Along with a safari, gorilla trekking is one of the most thrilling experiences you can do in Africa. Trekking through the forests of East Africa to come face-to-face with a family of habituated gorillas is one of the most exhilarating moments in life, and one that is on many people’s bucket list.
Where is best to do gorilla trekking?
There are approximately 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the world today. These wild animals can be seen in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Uganda, you have two options to see the mountain gorillas in – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi is home to 10 habituated gorilla families, and Mgahinga just the one. This means that Bwindi Impenetrable forest is much more visited, and there are a larger number of safari lodges, rangers, and guides to accommodate.
In Rwanda, you will head to the Volcano National Park which is approximately a 2-hour drive from Kigali. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is very popular to combine with a Tanzania safari because you can fly directly from Kigali into the plains of the Serengeti. There are 12 habituated gorilla groups in Volcanoes National park in Rwanda, each with their own behaviors and ages.
How do I do a gorilla trek?
The best way to book a gorilla trek is with a specialist tour company, like us. There are quite a lot of logistics involved in gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, securing the gorilla permits, safari accommodation and transfers to name a few. There are also rules and regulations to consider when you do mountain gorilla trekking, such as the amount of time you are allowed to spend with the gorillas and minimum ages to adhere to (which is 15 years for both Uganda and Rwanda).
We can organize the logistics for your gorilla trek, and a trip to see these critically endangered animals will be seamless. We can book your trip according to how many gorilla treks you’d like to do, as well as other activities in the national parks. In Rwanda for example, you can trek to see the golden monkeys.
In terms of logistics when you are there, the rangers and guides will run you through the procedure of the trek. You will meet at the park headquarters in the morning (both Uganda and Rwanda), and run through a comprehensive overview and safety briefing. You will then be allocated into your gorilla trekking group, which is a maximum of 6 people. Your guide will lead the way through the forest, accommodated by a team of trackers and porters. Image: Gorilla Forest Camp, Uganda
The gorilla permit in Uganda is currently $750 per person per trek. In Rwanda, it’s $1,500 per person per trek. These need to be issued before you travel. There is a maximum number of permits available each day, so it’s worth booking these well in advance. Internal flights, transfers, and accommodation are on top of that, but we can organize all of that and put together a tailor-made itinerary for you.
To find out more about our gorilla trekking itineraries, get in touch with our Africa specialists. Whether it’s a Uganda or Rwanda gorilla trek, the trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How long do you get with the gorillas?
When you find the gorillas, you are allowed a maximum time of one hour with them. While you are asked and encouraged to keep a safe distance, these gorillas are wild animals and may come closer to you – particularly the younger gorillas as they are very inquisitive. During your hike, your porter will carry your bag and any camera equipment you bring. The porters do not come with you to spend the hour with the gorillas, so make sure that, when you find the gorillas, you take your camera and anything you may want with you for the hour (sunglasses or glasses for example).
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