Gorilla trekking holidays in Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is the activity of following the habituated mountain gorillas in the wilderness. Mountain gorillas are some of the endangered primates in the world with current census having about 1000 mountain gorillas in the entire world.
By 1980s, census carried out by American philanthropist Dian Fossey showed 250 mountain gorillas were then living in the world. This put the mountain gorillas on the list of the highly endangered species in the world. Her work was supported by several international organizations including National Geographic
In Uganda mountain gorillas live in Bwindi impenetrable National park which is about 327 square kilometers wide. Its mountain gorillas permits are sold according to area because pf its vast area. This was done to give equal visits to all area.
In the past people used to book mostly, the northern Bwindi gorilla family permits. This made others area less visited yet the gorilla habituation takes time and a lot of money. The habituated gorillas in others areas were turning back to wild behaviors so the per area gorilla permit strategy was adopted.
At the moment, Bwindi Impenetrable National park has about 18 habituated gorilla trekking families open for tourism. The Park also has two gorilla families in the southern sector open for gorilla habituation.
Mgahinga National park is the other mountain gorilla park in Uganda occupying about 33.7 square kilometers of land. This park lies in the fur southern western corner of Uganda and is one of the less visited parks with virgin vegetation cover.
The park so far has one gorilla trekking family open for tourists viewing that is Nyakagezi gorilla family. In the past, this family used to wonder into Rwanda and D.R.Congo. This is why its gorilla permits were sold on ground.
Rwanda’s mountain gorilla destination is the Volcanoes National Park. it’s in this park that Dian Fossey staged her mountain gorilla research station the Karisoke Research Center. All current research about the mountain gorillas is always based on her findings.
You need a gorilla trekking permit for Uganda and Rwanda. You must know the date when you wish to do gorilla trekking. It is possible to do gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda in the same safari
When booking the gorilla trekking permit, you need to check availability of the gorilla permits with Uganda wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board. They are sold according to per day.
Know the number of gorilla permits you wish to book in case you have a party you were trekking with. Moving back and forth looking for availability of more gorilla permits in Uganda in case you get additional people to join may disturb your arrangement in case they get sold off.
You are requested to pay for your gorilla trekking permits as soon as availability is positive. This is because of the high demand for the gorilla permits worldwide. They are sold according to first come first served basis. No one is allowed to reserve a gorilla trekking permit without payment as this is the only confirmation for your interest in taking this adventure.
We require you to provide some personal details especially for gorilla permits in Uganda. Some of these include your full names as per your passport, nationality, passport expiry date, date of birth and others. The Uganda Wildlife Authority prints gorilla permit cards with these details embedded on the black stripe behind the card. Some of these are added to your certificate of gorilla trekking accomplishment in Uganda.
Rwanda still prints paper gorilla trekking permits.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is open all year round. However, the peak seasons that is June to September and December to January call for a high demand for the gorilla trekking permits.
You need to book your gorilla permit at least 6 months in advance to avoid last minute panic or being waitlisted during these seasons. Chances of paying for the gorilla permits in instalments are high when you purchase them at least before 90 days to the date of your gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Ensure you book accommodation for your gorilla trekking holidays in Uganda or Rwanda. This is because briefing for gorilla trekking is very early in the morning and no one of allowed to do the trek without briefing.
In Uganda you need to know the area where your gorilla permit is booked to avoid waking up early to drive to the briefing point before booking accommodation. Staying in the area within or close to where your permits is booked in Uganda prevents you from waking very early to drive through the slippery roads at times.
Even flights whether schedules or private gorilla trekking safaris have to be booked in advance. This is because of the high demand for seats on the scheduled domestic flights to Kihihi or Kisoro Air strips in Uganda.
The cost of the gorilla trekking holidays in Uganda and Rwanda starts with the gorilla permit. In Uganda, the cost of gorilla permits now is $700 per person per trek. The Rwanda gorilla permit cost is currently $1500 per person per trek.
The cost of the entire gorilla trekking holiday in Uganda and Rwanda depends on facts like the number of days on safari, number of people travelling with, safari package you are taking that is luxury, midrange and budget package. Even the number of activities you are combining with gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda contribute a lot to the gross cost.
The feeling of gorilla trekking is unmatched no matter where you go whether in Uganda or Rwanda. The feeling you get when standing in front of the mountain gorillas makes you forget all the hassel you go through while searching to locate the mountain gorillas.
Some of these differences come from the distance, number of gorilla families and so much more
The drive from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes takes about 3 hours going through well set roads although meandering through hills. In Uganda, the drive from Entebbe airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National park takes about 8 hours to 9 hours.
Uganda has about 19 gorilla trekking families open for tourists viewing while Rwanda has about 13 gorilla trekking families open for tourists viewing.
The cost of Rwanda gorilla trekking permit currently is $1500 per person while the cost of Uganda gorilla trekking permit is $700 per person per trek.
Uganda has a wide range of others activities to combine with gorilla trekking that is game drives, chimpanzee trekking, white waters rafting, birding and others. In Rwanda there are limited choices of others activities to combine with gorilla trekking that is game drives in only Akagera National park, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park and others.
It is possible to do gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda taking about 6 hours to 7 hours to reduce on the distance takes to connect from Entebbe Airport or Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is 8 hours to 9 hours away.
Gorilla trekking is done in the volcanic area of Virunga area. You need to have some level of fitness to enjoy the entire experience. You need to do some exercises to get your muscles ready to maneuver highland area.
You do not need to be in the gym all the time to do gorilla trekking but stretch your limbs a little more to go through the entire experience. This areas receives rain without warning so expect soggy and slippery trail most of the time. Because of the little sunlight penetration to the ground and rivers that overflow during severe rains, it gets boggy.
You need to wear the right safari boots that can withstand such conditions and can be used to walk over water logged ground.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda can be done as many times as you wish. Each gorilla trekking permit is scheduled for just that one day when it is booked. You are free to do gorilla trekking as many times as you wish because the first glance at the mountain gorillas may stimulate some adrenaline.
Getting used to the presence of the mountain gorillas is quite heard because of there adorable look and heavy dark bodies.
In case you wish to close off a gorilla family for a more private experience, you can do it in case no one is booked to that gorilla family or area.
Accommodation for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda must be booked close to the gorilla trekking destinations. This is because tourists have to wake up early to attend briefing at the park headquarters. In Rwanda, you can spend the night in Kigali city and wake up early to do drive to ORTPN but its impossible in Uganda because of the long distance.
Some of the Volcanoes National park Rwanda accommodations include Mountain gorilla View lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel La Palme and others
A few of Bwindi impenetrable National Park Lodges Include Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Clouds Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Forest Lodge and others
Mgahinga National park accommodations include Volcanoes Camp, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Mutanda Lake Resort, Traveller’s Inn, Community Camp, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Majambere Iwach , Mountain Gahinga Lodge,
Contact us for more information about gorilla holidays in Uganda and Rwanda and please check out our trip advisor review.