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baby gorilla swinging on a tree in Uganda

Encountering Gorillas in the Wild: an interview

After several successful years of The Uganda Gorilla Adventure, we are thrilled to bring back this challenge for 2021! We'll get to see gorillas in the wild, immerse ourselves in the local community and see across three countries at once!

Our very own Dream Team member, Calum Frampton, took on this trek in 2013 and in this interview, he reveals exactly what you're in for!

What is it like to encounter gorillas in real life in the wild?

Seeing the gorillas up close and personal in their natural habitat was without doubt one of the best experiences of my life!

We were literally two feet away from them and when we first saw them, they all climbed down from a tree to get closer to us.

Did you see a Silverback?

Yes, we saw a Silverback and it was quite incredible. Again, we were extremely close, but we felt safe.

The Silverback did pound his chest at one point, just to let us know who the boss was!

They are used to humans though and the local rangers who protect the gorillas from poachers are with us at all times.

In 2021, we'll be getting involved with the Singing Gorilla Projects. Could you tell us about the charity?

Chris Read, one of the first Dream Challenges participants to take part in the Gorilla Adventure in Uganda, was so overwhelmed by the experience that he has since set up an incredible charity to support local communities in Uganda.

The Singing Gorilla Projects (SGP) funds and manages community based projects in remote parts of Uganda that improve the welfare of communities and enriches the lives of individuals.

SGP builds and manages health facilities, builds schools and sponsors children to continue their schooling and funds water delivery programs with water tanks, water filters and water pumping projects.

Our 2021 challengers will have the opportunity to visit and take part in a number of the projects. We are also encouraging people to support the SGP as their chosen charity on this challenge.

Did you climb all three peaks of Mount Sabinyo?

I only climbed to the first peak, which was a great challenge in itself and the views are stunning!

There were approx. five people in our group, who did all three peaks and stood in three countries, Uganda, Rwanda and the Republic of the Congo, at the same time. They were elated when they got back to camp that night!

What was your group like and how fit/old was everyone?

We had a very mixed group, people from all walks of life. I think the youngest person was 24 and the eldest was 67.

It was great getting to know everyone’s story whilst trekking. One of the great things about these challenges is that you get to meet so many different and interesting people.

How did you train for the challenge?

I was playing a lot of football when I did this challenge, so most of my training was covered by that. I did do some long walks before, though, to make sure I was prepared.

This isn’t one of our toughest challenges (apart from the Mount Sabinyo day if you decide to do all three peaks) but the more walking you do before, the more you will enjoy the challenge.

What’s the terrain like?

The trek up Mount Sabinyo is tough, but there is no pressure on this day. Some people only trekked half way up the first peak, whilst others went on to trek the second and third peaks.

The other trekking is fairly easy, but the gorilla tracking day could be long, depending on where the gorillas are situated that day.

Tell us about the local culture in Uganda.

One of the highlights for me was interacting with the local people and especially the children. Everyone was so welcoming and pleased to see us.

The children walked with us for miles some days. I would like to think it was my company they were interested in, but I think it was more the Haribo I was handing out!

The children loved seeing pictures of themselves on the camera too!

What’s the food like?

I wasn’t expecting the food to be that good, but it was actually delicious and kept us energised for the trekking days!

The local beer was nice too and well deserved, especially after the Mount Sabinyo Trek!


What were your top five highlights?

  1. I met some amazing people.

  2. Beautiful scenery - The views are absolutely stunning. Seeing Bwindi Forest and the mist above it when we reached the final camp in Nkuringo was quite spectacular.

  3. We went for a dip in Lake Mutanda, which was wonderful after a hot day of trekking!

  4. The Ugandan children were an absolute joy to meet, especially when we did the school visit and they all sang to us.


 Funniest moment?

On the day you track the gorillas, the distance/time you trek depends on where the gorillas are that day!

When my group did it, we only had to trek for approx. one hour before we located them; but the other group, who went the next day, trekked for six hours, so there was plenty of banter about that!

What makes this challenge so special?

Stunning scenery, wonderful local people and seeing the gorillas up close and personal is something I will never forget and quite simply, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I cannot recommend this challenge highly enough and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: calum@dream-challenges.com

Join us for The Gorilla Adventure in Uganda 2021

Having experienced this challenge a number of extraordinary times from 2013 - 2018, our trek through Uganda is definitely one of our favourites and could be the most popular overseas adventure we've ever had!

We would love to have you join us for The Gorilla Adventure in Uganda 2021. It's a fantastic opportunity to get fit, raise funds for your favourite charity (including the Singing Gorillas Project!) and meet a bunch of amazing people - and gorillas!

Learn more and register

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