Lonely Planet Writer

An animatronic gorilla took over London's Trafalgar Square to inspire people to travel to Uganda

An incredibly realistic gorilla appeared at one of London’s most famous landmarks, to the fear and delight of tourists.


The stunt was organised by the Ugandan Tourist Board, in an effort to drum up business for the country. About half the world’s mountain gorillas live in Uganda.

The gorilla first emerged from the Uganda High Commission, close to Trafalgar Square. However, the realistic-looking gorilla is actually a man in a suit, with an animatronic face to give it a lifelike look.

Once people worked out the gorilla wasn’t real, everything was fine.
Once people worked out the gorilla wasn’t real, everything was fine. Image by Yui Mok/PA

The beast frightened some visiting school children, but others played along and took the opportunity to have a David Attenborough-style interaction.

Once people worked out the gorilla wasn’t real, everything was fine.
Once people worked out the gorilla wasn’t real, everything was fine. Image by Yui Mok/PA

The hard-working gorilla appeared all day in half hour shifts, and will later appear at a travel show in London.

Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.