Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking is an ultimate African adventure that allows you to explore, the few remaining Gorilla Parks in East Africa. A Gorilla Trek is a highlight of all visits done in Uganda to visit the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in the wild.

Home » Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Uganda’s remote southwest region, where visitors can trek great apes in the early morning mist, is home to the most significant tourist attraction in the country – Gorilla Trekking Tours. The rural landscape is dotted with top-notch forest lodges that provide visitors with an ideal setting to spend invaluable moments with the captivating mountain gorillas. Uganda boasts two gorilla national parks, five visitor centers, and is home to more than half of the last remaining endangered mountain gorillas, making it the ultimate destination to see these creatures up close. We offer local expertise to help you plan your once-in-a-lifetime gorilla safari trip.

Places to see Mountain Gorillas in Africa

In East Africa, gorillas can be found in three countries. In Uganda, Mountain Gorillas can be spotted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, In Rwanda Gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park and in DR. Congo, the Lowland Gorillas habit in Virunga National Park.

The Gorilla Trekking Experience

In Uganda, visitors can choose between two unique gorilla tour experiences. The most popular option is the regular guided gorilla trekking excursion, which allows visitors to spend an hour with a fully human-habituated gorilla troop. The alternative is the Gorilla Habituation Experience, which allows visitors to spend at least four hours with a semi-habituated (wild) gorilla group in the company of researchers and rangers. Both options require booking a permit, which includes tracking and guide services and payment is usually made in cash.

To participate in either the regular guided gorilla trekking excursion or the Gorilla Habituation Experience, visitors must obtain a permit which includes tracking and guide services. The regular trekking option allows visitors to spend one hour with a fully human-habituated gorilla troop, while the Gorilla Habituation Experience provides the opportunity to spend at least four hours with a semi-habituated (wild) gorilla group in the company of researchers and rangers. Permits for both options must be paid for in cash.

The great apes of tropical Africa are truly mesmerizing, with their immense size leaving a lasting impression on even the most exhausted of eyes. Watching mountain gorillas is an intense and heartwarming experience, as visitors witness their remarkable strength paired with profound gentleness, deep social bonds, harmonious coexistence with the environment, vulnerability, and struggle for survival. Our fascination with these creatures may come from the similarities we see between them and ourselves, as we aspire to possess the qualities we admire in them.

Despite sharing almost all of our genetic material with gorillas, we used to only be able to view them from a distance, either behind the thick walls of zoo enclosures or in cheap horror movies. However, there is now a growing trend of people traveling to Uganda’s mountains to witness gorillas in their natural habitat. To participate in gorilla trekking, visitors must arrive at one of UWA’s visitor centers or park management quarters early in the morning. They typically spend the night in nearby lodges so that they can arrive at the briefing point by 7:30 am.

When booking a gorilla trekking tour, the operator will secure your permit and reserve a safari lodge close to the designated starting point, ensuring that you arrive in time for the excursion. Once there, a park warden will provide a briefing on the basic rules and guidelines for interacting with gorillas. The warden will then randomly group the trekkers into small parties of eight, accompanied by two armed rangers and a tracker guide, depending on the number of gorilla families in the area. It is also possible to hire a local porter, who can carry your belongings and offer assistance along the way; we highly recommend hiring one, as they typically charge only 20 dollars.

Reaching the gorillas can be a grueling experience, with steep and muddy terrain, dense forests, and high-altitude air making it a challenging journey. To overcome these challenges, having a porter to assist you with your belongings can be a godsend. The gorillas’ location can vary anywhere within an extensive range of two to fifty square kilometers (0.75 – 16 square miles), causing the trek to take anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours, and nobody can predict the exact time. During the trek, your guide will use a sharp-edged machete to clear a path through impenetrable vines and bushes while relying on GPS coordinates and a walkie-talkie to communicate with other rangers. Upon arriving at the destination, you will likely discover the dark-furred apes on a mid-morning foraging break and lounging in an area as vast as half a football field.

During the gorilla trek, the rangers and guides will help you find a suitable spot to watch and photograph the gorillas without disturbing the silverback, who is the group’s leader. You’ll have the incredible opportunity to observe the troop silently for one hour, keeping a respectful distance of at least ten meters (32 ft). However, the gorillas may break this rule and get too close, requiring you to follow your guide’s instructions. As you watch the gorillas, you’ll witness their social behaviors and intimate connection with nature, which are very similar to our own. The gorillas groom each other, share lighthearted moments, display dominance, mate, and even pass gas, while the young ones are homeschooled in everything instinctual. One hour spent with the gorillas will feel like a gentle desert breeze, and before you know it, your guide will lead you out of this 25,000-year old paradise.

Trending African Gorilla Safaris

Looking for some trip inspiration? Designed by our specialists using their expertise and knowledge, our tailor-made itinerary suggestions below will give you a taste of the type of trips we can put together for you. Bear in mind, these are just a starting point as all holidays are customized to the specific requirements of our guests.

Discover the Chronicles

of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest


Gorilla Habituation Experience

This unique experience is exclusive to Uganda and offers the ultimate encounter for primate enthusiasts. Habituation of the gorillas alongside researchers allows travelers to witness these majestic creatures becoming accustomed to human presence without fear. The activity takes place in the Rushaga sector and typically lasts four hours with only four tourists permitted to habituate a gorilla family, costing USD 1500. These wild gorillas are unlike any other in their natural jungle environment, with their movements unpredictable and families never staying in one place twice. The trek to find them may vary in terrain and duration depending on their location in the jungle.

Mountain Gorilla Families in Uganda

Uganda boasts of being home to mountain gorillas found in the Virunga Volcanoes of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Other countries where gorillas can be seen include Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and D.R. Congo’s Virunga National Park. Uganda has 13 habituated mountain gorilla families, with 12 of them located in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and one in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. To help trackers plan their gorilla trekking, below is a list of the 12 mountain gorilla families and their specific locations in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Gorilla Group/ Families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  • Mubare gorilla group
  • Habinyanja family
  • Rushegura gorilla family
  • Oruzogo troop
  • Bitukura family
  • Kyaguriro troop
  • Mishaya gorilla family
  • Nshongi gorilla group
  • Kahungye gorilla group
  • Busingye gorilla group
  • Bweza group
  • Nkuringo gorilla group

When embarking on a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, plan to spend up to 8 hours, including one hour in the gorillas’ presence. The most exhilarating part of a gorilla safari is the time spent in the rainforest, where you’ll search for a gorilla family, follow ancient trails, and discover the forest’s people’s history.

Every day, the gorillas relocate to a new spot in the forest, so your guide will pick up where they left off the previous day and lead you to them. Gorilla trekking is available year-round and is equally enjoyable, but during the rainy season, the forest trails may be muddier, and tracking may be more difficult, making the dry season the ideal time to track gorillas.

When it comes to embarking on a gorilla trekking safari, Uganda is the ultimate destination as it provides an unparalleled sense of adventure with a plethora of wildlife, surpassing that of Rwanda. Apart from the majestic mountain gorillas, Uganda offers a diverse range of attractions such as the breathtaking Murchison Falls, diverse primate species in Kibale Forest National Park, and a myriad of options to suit your travel duration and budget.

In Mgahinga Park, you can embark on a trek to track the Nyakagezi group, which is situated amidst the picturesque slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes, including Mount Muhavura (4,127m), Mount Gahinga (3,474m), and Mount Sabinyo (3,645m).

Every day, a significant number of people travel to Bwindi to witness the majestic mountain gorillas, but only 8 people are allowed to visit each gorilla family. It is highly advisable to book your gorilla permit through a safari agent to avoid the common mistake of selecting a gorilla family that is too far from your preferred accommodation.

A gorilla permit in Uganda costs USD800, providing individuals with one hour to spend with the mountain gorillas in a group of 8 people. Alternatively, the Gorilla Habituation Experience costs $1500, allowing individuals to spend 4 hours with a gorilla family during the habituation process.

What You Can Expect to Spend on a Gorilla Safari: A Breakdown of Typical Costs

If you’re planning a gorilla safari in Uganda, it’s important to have an understanding of the typical costs involved. Knowing where your money will go can help you plan your trip with confidence.

Here are some typical costs associated with gorilla trekking safaris:

  • Gorilla Trekking Permit: USD800 for foreigners and USD700 for resident foreigners.
  • Gorilla Habituation Permit: $1500.
  • Transport and transfer costs: typically $240 to $350 per day.
  • Domestic flights: between $500 and USD800 per person for a return trip.
  • Accommodation and meals: ranging from $170 to $1500 per night, full board.
  • Logistical support fees: costs can vary depending on the level of support needed.

Guidelines for Gorilla Trekking

To ensure the preservation of endangered species and a memorable experience with these magnificent creatures, there are mandatory rules and regulations to follow when trekking with gorillas. These guidelines include:

  • A maximum of 8 visitors per day for a family of habituated gorillas and 4 for the Gorilla Habituation experience.
  • Always wash your hands before encountering the gorillas.
  • Do not litter in the park.
  • Keep your voices low at all times.
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 7 meters from the gorillas.
  • Do not eat or drink when near the gorillas.
  • In the event of a gorilla charge, follow the guide’s lead by crouching down slowly and avoid eye contact with the gorillas. Wait for the gorilla to pass and do not attempt to run.
  • Flash photography is not permitted.
  • Do not touch the gorillas, as they are still wild animals.
  • The maximum time permitted with the gorillas is one hour.
  • Each group is accompanied by a ranger guide and a military guide for protection.

Other Gorilla Safari Packages

Do you need more inspiration?, then check out other Gorilla Safari Packages taking you to Uganda, Rwanda and Dr. Congo Contact us now

Gorilla Trek Packing List: Essentials for an Unforgettable Experience

If you’re planning to embark on a gorilla trek, you’re in for a life-changing adventure. Not only will you have the opportunity to spend time with a family of critically endangered mountain or lowland gorillas, but you’ll also be contributing to their conservation and the protection of their habitat in East Africa’s remote rainforest areas in Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda.

However, keep in mind that gorilla trekking requires a good level of fitness since you’ll be hiking in humid conditions, thick vegetation, and along steep, muddy mountain tracks. To make the most of your experience, you’ll need to pack appropriate clothing and gear. Check out our definitive gorilla trek packing list below, and don’t forget to consult our handy infographic for more information.

Gorilla Trek Packing List:

  • Long trousers
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots
  • Thick socks
  • Hardy gloves
  • Lightweight rain jacket or poncho
  • Wide-brim hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Malaria prevention medication
  • Re-hydration salts

In addition to the items listed above, we highly recommend packing a few sachets of re-hydration salts. While water is provided during the treks, the humid conditions and physical exertion can quickly lead to dehydration. Re-hydration salts offer quick relief and help restore your body’s electrolyte balance. So, pack your bags, follow our gorilla trek packing list, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

Where To Stay

The forest resorts in these destinations offer pristine surroundings and stunning views of jungle canopies and rugged landscapes, providing guests with a truly enchanting experience.

Our handpicked selection of safari lodges for gorilla trekking includes accommodation with meals. In most cases, guests are provided with all meals during their stay.

Typically, travelers have to stay in a hotel near the airport and dedicate the next day to travel to gorilla country. However, our itinerary allows you to spend a minimum of two nights in Bwindi, which means you can save an entire day for the gorilla trekking experience.

Accommodation for Gorilla Trekking

Frequently Asked Questions About Gorilla Trekking (FAQs)

Here we bring you the answers to frequently asked question by travellers who wish to know  the best East African country to go gorilla trekking Uganda, Rwanda or DR-Congo. Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla.

What is gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is an activity where tourists/ people go searching for gorillas in the wild (not actual dictionary definition). Gorilla trekking can be done in three countries, that is Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. To see gorillas involves hiking or trekking in search for the rare mountain gorillas. One needs to acquire a gorilla permit for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park or Virunga National Park to be able to see these mountain gorillas. The process of gorilla trekking normally starts with an early morning briefing at respective park head quarters, then a hike or walk into the forest following the trail used by mountain gorillas and once found, you spend only one hour with the mountain gorillas. You will then return back and be offered a certificate. The trek itself may take up to 30 minutes or three quarters of the day but once you find gorillas, you are allowed to spend only one hour with them.

When is the best time to trek gorillas?

Every client wants to get the best out of the fee paid for gorilla trekking in Uganda at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or in Rwanda at Volcanoes National Park and the first question that arises is-When is the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda? While mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda can be trekked throughout the whole year, drier months of June, July, August and early September then December up to February are the most preferred. There is no guarantee that it won’t rain as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a tropical rain forest and its climate is influenced by micro conditions of the area. During high season gorilla permits to visit gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is USD1500 and Bwindi National Park is USD800 per person respectively. For those who are price sensitive, should take advantage of rwanda low season gorilla permits at USD1050.00 to book a Rwanda gorilla trek.

What is included with the gorilla permit?

A gorilla permit allows you to sight mountain gorillas for one hour with in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Volcanoes National Park. Included in the cost are park entry fees for the respective parks, services of National Park guides/rangers who will escort you to the forest. Trek Africa Expeditions will ensure that you secure permits in advance.

Are gorilla sightings guaranteed?

While we can never guarantee sightings, the rise of the gorilla populations in Uganda combined with the experience of your trekking guide means that encounters are almost always made in Bwindi or Mgahinga.

That said, you have to be prepared to work for it as you might have to trek for 6 hours before finding a habituated group.

If you do end up not seeing the gorillas, the Uganda Wildlife Authority will refund 50% of your permit cost. In all of our years of working in Uganda, we’ve never had anyone not see the gorillas.

Is it possible to track Uganda gorillas via Kigali Rwanda?

It is now possible to trek Uganda or Bwindi gorillas through Rwanda by flying through Kigali International airport. By flying through Kigali International Airport, one is able to reduce the drive time to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to 5-6 hours compared to if one uses Entebbe International Airport where the drive time is 8-9 and sometimes 10 hours from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With the introduction of the East African tourist visa, one can now visit both Uganda and Rwanda without hassle. The good news also is that one can now apply for Rwanda Visa upon arrival something that is making the process of obtaining Rwanda visa easy. East African tourist visa costs USD100.00 and allows you to visit three east African countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Uganda. Contact Trek Africa Expeditions for details about Bwindi gorilla safaris through Kigali Airport.

When should I book Rwanda discounted gorillas?

Rwanda low season gorilla permits at USD1050 are offered in May and November each year and because of this discount, there is a likely hood that these permits may attract more people. It should be better to book these low season at least two months in advance to avoid short notice disappointments. Feel free to contact Trek Africa Expeditions about booking your low season Rwanda gorilla permits and safaris to visit Rwanda gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

Is Gorilla Trekking Safe?

Gorilla trekking is very safe – accompanied by an expert guide and the right mindset, your experience with the mountain gorillas will be as safe as it is moving.

What is gorilla habituation experience?

Gorilla habituation experience is an activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where tourists are allowed to stay four hours with mountain gorillas after paying USD1500.00 for a gorilla habituation permit. Gorilla habituation safaris are currently taking place only in Rushaga located in south.

How much is a gorilla permit in Uganda or Rwanda?

A gorilla permit is a document/card that is obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority for the case of Uganda and Rwanda Development Board in the case of Rwanda to allow you spend one hour with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park respectively. Currently Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500.00 for Non residents. Uganda gorilla permits to visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park cost USD800.00 (Non residents).

When should I book a gorilla permit?

We advise you to book your Rwanda or Uganda gorilla permit at least three months in advance to shortage most especially during high season. Please contact us with the date when you intend to book gorilla tracking Uganda holidays and Rwanda gorilla trips and we will advise availability of permits on that day.

How long is a gorilla trek in Uganda or Rwanda

Mountain gorilla trekking exercise in Uganda or Rwanda can take from twenty minutes to three quarters of the day so one needs to prepare for both. This depends on several factors that include, mountain gorilla movements, where the gorillas stayed the previous night and the mood of the gorillas. It may also depend on the people in your group since the guides/rangers move following the slowest person in the group. Gorilla Tracking Uganda trading as Trek Africa Expeditions is happy to provide all relevant advice.

What is the age limit for gorilla tracking?

The age limit for gorilla trekking (Uganda and Rwanda) and golden monkey trekking (Uganda) is 15 years. The authorities are very strict on this, so kindly make sure all clients and children are 15 or older in order to avoid any sad incidents like guest(s) kids being refused to track. We ensure that before you book our Gorilla tracking Uganda safari holidays, you have all details concerning age!

How close can I get to the Gorillas?

Officially you are required to keep close by a 7 meters distance from the gorillas. In practice, the mountain Gorillas often violate this rule by coming closer to you as you stand quietly observing or photographing them. It is still helpful to have a telephoto capability on your camera since some animals are shy, and the Silverback may be very protective of the young. You are not allowed to touch the gorillas, though it would be easy to do so.

How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla Trekking has a numerical rating of 50 to 100 Difficult Rating: Moderate Hike There are many factors that influence the gorilla trekking difficulty and the commonest is your physical fitness. Others include weather conditions and your pack weight. It is possible to ask for a gorilla group that will march your fitness levels. A porter is important, Gorilla Trekking is not very hard, some people in their 60’s and 70’s have done it. So how strenuous is the hike? To begin with 60% of Bwindi Impenetrable National park has an elevation of over 6,600ft. Elevation of the entire park is from 3,904 to 8,553 ft. It has steep slopes in some areas. The experience takes between 2 to 6 hours depending on the gorilla family.


For Expect Help - Fill the form below

    Your Names

    Your Email

    Your Nationality

    Phone Number

    No. Of Persons

    No. Of Days

    Destination (Select all that apply)
    UgandaKenyaRwandaTanzaniaZanzibar Island


    Budget Estimate (Per Person)

    Travel Date

    Interests (Select all that apply)
    Wildlife Game DrivesBird WatchingGorilla TrekkingChimpanzee TrackingCultural ExperiencesMountain HikingHoneymoon HolidayNature WalksBeach HolidaysWhitewater raftingBoat SafarisVisit Source of the Nile

    Additional Information (optional)

    Important By submitting your data in this form you accept our data collection privacy policy. Make sure you read and understood the contents

    Get in touch