Gorilla trekking is the most popular adventure activity done in Uganda. Professional guides will accompany groups and there are porters who are available to carry personal belongings. Minimum age is fifteen years. Anyone with signs of communicable disease like cough or runny nose will not be allowed to trek.
Go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo
Having a full hour of interaction with one of nature’s great species and one of closest relatives to man about 97% exhibited is an experience second to none on this planet.
Mountain gorillas are 11th of the most an endangered species in the world and it is said that there are only about 1000 individuals are left in the wild jungles of the national parks bordering, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Crossing the border of mountains between Rwanda and Uganda leads you into an exclusively different world, and one that is exceptionally defined by many, with the stunning memory of wild encounters. Travelers do not look forward to finding potted, tarred roads, new buildings and other facilities that are not found in the seemingly more developed and relatively untroubled Uganda to the north of Rwanda. Different to the military frontage that are established along the border are the friendly trackers who meet at the visitor’s centre in the Park National des Volcanoes (PNV). The marvelous national park has got three ancient volcanoes whose forms dominate the entire Rwenzori horizon.
The trackers are local guides who have been working with the endangered gorillas for many years and are customary as part of their family. Tracking starts through the natural forest which has abundant crops that are worked by the natural forest lines of pure jungle with no people, no paths and no handrails.The guide creates the path with a machete as the group continues while the guide communicates with the trackers who join the gorillas at 5am. After 45 minutes of great work, and avoiding stinging nettle, there is a greater experience of seeing the gorilla wandering for food.
There are only 96 gorilla permits issued per day in the Parc National de Volcanoes, Rwanda, to outlook one of the twelve families of habituated gorillas in the park. In uganda there are 18 habituated gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists making a total of 144 gorilla permits to be readily available everyday for gorilla trekking.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, you have the chance to meet both the mountain gorillas and the lowland gorillas. You can encounter the mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park while the Eastern Lowland gorillas are tracked in the Kahuzi Biega National Park in Eastern DRC.
These great apes have had protectors surrounding them from poachers for many years, and the visitors are allowed an hour with these amazing apes. The revenue generated from the sale of these permits goes into protecting the gorillas and injecting money-making activities into the communities living around the park. It is clear to see from local community projects that the benefits of protecting these great primates sieve down to all levels of society, and support the local communities to preserve the few gorillas that are left for future generations.
Best Places to Go Gorilla Trekking
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, South Western Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is located in South Western Uganda occupying 331 square kilometres. Bwindi Impenetrable national park is a home to roughly half of the world’s mountain gorillas (326 gorillas). In the World today, it is estimated that there are only 700 remaining mountain gorillas. [Bwindi Gorilla National Park]
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, South Western Uganda
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the far south western part of Uganda bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ocupying an area of 33 sq km Mgahinga Gorilla National park is home to the endangered and rare mountain gorillas. This park together with other two parks in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo: i.e. Parc National des Volcans and Parc National des Virunga respectively form the 434-sq km ‘Virunga Conservation Area’. [Mgahinga Gorilla National Park]
Virunga National Park, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Virunga National Park is part of the Virunga Gorilla Conservation Area. This only gorilla park in Congo stretches along the borders of Rwanda and Uganda. Virunga National Park covers an area of 790,000 ha. The park comprises of an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Ruwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m, and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slopes of volcanoes. Other tourist attractions in the park include 1,000 hippopotamuses live in the rivers and birds from Siberia spend the winter there. [Virunga National Park]
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda is one of the unforgettable wild experience that Africa can offer. A gorilla trek through Volcanoes National park in Rwanda can entail anything from a 1 to 4-hour trek through the dense tropical rain forest of Rwanda. Led by experienced gorilla trackers who have spent their entire lives living in or close to the forest, a gorilla trek in Rwanda is enchanting as you weave through overhanging vines, moss-covered Hagenia trees and giant Lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate. [Volcanos National Park]
Planning a Gorilla Trekking Expedition
When to Go
When is the Best Time to Book a Gorilla Trek
Gorilla Permits – Important Information to Know
Tips and Guidelines to Gorilla Trekking
While possession of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking, it cannot be a guarantee of sighting. However the chance of sighting is high – 98% or more. Maximum time allowed with the gorillas is one hour at a minimum distance of 7 meters.
No flash photography is allowed and fast film is therefore recommended (minimum 400-1600 ASA). Personal DVD recorders are allowed. Special arrangements need to be made for professional film makers, and filming permits are required for commercial photography and filming.
We strongly recommend a breathable and lightweight rain jacket or cape, a warm jacket or fleece for overcast days and evening, long-sleeved shirt and trousers, sturdy waterproof walking boots (seasoned or well-worn footwear), leather gardening-type gloves, sunscreen, cap or sun hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, comfortable day pack for carrying water and minimum amount of personal items. Cameras and video cameras are allowed, but bring film and batteries from Kampala.