Gorilla Trekking In Uganda & Rwanda 2023

What is gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is a type of adventure tourism that involves hiking through the forest to observe gorillas in their natural habitat. This activity is typically offered in countries where gorillas can be found, such as Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Trekkers typically start the journey early in the morning and hike for several hours through the forest, guided by a local ranger.

The goal is to find and observe a group of gorillas, which can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience. However, it is important to remember that gorillas are wild animals and should be treated with respect and caution.

gorilla watching

What is the Cost of Gorilla Trekking?

  • Gorilla trekking permits cost $ 600 in Uganda, $1500 in Rwanda and $ 400 in Congo.
  • Accommodation per person ranges from $30 to $ 50 for budget or affordable lodging while for a luxury gorilla accommodation it should cost between $300 and $ 3,000. Midrange options are between $ 100 and $250.

Where can you stay during gorilla trekking?

During mountain gorilla trekking, tourists typically stay in lodges or camps located near the park where the gorillas can be found. These accommodations are often basic but comfortable, and provide a convenient base for the trek.

In Rwanda, the best hotels include Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge and Gorilla Mountain View Lodge.

In Uganda, the best gorilla accommodation include, Clouds Mountain lodge, Mahogany Springs, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Chamelion Hill Lodge and Buhoma Lodge.

Some lodges and camps may also offer additional amenities such as restaurants, swimming pools, and bars. Additionally, many tour operators offer packages that include accommodations, meals, transportation, and gorilla trekking permits, so it is best to check with them for more information on where to stay during your trip.

congo gorilla trekking

Uganda safaris

Uganda is a country located in East Africa that is known for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty. Safari tours in Uganda typically involve traveling by vehicle through national parks and reserves to observe and photograph animals such as elephants, lions, giraffes, and gorillas.

Uganda is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, making it a popular destination for gorilla trekking. In addition to its wildlife, Uganda also offers a range of other attractions, such as boat rides on the Nile River, visits to traditional villages, and hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains. Overall, Uganda offers a unique and exciting safari experience for visitors.

Best time to See Mountain Gorillas in Africa.

The best time to go gorilla trekking in Africa varies depending on the country and region where you plan to go. In general, the dry season (usually June to September or October) is considered the best time to go gorilla trekking, as the weather is typically sunny and dry, making it easier to hike through the forest.

However, the dry season can also be the busiest time for trekking, so you may need to book your trip well in advance to secure a permit. In some regions, the wet season (usually November to May) can also be a good time to go trekking, as the gorillas may be easier to spot due to the lush vegetation.

It is best to check with a tour operator or local ranger for more information on the best time to go gorilla trekking in the specific area where you plan to visit.

gorilla trekking tours

What are the best gorilla trekking companies?

We recommend doing some research and reading reviews from past clients to find a reputable and experienced company that offers gorilla trekking trips.

You may also want to consider factors such as the cost, length of the trek, and included amenities when choosing a tour operator. It is always a good idea to carefully research and compare your options before making a decision.

Among the best include Insight Safari Holidays, Kori Safaris and Wild Whispers African Safari.

How Difficult is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking can be a physically demanding activity, as it often involves hiking through dense forest and over rugged terrain. Trekkers may need to navigate steep slopes, muddy trails, and dense vegetation, and may encounter obstacles such as fallen trees or streams. The length and difficulty of the trek can vary depending on the location of the gorillas, the weather, and the fitness level of the trekkers.

In general, most people who are reasonably fit and have a sense of adventure should be able to go gorilla trekking. However, if you have any concerns about your ability to hike for several hours, you should consult with your doctor and the tour operator before booking a trek.

Additionally, it is important to be prepared for the physical challenges of the trek by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, and carrying enough water and snacks.

tracking gorillas

What To Expect on A Gorilla Safari

A gorilla safari is a unique and exciting adventure that offers the opportunity to observe gorillas in their natural habitat. Most safari tours involve a combination of activities, such as hiking through the forest to find the gorillas, observing their behavior, and taking photographs. Safari tours typically start early in the morning and last for several hours, depending on the location of the gorillas and the length of the hike.

Trekkers are typically accompanied by a local ranger who knows the forest and the gorillas, and can provide information and guidance along the way. After the trek, safari-goers may have the opportunity to visit local villages, go on game drives, or enjoy other activities. Overall, a gorilla safari offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that combines adventure, wildlife, and cultural encounters.

gorilla conservation

How To Get A Gorilla Trekking Permit in Uganda

To go gorilla trekking in Uganda, you will need to obtain a gorilla trekking permit. These permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and are required for all trekkers who want to visit the gorillas.

The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is currently $600 per person per trek, and permits must be purchased in advance. To obtain a permit, you can contact the UWA directly or go through a tour operator who can help you with the process.

You will need to provide your personal information and passport details, and you may be required to provide proof of vaccination against yellow fever. It is important to note that the number of permits is limited, and they can sell out quickly, so it is best to book your permit well in advance.

gorilla families

How To Get A Gorilla Permit in Rwanda?

To go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, you will need to obtain a gorilla trekking permit. These permits are issued by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and are required for all trekkers who want to visit the gorillas. The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda is currently $1,500 per person per trek, and permits must be purchased in advance.

To get a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda, you will need to contact a local tour operator who can help you arrange the permit and other logistics for your trek. The tour operator will need to know the date and location of your trek, as well as your personal information, in order to apply for the permit on your behalf.

Once your permit has been issued, you will need to present it at the park entrance on the day of your trek. It is also recommended to bring a valid passport and other forms of identification with you on the trek.

gorilla trekking adventure

What To pack for gorilla trekking in Rwanda

When preparing for a gorilla tour in Rwanda, it is important to pack wisely and consider the unique challenges and conditions of the forest. Some items that you may want to consider packing for your trek include:

Hiking boots: The trails in the forest can be muddy, slippery, and steep, so it is important to wear sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with good grip. Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops, as they will not provide enough support or protection.

Rain gear: The weather in Rwanda can be unpredictable, and you may encounter rain during your trek. It is a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket, pants, and a rain cover for your backpack to keep your belongings dry.

Snacks and water: Trekking can be physically demanding, so it is important to bring enough water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized. Pack high-energy snacks such as nuts, fruits, and energy bars, and bring at least one liter of water per person per hour of hiking.

Sunscreen and insect repellent: The forest can be hot and sunny, and you may be exposed to insect bites. Bring sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from the sun, and insect repellent to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.

Camera and binoculars: Gorilla trekking offers the opportunity to take some amazing photos and observe the gorillas up close. Bring a camera with a zoom lens and a good quality memory card, and consider bringing a pair of binoculars to get a better view of the gorillas.

Clothing: Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely and easily. Avoid wearing bright colors or strong perfumes, as they can disturb the gorillas. It is also a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

Personal items: Don’t forget to pack your passport, travel documents, and any medications that you may need. You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit in case of minor injuries.

Overall, the key to packing for a gorilla trekking trip is to be prepared for the challenges of the forest, and to bring the items that will make your trek comfortable and enjoyable.

gentle giants

 

Where is the best place for gorilla trekking?

The best place for gorilla trekking depends on your personal preferences and interests. There are several countries in Africa where gorillas can be found, including Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Each country offers a unique gorilla trekking experience and has its own unique attractions and challenges. For example, Uganda is known for its lush forests and abundance of gorillas, while Rwanda has a more developed tourism infrastructure and offers easier access to the gorillas.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has the largest population of gorillas, but it also has political instability and safety concerns. Ultimately, the best place for gorilla trekking is the one that fits your budget, travel style, and interests. It is best to do some research and compare your options before deciding where to go.

volcanoes national park rwanda

Am I guaranteed to see mountain gorillas?

Going on a gorilla trek does not guarantee that you will see mountain gorillas. Although gorillas are the main attraction of a gorilla trek, they are wild animals and their movements are unpredictable.

The success of a gorilla trek depends on a variety of factors, such as the location of the gorillas, the weather, and the skill of the ranger. In general, most trekkers have a good chance of seeing gorillas, but there is always a possibility that the gorillas may not be found or that they may be difficult to observe.

It is important to remember that the goal of a gorilla trek is not only to see the gorillas, but also to enjoy the adventure, the beauty of the forest, and the cultural encounters along the way.

bwindi national park

How many people are in each gorilla trekking group?

The number of people in each gorilla trekking group can vary depending on the country and the tour operator. In general, most gorilla trekking groups have between 8 and 12 people, although some tour operators may offer smaller or larger groups.

The size of the group is typically determined by the number of available permits, as well as the logistics of the trek. Smaller groups may offer a more intimate and personalized experience, but they may also be more expensive.

Larger groups may be more affordable, but they may also be less flexible and more difficult to manage. It is best to check with the tour operator for more information on the size of the group and the availability of permits.

endangered mountain gorillas

 

How long does it take to find the gorillas in Uganda?

The length of time it takes to find the gorillas in Uganda can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the location of the gorillas, the weather, and the skill of the ranger. In general, most gorilla treks in Uganda last between 3 and 6 hours, although some treks may be shorter or longer.

After the trekkers are divided into groups, they are assigned to a specific gorilla family and given a ranger who will lead the trek. The ranger will use their knowledge of the forest and the gorillas to track the gorillas and find their location.

Once the gorillas are found, trekkers are allowed to spend one hour observing and photographing them. The ranger will provide information and guidance on how to behave around the gorillas, and will ensure the safety of the trekkers and the gorillas.

gentle giants

Where do mountain gorillas live?

Mountain gorillas live in the forests of the Virunga Mountains, which are located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. They are found at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet, primarily in the bamboo and montane forests.

Can I hire a porter on a gorilla trek?

If you are planning to go on a gorilla trek, it is possible to hire a porter to help carry your gear and provide assistance during the hike. Porters can be hired through local tour operators, who can also help arrange the necessary permits and other logistics for your trek.

It is recommended to hire a porter, as the hike can be challenging and carrying all of your gear on your own can make it even more difficult. Porters can also provide valuable information about the local area and its wildlife, enhancing your overall experience on the trek.

Do I need to tip my gorilla tours guide?

It is customary to tip your gorilla trekking guide if you are satisfied with the service they provided. The amount of the tip is generally based on your personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is to tip an amount that is equivalent to 10-20% of the cost of the trek.

It is also common to tip any porters or other support staff who may have assisted you during the trek. It is important to remember that the guides and support staff who work on gorilla treks are often local to the area and rely on tips as a significant part of their income, so a tip is a good way to show your appreciation for their hard work.

gorilla habituation experience

What footwear is best for the trek?

When going on a gorilla trek, it is important to wear sturdy and comfortable footwear that provides good traction and support. Hiking boots or trail shoes are the best choice for this type of terrain, as they are designed to handle rough and uneven surfaces.

It is also a good idea to bring an extra pair of socks, as the hike can be wet and muddy at times.

Avoid wearing sandals or open-toed shoes, as they provide insufficient protection and support and can increase your risk of injury. It is also a good idea to break in your footwear before the trek to ensure that they are comfortable and won’t cause any blisters.

What is the weather like on a gorilla trek?

The weather on a gorilla trek can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the weather in the areas where mountain gorillas live is warm and rainy, with temperatures typically ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It can rain at any time of year, so it is important to be prepared for wet and muddy conditions. The rainy season typically runs from March to May and from October to November, so these months can be especially wet and muddy. It is a good idea to bring rain gear and extra layers to stay warm and dry during the trek.

Can I take photos of the gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda?

Yes, you can take photos of the gorillas when on a trek in Uganda or Rwanda. However, there are certain rules and guidelines that must be followed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the gorillas.

For example, flash photography is not allowed, as it can startle the gorillas and disrupt their natural behavior. It is also important to maintain a safe distance from the gorillas and to avoid making loud noises or sudden movements.

These rules are in place to protect the gorillas and to ensure that they are not disturbed by the presence of humans. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding experience while taking photos of these amazing animals.

Is it safe to visit Uganda or Rwanda?

Yes, it is generally safe to visit Uganda and Rwanda. These countries have made significant progress in recent years in terms of stability and security, and travelers are generally able to move around freely without any major issues. Of course, as with any destination, it is important to exercise caution and to stay alert to your surroundings.

It is a good idea to avoid large crowds and demonstrations, and to keep your valuables safe. It is also recommended to avoid traveling after dark in some areas, and to check the latest security information before you travel. Overall, Uganda and Rwanda are safe destinations for travelers who take the usual precautions.

Is it safe to be close to mountain gorillas?

Yes, it is generally safe to be close to mountain gorillas, as long as you follow the rules and guidelines set by the park authorities. These rules are in place to protect the gorillas and to ensure that they are not disturbed by the presence of humans.

For example, visitors are typically required to maintain a safe distance from the gorillas, and to avoid making loud noises or sudden movements. It is also important to avoid touching or feeding the gorillas, as this can disrupt their natural behavior and put them at risk.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a safe and rewarding experience while observing these amazing animals in their natural habitat.

Budget options for gorilla Safaris

If you are looking for budget options for gorilla tracking, there are a few things you can do to save money. First, you can consider traveling during the low season, which is typically from November to May.

This can be a wetter and cooler time of year, but it can also be less crowded and you may be able to find better deals on accommodation and gorilla permits. Another option is to book your trek through a local tour operator, as they may be able to offer more competitive prices than international companies.

Additionally, you can consider camping or staying in budget accommodation, rather than splurging on luxury lodges. By being flexible and willing to compromise on some aspects of your trip, you may be able to save money on your gorilla trek.

How to book a gorilla trek

To book a gorilla trek, you will need to first determine when and where you want to go. The two main destinations for gorilla trekking are Uganda and Rwanda, and each country has its own rules and regulations for visiting the gorillas.

Once you have decided on a destination, you will need to obtain a gorilla permit, which allows you to spend time with the gorillas. Permits can be obtained through local tour operators, who can also help arrange your transportation and accommodation. It is recommended to book your permit and other logistics well in advance, as the number of permits is limited and they can sell out quickly.

Once you have your permit, you can begin planning your trek and arranging the details with your tour operator.

Is gorilla trekking worth it?

Gorilla trekking can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that many people consider to be well worth the effort and expense. The opportunity to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat and to observe their behavior up close is truly unforgettable.

In addition to the gorillas, the forests of Uganda and Rwanda are home to a diverse array of other wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and monkeys, making a trek a rewarding experience for nature lovers. The trek itself can also be challenging and rewarding, as you hike through the lush forests and up steep slopes to reach the gorillas.

Overall, many people consider gorilla trekking to be a truly unique and unforgettable experience that is worth the investment.

Is gorilla trekking safe?

Gorilla trekking is generally considered to be safe when done with a reputable tour operator and in accordance with the rules and guidelines set by the park authorities. The gorillas are typically shy and not aggressive towards humans, and the guides who lead the treks are experienced and knowledgeable about the animals and their behavior.

However, as with any adventure activity, there is always some inherent risk involved. The trek itself can be challenging and physically demanding, and the weather and terrain can be unpredictable. It is important to be prepared and to listen to your guide’s instructions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Overall, gorilla trekking is safe when done with care and caution.

Why is gorilla trekking so expensive?

Gorilla watching can be expensive for a number of reasons. One of the main factors is the cost of obtaining a gorilla permit, which is required in order to spend time with the gorillas. The number of permits is limited in order to protect the gorillas and to ensure that they are not disturbed by too many visitors.

This means that the demand for permits often exceeds the supply, which can drive up the price for gorilla trekkers. In addition to the permit, there are also the costs of transportation, accommodation, and the services of a guide and support staff, which can add to the overall expense of the trip. Overall, the cost of gorilla trekking reflects the logistical challenges and conservation efforts involved in providing this unique and unforgettable experience.

Is there a gorilla trekking age limit?

Yes, there is an age limit for gorilla trekking. In general, visitors must be at least 15 years old to participate in a gorilla trek. This age limit is in place for several reasons. First, the trek itself can be physically demanding, and younger children may not have the stamina or strength to complete the hike.

Second, the presence of young children can be disruptive to the gorillas, who are sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements. Finally, the rules and guidelines for gorilla trekking are complex and can be difficult for younger children to understand and follow. By setting an age limit, park authorities aim to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the gorillas and the visitors.

Gorilla Trekking In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Uganda is a popular destination for gorilla trekking, and the Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Parks are two of the main areas where you can see the gorillas. The Bwindi Forest is located in the southwestern part of the country and is home to about half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.

A complete gorilla safari involving Arrival and departure at the Entebbe international airport will last 2 to 3days. A drive from Entebbe to Bwindi impenetrable national park will take up to 9 hours while a chartered flight meant for a luxury gorilla safari will last 1 hour and 35 minutes.

 

The forest is known for its rich biodiversity, with over 200 species of trees, over 100 species of mammals, and over 350 species of birds. The Mgahinga National Park is located in the southwestern part of the country and is part of a larger conservation area that includes the Bwindi Forest and the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is home to a small population of mountain gorillas, as well as other wildlife, including golden monkeys and chimpanzees. Both the Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park offer unique and rewarding experiences for visitors interested in gorilla trekking.

Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Rwanda is another popular destination for gorilla trekking, and the Volcanoes National Park is one of the main areas where you can see the gorillas. The park is located in the northern part of the country and is home to a population of about 10 groups of mountain gorillas.

The park is situated in the Virunga Mountains, which are a chain of volcanoes that stretch across the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is known for its rich biodiversity, with over 160 species of trees, over 200 species of birds, and over 70 species of mammals. The park also offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and visits to local communities. A trek to see the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park is a unique and rewarding experience.

Volcanoes National Park is also famous for golden monkey tracking besides offering the best gorilla tours.

Gorilla Trekking in Congo

Congo is another potential destination for gorilla trekking, although it is not as well-known or well-developed as Uganda and Rwanda. The country is home to a population of mountain gorillas that lives in the Virunga Mountains, which straddle the borders of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. The gorillas can be found in the Virunga National Park, which is located in the eastern part of the country and is known for its rich biodiversity and scenic beauty. A congo gorilla permit costs $400 per person per trek. The population of gorillas in congo is 300.

 

Other Destinations To Visit Close To the Mountain Gorillas

  • You can visit queen elizabeth national park in the south west of Uganda for tree climbing lions.
  • Visit Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee trekking and habituation experience.
  • Visit Murchison Falls National Park for wildlife safaris and Falls sightseeing.
  • Nyungwe Forest for chimpanzee and other primates in Rwanda.
  • Lake Mburo National Park for wildlife encounters.

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