Uganda Gorilla Trekking – 9 Popular Questions Answered
From the many incredible wildlife encounters we’ve experienced during our travels – we have to admit that Uganda gorilla trekking was up there with the best of them. This was by far one of our favourite experiences ever.
It’s only natural that you would like to find out more about gorilla trekking before signing up for a gorilla safari in Africa. Let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions about gorilla trekking, from our own personal experience.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking – 9 Questions about gorillas answered
1. Where can you go gorilla trekking and how much is the permit?
Today there are approximately 1000 mountain gorillas in the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The cost of a permit ranges between which country you want to go gorilla trekking. Price is based on one permit/ per person (in USD). These prices are correct as of December 2019.
The Democratic Republic of Congo $450
2. Best time of year to go gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Trekking can be done during the dry (June to September and December to February) or rainy seasons (March to May and October to November).
The rainy season does make trekking more challenging, so it’s often recommended to trek during the dry season. One of the benefits when trekking during the rainy season is that accommodation at lodges and hotels is at discounted rates.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking gives you the opportunity to get close to these amazing creatures
3. Where can you see the gorillas? Uganda, Rwanda and Congo
Mountain gorillas have a limited habitat. They are only found in three countries that span four national parks:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda)
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda)
Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda)
Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo)
4. Are the gorillas dangerous?
The gorillas aren’t aggressive. They rarely react to people or behave in a threatening manner. But should the gorillas charge, you must follow the guide’s advice (noted below) which you receive in the briefing before your trek.
Crouch down slowly or stand still and look down. Do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass. Never attempt to run away because that will increase the risk of being harmed.
We never felt scared during our trek.
Uganda gorilla trekking guard watches over the tourists
5. What are the rules to be able to see the gorillas?
You can only visit with a guide and park rangers. A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas for up to one hour only each day. This minimises behavioural disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
You cannot visit if you are ill and you must keep a distance and a low voice. You must be at least 15 years of age to go gorilla trekking.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking was one of our favourite things on our travels
6. What to pack for your Uganda gorilla trekking?
A good pair of hiking boots – is required due to the muddy and steep terrain. I travel with Merrell waterproof hiking shoes around the world and these were perfect for the trek.
A good rain jacket is a good idea and some people even bring waterproof cover trousers. If it rains, you’ll be happy about being prepared. I wore some gators over my shoes to prevent safari ants from getting into my shoes along the trail. You can also get by with a good pair of socks tucked over your hiking pants. A woman at the briefing had wrapped a thick grey tape around the bottom of her trousers and shoes to do the same job. A good DIY option I thought.
Bring plenty of water and if possible, a packed lunch. Our lodge Rushaga Gorilla Camp prepared one for us to take for the day.
Gloves (optional): During the trek, you may be grabbing branches, trees, and vines for balance. Your hands may get scratched up a little. A pair of gardening or hardware gloves will do the trick. We didn’t use any on the day and we were fine, however, it was a good option for some of the more mature trekkers.
7. How much is the Uganda Gorilla trekking tour?
The cost depends on your itinerary, where you stay and the standard of your accommodation. You can start in Kigali (Rwanda) as it’s closer to the park or start the tour from Kampala in Uganda.
On average, a private Uganda Gorilla Trekking tour for 2 people/4 day package starts from USD $1,200 pp. This price includes the gorilla permit to go gorilla trekking in Uganda.
You can contact Richard at K Safaris if you’d like some info on a tour similar to the one we did.
There are many other tour operators in Africa that offer similar gorilla safaris. Tourradar is a website that compares different safaris depending on duration, price and inclusions.
You can obviously extend your trip to spend more time in Uganda after your gorilla safari tour as there is much more to see.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking can be challenging. It involves hiking through a thick jungle. The beginning was easy.
8. Is Gorilla trekking tough? Do you have to be fit?
Visiting the gorillas can be physically challenging, so you should have a reasonable amount of fitness or at least be able to walk/hike for 1-2 hours.
You can hire a porter for about USD $15. These guys will carry your bags and offer assistance to deal with balancing the challenging parts of the trek.
9. How long do you trek for?
You will be placed into groups of 8 people before you set out on your trek and your group will visit different gorilla families on your gorilla trekking tour.
We drove about 10km from the park entrance to reach a separate entry point from the park entrance. Other groups set off on foot directly from here.
The gorilla family we were visiting were in a different part of the jungle. We walked for about 1 hour through the hilly countryside, then once we entered the jungle, it took us around 30min to reach the gorillas.
You should be prepared to trek for up to 6 hours if required as the gorillas move frequently in search of food. This is the suggested time for Uganda gorilla trekking but would vary if you go on a gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda or Congo.
Make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing, depending on the type of traveller you are.
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES
✈️ Flights:Skyscanner and Expedia are the best sites to search for the cheapest flights and great deals from your home country.
🏨 Accommodation:Booking.com, Agoda, andHotelsCombined are the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.
🛌 Homestays:Airbnb is an ideal platform to book a local experience. We use Airbnb to reserve entire apartments for long-term stays.
🏥 Travel Insurance: Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. We recommend World Nomads or SafetyWing.
🚌 Transportation: We use BookaWay OR 12Go.Asia to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or Train Tickets.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.