Gorilla trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda : Mountain gorillas are endangered primate species which are found in three countries namely Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla trekking is an activity where you move into the dense tropical rainforests in search of the endangered mountain gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in two destinations which are Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Uganda harbors about 459 mountain gorillas which are half of the world’s mountain gorillas hence making it the best gorilla trekking destination in Africa.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
The national park is the most visited gorilla destination in Uganda because it harbors the highest number of the endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in south western Uganda in Kanungu district along Democratic Republic of Congo border. The national park is a home of about 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in four sectors namely Buhoma sector in the north, Rushaga sector in the south, Ruhija sector in the east and Nkuringo sector in the south.
Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is another gorilla destination in Uganda that is located in southwestern region in Kisoro district bordering Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. The national park is a home of 2 habituated gorilla families which are available for trekking daily namely Nyakagezi and Hirwa families.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters where after you will be grouped into 8 people to trek each habituated gorilla family. Grouping of individuals is done according to age, physical fitness, person preference so as to ensure that visitors who are not physically fit are allocated a gorilla group that is near to trek. You will then start trekking in the jungle with a park guide who will be sharing information about the mountain gorillas. Trekking of the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda takes about 30 minutes to 7 hours depending on the location of the gorillas and once found you will spend one hour with them in their presence taking photos, recording the moments, learning about their lifestyles, behaviors, habits among others.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Rwanda is among the destinations in Africa harboring the endangered mountain gorillas and gorilla trekking is carried out in Volcanoes national park. The national park is located in north eastern part of Rwanda in Musanze village and harbors about 15 habituated gorilla families where some gorilla families are available for trekking daily and other gorilla families reserved for research.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park starts in the morning with a briefing about the rules, regulations and expectations during trekking at Kinigi park headquarters. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people and allocated a gorilla group to trek where after you will start hiking in the jungle with a park guide who will be sharing information about the mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park takes about 2 to 6 hours and once the gorillas are found you will be able to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
When to buy a gorilla trekking permit
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda and Rwanda should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because they are competitive and usually get sold out especially during the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February therefore to avoid disappointments at the last minute visitors are advised to book in advance.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document or card that is offered to any visitor above the age of fifteen allowing him or her to trek the endangered mountain gorillas and spend one hour with them in their natural habitat.
A single gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $600 for foreign non- residents, $500 for foreign resident and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. However Uganda increased its gorilla trekking permit by $100 therefore effective 1st July 2020 foreign non residents will pay $700 and $600 foreign residents. A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs $1500 for all nationalities which makes it a luxury gorilla trekking destination.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda and Rwanda
A gorilla trekking permit can either be booked directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority a tourism body in Uganda or Rwanda Development Board a tourism body in Rwanda. When booking directly you will contact the head offices via email or telephone calls. A gorilla trekking permit can also be booked through a tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. Booking through a tour operator is the best option in that you will contact us with the date, month, year and destination where you want to trek the mountain gorillas, we will check for availability of the permits and when there are some permits available you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. Once the deposit has been made you will be asked to send your scanned copy of the passport which will be used to register for your permit. We will then acquire the permit for you and send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation.
Where to stay on your gorilla trekking safari
There are many luxury, midrange and budget accommodation facilities in Uganda and Rwanda where you can stay during your gorilla trekking safari including Mountain Gorillas Nest Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Best View Hotel, Five Volcanoes Boutique Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Kisoro Travelers Hotel, Amajambere Iwacu Rest Camp, Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge, River Mucha Hotel, Gorilla Resort Bwindi, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Bwindi Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Forest Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Lake Kitandara Camp, Nyundo Valley Hill, Matana Camp, Buhoma Homestead among others.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda can be done anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the national parks therefore there will be less crowds in the parks, luxury lodges will be offering discounts to visitors which favors the budget travelers and the gorilla trekking permits will be less competitive hence the last minute travelers will be able to acquire the permits.
Rules and regulations for gorilla trekking
- You should keep your voices low when in the presence of the mountain gorillas
- In case a gorilla charges do not look directly into its eyes or run but rather crouch down and get away.
- When trekking in the wild, stay in your group so as not to get lost in the forest
- Do not leave rubbish in the wild but rather carry everything you go with
- Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda allows a maximum number of 8 people to trek each habituated gorilla family.
- You should be 7 meters away from the mountain gorillas
- In case you are feeling ill, you should not engage in gorilla trekking because the mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases.
- Do not touch the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals
- Visitors are allowed to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat
- Do not eat, smoke or drink anything while in the presence of the gorillas because some food might drop down which increases the risk of disease transmittion.
What to pack for gorilla trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is done in the tropical rainforests where it can rain anytime of the day regardless of the season therefore visitors travelling for gorilla trekking should carry equipments like hiking shoes, long sleeved shirt and trousers, garden gloves, long socks, energy snacks, insect repellent, camera, a pair of binoculars, walking stick, warm sweater, rain jacket/poncho, backpack, sunglasses and a hat among others.
Visitors interested in a luxury gorilla trekking safari can book a gorilla trekking safari to Volcanoes national park and visitors interested in an affordable gorilla trekking safari should visit Uganda because both destinations provide the best gorilla trekking experiences therefore in order to have unforgettable gorilla trekking memories you can contact Achieve Global Safaris for gorilla trekking packages.