Gorilla trekking is an activity done by tourists on foot going through thick forests found in high elevation searching for the gorillas in their respective habitats. This activity can only be done in Africa mostly done in Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National parks), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and Congo (Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks).
The gorillas can be trekked all year round in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, however the best time to trek the gorillas is during the dry season because of the dry surface which eases trekking through the forest.
Gorilla permits in Uganda currently cost $600 for foreign non-residents (FNR), $500 foreign residents, and 250,000 Ugx for East African residents but they have been increased to $700(FNR), $600(FR) as of 1st July, 2020. Rwanda permits cost $1500 for all categories of people and Congo charges $400 (FNR and FN) and $150 for nationals. $1500 for Gorilla habituation experience done only in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home for the famous unique magnificent creatures called the mountain gorillas. It is situated in the northwestern part of Uganda approximately 6-7 hours’ drive from Kampala the capital city. It is endowed with a thick forest vegetation and high elevation which displays a beautiful scenery. The park has 12 gorilla families/groups which are found in the 4 sectors namely: Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo.
You are advised to book your gorilla permit at least 2 months before the actual trekking date for better preparations.
A gorilla permit includes; tourist’s park entrance fee, car park entrance and ranger guide services.
A gorilla trek takes between 2-8 hours in search for the gorillas depending on the trekking area and the tourists spend strictly 1 hour with the gorillas.
15 years and above for the three countries: Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Wear comfortable hiking shoes because of the steep muddy slopes during the hike.
- Carry packed lunch and enough drinking water.
- Carry rain gear, long sleeved shirt, sun screen lotion, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable) and insect repellent.
- Carry a camera however flashlight is not allowed.
- Insect repellant, rain jacket because the weather in the forest changes frequently.
Gorilla Habituation is literally the process of training and familiarization of wild gorillas to be in the presence of human beings. Uganda is the only country in the world that offer gorilla habituation experience at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Rushaga sector gorilla families was set aside for this experience hence gorilla habituation can only be done in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Habituation starts at 7 am up-to around 3 pm, 4 people are strictly allowed to visit a particular gorilla group per day and they spend 4 hours with the gorillas.
Strictly 8 people are allowed to visit a particular gorilla family per day for gorilla trekking and only 4 people for gorilla habituation in Uganda(Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest National Park)
Chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda and or Rwanda are very high up to 99% due to the fact that this exercise is very organized in both countries. It is on record that since the start of gorilla tourism in early 1990’s, there is no any traveler who has ever failed to see mountain gorillas.
Uganda has no discounts on gorilla permits, however Congo gives a discount of 50% when you visit during the low season (rainy season) and Rwanda gives 30% Discount (US$ 1,050) on gorilla permits if visiting other Rwanda national parks (Akagera national park, Nyungwe national park) for 3 days and more during the low season of November – May – 15% discount (US$ 1,275) on conference guests who stay pre & post MICE events to see gorillas
Yes, it is very possible to trek the Gorillas via Kigali. It is cheaper and less tiresome because driving from Kigali Airport, Rwanda via Cyanika is only a 3 hours’ drive and from Cyanika to Nkuringo is 5-6 hours’ drive. The majority of habituated gorillas are near the border of Uganda and Rwanda in Southern Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla park.
Engagi is a rukiga word meaning a gorilla. Rukiga is one of the local bantu language spoken in the western part of Uganda districts such as:- Kabale, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Ntungamo
Yes, foreign residents and non-foreign residents need a visa to Uganda and it is on arrival ranging from USD 50 to USD 200. East African residents only need a national identification card to travel to Uganda no need for a visa.
Uganda is safe for LGBT for as long as they are discreet and avoid public display of affection. Uganda’s constitution condemns LGBT actions and it is socially not allowed in the local communities.
Tipping is not a must, one should only tip if they are satisfied with the services and what to tip is according to the tourists.
Safari 4*4 wheel drive vehicles are recommended for those visiting National Parks because of the murram roads and the terrain.
Yes you can, the porters are usually hired by: old and weak trekkers, expectant women, the disabled and those that are not used to moving long distances. Porters carry you and the luggage during the trek. They charge for around $15-$20 depending on your level of fitness, which kind of trek you choose, and weight of luggage you bring with you.
The official language is English and Kiswahili. Luganda is the widely spoken language by natives and non-natives.
Whatsapp: +256 702 421519, +256 782 421 519