Where best to see gorillas in AfricaJanuary 21, 2022
Is it possible to book all permits and trek Nkuringo gorillas exclusively aloneJanuary 22, 2022
Eco Adventure Safaris has conducted gorilla trekking Uganda trips and we highly recommend trekking gorillas in Uganda compared to Rwanda and Congo. Uganda is the leading destination for gorilla tourism as it has half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. The Mountain Gorillas in Uganda can be found in the hilly tropical forests in southwestern Uganda and you will be able to view the gorillas in their natural environment. The chances of seeing the gorillas in Uganda is 98% since it has half of the world’s population of these great endangered apes. There are 19 habituated gorilla families in Uganda found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National park, every gorilla family is allocated 8 visitors per day which gives you an opportunity to visit the gorillas any time of the year.
Uganda is one of the East African countries where tourism is done particularly gorilla trekking activity. Gorilla trekking is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a government body in charge of all tourism activities and conservation in all the national parks and Wildlife reserves. Security while doing gorilla trekking is guaranteed as the safety of the visitors is the top priority. There is a lot to see and do in Uganda besides gorilla tracking. Eco Adventure Safaris will help you plan a vacation having gorilla trekking as well as see the rest of the highlights of the country.
About gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking means visiting the gorillas in their natural habitat in the forest, the trek in Uganda starts at 7:00 am with a briefing on the dos and don’ts while moving in the forest and with the gorillas. After the briefing, the park guides, rangers, and trackers lead you to the forest to find the gorillas. You are allowed one hour of viewing the gorillas when found and later you return to the starting point to receive a certificate for the successful gorilla trekking in Uganda. The gorillas are amazing to watch as they have 95% of the human DNA. Only eight visitors are allowed to see gorillas per habituated family per day according to Uganda wildlife Authority policy so as to conserve the gorillas. To be allowed to do gorilla trekking, you must be aged 15 years and above as per the policy, and minors are not allowed to trek since they may not easily be controlled in the forest and may easily transmit diseases to the gorillas. Uganda is good for gorilla trekking, policies and guidelines are in place for trekking and conservation which as Eco Adventure Safaris we always share with you while planning your gorilla trip.
Where to do gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National park, these two parks give you options making Uganda good for gorilla trekking in East Africa as detailed below.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Bwindi impenetrable forest National park is where gorilla tourism started in Uganda in 1993, the park is located in southwestern Uganda sharing a border with Congo, it is one of the only two parks in Uganda where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in the world, it is home to more than half of the only remaining Mountain Gorillas in the wild making it famous and best place to trek the Mountain Gorillas. The park is one of the oldest forests in Africa and was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest National park is done in the four sectors namely Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija, and Nkuringo sector. The experience is all the sectors is the same and very enjoyable.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is one of the Virunga volcanic mountain chain of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda famous for Mountain gorilla trekking. The park is located in Kisoro district south western Uganda boarded by Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi Forest National Park in Uganda. Mgahinga gorilla national park has three volcanoes namely Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Muhabura all of which are part of the six Virunga Mountains. Though it is the smallest Park in Uganda, it harbors the endangered mountain gorilla and the Golden Monkeys and other wildlife species. Mgahinga has only one habituated gorilla group for gorilla trekking.
How many gorilla Habituated families are in Uganda for gorilla trekking?
Uganda has 19 habituated gorilla families found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National park, Bwindi has 18 Habituated gorilla families and Mgahinga has one habituated gorilla family all for gorilla trekking. In Bwindi, every sector has gorilla families named and every day allocated to visitors for gorilla trekking namely; Buhoma sector there is Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Katwe Gorilla Group. In Ruhija sector, there is Bitukura Gorilla Family, Oruzogo family, Mukiza gorilla family, Kyaruguriro Gorilla Family. In Rushaga sector there is Nshongi Gorilla Group, Mishaya Gorilla Group, Bweza Gorilla Group, Bikyingi gorilla family, Kahungye Gorilla Family, Busingye Gorilla Family and Mucunguzi gorilla family. In Nkuringo there is Nkuringo Gorilla Family, Bushaho Gorilla family, Christmas Gorilla Family. Mgahinga national park has only one habituated gorilla group named Nyakagezi for gorilla trekking.
What is the price of the gorilla trekking permit in Uganda?
Uganda has about 176 gorilla trekking permits per day, the price of the gorilla trekking permits is cheap compared to Rwanda Gorilla trekking permits and this is makes Uganda good for gorilla trekking as permits are affordable. The Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs USD700 per person for Non-Foreign Residents, USD600 for Foreign Residents and Shs.250, 000 for East African Citizens. The gorilla trekking permit prices are same for both Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and you are allowed only one hour of viewing of the gorillas.
The gorilla trekking permits normally sell out so very quickly during the high season (January, February, July, August, September, and December every year. Contact Eco Adventure Safaris about your planned trek and desired dates, we shall check availability of permits online system for Uganda Wildlife Authority and if permits are available, we shall send you an invoice to make payment for the permits as they are top priority and if they are not available, you will choose other dates that have availability of permits. Once we receive payment, we shall book and secure your permits and send you copy of the receipt with booking ID to confirm your trek. The process of acquiring the gorilla permits is easy and Uganda will surely give you a lifetime experience with the gorillas.
How to spend much time with the Mountain Gorillas?
For you to spend much time with the mountain gorillas you will need to book gorilla habituation experience which is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda, on this activity you will spend 4 hours encounter with the semi habituated mountain gorillas while participating in activities geared towards making these wild gorillas get used to human presence. This experience costs $1500 per person per trek. Another option is to do more than one normal trek on different days.
Which one is the best park to see mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?
The whole truth is that both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda have mountain gorillas and there is no big difference when it comes to the experience obtained at the end of your trek. The only difference is that Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Volcanoes National Park Mountain gorillas are in the Virunga/hills with mainly bamboo as the main vegetation while in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, these mountain gorillas are in a tropical rain forest with varieties of trees and plants. Chances of seeing gorillas in both parks are 98% so which ever country you visit; you will be able to see these great apes in their natural environment. It is believed that Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park gorillas are easy to see because of the kind of vegetation and offer much clear option to takes pictures this is right because it is mainly bamboo which is not very thick compared to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park tropical rain forest.
How long does the gorilla trekking take in Uganda and Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda takes about 3 to 7 hours, the time you take to finish your trek is determined by the nature of the trek that day that is where the gorillas are at that moment, their movements and weather that day some time the trek can take you a full day to see the gorillas. Gorilla trekking starts at 7:45am with briefing about the does and don’ts whilst in the forest with gorillas, after the briefing you are allocated a ranger guide to take you for the trekking in the forest once you find the gorillas you will spend with them 1-hour encounter.
How many people are allowed to visit gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda per day?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda only 8 people are allowed to trek each gorilla family this is one of the set precaution to minimize the behavior disturbance of the mountain gorillas as well the risk of spreading various diseases to the gorillas.
What is a gorilla trekking permit?
A gorilla trekking permit is a document or card issued to any visitor interested in trekking mountain gorillas in either Uganda or Rwanda. This gives you one-hour encounter with the mountain gorillas and is only valid for one day. That is for you to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda for more than one day you will need to purchase more than gorilla permit. A gorilla permit comes along with a special booking number which determines the validity of the permit specific to a given trekking region.
How much is a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda and Rwanda?
A 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. In Rwanda gorilla permits costs $1500 for Foreign nonresidents.
What is included in a Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla Permit
A Gorilla trekking permit allows to see the gorillas for only one-hour encounter in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. A gorilla trekking permit includes park entrance fees, park ranger guides and a percentage fee which goes direct to support conservation of the habitats of the mountain gorillas.
Where can I purchase a gorilla permit in Uganda and Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda can be directly purchased through Uganda Wildlife Authority and in Rwanda from Rwanda Development Board or through a trusted tour operator in Uganda or Rwanda like Happy Lion Safaris. For you to book through a trustworthy tour operator you will need to look at his trip advisor reviews then send an email with your planned dates of trekking, then they will go ahead and check for availability with Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board and once they confirm permits are available they will get back to you and then make payment with them after they will purchase for you the permit accordingly.
Can an elderly or a disabled person do gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda?
Yes it is possible for an elderly or a disabled person o trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, gorilla trekking for elders is now made possible especially through provision of sedan chair carriers, these chairs are used to carry those who feel unfit and are unable to walk into the forest at the time of their trek, you will be carried by potters to and from the forest during your trek, hiring the sedan chair can done in advance or at the day of the trek and price ranges from 400-500 dollars.
What is the minimum and maximum age for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
The minimum age limit for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years and the maximum age depends on your fitness levels. The children below 15 years are prohibited from gorilla trekking given the fact children behavior is unpredictable and uncontrollable which may result in disturbances during the trek, then as well children are prone to diseases which they can acquire from the gorillas.
What is the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda?
The best time to trek gorillas in Uganda during the drier months of January, February, June, July, August and early September, these months experience less rainfall though the climate changes every day. Any time of the year, you can visit the gorillas. Sometimes, the rainy season is considered better to see the gorillas as there is a lot of food growing because of rain and gorillas can clearly be spotted. Gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly and all those interested in trekking gorillas during this time should book their gorilla permits in advance.
How to access Uganda for gorilla trekking?
You can access Uganda by flying into Entebbe international Airport and start your trip from Entebbe/Kampala to south western Uganda for your gorilla trek. You can opt for Road trip which is about 9-10 hours or fly to Kisoro or Kihihi Airstrips that serve Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national Park. You can also fly into Kigali international Airport, drive to south western Uganda through Cyanika or Katuna Boarder which take only 4-5 hours with the time spent at immigrations at the border. We always advise our visitors to acquire the East African Visa which allows multiple entry of both Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. The East African Visa fee costs USD100 which can be gotten at the Airport upon arrival or online and it is cost effective instead of buying single entry Visas. But you can as well opt to secure single Visas as well, the Rwandan Visa costs USD30 and Uganda Visa cost USD 50. Uganda is easily accessible and guaranteed for all nationals and should be your choice for gorilla trekking.
Where to stay on a gorilla trekking trip in Uganda?
Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park have many lodges/Hotels where you can stay on your gorilla trekking tour. These range from budget to high end hotels and Eco Adventure Safaris can help you book the hotel of your choice and budget. In Mgahinga National Park you can stay at Gahinga Lodge which is a luxury hotel/Lodge, Lake Chahafi Resort and Lake Mulehe safari lodge which are midrange lodges. In Bwindi, we recommend staying in the sector where you are trekking for easy accessibility of the park headquarters. In Rushaga, you can stay at Rushaga Gorilla camp, Four Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, in Nkuringo you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge, Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge. In Buhoma sector you can stay at Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany springs Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, and Gorilla forest camp. In Ruhija sector you can stay at Trekkers tavern Lodge, Bakiga lodge or even at Lake Bunyonyi or lodges in Kabale town. The lodges are very many in Bwindi but they require to be booked in advance as they can be fully booked during high season. We always ensure standard service safety of clients on their stay.
Why book with Eco Adventure Safaris to do gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Eco Adventure Safaris is a Local tour operator based in Uganda with its head offices in Entebbe. Eco Adventure Safaris is run and owned by Ugandans. We specialize in life changing experiences and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB (Uganda Tourism Board). We have a good and long working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) making it easy to book your gorilla permits and gorilla trekking safari. Eco Adventure Safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor as well as Safari bookings. Please contact us here to plan your visit to trek the gorillas in Uganda.