Gorilla Safaris in Uganda, Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Gorilla Tours Bwindi
Uganda Gorilla safaris/Gorilla tours in Uganda taking you Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda are the popular highlight for travellers on a gorilla safari in Uganda tour. Gorilla trekking Uganda safaris are captivating experiences that will allow you to go trekking with Uganda Gorillas and also visit these gentle giants (Mountain gorillas) in their scenic and misty forest. Mountain Gorillas are among the world’s rarest primates and globally, their total population equates to over 1,063. Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest protects its highest population.
On the other hand, the Virunga Mountains and national parks which are Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga Park share the remaining populations. Uganda is, however, the best place to spot these gorillas in Africa holding about 50% of their population on earth. Mountain Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda only occur in 2 destinations which are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which are all managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Uganda Gorilla safaris/Gorilla tours in Uganda taking you Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda are the popular highlight for travellers on a gorilla safari in Uganda tour.
Gorilla trekking Uganda safaris are captivating experiences that will allow you to go trekking with Uganda Gorillas and also visit these gentle giants (Mountain gorillas) in their scenic and misty forest.
Mountain Gorillas are among the world’s rarest primates and globally, their total population equates to over 1,063. Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest protects its highest population.
On the other hand, the Virunga Mountains and national parks which are Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga Park share the remaining populations.
Uganda is, however, the best place to spot these gorillas in Africa holding about 50% of their population on earth.
Mountain Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda only occur in 2 destinations which are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which are all managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Bwindi national park provides the best Gorilla tours in Uganda and East Africa at large. The park is a beautiful hilly and misty UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over 459 Mountain gorillas which is almost half of the remaining Mountain gorillas on earth.
Gorilla trips are safe as a tour guide will always lead you on these excursions. Likewise, there are various accommodation choices to choose from ranging from budget, midrange and luxury for your gorilla trips in Uganda. Thus, the country is home to every kind of traveller.
For a memorable experience on your safari holiday in Africa, add a Uganda gorilla tour!
Read the Uganda travel blog below to know more about the African safari Gorilla trek experience in Uganda!
Where to Go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda | Sites for Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda
There are only two destinations where gorilla watching takes place and we discuss them below;
1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Found in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the major destination for all gorilla trips in Uganda as well as your gorilla trek in Africa!
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and it has over 459 Mountain gorillas, which is almost 50% of the Mountain gorilla population on earth (1,063).
There are 19 habituated Gorilla families to track during your Gorilla tracking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These Gorilla families live in 4 sectors of the park which are Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Rushaga.
Gorilla trekking tours usually occur in Bwindi’s Buhoma sector due to its fairly gently sloping landscape.
Due to the high population of these Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there is a 99.9% chance of spotting the during your trek.
While you trek Mountain Gorillas in the misty Bwindi, be on the look for primates or other animals like:
- Forest Elephants
- Duikers for example the Black-fronted and Yellow-backed Duikers
- Forest Hogs, and many others
Birders will also enjoy their bird watching expeditions on their Gorilla tracking trip in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park holds about 350 bird species with all 24 Albertine Rift Endemic bird species, with 14 endemic for example the Grauers Broadbill and the Neumann’s Warbler.
2. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga national park is an alternative amazing destination for Gorilla adventures in Uganda. The park has only one Gorilla family, which is the Nyakagezi gorilla family which has about 9 members available for tracking.
This gorilla family is famous for male tolerance as the group holds the world record of having many silverbacks which is around 4 in the group.
The park is also the only place in the country where you will see and track the Golden Monkeys. Visitors may also encounter other animals such as Golden Monkeys for Golden Monkey tracking, Forest Elephants, Bushbucks, and Buffalos while trekking Mountain Gorillas in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Birder will also enjoy bird watching in the destination as the park hosts about 180 bird species and it is the best place in Africa to spot the Rwenzori Turaco and the Shell’s Crimsonwing.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park also boasts 3 amazing volcanoes, on its borders with Volcanoes National Park which are the Muhabura, Sabinyo, and Gahinga which makes it an amazing destination for hiking safaris in Uganda!
How Long Does Gorilla Trekking Take in Uganda
Gorilla treks in both national parks in Uganda take about 2-8 hours depending on how the Mountain Gorilla groups have moved in the jungle.
You may even meet a Gorilla group in 30 minutes, especially in the Buhoma sector, north of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Gorilla Tracking Rules and Regulations to Follow During Your Gorilla Trip
Mountain gorilla trekking tours have guidelines that are put in place to protect you and the endangered Mountain Gorillas while for your Gorilla watching in the park.
Below are the rules and regulations to follow while on a gorilla walking trip on your gorilla trip:
Gorilla Tracking Guidelines Before Departing Into the Jungle
- Carry your receipts and permits to the park headquarters or the gorilla tracking briefing point to prove your payments.
- Only those who are 25 years and above are allowed to go for a gorilla trek in Uganda.
- Go off the track in case you feel like easing yourself and bury the waste 30cm (12 inches) deep.
- There are only 8 trekkers allowed to trek a gorilla group per day. However, for the gorilla habituation experience, only 4 individuals are allowed per session.
- Do not trek Mountain gorillas if you have flu, cough, cold or any other contagious diseases. This is because the Uganda Gorillas can easily catch most human diseases!
- Littering is illegal in the park and you can dispose of any rubbish at the bins in the park headquarters.
Gorilla Tracking Guidelines When You Are With Gorillas:
- Silence is important while with the primates, even though it should not prevent you from asking questions.
- Maintain a safe distance of 7-10m away from the Mountain Gorillas. It is also not allowed to touch the primates because they may turn violent towards you.
- Smoking, eating or drinking around the Gorillas is also not allowed.
- Turn your face away in case you need to sneeze or cough near the Mountain Gorilla so that they do not get the illnesses.
- Adhere to the instructions of your ranger for safety and a better experience.
- You can only spend one hour with the Mountain Gorillas, but the Gorilla habituation experience takes 4 hours.
- Avoid flash cameras while taking photos of the primates as it may stress them thus leading them to attack you.
What is the Minimum Age for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? | Can Children Go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
According to UWA, 15 is the minimum age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda because of the following reasons
- Children may not know how to act in case of a primate attack as they trek Mountain Gorillas. For example, running away and screaming only makes the gorillas charge more at a person.
- Likewise, they are more likely not to follow the trekking guidelines given by the park ranger.
- Additionally, they may not be fit enough to cope with the strenuous trek to track Mountain Gorillas.
Kindly note that sometimes those below 15 may trek Gorillas only in Bwind’s Buhoma sector because of the relatively good terrain. However, this only occurs when their parents sign a consent form that agrees to the park not being responsible for any accidents.
Packing List for Gorilla Trekking Tours – What to Pack for Gorilla Tracking on a Uganda Tour
Knowing the right things to pack during your gorilla tour in Uganda, will help you to be well-equipped for the whole experience so that you enjoy a memorable journey.
Below are the important things to pack on your Gorilla adventure:
- A camera that has extra batteries and large storage to keep all your photos.
- Rain jacket with a hood: to protect you against the rain since tropical rainforests can easily have rainfall.
- Sturdy hiking boots: to help with the trekking experience and help you easily navigate the trails.
- Insect repellents: will keep you safe from insect bites for example bugs and the ones with over 50% DEET are most recommended.
- Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts: that will protect your skin against cuts while hiking the jungle.
- Hardy gloves: that will protect your hands from the plants while you touch them.
- Sunscreens, sunglasses and a sun hat or cape are necessary for protecting you against the sun.
- A backpack: to help carry your belonging like cameras, documents, toiletries, and extra clothes.
- Snacks, especially energy-giving snacks.
- Enough drinking water: to keep you hydrated, especially during the 2 to 8 hours hikes.
What to Wear for Gorilla Tracking in Uganda?
Wearing the right clothes, especially eco-friendly clothes will give you a memorable experience during your African Gorilla safari. Clothes that blend with the environment are great for your Gorilla trek adventure in Uganda.
- It is best to wear dull colours to avoid much attention from the Mountain Gorillas.
- Waterproof hiking boots will be more rewarding, especially in the wet season.
- You can tuck your trousers in your socks to prevent ants and other insects from entering your pants.
Other Amazing Safaris in Uganda to Accompany on Your Gorilla Trip
Most times, travellers will have other experiences to do alongside the Gorilla watching trips on their Uganda tours.
Below are some of these experiences;
1. Chimpanzee Trekking Tour
A chimpanzee tracking tour is an amazing adventure allowing you to visit the intelligent chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
Kibale NP has the best Chimpanzee tracking experiences in the East of Africa.
2. Wildlife Safaris in Uganda
Wildlife safaris in Uganda allow you to spot various wild animals, especially in the savannah parks like Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, the most famous wildlife spot harbours the elusive tree climbing Lions and it has a very wide biodiversity that enables it to protect various unique wildlife species.
Other notable holiday tours to do on your Uganda safaris include:
- Boat cruise tours in Uganda
- Golden Monkey trekking trips in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park will allow you to watch the amazing Golden Monkeys.
- Cultural encounters, for example, visiting the Batwa pygmies.
Kindly note that for more rewarding Gorilla watching experiences, you may undertake double Gorilla trekking holidays.
This can be in the Democratic Republic of Congo where you can track both the Mountain Gorillas and the Lowland Gorillas.
Else, you can undertake a Rwanda Gorilla trek and top up with a wildlife tour to Akagera NP.
Kindly note that if you are interested in double Gorilla trekking holidays in both Uganda and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, you can apply for the East African Tourist Visa that allows you entrance to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.
Hotels in Uganda | Safari Lodges in Uganda to Use During Your Gorilla Holiday
Uganda, which is among the best destinations for a Gorilla trek has various accommodation/safari lodge facilities ranging from Luxury, Midrange to Budget safaris.
Best Luxury Safari Lodges to Use on Your Gorilla Vacation in Uganda
- Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Bwindi national park
- Buhoma Lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Mount Gahinga Lodge in Mgahinga Gorilla NP
- Mahogany Springs in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Best Midrange Lodges to use while Trekking Gorillas in Uganda
- Haven Lodge Buhoma in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Gorilla Mist Camp in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- Traveller’s Rest Kisoro in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
- Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge in Bwindi national park
- Lake Chahafi Resort in Mgahinga national park
Best Budget Lodges on Your Gorilla Holiday in Uganda
- Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge in Bwindi national park
- Buhoma Community Rest Camp in Bwindi impenetrable park
- Amajambera Iwachu Community Camp in Mgahinga Gorilla NP
Which Month is Best for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? | What is the Best Time of Year to See Gorillas in Uganda? | Uganda Gorilla Trekking Best Time to Go
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is good all year round. Nonetheless, the dry months are the best for the experience.
These dry months are from June to August and December to February when the rainfall is less and the trails, relatively drier.
The wet season is however also great for Gorilla adventures because the primates do not move to long distances to look for food, thus the experiences may take a relatively shorter time even though you will get muddy.
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe in Uganda? | Is It Safe to Visit Gorillas in Uganda? | Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Safe?
All Gorilla tours in Uganda are safe and there have been no accidents ever recorded.
Explore how these trips are very safe as seen below
- On your gorilla treks in Uganda, a trained and professional armed ranger will accompany you to guarantee your safety.
- Rangers also patrol the forests daily to make sure that no poachers harm the Mountain Gorillas.
- The gorilla trips are only done on habituated gorilla families that are familiar with human presence and not the wild Mountain Gorillas.
How Difficult is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda? | How Hard is Gorilla Trekking Uganda?
The Gorilla trek in Uganda is fairly strenuous, although this major depends on one’s level of fitness.
The activity will require you to walk through terrains, the misty and hilly thick forests and valleys.
However, this should not prevent you from undertaking the adventure as there are porters that you can hire to carry your belongings.
Nonetheless, you are required to make some physical exercises to raise your fitness before the Gorilla trips.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost | How Much Does it Cost to See Gorillas in Uganda?
Below are the Gorilla permit costs to trek Gorillas in Uganda:
- Foreign Non-Residents: 700 USD
- Foreign Residents: 600 USD
- East African Citizens: 250,000 UG shilling
Kindly note that the rates mentioned above include park entrance fees.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) issues the permits for trekking gorillas in Uganda Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is responsible for those in Rwanda.
How Many Gorilla Permits are in Uganda?
Since there are over 20 habituated gorilla family groups in Uganda, there are about 160 Gorilla permits available every day.
About 19 habituated gorilla families are located in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and one in Mgahinga national park, which determines the Gorilla permit numbers released every day.
How Do You Book A Gorilla Trekking Permit in Uganda?
You book a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the government body in charge of responsible tourism in all government bodies in Uganda.
Alternatively, travellers can book their gorilla permit/gorilla permits through a responsible and trustworthy tour operator/tour company and it is advisable to book it 6 months before your safari begins.
Is Gorilla Trekking Worth it in Uganda? | Is Gorilla Trekking Worth the Money in Uganda?
The Gorilla trekking experience is worth it and below are the reasons why:
- Since Mountain gorillas live in the wild forests and not in captivity, the money for a Gorilla trek is used for conserving their habitat.
- Additionally, the money is also used to pay the park rangers thus directly supporting the local people.
- Local communities like the Batwa tribe who previously lived in the forests also benefit by getting grants from travellers.
- This adventure is also ranked among the top adventures to experience on your Africa safaris.
Gorilla Trekking Uganda Vs Rwanda- Is It Better to See Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?
A gorilla trip to Uganda or the Rwanda Gorilla trek is both great! However, depending on a traveller’s taste and preferences, they will choose the most suitable destinations.
Below, we look at the different comparisons between the Gorilla trekking in Uganda and the Rwanda Gorilla trek.
- The gorilla permits are 700 USD while the Rwanda Gorilla permit cost to Volcanoes National Park costs 1500 USD thus discounted Gorilla permits in Uganda make Gorilla tours cheaper in the country.
- Uganda has about 20 habituated gorilla families while Volcanoes National Park families of the Rwanda Gorillas, thus there are more Gorilla permits sold in the former than in the latter destination.
- Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park accommodates almost half of the world’s Gorilla population, thus there is a 99.9% chance of seeing them as you trek Gorillas in Uganda!
- Destination Uganda is the only place in Africa to have a Gorilla habituation experience, currently being done on the Bikingi gorilla family in Bwindi national park. Visitors on a Gorilla habituation experience will spend about 4 hours with the Mountain Gorillas.
- It is easier to combine Gorilla adventures with wildlife tours in Uganda as there are more wildlife destinations in Uganda than in Rwanda.
How Much Does a Gorilla Safari Cost in Uganda | How Much is Gorilla Safari in Uganda? | How Much Does it Cost to Go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
There is no definite price for Gorilla trekking safaris on Uganda tours. However, various factors may determine the costs of your Gorilla holiday trip as seen below,
Class of Accommodation on Your Gorilla Vacation
These include luxury, midrange or budget accommodations to choose from when you go Gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Travellers using luxury accommodations will spend more than visitors sleeping in budget lodges.
Number of Days Spent on Your Gorilla Trip
Short trips of about 3 days are relatively cheaper than the longer 10 days gorilla tour in Uganda, even though the longer holidays will give you better experiences.
Thus the more days, the higher the expenses, especially on transport and accommodation among others.
The Vehicle to Use on Your Safari
Likewise, the total cost of your Gorilla holiday trip in Uganda depends on the vehicles you will use.
For example, a safari van is relatively cheaper than using a 4×4 safari land cruiser because of the difference in fuel consumption.
Activities to Undertake During the Gorilla Tour
Other activities done on top of your Gorilla trek that has a relatively high Gorilla permit cost affect the cost of your Uganda trip as more activities will lead to more expenditures.
Number of People on the Gorilla Trip
Group tours seem costly but it favours you when getting some services like accommodation in some places as you can ask for discounts sometimes including discounted Gorilla permits especially in the wet season.
Additionally, most group tours mean that everyone will contribute their share of the total expenses like each buying a Gorilla permit thus making the safaris much cheaper.
List of Top Tour Operators to Travel With on Your Gorilla Vacation in Uganda
For the best Gorilla trek experiences, choose the best Gorilla tour operator. We are the best Uganda gorilla tour operators in Uganda
Best Gorilla Safari Packages/ Gorilla Tours to Uganda
Below are some of the best Gorilla packages that you can choose from for your Gorilla tours in Uganda:
15 Days Uganda Safari Tour
A Gorilla trek in Uganda is among the best experiences that you could ever have on your safari visit to Africa! This outstanding experience will allow you to meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas in their beautiful natural habitat.
These gorilla trips which are majorly done in Bwindi national park, a sanctuary protecting half of the population of Mountain gorillas in the world are more rewarding with wildlife tours and cultural encounters.
The Gorilla watching/Gorilla trip in Uganda is safe and the various accommodation facilities will make your stay more comfortable.
Inquire with us today and book your African Gorilla Holiday Trip in Uganda for unforgettable experiences!