LUXURY, MIDRANGE & BUDGET GORILLA SAFARIS IN AFRICA.
Gorilla Permits Included – 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.
OUR SELECTED DESTINATIONS FOR GORILLA TREKKING HOLIDAYS
BEST TIME TO GO GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA & RWANDA
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.
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 PERMIT:
Gorilla Permits in Rwanda cost USD1,500 while Uganda gorilla permits cost USD600.
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
A TYPICAL DAY TREKKING TO SEE THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS
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 A GORILLA TREK
We are assuming you have already paid for your gorilla trip, gorilla permits, transport, and accommodation. The next very important thing is to make sure that you have packed the right gear for your gorilla trekking safari. What we have advised below is for gorilla trekking but you might need more if your safari includes other activities.
Gorilla trekking involves trekking/hiking slippery & very muddy forest trails in search for the endangered mountain gorillas. Because of the nature of the forest plus the altitude, we recommend lightweight waterproof hiking boots for this activity.
Learn More about: Gorilla Trekking Footwear
You will required gloves to protect you hands during your gorilla trek. As you move in this forest, remember that it can get slippery and somehow you need to hold on some plants, trees or even climbing trees. These gloves will, therefore, protect you from germs and other items that may scratch your hands – Don’t bring your fancy pair, i said garden gloves – trust me you see why!
Mountain Gorillas both in Uganda & Rwanda live in the tropical rainforests characteristic of rainfall whole year-round. You will never tell when it is going to rain so you need a rain jacket for this. Many clients prefer traveling in the drier months of June, July, August and beginning of September and try to avoid rainy seasons of March, April, May and November.
Learn More about: Gorilla Trekking Seasons
LONG SLEEVED SHIRTS/BLOUSE & TROUSERS.
You are required to have long sleeved trousers/shirts for your gorilla trekking. Please ensure that you tack your trousers into your hiking boots to avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers. Jeans and Kachi trousers can do this better.
Learn More about: What to wear For Gorilla Trekking
ENERGY BITES/ SNACKS
Gorilla trekking can take from 30 minutes to eight (08) or so hours and that’s why a certain level of fitness is required. To add on that, we advise that you carry some energy giving snacks as supplements. Before departing from your lodge, you need to carry your packed lunch and lots of drinking water as you never know when you will return.
CAMERAS & EXTRA BATTERIES
Photography is an important component of your Gorilla safari and thus make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the 1+ hours you will have with the gorillas.
Note: Please make sure that you switch off your flash while taking gorilla photographs.
Learn More about: Mountain gorilla photography.
UV SUNGLASSES & A CAP/HAT
If it is hot, please carry a hat to protect you from the strong sun rays. You may also need to carry some sunglasses too. These are extra optional.
A PAIR OF BINOCULARS
Don’t forget that you are on safari and you want to have clear views of everything – birds, wild chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys among other primates, forest elephants and buffaloes so during your trek in search for the rare mountain gorillas, you will have a chance to spot some of the above.
HELPING HANDS FROM A LOCAL PORTER(s) FOR YOUR GORILLA TREK
This is an extra optional item but we strongly advise all our clients to take a porter for their gorilla trekking for its part of your contribution to sustainable tourism and continued Mountain gorilla conservation. Besides, as earlier noted, gorilla trekking can be strenuous and thus you will need someone to give you a push or a pull on the way to the gorillas. These porters go for a fee but it is worth it. Remember that these porters are actually school going students either in their vacation or have been chased out of school due to school fees. By paying some money to have a porter with you, you will have contributed to community development indirectly and sustainable tourism as a whole.
Learn More about: Why it is important to take a porter on your gorilla trek.
GORILLA TRACKING GUIDELINES, ETIQUETTE & RULES
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 TREK IN UGANDA & 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 orVolcanoes 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 ETIQUETTE & GUIDELINES
- 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.
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.
BROWSE OUR LUXURY, MIDRANGE & BUDGET GORILLA SAFARIS IN UGANDA & RWANDA SAFARIS
BUDGET GORILLA SAFARIS & TOURS IN UGANDA – GORILLA TRACKING UGANDA
UGANDA GORILLA TOURS & GORILLA SAFARIS STARTING IN KIGALI – RWANDA
RWANDA GORILLA SAFARIS – GORILLA SAFARIS IN RWANDA
UGANDA GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE IN BWINDI FOREST NATIONAL PARK
WHAT IS GORILLA AHBAITUATION EXPERIENCE?
Gorilla Habituation Experience 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 IS GORILLA HABITUATION DONE IN EAST AFRICA?
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.
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF A GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE PERMIT IN UGANDA?
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.