Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Have you  been in Uganda for gorilla trekking?

And it’s a YES Or a NO,

Uganda is a home of over 51% of the world’s gorilla population, and it’s good to put it in mind that, gorilla trekking is a highlight of every visit done in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya or Tanzania safari.

Mostly a Gorilla Trekking activity is a highlight of all visits done in Uganda and Rwanda and certainly mountain gorillas are the major reason as to why very many people visit these two countries Find information about gorilla trekking holidays to see gorillas in the wild, how to acquire a permit, as well as tour companies arranging such treks. Gorilla trekking is defined as a hike to the tropical rain forests of Africa as you see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, observing their habits, and behaviors.

When To Go To See The Mountain Gorillas In Africa?

Gorilla trekking can be conducted all year around in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. The best time to go gorilla trekking in during the months of June, July, August, September and December. This is because there are less rains and the parks are drier, making it simple to hike and see the gorillas .In Bwindi the average temperature throughout the year is 11°C/52°F in the morning and 23°C/73°F in the afternoon. bwindi gorilla trek

  • January and February: Low season offering less huge crowds. Very little or on rain.
  • March, April and May: Its rains a lot during these months. Most challenging during the trek, the slopes are slippery.
  • June, July & August: Peak season, its important to buy your permits much early since they run out. Best time for gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda.

Where to buy gorilla trekking permit from.

Now here you are here. Our team of experts will always ensure you have your travel and safari arrangements done in time, as you will be advised to make a booking with us to make sure your gorilla trekking permits are booked and reserved in time. The booking is done either online, the bank transfer or wise, and many others.

Where To Stay  on a gorilla safari?

Choosing the best safari lodge or accommodation will depend on how much you can afford. Some lodges charge as high as, $2500 while the budget ones can pocket as low as $ 40 for a double room. Its all about the facilities, location, food, services and so much more that you will have to consider.

The lodges charge for accommodation with the range as follows.

  • $50 to 100 per night for budget accommodation
  • $150 to $200 per night for mid range
  • Luxury from $250 to $2500 per night.

Book in advance by getting in touch with us for proper arrangements.

NB: The above accommodation prices are full board, i.e. they include accommodation, meals, breakfast.

How Much Does A Gorilla Safari Cost?

  • 1 Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda Costs About $1200
  • 2 Days Gorilla Safari Costs About $ 1380
  • 3 Day Gorilla Tour Costs About $ 1550

Of course, various tour operators will give you quotes, roughly the cheapest gorilla safari should have a price of sometimes about $ 1100 of course depending on the number of people. The super luxury should be cost you between $ 4000 to $ 6000 per person. Based on reviews of most gorilla tour operators in Uganda, most tourists prefer the mid-range, not so budget, but affordable. 

Booking your safari during the low season should get those costs lowered!

You may wonder why a gorilla trekking safari is expensive and whether it is worth the money. Here is the breakdown. 

A Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $ 700 and 75% of the money raised is to conserve the gorilla surviving population.

The government pockets 15% while 10% is meant for the local communities around the parks. As you purchase the permit, note that the cost includes park entrance fees, gorilla watching for an hour, advance trackers and ranger fees. And if you are interested in gorilla habituation, you will have more than 6 hours with the gorillas, and the permit is sold at $1500.

Other Trekking Costs To Consider Cost Of Food.

Food and Drinks about $50 per day. Most Tour Operators include meals and soft drinks. 

Transport Costs Air ticket from your country should cost $ 500 to $ 2400. Chartered flights from airport to close to gorilla trekking points, $ 600. Hiring a car should cost you about $80 per day. 

Cost of Items For Packing insect repellents, sunscreen and more. Visa and Border Crossing East African tourist visa costs $100, which can take you on safaris in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. Cost of Porters $ 20 dollars, and  $500 to hire a Sedan chair for porters to carry you.  And for Ugandan visa, its always $50, where we can also process the visa for you.

Below are the tips On Cutting Costs during your safari.

  • Do not travel alone.
  • Stay in best budget lodges.
  • Choose Uganda over Rwanda.
  • Avoid public transport buses do not leave on time.
  • Avoid chartered flights.
  • Book Your gorilla tour during low season.

 Where Can I See Gorillas In Africa?

You can see mountain gorillas in countries of  Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. However, note that gorillas are mainly divided into the mountain and the lowland with a couple of other sub-species in that. We suggest Rwanda, Uganda to see the mountain gorillas and the Republic of Congo for the lowland gorillas. It is also possible to find mountain gorillas within the DR of Congo however due to the instabilities within the country, it has been challenging in some areas for access. Some tourists think that you can find gorillas even where you opt for, but you have to sit, and choose the best safari as not all areas will provide everything that you need to see on your adventure.

 Each country has special interests, or special things to do or to see, like when in Uganda, be sure to combine the Gorilla tracking as the highlight of the trip, with the abundant wildlife, golden monkeys, and many others.  Remember Uganda hosts about 52% of the world’s mountain gorilla population.

Kenya, will always offer you the good wildebeest immigration experience, which will be found in Masai mara, and other countries.

The Mountain gorillas are the most uncommon primates in the entire world with less than 800 surviving in the African wilderness. on the contrary there are more than 100,000 lowland gorillas just in the Republic of Congo. uganda gorilla safari

Where To Go For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

Uganda has 2 sections for gorilla safaris namely, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park found in Kisoro district. In total there are 18 gorilla groups or families and you can always track only one group a day, where each group is given only 8 people per day, meaning 8 gorilla tracking permits. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has 17 gorilla group making it  the best place or park where you can see the ultimate mountain gorillas in the these tropical rain forests. Bwindi as an ancient forest also has about 90 mammal species, 11 primates including the black and white colobus monkey and others.

Bwindi Mountain Gorilla Trekking Groups

  • Ruhija Trek : The gorilla families include; Mukiza, Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguliro
  • Buhoma Trek: Habinyanja, Katwe, Mubare, Rushegura
  • Nkuringo Trek: Christmas, Nkuringo, Bushaho
  • Rushaga Trek: Kutu, Bikingi, Mishaya, Bushigye, Kahungye, Rwigi, Bweza, Nshongi, Mucunguzi
  • Mgahinga Gorilla Family: In Mgahinga Park, you can track the Nyakagezi group which is surrounded by the Slopes of Virunga Volcanoes, Mt. Muhavura(4,127m) Mt Gahinga (3474m) Mt. Sabinyo(3645m).

The special thing about this group is that, it has 3 silverbacks, which is not found in any other gorilla family in uganda, and this gorilla trek in Mgahinga can also be combined with the golden monkey tracking, thus, where silver meet gold.

  • Luxury Gorilla Trekking Safari

The most luxurious gorilla tours are done in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. While a gorilla permit costs $ 1500 per person, a 9 day luxury Rwanda safari costs over $ 15,000 when you sleep in luxury lodges like Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda. In Uganda, Clouds Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Buhoma lodge, Silverbakc Lodge,  and Gorilla Forest Camp take the crown.

Budget Gorilla Tours In Africa

The cheapest gorilla permit costs $450 in Congo and $ 700 in Uganda. Budget accommodation in Bwindi National Park for Uganda gorilla tours costs from $100 per night. Choose between Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge and Buhoma Community Rest Camp. In Rwanda, hotel Muhabura is the most affordable.  

What Country Provides The Best Option For Seeing The Mountain Gorillas ?  Comparing Uganda Vs Rwanda

This is quite a tricky question since they are all mountain gorillas living in the forests! Almost same environment. Getting Uganda compared to Rwanda would not be a good idea since Uganda has more wildlife than Rwanda. Besides the mountain gorillas, you can visit Murchison Falls, or see other primates in Kibale Forest National Park. If its about the cost, please note that, Gorilla permits within Rwanda were recently increased up to $1500 per individual and then in Uganda they go each for USD 700.uganda safari gorillas The permit offers you one hour with the mountain gorillas in a group of 8 people. In case you are threatened by the price look at it in this point of view that you are contributing to the conservation of mountain gorillas and as a form of thank you, you will be rewarded with an hour in the midst observing and enjoying their company. Keep in mind that just 80 people are allowed to see the gorillas in their natural habitat each day. Because their habitat is very fragile, every time you walk in this forest you leave a footprint. Conclusion, Uganda is the best place to see gorillas.

Packing List For Gorilla Tours In Africa

  • Waterproof hiking boots.
  • Day pack.
  • Insect repellents.
  • Light weight rain jacket.
  • Poncho
  • Camera.
  • Binoculars,
  • Bottled water
  • Boots: hiking boots,
  • Gloves, old pair of gardening gloves
  • Long pants or trousers
  • Energy snacks.

See more of what you should pack on your safari in this Article.

How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla Trekking has a numerical rating of 50 to 100 Difficult Rating: Moderate Hike There are many factors that influence the gorilla trekking difficulty and the commonest is your physical fitness. Others include weather conditions and your pack weight. It is possible to ask for a gorilla group that will march your fitness levels. A porter is important, Gorilla Trekking is not very hard, some people in their 60’s and 70’s have done it. So how strenuous is the hike? To begin with 60% of Bwindi Impenetrable National park has an elevation of over 6,600ft. Elevation of the entire park is from 3,904 to 8,553 ft. It has steep slopes in some areas. The experience takes between 2 to 6 hours depending on the gorilla family. 

Gorilla Tracking Rules For Post Covid Visitors

With these apes sharing 98% of our genes, its possible that gorillas can get corona virus. Gorillas can catch flu and other airborne diseases making Covid 19 a big threat to the survival of the gorillas.

  • Always observe a distance of 7 meters away from the gorillas.
  • Age limit for tracking of 15 years or more stands.
  • You are allowed only 1 hour to see the gorillas if your are on a normal trekking, and more than 5 hours if on a gorilla habituation trip.
  • Wearing of masks is important during this covid-19 situation, and maybe after things may change.
  • Avoid sneezing, or making noise, while with the gorillas.
gorilla trekking

What To Expect On A Gorilla Safari in Africa

On the day of your trek, expect to leave your comfortable bed early enough, am move to the briefing point by 7:30am. After briefing, tourists will be allocated different tracking routes, each 8 tourists. Head to the forest accompanied by guides and rangers as you begin you search for gorillas. In the forest, you may see monkey species, butterfly species, mammals and so much more. Sometimes the forest is challenging and a good level of fitness will be required. At the end of the day, expect to be muddy and sweaty. Once you see the gorillas, it’s okay to take photos with your camera or your phone but avoid flash or else the gorillas might charge against you. You will spend at least 1 hour in company of these gentle giants. It will be such a life changing experience. After the trek, head back to you accommodation or opt for a cultural village experience of the Batwa pygmies.   

How About The Gorilla Habituation Experience?

Gorilla habituation is the training of wild gorillas to get used to humankind. Gorillas are trained by researchers and park rangers for a period of 3 years. Its during the training that that you can join the group of researchers and park rangers. Only 4 visitors are allowed. This makes it special. The cost of gorilla habituation is $1500 per person per day. The most exciting reality about this experience is that you actively engage in the gorilla habituation!  

How To Get A Gorilla Trekking Permit.

Within Uganda, Gorilla trekking is conducted in Bwindi  Impenetrable National Park or in Mgahinga National Park. But because of the inconsistency of gorillas in Mgahinga, majority of the sold permits are for Bwindi NP because Bwindi has the biggest number of mountain gorillas. In Uganda, every gorilla permit goes for US $ 700. In the past years, April, May and November used to cost $ 450.

Note that these offers no longer exist. On a single day, nearly 72 people travel into Bwindi to see  these ultimate mountain gorillas and only 8 people are allowed to see  a gorilla family. We strongly encourage you to book your gorilla permit in time, the most prominent mistake is to book a gorilla family which is far away from your choice of accommodation! The routes to Bwindi and its various regions are often tricky; this is a remote area. If you would like to do the gorilla trek on your own so as to save costs, you might end up incurring more. Safari guides have been trained to help you with memorable trips.

gorilla trekking

Gorilla Safaris Permit Price

  • Uganda gorilla permit costs $ 700 (1 Hour with the gorillas)
  • Uganda Gorilla Habituation Permit Costs $1500 ( A full Day Experience)
  • Rwanda gorilla permit Costs $ 1500
  • Congo Gorilla Trekking Permit Costs $ 400
  • East African Citizen ,pay 250,000 shillings for the permit

When booking a gorilla permit,

  • You will have to inform us about the travel dates, as we share the itinerary, and then be sure of the gorilla trekking date.
  • They will inform you if your preferred dates are available for trekking and also temporarily book them.
  • You will receive the bank details so that  you can transfer the money for the gorilla permits or even pay by credit card.
  • You will then receive an acknowledgement email for the money transfer. Please remember to instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges for the transaction from your account. We don’t ask for any extra money for the gorilla permit if you are reserving the rest of your tour through us. Any additional costs will be for services like telephony and transport that will be incurred when acquiring the permit.
  • You will send a copy of your passport availing the details which will be used to register for your permit. Normally we need just your full names, nationality and the passport number
  • Your names will be registered and then we acquire the gorilla permit. On receiving the payment we shall buy the gorilla permit but then having this permit doesn’t 100% guarantee you seeing the gorillas although chances of seeing them are about 98%.

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