Gorilla Trekking in Uganda- Rwanda & Congo
Gorilla trekking is an attempt of traversing through the tropical forests, following the trails to search for the gorillas in their natural habitat, with an inclusive 1 hour of close interaction with them.
Gorilla trekking is one of the most evocative and awe-inspiring experiences that every traveler includes in their top must do list in Africa, and have always made sure it’s firmly on the top of my must-do list. Together with other safaris, Gorilla trekking is one of the best breathtaking adventures that all types of travelers can do.
Gorillas are found in Uganda, Rwanda , Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Trekking through the thick lush forest of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, to meet eye to eye with a habituated gorilla family is one of the most undeniable and thrilling moments for a lifetime.
There are two major species of Gorillas, that is Lowland and Mountain Gorillas, although most organized gorilla trekking safaris available in these East & Central Africa are to watch the Mountain Gorillas. Yet the Eastern Lowland gorillas of Kahuzi Biega National Park are the Largest and the rarest Gorilla species.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo requires a bit of planning, money, and physical endurance but it is an impressive experience that will last for lifetimes.
Top Best Places for Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Probably the world today is left with approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas which can be tracked in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is endowed with two places where you can come face with Mountain gorillas i.e Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and the Mgahinga Gorilla national Park. Bwindi is a home to about 22 habituated gorilla families evenly distributed between 4 sectors of Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhijah while Mgahinga has just one (The Nyakagezi gorilla family). This means that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is much more visited, and there are various safari lodges, rangers, and guides to accommodate.
While Gorilla trekking in Rwanda happens at Volcano National Park which is located about 2-hours by road from Kigali. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is #number1 activity done by most travelers into the country. The park boasts of 12 habituated family groups, out of which 10 are open for tracking. Each gorilla family have their own History, behaviors and ages.
Not forgetting Congo’s Virunga National Park & Kahuzi Biega National Parks’ Mountain and Eastern Lowland Gorillas respectively. Gorilla trekking in Congo $400 per permit per person per day is cheaper compared to the other sister country’s of Uganda’s $700 and Rwanda’s $1500.
How do I trek Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo?
The best way you can go gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo is with a specialist tour Operator which are licensed by Uganda Tourism Board , Rwanda Development Board and ICCN Congo. There are quite a lot of requirements involved in gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda or Congo. From securing the gorilla permits, What to wear, safari accommodation, ground transfers and other activities included to name a few.
Not forgetting the Gorilla trekking rules and regulations that must be strongly considered when you go gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo, such as the amount of time you are allowed to spend with the gorillas, trekking time, and minimum ages attached ( that is, 15 years for Uganda and Rwanda).
We can sort out the logistics for your gorilla trek, and a trip to see these critically endangered animals will be a lifetime memory. We can book your trip according to how many gorilla treks you’d like to do, as well as other activities in the national parks. In Rwanda for example, you can trek to see the golden monkeys.
In terms of planning when you are already at the park head quarters, the rangers and guides will take you through the procedure of the trek. You will reach the park headquarters in the morning (either Uganda, Rwanda or Congo), and run through a comprehensive gorilla trekking highlight and safety rules and regulations. You will then be assigned into your gorilla trekking group, which is a maximum of 8 persons per gorilla family. Your guide will lead you through the forest, accompanied by a team of trackers and porters.
Planning a Guide for Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Two things required: The cost of the gorilla permit, and the cost of the gorilla trekking safari itself. The governments of the triple countries recommend trekkers to obtain a valid gorilla permit (who’s prices are fixed) to enter into the jungle and meet these intelligent Mountain Gorillas. All gorilla permits include park entrance, guide fee and community contribution. ¾ of the price of the permit is injected for conservation, to protect the National Parks and their inhabitants.
Cost of a Gorilla Permit in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
The gorilla permit in Uganda is currently $700 per person per trek. In Rwanda, it’s $1,500 per person per trek, while Congo’s cheapest permit goes for $400 per person per trek.
These permits are booked and issued prior to the gorilla tracking date by the help of a trusted tour operator, or you can book directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority, or Rwanda Development Board for Uganda and Rwanda respectively.
There maximum number of gorilla permits per day is 152 in Uganda, 80 in Rwanda and 48 in Congo so it’s worth booking these well in advance. Internal flights, transfers, and accommodation are also part of the logistics.
To find out more about our gorilla trekking itineraries, get in touch with Active African Vacations Limited. Whether it’s a Uganda, Rwanda or Congo gorilla trek, the trip will be a memorable experience.
Best Time to Gо Gоrillа Trеkking?
Gorilla trekking can be done throughout the year, although peak season during the drier months of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February are more safe, due to the less rains. So expect the permit demands to be higher than that of the Low season.
If you don’t mind much about the rain, consider trekking the gorillas during the low season, where you can experience fewer crowds, cheaper rates, and a more intimate experience with the gorillas.
How long do you get with the gorillas?
Upon your encounter with the gorillas, you must maintain a distance of 7-8 meters from them, stay within the same group, don’t eat or drink or smoke in the presence of the gorillas, stay in the presence of gorillas for at most 1 hour.
Porters are not allowed to reach near the gorillas, so make sure that, when you find the gorillas, you take your camera and anything you may want with you for the gorilla experience (sunglasses or glasses for example).
What to Wear on a Gorilla Trek?
Whether you are trekking gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, or DR Congo, you need to come handy with your trekking gear which includes; Waterproof Hiking Boots, Long Hiking Socks / Gaiters, Long-Sleeve Shirt, Long Hiking Pants, Rain Jacket, Hat, Garden Gloves
Take note that wearing camouflage patterned clothing is prohibited since most East African countries with these patterns are associated with soldiers. Recommended colors to wear are safari type colors such as khaki, brown, green, black, and gray.