Are you planning and interested in Combining Gorilla Trekking with an African safari, Eco Adventure Safaris explains the best place you can visit for gorilla trekking to see gorillas in the wild in Africa? Gorilla Trekking in Africa is one of the once in a lifetime experience that attracts many travelers to do during their visit to Africa. Despite the high costs, time and discomfort from booking to doing the hike through the forest to search for these endangered apes watching gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is one of the best wildlife experiences every traveler would do on his/her safari.
What is gorilla trekking in Africa
Gorilla Trekking involves hiking/walking through the forest and at some point difficult terrain, thick vegetation, crossing rivers and swamps in search for gorillas, this activity is challenging and it requires one to be fit at the time of the trek. Gorilla trekking gives you an opportunity to encounter and watch the gorillas in their natural habitat for one hour in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. For travelers who would like to spend more time with the gorillas in their natural habitat can opt to visit Bwindi Forest for Gorilla Habituation experience which gives you 4 hours encounter with the gorillas.
WHAT DOES COMBINING GORILLA TREKKING WITH AN AFRICAN SAFARI ENTAIL?
A holiday that includes trekking to see gorillas with an African safari can be either a tailor made or small group trip. With a tailor made trip, you’ll pay a little more for the chance to fine tune your itinerary depending on your interests, and to pick your accommodation from a range of lodges and safari camps. On trips that stick to Uganda only, travel is by road, but on tailor made itineraries that take in Kenya, short flights are often included, to help you cover the ground swiftly, with the option to relax on the beaches of, say, Zanzibar in Tanzania at the end of the trip.
Small group holidays are a more purse friendly option (although this is never a budget trip; a single gorilla permit in Uganda costs US $600) and bring the camaraderie of travelling with a group of likeminded travellers – usually, a maximum of 18 people. Some small group trips use lodges and hotels for accommodation, others offer full service camping, which is a less luxurious, but more immersive experience – we’re talking hyenas, hippos and warthogs nosing around your tent at night levels of immersion!
Most safari and gorilla holidays also offer chimp tracking. This is a fun experience, quite different to seeing gorillas. Chimps tend to move around more and frequently climb between the forest floor and the trees. They live in fluid, often fractious communities rather than families, and observing them interacting is really entertaining. In Uganda, you may also take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, to see the huge concentrations of hippo wallowing there (reported to be about 30,000), plus there might be optional white water rafting on the Nile, and village and community project visits.
You should expect a few long days of driving, especially on those trips that cover two or three countries, and also poor, bumpy roads that make even the shortest journeys a bone-jangling experience (this is the famous ‘African massage’). The trick is to go with the flow and just soak up the scenery and glimpses of village life, which won’t disappoint. There will be lots of chances to stop to shop at roadside stalls, stretch your legs or take photos.
While the game drive component of these trips is classed as leisurely, you’ll need to be fit enough to cope with a trek to see the gorillas. They’re not called mountain gorillas for nothing, so expect to be hiking uphill and also veering off into dense forest, since gorillas rarely oblige by sitting right on the path in front of you. So, expect a minimum of three hours walking on irregular terrain to find the gorillas, sometimes hiking up to around 2,600m, tackling steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes. It’s a good idea to hire a porter for gorilla tracking, who will help carry your bag and camera kit and offer a steady hand on slippery sections. Porters can be hired on the day, and you’ll be providing a valuable wage for local people by employing one.
Organised tours that include a safari and gorilla tracking will secure the gorilla tracking permit (and chimp tracking permit, if on the itinerary). These permits sell out extremely quickly and far in advance, but specialist tour operators will buy up permits, so you don’t need to. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), which manages the national parks, issues only 88 permits a day for gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, so competition is fierce.
Some trips include one gorilla tracking experience, with the option of choosing to do a second. Be aware, though, that if you do want that second tracking trip, you need to secure it at the time of booking, and you also need to book early, too, since your tour operator will not have secured any tracking permits additional to what’s set out in the itinerary.
Best country for visiting while Combining Gorilla Trekking with an African safari
Cost and Getting Gorilla permits in Uganda
The Gorilla permit in Uganda Costs $700 Per person per trek for the Foreign nonresidents, $600 Per person for residents and $70 for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan), this gives you an opportunity to spend one hour encounter with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Uganda has 17 habituated gorilla family groups with 16 found in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga this means 136 Gorilla permits are available every day for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Gorilla trekking in Uganda also gives you an option to spend more time with the mountain gorillas through Gorilla habituation experience which is only done in Bwindi forest, a gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person giving you an opportunity to spend 4 hours encounter with the semi habituated mountain gorillas under the guidance of trackers and researchers as opposed to one hour for the normal trekking. Getting gorilla permits in Uganda can be done directly by booking them through Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a trusted tour operator in Uganda like Eco Adventure Safaris.
Cost and Getting Gorilla Permits in Rwanda
The Gorilla permit in Rwanda Costs $1500 Per person per trek for the Foreign nonresidents, $500 Per person for foreign residents and $200 for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan), this gives you an opportunity to spend one hour encounter with the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda has 12 Gorilla families hence 96 Gorilla permits are available each day for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Getting gorilla permits in Rwanda can be done directly by booking them through Rwanda Development Board or through a trusted tour operator in Rwanda like Eco Adventure Safaris.
Cost and Getting Gorilla Permits in DR Congo
Gorilla tracking in Congo is done in Virunga National Park for Mountain Gorillas and Kahuzi Beiga National Park for Lowland gorillas. A gorilla permit in Virunga National Park costs $400 per person per trek for the high season months of Mid-December to mid-march then June to October and then $200 for the low season months of mid-march to mid-May and then mid-October to mid-December every year. A gorilla permit in Kahuzi Beiga National Park costs $400 for foreign non residents, $200 for East Africa Residents and $20 national resident. Getting gorilla permits in Congo can be done directly by booking them through Virunga National Park or through a trusted tour operator like Eco Adventure Safaris.
P.S When booking your gorilla permit it is important to note that the gorilla permit price excludes accommodation, air tickets, ground transport, meals and other expenses, you will need to get more details of the package you are booking with your tour operator.
Uganda is one of the Best places to visit gorillas in Africa, compared to Congo Uganda is safe for travelers and compared to Rwanda Uganda is much affordable for gorilla trekking.
Combining Gorilla Trekking with an African safari with Eco Adventure Safaris
Eco Adventure Safaris will help you book your Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Rwanda Africa and DR Congo contact us and we advise you on the booking process. We as well have different gorilla trekking safari packages ranging from budget, mid-range to luxury options that we can book for you including the gorilla permits. Feel free to checkout our trip advisor reviews and read from a community of happy satisfied clients. With us, you can be rest assured of a memorable Uganda safari holiday. We are devoted to providing excellent service and customer satisfaction. Our team of excellent tour consultants is always willing to help answer all your safari questions. We guarantee you a great gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo with us. Feel free to contact us here for more details about Combining Gorilla Trekking with an African safari.