BEST Gorilla Tracking Tours 2020/2021
Our price sensitive budget gorilla tour packages will let you spend less for
an outstanding experience with these endangered primates in their natural
habitats. When you travel with us, your comfort comes top of our list! This is
why we operate all our budget gorilla tracking safaris in customized 4x4
safari vehicles and only select out good accommodation facilities for use. We
are so passionate about tourism and often boast about our previous successful
expeditions, a milestone that acts as a foundation for our forthcoming tours.
We can help you craft good budget packages for your gorilla tracking tours as
you plan to go trekking with mountain gorillas in Uganda.
Want to spend less on your gorilla trackking safari? Budget gorilla
trekking calls for a lot of measures and variations which not so many
operators might be familiar with. Budget gorilla safari lodges that go for as
less as $35 per person for a night do exist in national parks and i won't deny
the fact that some of them are equally nice but you ought to know that
accommodation matters so much when it comes to booking your gorilla safaris in
Uganda. When you go trekking gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, we let you sleep in
good and comfortable accommodation facilities.
What you should know about gorilla tours in Uganda
Your entire Uganda Gorilla trek experience could be messed in a blink of
an eye if unhappy with your accommodation facility. You have to watch the
standards of lodging facilities that you reserve for your gorilla safari. We
have organized a couple of successful Uganda gorilla trips before and
we believe we can do the same for you. So how do we do it? We carry your
burden by going to lodge by lodge (mid-range lodges and luxury lodges)
negotiating their prices and establishing partnerships with them so that we
are able to get their accommodation facilities at relatively low discounted
rates and in turn offer you the same discounted rates. This is because we mind
about your Uganda gorilla safari experience and we don't want simple obstacles
ruin your fun as you go trekking with gorillas.
Going on a cheap gorilla safari does not necessarily mean your comfort will
suck. So many assume this but it very wrong. If you plan everything the right
way and deal with a good operator, you will still enjoy a much more
comfortable safari that most of the tourists who opt for mid-range facilities.
The budget gorilla safari experience is so raw and fun, you will definitely
Cost of Gorilla Tracking in Uganda & Rwanda
Uganda is undoubtedly one of the best destinations for budget gorilla
treks. Permits cost as little as $600 for foreign nationals. The parks also
have very many accommodation facilities you can choose from. What often freaks
most travelers out is the 9 hour drive from Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park. This journey can be reduced by use of scheduled flights or
making an entourage via Kigali in Rwanda. Uganda apparently harbors over half
the remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi
Impenetrable Forest. When you go trekking with gorillas in Uganda, you will
Since May 2017, Rwanda doubled the prices of its gorilla permits from $750 to
$1500. This automatically made Rwanda a luxury gorilla tracking destination.
Not so many can afford the $1500 permits fee and majority have resorted to
trekking gorillas in Virunga National Park in Congo and Bwindi in Uganda. Good
thing with Rwanda is your gorilla safari can even last for a day. This is
partly because Volcanoes National Park is just 2 - 3 hours away from Kigali
City. Besides the permits, several safari lodges offer equally budget
accommodation services and you can take advantage of this.
Choosing the best gorilla safaris in Africa
There has always been a big debate about Uganda gorilla trekking and Rwanda
gorilla trekking experiences. So many tourists get confused on where to go
trekking with gorillas. These two destinations offer equally good adventures
but solely depends on how best you organize your tour. Many prefer Rwanda to
Uganda because of the short distance between Kigali and Volcanoes National
Park (approximately 3 hours). This is 6 hours shorter than the Kampala -
If you have travelling, either go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or arrive from
there and trek from Bwindi easily. The drive is approximately 4 hours from
Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. As for DRC, since Rwanda gorilla
permits shot up to $1500 each, many have resorted to affordable mountain
gorilla expeditions by gorilla trekking in Congo and Uganda even when they
make their entourage via Kigali.
Common Gorilla Trek FAQs
What is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is an act of trekking mountains and forests in search for
gorillas. The most common species of gorillas tracked are mountain gorillas
and this is because of the adventure that comes with it. Mountain gorillas
live in mountainous areas and can hardly survive at low altitude. Trekkers
have to hike mountains through trails to meet gorillas in their natural
habitat and trek back to the starting point to get their gorilla trekking
certificates, a document that acknowledges their involvement in a gorilla
trekking activity. This trek through the jungle entitles you to a certain
amount of time around gorillas and prescribed by the country’s governing
To be able to trek gorillas, you need a gorilla permit. Permits are documents
that permit you to join the search for gorillas. These documents/cards are
issued by the respective country’s governing body; Uganda Wildlife Authority
for Uganda, Rwanda Development Board for Rwanda and Congolese Institute for
Nature Conservation for Congo. The money used for purchasing permits is
instead used to conserve these gorillas. This practically implicates that by
trekking gorillas, you are contributing to the community and helping these
gorillas multiply in numbers especially, mountain gorillas; the smallest of
all species. Mountain gorillas share over a 98% of DNA with humans, making
them our closes relatives next to chimpanzees.
Gorilla trekking is an awesome activity that every avid travelers should
engage in at least once in their lifetime. Its unique, rewarding and can only
be carried out in Africa. Mountain gorilla trekking can only be carried out in
Congo, Rwanda and Uganda and nowhere else in the world. Many travelers mistake
the actual adventure to be tiresome which the case isn’t. You can choose an
easy hike or hard depending on the level of difficulty that you prefer. The
gorilla trekking group always moves at the pace of the slowest member so
either way, you have to make it to the gorillas and back to the starting
What are mountain gorillas?
Mountain gorillas are a sub species of the Eastern gorillas and are only found
in East and Central Africa in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo and nowhere else in the
world. Apparently, there are only four mountain gorilla parks in the world and
these include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National
Park, Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable
Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are found in Uganda whereas
Volcanoes National Park is found in Rwanda and Virunga National Park is found
in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of all these parks, Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park is the best when it comes to mountain gorilla trekking.
Of all primates, Mountain gorillas are the second closes to the human DNA
after Chimpanzees. This is no far away from their actions and traits. Mountain
gorillas are identified by their nose prints just like humans, are intelligent
like humans and behave like us. At times, they even laugh at us and get angry.
When they charge at humans, a sign of remorse can calm them down and keep them
away from attacking you. So by trekking gorillas, you are trekking a species
of apes that behaves somehow like us and have a lot of things in common with
There is a lot to learn about mountain gorillas and this opportunity is
available only for clients planning to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park in Uganda. This is none other than the Gorilla habituation
experience. When you book a Gorilla habituation safari, you will spend a
whopping four hours with gorillas instead of the usual one and also get to
learn more about these gorillas and how they are habituated before they are
made available for gorilla trekking. Mountain gorillas have to pass several
stages that involve controlling their emotions before they can be tracked else
they are more likely to be dangerous to clients. This is the very first step
that Uganda Wildlife Authority takes to prepare these gorillas for exposure.
Where to go gorilla trekking in Africa?
Want to know where to go for gorilla tracking in Africa? Quite a number of
African countries have gorillas but apparently only three countries have
mountain gorillas and these include Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. You can go to
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in
Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or Virunga National Park in Congo
for mountain gorilla trekking. If you need a blend of a lowland gorilla
trekking experience, you can visit Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Bukavu,
Congo. These three countries are apparently the best destinations for gorilla
tracking in the whole world and account for the biggest number of trekking clients.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is apparently the best destination
for mountain gorilla tours in the world. This gorilla park accounts for
half the remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world and has 4
different sectors where clients can trek gorillas from. Bwindi is one of
Uganda’s world heritage sites and attracts millions of tourists every year. It
is apparently the most preferable Ugandan gorilla park to Mgahinga Gorilla
National Park. Mgahinga has only one gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi
Gorilla Group. This group sometimes crosses over to Volcanoes National Park in
Rwanda, which brings a bit of uncertainty with trekking gorillas from there.
Next to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Volcanoes National Park in
Rwanda. A gorilla permit for Volcanoes National Park normally costs $1500 each
and $1050 when visiting all the other Rwanda national parks. So many travelers
prefer Volcanoes National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park mainly
because of the short distance from Kigali International Airport, a common
place where so many clients arrive from to Rwanda. The distance from Kigali to
Musanze, a town where Volcanoes National Park is found is only 2 hours; which
could have been shorter if the Rwandan speed limitations where above 60
kilometers per hour. Virunga is rarely visited because of the insecurity in
Goma BUT it would have definitely been second to Bwindi Impenetrable National
What do you need for gorilla trekking
The most important requirement for gorilla tracking is a gorilla permit. Each
permit entitles you to one gorilla encounter. Clients who wish to
trek gorillas multiple times should require additional gorilla permits
depending on the total number of encounters they’d wish to have. Gorilla
permits are bought from respective country bodies that govern/manage gorilla
trekking and these include Uganda Wildlife Authority for Uganda, Rwandan
Development Board (RDB) for Rwanda and ICCN and Virunga Foundation for Virunga
National Park in Congo. Gorilla permits are sold on a first-come-first-serve
basis hence, clients are advised to make their bookings several months in
advance to avoid missing out on permits.
Another thing you need is a sound and healthy body. Considering their
closeness to humans, mountain gorillas are likely to get infectious diseases
and their immunity is not strong enough to fight diseases. This can lead to
the demise of many members of a gorilla family. Clients with infectious
diseases like cough, influenza or any other airborne diseases will not be
permitted to other travelers in the trek so as to cut out the risk of gorilla
infection. Taking flu shots and ensuring your health is very vital to your
gorilla trekking preparation process and you should take this seriously to
avoid any disappointments.
To make your trek even easier and much more comfortable, you need the
necessary trekking gears and the right clothing before you make your
entourage into the forest or mountains to search for mountain gorillas. Some
of the gears you need are cameras for recordings, a walking stick, sun shades,
insect repellants, energy snacks and many more. Most important of all is a
small first aid kit since there is no hospital in the jungle. Moving with one
keeps you safe in case of any minor injuries during your trek. As for
clothing, things trousers, long sleeved tops, rain jackets, hats and long
hiking boots are highly recommended.
Important Trekking tips
Before you even think of preparing for gorilla tours in Africa or actually
going into the forest, it’s very essential to have a look at the essential
tips and pick a point or two. This will not only keep you safe, abiding by the
rules and informed, but will also make you feel more comfortable like you are
actually familiar with the activity you are engaging in. You should know how
to trek, keep up with the group, what to do when a gorilla charges on you, how
best you can dress to maneuver the forests or mountain jungles smoothly and a
First and foremost, you should be prepared for any weather. Africa’s climate
is quite different from other continents’. It could shine in the morning and
rain heavily a few minutes after and shine bright a few hours later. Knowing
the driest months of the year and booking your gorilla trekking safaris for
such months can lower the chances of trekking gorillas in the rain. With this
kind of climate, you ought to enter the forests and jungles with rain coats
and light clothes so that you are ready for rain or a very hot sunshine over
Ought to carry enough energy snacks with you alongside packed lunch and lots
of water so that you do not feel hungry when in the forest. Hiking the trails
up the mountains to the gorillas can be tiresome and energy consumptive. You
ought to always be ready to trek and keep hydrated so that you do not feel
fatigued faster. You also have to waterproof your camera and deactivate the
flashlights. Flashlights upset gorillas and can cause them to charge at you,
an event that can lead to serious injuries if not handled well. Always
remember to deactivate your flash light when taking photos of gorillas.
Preparations for your gorilla trek
Mountain gorilla treks can be somehow strenuous if you do not prepare well
for it. Mountain gorillas live in highly elevated areas and you’ll need to
hike up the mountains to meet gorillas, which can be really tiresome for some
clients. This is reason why you are encouraged to carry out proper
preparations for your mountain gorilla adventure several months
prior. Good preparation will help you traverse the mountains with ease and
feel less fatigued. It will also keep you at the same pace with the group,
which could be slow or fast depending on the slowest person’s pace. Having
best preparations is a very essential step towards your gorilla tour
Preparations could be mental, physical, financial, health-wise and so on.
Regarding your physical side, jogging for at least 30 or more minutes every
morning should help get your muscles ready for a hike. Mental preparation is
also mandatory. Some clients give up when the mountain gorilla group they are
trekking seems to be very far away than usual. This is an unusual event that
can happen sometimes and is because of the high mobility of mountain gorillas.
Sometimes, they move up to extremely high elevations as they search for
vegetation and new shelter. This is not good news for trekking clients
especially the less prepared.
You should equally consider your dietary preparation. Eating lots of
vegetables, fiber foods and hydrating more often will help keep your body in
good shape. A good diet can also improve your energy levels, immunity and
muscle growth. As for health preparations, you should take a couple of
vaccination shots prior to your travel especially Influenza and Malaria shots.
Financial preparation is mandatory! You do not want to run short of money
during your trek especially if you are not so physical. Clients that feel
fatigued along the way are ferried back to the starting point or actually to
the gorillas and back using a Sedan seat or Bamboo stretcher. If you are not
in the best physical condition, you’ll have to prepare yourself for this.
Luxury or budget gorilla trips?
In most occasions, a client’s budget highly determines whether they should opt
for budget gorilla trekking, comfortable gorilla tracking or upmarket gorilla
tracking. In rare conditions, some clients think they can still get the best
experience even with minimal costs. They try to opt for public transportation
to and from gorilla trekking parks, want to camp at camp sites and save on
money. Do not try to be like these people to avoid disappointments. Africa is
a continent of its own and what may seem budget in American, European or Asian
countries cannot have the same quality as budget accommodation facilities
here. Some budget gorilla lodges here are a mess and irritate most clients.
This is why our budget gorilla tracking experiences defer from the rest. Our
company tries so hard to ensure we get highly discounted accommodation rates
from top mid-range lodges and offer it to clients. We have to keep sending a
specific number of clients to the particular lodge to maintain the contractual
rates which might call for heavy marketing on our end just to ensure our
clients get the best services during their gorilla adventures. We
also discourage clients from doing trips on their own because Uganda, just
like any other destinations can mean to be unsafe to people that know less
about it. Having a dedicated tour guide besides you guarantees a lot of
As for luxury clients, the level of service delivery is so
high that it will make you enjoy your experience to the extreme. Most times
such trips come with 4x4 Safari Land Cruisers, chartered or scheduled flights
and extremely comfortable gorilla safari lodges with impressive views of the
forest. If possible, opt for a luxury gorilla safari experience. It’s simply
out of this world and you will highly enjoy it. Nothing beats the feeling of
seeing gorillas in the forest and coming back to rest at a very comfortable
gorilla safari lodge with great views of the forest.
How much is a gorilla permit?
So what is a gorilla permit? A gorilla permit is
loosely defined as an authorization document/card for mountain gorilla
tracking. Every client who wishes to engage in gorilla treks has to first
purchase a gorilla trekking permit before they are granted access to the
gorillas. These documents are purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority
headquarters in Kampala, Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda and Virunga
Foundation in DRC Congo. You can purchase gorilla permits through a
tours and travel operator agency like us. Please note that we are simply
facilitators in this process and all the governing body rules and regulations
regarding gorilla permits stand in place.
Gorilla permits cost $1500 in Rwanda, $700 in Uganda and $400 in DRC Congo.
Rwanda gorilla permits cost $1050 in the low season when visiting all the
other Rwanda national parks (Nyungwe Forest National Park – a place to trek
Rwandan chimpanzees in Rwanda and Akagera National Park – the only Savannah
wildlife national park in Rwanda perfect for game viewing experiences). Uganda
has a gorilla habituation experience that entitles clients to four hours
around gorillas instead of the normal one. Gorilla habituation permits cost
$1500 each. Rwanda has a special experience where a client can book out an
entire gorilla family for himself and 3 other travelers at 15,000
However, these are just ordinary prices for gorilla tours. Gorilla
photography and Gorilla filming have separate prices. Clients are not allowed
to carry heavy photography or filming equipment to the
forests/jungles/mountains under the ordinary gorilla permit prices. They’ll
have to pay the respective filming and photography charges irrespective of the
destination that they are in. If you need convenience and do not
want to travel for long, you can book gorilla tracking in Rwanda as Volcanoes
National Park is just 2 hours away from Kigali. If you need a budget gorilla
tour experience or a much more affordable luxury gorilla safari
experience, Uganda and Congo might be great destinations for
Are gorilla permits refundable?
Gorilla permits are not refundable because the money goes towards the
conservation of mountain gorillas. If you feel you may miss out on your
gorilla experience, you may have to reschedule the permit to a later
date when you are able to travel again. If you feel you may not travel again
in a very long time, you may just have to forego the permit and help the
gorillas. Foregoing the permit does not implicate it’s the government using
your money. 80% of this money goes back to mountain gorilla conservation and
about 10% goes to the community. Only a small percentage goes to the
government body governing gorillas as they already make money from taxing the
The best alternative to foregoing gorilla permits is to reschedule
them to a later date. Gorilla permits may be rescheduled only once but can be
rescheduled twice in case the country goes through an epidemic or pandemic
like COVID-19. Such measures are usually come up with by the wildlife
governing body of the respective country. During the Covid-19 period, clients
are advised to postpone their safaris so as to maintain the validity of their
respective gorilla permits. Uganda Wildlife Authority was allowing up
to two reschedules for a two year time-frame.
In case of any missed or delayed flights, clients have to communicate to their
tour operator and send evidence of the delayed or missed flights along so that
the tour operator can contact Uganda Wildlife Authority and do a quick
reschedule for your permits. This is actually one of the advantages of using a
trusted tours and travel operator to manage all aspects of your booking. It
helps in case any uncertainty arises as they are always on ground. So before
you book your gorilla trip, you should know that permits can only be
rescheduled and not refundable.
Cost of gorilla tracking?
The total cost of gorilla tracking depends on a number of factors ranging from
the choice of accommodation, country you are trekking gorillas from, the tours
and Travel Company you are using, the trekking iterations you want,
the duration of your trip, type of safari vehicle used, any special requests
for gorilla trekking, the actual type of experience you want (could be gorilla
habituation or gorilla tracking) among other factors. The most important cost
of all is the gorilla permit cost as this is what unlocks everything.
Without availability of a gorilla permit, it is very hard to determine which
accommodation you will sleep in and plan the other aspects of the trip. So
while you make further plans and research regarding the total gorilla safari
cost, you should highly prioritize the gorilla permit fees.
As regards to accommodation, budget gorilla safari lodges cost more,
mid-range gorilla trekking lodges cost average whereas luxury gorilla tour
lodges cost a lot of money. Accommodation highly influences the final cost of
gorilla tours as some lodges like Bisate Lodge in Rwanda cost over USD 2000
per cottage per night. This can highly impact on the final price of gorilla
safaris especially if a client wishes to spend a couple of nights at the
lodge. Regarding the trekking iterations, each gorilla trek requires a gorilla permit, so assuming you are to trek gorillas four
times, you’ll need four separate permits for that.
As for duration of the trip, your gorilla trips get more expensive as it gets
longer because each day in the timeline calls for meals, accommodation,
transportation fees, guiding fees and activity fees (if any). Regarding
transportation, land cruisers are charged higher than normal safari vans. If
you intent to use a land cruiser (short or extended), you’ll realize a sudden
increase in the total price of your safari.
How many sectors does bwindi have?
Referred to as the best gorilla park in the world, Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park is a great place to trek mountain gorillas from.
The gorilla park itself is isolated from the rest; Volcanoes National Park,
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park that share the
Virunga Conservation Area. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four gorilla
trekking sectors with Buhoma Sector (Northern Region) turning out to the
oldest of all. Gorilla trekking in Uganda started in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park in the late nineties. This is the same sector where
the Horrific Bwindi Massacre took place from. Besides being the first and
oldest, Buhoma has established itself to be among the best and busiest gorilla
trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
To the east is Ruhia Sector, apparently the most accessible sector of all.
Ruhijs sector/region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is not far away from
the Tarmacked road. This is why so many clients prefer trekking here. It is
very easy to combine gorilla trekking in Ruhija with visits to other national
parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Kibale
Forest National Park among the rest. To the south is Rushaga sector, a sector
that accounts for the highest population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi
Impenetrable Forest. So many clients prefer trekking here because of the good
scenery, challenging gorilla treks and convenience when starting your Uganda
gorilla trekking safari from Kigali in Rwanda.
To the East is Nkuringo Sector, a sector that will give you the best views of
the Virunga Massif in DRC Congo. Nkuringo is the least visited among the other
sectors because it doesn’t have so many gorilla families. Trekking in this
sector is very enjoyable and scenic. Nkuringo is perfect for clients who want
isolated places to trek mountain gorillas from.
Best gorilla trekking parks
As mentioned above, there are only four national parks in the world where you
can trek mountain gorillas from and these include Bwindi Impenetrable National
Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park and Volcanoes
National Park. Bwindi and Mgahinga are found in Uganda, Volcanoes National
Park is found in Rwanda whereas Virunga National Park is found in DRC Congo.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National
Park share the same area. They are all found in the Virunga Conservation Area,
a perimeter that shelters the eight Virunga Mountains. These mountains include
Mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Muhabura, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Mikeno,
Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga and Mount Nyamuragira. In these mountains are
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is however isolated from the rest and you
have to drive for a couple of kilometers to access it. Most of Uganda’s
mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; making it the best
place to see gorillas in Africa and the world at large. As mentioned before,
Bwindi offers an affordable and quality gorilla treks in Africa. It is a
perfect place for luxury gorilla treks too. It is the only park that
accompanies all classes of gorilla safari clients, right from shoe-string to
super luxury gorilla holidays.
Next to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park;
Also known as Parc Nationale Des Volcanes (PNV). PNV is the most accessible of
all the gorilla parks as it is just 2 hours away from Kigali,
Rwanda’s Capital City – a common place of entry for tourists. Virunga National
Park in Congo is a great place to see mountain gorillas but for years the
insecurity in the park has scared so many clients away. If Virunga had good
security, it would actually be second to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in
Uganda. The best place for trekking lowland gorillas in East Africa is
Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Bukavu, DRC Congo.
Gorilla families in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
Over the years, the population of mountain gorillas has steadily increased; a
huge sign that the conservation efforts in place are actually paying off.
Mountain gorillas live in families headed by a Silverback, an alpha-male
gorilla that dictates the day to day activities of the group, protects them
and reserves the right of mating with the females in the group. If any other
male member of the group wants to mate with a female, he either has to
challenge the leading Silverback to a battle and overthrow him or go and start
his own family with other females.
The habituated mountain gorilla groups in Uganda include; Nshongi Gorilla
Family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Nkuringo Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla
Family, Mubare Gorilla Family, Oruzogo Gorilla Family, Bitukura Gorilla
Family, Mishaya Gorilla Family, Busingye Gorilla Family, Kahungye Gorilla
Family, Nyakagezi Gorilla Family, Christmas Gorilla Family, Katwe Gorilla
Family and Bikingi Gorilla Family among the rest. The gorilla families in
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda include; Bwenge Gorilla Family, Ugenda Gorilla
Family, Hirwa Gorilla Family, Kwitonda Gorilla Family, Agashya Gorilla Family,
Sabyinyo Gorilla Family, Umubano Gorilla Family, Amahoro Gorilla Family,
Karisimbi Gorilla Family, Susa A Gorilla Family and Titus Gorilla Family among
The gorilla families in Virunga National Park Congo include; Bageni Gorilla
Family, Nyakamwe Gorilla Family, Munyaga Gorilla Family, Lulengo Gorilla
Family, Mapuwa Gorilla Family, Rugendo Gorilla Family, Humba Gorilla Family
and Kabirizi Gorilla Family among the rest. Each of these gorilla families
have something unique. Some Silverbacks are aggressive, other are humble,
others think snatching females from other gorilla groups makes them powerful,
others are cowards and so on. Depending on which gorilla family you are
allocated during your trekking, endeavor to carry out more research about the
exact mountain gorilla group that you are trekking.
Is gorilla trekking in Uganda worth it
Gorilla trekking is apparently one of the most expensive tours and travel
activities that you can engage in but question is, is it worth it? The honest
answer to this question is a YES! It gorilla trekking in Uganda wasn’t worth
it, so many gorilla permits would be available per day. Uganda is one of the
busiest, if not the busiest gorilla safari country. Gorilla permits get sold
out in advance hence, a clear indicator that trekking gorillas in any of the
Ugandan gorilla parks is actually more than worth it. If the activity wasn’t
worth it, very few clients would engage in it.
A gorilla permit costs $700 here in Uganda, making it affordable
enough for clients who want to engage in mountain gorilla safaris. This
permit entitles you to 1 gorilla trekking encounter inclusive of a full hour
around gorillas. If you’d like to spend longer around mountain gorillas, you’d
have to opt for the gorilla habituation experience whose permit goes for $1500
each. A gorilla habituation experience allows you up to four full hours around
mountain gorillas learning how they are habituation and made available for
public visit. This activity only takes place in the Rushaga Sector of Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park and nowhere else in the world.
Lastly, what makes gorilla treks worth it is the fact that you contribute
to the conservation of these rare apes when you purchase a gorilla permit(s).
When booking your gorilla trip, do not look at it in a sense of
giving the government a lot of money for the trek but rather giving back to
the gorillas and the communities around them. Over 80% of gorilla permit fees
goes back to the conservation of mountain gorillas and helping them multiply
in numbers considering the fact that they nearly went extinct at one point in
Choosing your accommodation
When you book your gorilla safari in Uganda, chances are very high
that you’ll trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. As earlier
mentioned, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four sectors and these
include Buhoma Sector, Rushaga Sector, Ruhija Sector and Nkuringo Sector. When
booking accommodation for your Uganda gorilla safari experience, your tours
and travel company will book one that is in or near the gorilla trekking
sector your permit is booked for. Gorilla tracking starts very early in the
morning with a briefing session and gorilla family allocation process before
actually heading to the forest to trek these primates. You have to sleep near
the park headquarters so that it’s easy for you to drive there and rule out
any chances of your safari vehicle getting stuck in mud in case of any
Some sector are however close to each other, making it easy and possible to
sleep in a different gorilla trekking sector and tracking gorillas from
another. Buhoma Sector and Ruhija Sector are very accessible from each other
just like Rushaga Sector and Nkuringo Sector. You can sleep in a sector and
trek gorillas in another. This actually comes in handy when you want to trek
gorillas twice in two different sectors. It makes it easy for you to use the
same accommodation facility though and avoid moving from lodge to lodge after
establishing your comfort in one.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has so many accommodation and lodging
facilities ranging from budget to luxury in all the sectors of the park.
Depending on your budget for the trip, you can choose what suits you best.
However, there are times when a Uganda tours and travel operator will advise
you to increase your budget for a better deal of accommodation. We advise
clients too because we might so much about their comfort. When we ask you to
increase your budget to get a good lodge for your trip, you should endeavor to
look at this positively. Most of the times it’s for your own good.
Trekking in the rain or sun, which is better?
Prior to drawing plans for your safari, you’ll want to visit a gorilla
tracking country during the driest months possible so that you do not
encounter any rain during your trek. Question is, would you rather go trekking
mountain gorillas in the rain or under hot sunshine? Much as you cannot
control weather, you can actually try to predict when it will shine or
probably drizzle if the day is to have any chance of rain. This is a big
question that most travelers do not ask themselves. They simply go with what
majority say; trek gorillas when it’s dry and fail to understand that
someone’s experience or taste might contradict from theirs or perhaps you
could have had a better experience than theirs.
Look, what makes like worth it is the fact that it is average. If life was all
good, it would definitely lose meaning. Same applies to gorilla trekking in
Africa. I would say, choose a random date and book your trek then let nature
decide whether it will pour rain on you that say or bless you with sunshine.
Trekking gorillas in the rain is an awesome experience and perfect even for
last minute deals. Rainy months are usually less populated that you can
actually purchase multiple gorilla permits days prior to your trip.
Accommodation facilities reduce on their rates too, making it possible to have
an absolutely cheap safari during such periods. It is also much easier to
locate gorillas as they hardly move to search for food because vegetation is
just around them. Best of all, the parks are less populated; a great
opportunity to encounter gorillas in small groups, which definitely wouldn’t
be the case in dry months.
Trekking during the dry season is much easier as trails are not muddy hence,
traversing them becomes pretty much easier. There also less or no chances that
you’ll slide and fall or rather feel cold when in the jungle. The downside is
during the dry months of the year, vegetation is scarce. Mountain gorillas
have to move to higher elevations to search for vegetation to eat, hence,
locating them might be quite hard. I would recommend trying out both
experiences that judging the better experience from your personal encounter.
Gorilla trekking clothing
Dressing right for your gorilla encounter won’t only save you from
insect bites but also pricks from the jungle. All gorilla trekking sectors are
in the wild. You get to hike through tiny trails as you make your way to an
exact location of the allocated mountain gorilla family. If your clothing is
not right, trekking might turn out to be a nightmare for you. Imagine you
forgot your garden gloves and happened to grab a plant that pricked you? That
wouldn’t be nice. Clothing should be one of your strongest considerations for
So what is the appropriate clothing that clients should carry for their Africa
gorilla safari experience? I would say wearing long pants (preferable khaki
or jeans), leather hiking boots (should be long), long sleeved shirts
(protects you from insect bites and un-necessary pricks), a rain jacket in
case of downpour, a cap and sun glasses in case of excessive sunshine and
garden gloves to protect your palm when you touch rough surfaces. You should
also carry a backpack with you where you’ll put your energy snacks, drinks,
cameras, first aid kit and a few other necessary trekking gears.
As regards to your dressing, you should endeavor to wear light clothes as it
makes you feel lighter, which is good for long hikes. Heavy clothing can cause
an extra weight on you and lead to early fatigue. Ensure your dressing is
light but essential for the trek.
Essential gorilla trekking tips
There are so many gorilla trackking travel tips out there that you should
definitely read and follow. Some of them will be read to your prior to your
gorilla trekking experience; during the morning pre-briefing meeting at the
park headquarters. Some of the most essential gorilla trekking tips are as
follows. Get your gorilla permit before you arrive (we always have
them ready), be prepared for any weather by packing all the necessary clothing
just in case the weather changes for the better or bad, take food, water,
energy snacks and energy drinks with you to the forest so that you are
prepared enough for hunger because hiking is energy-consumptive.
Water proof your cameras and filming equipment to protect it from damage in
case of heavy downpour, deactivate the flash from your cameras as it frightens
gorillas and might cause them to charge at you or worse injure you, take on
the necessary training and physical challenges for several months prior to
your actual trek, travel in the dry season, take all the necessary shots to
protect you from contracting infectious diseases as they can be transmitted to
gorillas and respect the gorillas space by maintaining an eight meter distance
because they can get quite dangerous when annoyed or can easily contract
infectious diseases from humans.
Ensure your health is sound as hiking can be tiresome at times and just in
case you have any health issues, endeavor to communicate this to your operator
several months prior to your gorilla encounter. Clients with severe
health conditions are usually carried on sedan seats or bamboo stretchers all
the way up to the gorillas and back to the starting point of the trek. This
will save you any unnecessary occurrences arising from your health conditions
Congo vs Rwanda vs Uganda gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is awesome and most preferred because of the
affordable gorilla permit prices, multiple trekking destinations, various
gorilla trekking sectors; Buhoma Sector, Ruhija Sector, Rushaga Sector and
Nkuringo Sector, various accommodation facilities ranging from budget to
luxury and several other advantages. Mountain gorillas in Uganda are found in
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park is very popular and turns out to be the most
visited because of the multiple gorilla families it has. Gorilla permits in
Uganda cost USD 700 each irrespective of the month you are visiting in (low,
high and peak seasons).
Rwanda is a luxury gorilla tour destination. With only one gorilla
trekking location; Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda gorilla permits are
apparently the most expensive of all the gorilla destinations in
Africa. Each gorilla permit in Rwanda costs USD 1500 and USD 1050 in the low
season where visiting the other Rwandan national parks as well. Rwanda also
has discounts for delegates who visit Kigali for conferences and other M.I.C.E
activities. If you need a luxurious gorilla tour experience with less
driving time, Rwanda is an ideal destination for you. Volcanoes National Park
is just 2 hours away from Kigali, a main point of entry for majority of
travelers who visit Rwanda.
DRC Congo gorilla permits cost the least at USD 400 each. Unlike Uganda and
Rwanda, Congo has two species of gorillas available for trekking; Mountain
Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas. Mountain Gorillas are found in Virunga National
Park in Goma where as Lowland Gorillas are located in Kahuzi-Biega National
Park in Bukavu. Mountain gorillas are mainly found in mountainous areas and
clients have to hike up mountains to meet gorillas in their natural habitat.
This isn’t the case with lowland gorillas as they are found on lowlands. You
do not need any hiking to see lowland gorillas in their natural habitat, which
is definitely a less tiring experience. Gorilla safaris in DRC Congo
usually begin and end in Rwanda.
Should i count on gorilla trekking reviews
It’s good to always read reviews from previous trekkers but I believe it’s
wrong to do whatever they advise you to. Every one’s experience is different.
Mountain gorillas are very funny and unpredictable. A client might have an
easy trek, advise you to trek in the same sector and if possible request for
the exact group but you won’t find the gorilla group at the same spot
they found them or worse you could find when it has lost some of its members
to other groups.
The best thing is to get advice from gorilla travel agencies like us that
handle lots of trips and are always up to date with whatever happens on
ground. This will make your gorilla trips much more reliable, unique
and interesting. A gorilla family or sector that offered awesome gorilla
trekking in the past months or years could be the worst at the moment. For
instance in late 2019, the gorillas in Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park used to be the best to trek BUT because they were over visited,
they got frightened and move to upper elevations, calling for longer hiking
time for clients.
At this point, the best sectors were Ruhija Sector and Buhoma Sector. Clients
who prefer trekking for long hours to the gorillas would actually find Rushaga
Sector perfect. This is information you will not get from client remarks on
review platforms but through an agency that has been having trips on ground.
At the time of inquiry, please endeavor to consult with us on the best gorilla
trekking sector at the moment for your gorilla trip and we shall
Trekking Uganda gorillas from Kigali
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in south-western Uganda and is about eight hours away from Entebbe. So many clients hate this long journey and ty to find all possible means of avoiding it. Others take chartered or scheduled flights to Kisoro or Kihihi Airstrips whereas the rest arrive from Kigali. This cuts on the distance and leaves clients less fatigued and much more ready for their coming gorilla experience since trekking gorillas when fatigued isn’t as easy as it seems. Arriving from Kigali in Rwanda cuts the journey by 4 or 5 hours. The distance could have been shorter if it wasn’t for the driving speed restrictions in Rwanda and clearances at the border point.
This being said, it is actually possible to arrive, do a brief city tour in Kigali City and visit several land marks like the Kimironko Market, Caplaki Crafts Village, Kigali Genocide Monument, Hotel Rwanda and several other more and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on the same day. You also have a chance to make stops along the way and explore scenery and nice places like Lake Bunyonyi or have sights of the great Virunga Mountains without being in a rush.
Trekking Uganda gorillas from Kigali is very ideal for clients who intend to do short trips or want an affordable way to see gorillas without travelling big distances to and from the gorillas. There is actually no point in travelling for over 17 hours to see the gorillas yet you would have saved 10 hours of road travel. Also, Trekking Uganda gorillas from Kigali has made it possible for clients to do 2 day gorilla trips to Bwindi and Mgahinga or 1 day gorilla trips to Mgahinga and save on money. The Uganda gorilla safari experience in Bwindi is equally awesome and far better than the Rwandan experience.
Trekking Uganda gorillas from Arusha
Arusha is the tourism capital of Tanzania. This city shelters some of Tanzania’s best tourism attractions like Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha National Park, Lake Natron, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro among the rest. These attractions are highly visited by clients who come to Africa for safaris especially Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. These are the prime spots in Tanzania where you will reward yourself with the greatest wildlife viewing experiences in Africa. The annual wildebeest migration takes place in Serengeti, partly one of the reasons why it turns out to be Tanzania’s most visited parks.
As an avid traveler or someone who likes adventure travel, it makes no point spending hours in your flight to Africa and visiting only one country. Most clients who book gorilla safaris in Uganda end up visiting Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar Island or any other great attraction in East Africa. If you have plans of visiting any of the northern Tanzania circuit destinations in Arusha and trekking gorillas in Uganda, you have to book flights to Kigali and drive to Bwindi. Entebbe is 8 – 10 hours away from Bwindi whereas Kigali is only 4.5 hours away.
This gives you a chance to spend less hours flying and travelling on the road all together. Depending on where you intend to depart Tanzania from; could be Arusha International Airport or JRO Airport, you can get flights to Kigali International Airport in Rwanda then drive to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda depending on where you intend to trek Uganda gorillas from. After trekking with gorillas in Uganda, you can depart from Kigali to your next destination. With this kind of arrangement, you can trek gorillas first and fly to Arusha through Kigali or do it the other way round. Either way works just fine. Read more here
Trekking Uganda gorillas from Nairobi
Kenya is one of Africa’s top travel destinations and is visited by millions annually. Most of the safaris in Kenya begin and end in Nairobi, making it a common point of entry and departure for tourists. Trekking with gorillas in Uganda from Nairobi in Kenya is very possible and should be planned appropriately to save on costs, time and money. You shouldn’t feel fatigued either because gorilla trekking requires you to be in the best physical shape as it involves a lot of trekking to higher-altitude areas in search for gorillas. This activity could last up to eight hours on a bad day and 4 hours on a good day depending on how long you take to locate your allocated mountain gorilla family.
The prime tourist attraction in Kenya is Masai Mara National Reserve. So many tourists who visit East Africa end up visiting Masai Mara and trekking with gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Question is how best can you organize this? First of all, if your primary reason to visit Kenya is Masai Mara National Reserve, it’s much cheaper to fly straight from Masai Mara to Bwindi. You will only make 1 stop at Entebbe International Airport for customs clearance then proceed to Bwindi in South Western Uganda. The whole journey takes approximately 4 hours and cost between $450 to $500 per person. This will save you so much time and money. It is equally convenient.
This is also recommended to clients who take on long trips. You can request us to tailor your itinerary in a way that Masai Mara National Reserve is last if you plan to take a chartered flight from there. The other option is flying from Nairobi to Kigali in Rwanda and driving to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Flying to and from Kigali in Rwanda will save you a lot of time and money. Read more here
Trekking Uganda gorillas from South Africa
South Africa is not only the most visited country in Africa, but a great destination too. Besides foreign clients who fly there for safaris and connect to trek with gorillas in Uganda, South Africans love to travel too especially to East Africa. We have received quite a number of South African travelers and actually advised many on how best they can go gorilla trekking in Uganda from South Africa. With this, your arrival point matters and we highly recommend arriving and departing via Kigali in Rwanda as it is much shorter to access Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (4.5 hours) or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (3 hours) from there. There is no point flying to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda and spending about 9 hours to Bwindi and another 9 hours back yet you could have spent far less than that.
South African flights usually arrive in Kigali, Rwanda between 04:00 or 08:00 hours which is perfect. The time could be earlier depending on the flight you use and just in case you arrive earlier than 04:00, we advise you book accommodation and rest for a few hours. It gives you an opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone. You can carry out a city tour in Rwanda, have breakfast, cross over to Uganda and spend time at Lake Bunyonyi before proceeding with your drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
So you actually get to explore a couple of places before seeing the gorillas and can do it after too. Sounds awesome right? It’s actually awesome, affordable and convenient as well. The same goes on for departure. You can trek with gorillas in Uganda and depart from Kigali International Airport in Rwanda. If you need us to plan your entire arrival, book your flights and guide you, we can do this as well. You just need to communicate to us in advance and give us enough time to take care of everything. Read more here
Minimum age for gorilla tracking
So many people go to see gorillas in Africa and everyone has a different story to tell. This is what actually makes it fun. You can never predict what your experience will be like. You could spend longer or shorter to reach the gorillas or actually trek in Rain or hot sunshine irrespective of the month you are visiting in. Gorilla tracking is loved by many and we admit it is an awesome activity. However, it can be dangerous sometimes as it involves meeting wild gorillas. Much as these gorillas are habituated and made friendly to humans, they still remain wild gorillas as they roam in the wild. It is easy to cross the line and annoy them if you do not follow the set rules and guidelines.
Because of this, not all age group are allowed access to a gorilla trek. An adult is likely to consent to set rules and regulations which is exactly the opposite with kids are so playful in nature. Besides, the actual trek is tiresome as well and much as the group moves at the pace of the slowest person, the last thing the rangers want is a member of the group giving up early and causing delay to the rest. Because of this, the set minimum age for gorilla tracking in Africa is 15 years of age. Authorities assume at this age, a kind is old enough to adhere to set rules and guidelines and hike in the forest without or with less disturbances.
In Rwanda, a child younger than 15 years of age cannot trek gorillas and nothing can be done to turn this around. However, in Uganda you stand a chance. A child between the ages of 11 onwards may trek gorillas on condition that the parents sign an indemnity form claiming responsibility of any unexpected occurrences that might arise from the trek should your child break any of rules or rather fail to make it to the gorillas. If your child gets tired along the way, you will have to pay approximately $420 for sedan seat services so that they are carried up to the gorillas and back.
Are there low season gorilla tour discounts?
If you are asking yourself if Uganda offers discounts on gorilla permits, Uganda no longer has low season gorilla permit discounts. Previously, Uganda offered low season permits at $450 whereas the normal gorilla permit fee was $600. Starting July 2020, all gorilla permits in Uganda cost $700 all year round. This however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel in the low season. Several accommodation facilities and transportation service providers offer their services at low discount rates. This makes your safari way cheaper in general, which is exactly what some tourist’s want especially backpackers and budget travelers. The money might look much but over 80% of this money goes back to gorilla conservation hence, when you book a gorilla permit, look at it as you are giving back to the gorillas.
Rwanda gorilla permits normally cost $1500 each and $1050 each in the low season considering you are visiting Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park as well. The country also has discounts for travelers who are visiting for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & exhibitions) events. Even with all these discounts in place, Rwanda gorilla permits remain the most expensive among the other two gorilla trekking destinations. The main reason why clients prefer trekking gorillas in Rwanda is the short distance from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes National Park in Musanze. The scenery at Volcanoes National Park is equally awesome.
DRC Congo does have low season gorilla permit discounts and they cost $200 each. This fee however, only applies for a few months of the year and these are months with high levels of rainfall. We wouldn’t recommend travelling in such months. You’d rather pay $400 to trek under a perfect weather and enjoy your trek. The price still remains the cheapest irrespective of the season you are trekking gorillas in.
Choosing your safari package
Is gorilla tracking safe
Can i trek gorillas multiple times?
Are there lowland gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda?
Packing list for Gorilla treks
Combining your trek with a kilimanjaro hike
Trekking gorillas and watching the wildebeest migration
How far in advance should you book gorilla holidays
What to do after gorilla tracking