TREKKING WITH MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
6 DAYS – VOLCANOS NATIONAL PARK, RWANDA, AFRICA
Join us as we embark on one of the top wildlife experiences the planet has to offer, trekking through the bamboo forests of the Virunga mountains located in Central Africa in search of the majestic Mountain Gorillas. You won’t find these animals at the zoo, as they have never survived in captivity. Currently, only several hundred mountain gorillas are remaining on Earth, and roughly half of that population lives in the forests of the Virunga mountains presenting us with extraordinary opportunities to witness these beautiful creatures up-close, and often.
We will find the Gorillas in their homes located high in the bamboo forest of Volcanos National Park, where successful conservation efforts have saved these animals from the brink of extinction. Not only will we get to experience these efforts first-hand, but we too will become a part of it through photographing these animals. Our presence here will truly help the preservation of these Gorillas so that their future generations, can be witnessed by ours.
We will reach the Gorillas on-foot by trekking to their mid-morning resting and feeding locations while being led by experienced guides, and accompanied by park staff/guards employed to protect the gorillas.
When we find the Gorillas, all of the hiking is worth it. You never know what unique behavior you will get to photograph until you reach them. They may be feeding on bamboo shoots, lounging on thick beds made of vegetation, or playing with one another in an open clearing, forest, or in a dense bamboo thicket. Just like every group that has ever visited, we will have one hour a day with the animals. Although the duration seems short, I consider the time I spent last year bearing witness to the animals as one of the biggest highlights of my photographic career. There is no way to describe sitting and photographing a family of 24 mountain gorillas that fill up your frame with a 70-200mm lens. Time truly stops. Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Images from Mountain Gorilla Tours
“Aaron Baggenstos is one of those rare individuals who is super-talented with photographic, instructional, as well as superb people skills. Combined with his cutting edge technological approach to photographing nature, his advocacy of the environment and his sheer methodological genius, he sets himself apart from his peers. This is a young man who is definitely leading the photographic revolution in nature and I count myself amongst the lucky ones who have learned more in one week than I have in one year with other photographic instructors and courses. The aurora still shines brightly from one of the most fantastic photo tours I have ever participated in. In large measure, it is directly related to the the sage-like wisdom of Aaron.”
- Experience one of the top wildlife experiences on earth, photographing endagered wild mountain gorillas in the jungles of Volcanos National Park
- A small private group of only 7 participants on trekks
- Allow Aaron’s experience here guide you to the photos you dream of and on the adventure of a lifetime
Nov. 5-10, 2023 (1 Spot Remains)
Group Size: 7 Participants
2023 Cost: $11,495 ($995 Single Supplement)
We will not be running this trip in 2024.
Payment Terms: 25% Non-Refundable Deposit, Rest Due at 120 Days Before Departure
You can join the wait list for any sold out trip here.
Day 1: Upon arrival into Kigali International Airport, you will be greeted by a driver holding an Aaron’s Photo Tours sign for a private 20 min. transfer to our first night accomodations. We will meet at 7:00PM for introductions and a welcome presentation and dinner.
Day 2: 7:30am breakfast, 9am departure with all belongings, 9:30am-11:30 visit the Genocide Museum, lunch at Hotel Rwanda followed by a 3 drive to Volcanos National Park. 5pm camera setups, 6:30pm diner.
Day 3-5: 6am breakfast, 7am brief where we will be assigned to visit a specific gorilla family. 8:30am-1pm gorilla trekking. We will spend exactly one hour with the gorillas upon arrival. Lunch followed by rest, freshen up, download, and image processing and review with Aaron. 6:30 dinner. We will pick one of these days to visit the new Ellen Degeneres Dian Fossey Center for Conservation, Education, and Research facility.
Day 6: 6am breakfast, 7am brief where we will be assigned to visit a specific golden monkey family. 8:30am-1pm golden monkey trekking. We will spend exactly one hour with the golden monkeys upon arrival. Lunch followed by a 2pm prompt departure for flights home or hotel drop off of you are staying an extra night in Kigali. Book flights after 7pm. There is a coffee shop at the airport with a few light snacks and drinks to tide your appetite before they feed you dinner on the plane.
The hikes to the Gorillas can sometimes be as short as thirty minutes, but more typically requires a ‘trek’ of one or two hours one-way. Covering these distances can be difficult, the terrain is intermittently steep, and often slippery. When you combine that with the uphill elevation gain required to meet these animals, it can be quite tasking.
We do not recommend this trip to anyone who isn’t both fit and prepared to train so that they show up in their best shape. Most treks involve a vertical gain of 800 to 1,000 feet over a one or two-hour period. Expect to be at 8,500 feet, or higher, while photographing the Gorillas.
In the last 10 years Aaron has led over 200 wildlife photography tours around the world. He has earned a reputation for his gracious teaching style to photographers of all skill levels and extensive knowledge of Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony digital cameras.