Gorilla Trekking is an experience where a group of people get to hike/trek throught the thick forests in order for them to capture a glimpse of what gorillas look like and be able to view the environment in which gorillas stay.
Gorilla Trekking in Africa takes place in 4 national parks in the world which are located in 3 countries in Africa which include Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Forest), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and in Congo (Virunga National Park).
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, located in the southwestern region, on the edge of the rift valley. Tourists have a choice of Uganda gorilla trekking and Rwanda gorilla trekking experiences in a single itinerary. Such trips can begin either way depending on a client’s preference making it possible to do Gorilla trekking in Bwindi from Rwanda – about (4 – 5 hours drive) from Kigali.
Where To Go for Gorilla Trekking in Africa.
Mountain Gorillas inhabit in three countries in Africa and these include Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republican of Congo. And there are few national parks that inhabit mountain Gorillas including Mgahinga National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park, Volcanoes National park and Virunga National park is an endemic forest of the Albertine Rift in Eastern DRC. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National park in Rwanda, Virunga Mountains in three National parks in Democratic Republican of Congo.
Rwanda Gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in the volcanoes National park which is located just 3 hours from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda at the border of DRC and Uganda. The park hosts 150 habituated mountain Gorillas which are split into 12 Groups which are 96 permits sold daily to trekkers.
Rwanda inhabits the oldest habituated Gorilla group. Rwanda is bet for high end low impact tourism which doubles the cost of Gorilla trekking which doubles the Uganda permit and four times the cost in DRC. The Rwanda tourism strategy has always been to attract the most exclusive resorts and promising higher income and the local communities at the edge of the Volcanoes national park where the Gorillas live.
Uganda Gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park. Mgahinga National Park is part of the congo which is part of the Virungas National park and Volcanoes National Park. It has only one habituated Gorilla family. The rest of Gorilla groups are inhabited in Bwindi impenetrable National Park with a maximum of 500 mountain Gorillas that are split into 37 social groups, the 36 are in Bwindi, the 11 habituated Gorilla groups are visited day and 1 group is kept for research and habituation process.
The park has four Gorilla sectors including Ruhijah, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Buhoma, a maximum of eight people is allowed to trek each Gorilla family and permits is charged at a cost of 600 USD per each person.
It takes a maximum of 9 hours to reach the park and 11 hours depending on the traffic jam on the road however up countries there is no traffic jam to you will drive smoothly as you spot a number of things including the rolling hills, of kigezi, cattle grazing, the area is normally referred to as the Switzerland of Africa.
Uganda is the only country where trekkers can decide to go for a habituation process and the ticket costs 1500 USD. Habituation takes place only in Uganda Rushaga sector of Bwindi.
You can as well as the Tour operators in Uganda to use a private charter in order to arrive early with 30 minutes.
DRC Gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in DRC was closed in May 2018 when there was a lot of war waging in the country. This became more worse when two British tourists were kidnapped and their guide killed however trekking of Gorillas will resume very soon.
The country still faces political stability since there many wars and unrest on the sides of Goma where the Virunga National Park is found. Virunga National park is the game of Africa with many features. Highest biodiversity in the world is the oldest one in Africa. Nyiragongo Mountain can be optioned after trekking the mountain Gorillas, view the boiling lava, smoking cone it’s the largest lava lake in the world.
The Gorillas have increased to over 300 today; the park has welcomed 17,000 visitors since when it was reopened in 2014. There 6 habituated Families in DRC although the number keep changing since new families keep flocking and created.
The permit in DRC costs $400 for international trekkers well $150 for Congolese.
To trek the mountain Gorillas you must contact first a tour operator who will be in charge of purchasing a Gorilla permit, accommodation and organize the rest of you trip to trek the mountain Gorillas. A gorilla permit is an identity that is issued and allows you to trek the mountain Gorillas from the Authorities that are in charge of Wildlife in every country.
Each country has different charges for gorilla permits. Uganda charges 600 USD, Rwanda 1500 USD, DRC 400 USD. The permit allows on to trek the mountain Gorillas. Gorilla Trekking takes approximately 30 minutes to 7 hours and this depends on the location of the Gorillas assigned by the park rangers. Early morning, travelers have a briefing session at the park headquarters. You will be divided into 8 people per gorilla family in the sector chosen. The permit fee is to help on the conservation of the environment and improve on health of the mountain Gorillas.
The rules and regulations to consider while on a Gorilla trekking trip are put in place in order to protect the Mountain gorillas in their habitant environment from encroachment. You’re allowed only to stand 7 meters away from the Gorillas. Uganda, DRC and Rwanda mountain gorilla trekking rules remain the same. Visitors are not allowed to consume and drinks or food in front of the Mountain Gorillas. You will have your packed lunch by the lodge and food is a must since the time for trekking the Gorillas is unpredictable. Do not litter anything in the forest. Carry all your plastics back to the lodge or rubbish bins to the park head quarters. The forest is cherished since it’s a home to the mountain Gorillas in Africa.
Some Of the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking:
- One should be clean and always wash their hands before heading for Gorilla trekking.
- Always keep your voices low during the trek and always observe or keep an eye on the park habitants such as bird life, primates, mammals, geckos, reptiles and many more in the forest.
- You’re not supposed to live rubbish in the park and therefore keep rubbish in your bag & whatever you carry should be taken back with you.
- Early morning you will be briefed about Gorilla trekking rules and regulations and will after be put in groups of 8 people and set off to the forest with a ranger.
- When you approach the mountain Gorillas, the rangers and guides will inform you about them or you will hear the noise in the forest. However do not make noise out of excitement, remember their friendly primates but also wild animals and they can changer anytime.
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Uganda Wildlife Authority is an empowered force that regulates, protects and gives security to the mountain Gorillas. Through the Vigilant monitoring of tourism to the Gorilla habitat the Wildlife sectors are able to set a stress free life for the Mountain Gorillas.
Mountain Gorillas were once endangered because of habitat loss, poaching which was due to encroachment by farmers and local hunters. This led to the displacing the Batwa people/pygmies from the park .The forest is under 24 Hour watchful eye and visitors without gorilla permits are not allowed. Poachers are delt with by the rules of the low.
There is a lot to spot during the mountain Gorilla trekking. This includes birds, trees, wildlife, waterfalls, geckoes, reptiles and many more. Enjoy trekking the mountain Gorillas as you spot a number of things in the jungle. Gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC range from tracking Gorillas and other wildlife.
CHEAP GORILLA TREKKING TOURS
There are a number of budget trips including budget Gorilla trekking tour packages with very low comfortable facilities.
Gorilla trekking on budget trips does not mean one gets less facilities. One acquires almost the same facilities and the only difference might come in on the accommodations since some are prefer budget accommodation from luxury accommodation.
Regarding transportation, gorilla trekking safaris the tour company may decide to use their own tour vehicles.
There many affordable Gorilla trekking packages, including visiting during low seasons, when the accommodations are lower in terms of charges/pricing.
The discount offered doesn’t affect the price of permits. In Uganda Permits cost 600 USD, Rwanda 1500 USD and Burundi 400USD. One has to book and pay for their permits pro to 3 months of travel since their sold on first come first serve basis by the Authorities in Charge of Wildlife in respective countries that inhabit the mountain Gorillas.
Rwanda’s permit is high however Rwanda is the top luxury Gorilla trekking sector in all countries that inhabit the mountain Gorillas in the world.
The best option for budget safari Gorilla trekking/tours is Congo and Uganda.
Travel during low season to get a discount on accommodation facilities, March to May and October to November though during this season there is much rainfall.
Choose the best gorilla trekking company in order for you to be able to have a smooth trip.
Contact us for more information about the cheapest Gorilla trekking safaris in East Africa.
GORILLLA TREKKING SAFARI
The clients are advised to book their gorilla trekking safaris three months before the date. One also needs to be physically fit for the trek. However, you will feel a little daunted at the same time, be well prepared for the trek.
On the day of the trek wake up early morning, have breakfast and our guide will drive you to the park headquarters for a short briefing about gorilla trekking. U will then meet the local guides and rangers who will trek with you and give you etiquette of the whole gorilla trekking safari. Hike through the forest trails where you will spot the mountain Gorillas in their wilderness.
Trek from 1 to 6 hours of the day as you climb to high altitudes, the forest is slippery, rough and at times muddy.
The hike needs physical fitness, as you trek you will view the surrounding sceneries that will make your trek worthy.
When one finally meets the gorillas the fatigue is all gone and forgotten, the experience is unforgettable in your natural history of the world.
There after you’re provided with picnic lunches as a result you might take a lot of water since you will use a lot of energy and power.
Speed film cameras are allowed however do not use flash lights when taking pictures. Since these are forest areas it tends to rain every now and then hence carry waterproof cloths and zip lock bags for cameras and film.
Where is Gorilla trekking is better, Uganda or Rwanda ?
Mountain Gorillas are the same everywhere all habits are the same. And one can’t be sure that they will see mountain gorillas when they decide to trek. However, it’s rare for clients to be disappointed. The best chance for gorilla trekking is to trek during the dry seasons of April, May and November.
The accommodation is available and superior in Uganda than in Rwanda. There is a better chance of finding the Gorillas. The authorities regulate the rules that incase the Gorillas haven’t been found by 2pm ,the trekkers are asked to return to the park headquarters to avoid trekking in the darkness.
There is no refunds unless if the trekker falls sick before the trek after the senior of the headquarter finds out that you’re not eligible to trek.
The lowest age to trek the mountain Gorillas is at the age of 15years this is due to their physical fitness and transmitting of childhood diseases to the gorillas. The age limit is strictly observed since the passport details are always followed including the date of birth which is required at the time of booking. Requirements of the age is a must proof before you trek the mountain Gorillas.
Trekking with the right cloths.
One should carry the strong hiking boots with good ankle support and some garden gloves. Dress in long sleeved shirts in order to protect your arms against scratches from thorns, long pants to minimize the insect bites on the legs.
Dress in layers in order to put them off in case you sweat. You will be provided with picnic lunch and carry a lot of water from the lodge together with high energetic snacks.
Note that the parks are located in rain forest areas and it can rain anytime therefore its advisable carry waterproof cloths ,zip bags for cameras and filming.
Photographs using flashlights are not permitted. Fast speed films are not recommended. Take along your daypack and carry your needed items for the trek, sweater and tops, basic items and flashlights.
The porters are available to carry you however they are hired at the park headquarters. Guides are armed during the trek, since it’s a must for all the trekkers to be accompanied by the guides, porters and UPDF soldiers. National park guides and soldiers are armed for safety purposes.
BEST GORILLA TREKKING COMPANIES IN UGANDA
Gorilla trekking companies help one to be able to book an organized trip. Before one chooses a gorilla trekking company to use for his/her gorilla trekking safaris, one ought to be knowledgeable about a number of things.
The best Gorilla safari company must be part of the country association. In Uganda there many tour operators but before anyone books a trip, they should first confirm if the company is registered under the umbrella of Tour operator Associations , that is a member of Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and if at all the company is licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board to carry out business. There many companies that are engaged into frauds and that have stolen the clients money which later becomes hard to recover their money however if you book with a company which belongs to an association it will be easy to claim your money back.
We recommend to always following up with reviews of the previous clients on safari booking or trip advisor. These are some of the sites where clients who have used the tour company write about their Gorilla trekking testimonies and experiences.
Search the company website on all platforms to see if there is any relevant information about gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Visit the official website, contact one of the consultants.
Test their response rate, send inquiries to two or more tour companies and establish the one who responds first.
Go through all that has been sent to you at a speedy response, sometimes there issues of time differences which cannot be avoided.
Look for the good price and also look at the way questions are replied.
Find out how other travelers how have fared with the company you wish to trek with.
When you go through the reviews you will learn how much it’s important and what you should always expect from the company your contacting for your gorilla safaris.
Read through the reviews of the clients and see how many recommend the company your intending to contact.
Explore the company website, do a great research on the company, and ensure that it will meet your expectations.
Ask questions about Guides, prices, Safari cars, Accommodation, Guides, meals.
Response time, the time taken while responding to the client is very important factor when choosing a tour company.
Responding on time, if the reply is not efficient enough in handling their much activity. If it takes a day with no response from the tour company one needs to try other tour companies.
Gorilla trekking needs a lot of planning and you’re always advised to book three months before departure.
After booking the company will take you through the next steps and they will check for the availability of the permit date which is required for your trek.
The company will the send you an invoice with quotes and payment details.
After payment upon agreement you will have to show up on the agreed date.