Gorilla Trekking Safaris

Luxury and Budget Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda
All inclusive gorilla tours with the tracking permit per person

TRENDING GORILLA TOURS

The most requested for gorilla tours that are all inclusive with gorilla permits, meals, accommodation and transfers. Request a gorilla trekking tour quote with our consultants to help you plan your trip, we're on standby to serve you.



The Mountain Gorilla

Up-to 6ft (1.8m) tall, 485lbs (120kgs) heavy,
Human's closest cousin (98% of human DNA),
And only 1,000 of them roam the small mountain rainforests in Eastern Africa.
An adventure into the jungles of Rwanda & Uganda has been described as one one life's most fulfilling travel dreams.

The Mountain Gorilla

Gorillas are large apes that are native to Africa. They are typically divided into two groups. The larger ones, the mountain gorillas live only two regions, the Albertine mountain rainforest of Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Volcanic slopes of Virunga mountains shared bewtween Uganda (Mgahinga National Park), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and DR Congo (Virunga National Park. The smaller ones, the lowland gorillas live in the flat, dense forests of central and western Africa and you've probably seen them in your home 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.

Seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat and looking into their eyes as they feed and go on by their day is so humbling and fulfilling as many travelers to these parts of Africa can attest. Watch the video bellow to get a quick intro.

Useful Gorilla Tour Information

Information you need to know before planning your gorilla tour trip.

THE GORILLA PERMIT

What is a gorilla permit?

A mountain gorilla trekking permit is an authoritative card issued by Wildlife Authority on behalf of the government to any traveler above the age of 15 years that wants to be escorted into the mountain gorilla jungle to see a selected habituated mountain gorilla family in a designated region. The traveler should be able to pay the asking price of the gorilla permit herself or through a licensed safari agent/operator.

In the recent years the Eastern Africa jungles have seen an influx of travelers that want to see the mountain gorillas. This alone has made the gorilla permit a very scarce commodity in the travel industry pushing travelers to book the permit way ahead of their travel dates. If you’re planning on seeing gorillas this year, I would recommend you run and get yours at least 4 months before your travel date. Otherwise, your travel calendar may be disrupted.

How much does gorilla permit cost?

A gorilla permit cost varies depending on one of the three countries you chose to go tracking the gorillas.

In Uganda the gorilla permit currently costs US$600 per person per day, but that price will be changing to US$700 for Foreign non-residents, and US$500 to US$600 for Foreign-residents starting July 1, 2020. You can download the tariff guide document and keep for reference.

In Rwanda the gorilla permit costs US$1,500 per person per day. And in DR Congo, the gorilla permit will cost you US$400 per person per day.

Why do I have to buy a gorilla permit? What do I need to get a gorilla permit? Is there a gorilla permit refund or cancellation? These and more questions are answered in a great blog post about gorilla permits, check it out!

Close Encounter With Gorillas

TREK DEEP INTO THE EAST AFRICAN JUNGLE

To see the mountain gorillas, you'll be transported by your travel operator by a comfortable 4x4 private safari truck or chartered local plane to the mountain gorilla sanctuary (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, or Mgahinga NP or Volcanoes NP) and you'll spend a night in one of the magnificent forest camps located near the trail heads. Next day you'll be briefed and escorted by a guide and rangers (with other 7 individuals that will join your party) into the thick, misty and dump floors jungle, hiking, breaking twigs and cutting shrubs with machete until you find your party's designated habituated mountain gorilla family. With strict rules not to make contact or make noise, you'll spend at most one hour observing, taking photos and interacting with your guide in their presences. Make sure you carry your empathy bag with you because you may leave with much more than you came with.

Watch this video to get a sneak peak experience into the jungle. Our gorilla tour experts are expecting your email or call to help you craft a great gorilla trekking safari for you.

Image credit: ADRIENNE JORDAN

Short Custom & All-inclusive 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 trekking? 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$700 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.

3 Day Uganda Gorilla Tracking Tour
03 Days Start: Ebb

Budget Uganda Gorilla Tracking Tour to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park by Road

3 Day Bwindi Gorilla Tour
03 Days Start: Ebb

Spend a day high up in Bwindi Impenetrable mountain forest with Gorillas

4 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda
04 Days Start: Ebb

Track Chimps in Kibale Forest and transfer to Bwindi for Gorilla Tracking

Rwanda Gorilla Tour
03 Days Start: Kigali

Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park is accessed easily from Kigali capital and this could be your choice.

Tracking Gorillas in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda's top destination that offers luxury gorilla encounters. Set two and a half hours outside Kigali capital, Volcanoes offers the easiest way to see mountain gorillas than any other park. Volcanoes shares ground with Uganda's Mgahinga NP and DR Congo's Virunga NP only separated by vitual political borders. 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.

In this short video, Sir David Attenborough takes you through Dian Fossey’s journey of the mountain gorilla experience. Our experts will be waiting for you to help you put together a gorilla tour. Watch this short film first.

See Gorillas and Explore East Africa

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.

5 Day Gorilla Tracking and Wildlife Safari
05 Days Start: Ebb

Go on this budget Uganda safari that combines Gorilla Tracking with wildlife game drive and boat Safari

6 Day Uganda Gorillas, Chimps & Game Drive Safari
06 Days Start: Ebb

Gorilla Tracking, Chimpanzee Tracking and Wildlife Viewing Game Drive & Boat Safari

Uganda Safaris - Uganda Holiday Adventure
09 Days Start: Ebb

Uganda Holiday Adventure includes gorillas, wild game drives, boat safaris, chimpanzee and culture.

13 Days Start: Ebb

Uganda Highlights Safari including Gorillas, Wildlife & Chimpanzee viewing

 

"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 & Rwanda

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.

Inspiring Travel Stories

From jungle experiences to information about how to book your safari trip, our travel blog keeps you up-to date with Eastern Africa jungle tales.

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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.

High Season: June to September (It's rarely crowded, but you'll need to book your gorilla permits long in advance). Low Season: March, April, May, October, November (Some lodges and camps in high rainfall areas close down; roads and forest trails can be in poor condition)


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

 

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