Gorilla Trekking in Uganda In-depth Guide

Gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.  18 habituated gorilla families are available for trekking, out of which 17 are in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, and 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

While more than 1000 mountain gorilla still exist in the Universe, Uganda shelters half of them , guaranteeing it as 1 out of 3 Mountain gorilla trekking  homes (Uganda, Rwanda, Congo) in  the world.

mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, famed for its Gorilla trekking  nestled in the south western Uganda. The Park  with a total area of 321 square Kilometers, borders Congo’s Virunga National Park

Apart from being part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, featuring both montane and lowland forest, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park habors 350 bird species, 310 species  of butterflies,  120 mammal species,  frog species among others including Chameleons, geckos, not forgetting the major attraction of Mountain Gorillas, which are highly endangered.

As a UNESCO world heritage site, the vast Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 4 sectors for Gorilla trekking, including:

Nkuringo in the south protecting  Christmas, Nkuringo, and Bushaho Families

Buhoma in the North with Mubare, Rushegura, Habinyanja, Katwe Families

Ruhija in the East with families Bitukura, Kyaguliro, Oruzogo, Mukiza.

Rushaga sector has Kutu, Bweza, Nshongi, Mucunguzi, Kahungye, Busingye, Bikingi, Mishaya families

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Tucked in the Southwestern side of Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits on  the borderline with Congo’s Virunga National Park, and Rwanda’s  Volcanoes National Park;

3 dormant volcanoes  of: Mount Muhabura (4,127 m) , Mount Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mount Sabyinyo (3,645 m) are enclosed in the park, though Gorilla trekking of 1 Nyakagezi family remains the major attraction.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, is by far 15km south of Kisoro town, 55 km west of Kibale., making it possible for adventure seeking travelers to do a 3 days Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga.

When Is The Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Gorilla trekking  is the most evocative experience for adventure seeking travelers visiting Uganda, and the opportunity of seeing gorillas in their natural habitat is between two season of: June-August and December to February.

While gorilla trekking in Uganda is done all year round, dry months of June, July, August, December , January & February  are approved the best months  for gorilla trekking, because the forest trails are dry, less muddy and not slippery.

Besides its features, the best time, also connects with the Europe summer time, which allows for numerous gorilla & Wildlife trips by adventure junkies, except for the wet season (March April, May, October, November)  which features muddy trails, & slippery grounds which is caused as a result of rainfall.

The best time to go for Gorilla trekking in Uganda is June, July, August, September, December, January, February & March when the trails are dry, less muddy, less slippery and the skies are blue with reduced amounts of rainfall, yet, you can go gorilla trekking throughout the year.

These months are also approved for  Chimpanzee tracking, and Wildlife (Big 5) safaris, in the Savannah National Parks of Uganda.

These are busiest months each year, which requires early booking/purchasing of Gorilla permits, and accommodation at least 6 months prior to the day of trekking gorillas.

The dry season also offers favorable conditions, other activities like Mountain hiking expeditions (to Kilimanjaro, Rwenzori & Mount Kenya), White water rafting among other safari activities/things  to do in Uganda.

Although drier months are highly recommended, it is not a 100% guarantee that there are no rains, since due to global warming, chances are that you can still experience rainfall, which then calls for preparations on what to pack (gear) for gorilla trekking.

Besides the high (peak ) season, Uganda also experiences two rainy season which run from  March to May, and October to November, all characterized by; slippery, muddy &  hard to navigate trails. Many of the clear views of the scenery is covered by wet & misty conditions, yet it is an ultimate time to go bird watching, although gorilla trekking experience can also be done.

The low season also offers seasonal discounts on hotels & lodges, although gorilla permit costs/prices remain the same.

How to Obtain a gorilla trekking Permit in Uganda?

The ultimate Gorilla trekking Experience in Uganda is a dream come true, if you stop by Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park, where 18 gorilla families can be found.

Whereas Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has only 1 gorilla family of Nyakagezi, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 17 gorilla families, all distributed in the 4 gorilla trekking sectors of : Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija & Rushaga accordingly, but tracking them requires a gorilla trekking permit.

Uganda Wildlife Authority issues out Gorilla trekking permits, which requires early booking at least 6 months earlier, prior to the perfect Gorilla trekking day, for those who want to go gorilla trekking during peak season (June, July, August & September) when the conditions of the trails are comfortable: That is; less rains, less muddy trails, clear blue skies.

Gorilla trekking permits can be booked directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority, on human basis,  the best way is to book with a trusted and reliable tour operator company who will be part and personal with your next  gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.

Essential (Must have ) documents for Gorilla trekking  in Uganda

A  Valid Passport or The Uganda National ID, or the East African ID, are the necessary documents  required for to successfully buy Gorilla trekking & Gorilla Habituation Permits.

Both Passports & Identity cards help keep track of he visitors’ personal details such as:  Nationality, age so that those who are below 15 years wont be allowed to access the parks for gorilla trekking,  while the records also help the government to keep track of revenue, so as to know well, which countries seldom come for gorilla trekking in Uganda, for the sake of create promotional marketing strategies.

Cost Of Gorilla Permits.

 

The cost of a Uganda gorilla permits in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, per person, per day,   is $800 for Non residents, $700 for Forein Residents, 300000 UGX for Ugandans and $ 500 USD For other African countries,  While Gorilla habituation permits cost $1500 per son to spend 4 hours with the gorillas in Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

How many Gorilla Permits are available in Uganda?

About 160 Gorilla permits are issued out per day for both Gorilla trekking & Gorilla habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Can I cancel My Gorilla trekking Permit?

Gorilla permits can be cancelled, only if the terms and conditions are carefully followed as:

No refund will be given to those who have only their deposits paid to book the Gorilla permits.

Fully paid Gorilla trekking permits under go the following cancellations:

75% refund upon cancelling for at  least 91 days prior to your trekking date

50 % refund between 46 and 90 days

25% refund between 9 to 45 days before

While 0-8 days are subjected to no cancellation.

Incase of  unexpected illness-on site, a refund of 50% is reinbursed, so that the sick individuals don’t infect or transmit their illness to the Gorillas.

How Fit Do I need to be to go gorilla trekking?

Do I need to be fit for gorilla trekking? Does  trekking Gorillas, need an extra level of fitness?

Yes, Gorilla trekking requires a measurable  amount of fitness  level,  because mountain gorillas  are always mobile, that they spend there entire life moving from place to place,

Most treks  follow steep slopes, raised elevations, and perhaps muddy ground during the wet season. Gorillas continuously  roam in search of food, among their daily activities of mating , breastfeeding.

Trekkers move longer distances in search for gorillas, upto wherever they may have settled, hence, “the further they moved, the longer the trek”. Knowing that the gorillas live between 2500m. & 4300m, means that trekking Gorillas requires  enough Physical Strength.