How to plan a family gorilla trekking safari and holiday
When planning a gorilla trekking safari for the family, you need to consider the ages of each of the participants. Only tourists aged fifteen years and above are eligible to go gorilla trekking. Consider the destinations where you hope to go gorilla trekking with the family, as making memories with family is very important.
Most Popular Safaris
Three African countries are gorilla trekking destinations, that is, Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo. The most preferred goal for family gorilla trekking adventure safaris is Uganda and Rwanda for security reasons.
Planning a family gorilla trekking safari
Select a date when you hope to do gorilla trekking as a family and state how many members are eligible for this adventure.
Select a country where you wish to go gorilla trekking with the family, either Uganda or Rwanda.
Book the gorilla trekking permits in advance to avoid last-minute panic searching for reservations.
When you enquire from us, our safari consultant checks the availability of gorilla permits per the dates of your choice.
If there is favorable availability, we request our clients purchase their gorilla permits as soon as possible as a first come, first served basis is used to reserve them.
Encourage each family member to exercise in advance to keep the body fit and ready to withstand the forest conditions you go through during gorilla trekking.
Where To Do Family Gorilla Trekking Safari
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national park is the only home for mountain gorillas in Rwanda. About 12 gorilla families are fully habituated and open for tourist visits in Rwanda.
Some Rwanda gorilla families include Karisimbi, Amahoro, Umubano, Agashya, Hirwa, Susa, Sabyinyo, and others.
On the gorilla trekking day, tourists gather at the ORTPN for briefing. Tourists are allocated to these gorilla families according to age, fitness levels, and others in groups of a maximum of 8 tourists. Unfortunately, it is hard to spot the easiest Rwanda gorilla family because of the untimely changes within the forest that prompt them to relocate.
Rwanda currently has 96 gorilla Permits open for tourists to book. Still, because of the high demand, they are sold out fast, especially in the peak season: June to September and December to January. This limited number of Rwanda gorilla permits is what makes completion for booking them a cutthroat.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is the largest gorilla trekking habitat in Uganda. The park occupies about 327 square kilometers of land. From this vast size, the park was subdivided into four gorilla trekking areas, that are to say Buhoma area in the north, the Rihijah area in the east, and Nkuringo area, and the Rushaga area in the south.
Currently, 18 gorilla families are fully habituated for gorilla trekking visits, and two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation.
Each gorilla permit for Bwindi impenetrable national park is booked according to the area. This is one reason to consider where your gorilla permit is booked before securing accommodation.
Mgahinga national Park
Mgahinga national park lies in the deep southern western part of Uganda. The forest is the smallest national park covering about 33—7 kilometers. Three volcanoes also comprise the topography of Mgahinga National Park, including mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and mountain Sabyinyo.
Mgahinga National Park lies on the northern slopes of these volcanoes, and these environs are where the only gorilla family of this park roams. The Nyakagezi gorilla family is the only fully habituated family in Mgahinga national park.
In the past, the Nyakagezi gorilla family was known to wander into Rwanda, but currently, it’s steadily living in Uganda. You can pre-book the gorilla permits for Mgahinga national park.
What Is Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is an adventure where you follow a fully habituated gorilla family in the wilderness and stay in its presence for just that one precious hour. You must purchase a gorilla trekking permit to be allowed to attend this exceptional Africa safari adventure.
What Is Gorilla Habituation?
Gorilla habituation is the process of getting a wild gorilla family used to the presence of humans without altering their nature. For example, when you do a gorilla trekking safari, you follow a semi-habituated gorilla family in the company of habituators and researchers.
How Much Is A Gorilla Trekking Permit
Depending on where you decide to go gorilla trekking, the price of the gorilla permit varies.
The Uganda gorilla permits cost $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
Rwanda gorilla permits currently cost $1500 per person per trek
D.R.Congo gorilla permit lately costs $450 per person per trek
What Is Included and excluded in the gorilla permit cost?
A gorilla permit costs one hour with the mountain gorillas, ranger guide fees, mountain gorilla conservation fees, park entrance fees, security, local community support, and others.
Gorilla permit cost excludes transport to the destinations, tipping, drinks, packed lunch, and any other items of personal nature.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking?
Only one hour is allowed when you locate the mountain gorillas, but the time of finding them is still being determined. This is because of their free movement in the forest and other occurrences that may happen in the wilderness. Therefore, you may take about 2 hours or more from the starting time of the gorilla trek.
It would be best if you had some patience during gorilla trekking to trace the way about of the gorilla family you are allocated to. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker, but this doesn’t mean delaying the rest of the group.
How Much Is A Family Gorilla Trekking Safari?
The gorilla trekking tour costs have the cost of the gorilla permit as the principal, but other factors also contribute to the overall cost. Each family member is required to have a personal gorilla permit. Some of these include:
The number of Gorilla trekking eligible family members
The more paying members joining the gorilla trekking safari, the less the safari cost per person. You can share some safari amenities like vehicle hire, gas, driver guide fee, etc.
The number of days on gorilla trekking safari
The more days you take on the gorilla trekking safari, the higher the cost because most service providers charge per-day costs.
Timing for booking the family gorilla trekking adventure
When you book gorilla trekking in the peak season, the cost is high because of the high demand for services in this high Uganda tourism season. The low season may come with discounted prices on safari
Additional activities combined with gorilla trekking
The more activities combined with gorilla trekking, like chimpanzee trekking and game drives, the higher the gross safari cost.
How Dangerous Are the Mountain Gorillas?
Mountain gorillas are calm primates despite their scary outlook because of their dark-furred bodies. They walk by knuckle local motion and have dark brown deep eyes. Yet, despite this look, the mountain gorillas are serene, and in the history of gorilla trekking, no confrontation has ever happened between mountain gorillas to humans.
Which accommodation to book for the gorilla trekking safari?
Booking family rooms during gorilla trekking would be a great idea, but where not possible, you may request rooms close to one another during gorilla trekking. This gives you time to have fun together and sleep closer to each other.
The gorilla trekking accommodations are graded according to luxury, mid-range, and budget.
Some Rwanda gorilla trekking accommodations include Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Mountain gorilla view lodge, Kinigi guest house, Hotel Mille Collines, Le Bambou, and La Palme.
Uganda gorilla trekking accommodations in Bwindi include Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, and Mahogany Springs.
Mgahinga National Park accommodations: Gahinga Lodge and others can be reserved in Kisoro town.
Can I Reschedule The Gorilla Trekking Permits?
Yes, you can reschedule the gorilla trekking permits according to the procedure of the responsible authorities.
When permitted to reschedule to a new date, our safari consultant rechecks availability as per your new dates, and your permits are booked. Uganda allows two chances of rescheduling, but the third time calls for a surcharge of 25% of the total Uganda permit cost and permission from the Executive director.
Which Country is best for family gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
Selecting which Country is best for gorilla trekking can only be reached when you attend gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. The feeling most tourists get after visiting the mountain gorillas is cryptic. Knowing you are among the lucky tourists for the day to attend gorilla trekking is unmatched. A few of the below may bring out the gorilla trekking adventure experience between Uganda and Rwanda.
The cost of the gorilla trekking permit whereby Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person, while the Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
The time taken to drive from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours. In contrast, going to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, or Mgahinga National Park, takes about 8 to 9 hours.
Uganda has 19 gorilla families and 152 trek permits with two used gorilla habituation safari. Rwanda currently has 12 gorilla families, with 96 permits available for gorilla trekking.
For A stopover gorilla trekking experience in Africa, Rwanda is the ideal destination because the least number of days for a gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda is two days gorilla trekking. In comparison, Uganda’s least number of days on gorilla trekking safari is three days gorilla trekking.
Uganda has more optional safari for activities to combine with gorilla trekking, while Rwanda has limited choices of activities to do on safari.
You can do gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda and get the feel of both countries, although one is a transit country. The drive time from Kigali airport into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga national park is about 6 to 7 hours.
What Are The Rules Of Gorilla Trekking As A Family
- Do not surround the gorillas, so stay closer to the group of trekkers you are allocated with so as not to make them feel ambushed.
- Speak at low tome when you communicate while searching for the mountain gorillas in the wilderness. The mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers are very suspicious of intruders in their vicinity.
- Spitting on the ground and vegetation is forbidden because this is food for the mountain gorillas.
- You may pass germs to these highly susceptible primates to human infections.
- Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch a communicable infection like Coronavirus. This may lead to the massive death of the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas have about 96% human DNA.
- Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden as this may cause them to move into the deeper ends of the forest once they are agitated.
- Never feed the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals that must search for their food.
- Wearing a mask is a must during gorilla trekking as a measure adopted after the Covid -19 pandemic to reduce on chances of passing this virus or other infections to the mountain gorillas; remember to sanitize your shoes before starting the gorilla trek.
- Only persons aged 15 years and above are allowed to do gorilla trekking. This is because the time of locating the mountain gorillas is still being determined, yet the forest topography is steep. These may not favor a child below this age.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is for conservation reasons as they are habituated to be in human presence for just that time.
- Dumping garbage in the wilderness, especially indecomposable waste like plastic wraps, may alter the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas feed. The forest is the sole provider for the mountain gorillas.