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Where to See Gorillas in Africa: Uganda vs Rwanda vs DR Congo

Looking for gorilla trekking in Africa, best places to see gorillas in Africa or where to trek the gorillas in East Africa or Mountain Gorillas & Eastern lowland Gorilla treks with in East Africa? Get the best updated information on where to see the gorillas in Africa and select if its Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic republic of Congo ? Select where to go gorilla trekking after Rwenzori Trekking at 5109m summit to Margherita Peak with Rwenzori Expeditions.

Gorilla Watching in their natural tropical jungles in Africa has become a phenomenon for adventure travelers worldwide. Seeing them behind cages in zoos just doesn’t cut it anymore. Besides, some of the gorilla species can’t survive outside their natural habitats in central Africa, and those are the crowd pullers: the mountain gorillas of East Africa. In this article , we have discussed about the Mountain Gorillas which are including the Eastern lowland gorillas that are available for trekking with a focus to 5 best places to see the gorillas in Africa with local Companies and explore the Rwenzori Mountain peaks 

Mountain gorillas in East Africa- Gorilla Trekking

The inclusive advantage that democratic republic of Congo is among the East African Community, makes it clear in this writing that gorilla trekking is taken as East Africa safari destination. Dont miss the chance to see the gorillas in Africa with us .

Gorilla Trekking UgandaThe Mountain Gorillas live in the Rift Valley mountains of East-Central Africa, and you can see them in the lush mountains of Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo. There’s no doubt that the best places where go on a gorilla trek and see gorillas in Africa are Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Virunga National Park  and Volcanoes National Park with an extension to cover kahuzi biega national park to see the difference between the Mountain Gorillas and Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Gorilla Trekking in all these Africa’s listed destinations is safe and authentic , unique Expeditions that can be tailored by Bespoken Africa Safari companies like Rwenzori Expeditions.

Best time to go gorilla trekking in Africa & Climb Rwenzori Mountains.

Although these activities are done all year around but there are best time to visit Africa for the safari experience which are the dry months, the team still recommends that you can join the two Safari activity combined gorilla and rwenzori trekking and have the best Africa Expedition. Although gorilla trekking is regarded as a year-round activity, the country’s dry seasons offer by far the easiest hiking conditions. The rainy season makes the surfaces slippery and making the walk in the forests difficult. The country’s long rainy season happens from March to May and the long dry season lasts from June to mid-September.

Where to See gorillas in Africa

Gorilla Trekking
Eastern Lowland Gorillas

Enjoy Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking & Mount Kahuzi Biega hiking adventure to explore the beauty of Democratic republic of Congo with add on for Rwenzori mountaineering experiences with Primate Safari Experiences.

Overview: Rwanda vs Uganda vs Congo

Uganda Rwanda Democratic republic of Congo
Gorilla species Mountain gorillas Mountain gorillas Mountain Gorillas/Lowland Gorillas
Best gorilla trekking destination Bwindi Impenetrable  National Park/ Mgahinga National Park Volcanoes National Park Virunga  National Park/ Kahuzi Biega
Best time to go All year round, but driest from June to September and December to February All year round, but driest from June to September and December to February All year round, but driest from June to September and December to February
Cost of gorilla trekking permit (USD) $800 $1500 $400
Trekking time Up to 5 hours, depending on weather, fitness levels of guests, and proximity of gorilla families Up to 5 hours, depending on weather, fitness levels of guests, and proximity of gorilla families Up to 5 hours, depending on weather, fitness levels of guests, and proximity of gorilla families
Trekking terrain Hiking at altitude through thick forested slopes Hiking at altitude through thick forested slopes Hiking at altitude through thick forested slopes & lowland for Kahuzi Biega.
Time allowed with gorillas (excluding trekking time) 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour
  • Max 8 guests per trek
  • Minimum age: 15
  • Guests must be healthy – no cold or flu symptoms
  • Trekking with face masks is compulsory
  • Max 8 guests per trek
  • Minimum age: 15
  • Guests must be healthy – no cold or flu symptoms
  • Trekking with face masks is compulsory
  • Max 8 guests per trek
  • Minimum age: 15
  • Guests must be healthy – no cold or flu symptoms
  • Trekking with face masks is compulsory

Rwenzori Trekking & Gorilla Watching Tours 2024/25

Rules for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Uganda & Congo

When it comes to the Gorilla trekking rules and regulations that are followed by gorilla trekkers in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo , they are the same throughout all destinations be the Mountain Gorillas or the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park & Maiko National Park which are the only destinations for primate Trekking in Africa. If your planning your Primate Safari after the Rwenzori hike to explore the unique peaks on Mount Stanley like the Cheptegei peak , Margherita peak and Albert peak , then we can recommend that you observe the best gorilla trekking rules as set out when booking the Gorilla Permits.

Before you Set off for Gorilla Trekking:

• Ensure to carry with you payment receipts and permits
• Do not visit the gorillas if you have a cold or other infectious illness
• Minimum age for tracking is 15 years ( check on the Gorilla Trekking with Kids )
• Human waste should be buried 30 cm (12) deep
• Maximum number of visitors is eight persons per gorilla group

When your with the Gorillas in the Forests

• Maintain a 7m (21ft) distance from the gorilla
• Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted on the tour
• If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from the
gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans
• Visits are limited to one hour per gorilla group per day
• Do not use flash photography

Where to see gorillas in Uganda

Uganda’s mountain gorillas live in the epically named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a cloak of tangled green that covers the country’s south-western mountains. It’s a day’s drive (about 10 to 11 hours) from the capital Kampala or a quick (but more costly) charter flight – so you’ll work a little harder to get there than in Rwanda, but it’s worth it!

Bwindi is a World Heritage Site of both montane and lowland forest that provides a verdant habitat for about 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species, 220 butterfly species, plus many more reptiles and amphibians. Thanks to the income generated from tourism, the park’s endangered mountain gorilla numbers have seen positive growth to about half of the world’s population. And, if you’re interested in seeing primate species other than gorillas in Africa, Bwindi will offer fantastic encounters with colobus monkeys and chimpanzees during your Uganda gorilla trekking adventure.

Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorillas

Organizations Behind Gorilla Conservation ( Gorilla Trekking Rules )

The gorilla trekking rules for Rwanda , Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo are the same, the very are for the Mountain Gorillas and Eastern Lowland gorillas where Rwenzori Expeditions operates gorilla trekking Safaris in Africa . The Uganda’s gorilla trekking rules for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National park are enforced by Uganda wildlife Authority, the Rwanda’s gorilla trekking rules are enforced by Rwanda Development board for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and the Congo’s gorilla trekking in Virunga National park & kahuzi biega National Park are enforced by Institute Congolese pour la Conservation de la Nature ( ICCN) these bodies are entrusted with the conservation of the endangered Species in respective countries.

Recommended Uganda Lodges & Hotels( Accommodations) : Where to Stay

Where to see gorillas in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park offers a truly magical encounter with the majestic mountain gorillas and luxury adventurers that wish to explore the Mountain gorillas in Africa often select to visit Rwanda for Gorilla trekking adventure that range from 2 Days Rwanda Gorilla Safari ,although the team of Primate Safari Experiences recommends that having a luxury Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Rwenzori trek is more possible and recommended to family adventurers that wish to see the Virungas and Rwenzori Mountains. Volcanoes National Park is home to several habituated gorilla families, which means that they have become accustomed to the presence of humans, allowing for an intimate and safe experience. Gorilla trekking in volcanoes itself is an adventure like no other.

Led by experienced guides and trackers, you will venture through the verdant jungles, following the trails of these gentle giants. The anticipation builds with each step, as you listen to the sounds of the forest and catch glimpses of other wildlife along the way.

And then, suddenly, you find yourself face to face with a gorilla family. Time seems to stand still as you observe these awe-inspiring creatures in their natural habitat. The Silverback gorillas  with its commanding presence, protects and leads the family, while the playful youngsters frolic and interact, showcasing their intelligence and social dynamics. The gorilla tracking permit costs 1500USD per person for the foreign non resident and 500USD for the African residents.

Beyond the gorilla trekking experience, Volcanoes National Park offers additional wonders to explore that include the primate Trekking and  trek to Virunga Massif, a volcanic range that spans across Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The dramatic volcanic landscapes, including the iconic Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi, provide a stunning backdrop for your adventure.

Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorillas

Where to see Gorillas in Democratic Republic of  Congo

Among the rich destinations for primate trekking experiences is Congo that houses all the three species of the Gorillas , that is the Mountain Gorillas , Eastern Lowland gorillas and Western Lowland Gorillas which are all open to trekking, although when it comes to Congo gorilla trekking , Rwenzori expeditions only operates tours to Kahuzi Biega National Park & Virunga National Park all in Eastern democratic Republic of Congo.

The two parks are still relatively unknown and comprises 13 500 square kilometers (5 200 square miles) of undisturbed equatorial rain forest – a sanctuary for about 100 mammal species and one of Africa’s most diverse primate populations. Unlike their mountain cousins found in Rwanda and Uganda, lowland gorillas are smaller and less shaggy. But as with their larger altitude-dwelling relatives, they are always a joy to behold.

Anyone who is 15 years or older can get a gorilla trekking permit. This legal permit allows you to spend an hour with a gorilla group. With this, you can also do mountain trekking to see gorillas in any national park.

If your looking to see gorillas in their wilderness , its more recommended to select the option of visiting the Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park and Virunga National Park which is available with the help of primate Safari experiences the leading tour operator in offering gorilla Safaris.

Cost of Gorilla Trekking Permits 2024/25

The cost of the gorilla permit differ in all the 3 gorilla trekking destinations and the body that are responsible for the conservation of the gorillas in those respective parks set the rates.

  1. In Rwanda the gorilla permit costs $1 500 USD per person for spending one hour with the gorillas
  2. In Democratic republic of Congo the gorilla permit costs 400 USD
  3. In the pearl of Africa( Uganda) the gorilla permit costs 800USD

These Gorilla permits are often sold out up to a year in advance for a trek during the long dry season (June to September), so we recommend booking your trip as soon as you know you want to go gorilla trekking in Africa

Why Recommend Combining Rwenzori , Gorillas & Chimpanzee Watching.

An Africa safari Expedition can include both Adventures and Hard adventure where by Primate Safari experiences offers mainly Hard adventures that are ranked as extreme adventures that include the Gorilla trekking Expeditions , Chimpanzee watching , Rwenzori Trekking all exploring the Ugandan national Parks for ultimate experiences.

An Iconic Uganda Safari to the pearl of Africa grants you a lot of things to do on a single Safari adventure with destination experts for once a life time memory experience while in Africa. Primate Trekking in Uganda is one of Africa’s most distinct and stunning locations and your travels with us takes you to the country’s finest destinations.

If your planning Rwenzori trekking tour, Get the best accommodation for your overnight stay before or after the Rwenzori hike for ultimate experience. Dont miss joining the Rwenzori Trekking calendar from Rwenzori Expeditions to explore the Rwenzori Mountains.

Frequently asked questions if you’re planning gorilla safaris in Africa

Gorilla trekking is a breathtaking encounter in the wild where travelers hike through the montane rain forests of the Virunga Mountains to meet the endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking safaris are described by past travelers among the best wildlife experiences in the world though only done in three counties – Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Having close encounter with the habituated apes is among the glorious encounters and in this article, Primate safari Experiences Limited offers you detailed gorilla trekking questions and answers to ensure a peaceful and enjoyable experience;

Q: What is a gorilla safari?

A Gorilla Safari is only possible in African countries like Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo. A gorilla safari is a guided trip to observe the habituated gorillas in their natural habitat, typically in the dense forests of East and Central Africa.

Q : Where can I go on a gorilla safari?

The main destinations for gorilla safaris are Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park).

Q: Which country has got the best gorilla trekking experience?

Gorilla trekking is phenomenal in all the 3 countries because of similar physical factors within the gorilla habitats and their surroundings. However, its human factors like infrastructure, security, accommodation and cost that make the difference.

Rwanda has the best infrastructure leading to their gorilla trekking destination which include good roads and a short driving time of just 3 hours. Accommodation facilities like lodges and hotels around the gorilla habitat in Rwanda are also of a very high standard and this include all luxury, mid range and budget facilities. One factor that tries to raise eyebrows as far as gorilla trekking in Rwanda is concerned, is the price of the gorilla permit at $1,500. Although this appears to be high, most of the trekkers confess that the rewards and satisfaction derived from the gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda is worth every penny.

Uganda has got a cheaper gorilla permit at $800 but the long driving time from the capital Kampala to Bwindi of more than 10 hours tends to discourage some travelers. In fact, there is a shorter distance from Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport to Bwindi than from Kampala and this is the route most travelers who want to trek gorillas in Uganda use.

DR Congo has the cheapest gorilla permit of them all at $400 but the insecurity around Virunga National Park due to civil conflicts in the eastern region of the country scares away many potential visitors. Those who make it to Virunga usually access the park from Rwanda via Gisenyi border or fly in at Goma International Airport from Kigali

Q: How many gorilla groups are available for trekking?

Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest number of habituated gorilla groups with more 22 of them. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda has 13 while Virunga National Park in DR Congo has got 8. However, trekkers are permitted to visit only one gorilla group per day as one of the measures to enhance their conservation.

Q: When is the best time to go on a gorilla safari?

The best time to see the gorillas in Africa is during the dry seasons, from June to September and December to February, when the trails are less muddy and the weather is more favorable.

Q: How physically demanding is a gorilla safari?

Gorilla trekking can be physically demanding since it involves hiking through dense forest, up and down steep, uneven terrain, sometimes for several hours.its from this background that gorilla trekking is mainly done by persons above the age of 15 years , Check on Family Gorilla Trekking with Children

Q: What to pack for gorilla trekking?

Since gorilla trekking involves a walk through the jungle, it requires a right gear. Some of the most important gear to pack for gorilla trekking include a pair of hard trousers, long-sleeved shirt, pair of gloves, rain jacket, and hiking boots. Trekkers are also encouraged to pack a good camera to capture some of the breathtaking moments with the gorillas lest they forget such memories. Other requirements like drinking water, snacks and a walking stick are provided at the places of accommodation and at the park headquarters.

Q: Do I need a permit to go gorilla trekking?

Yes, a permit is required for gorilla trekking, and it must be obtained in advance due to limited availability. Permits can be obtained through tour operators or national park authorities. In Uganda, it can be obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority. In Rwanda, permits are obtained from Rwanda Development Board and those of Congo can be bought through Virunga national park website.

Q: How much does a gorilla trekking permit cost?

As of the latest updates, permits cost around $800 in Uganda, $1,500 in Rwanda, and $400 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but prices can vary and should be checked before planning your trip.

Q: Is it safe to go on a gorilla safari?

Generally, gorilla safaris are safe when conducted by experienced guides. However, it’s essential to follow all guidelines and listen to your guide to ensure safety.

Do I need any vaccinations or medications?

Yes, vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and routine vaccinations are recommended. Malaria prophylaxis is also advised, and travelers should consult their doctor for a personalized health plan

Q: What should I do to minimize my impact on the gorillas and their habitat?

Follow the rules set by the park authorities, such as maintaining a safe distance, not eating or drinking near the gorillas, not littering, and minimizing noise. Do not trek if you are sick to prevent transmitting diseases to the gorillas and do not take pictures using a flash.

Q: How long will I spend with the gorillas?

Visitors typically spend one hour with the gorillas once they are located. This limit is in place to minimize stress and disturbance to the animals

Q: What is the group size for gorilla trekking?

Group sizes are usually limited to 8 people to reduce the impact on the gorillas and to provide a more intimate experience.

Q: Will I definitely see gorillas?

While sightings are very likely due to the trackers’ expertise, they are not guaranteed as the gorillas are wild animals and move freely through their habitat.

Q: What types of accommodation are available?

Accommodations range from budget lodges to luxury camps and hotels, often located near the national parks. Booking in advance is recommended.

Q: How do I get to the gorilla trekking sites?

Most visitors fly into major airports like Entebbe (Uganda), Kigali (Rwanda), or Goma (DRC), and then travel by road or domestic flights to the national parks.

Cultural and Ethical Considerations

Q: Are there opportunities to learn about local culture?

Yes, many tours include visits to local communities, cultural centers, and craft markets, offering insights into the traditions and lifestyles of the people living near the parks.

Q: How can I ensure my safari is ethically responsible?

Choose tour operators that support conservation efforts, respect local communities, and follow ethical guidelines for wildlife viewing. Consider contributing to conservation projects and local community initiatives.

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