It might be thrilling but gorilla trekking in Uganda is the most rewarding and most sought activity by a number of safari goers. This activity that’s done in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks involves heading into the dense rainforests in search of mountain gorillas with the help of armed rangers and guides.
Uganda specifically Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to almost half of these endangered wildlife species in the world and also the best place you can see them in their natural habitat as they feed and play. Whether you are on a 1 day gorilla trekking Uganda experience or 3 day gorilla trekking Uganda, we assure you that there’s nothing as memorable as seeing mountains gorillas – whom we share with 98% of our DNA with.
To go gorilla trekking you will need to have purchased a gorilla trekking permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority at only $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000/= and as Uganda Self Drives, we can help you secure that gorilla trekking permit. Reach out to us and we will do it for you.
To travel to Bwindi or Mgahinga to do gorilla trekking, you will need to have a 4×4 rental car that’s reliable and can navigate the rugged terrains in this part of the country with ease. Whether its self drive Uganda or car rental with a driver in Uganda, we assure you that you will be able to get to any of the destinations all situated in the south western part of Uganda on time and get to do gorilla trekking.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This is so far the best place to go for gorilla trekking, among the most visited places in Uganda and this is attributed to the fact that its home to almost half of the world’s population of these species. Bwindi has four gorilla trekking sectors that include Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga. Each of these sectors has unique gorilla families that has been habituated and made available for tracking.
Buhoma; this is the most popular among travelers and the most trailed sector since gorilla trekking in this area is offered at the lower altitude. Other sectors are situated on higher altitude which requires some level of fitness to go where gorillas are located.
There four gorilla family habituated groups that you will be able to find here and these do include; Mubare, Rushegura, Habimanya, and katwe. Only 32 gorilla trekking permits are available per day to see these endangered species. There’s no gorilla habituation experience in buhoma.
Rushaga: this is situated in the southern part of Bwindi and has the highest number of gorilla families- about 7 families and the only place in Bwindi where you can do gorilla habituation which allows you to spend more than an hour around gorillas. The gorilla families you can find here include; Busigye, Nshongi, Kungye, Bweza and Mishaya families. There over 40 gorilla trekking permits made available each day to travelers and we always advise you to book in advance.
Ruhija: this is located in the east of Bwindi and the only place where you will be able to spot forest elephants in Bwindi. This sector is preferred because of its close proximity to Buhoma, Kabale and Queen Elizabeth National Park. There a few gorillas in this part of Bwindi but visiting this place will reward you incredible beautiful scenic views. Gorilla families you can find here include; Bitukura, Kyaguriro and oruzogo gorilla family groups. Since it has fewer gorilla families, there only 16 gorilla trekking made available per day.
Nkuringo; if you are looking for a less crowded area to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi, then Nkuringo is among the best options to choose from. This sector only has only 1 gorilla trekking family named ‘Nkuringo’ and has 12 members.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
This is yet another place In Uganda where you can mountain gorillas in their habitat. Like Bwindi, this is situated in the south west of Uganda close to Rwanda and DRC borders. This is part of the large virunga conservation area that does cover three countries and while here, you will be to enjoy the beautiful scenic views of the virunga volcanoes, spot the golden monkeys and other fauna and flora.
Mgahinga has about 80 habituated gorillas and only one gorilla family – Nyakenzi. Given that its only one gorilla group available, there only 8 gorilla trekking permits made available each day.
Best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is an all year around activity meaning it can be done throughout the year but to have a rewarding and memorable experience, you will need to visit the park during the dry season of the year.
During the dry season that does take place between June to September and February to March, the park receives less or no rainfall at all which makes the trails within the park are dry and less slippery making your gorilla trekking experience easier.
During the wet season, the park receives a lot of rainfall and this might hinder your itinerary as you can’t head into the jungle when it’s raining. Also it’s during this time that most areas within the park are slippery making movements within the park quite hard.
How to get to Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks for gorilla trekking
There two modes of transport you can use to get to these parks and these include; by road or air. Whether you are on a self drive Uganda or guided tour, to get to these areas you can use the Kampala – Mbarara-Kisoro route depending on the sector you are track gorillas from.
For those going to track gorilla in the Buhoma, you can use the Kampala- Mbarara- Ntugamo – Rukungiri to Kihihi and then to Buhoma.
You can as well use a chartered plane from either Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe International airport to Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro airstrip which are closest to the parks.
How much is gorilla trek in Uganda
The cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda is determined by a few factors and these include the number of people going to do the activity. However the cost of each gorilla trekking permit is $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens.
The cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda is quite cheap compared to Rwanda. In Rwanda, a gorilla trekking permit costs only $1500 per person which is more than double the cost of gorilla trekking permits in Uganda.
Uganda is arguably the best place to track gorillas compared to Rwanda and this is attributed to the fact that it is home to more than a half of mountain gorillas.