Encounter Africa safaris have conducted Uganda gorilla trekking trips and we highly recommend trekking gorillas in Uganda. Uganda is the leading destinations for gorilla tourism as it has half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. The Mountain Gorillas in Uganda can be found in the hilly tropical forests in southwestern Uganda and you will be able to view the gorillas in their natural environment. The chances of seeing the gorillas in Uganda is 98% since it has half of the world’s population of these great endangered apes. There are 19 habituated gorilla families in Uganda found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National park, every gorilla family is allocated 8 visitors per day which gives you an opportunity to visit the gorillas any time of the year.
Uganda is one the East African countries where tourism is done and particularly gorilla trekking activity. Gorilla trekking is managed by Uganda wildlife Authority which is a government body in charge of all tourism activities and conservation in all the national parks and Wildlife reserves. The security while doing gorilla trekking is guaranteed as safety of the visitors is top priority. There is a lot to see and do in Uganda besides gorilla tracking. Encounter Africa safaris will help you plan a vacation having gorilla trekking as well as see the rest of the highlights of the country.
About gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking means visiting the gorillas in their natural habitat in the forest, the trek in Uganda starts at 7:00am with briefing on the dos and don’ts while moving in the forest and with the gorillas. After briefing, the park guides, rangers, and trackers lead you to the forest to find the gorillas. You are allowed one hour of viewing the gorillas when found and later you return to the starting point to receive a certificate for the successful gorilla trekking in Uganda. The gorillas are amazing to watch as they have 95% of the human DNA. Only eight visitors allowed to see gorillas per habituated family per day according to Uganda wildlife Authority policy so as to conserve the gorillas. To be allowed to do gorilla trekking, you must be aged 15 years and above as per the policy and minors are not allowed to trek since they may not easy be controlled in the forest and may easily transmit diseases to the gorillas. Uganda is good for gorilla trekking, policies and guidelines are in place for trekking and conservation which as Encounter Africa safaris we always share with you while planning your gorilla trip.
Where to do gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National park, these two parks give you options making Uganda good for gorilla trekking in East Africa as detailed below.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest National park is the where gorilla tourism started in Uganda in 1993, the park is located in southwestern Uganda sharing boarder with Congo, it is one of the only 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.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the Virunga volcanic mountain chain of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda famous for Mountain gorilla trekking. The park is located in Kisoro district south western Uganda boarded by Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi Forest National Park in Uganda. Mgahinga gorilla national park has three volcanoes namely Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Muhabura all of which are part of the six Virunga Mountains. Though it is the smallest Park in Uganda, it harbors the endangered mountain gorilla and the Golden Monkeys and other wildlife species. Mgahinga has only one habituated gorilla group for gorilla trekking.
How many gorilla Habituated families are in Uganda for gorilla trekking?
Uganda has 19 habituated gorilla families found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National park, Bwindi has 18 Habituated gorilla families and Mgahinga has one habituated gorilla family all for gorilla trekking. In Bwindi, every sector has gorilla families named and every day allocated to visitors for gorilla trekking namely; Buhoma sector there is Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Katwe Gorilla Group. In Ruhija sector, there is Bitukura Gorilla Family, Oruzogo family, Mukiza gorilla family, Kyaruguriro Gorilla Family. In Rushaga sector there is Nshongi Gorilla Group, Mishaya Gorilla Group, Bweza Gorilla Group, Bikyingi gorilla family, Kahungye Gorilla Family, Busingye Gorilla Family and Mucunguzi gorilla family. In Nkuringo there is Nkuringo Gorilla Family, Bushaho Gorilla family, Christmas Gorilla Family. Mgahinga national park has only one habituated gorilla group named Nyakagezi for gorilla trekking.
What is the price of the gorilla trekking permit in Uganda?
Uganda has about 176 gorilla trekking permits per day, the price of the gorilla trekking permits is cheap compared to Rwanda Gorilla trekking permits and this is makes Uganda good for gorilla trekking as permits are affordable. The Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs USD800 per person for Non-Foreign Residents, USD700 for Foreign Residents and Shs.300, 000 for East African Citizens. The gorilla trekking permit prices are same for both Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and you are allowed only one hour of viewing of the gorillas.
The gorilla trekking permits normally sell out so very 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 availability of permits online system for Uganda Wildlife Authority and if permits are available, 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 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.
What is the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda?
The best time to trek gorillas in Uganda during the drier months of January, February, June, July, August and early September, these months experience less rainfall though the climate changes every day. Any time of the year, you can visit the gorillas. Sometimes, the rainy season is considered better to see the gorillas as there is a lot of food growing because of rain and gorillas can clearly be spotted. Gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly and all those interested in trekking gorillas during this time should book their gorilla permits in advance.
How to access Uganda for gorilla trekking?
You can access Uganda by flying into Entebbe International Airport and start your trip from Entebbe/Kampala to southwestern Uganda for your gorilla trek. You can opt for Road trip which is about 9-10 hours or fly to Kisoro or Kihihi Airstrips that serve Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park. You can also fly into Kigali International Airport, drive to southwestern Uganda through Cyanika or Katuna Border which take 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. The East African Visa fee costs USD100 which can be gotten 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. Uganda is easily accessible and guaranteed for all nationals and should be your choice for gorilla trekking.
Where to stay on a gorilla trekking trip in Uganda?
Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park have many lodges/Hotels where you can stay on your gorilla trekking tour. These range from budget to high end hotels and Encounter Africa safaris can help you book the hotel of your choice and budget. In Mgahinga National Park you can stay at Gahinga Lodge which is a luxury hotel/Lodge, Lake Chahafi Resort and Lake Mulehe safari lodge which are midrange lodges. In Bwindi, we recommend staying in the sector where you are trekking for easy accessibility of the park headquarters. In Rushaga, you can stay at Rushaga Gorilla camp, Four Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, in Nkuringo you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge, Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge. In Buhoma sector you can stay at Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany springs Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, and Gorilla forest camp. In Ruhija sector you can stay at Trekkers tavern Lodge, Bakiga lodge or even at Lake Bunyonyi or lodges in Kabale town. The lodges are very many in Bwindi but they require to be booked in advance as they can be fully booked during high season. We always ensure standard service safety of clients on their stay.
Why book with Encounter Africa safaris to do gorilla trekking in Uganda?
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 more than 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 gorilla trekking safari. Encounter Africa safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor as well as Safari bookings. Please contact Encounter Africa safaris to plan your visit to trek the gorillas in Uganda.