastic Memories

Chris’s passion and enthusiasm encouraged us to do things we wouldn't have thought to do, which gave us fantastic memories of the trip of a lifetime.”

Tony Thomas, USA

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