Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This article is focusing on gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and specifically, the location of Bwindi impentreble national Park, activities in Bwindi National Park, where to stay while in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, how to get to Bwindi impenetrable National Park by road or air, among others. Bwindi impenetrable National Park is wholly located in Uganda and is home to more than half of the used to be endangered mountain gorillas. Located in the south western part of Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable National Park is regarded as one of the best destinations to trek mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Encounter Africa safaris is proud to be providing quality and affordable gorilla tours to Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

About gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park

The history of gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park dates as far as 1993 when the first group of tourists were taken to visit the first habituated gorilla family. It is on record that by 1993, Mubare gorilla group in Buhoma side of Bwindi impenetrable National Park was the only one available for gorilla trekking since gorillas in this family had been trained to get used to the presence of human beings. Since then, many gorilla families have been habituated in the East, south and northern parts of Bwindi impenetrable national park. Over 17 habituated mountain gorilla families are resident in Ruhija in the east, Buhoma in the north, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south. Contact Encounter Africa safaris about the different mountain gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

Where is Bwindi impenetrable National Park located

For those interested in gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, the first question that needs to be answered in the location of Bwindi National Park. Bwindi impenetrable National Park is located in East Africa and to be specific in Uganda. Unlike other national Parks, Bwindi impenetrable national park is not shared amongst other countries but wholly lies in the southwestern part of Uganda in districts of Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro and Rubanda districts.

How much is gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park

The cost gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park is determined by the cost of gorilla permits, type of accommodation and mode of transport to and from the park. Gorilla permits cost USD600 (in 2019 but are subject to change in 2020), accommodation in Bwindi ranges from 60-up to 500 USD depending on your budget. Several Budget, Mid range and Luxury properties do exist and your choice and budget will determine the type of accommodation. The cost of transport ranges from 4×4 Safari vans and 4×4 Luxury Land cruisers. On average, the cheapest gorilla tour costs approximately $500 per person in a minimum group of 2 people sharing. Encounter Africa safaris organizes both Budget and Luxury gorilla tours to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national Park.

How do I get to Bwindi impenetrable National Park

There so many ways of accessing or getting to Bwindi impenetrable National Park. The traditional way of getting to Bwindi impenetrable National Park is driving from Entebbe international Airport to Bwindi. The drive from Entebbe to Bwindi is about 9-10 hours. Alternatively, you may choose to fly from Entebbe international Airport to Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip. Those from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi can be accessed via Ishasha sector and from Ishasha, it is about 2-3 hours drive to Buhoma and about 4-5 hours to Ruhija. Bwindi impenetrable National Park can be accessed via Kigali international Airport. Of recent, many tourists prefer flying into Kigali and driving to Uganda through Katuna or Chanika boarder onwards to Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Encounter Africa safaris organizes Bwindi gorilla safaris that start and end in Kigali. For more information about Uganda safaris from Kigali, please click here.

How do I book Bwindi gorilla permits?

Booking bwindi gorilla permits is very simple when you contact Encounter Africa safaris. Encounter Africa safaris works closely with Uganda Wildlife Authority and has access to Uganda gorilla permit data base. We have permission to access UWA gorilla permit booking system and as such, we are in position to check availability, reserve and book your bwindi gorilla permits 24/7 including weekends. All we need from you is the date/month and year when you intend to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park and we will go on and check availability and reserve them on the system. After reserving them, we will send you an invoice to enable you make payment. Once you send us proof of payment, we will go ahead to use our credit to secure your gorilla permit since credit card payments or transfers take up to 3-4 working days yet gorilla permits are issued on first come first serve. Please note that at the moment Encounter Africa safaris only book gorilla permits for those clients who book all inclusive gorilla safaris with us. Kindly choose from a wide range of Uganda gorilla safaris offered by Encounter Africa safaris, and we will gladly book and secure your gorilla permit at no extra cost.

When should I book Bwindi gorilla permits and tours?

It is advised to book your Bwindi gorilla permit in advance from one year to 4 months in advance. This is because gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park is only possible when one has secured his or her gorilla permit. The fact that gorilla permits in Bwindi as slightly more affordable compared to our counter parts Rwanda, they tend to sell out quickly. We therefore advise all our potential clients to contact Encounter Africa safaris 4-5 months in advance for us to secure your gorilla permit.

What is included in Bwindi gorilla permit?

Bwindi gorilla permit includes one hour with habituated mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, it also includes park entry fees and services of a well trained ranger guide who will be with you in the forest. Your gorilla permit includes your security while in the forest as well as services of the advanced team which goes ahead of everyone to look for these gorillas. At the end of your trek, you will be rewarded with a certificate which you should keep as a remembrance. Excluded in the cost of your gorilla permit is accommodation as well as transport to and from Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

How many regions are are in Bwindi impenetrable National Park

Bwindi impenetrable National Park has four regions where gorilla trekking takes place. The four gorilla trekking regions include Ruhija in the Eastern Part, Buhoma in the northern part plus Rushaga and Nkuringo in the southern part. Each of these gorilla trekking regions has several habituated mountain gorilla families that can be trekked. For more information about accommodation and how to access each of the region, do not hesitate to contact Encounter Africa safaris.

What is the best region to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi?

As earlier noted, Bwindi impenetrable National Park is divided into four regions of Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south. The issue of comparing these region is a matter of debate as each region has its own advantage and disadvantages. Buhoma region in the north is the most preferred because it was the first region where gorilla trekking took place in 1993 and because of this most good lodges are found in this area. Buhoma gorillas most especially Rushegura group tend to visit lodges and park headquarters something that has tended to attract tourists to this region. Buhoma region in the northern part of the forest has the lowest point when it comes to altitude and as such, people who fear altitude tend to prefer Buhoma. The other regions are equally good and chances of seeing gorillas are 95% too.

What you did not know about mountain gorilla families in Bwindi

Just like any other mountain gorilla national parks in the world, mountain gorillas live in families of about 5 to 20 or more members. Each gorilla group or family is headed by a dorminant male or silver bark. This dominant silverback is deputized by another silver or black bark in the family. Black barks, female members. Juvenile and babies tend to compose a family of gorillas in the bwindi impenetrable National Park. There tends to be internal succession struggles which involve fighting to proof to each other as to who is strong and thus eligible to head the group. If the dominant silverbark is defeated in the due course, it may decide to start living a lonely life or attack other gorilla families for members or taking them over. For more details about the behavior of mountain gorillas, feel free to contact Encounter Africa safaris.

How are Bwindi gorilla permits allocated?

One of the most asked questions about bwindi is how gorilla permits are allocated. It should be noted that different gorilla families do exist in four different Bwindi regions. When booking Bwindi gorilla permits, you have to mind the region. This is because the region where you book your gorilla permits will determine the lodge or accommodation property to be booked. If you book rushaga or Nkuringo gorilla permits, then you have to consider book lodges on this side of the forest. The same applies to Ruhija and Rushaga. Most tour operators and individual tourists tend to think that Bwindi impenetrable National Park has one starting point which is not the case.

How are bwindi gorilla families allocated?

When booking gorilla permits, you book them per region. This means that when you book gorilla permits for Buhoma, you will trek gorillas in the North and when you book gorilla permits in Rushaga or Nkuringo, you will trek gorilla families in the south. In any of the mentioned regions, clients are free to ask for a gorilla family of their choice. You can only do this on the day of trekking after briefing has taken place. Depending on your special interest and physical fitness, you may choose to ask UWA the family you want to trek. When you book a gorilla tour with Encounter Africa safaris, our driver guide will assist you in making the right choice and choosing a gorilla family that suites your interest and fitness.

What is the minimum age or age limit to trek gorillas in Bwindi?

The minimum age for gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park is 15 years and above. All children below the age of 15 years are not allowed to trek mountain gorillas. For more information as to why children below the age of 15 years are not allowed to trek mountain gorillas, do contact us. There is however no age limit when it comes to gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Of recent tourist of 90+ have been able to trek gorillas assisted by porters and sedan chairs.

Is gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park safe?

Bwindi impenetrable National Park is located in Uganda a country that has enjoyed relatively peace for the last 35 years. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is very safe and Encounter Africa safaris encourages tourists to come and trek the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi. Uganda has a special branch known as tourism police in charge of tourists while in the country and while in Bwindi, you will be escorted by armed rangers to scare away any wild animal in the forest as well as your security.

How long is does it take to see gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park?

It may take from 30 minutes to three quarters of the day to find mountain gorillas. Depending on where these gorillas will be located on the day of trekking, the hike can be as short as 30 minutes walk or three quarters of the day. It is hard to determine how long it will take since no one controls the location and movement of mountain gorillas.

How is gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National park organized?

Gorilla trekking in bwindi impenetrable National Park is highly organized in a way that you are supposed to report at respective park head quarters by 8:00am for briefing about the dos and don’ts while with mountain gorillas. Its from here that you can ask all questions about what you need to know including gorilla families of your interests. After your briefing, you will be divided into small groups of 8 and allocated families of your choice. You will then head to the forest with your ranger guide who will lead you to where the mountain gorillas will be. The trek first leads you to where these gorillas would have spent a night and then you will follow their footsteps until you find them. Once found, you will be allowed to spend one hour and then return back.

What are the chances of seeing gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park?

Chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park on any trek has been put at 95%. This is because gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is highly organized. Early in the morning, a group of well trained and experience trackers or advance team set out to search for these habituated gorilla families, once they find them, they will keep communicating with your ranger guide who will be able to lead you to where they will be. Make sure you are physically fit and if not, do request to take a porter who will give you a push or a pull when needed.

How hard is gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park?

Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi can sometimes be strenuous and requires a minimum level of fitness. It involves hiking and trekking hills which sometimes tend to be slippery. Mountain gorillas can decide to move something that may prolong your gorilla trek. Gorilla trekking being a dream activity and a once in a lifetime thing, we encourage all our clients to take porters to help them should the going get tough.

Is there gorilla trekking for old people or the elderly?

Bwindi impenetrable National Park is on record having hosted one of the oldest woman who trekked mountain gorillas at the age of 95. It is those possible to trek gorillas irrespective of your age and health. If your health conditions are not okay, you are advised to take porter or hire a sedan chair where you will be carried from the starting point to the gorillas and then back. Please contact Encounter Africa safaris on how to book your sedan chairs.

What should I pack for my gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National park

Encounter Africa safaris has a long list of gorilla trekking gear listed on our website and kindly feel free to check it out. Basically, you need to prepare the right gear and the ideal packing list for your gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park should include, long sleeved shirt or T-shirt, trousers/jeans, hiking boots, rain jacket, garden gloves, sun glasses, insect repellants, a pair of binoculars, camera, energy giving foods/snacks and enough drinking water. Don’t forget your hiking stick which is normally provided by a lodge.

Is it possible to visit different bwindi gorilla regions?

When you book gorilla permits for different regions, it becomes possible to trek gorillas in different regions of bwindi impenetrable National Park. For example, you can decide to do your first trek in Rushaga and then the second trek in Nkuringo. Alternatively, you can do one in buhoma and another one in Ruhija. This is because these regions in the south are close to each other just as Ruhija is closer to Buhoma. If you are interested in trekking gorillas in different regions, do not hesitate to contact us for advise that you can rely on.

How many people are allowed to visit a gorilla family per day?

It’s a global standard that a gorilla family in bwindi impenetrable National Park is supposed to be visited by a maximum number of 8 people for one hour per day. This standard was set in order to promote sustainable tourism where the impact of human visit should be kept at the minimum. There instances where a gorilla family can be trekked by more than 8 people but in this case Uganda Wildlife Authority reserves the right to do so.

Is it possible to reschedule Bwindi gorilla permits

When booking gorilla permits, you book them according to the desired date, month and year. Its on that particular date that you gorilla permit will be valid. Beyond that, your gorilla permit expires. The good news is that Uganda Wildlife Authority has started allowing gorilla permit rescheduling as long as it happens at least one month to your actual date of gorilla trekking. You are required to write an official letter to the executive director expressing your wish to reschedule your gorilla permit to another date and give the reason of change.

Can I resell my Bwindi gorilla permit?

Bwindi gorilla permits are not allowed to be resold once issued. You can reschedule them as per advice above but cannot be resold. Many a times, tour operators can resell permits amongst themselves if permits tally with what others are looking for. Chances that your gorilla permits will be resold is minimal.

Is it possible to change a permit from one region to another?

Bwindi gorilla trekking permits are booked basing on regions. Bwindi impenetrable National Park has four regions of Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. For one reason or the other, you may choose to change from one region to another as long as there is enough time. If this is on a short notice a fee of around USD150 per permit is charged. Contact Encounter Africa safaris for details on how to change your gorilla permit from one region to another.

Why should I hire a porter in Bwindi?

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park can sometimes be strenuous and a given level of fitness may be required to complete your gorilla trek. In a situation where you feel you need help during your gorilla trek, we highly recommend hiring a porter. Your porter will help you in pushing or pulling you where need be so that you complete your gorilla trek in Bwindi impenetrable National Park. He/she will also help carry your back pack while on the trek. By hiring a porter, you are also providing employment to the local communities living near bwindi impenetrable National Park. They use this money to pay for their basic needs.

Can I stay in one region and trek gorillas in a different region?

It is advised to make sure that you stay closer to your gorilla trekking starting point. For example if you book gorilla permits for Buhoma region, you should consider booking accommodation and lodges located in Buhoma region. The same applies to the rest of the regions in Bwindi impenetrable national Park. However, it is also possible to stay in a different region and trek gorillas in another region. Many people stay in Buhoma and trek gorillas in Rushija. Others stay in Rushaga and trek gorillas in Nkuringo. This inter regional treks normally require waking up early and start your scenic drive from one region to another.

Is it possible to fly to bwindi impenetrable National Park?

It’s now possible to fly from Entebbe international Airport to Kisoro or Kihihi for gorilla trekking in Bindi Impenetrable National Park. Kihihi serves the north and Eastern part of Bwindi while Kisoro serves the southern parts of Rushaga and Nkuringo. Kihihi has both morning and afternoon scheduled flights based on minimum two people while flights to Kisoro only do so in the morning. Encounter Africa safaris organizes affordable flyin safaris to Bwindi impenetrable National Park for those interested in avoiding the long drives from Entebbe international airport.

Can I stay in buhoma and trek Ruhija gorillas?

Its possible to stay in Buhoma region located in the northern part of Bwindi impenetrable National Park and trekking gorillas in Ruhija. Many tourists prefer staying in Buhoma region simply because it has a variety of lodges compared to other regions of the forest. Trekking ruhija gorillas from Buhoma requires you to wake up early at around 5am to start your drive to Ruhija. Many tourists prefer doing two or more treks and would like to compare these gorilla trekking regions but still prefer staying in once lodge.

Can I stay in Rushaga and trek Nkuringo gorillas?

Trekking Nkuringo gorillas from Rushaga is now possible. The only challenge is that one has to wake up early to start a one hour drive from Rushaga to Nkuringo to arrive in time for briefing and then gorilla trekking. Its normally better to stay in the same area in order to avoid any inconveniences.

What is the drive time from Entebbe airport to Bwindi?

Its approximately 9-10 hours drive from Entebbe international Airport to any region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Because of this long drive, people now prefer flying into Kigali and drive to Bwindi. Others prefer breaking this long journey by spending a night at Lake Mburo National Park.

What is the drivetime from Kigali international Airport to Bwindi?

Its approximately 4-5 hours drive from Kigali International Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National. Those flying from Kigali can access Uganda via Katuna or Chanika boarder. The introduction of the East Africa tourist visa has made visiting these two countries easier since it allows you to move freely from one country to another.

Is it possible to trek two different gorilla families?

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park allows you to trek two different gorillas if you choose to. This requires you to buy two gorilla permits trekking on different days. You need to inform park headquarters about your interest to trek different gorilla families. You can trek two different in the same region or different gorilla families in different gorilla regions.

Can I book my gorilla permit directly through UWA

It is possible to book Bwindi gorilla permits by yourself directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority head quarters in Kampala. You need to contact UWA reservations via email or phone call and they will check availability on your behalf. Once availability is established, they will reserve these permits on your behalf and instruct you on how to make payment. Once payment is done, they will issue your gorilla permits and you will have to pick these permits in person at UWA head quarters. While this process looks simple, it is in most cases it’s a bit frustrating since many a times, UWA reservations team take long to pick phones and general response if very poor. Its for this reason that we recommend using a registered tour operator to book your gorilla permit.

What are the advantages of booking bwindi gorilla permit through a tour operator?

Uganda has several Tour Operators registered and belonging to AUTO Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Any of the registered tour operators can help check availability, reserve and book your gorilla permits. Most of them wont charge any fee if you book an all inclusive tours with them. Encounter Africa safaris is a full member of AUTO and works closely with UWA. We book Bwindi gorilla permits on behalf of our clients if contacted.

Can I trek gorillas both in Bwindi and mgahinga?

Gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place in two national parks of Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. It is possible to trek mountain gorillas in both parks by booking gorilla permits of each. These two national Park are close to each other and one can trek in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, drive and trek gorillas in Mgahinga National Park the next day.

What activities can I do after my bwindi gorilla treks

There several tourist activities that can be done after your gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park. These include forest and nature walks, community and village walks, birding and Batwa experience. Please do let us know so that we arrange such extra activities on your behalf.

What are the tipping guidelines on my bwindi gorilla trek?

To Encounter Africa safaris, tipping is not mandatory but an appreciation of a good service offered by gorilla guides, porters, gorilla trackers among others. It is normally advised to tip at your discretion but what we give you is just a guideline to follow if you are to tip. We recommend 15-20$ per person for your gorilla guide will be with you during the trek and about $15 for your porter on top of what you pays for him/her. Encounter Africa Safaris will provide a detailed guideline on tipping as long as you book a tour with us.

Is it possible to do multiple gorilla trekking in bwindi?

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park allows multiple gorilla treks if your budget can allow. You can trek gorillas as many times as you want. If you want to trek more than once, please contact Encounter Africa safaris to check availability of gorilla permits on your behalf. Those interested in multiple gorilla trekking can do so with different gorilla families and or different regions. Kindly contact us for advice before booking your multiple gorilla treks.

Can I combine gorilla and golden monkey trekking

Uganda has been referred to as the primate capital of Africa and while in Uganda, you have an opportunity to trek both Bwindi mountain gorillas as well as Golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park in Mgahinga National park. Mgahinga National Park is the only park in Uganda where mountain gorillas co exist with golden monkeys. Our Bwindi gorilla and Mgahinga golden monkey tours can start from Entebbe or Kigali. Contact Encounter Africa Safaris for your Bwindi gorilla permits and Mgahinga Golden monkey permits.

Can I combine gorilla and chimp trekking?

Your gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park can be combined with chimpanzee in Kyambura, Kibale or Budongo forest. Kibale forest has been described as the best place to trek habituated chimpanzees in the whole world. Your Uganda visit should enable you to combine both Bwindi gorillas and Kibale chimpanzees for a primate trip of a life time.

Can I combine gorilla and wildlife safaris?

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located near Queen Elizabeth National Park where one can enjoy game viewing after their gorilla trek. Northern part of Bwindi impenetrable National Park is just 2-3 hours drive to the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park of Ishasha. While in Ishasha, you have an opportunity to spot tree climbing lions among other wild game. Further north, there is Mweya which is popular for its game drives in Kasenyi plains and boat cruises on Kazinga Channel. Our 5 Day Bwindi gorilla and game safari suites this bill.

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3 DAYS UGANDA GORILLA TRACKING SAFARI

From USD $490 pp sharing

Gorilla trekking  day tour to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to see habituated gorillas. Includes, transfers, transport, accommodation or meals, driver guides and all park entrance fees.

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gorilla_safari_5days

5 DAYS GIRILLAS & CHIMPS TRACKING SAFARI

From USD $970pp sharing.

This primate day tour takes you to Bwindi Forest for gorilla trekking and then to Kibale National Park for chimpanzee trekking and the amazing bird watching.

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Gorillas & Game Drive Safari

5 DAYS GORILLAS AND GAME DRIVE SAFARI

From USD $1175 pp Sharing

This primate and wildlife safari takes you to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla tracking and to Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives and boat cruise on Kazinga channel.

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gorilla tracking

3 Day Uganda gorilla safari from Kigali

From USD $560pp sharing

This affordable tour allows you to trek Uganda gorillas through Kigali. Save on permit costs and reduce the drive time to the gorillas by booking this safari. Take advantage of our off season discounts.

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