Where To Go For Gorilla Trekking? Where to find Mountain Gorillas?
Where do I go to trek gorillas in Africa? Mountain Gorilla trekking is of no doubt every primate lover’s dream adventure but before setting off on your safari, it is important to know which is the best place to go to track gorillas in their natural habitat. Mountain Gorillas are generally ground dwellers and remarkably, a few most magnificent creatures in the world enthusiastic nature lover shouldn’t miss to catch a glimpse on safari holiday in Africa.
There are 2 distinct species of gorillas; the Eastern gorilla and Western gorillas each with a sub-specie. The Eastern gorilla is comprised of mountain gorillas which remain fewer than 1063 in total worldwide and the Eastern lowland gorillas whereas the western gorilla features the Cross River gorilla and Western lowland gorillas.
The 4 sub-species of gorillas exist in different places in Africa with the rare mountain gorillas dwelling only in 3 countries; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Viewing any of the sub-species of gorillas rewards travelers on gorilla safari in Africa with ultimately a unique experience.
Best places to visit for Gorilla Trekking
The best places any primate enthusiast shouldn’t consider a must-visit on gorilla trekking safari in Africa include among others;
Uganda is considerably one of the best mountain gorilla safari destinations one can visit to see the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. It is estimated to host approximately a half of all the 1063 mountain gorillas in the world and they can be tracked by tourists on Uganda safaris to any of these 2 magical national parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Travelers on gorilla safari can access these protected areas in Southwestern Uganda and by road, it takes you between 8 and 9 hours to drive from Kampala or Entebbe depending on the route you take. It is also possible to reach these parks from Kigali via Chanika or Katuna border to Kisoro or Kabale town about 3-4 hours’ drive. Alternatively, there is an option of flight services starting from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi airstrip.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone expands up to 331sq.kms and hosts an estimate of about 459 mountain gorillas. Currently, tourists on Uganda gorilla trekking safari can track anyone of the 20 habituated gorilla group families which are distributed in the park’s 4 main regions; Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga sectors.
Nkuringo and Rushaga are in the southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park however, Rushaga alone features habituated families such as Kahungye, Mucunguzi, Mishaya, Kutu which is also set for gorilla habituation experience, Nshongi, Bweza, Busingye, Bikingi and Rwingi. Nkuringo region comprises of Nkuringo, Christmas, Bushaho gorilla then Ruhija sector has Oruzongo, Mukiza, Bitukura, Kyaguriro group families whereas Buhoma in the North consists of Habinyanja, Rushegura, Katwe, Mubare gorilla family groups.
If you don’t like crowds, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the best option for you however, Nyakagezi gorilla family is the only habituated group available for tourists on Uganda gorilla trekking safari tour to explore.
Cost of gorilla permits in Uganda
Following the recent changes on gorilla tariffs by Uganda Wildlife Authority, tourists on Uganda gorilla safari can now obtain their valid gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 if you are foreign resident and the East African Community citizens at Uganda Shillings 250000. Given the long and stressful process then considering the high demand, contacting a reliable tour operator like us saves you a lot and amazingly, we go further to plan an incredible Uganda gorilla safari holiday for you.
Rwanda is probably known for her history but there is a lot more to know about this dubbed land of a thousand hills. For first time travelers, Rwanda is by far an incredible destination worthy visiting for gorilla trekking. A visit to this beautiful land of a thousand hills lets you engage on a trek to see mountain gorillas. It is estimated to host over 30% of the 1063 mountain gorillas all confined in only Volcanoes National Park Northwestern side of the country.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes National Park are conducted in 10 habituated gorilla group families (Karisimbi, Bwenge, Kwitonda, Amahoro, Hirwa, Susa A, Umubano, Agashya, Ugenda and Sabyinyo group). A gorilla tour in Rwanda also never complete without a visit to Dian Fossey tomb site to learn more about her gorilla conservation legacy. Each gorilla permit in Rwanda is obtainable at US Dollars 1500 and you can book one through our reservation team or via Rwanda Development Board.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Unlike other gorilla destinations, the Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts 3 unique gorilla sub-species; a section of mountain gorillas and the Eastern lowland gorillas in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park respectively. The Western Lowland gorillas also exist in the extreme western side around the Madiakoko Mountains.
However, popular gorilla safaris are carried out in Virunga National Park where tourists on Congo tour can view the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. This premier gorilla safari park is found in the Eastern part of DRC, occupying an area of 7800 square kilometers. Its establishment in 1925 was purposely to protect a section of mountain gorillas who survival still remains at higher risk of extinction in the wild.
Trekkers on Congo gorilla trekking safari in Virunga National Park can explore anyone of the 8 habituated gorilla groups (Lulengo, Mapuwa, Bageni group, Nyakamwe group, Kabirizi, Munyaga gorilla family, Rugendo group and Humba gorilla group). You will need US Dollars 450 to book your gorilla permit in the DR Congo slightly cheaper than Rwanda.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park also offers yet another distinct gorilla safari experience to primate lovers on tour in Africa. A visit to this park lets you participate in the Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking. However, a section of Eastern Lowland gorillas also exists in Tayna Gorilla Reserve, Maiko National Park, Usala Forest and Itombwe Massif. The cost of Eastern lowland gorilla trekking permits in DRC is 450 US Dollars just like mountain gorilla permits.
Other places to see gorillas
Other sub-species of gorillas (western lowland gorillas) can be best species in Cameroon (Cross River gorillas), Nigeria also for Cross River gorillas, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Republic of Cong and Central African Republic.
Best time to go for Gorilla Trekking
Tracking gorillas can be done at any time of the year. However, the dry season recommended as the best time to visit Uganda, Rwanda and DRC for gorilla trekking adventures. This means, trekkers can consider visiting these premier gorilla destinations in June, July, August, September and December, January, February. These dry months are characterized by low rainfall which makes the ground a bit drier and trekkers can easily hike through the rain-forest and steep slopes to look for a gorilla group.
However, trekkers can also visit Uganda, Rwanda and DRC during the wet or rainy season also best known as the low season. This usually begins in March, April, May and October, November.
What to pack on Gorilla Trekking Tour?
A complete gorilla safari to Uganda, Rwanda and DRC involves you packing appropriately and most importantly, you need good waterproof hiking boots, valid gorilla permit, first aid kit, daypack, rain jacket, passport, visa, camera with no flashlight, long sleeved shirt, trousers, sun hat, bottled drinking water, snacks and others.
Plan Your Next Gorilla Trekking Trip Here