Gorilla Trekking Tours, Uganda & Rwanda

Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest & Mgahinga & Volcanoes National Parks

Gorilla Trekking Tours, Uganda & Rwanda

Unforgettable 60 Minutes or 4 Hours Spend With a Gorilla Family

Gorilla Trekking Tours occur in two far flanked habitats in central-east Africa. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest found in Uganda, and Virunga Massifs shared between Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. Started in the 1960s after the legendary Diana Fossey’s Karisoke Gorilla Project, gorilla trekking has become a trendy African safari experience for travelers that flock to that part of Africa. A gorilla permit to trek the giant primates is the main ticket that you have to expensively pay for an escorted hike into the jungle to where one of the habituated gorilla group forage. With Coronavirus claiming human lives today, serious precautions have always been observed to bring trekkers close to the majestic gorillas. Though you can still see mountain gorillas during Covid times, this time it’s no exception. You’ll be required to have a negative PCR COVID-19 TEST Certificate, put your facemask on, keep a distance of 10 meters away from the gorillas, and other important standard operating procedures.

A gorilla trekking tour is quite a safe exercise because it takes place in the mountains’ misty thick jungles where less or no humans occur. For your wild safety, a group of mountain gorillas is selected out and habituated for close to five years before trekkers are allowed anywhere near them. Gorilla habituation makes sure wild mountain gorillas know that humans are not a threat and our presence can be tolerated. These creatures have been hunted for hundreds of years to critical extinction, it’s embedded within their DNA that the real enemy is humans. But instead of hunting them now, conservationists and governments use the money they collect from permits to protect them, keep them healthy, and habituated them for anyone to come and visit with them. Currently, there are more than 1060 mountain gorillas in these jungles, and that number keeps growing due to the success of gorilla trekking tourism.

It’s not just the mountain gorillas that would take you to these parts of Africa. The walk in the misty primeval mountain jungles, the hike in the communities that occupy the forest borders, and stunning views of the Virungas is a priceless exhilarating experience that is worth your holiday time.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Escorted and guided trekking into one of the misty mountain jungles that’s inhabited by mountain gorillas. Choose Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga NP in Uganda or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda by Rangers and guides. An unforgettable experience that requires your body’s moderate physical fitness, a love for nature, and a passion for wildlife exploration are out of your contemporary daily life.
  • A gorilla permit issued by government authority at a face-value price. Uganda gorilla permit price is USD 700 ($400 Dec 2020 – Marc 2021) and Rwanda Gorilla Permit price at USD 1,500 pp
  • Hiking trail across mountain communities, villages, and cultivated mountain slopes meeting native peoples spotting rare bird species and photographing scenic landscapes of Africa
  • By trekking gorillas, you’re supporting the conservation efforts of the mountain gorillas, local communities that live on the edges of the parks by employing a guide, ranger, or porter, and several people engaged in forest camps, wildlife authorities, plus everyone that helps in the conservation of gorillas.

INCLUDED

  • Transportation: Local Schedules/Chartered Flights and 4×4 vehicle transfers
  • Accommodation and Meals as per itinerary. Accommodation, from high-end to budget forest camps, is available in the outskirts of the national parks.
  • English Speaking Guide and Rangers

We will process the park permits on your behalf from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Uganda gorilla permit price is USD 700 ($400 Dec 2020 – Marc 2021) and Rwanda Gorilla Permit price at USD 1,500 pp. The permit is booked with cash and very scarce especially during high seasons. Book yours in advance to avoid surprises.

CORONAVIRUS CONCERN

Please carry a pack of N95 Facemask and hand sanitizer with you. You’ll be required to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours of your arrival in the country, and keep your mask on when with animals and people crowds. You’re requested to adhere to COVID Operating procedures to keep you safe during your trip.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest & Mgahinga National Parks

Two Gorilla Habitats, 18 Habituated Gorilla Groups

99% Chance of seeing the mountain gorillas and permit is $700 pp/day

Uganda has two mountain gorilla habitats; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, separated thousands of years ago from the Virunga Forest, is home to more than 450 mountain gorillas, and Mgahinga National Park that is part of the Virungas shared with Rwanda and DRC. More than half the world’s total gorilla population finds sanctuary in both Ugandan habitats. As of December 2020, Uganda hosts 18 habituated gorilla families for tourism, and one group is available only for research. These include Mubare, Habinyanja, Katwe, Rushegura, Oruzongo, Kyaguriro, Muzika, Bitukura, Nshongi, Kahungye, Mishaya, Busingye, Kutu, Bikingi, Bweza, Nkuringo, Christmas, Bushaho, and Nyakagezi found in Mgahinga National Park.

Seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda is 99% guaranteed when escorted in the misty jungle, especially in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi, under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), is separated into 4 sectors for ease of management and at any of the four trailheads, affordable accommodation of all classes has mushroomed making tourist accommodation near the gorilla sanctuary simple to get. Gorilla permits are issued based on the trailhead (or sector) of your choice, remember to pick a trailhead that suites your physical fitness because some have very steep slopped jungles and others are simpler to hike.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park sectors include:

  1. Buhoma Sector with 4 gorilla groups (Mubare, Habinyanja, Katwe, Rushegura)
  2. Ruhija Sector with 4 gorilla groups (Oruzongo, Kyaguriro, Muzika, Bitukura)
  3. Rushaga Sector with 7 gorilla groups (Nshongi, Kahungye, Mishaya, Busingye, Kutu, Bikingi, Bweza) – Recommended
  4. Nkuringo Sector with 3 gorilla families (Nkuringo, Christmas, Bushaho) – Recommended

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Highlights

  • Gorilla Permit Price: USD 700 ($400 Discounted – Dec 2020 – Mar 2021)
  • 8 people are allowed to see each gorilla group per day, 8 permits available per gorilla group per day.
  • 60 minutes allowed in the presence of mountain gorillas at 10 meters physical distance.
  • Gorilla habituation experience also available for tourism at USD 1,500 per person and only allowed 4 hours in the presence of mountain gorillas.
  • Negative PCR COVID-29 TEST Certificate and facemask are mandatory, among other stringent operating procedures, to protect the animals from any human disease infections.
  • Escorted into the jungle by two armed rangers flanked in front and back for your protection and a tracker-guide for your comfortable experience.
  • Bwindi is about 600 km (370 mi) southwest of the capital. Transport by road is efficient, 90% of the road is tarmac paved, and 10% dirt paved. The countryside is gorgeous and traveling by road is well recommended. Transport by air from Entebbe to Kihihi Airstrip, 2.5 hours outside Bwindi, is scheduled or chartered for luxury travelers.
  • Though it is recommended to book your gorilla trekking tour for the dry season, gorilla trekking can be done any time of the year. The dry season occurs from December to February and June to July. The heavy downpours of September to November and March to May are not quite liked by most trekkers, making gorilla permits scarce and lodging is expensive during the dry periods.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorillas Found in Volcanoes National Park, Virunga Mountains

Rwanda One Gorilla Habitat, 12 Habituated Gorilla Groups

99% chance of seeing the mountain gorillas and permit is $1,500 pp/day

Rwanda has one mountain gorilla habitat that is shared between Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC. Rwanda’s side of the habitat, Volcanoes National Park, is found on the lower slopes of five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo. The 160 km2 (62 sq mi) located in the northwest of Kigali capital is about 3 hours drive, 130 km (81 mi), from Kigali International airport.

As of December 2020, Rwanda hosts 12 habituated gorilla families for tourism. The gorilla groups include Susa (24 members), Sabinyo (20 members), Amahoro (24 members), Umubano (14 members), Kwitonda (34 members), Hirwa (17 members), Agasha (25 members), Ntambara (14 members), Isimbi (20 members), Igishya (32 members), Muhoza (13 members), Pablo (25 members).

Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s tourism jewel under the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Gorilla permits are issued the RDB at face-value, and any tour agent would be purchasing it on your behalf. Rwanda’s gorilla permit is a bit more expensive than Uganda’s at USD 1,500 pp/day. We cannot explain the price difference, but consider that these are two different administrations. Though it is considered that Rwanda has the luxury infrastructure, roads, and accommodation, compared to Uganda, the terrain is simple to trek, and the gorilla sanctuary is closer to the airport. The mountain gorillas are the same, showcasing the same antiques in a similar misty jungle environment.

Seeing mountain gorillas in Rwanda is 99% guaranteed. Only 8 people are allowed to see one gorilla family per day, which means that only 8 gorilla permits are issued per gorilla group. You’re escorted in the jungle by armed rangers and a tracker explaining the intricacies of gorilla life and formation of the habitat while in communication with other trackers that went hours ahead of your hiking entourage to find the gorilla family.

When you jet into Kigali Capital, you’ll be driven across the countryside in a lodge outside the park boundaries. Volcanoes National Park has quite an impressive number of forest lodges catering to all styles of travel. More impressive are the up-market lodges that provide exceptional amenities that make you feel at one with nature. Check into your lodge, and the next day, you’ll be driven to the trailhead to start your awaited adventure into the African Jungle. Gorillas may top the list of things to see, but we recommend that you come with a mindset of being wowed because you’ll meet and see the world like you have not seen before.

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Highlights

  • Gorilla Permit Price: USD 1,500
  • 8 people are allowed to see each gorilla group per day, 8 permits available per gorilla group per day.
  • 60 minutes allowed in the presence of mountain gorillas at 10 meters physical distance.
  • Negative PCR COVID-29 TEST Certificate and facemask are mandatory, among other stringent operating procedures, to protect the animals from any human disease infections.
  • Escorted into the jungle by two armed rangers flanked in front and back for your protection and a tracker-guide for your comfortable experience.
  • Most visitors arrive in Rwanda via Kigali International Airport (KGL), which is about 10km/6mi from the capital, Kigali.
  • Volcanoes National Park is 130 km (81 mi) northwest of the capital Kigali, 70km/43mi from Gisenyi, and 12km/7mi from Musanze. Transport by road is efficient, and roads are mostly paved. The countryside is gorgeous and traveling by road is well recommended.
  • There are no scheduled domestic flights to Volcanoes National Park. Most people opt for a tour around the country with a 4×4 and driver-guide.
  • Though it is recommended to book your gorilla trekking tour for the dry season, gorilla trekking can be done any time of the year. The dry season occurs from December to February and June to July. The heavy downpours of September to November and March to May are not quite liked by most trekkers, making gorilla permits scarce and lodging is expensive during the dry periods.
  • All participants in any activity at the park must report to the park headquarters in Kinigi by 7:00 am. Therefore, it is recommended to stay close to the park, or in nearby Musanze.
  • Akagera Aviation offers charter helicopter transfers to anywhere in the country, including Volcanoes National Park.

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    Travel safely

    Please make sure you have your facemask on when in contact with animals, especially the endangered creatures. Without a negative PCR Covid Test, you’ll not be allowed into the country. You’ll spend most of your time in open spaces away from human crowds, with that there’s minimal to no infections of the COVID virus.


    Flexible booking terms

    Your booking can be extended up to 12 months ahead with no extra fees, in case of any emergency (based on accommodation availability). Reservations are accepted after we receive a 30% deposit on the trip and the full payment for gorilla tracking and chimp tracking permits for each tour participant. For more details on our booking terms, please read our Terms and Conditions.

    Call us: +256 77 480 5580 / 702 805580
    or send an email to info@nkuringowalkingsafaris.com
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