Uganda Gorilla Safari
A Uganda Gorilla Safari is an amazing tour package that is designed to see to it that a traveler gets the best Uganda experience as they explore the Gorillas in the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Mountain gorillas are the most visited attractions in Uganda and they are found in two national parks namely Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga gorilla national park and most visitors in Uganda come for gorilla trekking activity. Gorilla trekking is a popular activity where visitors above 15 years of age move into the dense tropical forests in search of the endangered mountain gorillas and once found they spend one hour with the gorillas. Mountain gorillas are also found in two national parks apart from Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park and they are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable forest which is found located in south western Uganda in Kanungu district. Bwindi Impenetrable national park is the only gorilla destination that harbors the highest number of gorillas which are equivalent to half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a home of 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in 4 sectors namely Ruhija sector in the eastern part with Oruzogo, Kyaguriro, Bitukura and Mukiza families, Rushaga sector in the south with Nshongi, Kahungye, Mishaya, Bweza, Rwigi, Bikyingi and Mucunguzi families, Nkuringo sector in the south with Nkuringo, Bushaho and Christmas families and Buhoma sector in the northern part of Bwindi national park with Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Katwe families.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is also known as the only destination that carries out gorilla habituation experience. Gorilla habituation is a process where mountain gorillas are trained to get used to the human presence for trekking. Gorilla habituation process is currently done in the Rushaga sector, takes a period of about 2 to 3 years and involves a team of researchers, park rangers, park guides, and visitors.
Gorilla trekking is also carried out in Mgahinga gorilla national park located in southwestern Uganda in Kisoro district. Mgahinga gorilla national park harbors one habituated gorilla family called Nyakagezi which implies that there are 8 gorilla trekking permits available on a daily basis.
How many people are allowed to trek gorilla families in Uganda
Gorilla destinations in Uganda allow a maximum of 8 people to trek each gorilla family and the visitors are allowed to spend one hour in the presence of the mountain gorillas once found in their natural habitat. During the 1 hour, the visitors will be taking photos with flash fewer cameras, learn about the gorilla behaviors and also record the moments. However gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga sector allows a maximum of 4 visitors to visit a gorilla family under habituation and also get an opportunity to spend 4 hours with the gorillas in their natural habitat as they learn and watch how they are being habituated.
Bwindi impenetrable national park harbors 19 habituated gorilla families which means that are 152 available gorilla trekking permits for visitors on daily basis and Mgahinga gorilla national park harbors 1 habituated gorilla family which means that there are 8 available gorilla trekking permits for visitors on daily basis.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda
A single gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park costs $600 per person for Foreign Non-Residents, $500 for Foreign Residents and UGX 250,000 for East African residents. However a gorilla trekking permit was increased by $100 which will start effective 1st July 2020, therefore, visitors who will book gorilla trekking permits in July will add on the $100 increment except for the East African citizens.
What is included in a gorilla trekking permit?
A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document that is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority allowing you to visit any gorilla family in either Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park. A gorilla trekking permit includes:
- 1 hour in the presence on the gorilla family though gorilla trekking itself takes about 2 to 7 hours in the jungle depending on the location of the gorillas.
- The permit includes park entrance fees
- Security, once you are in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park be assured that you are safe because Uganda has well-trained park rangers and tourism police which offers protection to the parks.
- Gorilla trekking permit also includes services of a guide or pack ranger who will be taking you around the forest.
- The permit also includes gorilla trackers who wake up early and move into the jungle to search for the mountain gorillas so as to communicate to the guides where to take the visitor when trekking.
How to book for a Gorilla trekking permit
Visitors can book gorilla permits either directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a tourism body in Uganda which issues gorilla trekking permits via email or telephone calls.
You can book through a trusted tour operator to acquire a gorilla trekking permit for you. Achieve Global Safaris is one of the best tour companies in Uganda that will help you acquire your gorilla trekking permit for your Uganda gorilla safari. When you are booking via Achieve Global Safaris you will contact us with the dates, month and year when you want to engage in gorilla trekking activity and we will check availability of the permits and get back to you. We will send you the account number where you will deposit 30% money and also send scanned copies of your passport which will be used to process your permit. Once the money has been deposited we will obtain your gorilla trekking permit and will send you scanned copies of the permit as confirmation.
Booking via Achieve Global Safaris is the best option in that we will not only acquire your gorilla trekking permit but also plan for the whole safari where we will plan for your transportation , meals, accommodation, exciting activities to engage in while on your safari and destinations to visit which make your safari in Uganda fascinating and unforgettable.
When to book for a Gorilla trekking permit?
A gorilla trekking permit in either Bwindi Impenetrable National park or Mgahinga gorilla national park should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because the gorilla trekking permits are competitive and usually get sold out especially during the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the peak season the permits are on high demand hence should be booked in advance to avoid disappointments.
How to get to the gorilla destinations?
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is located in south western Uganda and can be accessed by either road or air transport means. When using air transport you will book chartered or scheduled domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kihihi airstrip or Kayonza airstrip and then connect by road to the park headquarters.
By road, you will drive from Kampala City via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and then to one of the sectors where you will be trekking gorillas which takes about 8 to 9 hours’ drive on a tarmac road.
Mgahinga gorilla national park can also be reached by use of road transport means whereby you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro and then to the park headquarters which takes about 9 to 10 hours’ drive.
By air transport means, you will book chartered or scheduled domestic flights from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kisoro airstrip and then connect to by road to the park headquarters.
When to visit the gorilla destinations in Uganda?
Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park experience 2 rainy seasons in the month of March to May and October to November and two dry season during the month of June to August and December to February and can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time to visit any of the national parks for gorilla trekking is during the dry season because the forests receive little and less rainfall and the gorilla trekking trails are always passable compared to the wet season when the park receives heavy rainfall which makes the gorilla trekking trails muddy and slippery.
Gorilla trekking cannot be stopped by weather changes because due to the fact that Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park are tropical rainforests situated in high elevation areas, it can rain any time regardless of the season and gorilla trekking activities will not stop due to rains. However, the wet season is also an ideal period for bird watching in that it’s the breeding season for birds, therefore, the bird lovers will be able to view various migratory birds and different bird species.
What to pack for your Uganda gorilla trekking safari
- A Gorilla trekking permit is the most important item to carry when going for gorilla trekking in any of the parks because without a valid gorilla trekking permit you will not be allowed to visit any gorilla family.
- Long sleeved shirts and trousers to keep your body warm and also protect you from stinging insects and thorny trees
- Insect repellent to protect you from insects like safari ants and tsetse flies
- Hiking boots to protect your ankles and keep your feet dry especially during the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery.
- Flash less Camera which will be used to capture the moments and also take photos during the one hour with the mountain gorilla family.
- Waterproof rain jacket which will protect you from rain since it can rain anytime in the forest.
- Garden gloves which will protect you from thorny trees and germs
- Energy snacks for example packed lunch and drinking water to give you energy when trekking in the jungle.
- Backpack to carry your items like a rain jacket, insect repellent, camera among others when going for gorilla trekking.
A gorilla safari in Uganda will give you exceptional experiences where you will get an opportunity to be with the gorilla families, learn about them, watch them as they play with each other in Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park.