Minimum days for a gorilla tour starting from Entebbe Uganda
The minimum number of days you can be on the Uganda gorilla tour, starting and ending in Entebbe or Kampala, is three days. On the first day drives or fly to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the second-day gorilla safari adventure and the third day is departure day.
Most Popular Safaris
You can do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience on the Uganda tour. During the gorilla trekking tour, tourists follow a fully habituated gorilla family to have one hour with them. The time is restricted to one hour with the mountain gorillas to reduce the chances of after-effects of human presence on the mountain gorillas and the habitat.
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where a maximum of four tourists are allowed to escort a team of researchers in the wilderness for four hours with them. During the gorilla habituation experience, tourists may be asked to help collect samples, observe the behavior of the mountain gorillas, and name the mountain gorillas and others.
Uganda has only two gorilla safari destinations, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. At the moment, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 18 gorilla trekking families and two gorilla habituation families. Mgahinga National Park currently hosts only one gorilla trekking family called Nyakagezi.
You must have a gorilla permit for either trekking or habituation experience, which you need to book in advance. The gorilla permits are in high demand worldwide, yet supply is limited to a maximum of 8 gorilla trekking permits per family or 4 gorilla habituation permits per day, so secure one in advance. During the peak season, which is June to September, and December to January, gorilla permits sell out earlier, creating scarcity as the season breaks in.
For gorilla trekking permits from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you must note the areas where these permits are booked. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is subdivided into four areas that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo areas.
3 day Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour From Entebbe
Day 1 Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
From Entebbe, your drive guide pocks you from your overnight hotel to start the voyage to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You may make a stopover at the equator at Kayabwe for the water experiment and take photos standing on both sides of the earth at the same time. Enjoy lunch en route and arrive in the park late evening.
The drive from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 8 to 9 hours. You can take several routes depending on the conditions of the roads.
Arrive and check into your accommodations
Bwindi accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Engage Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Buhoma Community Camp, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpacker’s Camp.
Day 2: Gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Whether you choose to do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience, you must report to the ranger station early morning for briefing. The ranger guides take you through the dos and don’t of gorilla safari adventure which you must follow religiously. Each tourists is allocated a gorilla family then the ranger guides lead the way.
The time of finding the mountain gorillas may be hard to determine but some patience is required in order to complete the trek. Look out for other primates in the forest like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboons, l’Hoest’s, and others. Bwindi forest is Uganda’s prime birding destination so grab this opportunity to spot a number of birds.
When you locate the mountain gorillas, wait for the ranger guides to establish the mood of the gorilla family before taking photos. When taking photos, do not use a flashlight as you may anger the sensitive mountain gorillas.
One hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking and four hours viewership during the gorilla habituation experience.
Day 3 : Depart Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Entebbe
After the gorilla tour, drive back to Entebbe. Carry nothing from the forest except memories and photographs to get back to and leave nothing but footprints. This is the best way to sustainably conserve the mountain gorillas and there habitats.
How To Book Gorilla Permits For three day Gorilla Tour in Uganda
Select a date and the number of people you hope to travel with. This helps with checking availability and avoiding moving back and forth with this. Select whether to do gorilla trekking or habituation experience
Upon receiving your gorilla safari inquiry and these details at Encounter Africa Safaris, we checked for availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority list. We are one of the few companies accredited to have access to the gorilla permit list.
Upon finding availability, we get back to you. We advise clients to book their gorilla permits as soon as possible to avoid losing them. Uganda Wildlife Authority issues gorilla permits on a first come, first served basis, yet none is reserved without payment.
Later, forward us personal details to add to your gorilla permit card, like your full name as presented on the passport, date of birth, Nationality, and expiry date.
How much is the cost of gorilla permits for Uganda
The gorilla trekking permit for Uganda costs:
- $800 for foreign nonresidents
- $700 for foreign residents
- 300000shs for East Africans
Gorilla habituation permit cost:
- $1500 for foreign nonresidents
- $1000 for foreign residents
- 750000shs for East Africans.
What Does The Cost Of Gorilla Permit Cover?
The cost of a gorilla permit covers park entrance fees, security, ranger guide fees, researcher fees for gorilla habituation experience, four hours of gorilla habituation or one hour of gorilla trekking, government tax, mountain gorilla conservation, certificate after the gorilla safari, local community support.
Exclusion in the cost of Uganda gorilla permit include tips, transport, porter hire and any other personal expenditures.
When is the best Time To Book Gorilla safaris in Uganda?
Booking gorilla safaris in Uganda is open all year but the most demand is dry season which is normally June, July, August, September, December, and January. The animals in the wilderness are more active, and the forest is full of life. Although less sunlight is received through the dense forest canopy to the ground, less precipitation is received in the forest during the dry season. The traits are more passable, and rivers flow in their normal course.
Despite the fact that gorilla permits are restricted to maximum 8 for gorilla trekking and maximum 4 for gorilla habituation experience, supply doesn’t change even when demand is high. You need to secure the gorilla permit in advance to avoid last-minute disappointment. It is challenging to find gorilla permits for the peak season at the last moment.
Low-season gorilla permits may be available at the last minute but are not always guaranteed. The low season normally collides with the wet season which is March, April, May, and November. Although chances to finding gorilla permit availability at the last minute are more open in the low season, you must purchase yours just to be safe. The status of gorilla permit availability changes without warning no matter the season.
What Transport to use during Gorilla Tour in Uganda?
Road transport is the main mean to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National park. There are various routes to the different areas of this forest so you must consider this in case you are in self-drive. Some of the routes you can use to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include :
Entebbe to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma distance to drive is about 534 kilometers
Entebbe to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma distance to drive is approximately 472 kilometers
Entebbe to Kabale to Nkuringo distance to cover is about 519 kilometers.
You must hire a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle in good condition and a driver guide familiar with these routes to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as some are seasonal routes.
Daily domestic flights from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrips are available and you can book a seat in advance. These flights also sell out so you must book yours in advance. You must secure a transfer vehicle to your lodge.
Charter flight arrangements from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe airport can be arranged on request. Advance booking is needed to do the necessary clearance. Hire a transfer vehicle too.
When do you return from the gorilla tour?
The return time after the gorilla safari is hard to determine because the time of locating the mountain gorillas is hard to know too. Mountain gorillas are free animals that traverse the forest without restrictions. Although the gorilla family is habituated to be in human presence, they still possess their natural traits, which include searching for their own food, mood swings, and others.
With these factors, finding the mountain gorillas in the wilderness may depend on factors like proximity of their feeding ground, death of a family member, adventurous nature of the family, pace of fellow tourists and others.
When you locate the mountain gorillas, only one hour is allowed with them during gorilla trekking and four hours during gorilla habituation experience. Time with the mountain gorillas is restricted to that to allow them to carry on with their day-to-day life like feeding, grooming, lounging, and others; human presence disrupts the running of the mountain gorillas’ life, so there is a need to minimize it.
Are Mountain Gorilla Dangerous?
Mountain gorillas are not dangerous despite there intimidating outlook. The body size of the mountain gorillas compared to other primates is quite huge with a fully growth male gorilla weighing about 300 kilograms and the fully grown female may weigh about half. Physically, mountain gorillas have hard-furred bodies with dark brown sunken eyes which may scare someone at a glance.
When you sink into the time you have with the mountain gorillas, you realize how vulnerable they are. Your heart melts as you watch them do there daily activities just similar to humans. Most tourists have emerged from gorilla safari adventures feeling some sort of attachment to these primates.
In nature, the mountain gorillas are calm and serene, so unless provoked, they do not cause harm to their visitors.
This doesn’t mean you provoke the mountain gorillas because they can charge. When angry, the mountain gorillas thump hard there chest, hoot, pull grass around them, walk on one foot and so much more. When you see this, you must not run or shout, as you will escalate the situation.
Wait for the ranger guide to establish the root cause of the matter and follow his or her guidelines in order not to cause any more anger. Sometimes the mountain gorillas are angry with each other or have been attacked by another gorilla family.
Is Gorilla Safari in Uganda difficult?
The gorilla safaris are quite difficult because of the nature of the terrain of Bwindi and Mgahinga forests. These mountain gorillas sometimes spent there daytime on the slopes or deep in the valleys so you must hike to get to them.
The way may be soggy and slippery from the regular rains that fall and decomposing manure. Bwindi locally means impenetrable and indeed this is fit for this forest because it has thick vegetation tangled overtime. This may obstruct your way and prevent you from proceeding to locate the mountain gorillas.
The ranger guides may trim these creepers to create a way for you to get to the mountain gorillas. These sharp surfaces may be challenging to go through so you need to be careful.
In order to complete the gorilla safari, you need to bare some level of fitness so as not to get muscle pulls, hire a porter before starting the gorilla tour so as not to be dragged by the heavy gorilla trekking gear. As you pack for the gorilla safari, pack the right items so as not to get inconvenienced while walking in the forest. There ae biting nettles that may sting you while searching to find the mountain gorillas.
Hiring the porters to carry your gorilla safari gear is one of the direct ways to give back to the local community. they use the fund collected to support the running of there day today life.
Our safari consultants are ready to plan your safari today. Contact us for more information.