Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla trekking is a process of hiking to the tropical rainforests in search for the gorillas in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking can be done all year round however the best time is during the months of June, July, August, September and December, these are dry months meaning the parks will also be dry, and hiking in search of the gentle giants is easier however you should plan earlier and get you permits since this is a peak season. Please refer to our Best time to see mountain gorillas post to know when to do this one-in-a-lifetime experience.
Best company to use for gorilla trekking safari.
Berggorilla-Touren gives you the best when it comes to gorilla trekking safaris. However, there are various tour operators across East Africa that offer gorilla safaris, but we outstand on various factors like availability of gorilla permits, price, choosing the best locations and accommodations, and honesty
The cost of a gorilla tour or safari depends on the number of days of the safari, accommodations, and the season or period the traveler would like to visit. It can cost between USD 1,200 to 6,000 respectively depending on your budget ad choice of hotels and lodges. Traveling in the peak season is higher than in the low season. Read our Best time to see mountain gorillas post to know more.
A gorilla trekking permit costs 700$ and of this 75% is for gorilla conservation, 10% for the local communities around the park and 15% for the government. The permit covers the entrance fees, ranger fees and watching gorillas for an hour.
There are two species of gorillas in Africa; mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas. Uganda and Rwanda have mountain gorillas while Congo has both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with more than half of the total population living in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks.
How to distinguish between Mountain gorillas and Lowland Gorillas
Mountain gorillas are large with dark black coats and these are the rare primates and can only be found in Africa. Lowland gorillas on the other hand are small with brownish gray fur coats plus a noticeable brow ridge.
Kind reminder: Uganda is the leading haven for the mountain gorillas across the world.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Uganda has two (2) habitats for mountain gorillas namely Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi has the largest number of gorillas with 21 fully habituated gorilla families distributed in the four sectors of the park namely Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga. A group of only eight (8) trekkers are allowed to visit a gorilla family daily. Therefore, gorilla permit availability is limited and That is why we recommend travelers to book in advance.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has only two habituated gorilla families namely Nyakagezi and Hirwa. Nyakagezi group is surrounded by the slopes of Virunga volcanoes and this gives you scenic views.
Luxury gorilla trekking Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda.
When it comes to luxury gorilla trekking safaris Rwanda’s volcanoes national park takes the crown. Gorilla permit in Rwanda costs USD 1500 per person while in Uganda a gorilla permit costs USD 700. For our Luxury customers who prefer tracking the gorillas of Uganda, we always encourage them to visit the gorillas twice, in different families.
Uganda and Rwanda Gorillas, which is the best?
Both Uganda and Rwanda have mountain gorillas but when it comes to offering the best gorilla experiences Uganda is unmatched because it hosts more than half of the total gorilla population in the whole world. Besides mountain gorillas, Uganda has more to offer to the travelers basing on their desires and interests. Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost USD 1500 and in Uganda it costs USD 700 per person per day. In both destinations, only 8 visitors access a gorilla family for a maximum of sixty minutes since these gentle giants are very fragile. Looking no further, Uganda is the best place for any gorilla safari.
What to pack for a gorilla tracking safari?
- Water proof hiking boots
- Clean drinking water
- Long pants and trousers
- Insect repellents
- Rain jacket
- Walking stick
How difficult is gorilla trekking?
Fitness is the major factor that makes gorilla trekking difficult for some visitors. Gorilla trekking involves hiking and nature walks which may take between 1 to 8 hours depending on the movements of the gentle giants. You should also note that their habitats are open and not fenced, therefore, they can move cross boarders freely. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has steep slopes in certain areas. Other factors include your baggage weight, weather conditions among others. However, there are porters to help in case of any difficulties.
What you should expect on a gorilla safari
- Expect to wake up as earlier as possible on the day of trekking, reach the briefing point from where you will be allocated a family to trek and the tracking routes.
- You may see different monkey species, butterflies and some mammals.
- Expect challenging hikes and nature walks and this requires fitness and at the end of the day you are likely to be muddy and sweaty.
- Expect to get a life changing experience as you get into close contact with these gentle giants in their natural habitat, take photos however, don’t use flash since this may lead them to charge.
Gorilla habituation is the process of training mountain gorillas to be able to stay with or get used to humans. The process takes 3 years and it is done by trained park rangers and researchers. Enjoy as you also take part in the gorilla habituation process by grabbing yourself a gorilla habituation permit USD 1500 per person per day.
How to get a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park receives the biggest number of visitors for gorilla tracking per day per year and likewise the biggest number of sold permits. The entire process is tiresome and costs much if you decide to do it for yourself. However, you can do it through a Ugandan local tour operator such as Bergorilla-Touren. We don’t charge you for the purchasing process if you book with us. Book your gorilla permit earlier and with us to avoid mistakes.
How to book a gorilla safari
- Inform us about the dates for your tour and the specific date for trekking the gorillas
- We shall check availability of permits on that day and give you relevant feedback
- We will send to you an invoice in order to make payments for the gorilla permit
- You will receive an acknowledgement email after the money transfer
- The required information is your full name, nationality and the passport number which we use in the entire booking process
- Arrive at the airport, meet and greet our representative and enjoy your safari
Gorilla tracking permit price list
- Uganda gorilla permit costs USD 700
- Uganda gorilla habituation permit costs USD 1500
- Rwanda gorilla permit costs USD 1500
- East African citizens UGX 250,000
Where to see gorillas in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park which has 17 gorilla families with Susa group being the best of all. There are other primates in Sabyinyo, Bisoke and Karisimbi.
How to wear for gorilla trekking
- Gorilla trekking gear guide
- Water proof boots
- Light weight jacket
- Long-sleeved clothes
- Rain coat
- Knee high hiking gaiters.
- Male gorillas are big about two times the female, 6 ft. tall, strong with long arms.
- The males are also called silverback due to the fact that there hair at the back turns silver as they mature.
- The silver back gorilla can stretch its arm to 7 feet’s.
- Their life span is about 40-50 years.
- Gorillas are 98% like humans.
- Gorillas feed on afro montane vegetation.
- They eat large quantities of flowers, root, shoots and leaves in season.
- An adult gorilla can feed 75 pounds per day.
Mountain gorillas are very strong but gentle and shy. Gorillas are habituated to people but attack in case they are threatened or intimidated. Mountain gorillas can charge in case of flash camera lights. You won’t find them as a threat if you follow the guide lines from the ranger guides.