Mountain Gorilla Trekking Safaris and Gorilla Habituation Experiences in Uganda and Rwanda
TREK DEEP INTO THE WILDERNESS
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most sought-after safari experience in Uganda. An African safari would be considered incomplete if you visited Uganda or Rwanda and not trek approximately 2000 meters above sea level to see these amazing creatures. A permit is about US$600 in Uganda and US$1500 in Rwanda.
The gorilla trek is a shared activity. You may be split into different groups according to fitness level, and be accompanied by other travellers on your trek. 8 visitors are permitted per gorilla family daily, plus national park rangers, porters and an advance team of trackers. Viewing time is 1 hour.
Trekking mountain gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, humid, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous walking.
You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk for hours up and down hills (packing some gardening gloves can be helpful).
But the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking Safaris
In Uganda, mountain gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks. Rwanda has only one mountain gorilla home: Volcanoes National Park. In the neighboring DRC, mountain gorillas are found in Virunga National Park.
Gorilla permit prices also vary in these three countries:
Currently in Uganda, a gorilla permit goes for US $600 (but with effect from July 2020, permit price will be US$700). In Rwanda, a gorilla permit costs US $1500 while in DRC; a permit goes for US $400.
Best time to trek the mountain gorilla in Uganda is during the dry season months – from mid-June through October and Mid-December through March. However the dry season months also happen to be the peak tourist seasons, so the permits tend to be more competitive. Therefore, advance reservation is very important.
Still, we must point out that gorilla tracking can be done all year round. Permits are always available in the off-peak (rainy) season and some luxury lodges do offer
Best times for gorilla trekking in Rwanda: Although gorilla trekking is considered a year-round activity, the best time to go to Rwanda for a gorilla trek is during the short dry season from mid-December to February. And over the long dry season months of June to September. These periods offer by far the most favorable hiking conditions.