Black Meetings and Tourism

May / June 2016

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B M & T ••• May/June 2016 ••• 39 F R O M T H E M O T H E R L A N D UNPRECEDENTED 4-HOUR GORILLA TREK PERMIT GRANTED TO WILD PLANET ADVENTURES If quality time spent with exotic wildlife is the goal, one African safari just got four times better with Wild Planet Adventures' recent acquisition of a rare four hour Gorilla Habituation Permit in Uganda. Gorilla trekking is the most sought-after African safari after a classic "Big 5" safari according to Wild Planet Adventures' founder and director osh Cohen "There are less than 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the world with more than 60% living in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The vast majority of Gorilla safaris include only standard permits, which allow a mere one-hour to spend with the gorillas once your guides have located them. One hour is hardly enough time to get much more than a glimpse of the Gorillas, and it's completely inadequate for most wildlife lovers who dream of having an up-close gorilla encounter reminiscent of Dian Fossey in 'Gorillas in the Mist'." Thanks to the company's reputation and connections, for the first time ever tr avelers now have the opportunity to spend an unprecedented four hours with the Gorillas – four times the time allowed on any other gorilla safari. This VIP experience is included in Wild Planet Adventures' special 25th anniversary safari Insiders Africa: Meerkats, Gorillas and Africa's Rare 5. Guests will spend half a day observing these majestic primates – including silverbacks. This is not just a short glimpse, there's enough time to see them wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, nurture their young and build their nests. Guides will point out some of the intricate ways they communicate with each other during these activities. This never-before-available gorilla trek from Wild Planet Adventures is led by experienced scientific researchers. Participants will actually be contributing to the careful habituation of a recently discover ed Gorilla troop. This habituation process is critical in order for Gorillas to get used to human presence without abandoning their natural behaviors, losing important survival skills, or becoming reliant upon humans for food. As Cohen points out, "while it might be seen as advantageous if humans simply refrain from contact with Gorillas and avoid the need for such a habituation process, statistically that has proven to be more advantageous for poachers and deadly for Gorillas. A major advantage of a researcher-led safari is both the access to the four hour permit as well as the extremely high level of knowledge and expertise that the researchers have, allowing for a safe and rewarding encounter with one of the rarest animals on earth." Uganda is also an ideal safari destination because it also offer s a wider variety of wildlife encounters (including the Big 5) than a classic safari in Eastern Africa. Long known as the "Pearl of Africa", it is home to the world's old- est rainforests, glacier capped mountains, roar- ing whitewater rivers, sparkling crater lakes, classic grassy plains, savannahs and wetlands. Its lush geography includes the Western Rift Valley, the Nile River (the longest in the world) , Bwindi – the Impenetrable Forest, Lake Victoria, the legendary Rwenzori range – the Mountains of the Moon and the Ituri Forest. This incredible array of diverse eco-systems allows travelers to see some of the world's rarest animals all in one trip. In addition to the Mountain Gorillas, travelers will also join researcher teams for a full day Chimpanzee habituation safari and night- time walking safari in Kibale National Park (home to over 12 primate species), enjoy safaris for tree-climbing lions and the "Big 5" in Queen Elizabeth National Park and visit the famous "Mountains of the Moon." Another highlight is observing the intricate courtship and mating rituals of the stunning Kob antelope, and the playful antics of a colony of band- ed mongoose, cousins of the meerkats. Wild Planet Adventures offer s two ways to experience Mountain Gorillas in depth with their rare four-hour habituation permit. Wild Planet's 25th anniversary Insider's Africa safari combines the seven-day Uganda segment with a five day South Africa safari in the virtually unknown "green Kalahari", an area south of the better-known Kalahari Desert that receives more rain. Here travelers will encounter habituated colonies of meerkats , along with Africa's "Rare 5" including pangolin (scaly anteater), aardvark and aardwolf. The area is also prized for its size- able populations of cheetah, rhinos, black-maned lions and more. The per person double rate for the 12-Day safari starts at $9,998. See: - try=south-africa&trip=insiders-africa-meerkats-gorillas-africa-s-rare-5 For those who prefer just the Uganda segment, that is also available as a stand-alone 8-day safari featuring the four-hour gorilla encounter. Per person rates start at $6,498. See: Uganda Ultimate Gorilla & Chimp Safari: - try=uganda&trip=ultimate-gorilla-chimp-safari For detailed itineraries, exciting wildlife photos and video galleries and booking information for tours worldwide, visit http://www.wildplane- call (800) 990-4376 or email trips@wildplanetadven-

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