Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Gorilla trekking refers to hiking through the tropical rainforests of Africa to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
A Gorilla Trek is a highlight of all visits done in Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda to see up close the mountain gorillas and certainly mountain gorillas are the major reason as to why very many people visit these 3 destinations.
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 is 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.
- January and February: High season with huge crowds. Very little or no rain.
- March, April and May: Low season. It rains a lot during these months. Most challenging during the trek, the slopes are slippery.
- June, July & August: Peak season, it’s important to book early with us since Gorilla trekking permits run out. This is the best time for gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda.
Where To Stay during Gorilla trekking?
Choosing the best safari lodge or accommodation will depend on your budget. Some gorilla trekking accommodation charge as high $2500 while the budget gorilla tracking accommodation can charge as low as $ 50 for a double room.
This depends on factors such as facilities, location, food, services and so much more.
What is the average Cost Of Hotels & Lodges (accommodation) for gorilla trekking?
- $50 to 100 for budget accommodation
- $150 to $250 for midrange accommodation
- Luxury from $300 to $2500 per night.
- It is best to book close to your tracking point, ask your tour operator.
- Booking for your accommodation for gorilla tracking should be done after booking your gorilla trekking permit.
How Much Does A Gorilla trekking Safari Cost?
Generally, a gorilla safari costs alot more compared to other safaris. This is due to the high cost of gorilla trekking permits especially for Rwanda and Uganda.
A Gorilla trekking Safari Cost ranges from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the season, country for gorilla trekking and type of accommodation.
Gorilla permits are expensive due to the high conservation costs in looking after and preserving the gorillas natural habitat as well as monitoring by trackers.
Tips On Cutting Gorilla trekking Safari Costs
- Join group treks or book with friends.
- Choose accommodation after booking of gorilla tracking permits.
- Stay in the best budget lodges.
- Track gorillas from Uganda rather than Rwanda for a cheaper gorilla permit
- Spend the night near your gorilla trekking point
- Avoid public transport as they may not follow schedule and keep time
- Avoid chartered flights.
- Book your gorilla trekking safari for the low season.
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. Comparing Uganda to Rwanda is not 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 it’s 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.
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.
The remaining wild Mountain and Lowland Gorillas can only be found in the African countries of Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrrable forest and Mgahinga Gorilla park, Rwanda in Volcanoes national park and Congo in the Virunga national park for Mountain Gorillas and also lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park in Congo.
What is the difference between Mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas?
Lowland gorillas are smaller and have brownish-gray far coats as well as a distinct brow ridge whereas mountain gorillas are larger with darker black coats.
Mountain gorillas are the most scarce primates in the worldwide with less than 800 surviving in the African wilderness.
However, there are over than 100,000 lowland gorillas just in the Republic of Congo alone.
Where To Go For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Uganda has two (2) gorilla parks for gorilla safaris with the most popular being Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park followed by Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Uganda has over 20 gorilla families with majority of the gorillas being in Bwindi.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has 4 gorilla tracking sectors and gates and you can chose to book tracking in any of the sectors depending on availability of gorilla permits.
What to pack for your gorilla tracking safari
- Waterproof hiking boots/rubber boots.
- Day pack.
- Insect repellents.
- Light weight rain jacket.
- Bottled water
- Gloves, old pair of gardening gloves
- Long pants or trousers
- Energy snacks.
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 Forest 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 for Visitors
With gorillas sharing 98% of human genes, it’s 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.
- Observe a distance of 7 meters away from the gorillas.
- Age limit of 15 years or more stands.
- You are allowed only 1 hour to see the gorillas
- Wearing of masks is important
- Avoid sneezing.
- Sanitize and observe other SOP guidelines.
What To Expect On A Gorilla Safari
On the day of your trek, expect to leave your comfortable bed early enough and 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, its okay to take photos with your camera or Phone but avoid flash or else the gorillas might charge.
You will spend between 40 minutes and 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.
Other Primate Safaris In East Africa
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