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Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Gorilla Safaris in Uganda, Gorilla Tours
Gorilla trekking in Uganda safaris/Uganda Gorilla safaris/Uganda Gorilla tours are not compared to any other safaris in Uganda. They are one of the top highlights of Uganda tours.
Gorilla tours in Uganda are on every tourist’s bucket list who is wishing to visit Uganda the “Pearl of Africa.” Gorilla tours to Uganda will take you in the montane rain forests of Uganda in search of the Mountain Gorillas and meet them in their natural habitat.
There are two kinds of Gorillas i.e. Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas though Uganda has only Mountain Gorillas.
The Uganda Gorilla trekking adventure is unbelievable as it will leave you with marks of great happiness and memories as a mere look at a silverback is a lifetime experience.
It is through Gorilla holidays that you get to meet the Mountain Gorillas face to face. Uganda is the best country for Mountain Gorilla holidays as it has half (50%) of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorillas which is around 1,063 individuals.
Most of the Uganda Gorillas are habituated and others are wild Mountain Gorillas. These giant apes are found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Bwindi National Park) and Mgahinga National Park which has only 1 Gorilla family.
Other Gorillas are within the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Virunga Mountains.
The endangered Mountain Gorillas that you trek, are close to humans and have DNA similarity of over 98%. Indeed, Gorilla tours should feature in every tourist’s Uganda trip for better African safari experiences.
On your Gorilla tour to Uganda, you can enjoy Gorilla habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and combine them with wildlife safaris. The nearby savannah park is Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for tree-climbing lions and you can also go to Murchison Falls National Park.
A Gorilla tour can be combined with other Uganda primate tours where you can go for Chimpanzee tracking (Chimpanzee trekking) as well as Golden Monkey tracking.
Where to See Gorillas in Uganda? | Where to Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
The endangered Mountain Gorillas are amazing creatures that cannot survive in captivity or in Zoos around the world. They are only found in 3 countries that border each other and that is Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo which also has Lowland Gorillas.
However, although wild Mountain Gorillas are in Uganda, these beautiful creatures are not everywhere in the country. They are only present in 2 parks and these are;
a. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest)
b. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Gorillas In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The misty Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place for Uganda Mountain Gorilla tracking trips. It is situated in the southwest of Uganda made of a montane and lowland forest covering an area of 131 km2.
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it has outstanding biodiversity and several endangered species that call the forest home. This forest park has 459 Mountain Gorillas making it almost half of the world’s surviving Gorillas (1063).
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there are 19 habituated Gorilla families one can trek following the 4 trailheads.
These trailheads are in the different directions of the park and there are; Nkuringo (south), Rushaga (south), Buhoma (north), and Ruhija (East) all having park headquarters.
All 19 families are available for trekking increasing the chances of seeing the apes to 99%.
Gorillas In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is another excellent destination for those seeking to go on Gorilla tours. It is located in the extreme southwest of Uganda on the border of Uganda and the Republic of Rwanda.
This park is sitting in the clouds as it is within the Virunga Mountains and it covers an area of 33.7 km2. It has one habituated transboundary Gorilla group which is known as “Nyakagezi”. It usually crosses to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park.
The Nyakagezi family has 9 members and tourists can trek this family along the Ntebeko trailhead starting at the park headquarters.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also the only park in Uganda having Golden Monkeys and this makes it a good destination for Golden Monkey trekking/Golden Monkey tracking.
Gorilla Trek Cost/Price in Uganda | Gorilla Trek Permit Cost Uganda
To enjoy Gorilla tours in Uganda, you need to have a Gorilla trekking permit which primarily costs $700 for foreign nonresidents. It is discounted for foreign residents as it goes for $600 and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens.
This Gorilla permit is inclusive of park entrance fees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and allows you to see a Gorilla family.
How Many Gorilla Permits Are Available In Uganda?
Uganda is the best destination for Gorilla watching. This is because it has the highest number of habituated Uganda Gorillas that can be trekked.
And, since Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest) has 19 habituated Gorilla families and Mgahinga Gorilla National has 1 family, it totals 20 families. 8 tourists are permitted to trek a family per day.
This means that 160 Gorilla permits are available in Uganda per day making it the highest number of Gorilla permits amongst other destinations for Gorilla tracking holidays.
How Do I Book A Gorilla Permit In Uganda?
A Gorilla permit is a legal document issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority permitting you to trek Mountain Gorillas. However, many tourists ask themselves how to book a Gorilla permit in Uganda.
Tourists/visitors can always book for themselves Gorilla permits by calling Uganda Wildlife Authority. There is always someone to talk to in the reservations department and they will provide you with an online form to fill out and afterward transfer the funds for the Gorilla permit.
You can collect your Gorilla permit on arrival in Uganda from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices. This truly works but it is ideal to use the services of a tour operator.
Uganda tour operators will do for you a nice job in getting you the Gorilla permits and this will prevent you from the hustles. They are more resourceful as they can get you last-minute Gorilla permits which may be difficult for you, especially in the peak season.
Also if possible, a tour company can acquire discounted Gorilla permits for you allowing you to visit a Gorilla family.
How Much Does It Cost To See Gorillas In Uganda? | How Much Is A Gorilla Safari In Uganda? | How Much Does It Cost To Trek With Gorillas?
The cost of the Gorilla watching holiday in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park depends on several factors and all of them combined come up with a Gorilla safari cost.
Below are the factors which affect the cost of a Gorilla watching trip in Uganda;
1. Gorilla permit cost; for you to go Gorilla tours in Bwindi National Park, you need to have a Gorilla trekking permit which goes for $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250,000 UGX for East African citizens.
2. Mode of transport; usually the mode of transport used is road transport though others can book chartered flights and head for the safaris. The best vehicles to use are the 4X4 vehicles and small ones range from $80-$100.
The modified land cruisers go from $150-$300 per day. All the prices are exclusive of fuel.
3. Accommodation; you cannot take part in Gorilla watching tours in Uganda without spending a single night in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Parks. The accommodation you choose determines the cost of the Gorilla tour.
Budget accommodation ranges from $30-$90 per night, the midrange is from $100-$180, and luxury accommodation is from $200-$500 or even beyond.
4. Cost of items on the trek Mountain Gorillas packing list; what you will pack for the Gorilla trip determines also a lot. How many items are you supposed to pack, and how expensive are they?
5. Cost of porters- for the elderly; you are to use porters keep in mind that they range from $10-$20 per trek. There is no need to hire a guide or ranger as the Gorilla permit already accounts for him.
6. Tips for rangers, guides, drivers, or hotel staff; a small tip you give for the good service provided to you brings smiles and the money given also can be accounted for the cost of the Gorilla family.
Cheapest Way To See Gorillas In Uganda | How Do I See Gorillas On A Budget?
One can go on Gorilla walking in Bwindi National Park & Mgahinga Park on a budget and get a lifetime experience. Many tourists fear going on Gorilla trips thinking that they are too expensive not knowing that they can as well see Gorillas on a budget.
The question would be what is the cheapest way to see Gorillas in Uganda? Below we are going to give you the necessary tips to guide you toward seeing Gorillas in their natural habitat on a budget.
1. Target The Low Season
This is the best way if you are to see Gorillas in Uganda on a budget. The low season is from March to May and from October to November. This is when the hotels, camps, and lodges offer discounted rates.
If lucky, you can get discounted Gorilla permits as well.
2. Consider Budget Accommodation
Apart from the cost of the Gorilla permit, accommodation can make the Gorilla vacation expensive. However, choose the budget accommodation which is of quality that will not make you regret it.
Choose a friendly budget safari lodge that at least has en suite bathrooms, mosquito nets, and a welcoming clean environment.
3. Use Public Transport
Using private means is a bit costly as you have to hire a driver, or vehicle, and even buy fuel. But if you use public means, you save a lot of money meaning that you can see the Gorillas on a budget. Please remenber that you need an Uganda touris Visa OR an east African tourist visa to enter Uganda and tour around.
4. Join A Group Tour
Joining a group tour means that the expenses are shared amongst the group members making it cheap for everyone to travel and trek the Gorillas.
How Many Hours Can One Spend With Mountain Gorillas?
Gorilla treks in Uganda take about 1-8 hours and you trek Mountain Gorillas in the tropical rain forests of Bwindi National Park & Mgahinga Park the Gorilla treks start at the park headquarters. Despite all the long hours you take when trekking the Gorillas when you meet them, you are only permitted 1 hour to be in their presence.
This epic hour you be with the Gorillas is memorable as you get to see them play, feed and care for each other. You will be mesmerized by the size of the Silverback and it is a perfect time for you to take pictures but do not use the flashlight.
However, if you want more time with the apes when on your Gorilla trek holidays in Uganda, then you can engage in the Gorilla habituation experience. This activity gives 4-full hours to be with the Gorillas.
How Long Are Gorilla Holidays In Uganda? | How Many Days Do You Need For Gorilla Trekking?
Gorilla walking holidays are the kind of Uganda safaris that cannot be done in one day how much you want to.
Gorilla treks and Gorilla habituation experience safari takes a minimum of 3 days as this is the best if you are to enjoy your safari. Usually, day 1 is for transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga which is about 507km which is an 11-hour drive.
So you cannot trek on day 1 because it is a long journey and Mountain Gorilla tracking starts at 8 am. You will then trek on day 2 and day 3 is for transferring back to Kampala or Entebbe.
What Time Of The Day Are Gorillas Most Active?
Gorillas are most active during morning and late afternoon hours and that’s why Gorilla tracking is done early in the morning and it is the best time for Gorilla seeing. This is done to emphasize that you get to see them in their proper moods as they get up after sunrise.
In the mornings they are active in the search for food and feed for a couple of hours as the leader leads the family to the feeding points. At around midday, the Gorillas rest especially the adults in nests though the young ones remain playing by wrestling each other.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To See Gorillas In Uganda? | Which Month Is Best For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda? | Uganda Gorilla Trekking Best Time To Go
One can go on Gorilla tracking safaris and Gorilla habituation experience to meet the Gorillas at any time of the year. However, the best time to go trekking with Gorillas is during the dry season/ months and which is from June to August and December to February.
During the dry season, the Gorilla treks are dry making them accessible and photography is rewarding as there is enough lighting. However, in the dry season, there may be long hikes as the Gorillas move deeper into the forest in search of food.
In the wet season, the rains are heavy making the trails and other roads impassable as they become slippery. The wet season is from March to May and from September to November.
Also, this is basically the wet season as few tourists go Gorilla walking in Uganda and prices can be discounted making it to your advantage. And, the Gorillas tend to be near as the food is abundant making the treks short.
What to Wear For Gorilla Trips In Uganda? | What to Wear For Gorilla Trekking Tours in Uganda?
There are clothes (wear) you can choose so to put on so that your Gorilla treks are successful. Below is what to wear before you go Gorilla seeing;
Light Hiking Boots; they should not be heavy as you have long Gorilla treks in the forest. Hiking boots will keep your ankles protected at all times and prevent your feet from getting pierced as well keeping them dry.
Long-sleeved light trousers and shirts; avoid putting on bright colors as the Gorillas reflect them to danger and they stress them. Khaki or brown are highly recommended for Gorilla tracking and Gorilla habituation experience.
Also, they keep you protected from insects and bugs and as well keep you warm during cold days.
Garden Gloves; since you are trekking Mountain Gorillas, you may touch horny itchy plants but the gloves will keep you protected at all times.
Sunglasses and a hat; the sunglasses will protect your eyes from direct sunlight during Gorilla tracking. The hat is to keep your head protected from direct sunlight.
A rain jacket or Poncho; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga are tropical rainforests and it can rain at any time of the day. The rain jacket or poncho will keep you dry with all your belongings in case it rains when trekking Mountain Gorillas.
What To Pack For Gorilla Trips In Uganda?
When going on Gorilla watching safaris in Uganda, there are essential items you need to carry with you always and these include;
Gorilla permits; this is the first thing to remember as you will have to present it at the Park headquarters before beginning your Gorilla tracking or Gorilla habituation experience. However, if you booked with a tour company in Uganda then your guide will present the Gorilla permits.
A good camera with extra batteries; is for taking pictures and videos of your favorite moments during Gorilla tracking.
Binoculars; during your go Gorilla watching experiences in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you will encounter other wildlife like birds, primates, and other wild animals. You can get clear views of the wildlife with the help of binoculars.
The poncho/ Rain Jacket; will keep you and your other items protected from getting wet when it rains during the entire Gorilla tracking experience.
Insect Repellents; will keep away insects and bugs from biting you when in search of the Gorillas.
Bottled Water; is to keep you hydrated when you go Gorilla walking.
Backpack; helps you keep your essential items in one place like sunscreen, insect repellents, travel documents, etc.
Walking sticks; give you extra support, especially on slippery trails when you go trekking with Gorillas.
Snacks, packed lunch, and drinking water; Gorilla treks in Uganda especially when trekking the Gorillas or Gorilla habituation experience are unpredictable as the apes can move long distances. It can take 2-8 hours and that’s when the packed lunch and snacks come in handy.
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe? | Is It Safe To Trek Gorillas In Uganda
Yes, trekking Gorillas in Uganda is safe as the Mountain Gorillas you trek are fully habituated meaning that they recognize human presence.
You are protected at all costs as you are escorted by armed rangers who can shoot to scare you in case of any attack from the Gorillas or other animals. Also, there is an 8-meter gap left between you and the Mountain Gorillas making it more secure.
The only thing you need is to listen and follow what your guide and ranger tell you so that you don’t fall victim. Respect the wild as it is the home of the Gorillas and you are just a visitor.
Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Worth It? | Is Gorilla Trekking Worth The Money?
Yes, trekking Gorillas in Uganda is absolutely worth it and worth the money. No price can equal the sighting of Gorillas.
When you trek Mountain Gorillas will leave you mesmerized giving you remarkable memories and making it worth it. You will see the Gorillas feeding, and caring for each other and the smile of the Silverback is unspoken for.
Also, the funds collected from Gorilla treks in Uganda are used for the conservation of the Gorillas and other wildlife. This makes it worth the money.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking? | How Difficult Is The Gorilla Trek In Uganda? | How Hard Is Gorilla Trekking Uganda?
Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the top highlights of a Uganda tour but it is not like a normal game drive. Gorilla trek indeed involves hiking through terrains, thick vegetation, and hills and valleys making it a bit challenging.
It may be exhaustive when the gorillas move deeper in the forest and you have to move long distances. Everyone can go on Gorilla trekking holidays though it needs some physical fitness since you be going around hills.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is challenging but when you meet the Gorillas then you will forget all about the challenging hills. You will enjoy 1 full hour with the Gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations
Mountain Gorilla trekking rules and regulations are put in place to protect you and the Gorillas. Tourists should listen carefully and follow the lead and instructions of the park rangers.
There are rules before you go Gorilla trekking in Uganda and those you should follow when you meet the Gorillas and they apply also to the Gorilla habituation experience.
Gorilla trekking rules before you set out;
· Always make sure that you carry your payment receipts and Gorilla permits. These are the main essential items that you have to show to the officials so that you are permitted to go Gorilla trekking in Uganda or allowed to engage in the fabulous Gorilla trekking experience.
· In case you have a cold or any kind of infectious illness, please do not go track Gorillas.
· Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda is only for those above 15 years.
· If you want to help yourself, make sure that human waste is buried 30cm (12 inches) deep.
· Also, only 8 people are permitted to visit a Gorilla group.
Gorilla trek rules when you meet the Gorillas;
· Make sure that there is a 7-meter (21ft) distance between you and the Gorillas.
· You should not smoke, eat or drink when with the Gorillas. It helps in the reduction of transmitting diseases to Gorillas.
· Always cover your mouth and nose or even turn away if you sneeze or cough. This is because Gorillas can get infected with cough and cold.
· Tourists are only permitted or given only 1 full hour to be with the Gorillas.
· When you are photographing the apes, ensure not to use a flash.
Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Vs Rwanda | Is It Better To See Gorillas In Uganda Or Rwanda? | Is Uganda Or Rwanda Better For Gorilla Trekking?
Both Uganda and Rwanda are top destinations for Gorilla tour holidays though each country is unique in its way.
Rwanda has Volcanoes National Park which is just 113.1 km from Kigali International Airport which is about 2 and half-hour drive. This makes it a short distance to reach Volcanoes National Park for Rwanda Gorilla trek tours meaning that you can enjoy Gorillas in one day.
However, for Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Park are located over 500km from the Entebbe International Airport which requires more than 1 day to enjoy the Gorillas.
Rwanda has 10 Gorilla families within Volcanoes National Park meaning that 96 Gorilla permits are issued to visitors per day to visit Rwanda Gorillas. Whereas Uganda has 20 habituated Gorilla families with 160 Gorilla permits issued in a day.
Also, the Gorilla trekking in Uganda permit cost is $700 and to track Rwanda Gorillas it costs $1500 and is bought from Rwanda Development Board. This means Uganda is better for the Gorilla trek, especially for those on a budget.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda is combined with wildlife safaris in its only savannah park Akagera National Park and Uganda has 4 amazing savannah parks.
Uganda has more safari lodges where one can stay during Gorilla tracking trips and they are at a lower price compared to those of Rwanda. If you wish to enjoy Rwanda Gorilla trek safaris, keep in mind that most of the lodges are high-end in Volcanoes National Park.
This comparison of the 2 country destinations for Gorilla tour holidays depends on the visitors’ time and budget. Visitors can trek Gorillas in both countries when they attain an East Africa tourist visa.
Why Go For Gorilla Trips in Uganda | Why You Should Trek Gorillas in Uganda
There are many reasons why you need to track Gorillas as Uganda is the best county for trekking with the Gorillas.
They are found within the two national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Park.
Below are the reasons to why go for Gorillas in Uganda;
1. Uganda has half of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorillas
The 2 national parks combined make have a big population of Uganda Gorillas which is half of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorillas. These parks are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest alone has 19 habituated Gorilla families with each group having not less than 8 members or individuals. Mgahinga National Park has only 1 Gorilla family of Nyakagezi with 9 members.
This makes Uganda the best country for Gorilla tour vacations as it has 160 Gorilla permits available per day.
The rest of the Mountain Gorillas are within Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park.
2. Gorilla holidays In Uganda Are Cheaper
This is a major point to know to why you should track Gorillas in Uganda. The Gorilla permits in Uganda are way cheaper compared to those in Rwanda plus the accommodation facilities in Uganda are way cheaper.
Gorilla permits in Uganda are at $700 and in Rwanda at $1500 where you track Gorillas only in Volcanoes National Park. The Democratic Republic of Congo would be cheaper though it sometimes becomes insecure to travel to.
3. Uganda Is A Safe Country For All Tourists
Many travelers arrive in Uganda for different purposes like business, leisure, tourism, etc., and stay safe until the end of their trip. This means that one can travel to Uganda at any time of the year with their safety assured.
Also, the people of Uganda are loving and friendly.
4. You Can Contribute To Gorilla Conservation And Supporting Communities
When you book your Gorilla trekking in Uganda, the money you use for purchasing the Gorilla permit is used for Gorilla conservation purposes.
Mountain Gorillas are endangered animal species and a few are remaining and the money is used in monitoring their health and keeping them away from poachers. Also, a percentage of the Gorilla permit is used in supporting the local communities.
So, if you go Gorilla trekking in Uganda, you have helped in Gorilla conservation and support the local communities.
5. More Primates Along The Gorilla Trek
Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park not only have Gorillas but also other primates that one can see during their Gorilla trek experience. Other primates include; Golden Monkeys, Baboons, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, etc.
6. Gorilla Trips Can Be Combined With Other Uganda Safaris
Uganda is a blessed country with 10 national parks and wildlife reserves and other safari destination places. Visitors who come for Gorilla tours (Gorilla trek) can always engage in other safaris like Uganda wildlife tours, birding safaris, and Uganda culture safaris.
Other safaris to engage in are boat cruise safaris, fishing safaris, etc.
Best Uganda Gorilla Trek Companies -Best Gorilla Safari Companies in Uganda
Several tour operators can organize for you Gorilla holidays in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Park and these include;
1. Prime Safaris And Tours Ltd
2. Wild Gorilla Safaris
3. Safari Uganda Safaris
4. Uganda Birding Safaris
5. A Uganda Safari
6. Gorilla trekking Uganda
7. Afirca Gorilla Safaris And Tours
8. Africa Safaris Tours
Best Gorilla Safari Packages | Gorilla Safari Tours In Uganda
These Gorilla safari packages are the best way to meet Gorillas in their natural home. They also take you to other national parks of Uganda for memorable African safari experiences.
During the Gorilla watching tours in Uganda, you will enable to engage in trekking Gorillas in Uganda which is a lifetime experience and excitement will be guaranteed.
Below are the best Gorilla Safari tours in Uganda;
5 Days Uganda Primates Safari
7 Days Uganda Safari
8 Days Uganda Wildlife Safari
9 Days Uganda Tour
10 Days Uganda Safari Tour
12 Days Uganda Safari
14 Days Uganda Safari
15 Days Uganda Safari Vacation
16 Days Uganda Safari Trip
18 Days Uganda Safari Tour
In conclusion, Gorilla safaris in Uganda are the best way of trekking Gorillas in Uganda as they take you into the jungle for Gorilla watching and Gorilla habituation experiences.
Uganda Gorilla trekking safaris can be combined with wildlife tours and Chimpanzee tracking tours to give you ultimate memories.
On your safari, you can as well visit Queen Elizabeth National Park to sight the tree-climbing Lions, Murchison Falls National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park for amazing wildlife viewing.
To Book Gorilla Safari Tours In Uganda, Please Inquire