Planning a gorilla trekking holiday for your family in Uganda and Rwanda
Are you planning a gorilla trekking holiday for your family in Uganda and Rwanda Book the gorilla permits first. The age limit for gorilla trekking holidays in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years and above. It would be best to lay a plan for the number of days you hope to be on a gorilla safari holiday in Uganda or Rwanda.
The least number of days on Uganda gorilla safari is 3, while a 2-day gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda is applicable. Suppose you wish to combine gorilla trekking with other activities like chimpanzee trekking, game drives, birding safari, etc. In that case, you must consider the time for your African safari with your family.
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Creating family memories last with you forever and planning the gorilla trekking holiday with the family is suitable for this. Mountain gorillas live in families with the dominant silverback as their leader, and they are the exact reflection of human families.
As a family on the gorilla safari holiday, I am sure each can find their look-alike in the gorilla family you visit. Booking the gorilla trekking permits for the entire family in advance makes it easier for you to be given the same gorilla family to trek with once requested. This is only sometimes guaranteed, as the procedure for allocating gorilla families is based on physical fitness, age, and others.
What is a gorilla trekking holiday?
The gorilla trekking holiday is an adventure where you follow a fully habituated gorilla family in the wild and spend one hour with them. You must possess a gorilla permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board.
What is a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is a document or card allowing you to enter the trekking destinations. The gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Uganda has 19 gorilla families with 152 gorilla permits open for tourists to book daily.
Rwanda’s gorilla habitat is Volcanoes National Park, with 12 families open for tourist booking. Rwanda has 96 gorilla permits you can book per day.
How to plan for a family gorilla trekking holiday in Uganda and Rwanda?
Identify Where To Go For Gorilla Trekking
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a variety of gorilla families you can be allocated to. What are 18 gorilla families booked in four areas, each with different accommodation types?
The gorilla permits for the Bwindi forest are secured according to an area, which is the Buhoma area in the north, the Ruhija area in the Eastern part, the Rushaga area, and the Nkuringo area in the southern region.
This biosphere reserve also hosts about 9 other primates species: chimpanzees, black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, L” Honest’s, and others.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a wide range for a keen birding family as it hosts over 350 bird species, including Albertine rift endemics. Ruhija area of Bwindi forest birders’ haven, especially Mubwindi swamp. You may spot birds like Mountain Masked Apalises, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, African Hill Babblers, Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, and others.
Mgahinga National Park
Although Mgahinga National Park is the smallest Uganda National Park covering about 33.7 square kilometers, the park hosts some mountain gorillas. The only gorilla family open to tourist viewing is the Nyakagezi family.
This gorilla family has a history of moving to Rwanda, which made booking its permits challenging. The gorilla permits were sold according to the presence of the Nyakagezi gorilla family.
Mgahinga National Park hosts a number of birds, and the list has over 115 bird species recorded, but because it has yet to get a lot of attention from ornithologists, the list is expected to expand.
For primatologists, Mgahinga National Park hosts other primates like golden monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, and others.
Mgahinga national park has a backdrop of 3 distinctive mountains: mountain Gahinga, mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo. You can test your fitness level with an 8-hour’s-hour return trek to one of these mountains.
Volcanoes National Park
This park is the only home for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, hosting 12 gorilla families open for tourism. Volcanoes National Park lies in the Northwestern part of Rwanda. Rwanda Development Board is responsible for selling and regulating Rwanda gorilla permits.
The Volcanoes National Park topography has a backdrop of five volcanoes: Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo.
You can identify other primates in Volcanoes national parks, like golden monkeys, Blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, etc.
During gorilla trekking, keen birders have an opportunity to spot a variety of bird species, including Albertine rift endemics. Some Bird species in Volcanoes National Park include Alpine Chat, Malachite Sunbird, Montane Double-collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, and others.
Book Gorilla Trekking Permit For Uganda Or Rwanda
When booking gorilla permits for your family, consider their age, as the age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years or above.
Procedure For Booking Gorilla permits
Enquire about gorilla permit availability from Uganda Wildlife Authority or an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. You must have a tentative or confirmed day when you wish to do gorilla trekking.
In case of positive gorilla permit availability, we advise our clients to purchase their permits as soon as possible. This is because they get sold out fast due to high demand worldwide yet limited to a maximum of 8 gorilla permits per gorilla family.
A first come, first served basis is used when reserving the gorilla permits, so none is secured without prior payment,
Provide personal details on your gorilla permits, like full names of family members as indicated on the passport, nationality, date of birth, and expiry date.
These details are used for record-keeping and added to your certificate after completing the gorilla trek.
- Identify The Number Of Days On the Gorilla Trekking Holiday With the Family
For gorilla trekking in Rwanda, the minimum number of days on a gorilla safari holiday is 2. Uganda’s minimum number of days for a gorilla trekking safari is 3.
You can do 5 gorilla trekking, 6 gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking, 8 gorilla, chimpanzee, wildlife safari, and others.
The time you take on a gorilla safari holiday with your family depends on the days you have planned to be in the wilderness.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we tailor gorilla safari packages according to our client’s needs to make it a memorable experience. We understand that gorilla trekking is on the top of the bucket list for most tourists who come to Africa, and we wish to make it an unforgeable Africa Safari experience according to your budget.
Making family memories with trips is unforgettable to many families.
- Reserve accommodation for gorilla trekking safari
When you book a gorilla permit, you must reserve accommodation within or close to the trekking park. Accommodations in to book for the gorilla trekking holiday are graded according to luxury, mid-range, and budget. Booking a family room or adjoining rooms would be the best deal for booking accommodation on a family holiday.
For the sake of gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda, you must book accommodation close to the areas where your gorilla permit is reserved. This park has four areas: Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo, because of its vast size. When you overnight in another area, you must drive at night to catch up with the briefing early morning. This is very risky as, at times, logs block off the roads or are slippery from the regular rains that fall in this area.
During the peak season, that is June, July, August, September, December, and January, the accommodations in these parks are sold out due to high demand. You need to reserve your family accommodation in advance.
Some of the accommodations you can book for gorilla trekking according to destinations include:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park accommodations: Clouds Lodge. Gorilla Forest Camp, Engage Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla safari Lodge, Rihija Safari Lodge, Trakker’s Tarven, Broadbiil camp
Mgahinga National Park accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Traveller’s Inn, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu
Volcanoes National Park accommodations: Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Hotel La Palme, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel Mille Collines
- Reserve Transport For Gorilla Trekking
You need to know the means of transport you hope to use during the gorilla trekking safari with your family. You can use road transport or air transport, depending on your budget.
For road transport, you can hire a safari vehicle or safari van for your family, and it should be spacious and comfortable for the entire family and baggage. You need to hire a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle with a window seat for at least everybody because of the terrain of the road in the Virunga area, which is volcanic. Whether in Uganda or Rwanda, you need a comfortable vehicle for the bumpy roads.
Air transport to use for gorilla trekking for the entire family
There are daily domestic flights in Uganda from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi to Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip. If you need more seats, you must book them before the gorilla safari holiday to Uganda.
Charter flight services are available on gorilla safari at Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe airport.
You must book a transfer vehicle from the airstrip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
Charter Flights from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda are available.
- Book International Flights To Uganda Or Rwanda In Advance
Planning to Travel with family for a holiday is quite a hectic experience. You need to book your flight tickets in advance so that no one is left behind in case they are part of the gorilla trekking group.
It is best to arrive in Rwanda or Uganda before the gorilla safari’s starting day so that you can sort out what you may need to go within the forest. Ensure that all your gorilla trekking gears of all the family members are ready. If you still need gorilla trekking gear, purchase some from the local malls.
What Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Permits For The Family?
You can secure the family gorilla permits at least 6 months to a year prior to the day of trekking just to be safe from last-minute hassle trying to find availability. During the peak tourism season in Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla permits get sold out early. The peak tourism season is June, July, August, September, December, and January.
What is the difference Between Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking safari is an amazing experience no matter where you go, Uganda or Rwanda. That moment when you stand before the mountain gorillas are life-changing to the extent of making you forget what you may have gone through to put together the family gorilla safari.
Some of the differences in gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda are:
Cost of gorilla permit
Number of Gorilla families
Uganda currently has 19 gorilla trekking families with 152 gorilla permits, while Rwanda lately has 12 gorilla trekking families with 96 gorilla permits.
Optional activities To Combine with Gorilla Trekking
In Uganda, you can combine various other activities with gorilla trekking, like visiting the source of the River Nile, White water rafting, sport fishing, game drives, chimpanzee trekking, launch trips, and others.
Rwanda is limited with optional activities you can combine with gorilla trekking like chimpanzee trekking, Rwanda genocide memorial visits, game drives, and others.
Drive time from Airport to Gorilla Trekking Destinations
The drive from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours through scenic winding roads. The drive time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 hours to 9 hours through dusty and bumpy roads in the countryside.
To reduce the drive time to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through Rwanda. The drive time lasts about 5 hours to 6 hours.
What Are The Do not Of Gorilla Trekking In Uganda and Rwanda?
- If you have a communicable infection like cough or flu, volunteer to stay behind, as mountain gorillas are highly susceptible to these diseases.
- Keep a gap of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them to reduce in chances of passing an infection through direct contact.
- Dumping garbage in the forest is forbidden as you alter the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas thrive.
- Never spit on vegetation or the ground during gorilla trekking because you may pass an infection to the mountain gorillas.
- Only children aged 15 years and beyond are allowed to do gorilla trekking because of the nature of the terrain where mountain gorillas live.
- Burry all fecal materials in a hole of about 30 centimeters and cover beyond recognition.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them.
Contact us for more information.