Embarking on a Uganda gorilla safari is a highly sought-after adventure in Africa. If you’re planning a Uganda gorilla safari from Europe, this comprehensive guide will help you plan a memorable trip. Whether you’re from Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, or any of the other 44 European countries, these guidelines will assist you in planning your Uganda gorilla safari.
Before booking a Uganda gorilla safari from Europe, it’s essential to gather information about various aspects, such as whether to use a tour operator, different safari options, the best time to visit Uganda for a gorilla safari, and the ideal locations in Uganda for gorilla trekking. Here are some important things to consider:
Gorilla trekking involves hiking and walking through the forest to search for habituated mountain gorillas living in specific family groups. Once you find them, you’ll have a memorable encounter, observing, photographing, and learning about these magnificent creatures with the guidance of your ranger. Gorilla trekking allows you to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas, and each trek is done in a group of eight people assigned to a specific gorilla family.
There are several popular gorilla safari options in Uganda, which can be booked from Europe. You can choose an all-inclusive gorilla safari or customize it according to your interests. The minimum duration for any gorilla safari tour to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is three days. Here are some popular gorilla safari options:
In Uganda, mountain gorillas can be found in two national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Both parks are located in the southwestern part of Uganda, close to each other. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is preferred by many due to its numerous gorilla groups compared to Mgahinga, which has only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi. Bwindi is also more accessible, and securing gorilla permits is relatively easier. However, both parks offer equally amazing gorilla trekking experiences, and the chances of encountering gorillas are approximately 98%.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the oldest forests in Africa and was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. It boasts over 400 species of plants and is home to various wildlife, including primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, forest elephants, and antelopes. Gorilla trekking is a key highlight of the park, and there are daily gorilla permits available that allow you to spend one hour with the gorillas. The park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which oversees all tourism activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in Kisoro district, southwestern Uganda, and is part of the Virunga volcanic mountain chain that stretches across Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda. The park is Uganda’s smallest national park and shares borders with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park features a variety of habitats, including lowland equatorial evergreen forest, tropical seasonal forest, montane rainforests, and mountain bamboo. The park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The duration and difficulty of gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can vary significantly, as gorillas continuously move through the rainforest based on natural conditions. It’s important to be prepared for changing weather conditions, including steep and unmarked paths. Gorilla trekking can be physically strenuous, with treks lasting from a couple of hours to a full day of up to 8 hours or more, depending on the gorilla family’s location. It is recommended to be in good physical condition before embarking on a gorilla trek.
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is USD 700 per person for foreign non-residents, USD 600 per person for residents, and USD 70 for East African citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan). The permit allows you to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Uganda has a total of 17 habituated gorilla family groups, with 16 in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga, making 136 gorilla permits available daily. Additionally, there is an option for gorilla habituation experience, which allows for a 4-hour encounter with semi-habituated gorillas at a cost of USD 1500 per person. Gorilla permits can be obtained directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a trusted tour operator like Trek Africa Tours.
The cost of a Uganda gorilla safari holiday depends on various factors, including the gorilla permit price, transportation, accommodation, and guiding services. The gorilla permit price is a significant portion of the total cost. For example, a 3-day Uganda gorilla safari can start from USD 1,272 per person sharing, including accommodation, transport, and guiding services. The cost can vary based on the level of accommodation and other personalized preferences.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is considered safe. Both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park have organized and well-managed gorilla trekking activities. During the trek, you will be accompanied by well-armed park rangers and tourism police for your safety and protection against both human and wildlife threats. Despite occasional incidents, the overall safety record for gorilla trekking in Uganda is excellent.
The best time to do a Uganda gorilla safari from Europe is during the dry seasons, which are generally from June to October and December to March. These months offer mild rainfall and less dense vegetation, making gorilla treks easier and providing better visibility for photography. The other months of April, May, and November constitute the wet season, with higher rainfall and thicker vegetation. However, during this time, the treks are shorter, as the gorillas do not need to travel far for food. Gorilla safaris can be done throughout the year, but it is advisable to book in advance as permits are in high demand.
Booking a Uganda gorilla safari from Europe is a straightforward process. To secure your gorilla permit, it is recommended to plan and book in advance. Here are the steps to book a Uganda gorilla safari:
There are various accommodation options available for gorilla safaris in Uganda, depending on the sector you’ll be trekking in. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park‘s northern part, popular lodges include Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, and Ride 4 a Woman. In the Ruhija sector, options include Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Agandi Eco Lodge, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, and Broadbill Tented Camp.
For the southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga, lodges such as Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Four Gorillas Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Icumbi Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, and Karungi Camp are available. In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, lodges like Gahinga Lodge, Lake Chahafi Resort, and Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge provide comfortable accommodations.
To access Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking, you can travel by road or air:
To reach Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for gorilla trekking, you can travel by road or air:
Trek Africa Tours is a trusted tour operator with expertise in organizing Uganda gorilla safaris. When booking your Uganda gorilla safari from Europe with us, you can expect excellent service, customer satisfaction, and a memorable experience. Our experienced tour consultants are dedicated to answering your questions and assisting you throughout the booking process. You can rely on our expertise and personalized approach to create a tailored gorilla safari in Uganda that meets your preferences. Check our Tripadvisor reviews to hear from our satisfied clients. Embark on an unforgettable gorilla adventure with Trek Africa Tours.