Gorilla Safari Planner: Beginner’s Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Africa

How to get the most out of the gorilla trekking experience?

Gorilla trekking is the best experience nature can offer to expose you to the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa. This is one of the most expensive tourist activities in Africa. The client to get the best out of it has to utilize the time to create a memorable experience out of the money invested. Gorillas being intelligent, they attract the attention of the people since they possess over 98.5 % of the human DNA

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Experience

Go Gorilla trekking in the right season

Gorilla tracking is not seasonal, you can track annually in the misty jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Congo Republic. This should be done in any season depending on the schedule and when you want to take part in a gorilla safari in Africa. Gorilla trekking is done in both rainy season and dry season. In the dry season its best to track from June to September and December to February and it’s the best ranked season. It’s challenging to track in the rainy season of March to May and October to November though you still chances of seeing the gorillas. However note, the mountain gorillas live in the mountainous rain forests, the weather is unpredictable and rain is expected at any time. Do be disappointed when it rains in the dry season!

Where to go for a mountain gorilla safari in Africa

Mountain gorilla trekking in the world takes place only in the 3 destinations below;

Gorilla destination Uganda

Uganda is famously known as the Pearl of Africa, endowed with beautiful mountains, savannah plains, unique cultures, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, and above all, Uganda is the only tourist destination in the whole world where you can see the African Big animals and the mountain gorillas on the same safari! Uganda is blessed with 2 gorilla safari destinations namely; Bwindi Impenetrable National park with over 18 habituated gorilla families, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park with 1 gorilla family known as Nyakagezi.

Each gorilla permit in Uganda costs US$600 for foreign non-residents, US$500 for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda shillings for East African residents! However, from July 2020, the price of gorilla permits for both Bwindi and Mgahinga National parks will be increased to US$700 for foreign residents.

Gorilla Destination Rwanda

This is the most luxurious gorilla safari destination in the world. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park, with our 10 habituated gorilla groups. Each gorilla permit in Rwanda costs US$1500 per person. Other things to do around the park besides gorilla trekking include Mountain hiking (Karisimbi and Bishoke), adventurous hike to Dian Fossey Tombs, golden monkey tracking and cultural village tours.

Gorilla Destination DR Congo

The democratic republic of Congo would be the best gorilla safari destination due to its virgin forests and huge groups of mountain gorillas with many silverbacks. However, the country is politically insecure and this is a big threat to gorilla tourism in the country! Mountain gorilla trekking in DR Congo takes place in the Magnificient Virunga National Park, accessed through Rwanda (Goma border) and Uganda (Bunagana border).

The Democratic Republic of Congo is also gifted with Low-land gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park, and this makes the country one of the must-visit in Africa.

Safety at the gorilla tracking destinations

The safety of the client in the safari is taken as the first priority. The security of Uganda and Rwanda is stable and suitable for gorilla trekking. Throughout the trip, tour guides and equipped game rangers with dart guns are provided to escort clients hence protecting them from danger by attacks from animals and cultural attacks.

The case of Virunga National Park in DR Congo is different whereby, all tour operations are conducted by Virunga Foundation. There are scheduled tours leaving daily in the convoy to ensure the safety of the tourists! All tours leave the Goma border at 13:00hrs to Kibumba tented camp where all activities (Gorilla tracking and Mt. Nyiragongo hike) start from the next day! Due to some security issues that some times lead to the closure of Virunga National Park, gorilla tourism is very low in Congo despite this being the cheapest place to go gorilla trekking where each permit costs US$400.

The future of gorilla tourism in Congo is clear, the experience is the best! Every tourist who visits the gorillas in Congo recommends Virunga National park gorilla tracking because the place is less crowded to reflect the true African wilderness!

Chances of sighting the gorillas

Chances of seeing the gorillas are close to 100% since the pre-trackers locate each gorilla group and inform the park guides at the headquarters of Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma. Trackers with the help of the GPS device search for habituated gorilla groups lead by the silverback (s). The gorillas don’t move more than 3 kilometers before they rest and they travel living footprints of their giant feet. This is the same case in Rwanda and DR Congo!

Protective gears to pack for a gorilla trek in Rwanda, Uganda & DR Congo

A successful gorilla trekking experience requires a backpack to make it memorable at the gorilla destination. Clothes and garden gloves are packed to prevent tickles and crushes of thorns, tree branches, bites from forest insects like mosquitoes, ants, and fleas.  Other pieces of equipment include light rain jackets, sunglasses, jungle boots, hiking sticks, cameras among others. Poor dressing brings personal discomfort and misery which disrupts your mind off the tracking. The backpack also contains your snacks, drinking water and camera gear.

Other requirements

While hiking through the jungle to meet up with the giant Apes, one needs to hire a potter to help out in carrying the backpack and camera gear. This assistant helps you out through the gorilla tracking process and in the hiking passing through the slippery jungle trails in search of the allocated Gorilla family.

Gorilla trekking experience creates the biggest memory of a lifetime.  It’s like investing the money where you will have stories to tell to your next generation. Book and have the best gorilla experience in both Uganda and Rwanda with reputable gorilla safari companies, and you should book early enough because the demand for gorilla permits is very high throughout the year.