Are you planning to visit Uganda for Gorilla Trekking, this guide on how to prepare for gorilla trekking in Uganda well researched and put up by Eco Adventure Safaris is one of the best guides that will help you plan and book your gorilla trek successfully, we are glad to guide and advise you on planning your safari to Africa? Gorilla Trekking in Africa is one of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences 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. How to
Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves walking through the forest following a given trail to search and find the habituated mountain gorillas, once you find them in their natural habitat you will spend with them one-hour encounter having an opportunity to take photographs, learning more about their habits and behaviors. Uganda is home to more than 50% of the total number of the only remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Given the fact mountain gorillas donot survive in the zoos for you to see these unique apes you will need to trek into their natural habitats to have an encounter with them.
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are only found in two national parks that is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park whereas in Rwanda these are only found in Volcanoes National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in the southwestern park of Uganda bordering the districts of Kanungu, Rubanda and Kisoro, the park also borders the Uganda-DR Congo border. It is home to 19 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking which are found in the four main gates/ sections that is Ruhija and Buhoma in the north, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the far southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro district; it shares the border with Rwanda and DR Congo. Mgahinga is one of the 3 main national parks located in the Virunga ranges other two national parks include Volcanoes National Park found in Rwanda and Virunga National Park found in DR Congo. Mghainga is home to 2 gorilla families which include Nyakagezi and Hirwa, however, the trekking in mainly done in the Nyakagezi gorilla family given the fact Hirwa is unstable and hard to find.
This is a very tricky question but people say Rwanda is a better option than Uganda. Reasons to support this is that Volcanoes National Park is a 2-3 hours drive from Kigali, that Gorillas are easily seen etc. This is indeed very true and no one can run away from it. People used to avoid gorilla trekking in Uganda because of the 9-10 hours drive from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi but now we arrange tours to Bwindi via Kigali which then becomes 4-5 hours drive only. With this, you land in Kigali, use the East African Tourist Visa (which allows you to visit both countries at ago) and then trek gorillas in Uganda at an affordable price. Because of this, even Rwanda tour operators are selling Uganda instead of their country.
Uganda used to sell/allocate gorilla permits depending on gorilla families but now, they no longer do this. They sell/allocate gorilla permits per region. Eg Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. Depending on the gorilla permits booked for you at the time of confirmation, its when you could possibly decide on which gorilla family you prefer. All families are good but will depend on your interest. There those who want families with many silver barks, many members or those with many kids/young ones. So depending on your interests and physical fitness to trek in a strenuous or easy side of Bwindi, you will be allocated a gorilla family of your choice accordingly.
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 encountering 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.
How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
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 that goes directly to support the conservation of the habitats of the mountain gorillas.
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 Eco Adventure 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.
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 the 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 be done in advance or at the day of the trek and price ranges from 400-500 dollars.
The minimum age limit for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is 15 years and the maximum age depends on your fitness levels. Children below 15 years are prohibited from gorilla trekking given the fact children’s behavior is unpredictable and uncontrollable which may result in disturbances during the trek, then as well children are prone to diseases that they can acquire from the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is possible throughout the year, the best time to do gorilla trekking is during January, February, March, early April, and June to early September, this makes it easier to travel to the park and gives a clear view of gorillas given the vegetation cover is not too much high grown. During this time there are fewer rains compared to the months of April, May, and November. Which normally receives rains and it makes the trek uncomfortable.
You will need a comfortable, hard-wearing, pair of walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy in the forest when it is raining. There are uphill sections that may be quite steep and strenuous. It is also advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. Suggested Items to pack for Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda include; Insect Repellent, Torch/Flashlight – and Spare Batteries, Wet Wipes, Water Bottle, Camera, lenses, Gardening gloves for gorilla tracking, Sandals/strops/walking shoes, Hat and Sunscreen, Rain Jacket, Sweater/fleece, Comfortable walking/hiking boots & socks, Swimwear and Binoculars for bird watching among others
Eco Adventure Safaris Limited offers tailor made gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. We combine gorilla trekking safaris with eco-friendly and unforgettable high-end adventure and wildlife safaris that help preserve biodiversity, conserve wildlife and uplift local communities, these include chimpanzee trekking, Big 5 safaris and game viewing, Mountain Hiking, Boat cruises excursions and Cultural encounters to give you a memorable and best African Safari experience including popular and great African safari destinations Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia. How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda