Summit Uganda

A journey into the land of mountain gorillas and chimpanzees

Time spent with a family of critically endangered mountain gorillas is a special experience truly like no other. As Uganda is home to more mountain gorillas than anywhere else in the world, there is perhaps no better place to visit them. In addition to Uganda's famous apes -- the gorillas and chimpanzees -- the beautiful and diverse country is home to hundreds of other spectacular animal species including lions, leopards, elephants, zebras, hippos, gazelle, and more. Less visited than other more famous African wildlife destinations, Uganda is a true gem that continues to fly beneath the radar.

Beginning in Kigali (Rwanda), we will drive through the towering Virunga volcanos to Mgahinga National Park located on the border of Uganda, Rwanda, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mgahinga grants only one trekking permit each day which means our group, and accompanying rangers, will be the only people in the forest. After our first trek, we will continue to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which is home to more families of mountain gorillas, dozens of other primates, forest elephants, and big cats. Following another extraordinary experience with gorillas, we will change ecosystems as we explore the vast savannah and waterways of Queen Elizabeth National Park which we will explore via our Landrovers and a stunning riverboat trip onto Lake Charles where hundreds of hippos, elephants, and water buffalo come to the shore each day. Our last highlight of the trip is Kibale National Park which is considered one of the best places in the world to see large numbers of chimpanzees. Hiking into the dense tropical rainforest of Kibale, we will spend our final day in Uganda with chimpanzee families and the 18 other primates and 400 bird species who call this extraordinary place their home.

Throughout our Uganda Workshop we will stay in fantastic eco lodges that have been hand picked and used by Summit on past trips. All of our accommodations are comfortable, charismatic, and are located in wildlife rich environments which offer wonderful opportunities to see and photograph nature during downtime in between visits to the nearby national parks.

What To Know

Topics We Will Cover

Wildlife Photography
Travel Photography
conservation Storytelling
landscape photography

2023 WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS

Ian Segebarth

Guide and Faculty

The founder and owner of Rainshadow Expeditions, Ian has spent the past decade traveling and guiding in over 40 countries, covering every continent. He has a background in conservation biology and environmental science, which has fueled his passion for nature and exploration. Ian is a highly experienced scuba instructor and technical cave diver, and has completed thousands of dives all over the world, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Antarctica, and the Caribbean. He is also a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine, and his film work has appeared on Discovery Channel and BBC. In addition to guiding, Ian still has ongoing research and exploration in numerous locations around the world, and he will be happy to share his expertise on these topics.

Chris Steppig

Owner / Director

Chris is the owner and director of Summit Workshops. Summit was his first job out of college and nearly 20 years later, this is home.  He is in charge of all workshop operations, scheduling, logistics, faculty, social media, marketing and sponsorship. Chris has a passion for conservation, travel, and education and the workshops are a dream platform to help others reach new heights as not only photographers but as people.

Chris is an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers. The iLCP is a U.S. based non-profit whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography. This affiliation provides a tremendous opportunity to help deliver great content and also be an advisor on matters large and small.  He is also a professional advisor for Outdoor Photographer magazine.  Through collaboration and great communications with the editor of the magazine, there have been countless articles written by Summit Alumni in the magazine over the years.

Workshop Information & Itinerary

Trip Highlights

Costs Included In Tuition

Not Included

Workshop Itinerary

Plan to fly into Kigali, Rwanda at any time. Those of us continuing on from the Summit Kenya Workshop will arrive early the same day from Nairobi. Group dinner and low-key evening at our Kigali hotel. 

 After breakfast we will have a brief city tour of Kigali and a visit to the Genocide Memorial Centre, followed by lunch and a drive (3 hours) to Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Our drive will take us will weave amongst the incredible Virunga Volcanos which tower over 15,000 feet above the road!  Dinner and overnight at our hotel near the entrance of Mgahinga National Park.

After an early breakfast we will meet up with park rangers and begin our trek into the misty cloud forests of Mgahinga National Park which borders Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mgahinga issues only one gorilla permit a day which means our small group will be the only people in the entire area. Following trails made by forest elephants and water buffalo we will track a family of mountain gorillas with whom we’ll be able to spend an hour observing and photographing. After a truly incredible experience, we will hike back to our cars and drive north to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Our hotel for the next two nights is perched on a high ridge overlooking the spectacularly dense forest. If you are lucky, you may even be able to spot distant families of mountain gorillas moving across the landscape.

After another early breakfast we will drive to the entrance of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to meet our rangers and park naturalist. As Bwindi is home to the largest number of mountain gorillas on earth, we will have flexibility to visit different families depending on the group’s interests and energy. Once we decide, we’ll hike into the forest to search for and spend time with another mountain gorilla family. During our hike we will have the chance to see plenty of other animals including 18 species of primate and possibly forest elephants. On our way back we will pass through Batwa pygmy villages where we will have time to visit with locals and purchase crafts. The afternoon and evening will be spent back at our hotel relaxing, sharing stories, and editing photos from the past few days.  

In the morning we will drive from the mountains of Bwindi to the savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Upon arrival, we will take a riverboat ride along Lake Charles where we will watch families of elephants, zebra, hippos, and water buffalo feed near the river. If we are lucky, we may also spot some of the lions or leopards who frequent the area. In the late afternoon we will check in to our lodge overlooking the lake and have a relaxing evening to enjoy the spectacular view and abundant wildlife in every direction. 

After breakfast we will go on a game drive through Queen Elizabeth in search of tree climbing lions, leopards, elephants, zebra, and dozens of other classic African animal species. Later in the day we will leave the savannah and drive East through Uganda’s tea region and into the dense tropical forest of Kibale National Park. After checking into our hotel we may have a chance to explore the nearby forest or photograph any number of the diverse animals that live on the property. 

This morning we will leave the hotel early and trek into the Kibale forest in search of chimpanzees. Like with the mountain gorillas, once we find a family of chimps we will have an hour to observe and photograph them. Chimps are incredibly social animals and it is truly wonderful to spend time amongst them, especially in January when small babies are still being nursed by their mothers. Depending on our luck, we may also encounter some of the other 18 species of primates and 400 birds who call Kibale their home. After lunch in the afternoon, we will explore a nearby wetland which is home to five monkey species and dozens of birds and raptors. 

After our final group breakfast in Kibale we will begin our long drive to Entebbe. Those with early flights will go straight to the airport while those with late-night flights will have the option to relax and take in a few more beautiful views at a beachside restaurant on the shore of Lake Victoria.

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