Embark on an Unforgettable Gorilla Safari Trek in Uganda

Imagine being surrounded by lush greenery, the sounds of nature filling the air, and the anticipation of encountering one of the world’s most majestic creatures. A gorilla safari trek in Uganda offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these incredible creatures up close and personal in their natural habitat.

Uganda, often referred to as the “Pearl of Africa,” is home to over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are two prime locations where visitors can embark on thrilling gorilla trekking adventures.

As you set foot on this remarkable journey, you’ll be accompanied by experienced guides who possess a deep understanding and respect for these gentle giants. They will lead you through dense forests, sharing their knowledge about gorilla behavior, conservation efforts, and the importance of protecting their fragile ecosystem.

The trek itself can be physically demanding, but the reward is undoubtedly worth it. The moment you come face-to-face with a gorilla family group is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Witnessing their sheer size, intelligence, and intricate social dynamics is an experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who encounter it.

Each gorilla family has its own unique story and personality. You may observe playful juveniles tumbling around or witness a silverback asserting his dominance over the group. The interactions between these magnificent creatures mirror our own human relationships, evoking a sense of connection and empathy that transcends language barriers.

It is important to note that gorilla trekking permits are limited to ensure minimal disturbance to their natural habitat. Therefore, it is advisable to book your safari well in advance to secure your spot. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow strict guidelines during your encounter with the gorillas to ensure their safety and well-being.

Beyond the gorillas themselves, Uganda’s diverse landscapes offer a myriad of other attractions. From mist-covered mountains to picturesque lakes, the country boasts breathtaking scenery that is sure to captivate your senses. You may choose to extend your trip and explore other national parks, embark on thrilling game drives, or relax on the banks of the Nile River.

Moreover, a gorilla safari trek in Uganda is not just about witnessing these incredible creatures; it is also an opportunity to contribute to their conservation. The revenue generated from permits and tourism activities directly supports local communities and conservation efforts, ensuring the long-term survival of these endangered species.

In conclusion, a gorilla safari trek in Uganda is an adventure like no other. It offers a rare chance to connect with nature in its purest form and witness the remarkable beauty of mountain gorillas. So, lace up your hiking boots, prepare your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Uganda’s wild wonders.


7 Reasons to Embark on a Gorilla Safari Trek

  1. Incredible Wildlife Viewing
  2. Unforgettable Experiences
  3. Unique Adventure
  4. Cultural Exchange
  5. Support Conservation Efforts
  6. Educational Opportunities
  7. Memorable Photos


Challenges to Consider for Gorilla Safari Trek: Cost, Risk, Weather Conditions, and Crowds

  1. Cost
  2. Risk
  3. Weather Conditions
  4. Crowds

Incredible Wildlife Viewing

Incredible Wildlife Viewing: Gorilla safaris offer the opportunity to observe some of the world’s most majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

One of the most captivating aspects of a gorilla safari trek is the chance to witness these incredible creatures up close and personal. In their natural habitat, mountain gorillas exhibit behaviors and interactions that are both fascinating and awe-inspiring.

As you venture through dense forests, guided by experienced trackers, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world where gorillas roam freely. The moment you come face-to-face with a gorilla family group is truly unforgettable. The sheer size and power of these gentle giants leave you in awe, while their intelligent expressions and intricate social dynamics captivate your attention.

Observing gorillas in the wild provides a rare glimpse into their natural behaviors. You may witness playful juveniles tumbling around, displaying their curiosity and energy. The silverback, the dominant male who leads the family group, exudes strength and authority as he protects his clan. Watching these interactions unfold before your eyes evokes a sense of connection and empathy for these magnificent creatures.

Moreover, being in their natural habitat allows you to appreciate the delicate balance of their ecosystem. From the lush vegetation they rely on for sustenance to the intricate relationships they have with other wildlife species, every aspect of their environment contributes to their survival.

The experience of witnessing gorillas in their natural habitat goes beyond mere wildlife viewing; it is an opportunity for personal growth and understanding. It fosters a deep appreciation for nature’s wonders and instills a sense of responsibility towards conservation efforts.

Gorilla safaris also play a crucial role in supporting local communities and conservation initiatives. By participating in these treks, visitors contribute directly to the protection of gorilla habitats and support sustainable tourism practices that benefit both humans and wildlife alike.

In conclusion, embarking on a gorilla safari trek offers an incredible opportunity for wildlife viewing like no other. It allows you to witness the magnificence of these gentle giants in their natural environment and gain a deeper understanding of their behaviors and conservation needs. So, seize the chance to embark on this extraordinary adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Unforgettable Experiences

Unforgettable Experiences: Spotting a Family of Gorillas in the Wild

Imagine standing just a few feet away from a family of majestic gorillas, observing their every move, and feeling an indescribable connection with these incredible creatures. This is the unforgettable experience that awaits you on a gorilla safari trek.

Encountering gorillas in their natural habitat is a rare privilege that leaves an indelible mark on your heart and soul. The sheer size, strength, and intelligence of these gentle giants are awe-inspiring. As you watch them go about their daily activities – playing, grooming, and interacting with one another – you gain a profound appreciation for the intricate social dynamics within their family groups.

The moment you lock eyes with a gorilla, time seems to stand still. Their deep gaze reflects wisdom and emotion, evoking a sense of wonder and connection that words cannot adequately express. It is an experience that touches your very core and reminds you of our shared existence on this planet.

Every encounter with gorillas is unique, as each family has its own distinct personality and behaviors. You might witness adorable baby gorillas frolicking in the trees or marvel at the strength displayed by mighty silverbacks protecting their kin. These intimate moments allow you to witness the beauty of nature up close and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Moreover, spotting a family of gorillas in the wild goes beyond personal gratification; it also contributes to their conservation. By participating in responsible tourism practices and obtaining permits for gorilla trekking, you directly support efforts to protect these endangered species and their fragile ecosystems. Your presence helps raise awareness about the importance of preserving these magnificent creatures for future generations.

To embark on this extraordinary adventure, Uganda offers exceptional opportunities for gorilla safari treks. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are sanctuaries where visitors can immerse themselves in the natural habitat of these remarkable primates. Accompanied by experienced guides, you’ll trek through dense forests, traversing rugged terrain, and ultimately find yourself in the presence of gorillas.

It is important to note that gorilla trekking permits are limited to ensure minimal disturbance to their environment. Therefore, planning ahead and securing your permit well in advance is crucial. Additionally, following guidelines and regulations during your encounter with the gorillas is essential to ensure their safety and well-being.

In conclusion, spotting a family of gorillas in the wild is an experience that will forever hold a special place in your heart. It allows you to witness the beauty of nature at its finest and fosters a deep appreciation for these incredible creatures. So, if you seek an unforgettable adventure that combines awe-inspiring encounters with wildlife conservation, a gorilla safari trek is an absolute must-do.

Unique Adventure

Unique Adventure: Trekking through Dense Jungles and Remote Landscapes on Your Gorilla Safari

A gorilla safari trek in Uganda offers more than just the opportunity to witness magnificent mountain gorillas up close. It presents a unique adventure that takes you through dense jungles and remote landscapes, adding an extraordinary element to your safari experience.

As you embark on your trek, you’ll find yourself immersed in the untouched beauty of Uganda’s natural habitats. The dense jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park become your playground, as you navigate through thick vegetation, climb rugged terrains, and cross babbling streams. Each step brings you closer to encountering these elusive creatures in their natural habitat.

The journey itself is an adventure like no other. Guided by experienced trackers and armed with their knowledge of the gorillas’ movements, you’ll venture into areas untouched by modern civilization. The sense of exploration and discovery is palpable as you make your way through remote landscapes that few have had the privilege to explore.

Trekking through these challenging terrains not only adds excitement but also deepens your connection with nature. The sounds of rustling leaves, the calls of birds overhead, and the occasional glimpse of other wildlife create a sensory experience that heightens your appreciation for the natural world.

The physical demands of trekking also add an element of accomplishment to your safari adventure. As you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, overcoming obstacles along the way, a sense of achievement washes over you when you finally reach the gorilla family group. The anticipation builds with each step until that magical moment when you come face-to-face with these incredible creatures.

Moreover, trekking through dense jungles provides a unique perspective on conservation efforts. You witness firsthand how important it is to protect these fragile ecosystems and ensure the survival of endangered species like mountain gorillas. It reinforces the need for sustainable tourism practices and responsible travel, as you become an advocate for their preservation.

In conclusion, trekking through dense jungles and remote landscapes adds a distinctive and exciting element to your gorilla safari adventure in Uganda. It allows you to truly immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the country, forging a deeper connection with both the environment and the incredible creatures that call it home. So, lace up your boots, embrace the challenge, and embark on a journey that promises an unforgettable and unique experience.

Cultural Exchange

One of the incredible pros of embarking on a gorilla safari trek is the opportunity for a rich cultural exchange with local communities. While the main highlight of the trek is undoubtedly encountering the magnificent mountain gorillas, interacting with the local people can provide a deeper understanding of traditional ways of life and cultural practices that are rarely seen elsewhere in the world.

Uganda, known for its warm hospitality, is home to diverse ethnic groups with unique customs and traditions. During your gorilla safari trek, you may have the chance to visit nearby villages and engage with local communities. This immersive experience allows you to step into their world, gaining insights into their daily lives, rituals, and beliefs.

Interacting with locals provides an invaluable opportunity to learn about their history, traditions, and ancestral heritage. You might witness traditional dances, participate in craft-making workshops, or even try your hand at preparing local dishes. Through these activities, you can develop a greater appreciation for their way of life and gain a new perspective on your own.

The exchange goes beyond mere observation; it fosters genuine connections between travelers and locals. You’ll have the chance to engage in conversations, ask questions, and share stories. The warmth and friendliness of Ugandan communities create an environment where cultural barriers dissolve, allowing for authentic connections to form.

By engaging with local communities during your gorilla safari trek, you contribute directly to their economic well-being. Many community-based tourism initiatives have been established to ensure that revenue generated from tourism benefits local people. This sustainable approach empowers communities by providing them with alternative livelihoods while preserving their cultural heritage.

Furthermore, this cultural exchange promotes mutual understanding and respect between different cultures. It opens doors for dialogue and breaks down stereotypes by fostering empathy and appreciation for diversity. Through firsthand experiences with local communities in Uganda, travelers return home as ambassadors who can share stories that promote cross-cultural understanding.

In conclusion, one of the remarkable advantages of a gorilla safari trek is the opportunity for a meaningful cultural exchange with local communities. This enriching experience allows you to gain insights into traditional ways of life, discover unique customs, and forge connections with the people of Uganda. By embracing this cultural exchange, you not only contribute to their economic development but also foster a deeper appreciation for the diversity and beauty of our world.

Support Conservation Efforts

Support Conservation Efforts: Gorilla Safari Treks Making a Difference

Gorilla safari treks in Uganda not only offer an incredible experience for travelers but also play a vital role in supporting conservation efforts. These safaris provide much-needed revenue for local projects that aim to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and their fragile habitats.

The revenue generated from gorilla trekking permits and tourism activities directly contributes to conservation initiatives on the ground. These funds are used to strengthen anti-poaching efforts, establish and maintain protected areas, conduct research on gorilla behavior and ecology, and support local communities living alongside these majestic creatures.

By participating in a gorilla safari trek, travelers become active contributors to the conservation of these incredible animals. The fees paid for permits go directly towards protecting the gorillas from poaching threats while ensuring their natural habitats are preserved for future generations.

Moreover, supporting local communities is an integral part of conservation efforts. Many organizations work closely with these communities to provide alternative livelihood opportunities that reduce their dependence on activities harmful to wildlife. This includes initiatives such as sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism ventures, and education programs promoting environmental awareness.

Gorilla safaris not only benefit the gorillas themselves but also have a positive impact on the overall ecosystem. As apex predators, gorillas play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their habitat. By protecting them, we safeguard countless other plant and animal species that rely on these forests for survival.

Furthermore, gorilla tourism provides employment opportunities for local guides, rangers, porters, and other support staff. This helps alleviate poverty in surrounding communities and creates incentives for them to actively participate in conservation efforts.

In conclusion, choosing to embark on a gorilla safari trek is more than just an adventure; it is a meaningful way to contribute to the preservation of these magnificent creatures and their habitats. By supporting conservation efforts through tourism revenue, we can ensure that future generations will continue to marvel at the beauty and wonder of mountain gorillas in their natural environment. So, join us on a gorilla safari trek and make a difference for conservation today.

Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities: Discover the Wonders of Gorillas on a Safari Trek

Embarking on a gorilla safari trek in Uganda not only offers an exhilarating adventure but also provides a unique and educational opportunity to learn about these magnificent creatures and their environment. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, wildlife lover, or simply curious about the natural world, this experience promises to be both awe-inspiring and enlightening.

During your gorilla safari trek, you’ll be accompanied by knowledgeable guides who are passionate about conservation and eager to share their expertise. They will provide valuable insights into the behavior, social dynamics, and habitat of gorillas. From learning how they communicate through gestures and vocalizations to understanding their complex family structures, every moment spent observing these gentle giants is an opportunity for discovery.

For children, in particular, a gorilla safari trek can be an unforgettable educational experience. It opens up a world of wonder and curiosity as they witness firsthand the incredible biodiversity of Uganda’s forests. They can learn about the importance of conservation efforts in protecting endangered species like gorillas and gain a deeper understanding of environmental sustainability.

Moreover, engaging with local communities near the gorilla habitats offers cultural immersion opportunities. Interacting with indigenous people who have coexisted with gorillas for generations allows visitors to appreciate the deep connection between humans and nature. Learning about traditional practices, folklore, and conservation initiatives from community members adds another layer of richness to the educational experience.

By participating in a gorilla safari trek, you actively contribute to conservation efforts. The revenue generated from permits directly supports local communities and funds initiatives aimed at protecting these endangered species. This sustainable approach ensures that future generations will have the chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Whether you’re an adult seeking knowledge or a young learner hungry for new experiences, a gorilla safari trek offers unparalleled educational opportunities. It fosters respect for wildlife, raises awareness about environmental issues, and instills a sense of responsibility towards protecting our planet.

So, if you’re ready to embark on an adventure that combines thrilling encounters with gorillas and immersive learning experiences, a gorilla safari trek in Uganda is the perfect choice. Prepare to be inspired, enlightened, and amazed as you delve into the fascinating world of these gentle giants and gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of nature.

Memorable Photos

Memorable Photos: Capturing the Magic of Gorilla Safari Trekking

One of the most incredible aspects of embarking on a gorilla safari trek in Uganda is the opportunity to capture breathtaking photos of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The experience of being up close and personal with gorillas provides a unique chance to document their beauty, behavior, and interactions, creating lasting memories that can be cherished for years to come.

The lush greenery, misty forests, and dramatic landscapes serve as an enchanting backdrop for your photography adventure. As you navigate through the dense vegetation alongside experienced guides, you’ll have ample opportunities to capture stunning shots of gorillas in their natural environment. From close-ups of their expressive faces to candid moments of playful juveniles, each photo tells a story and preserves a precious moment frozen in time.

Photographing gorillas requires patience, skill, and respect for their space. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your guides to ensure minimal disturbance to these gentle giants. With their expertise and understanding of gorilla behavior, they will position you at an appropriate distance that allows for remarkable shots while maintaining the safety and well-being of both humans and gorillas.

The resulting photographs will not only showcase the physical beauty of these incredible creatures but also convey emotions and connections that transcend words. The depth in their eyes, the tenderness in their interactions, and the power they exude are all elements that can be captured through your lens.

These photos become more than just images; they become treasured memories that transport you back to that magical encounter whenever you revisit them. Sharing these photos with friends and family allows you to relive those awe-inspiring moments together and inspire others to appreciate the importance of conservation efforts.

In addition to personal enjoyment, these photographs can also raise awareness about the need for gorilla conservation. By sharing your experiences through social media or participating in photography contests or exhibitions, you can help educate others about the beauty and fragility of these endangered species. Your images have the power to inspire action and contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect gorillas and their habitats.

So, whether you are an amateur photographer or a seasoned professional, a gorilla safari trek in Uganda presents an unparalleled opportunity to capture remarkable photos that will forever hold a special place in your heart. Each click of the camera shutter brings you closer to preserving the magic and wonder of these extraordinary creatures, ensuring that their legacy lives on for generations to come.


Considerations on the Cost of Gorilla Safari Treks

When it comes to planning a gorilla safari trek, one factor that cannot be overlooked is the cost. It’s true that gorilla safari treks can be expensive, with prices varying depending on the destination and duration of the trip. While this may be seen as a con for some, it’s important to understand the reasons behind these costs.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to recognize that gorilla trekking permits are limited in order to protect these endangered species and their habitats. The fees associated with these permits contribute directly to conservation efforts, ensuring the long-term survival of these magnificent creatures. By paying for a permit, you are not only gaining access to witness gorillas in their natural habitat but also actively participating in their preservation.

Additionally, organizing and executing a successful gorilla safari trek requires significant logistical arrangements. Expert guides, park rangers, and support staff work tirelessly to ensure your safety and provide an immersive experience. Their expertise and dedication come at a cost.

Furthermore, remote locations often house these incredible creatures. The infrastructure required to reach these areas may be limited or underdeveloped, which can drive up costs associated with transportation, accommodation, and other essential services.

While the price tag may initially seem daunting, it’s important to consider the value that comes with a gorilla safari trek experience. The memories made and the profound connection felt when encountering these gentle giants in their natural habitat are truly priceless.

For those concerned about budget constraints, there are ways to make gorilla safaris more affordable. Opting for shorter treks or visiting during off-peak seasons can help reduce costs without compromising on the overall experience. Additionally, some tour operators offer different packages catering to various budgets.

Ultimately, it’s essential to weigh the cost against the unique opportunity of witnessing mountain gorillas up close and supporting their conservation efforts. The impact of responsible tourism can make a significant difference in preserving these endangered species for future generations.

So, while the cost of gorilla safari treks may be a con for some, it is important to understand that it serves a greater purpose. By investing in this extraordinary experience, you are not only contributing to the conservation of gorillas but also creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Risk: A Cautionary Note on Gorilla Safari Trek

While embarking on a gorilla safari trek in Uganda is an exhilarating experience, it is essential to acknowledge the potential risks involved. Visiting gorillas in their natural habitat means venturing into the domain of wild animals that can be dangerous if provoked or startled.

Gorillas are generally peaceful creatures, but they are still wild animals with their own instincts and behaviors. They have a strong sense of territory and may react defensively if they feel threatened. It is crucial to respect their space and follow the guidance of experienced guides who accompany you during the trek.

During your encounter, it is important to maintain a safe distance from the gorillas and avoid any sudden movements or loud noises that could startle them. While these precautions significantly reduce the risk, there is always an inherent element of unpredictability when interacting with wildlife.

To minimize potential dangers, park authorities and tour operators enforce strict guidelines for gorilla trekking. These guidelines include limitations on group size, duration of visits, and specific behavior protocols to ensure both visitor safety and the well-being of the gorillas.

Before embarking on a gorilla safari trek, it is advisable to undergo a thorough briefing where you will learn about proper conduct during the encounter. This includes instructions on how to behave in the presence of gorillas, such as maintaining a calm demeanor and avoiding direct eye contact.

It’s also worth mentioning that visitors are required to be in good physical condition as gorilla trekking involves traversing through challenging terrain, including steep slopes and dense vegetation. Adequate fitness levels will not only enhance your safety but also contribute to a more enjoyable experience.

Despite these risks, it’s important to remember that thousands of people safely participate in gorilla treks every year without incident. By adhering to guidelines and respecting the animals’ space, you can greatly minimize any potential hazards associated with this incredible adventure.

In conclusion, while there is a risk involved in visiting gorillas in their natural habitat, it should not deter you from experiencing the magic of a gorilla safari trek. By understanding and respecting the guidelines provided by park authorities and experienced guides, you can ensure a safe and memorable encounter with these magnificent creatures. So, embrace the adventure, tread cautiously, and let the wonders of Uganda’s gorillas leave an indelible mark on your heart.

Weather Conditions

Weather Conditions: A Challenge to Embrace on Gorilla Safari Treks

While embarking on a gorilla safari trek in Uganda promises an extraordinary adventure, it’s important to acknowledge that weather conditions can present a con that needs to be considered. Depending on the location, treks can occur in harsh weather conditions such as high humidity and rain, which may make it difficult to complete the trek safely and comfortably.

The unpredictable nature of weather adds an element of challenge to the experience. The dense forests where gorillas reside are known for their high humidity levels, which can make the trek physically demanding. The combination of heat and humidity can lead to increased perspiration and fatigue, requiring trekkers to be prepared with appropriate clothing and hydration.

Furthermore, rain is common in these regions throughout the year. While it adds to the lushness of the environment, it can also make trails muddy and slippery. Navigating through wet terrain requires extra caution, as it may slow down progress and increase the risk of slips or falls.

However, despite these potential challenges, many adventurers find that embracing the weather conditions adds a sense of authenticity to their gorilla safari trek. It reminds them that they are venturing into untamed wilderness where nature reigns supreme. The rainforest’s ambiance becomes even more vibrant during rainfall, with misty air and glistening foliage creating an ethereal atmosphere.

To mitigate any discomfort caused by weather conditions, it is crucial to come prepared with appropriate gear. Waterproof jackets or ponchos will keep you dry during rain showers while sturdy hiking boots with good traction will help navigate slippery paths more easily. Additionally, packing insect repellent and sunscreen is essential for protection against both rainforest insects and sun exposure.

It’s important to remember that despite challenging weather conditions, your safety remains a top priority. Local guides are experienced in leading treks under varying circumstances and will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience throughout your journey. They will also provide guidance on how to navigate the terrain and offer support along the way.

Ultimately, the weather conditions encountered during a gorilla safari trek should be seen as part of the adventure. It adds a touch of unpredictability and reminds us of the untamed beauty of nature. By embracing these conditions and being prepared, you can fully immerse yourself in the incredible experience of encountering gorillas in their natural habitat, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Crowds: A Consideration for Gorilla Safari Treks

The allure of gorilla safari treks in Uganda is undeniable. The opportunity to witness these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is a dream come true for many. However, as with any popular tourist attraction, one con to be aware of is the potential for encountering large crowds during your trek.

Gorilla safaris have gained significant popularity over the years, drawing visitors from all corners of the globe. As a result, the number of tourists embarking on these treks has increased, and certain times of the year can see a higher concentration of visitors.

While sharing this remarkable experience with fellow nature enthusiasts can be enjoyable, the presence of large groups may detract from the sense of solitude and tranquility that many seek when connecting with nature. The peacefulness of the forest and the intimate encounter with gorillas can be somewhat diminished when surrounded by numerous other observers.

Furthermore, large groups may create more noise and movement, which could potentially disrupt the gorillas’ natural behavior or cause them to retreat deeper into the forest. This is why strict guidelines are in place to ensure that visitors maintain a safe distance and limit their impact on these magnificent creatures.

To mitigate this potential downside, it is advisable to plan your gorilla safari trek during less busy periods if possible. These quieter times may offer a more intimate experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of Uganda’s forests without feeling overwhelmed by crowds.

Additionally, some tour operators offer alternative routes or less frequented areas within national parks where you can still have an exceptional gorilla encounter while avoiding larger tourist groups. By choosing an experienced and knowledgeable guide who understands your preferences, they can help tailor your trekking experience to minimize encounters with crowds.

Ultimately, while it’s true that encountering crowds can be a drawback during a gorilla safari trek, it should not deter you from embarking on this extraordinary adventure. The chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is an experience that transcends any temporary inconvenience caused by larger tourist groups.

By being mindful of the potential for crowds and planning accordingly, you can still have a remarkable and unforgettable gorilla safari trek. Remember, the magic of observing gorillas up close and personal in their natural environment remains a truly extraordinary experience, regardless of the presence of other visitors.