Gorilla Trekking Uganda
Gorilla trekking experience is always the highlight of many visits to Uganda and a “bucket list” item for many people, getting up close to these spectacular creatures is an emotional and awe-inspiring experience. Uganda provides habitat for more than 50% of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas in the wild. Gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda are organized in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Gorilla Trekking Adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Uganda
Gorilla trekking adventures are carried out in three different sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The 3 areas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest from where you can track gorillas has different sectors - Buhoma, Ruhija and Rushaga/Nkuringo. Buhoma has 3 gorilla families, Ruhija has 4 gorilla families and Rushaga/Nkuringo has 6 gorilla families. Each gorilla family can be visited by a maximum of 8 tourists per day.
Gorilla Trek in Uganda is also done in Mgahinga gorilla National park which has 1 habituated gorilla family and is closer to the southern sector of Bwindi (Rushaga/Nshongi).
Important information about a gorilla safari adventure in Uganda
Gorilla tracking permits can sell out on certain days throughout the year, especially in the high-season. On certain occasions we may have to plan your trip around when and where we can find availability for permits and accommodation. Availability of permits will always influence the choice of the accommodation facility you will have to stay. It is also advisable that when planning a gorilla tour to Uganda, if possible, one should do it well in advance to guarantee your booking.
A gorilla trek starts at 8am in the morning with a safety briefing from the Uganda Wildlife Authority park rangers. A trek can last anywhere from a few hours to a full day. These animals are 100% wild and while territorial, can cover vast distances in one day.
Once you have found the gorillas you will be with them for one hour. This time limit is to respect their existence as wild animals, not over-exposing them to humans.
There is a safety distance of 8 metres that you have to keep from the gorillas. This is not only for your safety from a creature exponentially stronger than yourself, but also for the gorillas whom are susceptible to some human diseases such as the flu. You may have seen internet videos of people much closer than this. On rare occasions a gorilla may move very close to you, this is their choice as a wild animal but you should not expect this nor make the approach yourself.
A sighting is not guaranteed however daily success rates are very high and have never had an incident where a tourist has failed to see gorillas in Uganda. All lodges in the area provide their clients with a packed lunch. You will travel with at least one guide and one ranger from the Wildlife Authority.
You will be asked if you would like a “porter” to carry your bags and help you up the mountain. We encourage you to take this offer. Not only can the terrain be steep and the jungle dense, but it is one of the key ways that gorilla trekking supports the local community. Porters are organised and scheduled by their own association and have a standardised fee.
You are trekking in the jungle. You must have sturdy boots or shoes, long pants and preferably a long sleeved top. A light rain jacket is essential as rains can come sporadically through-out the day. A small ruck-sack/day pack will come in handy to carry your extra clothes, lunch, camera- should turn off the flash light.
There is a minimum trekking age for Mountain Gorillas in Uganda of 15 years which is not negotiable. It is however still possible to travel with children to Bwindi as there are a range of other rewarding, child-friendly activities that we can organise whilst you are trekking.
The cost of a gorilla tracking permit in Bwindi or Mgahinga ranges from $450 to $600. $600 is the standard rate for a gorilla trekking permit and the Uganda wildlife authority has promised not to increase the permit fees until the end of 2019.
There are various and nice accommodation facilities in these gorilla areas that range from a lower bespoke to upmarket setup.
Although Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga gorilla national parks are most famous for gorilla trekking, there other exciting excursions like golden monkey tracking, mountain hiking, cultural experiences, birding and sightseeing.