Uganda gorilla trekking: Gorilla Tours and Safaris in Bwindi impenetrable National Park Uganda and Mgahinga gorilla national park

Uganda gorilla trekking

September 20, 2020
Safari Tips

Uganda gorilla trekking: Gorilla Tours and Safaris in Bwindi impenetrable National Park Uganda and Mgahinga gorilla national park

Book Uganda gorilla trekking tours and safaris with the best travel company and go trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park to encounter the giant mountain gorillas in their natural habitats for magical experiences.

Africa Adventure Vacations is a premier safari company dedicated in arranging tailor made affordable Uganda gorilla trekking trips and tours. Our gorilla safaris can go as far as Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo upon clients’ request at unbeatable prices.

Uganda gorilla trekking tours involve walking for long distances in search for mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks. Therefore, we advise visitors looking for gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda to be physically fit and ready to trek through the dense forest under the guidance of a professional Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger.

Gorilla Trekking Tours and Safaris in Bwindi impenetrable National Park Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park Uganda is done throughout the year with guaranteed chances of meeting and watching gorillas in all the sectors of the park that is to say; Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector. However; gorilla trekking in Bwndi is best done during dry seasons of Dec to Feb and June to August.

March to May and October to November is considered wet season and gorilla trekking in Bwindi Uganda tend to be difficult to trail into the forest due to slippery landscape and forest cover. However; tourists intending to travel during these months are encouraged to come along with rain jackets and experiences are almost the same during wet and dry seasons.

Wet season is always considered as low season and visitors come in smaller numbers compared to peak seasons of June, July and August; therefore, there is always less crowds and guests tend to spend more intimate time with the gorillas and guides.

Visitors on a workshop in Uganda can opt to book a short 2 days gorilla trekking safari and tour to Bwindi if they are on a tight schedule and wish to go for a quick gorilla tracking adventure however, those who have more days can run 3 days, 4 days and 5 days gorilla trekking tour packages to explore multiple destinations ie Lake Mburo national park, Lake Bunyonyi, Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth national park.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national Park can be accessed by air through either Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe international airport and by road from Kampala / Entebbe and Kigali Rwanda. It’s approximately 7-9 hours’ drive from Kampala/Entebbe to Bwindi by road, 4-5 hours’ drive from Kigali to Bwindi and just 2 hours’ flight from Entebbe to the park.

Visitors are advised to buy and secure gorilla permits in advance to avoid disappoints. Guests then present their passports and gorilla permits to the clerk for gorilla family allocations and capturing relative information before commencing gorilla trekking journeys into the forests of Bwindi.

Uganda gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park always start with briefing sessions at 7 am from different park offices of Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector.

We advise guests to sleep early a day before tracking gorillas as a technical guidance to get ready for a magical gorilla trekking adventure the following day!

After briefing, trekkers are allocated into groups of 8 members to track a certain gorilla family. Some groups start tracking their assigned gorilla group near the park offices while others may drive a certain distance to start their trail. All guests are led and guided by UWA rangers who are very knowledgeable and trained during gorilla trekking trips in Bwindi Uganda.

Gorilla trekking time is between 30 minutes to 7 hours however; this is subject to the movement of the allocated gorilla family a day before and the physical ability of the trekkers. A team of trackers always go ahead of the group in order to identify the location for the gorilla family and later inform your head ranger by a radio call. The chances of encountering gorillas are very high in Bwindi Uganda, standing at 99% however; there have been few cases where the gorilla family moves too far deep into the forest and activity get cancelled to allow tourists go back to their respective lodges before getting dark. But again, this is extremely occasional.

After spotting the gorilla family, you will spend only one hour with them; observe their behavior and different personalities and take some great photos for your memories.

Where to stay on your Uganda gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi

Get a list of accommodation facilities in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park ranging from budget, mid-range and luxury safari lodges in Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors;

Safari Lodges in Ruhija Sector

  • Agandi Lodge
  • Bakiga Lodge
  • Gorilla Mist Camp
  • Broadbill Forest Camp

Safari Lodges in Buhoma sector

  • Buhoma Lodge
  • Buhoma Haven Lodge
  • Mahogany Springs
  • Silverback Lodge
  • Bwindi Lodge
  • Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
  • Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Safari Lodges in Nkuringo Sector

  • Gorilla Heights Lodge
  • Nkuringo Safari Lodge
  • Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Safari Lodges in Rushaga sector

  • Bwindi Jungle Lodge
  • Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
  • Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Chameleon Hill
  • Rushaga Gorilla Camp

Gorilla Trekking Tours and Safaris in Mgahinga National Park Uganda

Mgahinga is located in Kisoro district in the south west region of the country and considered to be the smallest park in Uganda covering an area of 33 square kilometers, sitting on a high altitude of 4,127m. Mgahinga national park is part of the mighty Virunga massif and a home to a number of mountain gorillas for trekking experiences and adventures. The park was established in 1991 to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and it is well known for offering amazing gorilla safaris and tours in Uganda.

A total population of 80 mountain gorillas can be found in this park however; only one gorilla family is habituated called Nyakagyezi is open for visitation. Nyakagyezi gorilla family used to move to Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Dr Congo however, it has now settled in Uganda for four years.

Gorilla trekking safaris and tours to Mgahinga national park Uganda are great because the park attracts fewer crowds compared to Bwindi hence only 8 gorilla permits are issued by UWA per day. Tourists intending to track Mgahinga gorillas are advised to book and secure gorilla permits in advance through Africa Adventure Vacations or directly with Uganda Wildlife Authority at their head office in Kampala to avoid disappointments. Gorilla trekking permits for Mgahinga is at a cost of $700 for foreign nonresidents and $600 to foreign residents.

Gorilla trekking tours can be done throughout the year in Mgahinga national park however, the best time to visit gorillas is during dry seasons of December to February and June to September. During dry seasons, the trails tend to be drier and less muddy to make movement through the forest easier while searching for gorillas.

Tracking gorillas in Mgahinga national park starts with a morning briefing at the park entrance gate of Ntebeko on the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking in Uganda. The average gorilla tracking time in Mgahinga gorilla national park is less than Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park because Nyakagyezi family lives and feeds in a shorter range hence spotting this beautiful group is easier. However, if this group moves towards one of the three volcanoes found in the park, moving through the mountain slopes may be difficult especially to those who are unfit.

After meeting the gorilla family, you will be allowed to watch the gorillas for one hour to take photos and observe their behaviors. Later come back to the park offices to pick your gorilla trekking certificates.

Where to stay on your Uganda gorilla trekking safari in Mgahinga

Are you looking for exceptional lodging and accommodation in Mgahinga gorilla National Park? Discover different properties with easy access to Mgahinga ranging from budget to Luxury safari lodges and hotels; offering top notch services to visitors on their Uganda gorilla trekking tours and safaris at affordable rate.  Below are the selected lodges and hotels;

  • Mount Gahinga Safari lodge
  • Amajambere Iwacu camp
  • Chameleon Hill Lodge
  • Traveler’s Nest Hotel
  • Nkuringo Safari Lodge
  • Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
  • Sky Blue
  • Virunga Hotel
  • Rugigana Campsite
  • Mubano Hotel
  • Montana Guest House
  • Muhabura Motel
  • Mount Gahinga Rest Camp
  • Mount Gahinga Lodge
  • Kisoro Traveler’s Rest
  • Mgahinga Safari Lodge
  • 3 Way gorilla house
  • Landmark guest house

Comparing Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks

Mountain gorillas are found in only two nationals parks in Uganda that is to say Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park hence gorilla trekking trips and tours happen in only these two destinations in Uganda.

Over 400 individual mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi with 17 habituated gorilla families ready for tracking while Mgahinga currently has one gorilla family ie Nyakagezi. Therefore; Bwindi in more popular destination for gorilla trekking than Mgahinga however Nyakagezi gorilla family is one of the best groups for gorilla tracking experiences in Uganda and has the highest number of silverbacks than any in Uganda, Rwanda and Dr Congo.

Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahiga gorilla national parks can be accessed by road from Kampala/Entebbe with approximately 8-9 hours’ drive and just 2 hours flight to/from both parks through either Entebbe international airport or Kajansi Airfield.

Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park Uganda has four sectors where guests can do gorilla trekking safaris and tours that is to say Nkuringo, Rushaga, Ruhija and Buhoma. Therefore, visitors can track gorillas twice in different sectors for example double gorilla trekking can done perfectly in a pair of Ruhija & Buhoma sectors, Rushaga and Nkuringo or even in one sector since each sector has more than one gorilla family while Mgahinga has so far one habituated gorilla group.

During gorilla trekking tours in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, visitors may encounter chimpanzees while in Mgahinga, guests may spot golden monkeys.

Chances of meeting mountain gorillas in both parks is very high. But Mgahinga gorilla family of Nyakagezi has migratory history of crossing over to Volcanoes in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Dr Congo however, it has now settled in Mgahinga Uganda for the last four years but you can’t tell when the group may decide to pay a visit to either Rwanda or Congo. The only time when visitors may miss meeting their respective allocated gorilla family in Bwindi is when they move too deep into the forest to the extent of failing to track their movement, gorilla trekking activity can be cancelled and advise visitors to return to their lodges before it becomes too dark. But again, this is extremely rare!

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is located nearer to some of Uganda’s most attractive destinations such as Queen Elizabeth National park, Kibale Forest national Park, Lake Bunyonyi and lake Mburo national park and guests can combine gorilla trekking tours with a wildlife safari and other activities to any of the suggested places. While in Mgahinga, tourists can easily combine gorilla tracking with activities done in Lake Mutanda such as canoeing and cultural interactions.

The price of gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi and Mgahinga Uganda is the same, standing at a cost of $700 per person.

Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours from Kigali Rwanda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern part of Uganda; about 8-9hours’ drive from Kampala/Entebbe by road. Many visitors whose main aim is to track gorillas in Uganda in a shortest period possible like 2 to 3 days tend to fly through Kigali international airport and drive to Bwindi for gorilla trekking through Gatuna boarder. The journey is just 4-5 hours’ drive from Kigali to Bwindi and it’s the best option for those who hate driving long journeys. The distance could have been shorter but it’s being affected by speed restrictions in Rwanda and border point clearances with immigration offices for both countries

During your Uganda gorilla trekking safari and tour from Kigali, you may do briefing on arrival, take a city tour in Kigali to explore major historical and cultural sites such as Kigali genocide monument, Kimironko Market, Caplaki Crafts Village among others and later drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on the same day. After crossing to Uganda, you may have a stopover at Lake Bunyonyi- the deepest lake with several islands and great scenery to take photos before checking in to your booked hotel for gorilla trekking the following day.

Like said before, trekking Uganda gorillas from Kigali is perfect for tourists intending to do short trips or looking for possible ways of seeing gorillas without travelling long journeys. This route also saves money since it reduces the number of days and nights one can spend in Uganda to watch the gorillas. In just one night, someone can track the gorillas in Uganda from Kigali without any hustles.

Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours from Arusha Tanzania

Arusha is regarded as tourism capital of Tanzania with easy access to a number of amazing safari destinations and attractions such as Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha National Park, Lake Natron, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro among others. These national parks are highly visited by tourist who travel to Africa for wildlife safaris.

Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area are the prime safari destinations in Tanzania where visitors reward themselves with the greatest wildlife viewing experiences. The great wildebeest migration happens in Serengeti-an iconic national park and most visited reserve in Tanzania.

Most tourist who book a safari in Tanzania, normally extend their holiday to Uganda for a unique gorilla trekking expedition by booking their flights to either Entebbe or Kigali international airports. Entebbe airport is 8-11hours’ drive away from Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks by road while Kigali is 4-5 hours away from both gorilla parks.  Travelers who book their flights through Entebbe may opt to charter either from either from Entebbe airport or Kajanzi airfield to Bwindi and Mgahinga through Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips.

After gorilla trekking in Uganda, you can drive to either Entebbe or Kigali international airports to meet your flight to your next destination. With this kind of arrangement, visitors may track gorillas first and fly to Arusha through either Kigali or Entebbe or do it the other way round.

Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours from Nairobi Kenya

Kenya is one of Africa’s top travel safari destinations and is visited by millions of travelers across the world with Masai Mara being the safari hub for wildlife adventures and cultural experiences. Most safaris in Kenya start and end in Jemo Kenya international airport Nairobi. This gives a perfect matching connection from Nairobi to Entebbe by a number of airlines such as Uganda Airlines, Kenya airways among others for a gorilla trekking holiday in Uganda to either Bwindi or Mgahinga national parks.

Tourists can fly from Masai Mara to Bwindi impenetrable national park with a stop over in Entebbe airport for customs clearance then proceed to Bwindi. The journey takes approximately 4hours at a cost of $450 to $500 per person. This is very convenient for luxury travelers and saves time and money as well.

Another optional recommendation is to book a flight from Nairobi to Kigali and drive for 4-5hrs to either Bwindi or Mgahinga Uganda for mountain gorilla trekking safari.  RwandaAir and Kenya airways offer frequent flights from Nairobi to Kigali.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations

Tourists planning for a gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda should observe the following rules and regulation;

Before gorilla trekking safari commences, you must verify your age to UWA officials using your passport bio data page. 15 years is the minimum age required for gorilla tracking trips in Uganda.

Before departing on your gorilla trekking in Uganda:

  • A total number of 8 visitors are allowed to track a particular gorilla family every day in order to minimize behavioral disturbance of mountain gorillas and control the spread of human borne diseases.
  • Visitors are advised to wash their hands before heading to the forest for gorilla trekking.

On the way to mountain gorillas:

  • Visitors should keep their voices low. You will enjoy great sounds of birds in the jungle under the guidance of your ranger.
  • Avoid littering rubbish in the forest. Carry whatever you carry to the forest back to the dustbins at park headquarters.
  • Your ranger guide will lead you to where the gorillas were a day before your trekking experience. From there, you will follow their trail to find and watch them. Observe the nesting sites of the mountain gorillas along the way!
  • After encountering the mountain gorillas, the rangers will inform you to get ready for a lifetime experience

When you are with the mountain gorillas:

  • During gorilla trekking encounter, maintain a reasonable distance of 7 meters away from the gorillas because the further you are, the more relaxed the family will be.
  • Always follow the rangers’ instructions during gorilla trekking tours and safaris because at times gorillas charge. Under that circumstance; avoid direct eye contact with the gorillas, bend down slowly, patiently wait for gorillas to pass by among other preventive measures.
  • Avoid lonely movements and ensure staying together as a group on your gorilla trekking adventure.
  • Always keep your voices at all times however, you may ask your ranger questions.
  • Avoid using a flash camera when taking photos of mountain gorillas
  • Avoid eating, drinking and smoking before the mountain gorillas because these habits may increase the risk of communicable human-animal transmission.
  • Avoid touching the mountain gorillas. They are wild.
  • An hour is the maximum time you can spend with the gorillas during gorilla trekking in Uganda while gorilla habituation experience is allocated four hours to trekkers.
  • After gorilla trekking, continue to keep your voices low not until you are approximately 200 meters away from the mountain gorillas.

General health rules during Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours

Like we said before, mountain gorillas Remember that mountain gorillas are prone to human communicable diseases, therefore, the following rules and regulations are critically observed by Uganda wildlife Authority before trekking gorillas in Uganda;

  • Observe and respect the number of visitors allowed to track a particular gorilla family to minimize the risks of spreading some diseases like flue and destabilizing the ecosystem of the forest.
  • Maintain 7 meters distance away from mountain gorillas to minimize the spread of diseases.
  • If you feel sick or carrying contagious disease, always volunteer to miss the activity.
  • Avoid leaving any rubbishes in the park such as water bottles to avoid the spread of diseases
  • If you feel like coughing or sneezing, turn your head away to minimize the spread of the viruses
  • If you need to ease yourself, always ask your guide ranger to dig for you a hole of about 30 cm deep to dispose of your wastes and later fill it with the dug soil.

What to bring on your Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours

  • Put on comfortable hiking shoes suitable for steep muddy terrain
  • Pack your camera for photography. Please note that flashlight cameras are not permitted during gorilla trekking tours and safaris in Uganda.
  • Carry a packed lunch and enough drinking water.
  • Put on ear plugs for visitors feeling uncomfortable with the sounds of the jungle
  • Trek with your rain gear, a hat, sunscreen lotion and insect repellent.

Sample Travel Packages:

3 Days African Gorilla Tour

5 Days Double Gorilla Tracking Adventure Trip In Uganda

7 Days Primate Trekking and Wildlife Tour

7 Days Birding In Uganda

10 Days Fishing Safari Package Uganda

15 Days Rwanda Uganda Birding trip

All our travel packages can be tailor made to best suite your travel interest. Inquire

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