What is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is a tourist activity in which travelers hike through the thick tropical rainforests of Bwindi forest national park, Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga and or Virunga national parks in search of the endangered mountain gorillas. There are only three countries in Africa where you can go mountain gorilla trekking that is Uganda, Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo.
In order to go gorilla trekking, a gorilla permit is required, which should be secured in advance. Gorilla trekking starts early in the morning with briefing by the ranger guides about the Gorilla trekking rules, after which you grouped into mountain gorilla trekking parties of 8 and assigned a specific mountain gorilla family to trek. You then head into the thick forests guided by the parks ranger guides, following the mountain gorilla family based on its last known location or where the mountain gorilla group spent the night. The gorilla trek lasts from 30 minutes to 3 quarters of the day, and you should therefore be ready for any experience.
After you meet your mountain gorilla family, you will be allowed a maximum of 1 hour to view and take pictures of the Gorillas, and also ask the ranger guides any question about the gorillas. Gorilla trekking has been described by some travelers as “a once in a lifetime experience” and it should be on your bucket list of things to do on an Africa Safari.
When is the best time of the year to trek the Mountain Gorillas?
Many times travelers ask the question “when is the best time for Gorilla trekking?” The Mountain Gorillas can be trekked all year round in Rwanda or Uganda however given the cost of the Gorilla trekking permit (Rwanda $1500, Uganda $700) everyone would want to travel during the time of the year where they can get the best value for money and best gorilla trekking experience. It is therefore important to note that the drier months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February are the best for gorilla trekking. During this period the trek is very enjoyable as it’s very easy to navigate through the dense forests of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and the Volcanoes national park, the forests are not dump and wet, there is less mist, and it is not very cold. However it is also good to note that since these are tropical rain forests, once in a while even in these dry months, there can be little rains.
How much is the gorilla trekking permit in Uganda or Rwanda?
In order to see the mountain gorillas, you are required to secure the gorilla trekking permit. The tour operator usually secures for you this trekking permit after you book your trip, and is also able to tell you availability of the gorilla trekking permits before you book the trip for your intended travel dates.
The Uganda Gorilla trekking permit costs $700. The Rwanda Gorilla trekking permit on the other hand costs $1500
Each country has a gorilla permit issuing body, in Uganda it is the Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) that issues the gorilla trekking permit, while in Rwanda it is the Rwanda Development board. The Gorilla permits in Uganda allow you trek the gorillas in Bwindi Forest national park or Mghahinga gorilla national park while for Rwanda allows you trek the gorillas in volcanoes national park. Note that the gorilla trekking permit is valid for the booked date only.
When should I book my gorilla trekking permit / gorilla tour?
If you intend to visit the gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo, it’s important to book your gorilla trekking tour or gorilla trekking permit at least 3 months prior to the gorilla trekking date. This is because of the demand for gorilla trekking permits especially in the high season months. If you therefore don’t book your Gorilla trekking tour on time, it’s common for you to find the permits for your desired gorilla trekking dates unavailable. However note, if you find yourself in a position where you have to book a last minute trek, do not hesitate to contact us, we usually have some reserve permits and also you can be lucky to find permits for your desired travel dates still available.
Whichever of the gorilla trekking country you plan to go for your gorilla trek we will help organize and book all the services associated with gorilla trekking including booking gorilla permits.
Please contact us here for gorilla permits booking and gorilla safaris packages