How do you know that your gorilla trek in Uganda or Rwanda is guaranteed?
The chance of seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda is 98% guaranteed. This is because of the nature of the mountain gorillas that live in family cohesion and occupy a particular feeding area for some time. They relocate together to new feeding areas when food is exhausted in their current location.
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What Guarantees Seeing Mountain Gorillas During Trekking Safari
Gorilla Habituation Process
A wild Mountain gorilla family is first habituated to be in the presence of humans for at least 1 hour. Gorilla habituation is the process of getting wild mountain gorillas used to the presence of humans without altering their nature. In Uganda, 19 gorilla families have been fully habituated and opened for tourism. Rwanda so far has 15 gorilla families opened for tourism after full habituation.
Gorilla habituation takes time, depending on how the family copes with the researchers and habituation. Gorilla habituation may take about two years to more years. With this process, chances of seeing the mountain gorillas are widened for possible tourists
The High Cost of Gorilla Trekking Permits for Uganda And Rwanda
The gorilla trekking permit cost for Uganda and Rwanda is high but worth every penny. The Uganda gorilla permit costs $800 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $700 per person for foreign residents, and 150000shs East African residents.
Rwanda gorillas permit costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents, and $300 for East African Residents.
The permit price includes one hour with a fully habituated mountain gorilla family, ranger guide fees, park fees for the day, security, gorilla conservation fund support, and community support.
Each gorilla permits you purchase contributes a lot to the conservation of the once highly endangered mountain gorillas. Although they are habituated to human presence, they still maintain their nature.
No tourist has ever traveled and not seen the mountain gorillas as long as he or she follows the advise given during briefing.
With this gorilla permit cost, tourists are guaranteed to see the mountain gorillas.
Body Size Of The Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas also have bulky bodies that do not hinder fast movement compared to other primates that are swift. A fully-grown male mountain gorilla may weigh about 180 kg and 90 kg for female adults making it quite hard to move fast.
Topography Of The Gorilla Trekking Area
Even the topography of the areas where mountain gorillas spend their time is volcanic, making movement quite challenging, especially on the steep slopes. This opens more chances of locating the mountain gorillas in the forest.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are Uganda’s only homes of mountain gorillas, and the land is covered by jagged highlands composed of ridges and plateaus. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is composed of five volcanoes that are mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabyinyo, Mountain Bisoke, and Mountain Karisimbi
Rate Of Movement For The Mountain Gorillas
The locomotion of the mountain gorillas is by knuckle movement, which makes it hard for them to dash very fast in the jungle so they can be spotted at any time. Other wild animals have limbs that move very fast in the forest.
Even though some families of mountain gorilla have adventurous dominant silverbacks, they do not go on adventure all the time. Chance of locating such a gorilla family are available.
Thick Tangled Vegetation Cover In the Mountain Gorillas Habitats
The vegetation where mountain gorillas spend their day is thick with tangled creepers that have survived numerous years. These may block the huge bodies of the mountain gorillas from moving fast so, making it possible to locate them during gorilla trekking.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lowland forest at 1160 meters to rare Afromontane vegetation above 2700 meters. Bwindi forest has weaved itself into tangles over 30000 years and is one of the survivors of the arid conditions of the last ice age period.
Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda vegetation is composed of grass and bush that is regenerating after it had been encroached on by farmers, has montane woodland followed by bamboo zone, montane forest, and Ericaceous zone. This vegetation sequence is all year round, creating a steady habitat for the mountain gorillas.
Un Predictable Weather In the Virunga Area
The weather of the Virunga area where rains fall at any time without warning makes the movement of the mountain gorillas challenging. At times where the mountain gorillas would hide; that is to say, the slopes are slippery from the unpredictable rains making it difficult for them to keep away from their usual location.
When it rains severely, the rangers know where the mountain gorillas are likely to be In case not traced on the lower ground. They move to the slopes especially when the ground gets soggy and slippery. With such prior information, you are guaranteed to see the mountain gorillas.
What Are the Requirements For Gorilla Trekking safari In Uganda And Rwanda?
The gorilla trekking permit is the ticket that allows you to enter the habitat of the mountain gorillas. In Uganda, you purchase gorilla trekking permits from Uganda wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board, the permit-selling body.
The Uganda gorilla permits currently cost $800, and the Rwanda permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
You can purchase these permits in Instalments, that is to say, 30% and 70 % of the total cost. You must remember to top up 90 days before the date of trekking or lose the permit.
Are gorilla Permit refunds or Rescheduling Allowed
In case you do not do gorilla trekking and report in advance accordingly, chances of a refund are available according to the refund policy of either the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board. A refund is, however, not a guarantee and requires some patience.
Alternatively, rescheduling the gorilla permit date is possible instead of refunding, but all required procedures must be followed keenly.
You write to either Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda development board stating the reason why you wish to reschedule your gorilla permit. Indicate the date to which you wish to reschedule the gorilla permit.
Include evidence to support your request.
If you can reschedule, our safari consultant has to recheck for availability from the gorilla permit list of Uganda or Rwanda. Your gorilla permit is then rescheduled in Uganda. You can reschedule for another time, but the third time gorilla permit rescheduling in Uganda attracts a surcharge of 25% of the total cost.
What Accommodation To Book For Gorilla Trekking Tour in Uganda and Rwanda
Overnighting closer or within the destinations where you are doing gorilla trekking before the day of trekking would be the best choice. This prevents you from panicking early morning when you have to catch up with briefing at the ranger station. The accommodation range from luxury to Mid-range to Budget
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Mahogany Spring, Chameleon’s Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Silverback Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Enga Lodge, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, and others
Note: Book accommodations for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park according to the area where your gorilla permit is booked. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park permits are booked according to the area. These areas include Buhoma area in the north, Ruhijah area is the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo area in the southern part of Bwindi Forest.
Accommodations For Mgahinga National Park
Gahinga lodge and others can be booked in Kisoro town
Accommodation For Volcanoes National Park
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Lebambou, and others
How To Get To Uganda or Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Destinations
To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma is the quickest route to get t the gorilla trekking Buhoma area of Bwindi. The road trip from Kampala to Rukungiri is 390 kilometers; the connect with 82 kilometers to Buhoma.
Kampala to Kabale to Ruhija to Buhoma requires you to have a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle because the road is in poor condition. From Kampala to Kabale, you take 414 kilometers, then 95 kilometers from Kabale to Ruhijah to Buhoma.
Queen Elizabeth National Park to Buhoma takes 160 kilometers from Mweya, then 64 kilometers from the Ishasha sector of the park.
To Mgahinga National Park
Kampala to Kabale to Kisoro to Ntebeko center in Mgahinga National Park takes 540 kilometers . From Kampala to Kabale, the drive is 414 kilometers, then 80 kilometers from Kabale to Kisoro and continues to Ntebeko center for 14 kilometers.
To Volcanoes National Park
The drive time from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours through winding roads.
To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park
Daily domestic flights depart Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip, lasting 1 hour and a half to two hours. You must secure a transfer vehicle to the National parks. This is because the flights do not land in the national parks
Charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport are available too
To Volcanoes National Park
Charter flights from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park can be hired.
How Much is A Gorilla Trekking Safari In Uganda or Rwanda?
The cost of a gorilla trekking safari starts with the gorilla permit cost that cuts across all budgets, whether budget, luxury or Mid-range.
Other factors that make up the gross cost of gorilla trekking safari include:
The time of booking the gorilla safari, where the high season normally has high costs of services like vehicle hire and accommodation booking. The low season normally attract discounted costs.
The more people traveling for gorilla trekking where more people added to gorilla trekking safari, the less the cost per person per trek. You get to share some costs. Solo tourists on gorilla trekking safari bear the entire safari cost
A number of times you are to do gorilla trekking, whereby in case you do are to do double gorilla trekking, the cost is high because you need to purchase another permit.
The more days on safari the higher the gross cost because most of the components of gorilla trekking safari are charged per day. The more days, the higher the cost.
Other activities you combine with gorilla trekking as you can combine gorilla trekking with chimpanzee trekking, game drives, birding safaris, and so much more. Each of these activities is charged differently.
What Not to Do During Gorilla Trekking?
- No littering the forest during gorilla trekking as this may alter the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas thrive.
- Spitting on vegetation is forbidden as you may pass germs to the mountain gorillas that entirely depend on foliage for survival.
- Children below 15 years are forbidden from entering the forest. This is because the time for locating the mountain gorillas is unknown. Some patience of required before spotting the mountain gorillas.
- Do not speak in a high tone while in the forest because this may push the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers into hiding.
- Do not enter the forest in case you catch a communicable infection like cough, flu, covid-19. You may pass these germs to the mountain gorillas that are highly susceptible.
- Ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you in case you wish to take along call and cover well beyond recognition so that nothing is exhumed.
- Do not sneeze or cough when close to the mountain gorillas so as to prevent chances of passing an infection to the mountain gorillas.
- Avoid eating close to the mountain gorillas, at least 300 meters away so that you limit the chances of the mountain gorillas grabbing eats from you. They are wild animals that must not survive human provision.
- The use of flash photography is forbidden as it may scare mountain gorillas.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. They are habituated to being in the presence of humans for just that time.
Contact us for more information.