How to trek Uganda gorillas from Kigali Rwanda
Going gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda is the new safari trend to minimize the distance and time traveled from Entebbe airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. The time taken to drive from Kigali Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 5 hours to 6 hours compared to the drive from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Mgahinga National Park, which is 8 hours to 9 hours.
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You can cross Uganda from Rwanda via the Chanika border to Kisoro town leading to Mgahinga National Park or southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Katuna border to Kabale town leading to Northern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
How To Book Uganda Gorilla Permit
Select a date when you hope to do gorilla trekking in either Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga national park.
Uganda currently has 152 mountain gorilla permits, with two open for gorilla habituation in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
If there is availability, we advise our clients to purchase their gorilla permits as soon as possible because of the high demand worldwide. A first come, the first served basis is used when securing the Uganda gorilla permits to reduce the chance of people booking the gorilla permits and do not purchase them.
Provide personal details to add to your gorilla permit card, like the full name indicated on the passport, date of birth, and expiry date.
What Is a Gorilla Permit?
The gorilla permit is a card issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority as a ticket to allow you to locate a fully habituated gorilla family and stay with them for 1 hour. Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking, but a maximum of eight gorilla permits per family are open daily for public booking.
How much can I Purchase The Uganda Gorilla Permit?
A Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
Buying the gorilla permit in advance saves you last-minute panic as you try to find availability. Last-minute gorilla permit booking also limits you on choices of accommodation to make.
What Is Included And Excluded From The Gorilla Permit Cost?
The gorilla permit price includes the following:
- Park fees are paid every after 24 hours in the park.
- Ranger guides service fees.
- Local community support.
- Gorilla conservation support.
- One hour with the mountain gorillas.
Exclusions of a gorilla permit cost are No tips, packed lunch or drinks, accommodation, and any other items of personal nature.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we put together safari support amenities and lift off our client’s shoulders the burden of running around to find the best lodge, vehicle, knowledgeable and experienced driver guide, and so much more.
We even do airport pickups for our clients on arrival upon request but at a friendly fair.
Can I purchase the gorilla trekking permit in installments?
Uganda wildlife authority allows purchasing the gorilla permit in installments of 30% and 70% of the total cost.
This only applies to tourists who secure the gorilla permits 90 days before the trekking date and must top up 90 days before the trekking date or face a penalty.
It is best to fully pay for your gorilla permit as it saves you from forgetting to top it up in the future, which attracts a penalty.
What Does It Cost To Do Gorilla Trekking In Uganda?
The cost of gorilla trekking safari in Uganda is packaged according to luxury, mid-range, or budget. The price of the gorilla permit is incurred across all packages and is a must expense during gorilla safari preparations.
Additional considerations when calculating gorilla trekking packages include
The number of people traveling for gorilla trekking
Timing for booking the gorilla trekking safari
Number of days on gorilla trekking safari
Additional activities combined with gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking safari package you choose
Can I do Gorilla Trekking More Than Once?
Gorilla trekking more than once is accepted as long as you purchase the gorilla permit per day. You can do gorilla trekking twice in case you wish to have more time with the mountain gorillas since only one hour is allowed during gorilla trekking.
A Gorilla habituation expedition is available for those who wish to have extra hours with the mountain gorillas in one day. You must purchase a gorilla habituation permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
What is Gorilla Habituation Adventure?
Gorilla habituation safari is an adventure where you follow a semi-habituated mountain gorilla family and have a maximum of four hours in their company. Only a maximum of 4 tourists can accompany a team of researchers and habituators to help get a gorilla family used to human presence without altering their nature.
A gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $1000 per person for foreign residents, and 750000shs for East African residents.
The cost of a gorilla habituation permit includes park fees, researcher fees, ranger guide service fees, security, certificate of accomplishing gorilla habituation, local community support, and mountain gorilla conservation support.
Gorilla habituation permit support excludes transport costs, drinks and snacks, accommodation, and any other items of personal nature.
What Is the Best Time To Book Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari Via Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking tours are open all year round, but most tourists prefer the dry season when most forest dwellers are in high spirits. Even making a combo of Uganda gorilla trekking with other activities is more exciting in the dry seasons, normally June, July, August, September, December, and January.
This period is the peak Uganda safari season, so demand for most services is high. One needs to book the gorilla trekking safari in advance, at least 6 months to a year prior. Service provider options are limited to the last days of the peak Uganda safari days.
The low season for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda sometimes has discounted prices extended to tourists. The low Uganda safari period usually is March, May, April, and November. You may choose this season if you have a limited Africa Safari budget. You also have a high chance of using high-end facilities with a limited budget.
Where Can I Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The word Bwindi locally means impenetrable; indeed, this double meaning fits this park. This biosphere reserve is home to so far 18 gorilla families located in different areas. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park gorilla permits are booked according to four areas:
- The Buhoma area on the north
- The Ruhijah area in the East
- The Rushaga area
- Nkuringo in the south
Bwindi impenetrable national Park hosts other interesting fauna like over 10 primates species, including black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’hoest, olive baboons, and flora like over 200 tree species, and others.
To book accommodation for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you must consider the area where your permit is secured. This is to avoid driving in the dark to catch up with early morning briefing before gorilla trekking. Each area is very far from another, yet roads connecting them sometimes need to be improved.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga national park may be the smallest National Park in Uganda, but it hosts some of the endangered mountain gorillas in the world. Only one gorilla family has been fully habituated and opened for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park.
The Nyakagezi gorilla family was known to wander into Rwanda in the past, which made pre-booking of its gorilla permits challenging as it was upon availability. The gorilla family is steadily living in Uganda, and its gorilla permits can be pre-booked.
The park occupies about 33.7 square kilometers but with a backdrop of three distinctive volcanoes: Mountain Muhavura, Mountain Sabyinyo, and Mountain Gahinga. You may enjoy an 8 hours return trek to the top and back of any of them.
When at the summit of Mountain Sabyinyo, you can simultaneously see the border of Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo.
Keen birders who visit Mgahinga forest have a long list of bird species to identify, including Albertine endemics, from the over 115 bird species recorded to live in this park.
Mgahinga National Park accommodation options are still limited, but you can overnight in Kisoro town, which is about 14 kilometers away from Ntebeko headquarter. Some accommodations For Mgahinga National Park include Gahinga Lodge, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, and Mutanda Lake Resort.
Which Is The Best Park To Trek Mountain Gorillas Of Bwindi and Mgahinga?
The moment you locate the mountain gorillas is a magical and unforgettable safari encounter no matter which parks you visit, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. You may find the difference of which park is best for gorilla trekking with:
Bwindi Impenetrable national park has about 18 gorilla families fully open for tourist viewing, while Mgahinga National Park has only one gorilla family called the Nyakagezi family.
For a virgin forest experience, Mgahinga National Park has the best of the two since it is less visited.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has various accommodation options, although they are best booked close to the gorilla trekking area. Mgahinga National Park accommodations are limited, with options.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is closer to other Uganda safari options like game parks, chimpanzee trekking parks, sightseeing destinations, and so much more.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda?
The time of locating the mountain gorillas is unknown due to varying factors in the forest, like the proximity of the gorilla food, in case of an inter-gorilla family fight, the death of a gorilla family member, and others that no one controls.
Some tourists have been able to find the mountain gorillas in about 2 hours after starting the gorilla trek or over, depending on the factors prevailing in the forest.
Even the pace of the gorilla trekker, where the ranger guide follows the pace of the ten slowest trekkers so that no one is forgotten in the wilderness. The rain forest is vast for one to get lost since there is no internet or telephone connection to trace you.
To keep up with other trekkers, you need to have some fitness level that can support you throughout the search to locate the mountain gorillas.
What Not to Do During Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda?
- Try to enter the forest with an escorting ranger guide, as you may be lost in the wilderness where other unhabituated forest dwellers may locate you and cause you some harm with no one to defend you.
- Never enter the forest if you catch a communicable infection like cough, flu, covid19. When the mountain gorillas see it, they may die massively. Gorilla conservation has come a long way.
- Keep your voice low or quiet to avoid distracting the mountain gorillas that are highly sensitive to intruders in their environment.
- When you locate the mountain gorillas, keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas to reduce in chances of passing any infection to the mountain gorillas. When the gorillas move closer, move back slowly without causing any suspensions.
- A child below 15 years is not allowed to go gorilla trekking because of the nature of this adventure which is done from the forest and all its challenges.
- Stay with the mountain gorillas for just one hour when you locate them as they are habituated to be in human presence for just that time.
- Never spit on the vegetation or ground, as you may contaminate the food ( Foliage) that mountain gorillas depend on.
- No feeding the mountain gorillas as wild animals must search for their food.
Contact us for more information.