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Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking Uganda Safari

With Travelmonke, opportunities to experience only the best sites in Uganda and East Africa are endless. We present the perfect Gorilla trekking safaris to suit even the most laid-back adventurer. Mountain Gorillas are a rare delight that you will not just find anywhere other than in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC.

Therefore, with our top-notch Uganda and Rwanda gorilla trekking tours, you get to observe these giants amidst their natural habitat characterized by thick undergrowth and dense green Canopy. Primate safaris further stretch to allow you to track Chimpanzees and golden monkeys in Uganda’s evergreen forests and top national parks.

There is no telling what you might run into on our savannah game drives across East Africa. We are talking rare wildlife occurrences such as the Great Annual migration of the Mara, the tree climbing Lions of Queen Elizabeth and special sightings of animals like the Nubian Giraffe. Travelmonke tailors’ special tours such as gorilla trekking Uganda and wildlife safari in the Serengeti plains.

Boat cruises are never just about sailing in a boat along the water course for us. Get ready to spot some Shoebills at the Albert Delta in Murchison Falls, Hippos and Nile crocodiles in the Kazinga Channel and an arrangement of islands atop Lake Bunyonyi. You also get to cruise to the source of River Nile at Lake Victoria; the perfect East African gorilla trekking safaris indeed!


Our Featured

Gorilla Trekking Tours

Things to do on a Gorilla Trekking Tour

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest
Gorilla Trekking and Golden Monkey Tracking in Mgahinga
Batwa Cultural experience
Lake Bunyonyi
Wildlife game drives
Primate tracking in Kyambura gorge and Kibale National Park
Gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Chimpanzee Trek and Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Kigali city tour

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the ultimate adventure plan for a safari in Bwindi Impenetrable national Park. The park is home to almost half of the world’s Mountain gorilla population with 12 habituated families. The Forest is divided into four sections; Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga with each section presenting a unique feel to Gorilla trekking tours.

Trekking these apes within their natural habitat can prove to be quite the task since they tend to live at altitudes above 2,000m above sea level. The whole experience starts with an early morning rise on this day of your Gorilla Trekking Uganda safari followed by some breakfast and packed lunch before heading to the park headquarters for briefing.

After a short briefing about what to expect and how to conduct one self, trekkers are led through thick undergrowth to where the gorillas are spending their day in a group of 8 people. Stand within 8 – 10 meters of the giants and observe how they feed, groom and play. Always stay still when Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

Visitors to the park are urged to adhere to certain set rules such as turning off camera flashes, no littering, refraining from making any noises and unnecessary movements. Children below 15 years are not allowed to trek and neither are persons with any illnesses such as flu since these can be spread to the apes.

It is important that while you plan for Uganda Mountain gorilla trekking tours, you book for your permit atleast 6 months before your trip. The permits often cost about USD 700 for foreigners and UGX 300,000 for East African residents and can get finished due to high demand before you get your hands on one.

Apart from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the other destination to indulge in Gorilla trekking Uganda tours is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It is located within proximity of the Virunga Mountain range. In fact, three of the Virunga Volcanoes are located within the park premises; Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Muhavura.

Unlike Bwindi, Mgahinha has only one habituated Gorilla family named Nyakagezi with 9 members; 4 silverbacks, 2 infants, 2 adult females and 1 juvenile. This Gorilla family is highly mobile and can often be recorded in Rwanda as well. This means that the family might not be readily available for trekking all the time.

Consequentially, Bwindi remains the top destination for Gorilla trekking trips and like Bwindi, there are rules you ought to follow at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for Gorilla trekking Uganda tours such as;

  • Only persons 15 years and older can be issued permits
  • Refrain from unnecessary movements and noises
  • Turn camera flashes off when taking pictures
  • Do not imitate, feed or eat in the presence of the Gorillas
  • Littering is not allowed in the forest and in the park

Apart from Gorilla trekking Uganda, Mgahinga further offers golden Monkey tracking within its premises. These intriguing monkeys spot golden fur on the cheeks and parts of their bodies and you can get to spend between 1-2 hours with them in the wild. Be ready for some physical test as you tread the forest path in order to find these primates.

At the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, are the Batwa people; an ancient community that presents with outstanding and remarkable history. The batwa are a pygymy race that is believed to actually be the original inhabitants of the forest. Upon Bwindi becoming a national park, these locals were forced to exit the forest and thus lost some farm land.

This however, didn’t deplete their love for the forest and they continued to use it to support their day to day lives. With Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest you get to meet the batwa, learn about their culture and way of life. They are often eager to pass on some ancient knowledge through folk tales and songs.

Once in the Batwa community, you will encounter several show stations such as the traditional healer’s “spa” where you might watch the “medicine man” use concoctions made from plants to treat local ailments. Other stations will include an arts and crafts centre that features a display of necklaces, sandals, bracelets and many more.  

Meeting the local Batwa community is nothing more than an experience aimed at capturing your intrigue. You might have the opportunity to tour the local school where the batwa children go and also taste some local cuisines prepared by the local women. Feel free to carry some souvenirs after your Gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

Within the undulating hills of south western Uganda lies Lake Bunyonyi, a fresh water lake that was named for its abundance of birdlife. It is surrounded by massive local farmland featuring banana and tea plantations near the border of Uganda and Congo. This unique setting provides for some of the best scenery you will ever see.

Gorilla trekking Uganda safaris feature canoeing trips on Lake Bunyonyi with such breathtaking views of its 29 islands and surrounding villages. Prepare yourself for a visit to famous islands like Bushara and Punishment Island where local girls who got pregnant before they were married were dumped to starve to death or drown while attempting to escape.

There is still a significant number of birds such as Papyrus Gonoleks along the Lake’s shores and within the marshes surrounding the Islands. Therefore, after your Uganda/Rwanda gorilla trekking tours, retire to Lake Bunyonyi for a relaxing canoe trip featuring bird watching, swimming and community visits.

Complete off your mountain gorilla trekking Uganda trips with a journey to top national parks such as Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley for the best game drives and wildlife sightings ever. Hop into an open roof vehicle along with your tour guide and a game ranger as you scour the savannah plains for wildlife.

Game drives are often conducted in three phases; morning, afternoon and night game drives with the first two being the most popular. Experience the tree climbing Lions adventure in Queen Elizabeth, Nubian Giraffes and Defassa waterbucks in Murchison Falls and Stripped hyenas, Aardwolf, Caracal and wild dogs in Kidepo Valley.

We guarantee that savannah game drives are the best way to shake up any mountain Gorilla trekking tours while in East Africa. Morning game drives introduce you to how animals start their day while afternoon game drives will feature game viewing along the water’s edge. Night game drives are mainly to catch some nocturnal animals like Leopards hunting.

While seeking to experience an exhaustive primate safari back up your Rwanda/Uganda gorilla trekking trip with a visit to Kibale National Park; Uganda’s primate capital. There are 13 primate species in Kibale including L’Hoest’s monkeys, Chimpanzees, Olive Baboons, Ugandan red colobus, Vervet monkeys and Mantled Guereza among others

Chimpanzees are the typical highlight of primate safaris in Kibale National Park. Wake up to an early morning briefing before heading out with a guide in a group of 6 people. The adventure might take about half a day between tracking down the Chimps and observing how their lives are programmed in the wild.

It is of great importance that you observe all the rules laid out for you to avoid upsetting the Chimpanzees such as taking pictures without Camera flashes and standing still and quiet. Chimpanzees are always moving so expect to enjoy a light trek as you attempt to keep up with these primates after your gorilla trekking trips.

For more primate safaris, head to the Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is an 11km corridor of dense undergrowth and untamed Canopy. The thick forest covers the gorge cutting off direct sunlight and giving the primates room to flourish. Spend hours with about 29 Chimpanzees in this isolated natural wonder.  

The Democratic Republic of Congo is uniquely blessed with two types of Gorillas; the popular Mountain Gorillas and the lowland Gorillas. Within the Virunga range of Virunga National Park, Mountain Gorillas are more abounding and the lowland Gorillas can be found in Kahuzi-Biega national park located on the western bank of Lake Kivu.

Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas are both endangered species with greatly differing features. For example, Mountain Gorillas are bigger with a thicker black coat while Lowland Gorillas are smaller with a grayish thinner coat. Rwanda/Uganda Gorilla trekking can be mashed with a visit to the DRC.

Gorilla Trekking in Congo is a diverse phenomenon with visitors taking a choice between Mountain Gorillas and lowland Gorillas. A visit to Virunga National Park is an exhilarating experience that will offer a window into the lives of Mountain Gorillas in the wild. Prepare for some hiking specials such as a glimpse of the active Virunga volcano; Nyiragongo.

Volcanoes national park is located in north western Rwanda along the Virunga Mountain Range which is famous for harboring Mountain gorillas. It encompasses 5 of the Virunga Volcanoes; Gahinga, Muhavura, Sabyinyo, Karisimbi and Bisoke). The park is covered in afro montane forest, bamboo, swamps and savannah plains.

There isn’t an experience quite like Volcanoes Gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The thrill of standing before a Mountain Gorilla and observing them as they go about their normal lives in the wild is an adventure that you will not just find anywhere on the planet. You have the opportunity to see one of the 10 habituated Gorilla families of Rwanda.

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking tours are specifically designed to start off in the morning with a light hike to the steep verdant forest of the Virunga volcanos and finally come into the presence of the gigantic apes. Caution must be taken to avoid abrupt movements and disrupting noises that may upset these Apes.

While permits for Volcanoes Gorilla Trekking trips are limited to 80 per day, visitors are urged to book for one within a 6 months’ or more time frame so that they are not disappointed when they can’t go for Gorilla Trekking Rwanda. Permits go for USD 1,500 in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest remains one of Africa’s oldest and well-kept forests. It has survived seasons and ages of harsh climate preserving with its diverse plant species and wild animal life. While in Rwanda for Volcanoes Gorilla Trekking trips, it is such an opportunity to check out Nyungwe Forest National Park as well.

With two Chimpanzee groups; one having about 30 individuals and the other 60, Nyungwe Forest is a top Chimpanzee tracking destination in Rwanda. After Gorilla trekking Rwanda tours, see more Rwandese primates in the Cyamudongo area of Nyungwe Forest; one of the largest Afro Montane forests in Africa.

While you enjoy Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park, the guide will keep pointing at unique plant and animal life that is endemic and can only be found in the Albertine rift. After this primate trip, settle down for a canopy walk to seal off Uganda/Rwanda Gorilla Trekking trips.  

The Canopy walk features a suspended bridge above a ravine within the Afro montane canopy of Nyungwe Forest. The bridge is 70m high and 160m long offering visitors a fresh new take and perspective of the park and Rwanda as well. This exhilarating adventure is the perfect way to meet some birds and primates up in the canopy.  

Gorilla trekking Rwanda safaris are not complete without a tour of Kigali; one of the cleanest cities in Africa! A one-day tour of the city can be conveniently coupled with Volcanoes Gorilla Trekking trips as you embark on journeys around East Africa for a true African cultural and traditional feel.

Spend the day exploring top sights around Kigali city such as the Kandt house; a natural history Museum, Kigali commercial center where major players in trade meet and the Rwanda Genocide Memorial where a dark history of Rwanda is often retold to visitors for Volcanoes Gorilla Trekking tours.

Make it a point to make a stop at top 5-star hotels within the city for some top-notch African Cuisines. Most hotels within the city offer great meals prepared by top chefs entailing local and international recipes. After your Uganda/Rwanda Gorilla trekking trips, you can relax at recreation centers in the city such as art museums.

Gorilla Trekking

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking actually means hiking in pursuit of Gorillas. The word “trek” is used because you have to walk at a steady pace over rugged terrain and sometimes even steep slopes while following tracks left behind by the apes until you reach the spot where they are spending the day at. This activity is often best when you are in good physical condition

The process of Gorilla trekking safaris entails everything from the time you receive your briefing and set out with a guide into the verdant forests to the point when you actually come into the presence of these giant apes. Gorilla trekking tours can only take place around the Virunga Mountain range and in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The activity kicks off with a 30 minutes briefing at the start of a trail head that leads into the jungle which basically involves listing the rules and regulations and assigning of a gorilla family to trek. Trekkers are then led into the jungle in a group of 8 people accompanied by 2 rangers and 2 trackers; one leads the group and the other follows behind.

Owing to the fact that these primates live at high altitudes (about 4,500m) expect to take down some thick undergrowth and shrubs before you find them. The tracker communicates with the group before him to locate the gorillas and make the hike shorter for you. You can spend 1 hour within a distance of 8-10m for Gorilla trekking Uganda tours.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a raw experience that involves your tracker making a path through the forest with a Machete while you follow behind in waterproof hiking boots using sticks to help you hike. In the presence of the Gorillas, you might be required to sit or squat on the cold forest floor while observing and taking pictures.

Is Gorilla trekking safe?

Yes, Gorilla trekking safaris are safe. While Mountain Gorillas are huge and finding yourself facing one might be terrifying, these apes are quite gentle and will not attack unless you exhibit some signs of aggression. During the habituation process, Gorillas are introduced to human presence before they are flagged for trekking.

Primatologists then establish procedures for you to follow and observe the mountain gorillas safely. You will keep a safe distance of 10m and watch as they continue about their day. Do not at any one time make physical contact with them and if you find yourself approached by the babies, do not engage.

Sudden movements and noises are strictly prohibited especially when approached by the Silverback. One is merely cautioned to curl down and stay quiet which is a form of submission that shows the Ape that you are not a threat. Camera flashes are also dangerous as they may agitate the Gorillas.

Mountain Gorilla trekking tours are simply exhilarating and a once in a lifetime experience. Standing before these giants can be mind-blowing and although habituated, Gorillas are still wild animals. It is thus imperative to observe all the set rules that you will be given during your short briefing.

Mountain Gorillas share some percentage of DNA with humans and are thus susceptible to catching common ailments like flu, colds and even Covid19. This means that you will be required to wear your mask at all times when Rwanda Gorilla Trekking to protect them and also you from catching any ailments that they may have.

When should I go to see Mountain Gorillas in Africa?

Mountain Gorilla Trekking safaris are an all year-round adventure. However, the drier seasons are more favorable for this wild excursion than during the wet months. In Uganda, the dry seasons between June-August and December-February are the most chosen months for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

During this time, the forest floor is dry and the paths are clearer and more pronounced. Also, great pictures can be expected and you will definitely enjoy an entire hour with the Gorillas. This is not the case with the wet season though as most roads are slippery and impassable and you might get more water in your camera than pictures!

The challenge comes in though with scarcity of permits during the dry season. For Uganda/Rwanda Gorilla trekking tours, the dry months are called “peak seasons” and they come with an influx of tourists, increased permit prices and higher accommodation costs. The wet seasons feature heavy rains and some good discounts.

Choosing when to travel for Rwanda Gorilla trekking will entirely depend on what you can handle. If you are trekking in the dry season, book in advance for your permit and if you prefer to take advantage of the discounts in the wet season, you will definitely need to have some waterproof hiking boots and a raincoat.

Where do I stay?

When it comes to where to stay for a Rwanda/Uganda Gorilla trekking safari, it all comes down to what you can afford, location of the lodge and what services and facilities they offer. Budget accommodations range from $50 -$100, midrange go for $150-$200 while luxury ranges from $300-$2,500.

Some things to consider when choosing where to stay for Gorilla Trekking tours

  • Choose a lodge located near the trekking point
  • Consider extra services such as laundry services and WIFI
  • Meals offered; go for a diverse menu that covers some international dishes.

Some of the best lodges for Gorilla trekking Uganda tours include;

  • Sanctuary Gorilla Forest lodge

It is an eco-friendly lodge located at the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest lodge is perfect for trekkers that want to experience Mountain Gorilla trekking tours in utter luxury.

There are only ten tents at the lodge but each one of them employs incredible luxury costing $760 upwards per night. Do not be shocked if you spot some Gorillas near this lodge since it is located within the Bwindi Forest itself.

  • Gorilla Heights Lodge

Set within the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Gorilla Heights Lodge is another luxury accommodation that you can use for your Gorilla trekking Rwanda tours. It is the point where adventure meets luxury.

It is about 10 minutes from the start of the Gorilla trekking trips trailhead and accommodations costs about $700 upwards per night. Other amenities such as a health club, heated swimming pool, restaurant, gift shop and canopy bar can be found at Gorilla Heights Lodge.

  • Mahogany Springs

If you are in the market for a quiet luxury to midrange accommodation, then Mahogany springs is the perfect lodge for you. It offers great prices ranging from $240 upwards per night; depending on your budget while still maintaining a classic and luxurious touch.

The entire lodge is covered in art and cultural materials such as bamboo and stones giving it a more cultural feel. Guests are welcome to relax at the public lounge or in their room completely surrounded by quiet wilderness running on for miles. The perfect place to enjoy a drink after a Gorilla trekking Uganda adventure!

  • Gorilla Safari Lodge

Gorilla safari lodge is the gem of the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It offers mid-range and luxury accommodations to guests that are brave enough to seek out the enchanting Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat and at the same time seek a refreshing rest.

It is uniquely situated near the Gorilla Trekking Uganda trailhead at Nkuringo which means transfers are effortless. Kick back and relax in this tranquil environment listening as the birds serenade you and the cool breeze touches your skin. Cottages are priced at $233 upwards per night.

  • Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge

Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge is built on the shores of Lake Mulehe, conveniently placed 20km from the southern gate of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park in Rushaga and about 25km from Mgahinga gorilla National Park. It makes it possible to juggle a Mountain Gorilla Trekking Uganda experience in both parks.

Rooms at the lodge are offered in form of single, double or twin rooms costing about $173 upwards per night. It is perfect for trekkers that want to travel between Bwindi and Mgahinga while maintaining a budget safari. Spend the evening cooling off by the Lake’s shores while doing some light bird watching.

What is the cost for a Gorilla trekking safari/permit?

The cost of Mountain Gorilla Trekking permits in Uganda is USD 700 for foreigners and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens while Rwanda trekking permits cost USD 1,500 and Congo Gorilla trekking permits cost $400. While the cost of the permits seems high, it is mainly directed towards wildlife conservation efforts.

For instance, when Uganda Wildlife Authority receives $700 for gorilla permits, 75% of that money is given to the conservation authorities, 15% is collected by the government while the local communities around the park receive 10% to boost economic activities and livelihoods while promoting cultural encounters as well.

However, when it comes to establishing how much you would spend on a Gorilla trekking safari, you would have to take into account several costs like transportation, meals, tour agency fees and lodging on top of the Gorilla trekking permits. It often comes down to about $1,100 upwards depending mainly on your itinerary and lodging choices.

For instance, staying at a lodge might cost you between $100- $800 per night, transportation from the airport to the park and your lodge might cost between $200 -$300 and permit processing might cost you about $30 depending on the tour operator you use. You also ought to put into account extra amenities such as laundry and baby-sitting.

Other costs to consider on a Gorilla trekking Uganda safari include;

  • Air tickets from your country to Uganda might cost from $800 upwards
  • Border crossing; East African tourist visa costs about $100
  • Food and drinks; usually you could spend about $50 on food and soft drinks per day. Liquor is often excluded from your safari budget and you would need to have cash on you to purchase it.
  • Chartered flights from Entebbe International airport to Bwindi might cost $600
  • Car hires: In case you choose not to use a local tour agent, you might have to hire a car that costs about $80 per day
  • Porters often cost $20 and Sedan chairs to carry you on costs $500.

A typical luxury safari, especially in Rwanda, will cost you over $15,000. This features a gorilla permit worth $1,500 and high-end accommodations like Bisate lodge. In Uganda, a gorilla trekking tour might cost between $1,200 upwards. In Congo, permits cost $400 and an entire trip can cost $1,000 upwards.

Tips on how to cut costs on Mountain Gorilla Trekking safari excursions

  • Consider group safaris; this way you can share costs with other travelers
  • Go for mid-range to budget accommodations; look into lodges that fit your budget but are still comfortable and decent.
  • Look into Gorilla trekking Uganda over Mountain Gorilla Trekking Rwanda trips; you will always save on the cost of the permit
  • If you can endure it, choose a road trip to the park over a chartered flight; you will join a Gorilla Trekking tour with a sight-seeing adventure of the Ugandan landscape.
  • Consider trekking Gorillas in the low season; take advantage of discounts at lodges and abundance of permits.
  • Trek light; refrain from carrying too much luggage that would require you to hire a porter
  • Always trek when you are in good physical condition; you will not need porters or a Sedan chair.

Where can I see the Gorillas in Africa?

Mountain Gorillas only exist in two regions in the entire world; the Virunga Mountain Range and the Central African Forest of Bwindi. This means that for Mountain Gorilla Trekking tours, you would have to travel to Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo and nowhere else.

In Uganda, Gorilla Trekking safaris can be done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In Rwanda, expect a hike to the Virunga volcanoes at Volcanoes National Park and in the DR of Congo, they can be found in Virunga National Park. Each destination offers a unique take of the experience.

Uganda is home to almost more than half of the entire world’s population of Mountain Gorillas with 12 habituated families in four trekking sectors and affordable trekking permits at USD 700. Rwanda features more of a luxurious Mountain Gorilla Trekking experience with fewer gorillas and more costly permits at USD 1,500.

Congo on the other hand offers trekkers a choice between the Mountain Gorillas of Virunga National Park and the lowland Gorillas of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. However, with constant insecurity in the area, many tourists have opted for Gorilla trekking Rwanda safaris or Gorilla Trekking Uganda tours.

So, when it comes down to Uganda/Rwanda Gorilla trekking safaris, it is a matter of price, convenience and your chance of seeing the Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park offers affordable permits (cheaper than Rwanda) and a 99% chance of actually seeing the primates.

Where can I go for Gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Uganda has two destinations where you can trek Gorillas in the wild; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mgahinga has only one habituated Gorilla family and it is often mobile between Uganda and Rwanda.

Bwindi on the other hand, has 12 habituated Gorilla families giving you a 99% chance of seeing Mountain Gorillas. In addition, the fact that it harbors almost more than half of the world’s Gorilla population makes it the perfect destination for Gorilla Trekking Uganda tours.

For this reasons Gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park are often sold out faster than those for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This is unavoidable since Bwindi is a popular choice so endeavor to always book your Uganda/Rwanda Gorilla trekking safari on time.

Gorilla families located in each sector of Bwindi:

  • Rushaga sector; Kutu, Bikingi, Mishaya, Bushigye, Kahungye, Rwigi, Bweza, Nshongi and Mucunguzi
  • Ruhija sector; Mukiza, Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguliro
  • Nkuringo sector; Christmas, Nkuringo and Bushaho
  • Buhoma sector; Habinyanja, Katwe, Mubare and Rushegura

Trekkers can often choose which sector and family they want to trek but this is often possible if you book in time or during the low seasons. Sometimes during peak seasons, permits are scarce and you would have to trek the available Gorilla family. Also, you might not have to choose between Bwindi and Mgahinga but rather opt to trek the available gorilla family.

What is the age limit for Mountain Gorilla Trekking tours?

Only persons aged 15 and older are allowed to indulge in Gorilla trekking safaris Uganda. This is simply because although gentle, Mountain Gorillas are huge and maybe frightening to children which would in turn cause them to act in ways such as unnecessary and abrupt movements and noise that may upset or trigger the apes.

Baby Gorillas are quite curious animals and they often approach trekkers. The main logic behind the age limit is that children may not be able to remain calm or remember rules such as not to engage the Gorillas and this might prompt Silverbacks to attack in attempts to protect their young and family.

What country offers the best options for seeing Mountain Gorillas?

Comparing destinations for Gorilla trekking tours can be quite tricky since each country offers a unique and different perspective of the excursion. Enjoy magical moments with Gorilla Trekking Rwanda entailing private luxury escapades within the seemingly never-ending hills of the country.

When it comes to Uganda, expect nothing less than an all-round wildlife safari featuring Gorilla Trekking Uganda tours and a savannah game drive in one of the hottest national parks in the country such as Murchison Falls, Kidepo and Queen Elizabeth. You can add other safari activities to this Uganda tour such as boat launches and birding.

Choosing where to go for Rwanda or Uganda Gorilla trekking safaris might come down to the cost of the safari and preference. Permits for Gorilla trekking Rwanda cost $1,500 while Uganda charges $700 for trekking permits. Each single permit gives you the same time with the gorillas (1hr) and only 8 people can trek each group in a day

On another note, if you desire to trek Gorillas but also want to witness the Great Annual Wildebeest Migration then contact our expert team at Travelmonke Tours to tailor the perfect safari for you. Using an East African tourist Visa, cross over to either Tanzania or Kenya after Gorilla Trekking Rwanda tours for an additional wildlife safari.

How difficult is it to trek Mountain Gorillas?

Mountain gorillas live at high altitudes (between 2,600m-4,500m) on the Virunga Volcanoes and within the Impenetrable forests of Bwindi making getting to them quite challenging. You would have to tread over the rugged terrain and steep slopes of the Virunga Mountain range until you come to where the gorillas are.

When it comes to Bwindi, the name “Impenetrable” says it all. The forest is characterized by thick undergrowth that makes access only possible on foot and with a machete to clear shrubs out of the way. As if this isn’t challenging enough, the park is located in the wake of the Albertine rift and rolling hills of south western Uganda.

It thus goes without saying that Mountain Gorilla trekking Uganda is quite the challenge but once you see the Gorillas, every climb will be worth it! Wear comfortable hiking boots and where possible make use of porters especially if you are not physically fit for the climb. If in poor health, refrain from Gorilla Trekking Rwanda safaris.

What should I pack for Gorilla trekking tours?

Depending on the season; rainy or dry, you should ensure you have all the necessary items that you will need when Gorilla Trekking Rwanda. Some items include;

  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Insect repellents
  • Light weight rain jacket
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Poncho or sweater
  • A pair of binoculars
  • Bottled water
  • Gloves
  • Gaiters
  • Trousers and long-sleeved shirts
  • Snacks
  • Earth colored clothes such as; brown, black, dark green and Navy blue.

What is the Gorilla Trekking rules for Post Covid19 Visitors?

Mountain gorillas share over 90% of their DNA with humans thus making them susceptible to human ailments such as the flu, colds and even possibly Covid19. In an attempt to keep these Apes safe, certain rules have been set up for Gorilla Trekking safaris including;

  • Do not touch or make any physical contact whatsoever with the gorillas
  • Stay at least 10m away from the Gorillas at all times
  • Carry two masks; when in the presence of the gorillas, you will be asked to swap with a fresh one which you ought to keep on at all times
  • Spend 1 -1 ½ hours with the Gorillas
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing while in the presence of the apes
  • Always sanitize and maintain social distance within the park
  • Anyone who exhibits signs of illness shall not be allowed to trek. Incase such symptoms arise during Gorilla trekking, they will be evacuated immediately
  • Only persons 15years and older can be allowed to trek Gorillas

How about a Gorilla Habituation Experience?

Before Mountain gorillas are declared fit for Gorilla trekking Uganda tours, they have to first go through a 3-year habituation experience. Gorilla Habituation is simply the process scientists put the apes through to get them accustomed to human presence while they continue about their day to day lives.

You will head out early in the morning with scientists, rangers and trackers to find wild and un-habituated gorillas. The experience lasts the entire day as primatologists’ study and passively observe how the gorillas react to their presence and how best to interpret Gorilla behavior during Gorilla trekking Rwanda.

While Mountain gorilla habituation Uganda is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, it can be quite costly. Habituation permits cost $1,500 and only 4 visitors can participate in the experience in a day. The opportunity of being able to learn about Gorillas first hand and prepare them for Gorilla trekking safaris is quite like no other.

How do I get a Gorilla trekking Permit?

Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for both Mgahinga gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National park. However, due to the mobility of the gorilla family in Mgahinga, chances of seeing Gorillas there are lo so most of the permits purchased by trekkers are for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

When it comes to Bwindi, there are about 12 habituated Gorilla families and yet only 8 people are allowed to trek a particular family in a day. This means that only about 96 Gorilla permits are issued for Bwindi per day yet hundreds of tourists come desire to participate in this activity each day.

This means that some people miss out on the experience. Therefore, it is recommended to book for your permit months before the actual date. Trekkers are also advised to purchase Gorilla trekking tours permits through a tour agent. Tour companies possess knowledge of the area and know which gorilla family is near your lodge.

Additionally, they can purchase up to 80% of trekking permits through AUTO for up to 2 years before the trekking date meaning they have a better chance of matching a Gorilla trekking Uganda permit with your safari. Also, if you are using their other services such as transfers, they will often charge a lower permit processing fee.

Prices for Rwanda/Uganda gorilla trekking permits

  • Uganda permits cost $700 (1hr experience)
  • Uganda Gorilla Habituation permits cost $1,500 (full day experience)
  • Rwanda trekking permits cost $1,500
  • Congo trekking permits cost $400
  • East African residents pay UGX 250,000

The process of acquiring a gorilla trekking permit is quite easy:

  1. Inform the tour operator of your travel date and when exactly you intend to go for Gorilla Trekking Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  2. You will receive feedback about whether the dates are favorable and also temporarily book them
  3. You will receive the company’s bank account where you can pay for the permits or use a credit card
  4. You will receive an acknowledgement email following your pay and after that, details of your passport will be required to reserve your Gorilla trekking Rwanda permit.
  5. Your permit will then be acquired and any additional charges may be added for services like Telephone calls and transportation incurred during acquiring the permit.

Cancelling your permit:

In the event that you do not wish to participate in Mountain Gorilla trekking trips or cannot make it for the safari on that day or are ill, you may be entitled to a certain refund following the Uganda Wildlife Authority refund policy laid out below:

Period of Cancellation


91 days and above


46 to 90 days


9 to 45 days


0 to 8 days


 Trekkers should note that refunds are only given to persons who had fully paid for their permits; deposits are non-refundable. Also, while emergencies are inevitable, it is always recommended to inform your local tour operator as soon as possible so that they can start processing a refund on your Gorilla trekking Uganda permit.

What should I wear on a Gorilla Trekking safari?

Gorilla Trekking Rwanda involves hiking over rugged ridges and steep slopes of the Virunga Mountain range in order to come to where the mountain gorillas are spending their day. This means that you ought to wear something that does not hinder you from hiking and does not wear you down.

When it comes to Bwindi, the forest floor is covered in thick undergrowth that requires comfortable shoes and trousers to protect your feet. Additionally, you will need to keep your hands safe from thorns and scratches. The bright colors are recommended for this adventure as are rain gear during the wet season.

What you can wear for Gorilla Trekking Rwanda tours

  • Comfortable hiking boots
  • Trousers and long-sleeved shirts
  • A pair of gaiters
  • Earth colors such as army green, brown, navy blue and black
  • Insect repellants
  • A backpack with light essentials such as water and snacks
  • A sweater or poncho
  • A raincoat

Are Mountain Gorillas Dangerous species?

Although habituated, Mountain gorillas are wild animals. This calls for extreme caution by trekkers to avoid any confrontation between themselves and the apes. Some rules that can help you stay safe include;

  • Maintain at least a distance of 10m between you and the apes
  • Avoid any physical contact with the gorillas
  • Turn off your camera flash while taking pictures
  • Avoid noises and abrupt and random movements
  • When a gorilla charges at you, curl down to show submission
  • Do not feed or eat in the presence of Mountain gorillas
  • When approached by baby gorillas, do not engage or even play with them.
  • Do not imitate gorilla sounds and noises when on Gorilla trekking tours.

All in all, Mountain gorillas are gentle apes and will most likely not attack if you do not display any signs of aggression. Always follow the set rules and guidelines given to you by the rangers during the briefing and the entire Gorilla trekking Uganda process to keep you and the others around you safe.