Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a very popular activity that brings a wide range of tourists to the country. Carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, the Mountain gorillas are a sight to behold for everyone. Gorilla safaris are carried out in only three countries, Uganda, DRC, and Rwanda. Rwanda is the perfect destination for a luxurious gorilla trek safari, DRC is at the moment avoided by tourists due to the wars and Uganda is the top gorilla safari destination not only because it’s cheap but also because it has the largest habituated gorilla families. Gorilla trekking in Uganda involves getting dirty as you hike up the hilly and undefined roads in search of the primates.
Uganda is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, so it’s no surprise that gorilla trekking is one of the most popular activities in the country. Gorilla trekking in Uganda can be done year-round, but the best time to go is during the dry season (December to February and June to September).
Mountain gorillas were almost going extinct and in 1989, they were put on the IUCN’s list of critically endangered species because by that time, there were only 620 gorillas left in the whole world. The primates were being hunted for meat whereas others were sold off as pets which greatly affected their number but Diane Fossey came to Rwanda and fought for the conservation of the gorillas before she was killed by a poacher and her grave can be visited while in the Volcanoes National park in Rwanda.
The number of gorillas has increased over the years and there are about 1063 gorillas in the whole world with 1/3 of these found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The census was carried out in 2019 and they have been declared endangered by the IUCN.
As per the census that was carried out in 2019 by the Gorilla fund, Bwindi has about 459 gorillas and you can be part of increasing their numbers by visiting any of the three countries because the money paid helps in conserving the Mountain gorillas.
How to Get to Bwindi and Mgahinga
You can either decide to drive to the National parks or use domestic flights. Either means will get you to your destination with ease and on time. For those using road transport, your first pick up will be at Entebbe International airport, through the capital city Kampala and it takes 8 to 10 hours to get to the different sections of Bwindi, 2 to 3 hours if you are coming from Queen Elizabeth National park and 6 hours if you are driving from Lake Mburo National Park.
Tourists using air transport will get to the National Parks faster but note that this is a more expensive way of travelling. You can get direct flights from Entebbe airport or drive to Kajjansi airstrip in Entebbe and get a domestic flight from there. Flights can land at the Kisoro Airport and the Kihihi Airstrip which is a two hours’ drive to both National Parks.
Gorilla Permits in Uganda
Gorilla permits are your only ticket to gorilla trekking in the country and getting them becomes a hustle, especially during the peak season (dry season). Gorilla permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and distributed among its shareholders. The primary distributor of the permits is the Association of Uganda Tour Operators commonly known as AUTO which is an umbrella under which many of the tour operators belong. Auto gets the permits and distributes about 80% of the permits. There are three ways in which you can purchase the permits and these have been listed below.
Through a tour operator: Uganda has more than 1500 registered tour operators and since they purchase about 80% of the total gorilla permits, getting a gorilla permit from them is guaranteed. Note that you should not book through a company that is not registered and recognized by AUTO. When you book a permit with the companies and not a safari with them, you will be charged a fee between $70 to 100 dollars for their services.
Booking a gorilla safari trip: this is done through a recognized tour company but instead of booking for only the permit, you book for the entire gorilla safari. A gorilla safari includes payment for the permit, accommodation, airport pickups and drop-offs and transportation around the country. All you need to do is show up and enjoy your gorilla safari.
Booking a permit on your own: this can be done through the official email of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and their phone contact. It is a difficult and expensive way to get the permit because the UWA offices take time answering their phone calls and emails and that’s why you should book your safari through a tour company.
Gorilla permits in Uganda
Uganda wildlife Authority is in charge of issuing gorilla permits in Uganda and your permit will be issued with the dates of when you are going to trek, your names as they appear on the passport and other details like where you are to track from and the gorilla family assigned to you. Note that the permit only works for one person, cannot be interchanged and can only work on the dates that it has been issued for.
Can I cancel my gorilla permit is one of the most frequently asked questions by tourists and the good news is that there is a gorilla permit cancellation policy that was set up by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. In cases where you have already booked your gorilla safari and need to cancel, there are a few things that you need to know about the rules and regulations surrounding the permit cancellation policy and these have been stated below:
The permit cancellation policy only applies to those that have paid the full fee and not tourists who have paid only deposits.
If you cancel 0 to 8 days to the trek day, you will not receive any refund.
25% of the total fee paid will be refunded to the tourist if you cancel 9 to 45 days before your trek date.
50% of the permit fee is refunded if you cancel your safari between 46 to 90 days before your trek date.
You will get a 75% refund if you cancel your safari 90 days and above before the expected date of tracking.
You should however note that the cancellation percentages above are for the Uganda Wildlife Authority and not the individual tour operators. Since the tour companies charge different service fees and incur a lot of costs from the time you confirm your safari, each will have its percentages when it comes to cancelling the gorilla permits.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda vs. Rwanda vs. DRC
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is considered to be the best because of the low costs and other safaris that you can join with your gorilla safaris like game drives around the country and cultural tours. It will take you about 2 to 3 days to have the full experience of gorilla trekking while in the country. Uganda has half the population of gorillas in the world and these are found in two National parks that are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $600 per person and the gorilla habituation permit costs $1500. Uganda offers the best trek due to the presence of about 20 habituated gorilla families.
The habituation group consists of 4 people and these are given 4 hours with the gorillas. Uganda is a preferred destination among the three because of how cheap and safe it is and offers other wildlife safaris like the big five safaris. Uganda abolished discounted permits in 2017 and you have to pay the fixed price of $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East African residents.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is carried out in the Volcanoes National Park which is part of the Virunga region. Rwanda is a luxury tourist destination and the best place to see the gorillas for tourists that have limited time on their hands. A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500 making it the highest among the three countries. Unlike the difficult trek in Uganda, the gorilla hike in Rwanda is easy, not strenuous and fast. The Volcanoes National Park is close to Kigali the capital city of Rwanda which makes it easy to access the Park in a few hours as compared to the 8 to 10 hours’ drive from Kampala to Bwindi. Gorilla safaris are well organized from the infrastructure to the luxurious accommodation found around the national park. The gorilla permits in Rwanda are issued by the Rwanda Development board and can be acquired through their online system or a trusted tour operator.
Rwanda has discounted permits and these can be purchased during the wet season also known as the low season. The low season months May to November receive few tourists and that is why the permit fee was reduced to $1050 but to qualify for the discount, you must at least three days in the country exploring either Akagera National park or Nyungwe National Park which is home to a large number of chimpanzees.
The Democratic Republic of Congo offers the cheapest gorilla trek with a permit going for $400 during the peak season and $250 in the low season. Congo has been having political unrest for a long time and this has made it the least visited of the three counties that are home to the Mountain gorillas. The political fights are varied in the Eastern part of the Virunga National park which has greatly affected the tourism sector in the country for example there was an incident that happened in 2018 where two tourists were injured. The government is trying its best to stop the fights and also make gorilla trekking safe and the number of gorillas found in the Virunga National Park has increased to about 300. DRC gorilla permits can be acquired through a tour operator or the National park website.
Cost of a gorilla safari in Uganda
A gorilla permit costs $700 per person and the habituation permit costs $1500 per person and is valid for one day. Unlike Rwanda and DRC which have low season permit costs, Uganda scrapped them off and the cost is constant at $600 for foreign residents, $700 for foreign non-residents and 250000shs for East African citizens whether it is the low season or the peak season. The peak season is a tough one with a high number of tourists and that is why we advise that you book your permit at least 6 months before your planned safari.
The gorilla permit fee does not include other costs like accommodation, transport and other services and therefore you will need more money to carry out your gorilla safari while in Uganda. An estimation of what you should expect to spend include accommodation which costs between $100 to $1500 per person per night, transportation from the Entebbe International airport to Bwindi using road transport may cost $200 to $350, a flight to Bwindi roughly goes for $350 and not forgetting money for tips. This estimation is to show you how much you can spend on a gorilla safari so that you can prepare properly.
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda
Gorilla tracking rules and regulations are a set of rules that were set up by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for tourists to follow as they prepare for the trek, during the trek and when you get to meet the Mountain Gorillas. These rules are to protect the already endangered species and before the start of a trek, you are reminded about the guidelines so that you help in the conservation of the habitats where the gorillas live. Below are the rules and regulations that every gorilla trekker should observe.
General health rules for gorilla trekking
Due to the outbreak of covid-19, measures were set up to protect the primates. Gorillas are prone to diseases and to avoid spreading Corona to them which might reduce their number, you are to follow all the standard operating procedures like putting on cloth masks and for those that have disposable masks are to carry two or three masks, you are to wash your hands and sanitize before the start of your trek, body temperatures are to be taken, and you are to keep a safe distance of 10m or more when you meet the gorillas.
In case you feel the urge to sneeze or cough, turn away from the gorillas and cover your face with a handkerchief to minimize the spread of diseases.
Rules to follow during trekking
Desist from littering the National Park which will damage the already fragile ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
Just like we said before, gorillas are peaceful animals and do not like being disturbed so you must keep calm while you are around them and throughout your trek. You should talk in low voices or keep quiet because this will help you observe the gorillas peacefully without them moving away.
All human waste should be buried 30 feet deep to preserve the environment. Dig a hole in the bush in case the need arises and after that, cover up the hole with the tissues used inside. As your trek ends after finding the gorilla family, the tracker guide will repeat the rules that you are to follow while in the presence of the gorillas.
Rules to follow when you are with the gorillas
Avoid flash photography because the flash irritates the gorillas and when taking the photos, make sure that you do make noise by moving slowly and quietly around the primates.
8 people per group are allowed to visit each gorilla group per hour. The small groups of people can easily be controlled and cause less disturbance to the gorillas that like to keep their peace and not be disturbed.
When the gorillas attack, do not run but crouch down like the tour guide and do not look the gorillas directly in the eye. Wait for the gorillas to retreat or pass by you before resuming your normal posture.
You are supposed to be silent or keep your voice down until at least you are about 200 meters away from the gorillas. Do not eat, drink or smoke while you are around the Mountain gorillas because the crumbs falling off your food might increase the transmission of diseases from humans to gorillas.
Keep a distance of 7 to 10 meters from the gorillas for the one hour that you are to spend with them. The distance ensures that the gorilla family you are observing is at ease and you should also keep in your group while observing the gorillas.
FAQs about gorilla trekking in Uganda
Where in Uganda can I see Gorillas?
Uganda has two gorilla hike destinations: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has half of the world’s gorilla population and Mgahinga National Park which are both found in south-western Uganda. The two National Parks when combined have five trek routes that is Ntebeko trek route in Mgahinga National Park and Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhoma and Rushaga in Bwindi.
The gorilla section where you are to trek from depends on the availability of the gorilla permit. Gorilla permits are issued with different dates and sections on them and these are what is considered when booking accommodation. During the dry season, you might not have a say in which section you go to and this is because of the scarcity of permits but when it comes to the low season, you can get a chance to choose the trek section but only if you book in early.
The best gorilla safari destination is the Bwindi Impenetrable National park covering over 131 square kilometres. It is home to half the world’s Mountain gorillas and other endangered species. The National Park was declared a UNESCO Heritage site because of the many endangered species and the biodiversity found within the Park’s boundaries. Bwindi also has habituated gorilla families which makes the trek more interesting as you get to spend more time with the gorillas during the Habituation process.
Nkuringo sector: this is where the Nkuringo gorilla group is found in the southern part of Bwindi. It has three habituated gorilla families which are the Bushaho with 12 gorillas, Christmas gorilla family with 9 and Nkuringo gorilla family with 13 gorillas. The fourth family in Nkuringo is still under habituation and at the moment cannot be trekked. Nkuringo has affordable accommodation which includes Nkuringo gorilla camp, Mountain gorilla lodge and chameleon hill camp. Nkuringo sector receives 24 permits per day.
Ruhija sector: Ruhija is on the eastern side of Bwindi with the Bitukura gorilla family which has 4 dominant silverbacks, the Oruzongo family with 17 gorillas and Kyaguriri with 20 gorillas. Accommodations within Ruhija are Ruhija gorilla mist camp, Ruhija gorilla resort and Trekkers Tavern mist camp. 24 gorilla permits are printed every day for the Ruhija section.
Buhoma sector: Buhoma is located in the Northern part of Bwindi and is the most popular among tourists. It is more developed and has luxurious accommodation facilities as compared to other sectors. It has four gorilla families, Rushaga with 18 gorillas, Habinyanja with 14 gorillas, Mubare with 9 gorillas and Muyambi with 6 gorillas. These gorilla families in Buhoma are habituated and Buhoma gets 40 permits per day.
Rushaga sector: this is located in the southern part of Bwindi with gorilla families which include Bweza gorilla family, Nshangi (9 gorillas), Kahungye (17 gorillas), Bweza (12 gorillas), Mucunguzi (12 gorillas) and Mishaya gorilla families (12 gorillas). Unlike Buhoma, accommodation in Rushaga is affordable and the facilities you should check out include the Chameleon Hill Lodge and Gorilla safari lodge.
Mgahinga National Park is the other gorilla safari destination in Uganda and is part of the Virunga region which stretches to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The National Park has three main peaks which include Sabinyo, Muhabura and Mount Gahinga. Other activities that you add to gorilla trekking in Mgahinga include nature walks, cultural trips and birding. Mgahinga has only one trek route which is known as the Ntebeko trek route and this is where all the treks start from.
Note that in total, there are 20 habituated gorilla families with about 160 permits issued per day in Uganda and there are hardly any last-minute gorilla permits and therefore you need to book 4 to 6 months early before your planned trip.
What is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is an activity that is carried by different people involving a trek through the wild in search of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Mountain gorillas live in Mountainous areas and are currently only found in three countries that is Uganda in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, Rwanda in the Volcanoes National Park and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Virunga National Park. Since the animals can only be found in their natural habitats, you will need a gorilla permit that costs $600 to be able to participate in this activity. Gorilla treks can take 30 minutes to 8 hours depending on where the gorilla family has migrated to and when you meet the primates, you only get to have an hour with them. For those that would love to spend more hours, there is a gorilla habituation permit that costs $1500 and these get you 4 hours with the gorillas.
The treks begin as early as 8:00 am with a brief meeting at the different trek route section centres in groups of 8. The group is joined by two armed rangers and a trained tracker and these will take you through the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking before the hike finally begins.
Before the start of the trek, a group of armed rangers is sent out at dawn to check the availability of the gorilla family that you have been assigned to. They move with radio calls to easily communicate with the rangers at the Center. This helps in easily allocating the primates and also makes the trek easier. As the trek begins, the rangers will have their guns for protection and the tracker a machete to clear the bushes. When you find the gorillas, you are supposed to keep a distance of 10 meters, keep calm and not make a lot of noise in the 60minutes comfortably sitting on the ground observing the endangered species.
What should I expect on a gorilla trek in Uganda?
The experience of gorilla trekking in Uganda is one that every tourist should get and this starts from trekking through the bushes with no clear routes to meeting the Mountain gorillas themselves. They are now used to humans and the one hour that you spend with them will be worth all the sweat from the trek.
When you get to the Gorillas, you will not be allowed to get close to them that is you will have to keep 10 metres away from the gorillas, no flash photography is allowed because this irritates the animals, you are not to look at the animals straight in the eye because this will be seen as a challenge by the gorillas especially the silverback, you are not to make unexpected noise, do not litter the National park, you are not supposed to eat, drink and smoke while you are about 200 meters away from the gorillas and you are to act submissive in case you are approached by the dominant male.
All this is to protect the Mountain gorillas from extinction and yourself from being attacked by the primates during your interaction.
Age limit for gorilla trekking
Children below 15 years are not allowed to go on gorilla safaris in Uganda. Before you book for the trek, you will be required to send your passport details to prove that you are 15 years and above. The age limit rule is a strict one that must be followed at all times otherwise if you try to lie about your age, you will be disappointed when you are not allowed to trek because tour guides crosscheck the passports in the morning of the trek to confirm.
Children below 15 years are in most cases hard to control and can make sudden movements. Such movements can cause the silverback to attack and so to avoid such instances, we advise that you leave them at the lodges as you head out for the gorilla trek.
When am I supposed to book the gorilla permit?
The Uganda wildlife Authority issues a few permits per year and this is primarily to protect the already endangered gorillas. The permits are on high demand especially during the dry season and that is why you should book six months or more before your planned safari to Uganda.
What is gorilla habituation?
Gorilla habituation is currently only carried out in the Rushaga section of Bwindi impenetrable National Park. The gorilla habituation permits go for $1500 and tourists get to spend about 4 hours with the gorillas that have been trained to get used to human presence. Gorilla habituation safaris started in the year 2014 and only 4 people per group are allowed to approach the gorillas during the habituation.
Is gorilla trekking in Uganda difficult?
Gorilla hikes in Uganda are difficult due to the rugged landscapes where Bwindi and Mgahinga are found. Note that gorillas live in high altitudes of over 2600 metres above sea level and therefore you will be hiking up and down several hills before you get to the gorillas.
The activity is not for the faint-hearted and you will need to be physically fit especially if you are planning on taking the long routes. There are no clear routes and directions to take and that is why the tracker wiled a sharp machete to clear the bushes away creating a way to easily track the gorillas. The only way that you can get through Bwindi is on foot but after the trek, the main reward is resting a distance away from the gorillas as you watch them for the one hour that has been allocated to you.
Can I track gorillas in Uganda via Rwanda?
Yes, it is now possible to track Uganda gorillas from Rwanda. You can take a flight from Kigali to the airstrip around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and this takes about 5 to 6 hours which is a shorter distance as compared to the 10 hours’ drive from Kampala to Bwindi. To make it simpler, it’s better to book an East African tourist Visa which costs $100.
How many people are allowed to be with a gorilla family?
8 people are allowed to visit a gorilla family for one hour every day for the normal gorilla trek and the gorilla habituation trek, groups of 4 are allowed to be with a gorilla family for about 4 hours. The hours and few numbers of people per group are to protect the gorillas and minimize human interaction.
Are potters necessary while gorilla trekking?
The hike through Mgahinga and Bwindi is not easy due to the rugged landscape and unclear paths and this is where the potters come in handy. Hiking through the forest will be a little difficult especially if you are carrying a day backpack and that is why we advise that you get a potter at about $20 to help you carry your luggage.
Potters are always at the beginning of the trail in uniform waiting for tourists who would want their services. Many of the potters were either locals who were chased out of the National Park to conserve it or former poachers who are currently looking for different ways of earning a living. Therefore if you hire a porter, you are indirectly supporting the local community that lives around the National Park.
Is gorilla trekking in Uganda safe?
Yes, gorilla trekking in Uganda is safe for all tourists and this is because of the many rules and procedures that have been set up by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Park authorities. Although the gorillas have been trained to get used to the presence of humans, they can become aggressive if they believe that they are being attacked, especially the dominant silverback. You need to follow all the gorilla trek rules and guidelines so that you can keep yourself and the gorillas.
As you prepare to go gorilla trekking, note that you are visiting and therefore you should leave the national park the way you found it. Desist the idea of littering the National Park and follow all the other rules given to you during the briefing.
You need to make sure that you keep a distance of about 10 meters away from the gorillas once you get to them. They are extremely calm and gentle primates but when they feel threatened, they attack and note that the silverback can easily kill you if it senses danger. The distance is also to keep the gorillas from falling sick in case there is a sneeze or cough from the tourists.
In case the gorillas approach you, especially the young ones, you must not engage them at any one point. Do not look the gorillas straight in the eyes because this might look like a challenge and make sure that you have a mask on at all times. When a silverback approaches you, do not run away the best thing to do is to show that you are submissive by bowing down and it will not attack.
Gorillas are prone to diseases and therefore if you feel sick you should avoid the trek. These are already endangered species that need to be protected at all costs which is why all the rules need to be followed all the time.
What do I need to pack for gorilla trekking?
A few essential things that you can pack for your gorilla safari include the following:
Gardening gloves: these are a must on your packing list because you are going to be grabbing a few branches and trees as you trek through the jungle. The Garden gloves will keep your hands safe from scratches and bruises.
Day backpack: the day backpack shouldn’t be heavy and it should also be waterproof. This is to help you carry all your necessities like bottled water, camera and binoculars equipment, insect repellent and waterproof jacket among others. You might need the help of a potter to help you carry the backpack so that you enjoy your trek without luggage.
Insect repellent: this is a must carry on to avoid bug bites.
Walking stick: Bwindi has one of the roughest terrains among the National parks in Uganda which means that you will need a walking stick whether you are trekking through the dry season or the wet season.
Gadgets: when we talk about gadgets we mean cameras and binoculars of course not forgetting your phone. Cameras and binoculars are a must when it comes to an African safari. They are the binoculars to help you see the gorillas from a distance and make sure you get a good camera to take all the photos you want of the gorillas.
How long does gorilla trekking take?
A frequently asked question but with no definite answer because it is common knowledge that wildlife does not keep in one place but keeps on moving from one place to the next mainly to search for food but there are also other factors like a change in the weather and this applies to the gorillas as well. You might be among the lucky few that spot the gorilla families right away or the groups that have to trek for hours before locating the gorillas. The rangers and tracker normally have an idea of where to find them and will try as much as possible to track them according to where the gorilla spent the night. It does not matter how much time you spend trekking because it will be worth it when you finally meet the gorillas.
Will I be able to see gorillas on my trek?
The wilderness is something that no one can predict but you will not leave the National park without seeing the gorillas. Before the start of your trek, armed rangers are sent out to make sure that the gorilla family that you were assigned to is on the set track and they are always communicating with the armed rangers who are at the centre with the trek group and in the rare cases where the family has gone far off, then you are given another gorilla family o trek.
Where is Bwindi Impenetrable Park?
Bwindi is found in the south-western part of Uganda and can be reached either by road or air transport. Bwindi is divided into four regions where hiking takes place that is the Nkuringo region in the south, the Buhoma region in the North, Rushaga in the south and Ruhija region in the East. The different regions have different gorilla families and the accommodation that you book will determine which region you are going to trek.
What should I wear on a gorilla trek?
There are many essentials that you need for a gorilla trek and these will be needed whether you are trekking from Uganda, Rwanda or DRC. You need to be ready for the gorilla trek and below is a list on what you should wear while on a gorilla trek. Note that as you pack your clothes for a safari, you shouldn’t bring camouflage clothes because they are associated with the army but look for neutral dull colours.
Gaiters: these are long thick socks that can easily be put on inside hiking shoes and also tucked in long pants. The Gaiters help in keeping your feet warm and preventing different bugs like red ants and critters from climbing up your legs and making you uncomfortable.
Long hiking pants: these protect you from scratches while trekking in the jungle. Make sure that the pants that you carry are lightweight and can easily absorb water without becoming heavy when it rains and avoid putting on jeans at all costs.
Strong waterproof hiking boots: these are a necessity due to the harsh terrain found in the National Park. Avoid bringing sneakers, loafers and sandals on a trek because they will soak up the water and mud making it hard to trek. The best hiking boots should be waterproof, not heavy, should have space for the Gaiters and should at least be knee length. Good hiking boots will give you the stability that you need while trekking through the jungle.
Long-sleeved shirts: the long-sleeved shirts should be at least sweat proof and warm for when the weather changes drastically as it normally does in Uganda. The shirts also prevent scratches and bruises from the bushes.
Sunhat and Garden gloves: the sunhat is to protect you from direct sunlight t and the Garden gloves offer protection from the tree branches and sticks that you might hold on to while trekking through the jungle. Ladies are advised to protect their hair especially if it is long so that it does not get caught on a branch or other things.
Rain jacket: a waterproof jacket is recommended because Bwindi receives rainfall almost all the time even during the dry season. Your jacket should also be light and at the same time keep you warm.
Is gorilla trekking worth the money?
It’s a whole new experience trekking through the bushes searching for endangered gorillas and meeting them will be something that you will not forget. So yes gorilla trekking is worth all the money spent on the permit, accommodation, and transportation. Sometimes you cannot put a price on some things and the same applies to gorilla trekking. When you start comparing gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda, the one in Rwanda is cheaper compared to Rwanda starting with the cost of the gorilla permit, accommodation around the National parks, and transport. Gorilla expeditions in Uganda are worth your time and money because you will have your jungle trekking memories with you even after you leave Uganda.
Accommodation options while gorilla trekking in Uganda
Accommodation facilities that you can use while on a gorilla safari to Uganda are grouped into three categories and these are basic accommodation facilities, mid-range accommodation facilities, and luxury accommodation facilities. Your budget will highly determine the type of accommodation that you are going to choose. Below is a list of accommodations that you can use on your gorilla safari in Uganda and it ranges from $250 to $800 or more per person per night.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National park
Mount Gahinga lodge
Mahogany springs lodge
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
Broadbill forest camp
Buhoma community Rest camp
Bwindi View Bandas
Ruhija Community Rest camp
Wagtail Eco safari camp
Gift of Nature Resort
Lake Mutanda resort
Chameleon Hill Lodge
Travelers rest Hotel
Accommodation in Mgahinga National Park
- Amajambere Iwacu community camp
- Mount Gahinga Lodge
- Mutanda Lake Resort
- Travellers Rest Hotel
Tips on gorilla safaris in Uganda
Below are some of the tips that you should that will help you have a good experience while gorilla trekking in Uganda.
You need to prepare and be fit for the gorilla trek. Talk to the tour rangers about how fit you are so that you are assigned a gorilla family that is a bit near compared to the families that are located along longer routes.
Do not forget to have travel insurance and move with local currencies because it will ease your travels especially when purchasing items and giving out tips.
Travel during the dry season if possible because the jungle is passable during this time and when getting accommodation, make sure that it is not far away from the starting point of the trek.
Last but not least, make sure that you have fun on your safari regardless of the hurdles that you might encounter along the way.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by tourists intending to go on a gorilla trek in Uganda. The best time for gorilla safaris is during the drier months of December to February, June to August and early September. They are also peak seasons because of the many tourists that visit the country during this time and therefore you should be ready for the hiked prices especially in accommodation. Note that Bwindi is a tropical rainforest and therefore you should expect rain at any time even during the dry season. Gorilla trekking is also possible during the wet season also known as the low season if you can brave the rain, muddy and slippery trek routes.