Gorilla trekking on planet earth is only done in Africa in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and the Central African Republic, many travelers interested in seeing the gorillas in the wild find it hard to choose where is the best place to see gorillas. Our guide to where is the best place to see gorillas will help you choose the best country to visit and see gorillas in Africa. Gorilla trekking involves walking and hiking through the forest to search for gorillas in their natural habitat once you find the gorillas you spend one-hour encounter with them, learning more about their daily lifestyle, taking pictures and videos.
Gorilla Trekking in Africa is only done in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo which host the four national parks that are home the only remaining mountain gorillas. In Congo you as well have an opportunity to see the Eastern Lowland gorillas which are found in Kahuzi Beiga National Park. 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.
The Cost for Gorilla Trekking permits in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo
Gorilla trekking is much cheaper in Congo compared to Uganda and Rwanda. This issue of price difference is basically out of policy difference between these three countries Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Rwanda wants to promote itself as a Luxury destination while Uganda wants to market itself as an affordable destination. Congo is trying to promote its gorilla tourism to attract more travelers after a long turmoil in the region that caused a lot of insecurity. Whereas Uganda is promoting it’s self as the preferred best affordable destination for gorilla trekking among the 3. The experience and duration spent with gorillas is still the same in the all the 3 countries? However, there are different factors that make a difference in various terms as explained below;
The Gorilla permit in Uganda Costs $700 Per person per trek for the Foreign nonresidents, $600 Per person for residents and $70 (Ugx 250,000) 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.
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.
Gorilla permits in Congo 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 nonresidents, $200 for East Africa Residents and $20 national resident. Lowland Gorilla trekking permit price in Congo Kahuzi Biega National park costs USD400 for Non Residents, East African Residents-USD200 and National Citizens of Congo-USD20. Where is the best place to see gorillas?
In terms of accessibility, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is a better option than Uganda and DR Congo. Reasons to support this is that Volcanoes National Park is a 2-3 hours drive from Kigali, that Gorillas are easily seen with a short drive time possible even in one day. This is indeed very true and no one can run away from it. People used to avoid gorilla trekking in Bwindi 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 Bwindi instead of their country.
In terms of Lodges, Both Countries have Budget, Mid Range and Upmarket Lodges where you could choose to stay during your trek. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is the best place for gorilla trekking for those interested in staying in super luxury lodges on international standards compared to Bwindi. These lodges offer great and luxury services some are ranked among the best in Africa and the country at large for example Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda Lodge in Volcanoes National Park. However for those looking for much budget offers then Uganda and Congo is best option for you given the fact there are many options to choose from where to stay ranging from $30 to $100 as per your booked package.
In terms of Gorilla families, Uganda has more gorilla families open for trekking than Volcanoes National Park. Bwindi has 20 habituated gorilla family groups this means 160 Gorilla permits are available every day for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Volcanoes National Park has 12 Gorilla families hence 96 Gorilla permits are available each day for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and Congo has 10 gorilla families that is 8 in Virunga National Park and 2 in Kahuzi Beiga National Park. This makes it more flexible to get gorilla trekking permits in Uganda compared to Rwanda and Congo especially during the peak season months.
In terms of the best gorilla trekking experience, the whole truth is that Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo have gorillas and there is no big difference when it comes to the experience obtained at the end of your trek. Chances of seeing gorillas in all countries are 98% so which ever country you visit you will be able to see these great apes in their natural environment. However Uganda is unique given the fact 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. Congo as well gives you a unique opportunity to see the Eastern Lowland gorillas which are found in Kahuzi Beiga National Park.
In terms of distance to see Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo, The issue of walking longer or short distance depends on the given gorilla family allocated to you on the day of trekking at of the national park in the country you choose to go for gorilla trekking. In all the 3 countries gorilla families are allocated depending on the interest and physical fitness of given individual. If for example, you want a shorter trek, you will have to inform the park authorities on the very day of trekking so that you are allocated such family. If you want a medium or longer trek, then you do the same. It should be noted that while they will try to give you a family that requires shorter walks, the behavior of gorillas might affect the experience if for example gorillas decide to move further as you look for them you will need to move a longer distance still.
Best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo
Where is the best place to see gorillas, Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo is done and is possible all year round. The best months to track gorillas include; June to August and December to February since they receive the lowest rainfall and the forest is less slippery. On the other hand, when you happen to travel during March to May and November there are chances of higher rainfall, you will be able to get discounts from some lodges for your accommodation.
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?
Where is the best place to see gorillas? 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?
Where is the best place to see 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 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?
Where is the best place to see gorillas? 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.
Why book with Eco Adventure Safaris to do gorilla trekking in Africa?
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 about where is the best place to see gorillas.