Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda – FAQs and Trekking Safaris
What is Gorilla Trekking?
Gorilla trekking safaris are one of the tours done in Uganda and Rwanda. Gorilla trekking involves moving through the forest of Bwindi or Mgahinga tracking these great apes.
The trek can be strenuous sometimes because the gorillas keep on moving from one location to the other.
The movement of the gorillas depends on the location of the food.
About Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are native of the Virunga Conservation area, an area covering Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.
Apart from Virunga’s, these apes can also be found in Bwindi forest National Park.
Many of the gorillas that are known are lowland western gorillas located in Central West African countries.
The gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda are part of the eastern gorillas living in high altitude places usually between 2,200m–4,300m. Mountain gorillas have over 95% of human DNA this makes them the closest to humans only second to Chimpanzees.
These primate species are endangered having been hunted by early settlers and local people to almost extinction.
However efforts have been made to revive the population of these apes and this is mainly through the gorilla trekking safaris that help to conserve these gentle giants.
Where to do Gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are located in two national parks. The first group is located in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Bwindi impenetrable forest is a home to half of the mountain gorillas in the world.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park Gorilla Groups
- Rushegura Group
- Habinyanja Group
- Mubare Group
- Kahungye Gorilla Group
- Nshongi Group
- Mishaya Group
- Bitukura Group
- Oruzogo Gorilla Group
- Kyaguliro Gorilla Group
- Mukiza Gorilla Group
- Nkuringo Group
- Chrismas Group
- Bushaho Group
- Kapisho Group
Gorillas are also located in Mgahinga Gorilla park which is found on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. The gorillas in this forest keep on moving between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
However recently the movements of these gorillas have been stable in Uganda. Mgahinga gorilla park has only 1 gorilla group.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking places
What Mountain Gorillas eat?
Mountain gorillas mostly eat foliage, such as leaves, stems, pith, and shoots (especially bamboo), while fruit makes up a very small part of their diets.
Mountain gorilla food is widely distributed and neither individuals nor groups have to compete with one another.
Their home ranges average 3–15 km2, and their movements range around 500 m or less on an average day.
Despite eating a few species in each habitat, mountain gorillas have flexible diets and can live in a variety of habitats.
An adult mountain gorilla can eat about 30kg every day.
Gorilla Trekking Safaris & Tours in Uganda
Gorilla Trekking Safaris & Tours in Rwanda
What is the best time to go Gorilla trekking?
Just like Chimpanzee trekking, Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is an all year through activity, however there are 2 seasons; high and low season.
The best time to go for a Uganda gorilla trekking Safari depends on the 2 rainy seasons.
The rainy seasons is usually between March – May and October – November. Therefore it best to come between December – March and June – September, but also in the other months, gorilla trekking can be done successfully.
What is the minimum age to go Gorilla trekking
The minimum age to go gorilla trekking in Uganda /Rwanda is 15 years. Therefore you are advised to confirm the age of your children in case you want them to track the gorillas with you.
Make sure on booking the gorilla tour, you send copies of passports of the participants including the children that are 15 years old and above.
The child below the 15 age limit will not be allowed to trek. The rules are strict here.
How to book a Uganda gorilla trekking permit and the permit cost
Gorilla permits booking is a responsibility of Uganda Wildlife Authority, head office in Kampala.
Booking can be done on an individual basis or through Gorilla and adventure Safaris.
How to book Uganda gorilla permits
Gorilla tracking Permit cost
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Cost of Gorilla permit in Uganda and Rwanda
Gorilla permits in Uganda are at a cost of USD700.
The permit in Rwanda costs USD1500.
When to book for a Gorilla permit
It is advisable to book for a gorilla permit months before the actual gorilla trekking date. This helps in organizing your gorilla trekking tour in time.
During the peak season, getting a permit is very hard due to high demand. Therefore booking a permit 3 months before the travel date is advised.
How physically fit should I be before going for a Gorilla trekking Tour?
You should be in good physical condition. If you are sick or do not feel well, then it is recommended that you should not do the trekking.
Trekking can be tiresome and sometimes it can take the whole day, therefore being physically fit comes in handy.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali
Rwanda gorilla trekking is a bit expensive for an average budget traveler. However in case you have very limited time (2 days) and you want to have this experience at a low cost, the option of doing Uganda gorilla trekking from Kigali is a very good option.
The tour starts in Kigali the capital of Rwanda and the gorilla trekking safari can be done either in Bwindi Impenetrable national park of Mgahinga Gorilla park.
Checkout our 2 days Uganda gorilla Trekking tour in Bwindi/Mgahinga.
If you also do not want to travel long distances to see the gorillas, then the option of doing your Gorilla trekking tour in Uganda from Kigali is recommended.
What to pack for a Gorilla trekking tour in Uganda? and What to wear during gorilla trekking
Just like Rwenzori Mountain Trekking/Hike, Gorilla trekking also requires these items when tracking the gorillas.
- Water: Gorilla trekking can be very tiresome and you need to refill your tank as the trek goes on. It is advisable to park a few water filtration tablets before you come for the trek.
- Boots: You will need good waterproof comfortable shoes. Some times it rains during the trek, so skid proof shoes can come in handy.
- Rain Jacket: You are advised to carry rain jacket because if rains very often in Bwindi Impenetrable forest
- Snack: You can carry a light snack to give you some energy during the walk in the forest
- Trouser and Shirts Bwindi forest is covered with thick undergrowth, therefore light trousers and long sleeved shirts are advised.
- Socks: You will have to tuck in the trousers into the socks to avoid insects crawling inside.
- Gloves: You will need Gardening gloves because you will be grabbing tree branches, leaves, name it, and some can be thorny.
- Camera: Carry a good camera (no flash ) to capture this lifetime experience
Link to the resource: What to pack for gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking with F&M Adventure Safaris – A reputable gorilla trekking company in Uganda and Rwanda