Gorilla Tracking In Uganda

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Experience Gorilla trekking, Wildebeest Migration, Hike Africa’s Highest Mountains, indulge in authentic guided walking Safaris.

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All our Gorilla Safaris include Gorilla Permits  – No Hidden Costs!


Realm Africa Safaris™ organizes Affordable Weekly Gorilla Safaris in Uganda & Rwanda. Our Gorilla Trekking Safaris range from Luxury, Midrange & Budget Gorilla safaris In Uganda & Rwanda. All the Rwanda – Uganda Gorilla Safaris we operate include Gorilla Permits, Accommodation, Transport and are Escorted by a local Gorilla Safari Driver & Guide – all inclusive Gorilla Safaris with No hidden costs.

Our Luxury, Midrange & Budget Safaris utilize selected Gorilla Safari Lodges that offer great value for money. Because all our Gorilla Safaris are Escorted & Guided by our very own “In-house” trained local drivers & guides on the ground to ensure your safari is excellent.


DESTINATIONS FOR GORILLA TREKKING HOLIDAYS – WHERE WE LIKE TO GO FOR GORILLA TREKKING


 

Uganda Gorilla Adventure

UGANDA – Gorillas in Bwindi & Mgahinga


Gorilla Tracking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi Forest National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Although Gorilla Permits in Uganda cost USD600 in both Bwindi & Mgahinga, Gorilla trekking still tops the Bucket-list of all visitors to Uganda. Uganda has up to 18 Habituated Gorilla families open for trekking.

We operate private, and scheduled Small Group tailor-made Gorilla Safaris ranging from the short Intensive 03 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari- Tour to our most popular Multi-Day  16 Days Uganda Encompassed – Gorilla & Wildlife Safari.

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Things to See & Do in Uganda | Best Time to Visit Uganda | Uganda Gorilla Tours | Gorilla Permits in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking Seasons

RWANDA – Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes


Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda takes place in only one (01) National Park – Volcanoes National Park. Unlike travelers to Uganda, visitors intending to go on a Rwanda Gorilla Safari must be ready to pay USD1,500 for a Rwanda Gorilla Permit which has made Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda a lot more costly compared to Gorilla Tracking In Uganda. However, for those that can afford, Rwanda is believed to offer a less strenuous Gorilla Safari characterized by high-end Luxury lodging Options like Staying at Highly Priced, Opulent and well placed Bisate Eco Lodge – something many might consider disproportionate – but we call an EXPERIENCE of a lifetime.

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Things to See & Do in Rwanda | Best Time to Visit Rwanda | Rwanda Gorilla ToursRwanda gorilla Permits 

RWANDA GORILLA TREKKING HOLIDAYS – RWANDA GORILLA SAFARIS – GORILLA TREK RWANDA



UGANDA GORILLA TREKKING HOLIDAYS – UGANDA GORILLA SAFARIS – GORILLA TRACKING UGANDA



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USEFUL LINKS TO COMMON GORILLA TREKKING QUESTIONS & ANSWERS – Important things you should Know.

GORILLA TREKKING – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla Trekking or rather sometimes referred to as Gorilla Tracking is a wild adventure activity that involves walking, trekking, and tracking to find Gorillas. There are two types of Gorilla Trekking experiences; Mountain Gorilla Trekking and LowLand Gorilla Trekking.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking just like the phrase suggests is done in the Mountains and involves intense Hikes through thick vegetation, and slippery ground. Mountain Gorillas weigh up to 250 Kg  – Mark the Silverback in Mgahinga weighs 250 Kg – Consider  Gorilla Trekking Mgahinga.

Low Land Gorilla Trekking can be done in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gaboon, Angola & Congo  – Unfortunately, we don’t operate Gorilla Trekking Holidays to any of these destinations.


Where can I do Gorilla Trekking?

In Rwanda, Gorilla Trekking can Be done in Volcanoes National Park – 250 Mountain Gorillas – 11 Habituated mountain Gorilla Families  – 88 Gorilla Permits available for purchase every day – Gorilla Permits cost USD1,500 per permit.

NOTE: All Gorilla Trekking Holidays ought to be pre-planned at least 06 Months in advance – Gorilla Permits MUST be Fully paid up well in advance.


We only operate Gorilla Trekking Holidays to Rwanda aand Uganda Only …


In Uganda, Gorilla Trekking can be done in two places; Bwindi Forest National park, and or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Bwindi Forest boast of approximately 420 Mountain Gorillas – 17 Habituated Gorilla Families – 136 Gorilla permits available for purchase per day – Bwindi gorilla Permits Cost USD600.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park has only 80 Gorillas – 01 Habituated gorilla family _ 08 Gorilla permits available for purchase per Day – Mgahinga Gorilla Permits cost USD600.


What is the Age Limit for gorilla Trekking?

Whether Trekking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, the official Gorilla Trekking Age Limit is 15 years. Both  Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board agreed on the minimum Gorilla trekking age limit as 15 years and above, however in a few instances where a child below 15 years may be permitted to trek gorillas. A special arrangement has to be made between the parents of the child the relevant authorities before your child can be permitted to trek tracking the gorillas. As a Measure to enforce the Minimum Gorilla trekking Age Limit, it is mandatory for every person trekking Gorillas to present his/her passport for verification before they can be allowed to track Mountain Gorillas.

Mountain Gorilla Population by Numbers


As of May 2018, the Mountain gorilla population thrives at 1000 individuals, mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered animals in the world. Although our closest living relatives, it is ironically man that poses the greatest threat to their survival. Civil war, poaching, habitat loss, and human diseases have all had detrimental effects on mountain gorilla populations.

However, the ever-growing number of tourists seeking to see these great apes is proving to be an important factor Mountain Gorilla Conservation. Gorilla trekking is not only a wonderful experience allowing you to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat but helps contribute to their protection. Find out more with this guide to mountain gorilla trekking.

Rwanda Gorilla Population by Numbers


Rwanda has approximately 250 Mountain gorillas – 11 habituated Mountain Gorilla Families – 88 Mountain Gorilla Trekking Permits available for Purchase on the Daily – Rwanda Gorilla Permits Cost USD1,500.

Volcanoes National Park – approximately 250 Mountain Gorillas – 11 habituated Gorilla Families – 88 Gorilla Permits available for Purchase on the daily – Volcanoes Gorilla Permits Cost USD1,500.

Uganda’s Mountain gorilla Population by Numbers.


Uganda as of May 2018 has approximately 500 Mountain Gorillas – 18 Habituated Mountain Gorilla  Groups – 144 Gorilla Trekking Permits available for purchase on the daily shared between two (02) Gorilla Parks; Bwindi & Mgahinga. Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permits cost USD600.

Bwindi Forest National Park – approximately 480 Mountain Gorillas – 17 habituated Gorilla Families – 136 Gorilla Trekking Permits available for purchase on the daily – Bwindi Gorilla Permits cost USD600.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park – approximately 80 mountain Gorillas – 01 Habituated Gorilla Family – 8 Gorilla Trekking Permits available for purchase on the daily – Mgahinga Gorilla Permits Cost USD600.

 

Best Place to Go Gorilla Trekking – Uganda or Rwanda?


Both Uganda & Rwanda offer gorilla trekking, but each has got a competitive advantage over the other.

Price of the Gorilla Permit:

Gorilla Permits in Rwanda cost USD1,500 while Uganda gorilla permits cost USD600.

The distance of Travel:

Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is Only 02 hours drive from the Kigali Airport.

All two (02) gorilla trekking parks in Uganda are 9 -10 hours drive from Entebbe Airport- Uganda’s main Airport.

However, we have discovered the best way to go gorilla trekking is flying into Kigali Airport in Rwanda, and we will pick and drive only 4 hours to Mgahinga or Bwindi Forest in Uganda. You get more time at your lodge resting ahead of the next days’ gorilla trekking.

Price of Accommodation:

While we still have a few relatively cheap Hotels and lodges that we sleep our clients on Budget Rwanda gorilla safaris, they are being phased out as the government of Rwanda has decided to market itself as a Luxury Gorilla safari Destination. Typically if you decide to go gorilla trekking In Rwanda, plan to fork out between USD300 – USD600 per person per night for midrange accommodation which if you chose Uganda would give you a luxury Gorilla Experience at a Luxury Lodge like Mount Gahinga Lodge


Best time to trek mountain gorillas


For both Uganda & Rwanda, the Best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda and or Rwanda is in the drier months of January, February, June, July, August, September, and December where there is less rainfall making the trails a lot less slippery or less challenging to navigate.

June – September is the High season with almost 90% travelers visiting Uganda & Rwanda for Gorilla Trekking. We recommend pre-booking and paying for your gorilla permits well-in-advance – you could do this 01 – 02 years in advance. Read More about Booking a gorilla Safari In-advance

March, April, May & November is Low Season period characterized by a lot of rainfall which makes the trails very slippery and quite challenging to navigate. however, the low season months are the best time to go gorilla trekking for travelers on a Budget.

Gorilla Safari Lodges offer Low season special discounts in the low season months March, April, May & November so as to attract budget travelers. Secondly, travelers that choose Gorilla trekking In low season, enjoy the privileged of freely choosing their gorilla families ad some have previously trekked a Single gorilla family exclusively alone allowing them to get up close & personal with the mountain gorillas – an experience that would cost a fortune in the high season months.


Gorilla Permit costs


The cost and availability of gorilla permits vary by country and park, but currently ranges from USD 600 – 1,500 in Uganda and USD1500 in Rwanda. You’ll also need to budget for visa fees (costs vary), transfer and a local service fee (approx USD 120-150) and any re-entry visas. The government often increases the permit and transfer costs without notice, so budget for the highest amount to make sure you’ll be able to partake in this wonderful experience.

The reason that the permits are so costly is that each park only issues 08 permits per gorilla family per day, to ensure that the gorillas’ exposure to humans is limited. 100% of the permit cost is used by the government to help finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting these apes from poachers and their lethal snares.

On our African overland safaris, gorilla trekking is an optional activity and the cost of the permit, transfer and local service fee is paid upon arrival. However on our Gorilla Express lodge accommodated safari in Rwanda, these costs are included.

We at Realm Africa Safaris are not in control of permit prices and cannot be held responsible for any increase in fees – the respective governments are.


What to expect on your Gorilla Trekking Holiday


 

Mountain Gorilla trekking In Uganda & Rwanda starts in the early morning (8:00 am) after Gorilla Permits and Passport verification formalities have been met. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands surrounding the gorilla habitats, into the dense rainforest and finally get you as close as is allowed to a gorilla family. The rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 08 hours and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.

To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and are therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is one (01) hour for both treks in Uganda & Rwanda. Uganda, however, has a unique Gorilla Experience called Gorilla Habituation where you can stay longer up to 4 hours with a gorilla family still undergoing habituation (fair-taming process) that typically lasts 01 – 3 years. Gorilla Habituation, unfortunately, costs a lot more than gorilla trekking with permits going for USD1,500 per permit. Gorilla habituation Experience in Uganda is currently only possible in Bwindi Forest National Park.

Whether you choose gorilla trekking for 01 hour or Full Day – o4 hours Gorilla Habituation Experience, you will have plenty of time to watch gorilla activity and to take photographs. The Rangers will be able to provide you with background information of the family you are visiting. Once your time is up, you trek back out of the rainforest to your meeting point. Clients considering joining this trip should realize the demands and unpredictability of the areas visited. These factors may contribute toward restricting or delaying our trip and viewing of the gorillas. Often, the trek through thick, dense jungle can be somewhat strenuous and due to the nature of the gorillas and their habits, viewing cannot be guaranteed.

IMPORTANT: Although the groups of gorilla that are sought out on our jungle trek have been habituated, they have not been tamed and their behavior is not demonstrably different from that of non-habituated groups. Nobody forces them to stay with us for the allotted time, and they can fade into the forest as you appear if they wish to do so. Further, as gorillas are EXTREMELY sensitive to human disease, the park authorities will not allow anyone they consider to be in poor health to visit the gorilla groups. Additionally, no children under 15 years of age are permitted to visit.


What to Pack for Your Gorilla Trekking Experience.


Most people taking part in a gorilla trek take a small daypack to carry their water supply, food and camera equipment. Here are some other items we recommend packing for your gorilla trekking experience.

Comfortable hiking/walking boots: As you’ll most likely be trekking for a few hours to reach the gorillas, a good pair of boots is essential.

Trousers and a long-sleeved shirt: You’ll be ‘bushwhacking’ into a misty rainforest, so wear trousers and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the thick undergrowth and nettles.

Gloves: A pair of gloves will protect your hands when grabbing branches and vines, particularly a tough pair of gardening gloves.

Light rain jacket: Even if you’re visiting during the dry season, it’s a good idea to pack a light rain jacket. These tropical forests can be damp and there can still be rainfall.


Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations


Important things to know just Before you set off on a Mountain Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda :

  • Be in reasonable shape and have the level of fitness for the gorilla group you will be tracking depending on the terrain.
  • Have no communicable diseases or cold or flu, TB, diarrhea, and any other communicable diseases.
  • Confirm you have a valid gorilla tracking permit.
  • Attend the Pre-tracking orientation.
  • Be of recommended trekking age – at least 15 years of age.
  • Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
  • Wear appropriate clothing since it is often cool there, a light rain jacket might be helpful, a light backpack where you can put your packed lunch, two liters of water, proper light boots to support your ankles, jeans or long trousers, long-sleeved shirt to avoid getting scratched by branches, gardening gloves made of cotton to pull yourself up on branches, hat.  You can obtain a porter to carry your load, and you can purchase a walking stick at the park offices –your guide should be helpful with this.

The Gorilla Trekking Experience in Uganda and Rwanda. 

For either countries – Uganda & Rwanda, up to 8 visitors are allowed on a tracking (trekking) team since more would disturb and or emotionally upset the Mountain Gorilla group you are visiting.  This limit of 8 visitors also reduces the Mountain Gorillas exposure to illnesses that humans may have.

As you travel through the forest keep your conversations low, silence might be the best since otherwise you might miss other wildlife or the abundance of birds found at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda and or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Pack it in and pack it out.  Do not leave anything behind such as rubbish since it would spoil it for the next visitors and pollute the park.

Your Mountain Gorilla Tracking experience will begin where the guides found your Gorilla group the day before and track them to their new location since they move daily. Pre-trackers usually locals who have been trained and have taken part in gorilla habituation of the respective gorilla families go out ahead of you to locate your gorilla group.


Mountain Gorilla Trekking Rules & Guidenlines

  • Keep a distance of about 5 to 7 meters which is about 15 feet from the Mountain Gorillas.  This way you protect the mountain gorillas from all diseases and illnesses humans may be carrying and not seem threatening to gorillas
  • Stay together as a group when you are in the presence of the Gorillas to reduce potential confusion of the gorillas
  • Voices need to be kept low and it is best to keep silence and just treasure the moment with the Mountain Gorillas.
  • Do not partake of food or drinks and no smoking in the presence of the Mountain Gorillas.
  • Don’t stare straight into gorillas’ eyes – this can be seen to be aggressive.
  • Don’t ever run from a gorilla – if one approaches you just act submissive and crouch down.
  • If you sneeze or cough, turn your head away from the gorillas so as not to spread your germs.
  • No flash photography is permitted.  Do not make a lot of movement when taking pictures-keep it calm.
  • There is no touching or attempting to touch the Gorillas.
  • Keep your voices down until you are well out of range of the Mountain Gorillas.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Health Guidelines

  • Since Mountain Gorillas are closely related to us – humans, they are highly susceptible to diseases carried by humans.
  • If you are not well, let it be known and remove yourself from the gorilla tracking team.
  • If you need to cough, sneeze, blow your nose, move your head away from the gorilla in order to keep the risk of infection to a minimum.
  • No smoking, eating of food or drinking of beverages is allowed in the presence of the Mountain Gorillas.
  • If you are ill- cancel your Gorilla Trek – this is best for all concerned including the Mountain Gorillas.

REMINDER: The Guidelines listed above are there to protect you and the Mountain Gorillas – enjoy your time with the Gorillas of Uganda and or Rwanda.



What is gorilla Habituation?

Gorilla Habituation is the process of routinely visiting a group of wild mountain gorillas often done by well-trained researchers in a bid to get them used to human visitors.  Gorilla Habituation Experience typically lasts between 02 – 3 years before a group is opened for the traditional one (01) hour gorilla Trekking which costs USD600 in Uganda.


Where can I do gorilla Habituation?

Gorilla Habituation is currently only available for tourists to take part in Uganda. Gorilla Habituation In Uganda only happens in Rushaga & Nkuringo Sectors located south of Bwindi Forest just 5hours drive from Kigali makes Kigali a perfect start point for your Uganda Gorilla Habituation Safaris.


How much is Gorilla Habituation? 


Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit in Uganda Costs USD1,500 per Person. This Gorilla habituation permit allows you to join a group of 3 other tourists (only 4 tourists are allowed per day) and is valid for the date indicated on it. Learn More: Price of Gorilla Habituation permit In Uganda.


Is gorilla Habituation Really Worth It?



A Gorilla Habituation Permit in Uganda currently costs US$1500 – the major reason tourists or travelers intending to indulge in Gorilla Habituation ask ” Is Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda worth USD1500 ? “.

While the Habituation permit price is US$1,500 per person, we must understand that this money pays for many other things – most of which make it possible for you to see the mountain Gorilla. Gorilla conservation just like any other conservation programme faces a lot of challenges among which habitat loss takes a great lead – part of the money you pay in order to acquire a permit is being used in law enforcement within communities to avoid communities encroaching on the forest which is the habitat of the endangered mountain gorillas. This money has and is still being used to set up Community based developmental projects that diversify the local Peoples economy from just traditional farming (one of the causes of Land encroachment in a bid to increase agricultural output from their gardens) to more productive and improved alternative means of farming.

Educative sensitization programmes are part of the continued cost in protecting the habitat of the mountain gorillas – this too costs money.

US$1,500 is a lot of money – we agree, but look at it as your contribution to protection and conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi impenetrable forest and the local communities that live around this precious forest.

The Batwa Pygmies previously inhabited the Bwindi Forest before it was gazetted as a National park – after which they were forced out of the forest. These people have had to start all over again with their lives out of the forest – part of US$1500 is given back to these communities through an agreed profit sharing programme that sees these communities get up to 18% off the money you pay.


What to pack for Gorilla Habituation Experience


Gorilla Habituation Rules & Regulations.


  • Keep a distance of about 5 to 7 meters which is about 15 feet from the Mountain Gorillas.  This way you protect the mountain gorillas from a diseases and illnesses humans may be carrying and not seem threatening to gorillas
  • Stay together as a group when you are in the presence of the Gorillas to reduce potential confusion of the gorillas
  • Voices need to be kept low and it is best to keep silence and just treasure the moment with the Mountain Gorillas.
  • Do not partake of food or drinks and no smoking in the presence of the Mountain Gorillas.
  • Don’t stare straight into gorillas’ eyes – this can be seen to be aggressive.
  • Don’t ever run from a gorilla – if one approaches you just act submissive and crouch down.
  • If you sneeze or cough, turn your head away from the gorillas so as not to spread your germs.
  • No flash photography is permitted.  Do not make a lot of movement when taking pictures-keep it calm.
  • There is no touching or attempting to touch the Gorillas.
  • Keep your voices down until you are well out of range of the Mountain Gorillas.

Gorilla Habituation Rules on Health

  • Since Mountain Gorillas are closely related to us – humans, they are highly susceptible to diseases carried by humans.
  • If you are not well, let it be known and remove yourself from the gorilla tracking team.
  • If you need to cough, sneeze, blow your nose, move your head away from the gorilla in order to keep the risk of infection to a minimum.
  • No smoking, eating of food or drinking of beverages is allowed in the presence of the Mountain Gorillas.
  • If you are ill- cancel your Gorilla Trek – this is best for all concerned including the Mountain Gorillas.

REMINDER: The Gorilla Habituation rules listed above are there to protect you and the Mountain Gorillas – enjoy your time with the Gorillas of Uganda and or Rwanda.