Gorilla Tour – Trekking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
A gorilla tour organised by Africa Adventure Safaris enables you to meet the endangered mountain gorillas which are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Africa Adventure Safaris has perfected great skills in crafting and managing safari packages that suit all clients of any travel budget (refer to our tripadvisor reviews). Our major safari highlight is the gorilla trekking experience in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. We organise gorilla safaris to Bwindi & Mgahinga national parks in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DR Congo. We also offer chimpanzee tours and game drives in different destinations in East Africa.
We customize safari packages for individual and small private groups. The itineraries featured on this website are simply sample packages. It is the reason why they are not priced as they keep changing depending on individual interests. Our state-of-art fleet of safari vehicles is kept in a very sound mechanical condition and built to offer comfort to a traveler on the bumpy marram roads to the African national parks. Our safari guides are drawn from a background of botany and zoology. We are proud to say, we have some of the best birding, photography, and general wildlife guides for both English and French-speaking guests.
A gorilla tour in Uganda
Well, gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place in two destinations namely Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National parks. You can therefore trek in any one of the two parks or visit both parks for double gorilla trekking experience. Bwindi Forest shared between Kabale and Rubanda districts is the prime gorilla tour destination in the Pearl of Africa. The gorila park is home to half of the world’s total gorilla population and its bisected into four sectors which are Buhoma in the North, Ruhija in the east, Nkuringo and Rushaga regions in the south. Each gorilla region contains different gorilla families which behave differently. Altogether, Bwindi Forest Park shelters 21 gorilla families shared among the four regions. The habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi Forest include Mubare, Habinyanja, Nkuringo, Bweza, Kyabuliro, Oruzogo, Busingye, Kutu, Mishaya, Nshongi, Katwe, Christmas, Rushegura, Muyambi, Bitukura, Mukiza, Mucunguzi, Mishaya and Bikyingi . Regarding Mgahinga, the park is home to Nyakagyezi gorilla family which consists of roughly 16 members.
Rwanda gorilla tour
Africa Adventure Safaris also offer you customized Rwanda gorilla safaris to Volcanoes National park. The bamboo forest park is second to Bwindi Forest in sheltering the high number of mountain gorillas. Volcanoes Park contains 10 habituated gorilla families namely Hirwa, Karisimbi, Agahsya, Ugenda, Amahoro, Pablo, Sabyinyo, Susa A, Umubano and Agashya gorilla group. Rwanda is the best place for luxury and short time gorilla tours!
Congo Gorilla Tour
Apparently, Congo is closed for tourism! This means that no anyongoing Congo gorilla safaris to Virunga National park home to over 200 mountain gorillas. The closure of the park is due to civil conflicts and rebel threats which put the life of travelers at a high risk. Safaris to hike Nyiragongo Volcano are also on halt till security is restored in the park. However, you can visit Congo to trek the endangered eastern lowland gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National park
Sample Gorilla Tours & Safaris
2023 Top Travel Experiences
Check our list of 2023 top travel experiences to do in Uganda, Rwanda , the Democratic Republic of Congo and across Africa. The fact that Rwanda and Uganda have been featured among the top destinations to visit in 2023 by CNN, we bring you the top things you MUST do in these two countries. These include
Classic Game Safaris in Uganda
Where to go for a gorilla tour, Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo?
The east and central region of Africa is hugely blessed when it comes to rare wildlife species. Mountain gorillas cannot be found anywhere else apart from this corner of the world. They are found in these 3 neighbouring countries and living within close proximity in the Virunga Mountains which straddle their borders. Each of the 3 countries has got a good share of the population of these rare great apes. In terms of their numbers, Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park protects the biggest population of mountain gorillas with about 500 of them living within the park. Rwanda’s volcanoes national park protects about 360 mountain gorillas while DR Congo’s Virunga national park has about 250 animals. Basing on numbers, it would right to confirm that visitors to Bwindi have almost 100% chance of meeting these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Bwindi has also got the highest number of habituated gorilla groups (20) which are visited every day by trekkers. In terms of cost, each country charges differently for those who want to see gorillas. Rwanda sells her gorilla permit at $1,500 per person, Uganda sells the same at $700 while in DR Congo it is sold at $400. With those figures, price sensitive travellers may opt for either Uganda or DR Congo for their gorilla safaris. However, away from the cost, Rwanda has the shortest driving distance (2hrs) from the airport to the gorilla trekking destination. The country also boasts a better infrastructure in terms of good roads and high standard accommodation facilities. However, the volatile security situation in the eastern DR Congo around Virunga national park makes it hard to visit the gorillas in the area. Apart from those few differences, the gorilla trekking experience is the same in all the 3 countries and meeting these endangered species face-to-face regardless of the destination, you derive the same satisfaction.
Why go for a gorilla tour?
Gorilla trekking is a unique encounter and unlike other wildlife safari experiences that are common in most parts of the continent, gorilla trekking exclusively takes place in one region. Gorillas share 98% of the human DNA and this is clearly noticed upon meeting them in the wild. Visitors have observed the human-like behaviour of gorillas through their activity in the jungle and the way they relate one each other. Like humans, gorillas live in well organised social groups or families which are headed by alpha males known as silverbacks. This is evident to tourists who are assigned to trek a specific gorilla family on their trip. Many travellers who have taken on the encounter have described gorilla trekking as one of the best wildlife experience in the world in their reviews.
What is the best season for a gorilla tour?
The dry period from June to September and December to February is the best season to visit mountain gorillas. These apes live in montane rainforest which can be so hard to navigate in the wet season. Secondly gorillas tend to roam freely in the forests hence easy to find unlike in wet season when they confine at a specific area.
Frequently Asked Questions on Rwanda & Uganda Gorilla Tours
For a mountain gorilla trek in Rwanda, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can ably enjoy this activity. Usually the challenges are posed by the tricky terrain and high humidity levels. The jungle canopy traps and thickness can also become quite challenging. However the guides always clear the thick vegetation with machetes to create path ways.
However, gorilla families such as Sabyinyo, Agashya, Kwitonda, and Hirwa are less challenging for most visitors. Tracking a gorilla group in Rwanda can take visitors between 2 – 5 hours depending on the location of the gorilla groups.
Uganda has more habituated gorilla families, 22 in number, compared to Rwanda’s 18 groups available for tracking on a particular day hence enhancing chances of gorilla permits availability in Uganda. However Rwanda is a smaller country in terms of its geographical area compared to Uganda where drive distances tend to be longer; and as such for travelers with less time, Rwanda becomes a better option.
The cheapest a person can do a gorilla safari in Rwanda for a day trip is USD 1,700 (per person); a 2 days at USD 1900 per person; a 3 day gorilla trip at USD 2000 to USD 5000 (luxury package). Included in a gorilla tour package are: – a gorilla permit, private safari truck / vehicle, English / French / German speaking guide, accommodation and meals.
Yes, gorilla trekking has proved the best wildlife experience according to TripAdvisor Reviews by most travelers to Africa. It is worth the effort, time and money spent. Encountering the mountain gorillas in the wild face-to-face is the most breathtaking experience any wildlife enthusiast would dream to experience.
Gorilla tracking requires physically fit travelers as it involves hiking through thick vegetation and steep terrain in some areas of the park. A gorilla trek in Uganda can last 1 hour to 6 hours, depending on the movement of mountain gorillas in the wild searching for their food. The gorilla tracking experience in both Uganda and Rwanda are similar.
YES, gorilla trekking is Uganda is safe. The safest parts of Uganda are Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks. Uganda Wildlife Authority at all times maintains her park rangers highly motivated, vigilant, well equiped and trained to keep gorilla trekking safe and secure.
Gorilla Habituation Experience (GHE) is the gradual exposure of a wild gorilla family to human presence. Researchers begin with a study of a gorilla specie, treat sicknesses and protect them from encroachers in view of conservation tourism. Currently there are two gorilla families subjected to habituation:- Bukyingi and Bushaho, all in Rushaga Sector- southern Bwindi. For a successful habituation process, each group has so far spent 3 to 5 years under the management of an expert research team, conservations and game rangers. Each day game rangers spend some time with the gorillas by gradually getting closer to them. This process will continue until the gorillas are very comfortable with the human presence thus eventually opening them to visitation by tourists. So, Gorilla Habituation Experience brings tourists to these gorillas under study and eventually turn them into friendly primates.
A tourist who participates in Gorilla habituation Experience is perceived as one who fully supports conservation since funds generated in this activity are utilized in supporting the survival of these primates. The Gorilla Habituation Experience enable a tourist to spend a day in the presence of the gorillas and thus participates in all activities related to the gorillas which culminates into an incredible wildlife experience.
A gorilla permit in Uganda costs USD 700; for foreign nonresidents a gorilla permit costs USD 600; and Gorilla Habituation Experience costs USD 1500. The rest of the safari package is determined by any other activities and lodges a traveler would wish customized in his or her package.
The dry season June to August, and December to February offer better gorilla and chimpanzee trekking conditions. Game drives and viewing are also good during this period. However the rest of the months are also fine though with inconveniences posed by heavy rains. During this low season gorilla and chimpanzee permits tend to be subsidized so are the safari lodges.
Anyone tracking chimpanzees or mountain gorillas should wear sturdy clothing i.e. long sleeved shirts and trousers for protection against nettles. You need gardening gloves or protective leather gloves and a pair of gaiters / light walking boots.
Generally, gorillas are powerful yet gentle and friendly animals. But they can attack and injure people who provoke them. The Silverback can react loud roars, thumping its chest and charge towards the person that has provoked him. Despite being gentle and calm, gorillas are wild animals that can prove dangerous if mishandled or threatened. Gorilla attacks on humans are extremely rare but can only be motivated by a defensive instinct.
Mountain gorillas live in green volcanic Virunga Conservation area that includes Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, Virunga National Park – DR Congo, Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks in Uganda; whereas lowland gorillas live in the forests of central and western Africa in Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic and DR Congo.
To book a gorilla tour one has to pay for a gorilla permit which is simply a document that allows you spend an hour with gorillas in the wild. This document can be obtained through a registered tour company such as Africa Adventure Safaris (www.ugandagorillatour.com) or through Uganda Wildlife (UWA) in case of Uganda; or through www.rwandagorillassafari.com or Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in case of Rwanda.
Gorilla trekking experience involves going on a guided hike through dense rainforest to spend time with a specific gorilla group in its natural environment. Encountering these calm and awesome creatures is a life-changing experience. Gorilla Trekking Experience begins with a guided walk through the dense rainforest in search of gorillas. An encounter with a family of gorillas is the ultimate goal of this hike. Tourists are allowed to stay in the presence of gorillas for an hour. Normally 7 meters are allowed for any guest getting closer to any gorilla group. However due to Covid 19 pandemic the distance has been increased to 10 meters. Gorillas can easily contract all human diseases since their DNA in relation to humans is about 96%.