Gorilla Safaris

There are only around 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the world today. These gorillas can be found in the dense rainforests in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Wherever you head to for your gorilla trek, the experience will be simply magical. When you are in the presence of a mountain gorilla – be it a whole family, or a huge Silverback gorilla – you will feel vulnerable and humbled at the same time. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Although there is constant threat to these incredible primates, conservation and tourism initiatives is what keeps them protected. The cost of gorilla permits may seem quite high ($750 per person in Uganda, and $1,500 per person in Rwanda) but this money goes directly towards the protection of the mountain gorillas, contributing to ranger salaries and sustaining their efforts.

We regularly get asked “What is the difference between a Uganda and Rwanda gorilla trek?” Our travel experts have done both experiences so we are happy to discuss the differences with you over the phone but, as a short overview, the main difference is the logistics behind the treks.

Best Time to Visit Uganda - Gorilla
Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Uganda or Rwanda?

The Volcanoes National Park, located in north-west of the country, is where you find the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. This park is fairly accessible as you can drive there in approximately two hours from the capital, Kigali. An overnight stay in Kigali is recommended and early morning the next day, you will start your transfer up to the beautiful rainforest.

There are also regular flights from iconic destinations to Kigali, which makes the combination of safari and gorilla trekking popular. For example, there are regular flights from the plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Kigali.

In comparison, Bwindi National Park in Uganda is harder to get to and usually involves a longer drive or an internal flight. That said, it works really well in an itinerary combining other destinations in Uganda, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest. You are able to drive between these destinations which means you will have a private safari throughout.

The price of gorilla permits is also a big factor. The cost of a gorilla permit in Uganda is USD $750 per person per trek. The cost of a gorilla permit in Rwanda is double that – at USD $1,500 per person per trek. They both offer a similar experience – a group size of 6 people, a hike through the forest to find the gorilla group, and then a one-hour slot with the gorillas once they have been found.

 

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Your Gorilla Safari

Accommodation in both destinations is varied – there are comfortable lodges offering rates from around $350 per per night, up to much more luxurious lodges owned by portfolios like Wilderness and Volcanoes. These can be anywhere from $1,000 per person per night upwards.

The gorilla experience itself is like no other. It is a phenomenal experience that must be on every safari or wildlife enthusiasts’ list. The rangers and porters will keep you safe, but even with them by your side, it is natural to feel overwhelmed or vulnerable. After all, a silverback gorilla can weigh up to 200 kilograms! The hour you spend with them will fly by, so make sure you get lots of pictures and soak up the experience.

For those who are interested in primates, Uganda is a great destination to head to as there are multiple experiences you can do. Chimpanzee trekking and habituation experiences are offered in Kibale Forest, several primate species can be found in Queen Elizabeth National Park on safari, and of course, Bwindi National Park is home to the gorilla trekking.

 

Start Planning Your Safari

We hope this gives you an insight into gorilla trekking in Africa. However, if you still have questions, please do get in touch with our safari specialists Elaine and Gemma. Either drop us an email, give us a call on +44 208 004 2345 , or book a video consultation to find out more and start planning your safari adventure.

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