TOP GORILLA TREKKING EXPERIENCES
This is perhaps one of the most breath-taking wildlife experiences on earth!!! You get so close to these awesome giant primates. You stare at each other blankly not knowing who to break the long silence first. Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Maghinga in Uganda as well as Virunga (Rwanda) is a magical experience. These here are some of our gorilla trekking tours that Forever Africa Safaris Experts can help you plan. Enquire with our team to get started.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest, mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest, African savanna wildlife game drive and boat safari in Queen Elizabeth N.P.
Safari Type: Custom Made
For Who: Partly not for kids
Start/End: Entebbe, Uganda
Where are Mountain Gorillas Found
“These massive primates are extremely rare, with only than 1045 living today. It’s been described as the must Africa Safaris Experience and we can say, it really lives to its name. There three countries in the world where you can track mountain gorillas that is Uganda with 53%, Congo 18% and Rwanda 31%.”
The mountain gorillas are found in three national parks in the world that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park in Uganda and Volcanoes National park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in Congo. In the three countries Uganda has more than half of the mountain gorilla population of 53%, followed by Rwanda with 25% and lastly Congo with 22%.
Uganda has 36 gorilla families where 12 are habituated and tracked by the tourists. Bwindi forest alone is the best place to view gorillas in Uganda and it’s divided into four sections that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga.
The Gorilla families in Uganda are:
- Mubare with 9 members,
- Busingye with 9 members,
- Nshonga with 18 members,
- Oruzogo with 23 members and
- Nkuringo with 19 members.
The gorilla families are led by a silver buck and it’s identifiable since it’s the biggest in the family with silver stripe. Mgahinga is the second place to track gorillas with 4 families plus the scenic beauty from the peaks of Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo mountains.
Rwanda is home to 10 families of gorillas who are tracked in the Volcanoes National Park or Parc Nationale Des Volcans. Gorillas in Rwanda are divided in 2 sections that’s those for research studies strictly are Beetsme and Pablo’s Shida’s all with the highest numbers of gorillas. Th e 10 families each has different members for example Susa family or group is the best to watch with 41 gorillas. Other gorilla families are as below;
- Karisimbi with 15 members
- Amahoro with 17 members
- Sabyinyo with 8 members and the biggest Silverback of the volcanoes National Park
- Umubana with 11 members
- AGASHA with 25 members
- Hirwa with 9 members
- Bwenge with 11 members
- Ugende 11 members and 2 Silverbacks
- Kiwitonda with 18 memberFamily Vacation Notes
How to Reach the Gorilla Parks
You can reach the gorilla parks through the international entry points by air from every country that is Entebbe in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda. Although in Uganda you can reach Bwindi through Kigali a Rwandan entry point and it will take 3-4 hours to reach the park by road. Further, you will reach Bwindi through the domestic flights by Aero link via Kisoro and Kihihi daily flights from Entebbe and Masai Mara.
In addition, road transport is the most common, adventurous and cheapest way to reach the parks once you land at the international airports. From Kampala – Bwindi is 8-9 hours drive and this would provide you stops like at the Equator with water experiment and Igongo cultural center.
From Kigali to Volcanoes National park it will take you approximately 2-3 hours to reach the Vocanoes National Park.
In DRC (Congo), you can reach it through Goma Airport then take a car which will take you approximately 2 hours to reach Volcanoes. If you access Virunga Park from Rwanda this will be through the Gisenyi border next to goma and it will take approximately 1.5 hours to get to the park headquarters. If you are coming from Uganda to Virunga National park then guest will spend night in Kisoro then in the morning transfer via Bunagana Border then it will take 30 minutes to reach the park Headquarters in Bukima where gorilla trekking starts from.
In addition, for gorilla trekking in Congo DRC, you can use water transport from Bukavu to Virunga National Park. When on a speedboat it will take you 3 hours via Kivu and Goma. Private boat will cost US $300-$500 well as a slow motorized canoe will cost US $50 but it will take 4-5 hours to get to the park.
Don’t miss out on your gorilla trekking safari because of transportation ignorance, we have provided you all ways to reach the parks
How Much is A Gorilla Trekking Tour?
A gorilla safari will depend mainly on how much you can spend on your trip from budget to Mid-range and luxury safari as per below;
Uganda gorilla safari costs
- 2 days gorilla safari US $1350
- 3 days gorilla tracking Uganda US $1650
- 4 days gorilla trekking and culture encounters US $2250
Rwanda gorilla safari costs
We encourage you to book your gorilla permit with an agent since this helps you avoid disappointments when you book accommodation outside the sector for tracking. It seems cheap but you will end up incurring more costs in transportation since these roads leading to the parks get tricky and are all marrum and located in remote areas.
Both countries will offer you great views of the activity and when you find the mountain gorillas you will be permitted to stay with them for only one (1) hour then the ranger will lead you back to the park quarters. Please note that gorilla permits don’t have low season rates anymore in Uganda and Rwanda.
Gorilla Permit Costs
In Uganda we have 12 families, tracked in a day and only eight people are permitted to track one family which means only 120 permits are issued every day with an assumption of 29,500 people in a year You should book your permit in advance since they sale very first because it’s an activity preferred by most tourists and only 120 permits released daily. The permits are divided into two for trekking or tracking purposes
- Uganda gorilla permit costs US $700
- Gorilla Habituation Experience US $1500
In Rwanda only 8 people can track a single gorilla family and 80 permits are issued per day. The costs of a gorilla permit in Rwanda depends on the kind of activity you wish to participate in as below
- Ordinary permit US $1500 per person and issued to all guest who wish to trek in Rwanda
- Exclusive Gorilla experience US $15,000
- Behind the scenes experience with the gorillas Us $30,000 for 3 people
- Gorilla Photography and filming US $5000 for a small crew of 4 people for 3 days and US $12,000 for a big crew of 8 people for 3 days consecutively.
How To Book A Gorilla Permit (Guide)
- Chose a date you intend to visit and trek gorillas
- You will be informed if the date is available or not, if yes then we will tentatively reserve the permit for you
- You will share your passport details to be used on your permit and transfer the money for the permit plus the bank charges
- We will acknowledge receipt of funds then after processing permit, we shall send you a copy and retain the hard copy to be used during tracking.
Important Gorilla Trekking Tips
- Always book your gorilla trekking permit in advance through your travel agent. The ordinary permits cost $500 in DRC, $700 IN Uganda and US $1500 in Rwanda.
- A yellow fever certificate is a must for all trekkers but we advise you add on other vaccinations for your safety especially in DRC- Congo Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningitis and rabies injections as well as anti-malaria
- You need to obtain a visa that is East African visa for Rwanda and Uganda at $100 and Congo will require an advance application and fee is $100
- You need to prepare in advance the clothes to wear which should be comfortable since the activity becomes strenuous. You need to have trekking shoes, moisture impermeable socks, comfy mountaineering clothes, rain gear. A light backpack should be handy with drinking water and snacks. In case you can’t carry your luggage please get a porter before set off at US $20.
Gorilla Tracking Guidelines
The guidelines for viewing gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo are the same as per below;
- Only 8 members are allowed to view mountain gorillas to avoid spread of diseases
- Only people 15 years and above are allowed to trek gorillas
- Gorilla trekking takes place once every day from 8am- 7pm.
- You will only spend 1 hour with the gorillas once you find them
- When tracking keep a distance of 5-7 meters, these are wild animals that are 98% close to humans and catch diseases from humans
- While tracking you should lower your voices not to interfere with the gorilla interaction in the wild
- Avoid littering in the park and before trekking please wash your hands
- You shouldn’t touch a mountain gorilla at all
- Be calm during trekking because when the gorilla charges you shouldn’t look directly in their eyes until it moves away.
Gorilla Habituation Facts
Things you may not know during a gorilla Habituation Encounter in Bwindi
- Guests are allowed up to +4hrs with the Mountain Gorillas, this is far 4 times from the 1hr allocated to guests on a normal gorilla trek
- Visitors are joined by Mountain Gorilla researcher to have an informative rich content on the existence and adaptation of Mountain Gorillas
- The Family visited has one of the biggest numbers of Mountain Gorillas
- It is now the most popular choice by tourists from 2 times Gorilla trek
- Gorilla Habituation Permit fees costs US$ 1,500
What To Wear For Gorilla Tour
During gorilla trekking or hikes you will need the below packing list since the climate is un predictable in this forest;
- Comfortable pair of trekking or hiking boots
- Warm clothes since temperatures are cold in the night and during day
- Long sleeved shirts and blouses
- Long trousers that are water proof
Where To Stay
WHERE TO STAY?
Your budget matters a lot when it comes to where you will stay during the gorilla tracking activity. There are a number of places to choose from that is those in and outside the park. Below are places to stay per country;
- Buhoma Lodge
- Mahogany Springs
- Gorilla Luxury Lodge
- Rushaga Gorilla camp
- Lake Mutanda Lodge
- Lake Mulehi Gorilla lodge
- Gorilla Valley Lodge
- Nkuringo Lodge
- Clouds Gorilla Lodge
- Sabyinyo Silverback lodge
- Virunga lodge
- Mountain gorilla lodge
- Le bamboo gorilla lodge
- Democratic Republic of Cong
- Tchegera Island Camp
- Mikeno Lodge
- Lakeside Hotel Bukava
- Kibumba Tented Camp
- Lulimbi Tented Camp
- Lodge Coco
- Orchids Safari Club
Final Facts About Gorillas
- They don’t leave anywhere in the world apart from Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. This is because they can’t survive in any zoo or detention given their adaptability.
- Mountain Gorillas are huge animals that grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh from 350-500 pounds.
- Mountain gorillas are twice as stronger than 10 men combined and when close to them a ranger should be present to protect you. There arms stretch to up to 7 feet
- Male mountain gorillas are referred to as Silverback because their hair turns silver as they mature.
- Mountain gorillas are hairy with darker hair compared to the lowland gorillas since they stay in colder environment with high altitudes
- Mountain gorilla’s life span is up to 40-50 years of age.
- Young mountain gorillas play in trees and adults climb trees once in a while so long as as it supports them
- Mountain gorilla’s DNA is 98% close to humans
- The adult Mountain gorilla consumes 75 pounds of leaves, figs, fruits, roots and bamboos that is they are herbivores.
- Mountain Gorillas sleep in a different nest every night and that’s why they move to different locations every day.
- Mountain gorillas are gentle and shy animals so they won’t hurt you. All gorillas’ guests trek is habituated (they are used to humans) and won’t harm you.
- Mountain gorillas leave in families of 2-40 people and in Uganda the biggest family is for 23 individuals. With no specific mating season so babies are born throughout the year.
- Gestation period of a mountain gorilla is 9 months giving birth to 4-6 off springs and families give birth every 2-3 years
- Males breed at 15 years and families at 10-12 years
- Mountain gorillas communicate through sounds like grunts, shouts and sounds. Researchers have so far documented 25 sounds of the gorillas and know the meanings.
In conclusion, a gorilla tracking safari can be combined with other tours in Uganda and Rwanda. We recommend that you combine this gorilla tour with other classical places in Uganda like Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls, Jinja tour, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Kibale forest N.P. In Rwanda you can combine your tours with Lake Kivu, Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Chimpanzee canopy walk and Gishwati Mukura.
Furthermore, cross border safaris can be added In Kenya don’t forget to add on the Masai Mara for the wildebeest and Amboseli for the big five. These combinations will just add a slice to your safari as you touch each of the East African Adventure.
Forever Africa Safari offers a variety of gorilla trekking safari options at unbeatable rates. Contact us for the best rates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us /WhatsApp us +256 772 221 880 to start planning your safari / tour today!
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