The Mountain Gorilla
Up-to 6ft (1.8m) tall, 485lbs (120kgs) heavy,
Human's closest look-alike mammal (98% of human DNA),
And only 1,000 of them roam the small mountain forests in East Africa.
Do you wanna see them?
Knowing the mountain gorilla
Gorillas are large apes that are native to Africa. They are typically divided into two groups. The larger ones, the mountain gorilla lives only in one region, the mountainous regions of central Africa, while the lowland gorilla lives in the flat, dense forests of central and western Africa and you've probably seen this one in your zoo.
Mountain gorillas are the world's largest primate with close to 98% human DNA. A little less than our other cousins, the chimpanzee. Gorillas are stocky animals with broad chests and shoulders, large hands, and forearms that are much shorter than the upper arm. The face is black and hairless, with small eyes that are close together and large, prominent nostrils.Read More
Useful Gorilla Tour Information
Information you need to know before your trip planning starts
The Gorilla Tracking Experience
A gorilla Trekking Safari is an unforgettable life-time experience that no human should miss. Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo have in the recent year become a tourist hot spot because of the gorilla trekking safari activity done in the Virunga Mountain ranges shared between the three countries, the only place to find the mountain gorilla.
The Gorilla Tracking Guidelines
The Gorilla Trekking Guidelines are for you planning on a primates holiday safari to where these magnificent creatures are live—in the Southwestern corner of Uganda, Rwanda and the D.R. Congo. The following briefing information would apply equally well in any of the 3 countries where you may trek Mountain Gorilla’s.
Gorilla Safaris for the physically disabled
Are you older, less mobile, or physically disabled and would like to have the once in a lifetime chance to see the mountain gorillas high up in the mountain jungles between 2,300 to 4,500 metres and are very discouraged? Yes you can also pump up that adrenaline of see these beautiful creatures and no one should discourage you.
Mountain Gorilla Tours
TREK DEEP INTO THE EAST AFRICAN JUNGLE
Let's take you deep into the East African mountain jungle in search of the magnificent mountain gorillas. These endangered creatures are only found in the mountain forests of the border shared between DR Congo, Uganda and Rwanda and no where else in the world. A protected and guided trek into these jungles in search of a single family is a true African Jungle Adventure and spending the allotted time with them is an experience no one can narrate. Come, let's take you there!
Short Tailored Gorilla Tours
Short gorilla tours are tailored for those travellers that do not have much time on holiday but want to tick this bucket list item off their travel calendar.
Are you a businessman/woman that can spare just a weekend away or you were visiting Africa on another agenda and thought, why not gorilla tracking? The short gorilla tours are perfect for your safari extension too. As a local DMC that would like to stay in business, our primary goal is to make sure you get a perfect gorilla tour experience that's unmatched. We'll process your gorilla tracking permit (US$600 in Uganda and US$1500 in Rwnda), your safari accommodation, transportation and meals on your gorilla tour. You don't have to worry about anything except have a great gorilla experience.
The Gorilla Close Encounter
Set out in search of magical encounters with the ten families of mountain gorilla that makes the Virunga Mountains their home. Explore this scenic landscape, where Dian Fossey carried out her ground-breaking gorilla research, traversing slopes covered with rainforest and bamboo. Home to no less than five volcanoes, you will delve deep into the park’s dense, misty forests, accompanied by an expert ranger. It typically takes between two and five hours to locate your allocated gorilla family and you will then have the opportunity to spend some time quietly observing these charismatic creatures.
See Gorillas and Do Something Else
A wildlife experience with the magnificent mountain gorilla is like no other. Savour every second as you watch them foraging, playing, teasing each other, eating or slumbering in an uncanny resemblance to ourselves. Also, you could extend your gorilla tour and add another exciting activity like Chimpanzee Tracking or Savannah wildlife viewing game drive.
"There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with the gorilla than any other animal that I know. We're so similar. Their sight, their hearing, their sense of smell are so similar to ours, that they see the world in the same way as we do."
~ David Attenborough, during his famous encounter with gorillas in 1978's Life on Earth
How to see mountain gorillas
In Uganda, all gorilla permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), which is in charge of all the national parks. There are 11 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi (out of around 36 families), and a maximum of eight permits are issued to track each habituated family per day. Another habituated gorilla family lives in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, in the far southwest, but they often migrate over the border into neighbouring DR Congo; when this happens they cannot be tracked.
When booking a Uganda holiday, your tour company will secure the gorilla permits for you; some travellers like to book two permits on consecutive days to make the most of the experience. Be sure to book your holiday well in advance, especially during the peak summer months, to ensure that there are still permits available. With just 88 issued per day, they sell out fast!
The habituated families vary in size from seven to 36 members, with typically around 12-18 members per group. Most groups also include at least one huge silverback.
Best time for gorilla trekking
The best time for gorilla trekking is, most importantly, when you can get a permit to do so. They are like gold dust, but that is where the specialist tour operators like us step in. We are like the Willy Wonkas who give out golden tickets into the magical worlds of gorillas. Worlds where it rains all year round, but much more so between November or between March and May. Tourists tend to stay away during those.
What does gorilla tracking involve?
Tracking gorillas in Uganda takes you deep into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, along the densely forested mountain slopes. You’ll likely be walking through the slippery terrain, up and downhill, for around 2-6 hours in total. When you encounter the gorillas you’ll spend up to an hour in their presence – watching them interact, play, forage, relax – and quite possibly gaze at the strange group of humans who has walked all this way to find them.
You’ll need to stay at least 7m away from the gorillas to avoid disease transmission; even a common cold can be dangerous for a gorilla. For this reason, it is not permitted to track gorillas if you are ill, nor is eating or drinking allowed.
Of course, there will be fantastic opportunities for taking photos of the gorillas – but do remember that this is, probably, a once in a lifetime experience – so put the camera down and ensure you spend time enjoying the incredible feeling of being close to mountain gorillas, in their home.
Read more tips in our gorilla guide