Embarking on a gorilla trekking adventure in Rwanda or Uganda is an exhilarating experience. This all-day activity starts early in the morning, around 7:00 am, with registration and a briefing at the relevant national park office. During the briefing, you’ll learn about the general location of each habituated gorilla family and the distance from the park headquarters. Based on your hiking preferences and physical fitness, the park authorities will allocate you to a gorilla family and determine the length of your trek.
In this guide, we provide you with all the information you need to plan your gorilla trekking trip in Uganda or Rwanda. We cover topics such as the cost of gorilla permits, accessibility to the national parks, the best time to go gorilla trekking, and why you should choose Uganda or Rwanda for your adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time adventurer, our guide will help you plan a memorable and safe gorilla trekking experience.
Gorilla trekking is an unforgettable experience, and proper preparation is key to ensure an enjoyable and safe adventure. The briefing for gorilla trekking typically takes place at the national park office around 7:00 am. During the briefing, you will receive instructions on the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking, including maintaining a minimum distance of 7 meters from the gorillas, keeping your voices low, and not touching the gorillas or their belongings.
After the briefing, you’ll embark on your trek, accompanied by your ranger guide. Depending on the gorilla family’s location, you may walk or drive to the start point and then hike for at least an hour before reaching the assigned gorilla family. The trek can be challenging, so it’s essential to maintain a steady pace and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
As you approach the gorilla family, the ranger will ask you to leave your bags and approach the group cautiously. You’ll spend an hour with the gorillas, observing them as they go about their daily activities, such as feeding, grooming, playing, and resting. The gorillas may show interest in your group, and the rangers will instruct you on how to react calmly.
The ranger guides are very knowledgeable and will provide information about the gorillas and their personalities, the forest, and other wildlife. Porters are also available to assist with carrying your day pack and providing support during the hike. By hiring a porter, you’re creating employment opportunities for the local community, which helps to conserve the national parks.
Overall, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires proper preparation, but the rewards of seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat are well worth the effort.
When planning for gorilla trekking, it’s important to manage your expectations. While the experience is thrilling, it’s important to keep in mind that the gorillas are wild animals and their exact location cannot be predicted. The trek can be physically challenging due to factors like altitude, mud, and rain.
Depending on the location, you may encounter the gorillas in different settings, either in an open clearing with plenty of sunlight or in a denser part of the forest under a thick canopy. Keep in mind that flash photography is strictly prohibited, so plan accordingly for lighting conditions.
It’s important to remember that sightings are not guaranteed, but there is a high likelihood of success, with a 95 percent chance of finding your gorilla family. Even if you don’t have a sighting, the trek itself through the stunning forest is a worthwhile experience. Overall, managing your expectations will help you appreciate the adventure and enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings.
If you’re planning a gorilla trekking expedition in Uganda or Rwanda, you will need to obtain a valid gorilla trekking permit for the respective national park – Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. On the day of the trek, after a briefing and guidance from park authorities, each trekking group is assigned a gorilla family based on their interests and physical abilities.
While requests for a specific gorilla family or trekking route may be accommodated, it is important to note that there is no guarantee of a specific allocation. The allocation process is typically determined by the park authorities based on the availability of permits and the location of the gorilla families on the day of the trek.
Regardless of which gorilla family you are assigned, the experience is sure to be unforgettable. Trekking through the lush forest, you’ll encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat and have the opportunity to observe their behavior up close. So, make sure to obtain your gorilla trekking permit and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but why is the time with the gorillas strictly limited to one hour? The answer lies in the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these endangered primates.
Habituated gorilla families in both countries are programmed to receive visitors for only one hour per day. This is done to minimize human impact on the gorillas’ natural habitat and routines. Beyond the allotted time, gorillas may become agitated and charge at visitors, as they require privacy to feed, rest and nest.
However, one hour is more than enough time to observe and appreciate the gorillas in their natural habitat. You can move about and ask your guide to position you in a safe spot, but you must keep a distance of about 7 meters from the gorillas to avoid causing any distress.
In summary, the one-hour limit for gorilla trekking is a necessary conservation measure aimed at protecting the endangered mountain gorillas while still allowing visitors to experience their beauty and majesty in the wild.
If you’re planning a gorilla trek in Uganda or Rwanda, it’s important to book through a reputable tour operator with local knowledge and reliable ground staff. They can help you plan your trip and ensure that you have the best chance of seeing these incredible creatures.
When booking your tour, make sure that your tracking permit is included in the price. Professional associations like AUTO and RTTA can help you find a trustworthy operator, but there are many good lodges and tour companies that are not members of these organizations.
If you prefer to book independently, be sure to do your research and book well in advance. Keep in mind that travel delays can cause you to miss your gorilla trek, so plan accordingly.
It’s recommended to book your gorilla tour and permit at least six months in advance since there are only a limited number of permits available each day. Also, keep in mind that each permit only allows you to see the gorillas for one hour, so if you want to make multiple visits, you’ll need to purchase additional permits.
Booking through a reputable operator or doing thorough research before booking independently will ensure that you have a smooth and enjoyable gorilla trekking experience.
Are you planning a gorilla trekking tour or safari trip to Rwanda? If so, there are two ways to secure your mountain gorilla permits in Volcanoes National Park. The first option is to contact a registered and licensed tour operator, like Trek Africa Tours, who can handle all aspects of booking and securing your permits. We will check permit availability, reserve them for you at no cost, and handle all logistics including transportation, accommodation, and transfers. Our experienced safari consultants will provide you with all the necessary information and guidance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
The second option is to book everything independently by contacting the Rwanda Development Board to check permit availability and pay directly for your permit. However, note that the permit only includes park entry fees, a one-hour visit with a habituated gorilla family, services of an armed ranger guide, and a certificate. Transportation and accommodation are not included.
While it is possible to organize a one-day gorilla trek from Kigali, we do not recommend it due to the potential for delays and missing the trek after paying the $1500 gorilla permit fee. We advise planning to stay at least two nights near Volcanoes National Park to acclimatize and have the option to enjoy additional activities such as forest or community walks. Trek Africa Tours offers transportation options, including well-maintained safari vans and luxury land cruisers with trained safari guides and drinking water provided during travel to and from the park. Contact us to learn more about maximizing your time in Volcanoes National Park.
While neighboring countries may offer lower-priced gorilla trekking permits, Rwanda is the ultimate destination for your once-in-a-lifetime gorilla trekking adventure. Here’s why:
If you’re looking for a gorilla trekking experience that’s less physically demanding, then Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is the perfect destination for you. Trekking mountain gorillas in this park is widely regarded as less demanding compared to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Many tourists who have trekked in both parks have attested to this fact.
While gorilla trekking in Bwindi requires navigating through dense forests, steep hills, and slippery paths, trekking in Volcanoes National Park involves shorter hikes and less challenging terrain. This makes it a great option for those who may not be physically fit or have any physical limitations.
At Trek Africa Tours, we provide personalized trekking experiences that cater to your needs and fitness level. Our knowledgeable guides will lead you on an unforgettable adventure while ensuring your safety and comfort. So, if you’re looking for a less physically demanding gorilla trek, book your safari with us and explore the wonders of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is a photographer’s dream destination during gorilla trekking. One of the reasons is the less dense forest cover dominated by tall and narrow bamboo trees. This makes it easier to take clear photos and videos of the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat without obstructions.
On the other hand, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda has a denser forest cover, which makes it more challenging for photography during gorilla trekking. The thick foliage can obstruct the view of the gorillas, making it difficult to capture good shots.
If you are a photography enthusiast, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is an excellent choice for gorilla trekking. The bamboo forest cover provides a beautiful backdrop for your photographs, and you are more likely to take clear and stunning shots of the gorillas.
Getting to Volcanoes National Park from Kigali is a breeze compared to other mountain gorilla National Parks in the region. The park is only a 2-3 hour drive away on well-paved roads, making it easily accessible. In contrast, getting to Mgahinga or Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks in Uganda can take up to 10 hours on rough roads from Kampala/Entebbe Airport. However, you can still avoid the long drive by booking our flying safaris to gorillas and using scheduled or charter flights from Entebbe Airport to Mgahinga or Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. This way, you can save time and energy and focus on enjoying your gorilla trekking experience.
Paying USD$1500 for a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda may seem steep compared to neighboring countries like Uganda and Congo. However, what sets Rwanda apart is the efficient use of these funds to protect the endangered primates and improve the lives of the communities surrounding Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda’s government has a reputation for utilizing every dollar paid to see mountain gorillas to good use, making the experience worth every penny. Unlike other countries, visitors can rest assured that their permit fees are going towards conservation efforts and community development.
Uganda is a country blessed with two major national parks where you can see the magnificent mountain gorillas in their natural habitat – Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. To trek these endangered primates, you need to obtain a gorilla permit that allows you to access the national parks.
Before making any reservations, it is essential to read about the two parks to make an informed decision about which one to visit. At Trek Africa Tours, we can provide you with relevant information and advice to help you plan your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.
Contact us today, and we will guide you through the entire process, from obtaining gorilla permits to arranging transportation, accommodation, and other activities to make your trip memorable. Don’t miss out on the chance to encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is home to scattered mountain gorilla families in four different regions. To ensure a smooth gorilla trekking experience, it is important to book accommodation near the region where you have booked your gorilla permit. At Trek Africa Tours, we can handle this on your behalf and provide guidance on where to stay based on your interests and budget.
Accessing Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by road from Entebbe or Kampala takes approximately 9-10 hours, depending on your trekking region. During the drive, you can witness local culture, such as drum making and Ankole Long-horned cows grazing, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Kigezi region.
Alternatively, you can fly into Kigali Airport and drive for 4-5 hours to reach Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The border crossing depends on the region where you have booked your trek, and we can provide detailed information and assistance.
At Trek Africa Tours, we handle all aspects of planning your gorilla trekking safari, from booking permits to arranging accommodations and transportation. Contact us to plan your unforgettable experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
If you’re planning a gorilla trekking adventure to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park, or Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, it’s important to consider the weather and peak visitor seasons. The best time to go gorilla trekking is during the dry seasons, which are from mid-December to early February, and from June to September. During these months, the forest paths are less muddy and easier to navigate, and the gorillas tend to be more active and easier to spot.
It’s worth noting, however, that gorilla trekking can be done year-round, and each season has its own unique advantages. The wet season, which runs from March to May and from September to November, is a good time for bird watching and seeing the forest’s lush vegetation. Additionally, during the low season months of April, May and November, gorilla permit prices are reduced, and there are generally fewer tourists in the parks, which means a more exclusive experience with the gorillas.
Ultimately, the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda depends on your personal preferences, schedule and budget. It’s important to plan ahead and book your permits and accommodations in advance, especially during peak season, to ensure availability and avoid disappointment. At Trek Africa Tours, we can provide you with expert advice and help you plan a memorable gorilla trekking experience.
When planning a gorilla trekking holiday to Uganda or Rwanda, it’s crucial to understand the weather and trekking conditions in the area. Both countries have wet and dry seasons, making it easier or harder to trek, depending on the time of year.
The dry season occurs from May to August and December to February, providing hotter and drier weather with fewer muddy trails. Gorilla trekking becomes more accessible during this time, but it’s also peak season, so booking gorilla permits in advance is crucial.
In contrast, the wet season runs from April to May and September to November, which can make trails muddy and slippery. However, gorilla trekking is available all year round, and you have a 90% chance of seeing gorillas. It’s essential to prepare and ensure you have proper gear, and we recommend hiring a porter if necessary.
Temperatures in both countries remain relatively fixed throughout the year, between 21°C (70 F) and 30°C (86 F), with lower temperatures at higher altitudes.
Peak season occurs during June, July, August, September, and December to February, coinciding with summer holidays and pleasant weather. If you plan to go gorilla trekking during peak season or in a large group, we recommend booking six months or more in advance to secure your choice of trekking and accommodation options.
Lastly, it’s essential to be aware of events and festivals in the area, such as Rwanda’s annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony, which occurs in September. It’s a great opportunity to gain insights into Rwandan culture and gorilla conservation efforts. For those interested in attending, booking in advance is essential.
On a more sombre note, Kwibuka, a series of events commemorating the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, takes place in April, and visitors are welcome to attend.
For many, the thought of gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda might conjure up images of dangerous, unpredictable mountain gorillas. However, we can confidently assure you that gorilla trekking in these African countries is a safe activity, as long as you follow the rules and regulations set forth by the park authorities and your ranger guide.
At Trek Africa Tours, we have organized countless gorilla safaris to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, and in all of our experience, we have never had an incident of tourists being charged by a mountain gorilla. This is because all gorilla families that are visited by tourists are fully habituated to human presence by the park authorities, making them comfortable around humans.
While it’s true that gorilla trekking takes place in the wild forests on foot, there’s no need to worry about other wild animals or people, such as rebels or poachers. The parks are guarded and armed rangers escort all visitors to scare away any potential threats. The safety and security of our clients are our top priorities at Trek Africa Tours, and we only operate in safe destinations.
In summary, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is a safe and incredible experience that shouldn’t be missed, as long as you follow the guidelines provided and choose a reputable safari company.
Experiencing gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is a rare and unforgettable adventure that many visitors to these African countries consider to be the highlight of their trip. Although gorilla safari packages can be expensive, the experience is worth every penny for those who are passionate about wildlife encounters and immersing themselves in nature. It is a full-day activity that takes place in a pristine environment, with the precious hour spent with the majestic gorillas being the icing on the cake.
To make the most of this experience, proper preparation is key. It is important to be physically fit, have appropriate gear, get plenty of rest, and avoid cramming too many activities into your itinerary. Both Uganda and Rwanda offer a wealth of other fascinating activities beyond gorilla trekking, and it is well worth taking the time to explore the local culture and natural beauty of these countries. With proper planning, gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will cherish forever.
Trekking to see the majestic mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda can be a physically demanding experience that requires a certain level of fitness. The trek involves passing through muddy trails, dense forest covers, and thick vegetation, which can make the hike slippery and challenging. Therefore, it’s crucial to be well-prepared both mentally and physically for the trek.
Trek Africa Tours understands that not everyone is physically fit, and so they offer solutions to make the trek easier. For instance, they provide porters to carry daypacks and camera equipment, which makes it easy to hike or move around. For older individuals who cannot walk for long distances, stretcher or sedan chair services and porters are available for an extra fee of between USD$300 to USD$600. Trek Africa Tours can organize this on your behalf, provided you inform them in advance.
In both Uganda and Rwanda, the parks are well-guarded, and armed rangers will accompany trekkers to ensure their safety from other wild animals, rebels, or poachers. However, the physical terrain differs between the parks. In Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, the trek involves gently sloping farmland before entering the park’s bamboo forest, open bush, and moss-covered trees with rocky paths. On the other hand, in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the terrain is mountainous, and access is via steep dirt roads. The forest is dense and has towering trees, which create a dense canopy. Trekking through the jungle can be challenging, and the ranger guides may have to hack a path with machetes. Rivers and waterfalls intersect the forest. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park‘s forests are less dense than Bwindi, but the climb to see the gorillas can be very steep in parts.
In conclusion, trekking to see the gorillas is a unique and unforgettable experience. With common sense, appropriate gear, and a reasonable level of fitness, visitors can have a memorable and safe encounter with the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda.
Trekking to see mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda can be quite expensive, with permits for a single trek costing up to USD$1500 in Rwanda and USD$700 in Uganda. This may leave some wondering why the cost is so high, but there are reasons for it.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species, and to protect them from human contact and potential infection, a higher fee is necessary to limit the number of interactions with them. Despite this, competition for gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda remains high.
Furthermore, the funds generated from these fees are used to protect the mountain gorillas and their habitats. This includes forest patrols, research, and the salaries of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Volcanoes National Park staff in Rwanda.
While the cost may seem steep, it is still reasonable when considering the experience and the importance of protecting this endangered species.
When it comes to gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, both countries have a set minimum age limit in place to ensure the safety of both the gorillas and trekkers. The minimum age for trekking mountain gorillas in either country is 15 years old. It is mandatory to provide your passport details when booking your gorilla permit and at the park headquarters before the trek. Rwanda is particularly strict about this age limit, but Uganda Wildlife Authority may make exceptions for children who are 14 years old and are physically fit and mature enough to undertake the trek.
The rules and regulations governing conservation efforts in both countries are almost identical, which is why the age limit is consistent. Trek Africa Tours can provide more information and guidance if needed. Although the minimum age requirement might seem restrictive, it is in the best interest of both the trekkers and the mountain gorillas.
When visiting Bwindi and Volcanoes National Parks to trek mountain gorillas, it is important to note that there is a strict rule of maintaining a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas. Your ranger guide will ensure that you adhere to this rule. However, it is possible for the gorillas to approach you and come closer than the set distance. In such a case, your ranger guide will advise you to remain calm, speak softly, and avoid eye contact. It is important not to try and touch any individual gorilla, as this could result in a charge, especially from the Silverback.
If you’re curious about the size and strength of mountain gorillas, here are some fascinating facts. The silverback gorilla, which is the dominant male in the group, is the largest living primate in the world. Fully grown male gorillas can reach a height of 5-6ft (1.5-1.8 meters) and weigh between 300-440lbs (140-200kg). Female mountain gorillas are smaller, standing between 4-5ft (1.2-1.5 meters) tall and weighing 200-220lbs (90-100kg).
Despite their enormous size, gorillas are incredibly strong and agile. They can run at speeds of up to 25mph and are 8-15 times stronger than humans. If you want to learn more about mountain gorillas and gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, don’t hesitate to contact Trek Africa Tours by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trek Africa Tours is your go-to destination for the best wildlife, cultural, and adventure safaris in East Africa. With a team of professional safari consultants and guides, we ensure that your safari planning and execution is seamless. Our company is fully registered and licensed to operate in East Africa and we are proud members of AUTO (The Association of Uganda Tour Operators), as well as working closely with Uganda Tourism Board, Rwanda Development Board, and Uganda Wildlife Authority.
With years of experience under our belt, we have successfully served numerous satisfied clients, many of whom have left glowing reviews on popular travel sites like TripAdvisor and Safari Bookings. When you choose Trek Africa Tours, you can be assured of an unforgettable and hassle-free safari experience.