Gorilla Tours in Uganda, Gorilla Trekking Tours to Bwindi & Mgahinga
Uganda Gorilla Tours in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the best gorilla trekking safari experiences in Africa. Gorilla tracking in Uganda may start from Kigali or Entebbe to the gorilla parks. From Kigali to Uganda is the cheapest way of trekking gorillas as it offers utmost transfer convenience to the visitors. The trips from Kigali start after guests fly into Rwanda and drive to Uganda to tour gorillas and back. Rwanda-Uganda gorilla tours entail 1, 2 and 3 days gorilla safaris or more basing on available time and budget. Gorilla trekking in Uganda gorillas from Kigali is cheaper than a similar trip to Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda gorilla permit is at USD 1500 which makes trekking expensive compared to Uganda’s permit at USD 600. Therefore, book gorilla permits to trek gorillas with any of the 20 gorilla families in Uganda, 19 of which are found in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga. From Kigali to the gorilla parks in Uganda is about 4-hours’ drive. Trekking trips from Rwanda are usually for 1, 2 or 3 days’ duration. At Speedway Safaris, we offer budget gorilla safaris that favor all categories of travellers including the vulnerable ones. Our gorilla tour prices are always affordable and we don’t compromise the trip quality. Our trips also extend to Rwanda in case one wants to go gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.
Gorilla tours in Uganda may start from from Entebbe or Kampala by either road or air transfer. The road drive is about 8 hours depending on the gorilla trekking sector of Bwindi one is visiting to watch gorillas. Alternatively, tourists can fly from Entebbe to Bwindi to trek gorillas. By air, the tours start from Entebbe to Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip. There is also a possibility of a plane or helicopter charter to fly privately.
Get from us information about gorilla tours including gorilla permits, the safari prices, when to visit, the safari lodges, the best Uganda gorilla tour companies plus travel tips among others. Knowing what to pack or wear on a trek, the latest updates plus the trekking rules and regulations are vital for the safari. Get all the Uganda Safari Tour packages to all national parks and attractions in the Pearl of Africa and Rwanda. In general, we give you gorilla tracking tips so that you get the best out of your gorilla adventure.
UGANDA GORILLA TOURS FROM KIGALI
GORILLA SAFARIS IN UGANDA FROM FROM KAMPALA OR ENTEBBE
Entebbe to Bwindi Flights to Visit Gorillas
These tours are all about gorilla trekking in Uganda by flying from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable forest or Mgahinga National Park . When you fly from Entebbe Airport, you will either land at Kihihi or Kisoro town Airstrips. Upon landing, you will be transfered to the lodge awaiting the next day’s jungle excursion. You will stay 3 days, 2 nights in Bwindi before flying back to Entebbe after treking the gentle giants. Flying to Bwindi may be by a scheduled flight or a chartered chopper or a fixed-winged aircraft.
OTHER UGANDA TOURS AND SAFARIS
Besides visits to see gorillas, Uganda has a lot to offer in terms of wildlife safaris. This include game drive safaris, adventure tours, community, nature, cultural and recreation outdoor activities among others. Birding, mountain climbing, sport fishing, historical tours plus honeymoon holiday tours are some of the activities you may enjoy on tours in Uganda. With 10 national parks plus numerous wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, you can only exhaust the country when you take a longer holiday trip. These trips involve tours to other parts of Uganda with Mgahinga or Bwindi Gorilla safari encounters on the safari itineraries.
Visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for a gorilla trek, proceed to Queen Elizabeth National Park and do a Kazinga Channel boat cruise, a game drive plus chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge.
Do a Murchison Falls safari with a launch cruise and game safari, chimp tracking in Kibale, game and boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park and conclude with a gorilla safari adventure in Bwindi.
Tour Kibale National Park for chimp tracking and Bigodi swamp nature walk, enjoy game safari andd boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park & visit Bwindi forest to see gorillas in the wild.
This Uganda safaris and tour package will lead you to all the major tourist attractions in Uganda including Bwindi forest for gorilla trekking, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale forest and Murchison Falls among others.
Visit Ziwa rhino sanctuary for rhino trekking, Murchison Falls for wildlife safaris, Kibale forest for chimpanzee tracking and nature, Queen Elizabeth Park for safaris and Bwindi for gorilla tour adventure.
This Uganda adventure safari trip will take you to Semuliki for a hot springs tour, Queen Elizabeth park for safaris and boat voyage plus Bwindi and Lake Mburo for a gorilla trek and wildlife safari respectively.
Vital Information about Seeing Gorillas in Bwindi & Mgahinga
Under this website, we have prepared for you a complete guide to gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda. Read about a complete guide to trekking gorillas in Uganda. Know where to find gorillas in Uganda, the tracking rules and guidelines plus gorilla permit availability and bookings. Find out the potential safari lodges and accommodations around the gorilla parks as well as the best time to trek gorillas. Bwindi and Mgahinga all have categories of accommodation facilities including budget, midrange and luxury lodges to cater for your stay as you visit gorillas. In the first segments of our website, we have offered you dozens of safaris including those from Kigali to Uganda plus those from Entebbe or Kampala and the different number of days.
How to Book a Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Contact to book gorilla permits for visiting gorillas in the wild. Both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience permits are sold and issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. We always advise that you book your permits in advance as they are highly demanded, sold on first come first serve basis in their limited numbers. A permit for seeing gorillas in Uganda costs USD 600 whereas that for enjoying the gorilla habituation experience costs USD 1500. When you confirm a trip with us, you don’t have to pay fully, we only advise you deposit only the money for buying gorilla permits. You complete the full payment towards the trip or when you arrive in the country to commence the safari. Only people from 15 years and above are eligible to trek and see gorillas.
What to bring for the gorilla tracking and habituation experience?
- Rain jacket
- Packed lunch and drinks which are provided since are part of the gorilla price costs
- Camera plus extra batteries
- Longer pants and sleeved shirts
- Walking stick (provided)
- Hiking boots
- Garden-like hand gloves
The Safety of Gorilla Tours – Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Safe?
There are those who are concerned about the safety of the gorilla safaris in Uganda. At Speedway Safaris, we assure you that Uganda is safe at large. Right from arrival to transfers and while at the park, your safety is guaranteed. When you arrive at the park for briefing, you are told about the rules and regulations pertaining gorilla trekking in the jungle. Such rules are set to ensure safety for you and the gorillas. Safety for both parties I mean physical and health wise. When you read and analyze every rule and guideline, you will realize that failing to abide by it may create danger on your side as a human or on the part of the endangered gorillas. Secondly during gorilla tracking, all guests are escorted through the park by armed rangers. Despite the secure park, the word ‘armed’ is an assurance to you that you in safe hands in case of anything related to security.
Visiting Gorillas in Uganda & Rwanda, tour costs, when to go?
A gorilla permit in Uganda is bought at USD 600 (this price ends with June 2020). From July of the same year, a permit will be raised to USD 700 only. For the case of Rwanda, a permit for visiting gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park is at USD 1500. Of course when you look at Uganda, you can tell the difference in the prices. The costs for tracking gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda vary. The variation is brought by the number of days one may choose for the safari, the accommodation category as well as the number of visitors in a safari. The cost for a single traveler or a couple would difference from that of a bigger group like 7, 10, 15 or 20 people moving together. If you are on a tight budget, at times we advise you to take the shortest tours like 1 or 2 days for gorilla touring in Uganda Kigali so as to cut safari costs. Here we shall not give you an exact figure for trekking the gorillas but our guidance of the safari duration, the country of trekking the endangered primates as well as the accommodation category plus the transport used would have an impact of the general costs trekking gorillas. On the question of the best time to visit for gorilla trekking, the answer is June to September and December to February are the most ideal months for the gorilla adventures since they are drier. However, due to unpredictable weather conditions, you find that other months are either drier or wetter as opposed to the known weather status due to variations in conditions. But with good hiking wears, the weather becomes a non-issue and this makes all the months of the years to be ideal for the trekking excursion in tropical jungles.
Gorilla Safari Length in Uganda or Rwanda
Mountain Gorilla tours in Uganda or Rwanda may take a minimum of 1 hour, a moderate 4 hours or Maximum 8 hours. The variation in duration is determined by the nearness or furthermost of the gorilla family one is trekking. Some gorilla groups involve much hiking to reach whereas others are arrived at after a shorter walking. When you have some kind of physical weakness and you don’t want to hike for long, inform your guide to arrange with the park authorities to allocate you a closer gorilla family for tracking. People who are naturally weaker or the aging are given easy-to-trek groups on request. Upon bumping into the gorillas after some time of hiking, you are given one hour to be in their midst. After the 60 minutes or may be with some little time bonus as the guide may determine, you then trek back from the jungle to the starting point where you meet your driver guide. You then move back to the lodge or to the next destination as the gorilla trekking itinerary may read.
Other Things to do in Uganda besides Seeing Mountain Gorillas
Besides gorilla trekking Uganda from Kigali or Entebbe to Bwindi and Mgahinga, there is a lot to do in terms of activities. On your gorilla trip, you may stop by Lake Bunyonyi and have an amazing boat cruise, birding, community tours as well as seeing animals of Kahugye Island. While at the gorilla parks, secure some time and do nature and community tours around these areas. Pygmies in Bwindi are the type of people you should visit because of their amazing traditional lifestyles that you need to witness and learn more about.
Uganda Safaris and Tours
Some of our Uganda safari packages include safaris to Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park. These are the biggest game parks in Uganda. Our tours take to all the national parks as well lakes, rivers and communities. Uganda has 10 National Parks, numerous wildlife reserves, sanctuaries as well as cultural and historical sites. These tourist sites defines Uganda’s tourism. At Speedway Safaris, we organize tours to all holiday destinations in Uganda and Rwanda. With our professional guides who understand the region very well, the state-of-the-art safari vehicles plus well-chosen hotels, lodges and tour activities would make your African safari a memorable one.
GORILLA TREKKING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Gorilla Trekking is an adventure where tourists go in the forest while hiking looking for the gorillas. The process begins with the transfer to the gorilla park offices, get briefing and be allocated a gorilla family to trek. Gorilla trekking is only available in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The destinations for gorilla trekking include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga in Congo. Habituated Gorillas for trekking are grouped into families which spread across the park. Each gorilla group is allocated 8 tourists to trek it. Park guides and rangers lead visitors into the jungle in search of the gorillas. These wildlife staffs watch over, guide visitors and answer questions during the whole tracking encounter. Gorilla trekking is done by someone with a gorilla permit, which is the gate pass to the park. Gorilla visitors spend an hour with the gorillas and then return to the park office for an award of a gorilla trekking certificate.
The best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is during the drier months. These months run from June, July, August plus early September and then from December up to February. These are the most preferred periods for trekking gorillas. However, mountain gorillas may be visited throughout the year even in the rainy months. Whoever is planning a tour tend to ask about the best time for gorilla trekking. Considering the costs involved in the gorilla safaris ranging from a gorilla permit, transport and accommodation, knowing the best time to visit is aimed at maximum enjoyment. Gorillas live in the tropical rest forests and so the weather is unpredictable. It can rain or shine anytime regardless of the period of the year. Read more about the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking is an enjoyable wildlife activity but involves hiking through the mountains jungle to reach the gorillas. From the park offices, some gorilla families involve trekking for longer hours and others not. The longer trekking may be difficult for the elderly or weaker visitors but may not be hard for the youthful energetic travelers. It is always advisable to report any trekking preference in case you are not able to walk for a longer period. But all in all, having trekked strenuously long or easily shorter distances meeting gorillas is worth the hike. In terms of transfer to the park, gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali is a better and easier option that from Kampala or Entebbe.
The price for a gorilla permit in Uganda is at USD 600 for foreign non-residents and USD 500 for foreign residents. In Rwanda, a permit is at USD 1500 since 2017 when it was increased up from USD 750. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is responsible for selling and issuing Uganda gorilla permits. People visit gorillas in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park. Rwanda Development Board (RDB) sells gorilla permits for trekking gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park. A gorilla permit is an official card or document that a tourist must hold to be granted entrance to the national park to trek mountain gorillas. Get more details about gorilla permit availability and bookings.
Gorilla trekking Uganda from Kigali in Rwanda is among the most preferred and cheapest ways to see gorillas. It is now possible to do gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park going via Rwanda. You do this by flying into Kigali International Airport and connect to the gorilla parks in Uganda. To drive from Kigali to Bwindi, it take between 4-5 hours compared to 8-10 hours when you go through Entebbe Airport. When gorilla permit in Rwanda were increased to USD 1500 up from USD 750 in 2017, visitors started flying into Rwanda and trek gorillas in Uganda in big numbers.
With the East African tourist visa in place, a tourist can move freely between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda with ease on the same entry visa. An available immigration convenience is that one may apply for a Rwanda Visa on arrival in the country, a smooth treatment every visitor would love. The East African tourist visa is at USD100 and permits a visitor to cross to the 3 member countries including Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Get in touch with Speedway Safaris for further details gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali.
A Uganda gorilla permit costs USD 600 for foreign non-residents and USD 500 for foreign residents. To secure a gorilla permit in Uganda, you have to contact your tour operator for details. This operator will reserve a permit for you, keep it and also organize a gorilla safari for you. However, starting from July 2020, gorilla permits in Uganda will increased to USD 700.
To book a gorilla permit, 3-6 months in advance is an ideal time to do so. We recommend so because gorilla permits are competitive and are bought so fast. Booking a permit early will give enough time to plan for your safari than doing it at a short notice. It is advisable to book 5-6 months earlier for Gorilla trekking permits in the high season months of June, July, August, September, October, December, January up to February. In Uganda alone, the demand for permit is almost the same throughout the year with no due regard to high or low season. So early gorilla tour bookings as the best thing to do to achieve pre-safari contentment. It is always advisable to book a gorilla permit about four months to the trekking date. For the high-season months like July, august, September, December to February, it is advised to secure a permit 6 months in advance. Gorilla permits are sold on the first come, first serve basis, meaning they may be bought out anytime by other operators for their prospective visitors. The buying of a permit confirms a gorilla tour. Contact us today so that we reserve and book your gorilla permits.
Included in the price of a gorilla permit are park entry fees for the gorilla parks, services of guides and rangers who attend to and body guard you into the jungle. Booking a gorilla permit in advance is advisable to be sure of tracking the primates. A permit allows you entry to Bwindi or Mgahinga in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga in the DR Congo. Transport, accommodation costs plus non-gorilla safari activities are excluded on the permit fees.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park In south western Uganda is divided into four gorilla trekking sectors or regions. There is Buhoma region in the North, Rushaga and Nkuringo Regions in the south and Ruhija region in the eastern side of the park. Every region has habituated gorillas groups for tracking. Accommodation facilities around Bwindi are also positions around these sectors of the park. When booking a gorilla tour, you tour organizer will choose for you a region to visit gorillas. In case you are flying from Entebbe for a gorilla trek, where you land will determine the tracking region. In case you fly to Kihihi Airstrip, you will have to trek gorillas in Buhoma. But when you fly from Entebbe to Kisoro, you will have to tour gorillas in the southern regions. And when you choose to do Uganda gorilla trekking from Kigali, you will either go to Rushaga, Nkuringo or Ruhija region as Buhoma will be very far for trekking. The region for gorilla trekking determines the lodge to stay in. Contact Speedway Safaris for detailed Gorilla Safaris.
The gorilla trekking adventure safari may take from 1 to 8 hours and trekkers should be prepared for shorter or longer durations. Gorillas are wild animals living in their natural habitats, so their movements and locations are not determined. The hiking speed of some group members either slows or quickens the movements. Guides and rangers have to ensure that all members are moving together as a team.
The minimum age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above. But there is no upper age limit. Park authorities are very strict on ensuring that all gorilla visitors are not below 15 years. The age limit standard applies both in Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla tracking is a strenuous adventure activity which need maturity plus bodily strength and a sound healthy. It is advisable that patients with various ailments don’t trek gorillas. Where as there is no maximum age limit on gorilla trekking, people who are over aged and weak may not manage to hike in the jungle. However, older and weaker people may track gorilla families which don’t need much hiking to reach at. On the other hand, we can make arrangements with porters to carry on stretchers guests who are unable to walk so that they see gorillas.
When going for a gorilla trekking tour, you need to pack the following items so that you enjoy the adventure. Carry with you a long-sleeved shirts or blouses, trousers, long socks to for tacking into trousers and garden kind of gloves. Do not forget also hiking boots, a hat against sunshine, pair of binoculars, sun glasses, insect repellents and some snacks for generating energy. You may not take a flight with everything mentioned as some items can be bought locally on arrival. Read more about the Gorilla Trekking Packing List.
Note: For dressing, green, brown or grey colors are the most ideal for the gorilla sights. Avoid red as much as possible.
What to Pack and wear for gorilla trekking encounter.
- Water– Hiking across the mountainous jungle can be tiresome and dehydrating. So you need enough water to keep hydrated throughout the trek.
- Boots– water-resistant hiking shoes will protect you from water and mud during an unpredicted rain.
- Rain Coat – A rain jacket is essential for weather conditions that change any time while in the forest.
- Snack– Hiking is energy-consuming and snacks consumed bring back that lost energy.
- Long-sleeved shirts or blouses – The forest has got insects or throns. A long sleeved dress will protect you against such bites or possible bruises.
- Trouser and Shirts – With the presence of forest undergrowth and thickets, those dresses will protect you safely.
- Socks– With longer socks, you are able to tack in your long trousers into for proper fastening. This is your protection against insect bites as well as scratching undergrowth.
- Gardening Gloves – This type of gloves will protect your fingers and hands as you touch the various vegetation covers during hiking.
- Camera – Come with a camera with strong batteries to be able to capture every moment for memorable purpose. Remember not to use a flash while taking gorilla pictures. This may irritate them, a thing that may cause them to react badly.
Gorilla Habituation Experience is a form of gorilla trekking activity where tourists stay four hours with the mountain gorillas. Out of the 3 countries with mountain gorillas (Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo), this kind of experience is only offered in southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Uganda Wildlife Authority charges USD1500 for a gorilla habituation experience permit. The 4-hour Gorilla habituation experience was launched in 2014 to cater for tourists who want to spend more time with mountain gorillas. Only four people are permitted to see gorillas in Bwindi National Park under the habituation experience encounter. We also organize the gorilla habituation experience tours in Uganda.
Discounted gorilla permits are permits sold at a lower from price from the usual official price. These are permits are common with low-season months. At the moment, such permits are only offered in Rwanda and DR Congo. Uganda Wildlife Authority scraped them in 2017.
Rwanda Discounted Gorilla Permits.
There are low season discounted gorilla permits in Rwanda. The period considered low season in Rwanda are the months of May and November. To benefit from such permits, you have to book a safari at least for 3 more days in one of the country’s National Parks. The parks include Nyungwe Forest National Park and Akagera National Park. A discounted gorilla permit in Rwanda is at USD 1050 down from the ordinary price of USD 1500 per permit.
Congo Discounted Gorilla Permits
The Democratic Republic of Congo, a home to mountain gorillas in its Virunga National Park also offers discounted gorilla permits. Congo sells discounted gorilla permits at USD 200 only. A gorilla permit to see gorillas in Congo is priced at USD 400 including park entry fees, tracking gorillas for an hour plus ranger guide services.
Eight people are the one acceptable to trek gorillas in a given group. There are around 19 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga National Park. The park authorities at times allow more than 8 people depending on some exceptionally inevitable conditions at the park. The park management would explain to other visitors in case such situation happens. For gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, only 4 people are allowed per group and they spend 4 hours with the mountain gorillas.
The chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo are 99%. Some prospective gorilla visitors tend to get concerned about the likelihood of not seeing the gorillas. Our assurance has always been that the likelihood is close to 99%. We live 1% for any other unlikely circumstances like the bad weather or anything beyond human control. In the worst case scenario that you have not seen the gorillas, a second chance is given on another day. This is only when by not seeing the gorillas, it was not out of your own making. Usually, an advanced team of trackers would ensure that they find out the likely whereabouts of the gorillas on that day. These trackers are always in constant touch with park guides and rangers who are leading the guests. Please contact us for more details.
The cost of a gorilla safari vary based on the country, number of days, accommodation options and transport type used. So you cannot get a specific price for gorilla trekking but an estimation until you ask for a tailored quote based of your safari preferences. A gorilla tour in Uganda and Congo where permit are cheaper would definitely be different from that of Rwanda where a permit alone is at USD 1500. A permit in Uganda cost USD 600 and USD 400 in Congo. A gorilla habituation experience permit is at USD1500 for the four-hour habituation adventure. The cost for a 1 day gorilla tour in Rwanda or Uganda will be lower than that of a 2 or 3 day gorilla safari in the same destinations. When you opt for Uganda gorilla trekking from Kigali or Kampala, the cost would differ from when you fly from Entebbe to Bwindi or Kisoro. In a nutshell, you can only know the cost for a gorilla tour in any country once you contact us, state your likes and we give you a quotation.
Mountain Gorillas in Uganda live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Uganda gorillas are organized into habituated groups for trekking. To see gorillas in Uganda, one must have booked a permit which allows him entry to the park. Bwindi forest has the biggest number of gorillas organized into 19 gorilla families. One can trek gorillas in Uganda from Kigali or Entebbe to the parks where these endangered species live.
To access Bwindi national park, you can go through the various routes in Uganda. You can choose to do Uganda gorilla trekking from Kigali whereby you just have to fly into Rwanda and transfer to Bwindi or Mgahinga by road. Alternatively, you may fly into Uganda via Entebbe International Airport and connect to Bwindi. Through Entebbe, you may take an inland flight to Bwindi landing at Kihihi Airstrip and transfer to Buhoma region by road. Another mean would be to move by road from Entebbe or Kampala and drive straight to Bwindi via Mbarara. In case you are doing wildlife safari say in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can go through Ishasha sector and proceed to Bwindi’s northern Buhoma sector.
After booking a gorilla trekking permit, start walking daily to increase your body health. Gorilla trekking is a tiresome activity but cannot excessively exhaust a person who has been walking for some weeks prior to the safari. Running and stretching are thing you should do to keep in a fine shape. In case you have an ailments, ensure that you take the right medication to have the best health at the time of trekking. And when you are coming on a safari, remember to read through the gorilla trekking pack list for what to carry.
How to keep safe on a gorilla tour is to follow some of the guidelines below:-
- Keep a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas
- Avoiding trekking gorillas when you are sick.
- Stay within your trekking group, don’t isolate yourself from others.
- Do not make direct eye contact with gorillas and always remain calm when they come near you.
- Dress well against insects, thorns, scrubs. Try to avoid shouting colors like red or blue. Green is most preferred.
- Move with guides and armed rangers.
- Avoid taking photos with a flash camera. Disable a flash so that you don’t irritate the gorillas.
There are 19 gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These families are a combination of all the four gorilla trekking sector of Bwindi. The four regions of Bwindi include Buhoma Sector, Ruhija Region, Nkuringo sector and Rushaga southern sector of Bwindi forest.