Top four gorilla trekking points in Bwindi and gorilla families in each. Bwindi impenetrable forest National park is where gorilla tourism started in Uganda in 1993. The park is in southwestern Uganda sharing a border with Congo; it is one of the few two parks in Uganda where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in the world; it is home to more than half of the only remaining Mountain Gorillas in the wild making it famous and best place to trek the Mountain Gorillas. The park is one of the oldest forests in Africa and was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest National park is done in the four sectors namely Rushaga, Buhoma, and Ruhija and Nkuringo sector. The experience is all the sectors is the same and very enjoyable.
Gorilla trekking is one of the best activities to do in all regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla tracking refers to moving in the forest to see/view a given habituated mountain gorilla family. Gorilla trackers/advanced team/rangers use many signs and methods to trace these gorillas before gorilla trekking takes place, the trackers wake up very early every morning and go to the forest in search of these mountain gorillas. They use natural means to track them like clapping, making wild sounds. Once they find them, then they will communicate to the park headquarters and it’s then the guides after briefing the visitors on dos and don’ts. They will walk and trek in the forest as the trackers direct them. This gives you 99% chances of seeing the gorillas in their natural environment in either Nkuringo, Buhoma, Rushaga, or Ruhija.
Ruhija is one of the gorilla regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Ruhija region is located on the eastern side of the forest and in Rubanda district which was formerly part of Kabale district. Ruhija can be accessed by road through Mbarara, Kabale onwards to its park headquarters in the east of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. If coming from Buhoma regions, Ruhija is just 40 minutes drive through the forest making it easier to even stay in Buhoma and trekking gorillas in Ruhija. The advantage of Gorilla Trekking in Ruhija sector Bwindi Forest National park is its terrain which is not too hilly and steep compared to Rushaga and Nkuringo in Bwindi Forest National Park. This makes it a perfect place for aged travelers as well the less fit travelers. Ruhija as well as a variety of Budget Lodges that are affordable to stay at for accommodation and Camping groups during your Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest National park, making it easier for travelers most of these accommodations are very close to the starting point of Gorilla trekking at Ruhija sector in Bwindi Forest National Park. As well when you decide to do the trek in Ruhija sector apart from Gorilla Trekking, there are many other activities you can do apart from Gorilla trekking including Birding tours, Nature walk, Primate Walk and Batwa Cultural walk experience which are all pocket friendly.
Ruhija region has different habituated gorilla families open for gorilla tracking experience, each gorilla family has different gorilla individuals, and each gorilla family is headed and controlled by the dominant male gorilla the Silverback, a gorilla family is made up of approximately 18 individuals. Ruhija sector has four Gorilla Families that is Bitukura, Oruzogo, Mukiza and Kyaguriro all families are open for Gorilla tracking however for you to secure a spot for trekking you will need to book in advance. To trek mountain gorilla families in Ruhija region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park, you will have to book gorilla permits allowing you to visit Ruhija region. This is done on the day of reserving and securing your gorilla permit at UWA head quarters in Kampala. Once you have secured your gorilla permit for ruhija, you will have to drive to ruhija where you will be allocated a gorilla family of your choice depending on interest and physical fitness. For more information about booking Ruhija gorilla permits and gorilla family allocation, please contact Encounter Africa safaris on email.
Nkuringo gorilla region of Bwindi impenetrable national Park is of the core sectors for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Bwindi. Nkuringo is found in south western Uganda district of Kisoro and is one of the of the four sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national Park where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in the world. The gorilla trekking experience is the same and very enjoyable as any other sector. You can choose to trek in Nkuringo Bwindi depending on availability of gorilla permits and interest. Nkuringo region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park can be accessed by air or road. Those intending to fly to Nkuringo region should contact Encounter Africa safaris about the availability of flights to and from the region. Several Airline companies operate both charter and scheduled flights from Entebbe international Airport to Kisoro Airstrip from where you can be transferred by road to Nkuringo region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park. You can still access Nkuringo by road by driving 9-10 hours from Entebbe to Nkuringo or 5-6 hours from Kigali via Chanika boarder to Nkuringo region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Feel free to book our Flying safaris to Nkuringo, Gorilla trekking trips from Kigali or popular gorilla tours from Entebbe
Nkuringo gorilla trekking point has three habituated gorilla families for gorilla trekking in this region. Every gorilla family in Nkuringo is allocated 8 visitors per day which gives you an opportunity to visit the gorillas any time of the year. There are 24 gorilla permits available per day for gorilla trekking that allows you to see the gorillas for one hour. Uganda wildlife Authority is in charge of the protection and conservation of gorillas in Nkuringo and issuing gorilla trekking permits in all regions. Nkuringo region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest altitude and recommended for people who prefer tough hikes or treks. It has been recorded that some gorilla treks can take up to an entire day and require a certain level of fitness. If you are not all that fit, don’t worry because gorilla trekking is very possible with help of porters or hiring a sedan chair to carry you up to the gorillas. Hiring a porter cost between 15-20 dollars while a sedan chair costs from USD$300. Encounter Africa safaris arranger gorilla treks for both the young and elderly so you should not fail to achieve your dream of seeing the rare mountain gorillas just because you are physically unfit or old.
Gorilla tracking was done first in the Buhoma sector, and we refer it to as the back born of gorilla Tourism in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Uganda as a whole. Buhoma has five habituated Gorilla family groups, namely: Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Muyambi Gorilla Family, Katwe Gorilla family. Only 8 visitors are allowed to trek each gorilla family per day in Buhoma and are allowed one hour of viewing the gorillas in their natural environment.
You can select a gorilla family to track Buhoma Sector, Depending on your communication with Encounter Africa safaris about your fitness, your interest, or general healthy wellness, your driver-guide for your trip will put into consideration and communicate to the Park management about your condition/desire to have a have an easy trek or long trek. We consider it an easy trek for to you visit the gorilla family that is not very far in case you don’t have energy, physical condition, or you’re aged. You can even request for a specific gorilla family to trek by selecting the name of the family, and we shall always communicate with the Park guides and Authority to consider your request.
You can access Buhoma region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park by flying from Entebbe international Airport to Kihihi airstrip which is about 2 hours. From Kihihi Airstrip, you will transfer by road to your respective overnight Lodge for acclimatization and gorilla trekking preparation. Buhoma region is the most popular of the four regions of Bwindi impenetrable National Park and securing gorilla permits here should be done in advance since there is a lot of competition.
The price of the gorilla trekking permits is the same for all sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park. The gorilla trekking permit costs USD700 per person for Non-Foreign Residents, USD600 for Foreign Residents and Shs.250, 000 for East African Citizens. The trekking permit only allows one hour of viewing of the gorillas though it is such a lifetime experience to encounter with the gorillas. A gorilla permit of USD$700 allows you one hour with a family of habituated mountain gorillas and includes services of a ranger guide, certificate, and park entry fees for Bwindi impenetrable National Park.
The gorilla trekking permits normally sell out so quickly during the high season (January, February, July, August, September, and December every year. Contact Encounter Africa safaris about your planned trek and desired dates, we shall check the availability of permits online system for Uganda Wildlife Authority and if permits are available in Ruhija, we shall send you an invoice to make payment for the permits as they are top priority and if they are not available, you will choose other dates that have availability of permits. Once we receive payment, we shall book and secure your gorilla permits and send you copy of the receipt with booking ID to confirm your trek. The process of acquiring the gorilla permits is easy and Uganda will surely give you a lifetime experience with the gorillas.
Since Bwindi impenetrable National Park has four sectors for gorilla trekking namely; Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Rushaga, you will choose accommodation/Hotel depending on the sector you will trek gorillas from. When you check the availability of permits with us, we shall let you know which sector has permits available and also suggest the hotels in that sector. All these sectors have hotels/Lodges ranging from budget to midrange to luxury and to upmarket hotels with low-season rates and high-season rates. For example, In Buhoma sector you can stay at Buhoma community camp as a budget hotel, Buhoma Havens lodge as Midrange hotel, Bwindi lodge, Mahogany springs lodge, Buhoma lodge, as the Luxury lodge, and Gorilla forest camp as the Upmarket hotel. In Rushaga, you can stay at Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla camp, and four gorillas Lodge, in Nkuringo you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi Lodge, Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge. All accommodation facilities are up to standard, comfortable and safe for your gorilla experience in Uganda.
You can start your trip from Entebbe/Kampala to south-western Uganda to visit the Bwindi forest. You can opt for a Road trip which is about 9-10 hours to Bwindi, this gives you an opportunity to stop at the Equator for Photography and en route Lunch in Mbarara and other stops for landscape viewing.
You can as well choose to fly to Kisoro or Kihihi Airstrips that serve Bwindi impenetrable national park from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip. You can also fly into Kigali International Airport, drive to southwestern Uganda through Cyanika or Katuna Border, which takes only 4-5 hours with the time spent at immigration at the border. We always advise our visitors to acquire the East African Visa which allows multiple entries of both Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. We can get the East African Visa fee costs USD100 at the Airport upon arrival or online and it is cost-effective instead of buying single entry Visas. But you can as well opt to secure single Visas as well, the Rwandan Visa costs USD30 and Uganda Visa cost USD 50. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is safe for forest walks and very accessible for marvelous adventure.
Encounter Africa safaris is undoubtedly one of the leading tour operators conducting primate and natural history safaris in East Africa and for more information on what to pack for your gorilla trek, age limit for gorilla trekking, rules and regulations for gorilla treks and affordable Uganda gorilla holidays and Rwanda gorilla safari tours, do contact us on email, WhatsApp or phone and we will advise you accordingly.
Encounter Africa safaris is a local tour operator based in Uganda with its head offices in Entebbe. Encounter Africa safaris is run and owned by Ugandans. We have been in operation for over 15 years and we specialize in life-changing experiences and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB (Uganda Tourism Board). We have a good and long working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) making it easy to book your gorilla permits and services. Encounter Africa safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor as well as Safari bookings. Please contact Encounter Africa safaris next time you intend to visit any of the five East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. We will tailor your gorilla trekking to any gorilla region of your choice in Bwindi to best meet your expectations.
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