Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, is an amazing Africa safari destination flocked by thousands of travellers. One may be wondering it is visited by many! Truth is, Uganda’s nature and humanity inspire tourists during their Uganda safaris. Uganda is home to the most sought after Africa wildlife safari animals including the big 5 game and mountain gorillas, one of the rare wildlife species in the world. Mountain gorillas can only be found in only 3 countries in the world; Uganda Rwanda and Congo. Mountain gorillas can be trekked in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda. When on a Rwanda safari, you can only trek these gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. When you choose Congo for a mountain gorilla safari, book your Congo gorilla trek safari permit in Virunga National Park Congo.
Short Gorilla safaris in Uganda Rwanda and Congo
- 3 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda
- 3 Days Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari to Bwindi
- 3 Days Uganda Gorilla Tour to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
- 1 Day Rwanda gorilla Tour
- 2 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari in Rwanda
- 3 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari in Rwanda
- 2 days Congo gorilla safari to Virunga National Park
- 3 days Gorilla Tour Trekking Tour in Congo – Short Congo gorilla Virunga
- 3 days Mountain Gorilla safari Virunga National Park Congo
Of the thousand travellers that have enjoyed Uganda gorilla trek safaris during their Uganda tours, their memories have lasted longer than expected. What makes the Uganda gorilla tour memorable? What is a Uganda gorilla safari experience the best of all? Well, the answer is in this write-up…
What brings memories?
Taking a 2-3 hours trek (minimum) up the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks’ bamboo forest, gives you an opportunity to encounter these gentle apes. Reaching the gorillas requires navigating uphill and downhill through thick tangles of vines, thorns, and roots. As part of your adventure, in a group of 8, your walk experience will take you through the past shoulder-high grasses of the forest, characterized with stinging nettles, and night-black fur penetrating the vegetation. It a nice experience provided you dress in the right clothes; how to dress for a gorilla trekking Uganda safari.
There are no paths, no signs, no directions and no clearings. At the back and in the lead are your Uganda safari park ranger guides, accompanied with a Uganda tourism police officer to ensure your whole gorilla tour Uganda experience is safe. These gorilla trekking Uganda tour rangers stalk nearer with machetes in hand to help them push aside bushes making it clear for you. The walk is done at a minimal pace to keep you lively. Within no time, you will be at your assigned Uganda gorilla trekking safari mountain gorilla family. This is the best opportunity to observe these gentle apes’ everyday interactions that behave just like humans.
For about an hour, you will observe your mountain gorilla family. Meetings face to face with mountain gorillas in the jungle is one the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences for trekkers undertaking tours in Uganda. Just like our families, a father is the family head. Similarly, you will encounter a silverback gorilla energetically watching over its family. A silverbacks’ mass is amazing, yet his power food is just a diet of leaves. This male leads a harem and their offsprings that normally converge around their boss to make a family.
Uganda safari tour tourists don’t always miss out capturing moments like this on camera. After a rush of snapshots, tourists get mesmerized by the wonder of being close to these gentle apes; mountain gorillas. I had always wondered why tourists get excited after seeing these gorillas during their gorilla safaris Uganda, during their gorilla trek safaris Rwanda and during the gorilla tours in Congo. Having experienced the excitement, perhaps it’s their similarity to us! Or maybe those familiar hands and the expressions! Honestly, their humanlike expressions prompt you to anxiously keep your sight on them. I think the exact difference between their kind and ours is that they are in the wild!
Enjoy a descent slope down using the same trail to get back to your starting point so you catch up with your guide. Safaris in Uganda teach you survival skills as for this case you may require to grasp onto bamboo for balance. Now that you have time, you will have a glance at some of the rare birds in a rain forest. For bird fanatics, this is the best chance to hit two birds with one stone. A Uganda birding safari in the rain forest gives you chance to see up to 23 albertine endemics such as the Short-tailed Warbler and Blue-headed Sunbird as well as seven IUCN red data listed species.
Are you a primate lover? Look nowhere else, Uganda is a primate lover’s dream. In addition to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to the golden monkeys. Golden monkeys are hairy, comical and live high up in bamboo forests. Tracking golden monkeys is very similar to tracking gorillas, but the trek itself is not quite as challenging. Similarly, during your Rwanda gorilla tour, you may encounter golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park.
Bwindi Forest National Park also has other primates like the L’hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and blue monkeys. If your safari Uganda continues to Kibale Forest National Park for a chimpanzee trekking safari Uganda, you will witness chimpanzees steal the show. If you’re on a Rwanda safari or Rwanda tour, you too can have chance to see these chimpanzees if you include a chimpanzee trekking safari Rwanda in Nyungwe National Park Rwanda.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permits
There are about 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world and they are still endangered. Strict regulations have been put in place to make sure these gorillas stay healthy in the wild starting with the gorilla trekking permit process. If you are interested in a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, you must book your permit in time. Why? Daily viewings of each gorilla group are extremely limited, its only 8 people allowed to track a particular gorilla group a day yet Uganda only has about 19 habituated gorilla families; 18 mountain gorilla families Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda and 1 family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
At the moment, the Uganda gorilla trekking safari permit costs $700 in contrast with the Rwanda gorilla trek safari permits that now costs $1,500 year-round.
Most trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi, where there are multiple starting points and several gorilla families to track totalling to about 18 gorilla families. Visits are led by park rangers and groups of eight are allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour, in silence and at a safe distance.
The Uganda Gorilla trekking Permit Cost Inclusions
- A Gorilla trekking experience in Uganda
To have a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda experience, you need to have a permit purchased at USD 600 per person per trek. On the cost of your permit you will have about 4-6 memorable hours in the jungle with the company of armed park rangers and gorilla trekking stick is provided to ease movement within the forest. On getting the gorillas, you spend a maximum of 1 hour in the presence of the gorillas and you are allowed to take as many photos as possible with your flash free camera, capture all possible videos and ask all kinds of questions.
- Park entrance fee
In all of the Uganda national parks, you need to pay park entrance fees but for either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park, your permit fees work as the park entrance fees.
On the actual day of gorilla trekking, travellers are assigned park rangers to guide and escort them through the jungle. The rangers are fully hired and paid by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Their salary is wholly extracted from revenues collected from the sale of gorilla permits. Good enough, park rangers are equipped with guns to scare away wild animals hence assuring travellers of their safety in the jungle.
Besides, park rangers, gorilla national parks employ trackers who hike into the jungle early before the start of the actual trekking to check out the whereabouts of mountain gorillas. After finding the gorillas, trackers call back at the headquarters to inform rangers on which directions so as to avoid off tracking saving travellers time and energy. These trackers keep following the gorillas until rangers and travellers find them. Just like rangers, governments through park managers pay trackers and their salary is part of the gorilla permit cost. Interestingly, rangers and trackers go under training in defence and conservation, which ensure the safety of travellers and mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
- Security/tourism police
There is tourism police in all gorilla national parks in Uganda. The police patrols in the forest day and night to check for any threats and therefore this gives travellers assurance of peaceful and safe trekking. The gorilla trekking activity is one that involves close contact with the habitat and therefore need for great conservation since the species are susceptible to disease. It is expensive to keep the habitat safe and threat free therefore making the activity expensive. The cancellation policy is only applicable to Uganda and Wild Gorilla Safaris. For a Congo gorilla trekking safari to Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park you need to read and understand the cancellation policy of Congo. On the other hand, the Rwanda gorilla trekking safari permit to Volcanoes National Park is liable to the cancellation policy of Rwanda.
Why your presence matters…
Habitat destruction is the main threat to mountain gorillas. Uganda’s population growth is at a very high rate. Communities around the parks are heavily populated, and residents have traditionally used the land around national park boundaries for farming or building bigger homes.
Since tourism is now Uganda’s most profitable industry, the majority of tourists on safaris Uganda for particularly gorilla tours Uganda, are encouraged to seek out ways to give back to the communities they visit during their Uganda cultural safari walks. Those that don’t take cultural safari walks during their visit Uganda often hire a porter (who is always a local resident, sometimes a reformed poacher) during their gorilla trekking Uganda tour. The landscape within the parks is unpredictable and difficult; porters help guide trekkers through river crossings and up steep along the muddy inclines. Tips or money given to these community people helps them survive or purchase basic needs than taking part in bad acts like poaching and habitat destruction.
You can also participate in community-led Uganda cultural tour initiatives. For example, in Bwindi village, the Bwindi Bar trains young adults in hospitality through laborious classes and work experience, some communities teach art work and some entertain the tourists at a small fee.
Around Mgahinga, elders of the Batwa tribe lead visitors on a forest tour Uganda along the Batwa Trail, explaining how a dependent, forest-dwelling tribe that traditionally uses medicinal plants from the forest.
What to pack for a gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
You need a daypack or small bag, 2 litres of Water, your packed lunch, a few snacks, a rain jacket, long-sleeved trouser and shirt, trekking boots, a camera or phone for taking photos, maybe some insect repellent in a Ziploc Bag to protect against the flies. See what pack for a gorilla safari Uganda in details…
Frequently asked questions about gorilla treks in Uganda
Am I fit enough for a Gorilla Trek?
Preparing yourself physically or trekking at home would be the best. Our suggestions are simple. After you book your Gorilla Trekking or the Exclusive Uganda gorilla habituation safari experience with us begin a daily walking routine, take weekend hikes of one type or another, if you live in Vancouver BC take the Grouse Grind a few times up to Grouse Mountain.
Can I trek Gorillas when am old?
When it comes to age, whether you are 70 and above, you can still trek. We have had old clients who wanted to trek the toughest gorilla group to trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Forest, they did it and loved it. We also often request wardens to allow our clients to trek the easiest groups and it normally works out. A 94-year-old Italian woman was carried into Bwindi in such a way a few years back, it was on her bucket list to see the Mountain Gorillas and she did.
Visit mountain gorillas in Uganda’s with Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd for your ultimate Africa safari memories!