There are lots of venturous spirits in search of the best safari activities to engage in and the best kind of safari, Uganda has got so very many beautiful types of scenery and on top of the sceneries it has got some of the best flora and fauna in the entire East Africa.
Having a Uganda wildlife safari is one of the most thrilling adventures each and every one can engage in while on a safari to Uganda, for this is the most relaxing and most exciting activity to do in Uganda.
Wildlife safaris can be carried out in different areas of Uganda providing the best and extreme moments in the wild with the different kinds of endangered spices in Uganda.
Enchanting wildlife experiences in the various national parks in Uganda wait for all those that ready to encounter the best of it as they can in the various forests and destinations in Uganda for mind blowing activities.
Uganda is endowed with a number of wildlife species including the famous endangered mountain gorillas, playful chimpanzees, spotting the unique shoebill stork, the big five, and breath-taking views of the savannah vegetation as you explore the wildlife of Uganda.
while on a Uganda wild safari expect to see some of the best and greatly mind blowing wildlife that will leave you desiring for more and more each day as you safari within Uganda and these include giraffes, antelopes, cheetahs, and leopards plus all the rest of the big five in Uganda.
Wildlife safaris in Uganda tend to be super astonishing as you get to overlook the different species of birds in the country and the diverse ecosystem in Uganda for your own history keeping you even get to spend a night in the wild that’s if you are interested in doing so.
there are so very many outstanding areas in Uganda that provide the best kind of wildlife safaris to all the sightseers in the country and all these areas can be accessed by just anyone as long as they have the right the right tour operators.
some of the areas in Uganda that provide the best wild life safaris give even beyond just the wildlife experience but also the greatest safari experiences in the entire country.
Get to have the best safari bird-watching experiences at the Mabamba swamp in Uganda as you get to sight some of the most sought for birds in Uganda which include the famous shoebill and so very many other kinds of birds and for this case to all bird lovers the adventure is just concluded.
When it gets to hiking lovers Uganda is just the right destination for the activity and to test of it most testify that Uganda has different hiking destinations all with scenic views and trails that take you exploring the unique topography in the country and this serves as an addition to the rest of the wildlife activities one can carry out in the country.
With the different mountains in the country Uganda will leave you praising Mother Nature for the way it was molded mountains such as the Rwenzori Mountains and Mountain Elgon are some of the mostly visited mountain in Uganda due to the beauty they behold.
Also get to visit some of the national parks in Uganda starting from Queen Elizabeth national park and have yourself see the most astonishing creatures in the world starting from the tree climbing lions in the national park and other beautiful creatures that will give you and electrifying experience as you enjoy the views on a game drive in the national park.
With these entire experiences one can truly leave Uganda with acceptance that Uganda holds the best kind of wildlife experiences in the entire world and for that case of matter they can truly get to enjoy the season of venture in the country.
Uganda is best visited during the dry months for the best experiences in the wild because during the wet seasons, it may be hard to trek around some areas in the wild even though the country can be visited at any time of the year but the dry season the most recommended of all.
Focus East Africa Tours is willing and ready to take you through the best kind of wildlife safaris in Uganda according to your own budget all it takes is to make bookings with them and leave the rest to them accommodations, security and transportation can all be arranged for you accordingly.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari: A Complete Guide To Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Gorilla trekking is a popular tourist activity in Uganda, attracting a diverse range of visitors. Mountain gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park is a sight to behold for everyone. Only three countries offer Mountain gorilla Trekking safaris: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. Rwanda is ideal for a luxurious gorilla trek safari; the DRC is currently avoided by tourists due to wars; and Uganda is the best gorilla safari destination not only because it is inexpensive but also because it has the most habituated gorilla families. In Uganda, gorilla trekking entails getting dirty as you hike up the hilly and unmarked roads in search of the primates.
It should come as no surprise that gorilla trekking is one of the most popular activities in Uganda, which is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Although gorilla trekking is possible throughout the year in Uganda, the dry season (December to February and June to October) is the best time to go.
Mountain gorillas were on the verge of extinction when they were added to the IUCN’s list of critically endangered species in 1989, with only 620 gorillas remaining in the world at the time. These primates were being hunted for meat, while others were sold as pets, reducing their population significantly. However, Diane Fossey came to Rwanda and fought for the conservation of the gorillas before being killed by a poacher, and her grave can be visited while visiting Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
The number of gorillas has increased over the years, and there are now approximately 1063 gorillas in the world, with Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park home to one-third of these. The IUCN declared them endangered following the completion of the census in 2019.
According to the Gorilla Fund’s 2019 census, Bwindi has approximately 459 gorillas, and you can help increase their numbers by visiting any of the three countries because the money paid helps to conserve the mountain gorillas.
HOW TO GET TO BWINDI AND MGAHINGA
You have the option of driving to the national parks or taking domestic flights. Either option will get you to your destination quickly and easily. For those taking road transport, the first stop will be at Entebbe International Airport, followed by a trip through Kampala to the various sections of Bwindi, which takes 8 to 10 hours if coming from Queen Elizabeth National Park and 6 hours if driving from Lake Mburo National Park.
Tourists who travel by air will arrive at the National Parks faster, but they will pay a higher price. Direct flights are available from Entebbe airport, or you can drive to Kajjansi airstrip in Entebbe and catch a domestic flight from there. Flights can land at Kisoro Airport or the Kihihi Airstrip, which are both about a two-hour drive from both national parks.
GORILLA PERMITS IN UGANDA
Gorilla permits are the only way to go gorilla trekking in the country, and obtaining them can be difficult, especially during peak season (dry season). The Uganda Wildlife Authority issues gorilla permits, which are distributed among its shareholders. The Association of Uganda Tour Operators, or AUTO, is the primary distributor of permits. AUTO is an umbrella organization to which many tour operators belong. Auto obtains and distributes approximately 80% of the permits. There are three options for purchasing the permits, which are detailed below.
Through a tour operator: Uganda has over 1500 registered tour operators, and because they purchase approximately 80% of all gorilla permits, obtaining a gorilla permit from them is guaranteed. It is important to note that you should not book with a company that is not registered and recognized by AUTO, thus I advise and recommend you to book with Focus East Africa Tours one of the best Uganda tour company.
Booking a gorilla safari trip: This is done through a reputable tour company, but instead of just the permit, you book the entire gorilla safari. A gorilla safari includes the permit, lodging, airport pickups and drop-offs, and transportation throughout the country. All you have to do is show up and have a great time on your gorilla safari. Here I also advice to you to trust Focus East Africa Tours.
Booking a permit on your own: This can be accomplished by contacting the Uganda Wildlife Authority via their official email and phone number. It is a difficult and costly method of obtaining the permit because the UWA offices take their time answering phone calls and emails, which is why you should book your safari through a tour company such as Focus East Africa Tours.
Gorilla permits in Uganda
The Uganda Wildlife Authority is in charge of issuing gorilla permits in Uganda, and your permit will include the dates of your trek, your names as they appear on your passport, and other information such as where you will track from and the gorilla family assigned to you. It should be noted that the permit is only valid for one person, cannot be transferred, and is only valid for the dates specified.
Can I cancel my gorilla permit? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by tourists, and the good news is that the Uganda Wildlife Authority has established a gorilla permit cancellation policy. If you have already booked your gorilla trekking safari and need to cancel, there are a few things you should know about the rules and regulations surrounding the permit cancellation policy, which are listed below:
- Tourists who have only made deposits do not qualify for the permit cancellation policy; only those who have made full payment are covered.
- If you cancel within 0 to 8 days of the trek day, there is no refund.
- If you cancel between 9 and 45 days prior to the start of your trek, you will receive a refund of 25% of the total fee paid.
- If you cancel your safari between 46 and 90 days prior to the date of your trek, you will receive a 50% refund of the permit fee.
- If you cancel your safari 90 days or more prior to the anticipated tracking date, you will receive a 75% refund.
It should be noted, however, that the above cancellation percentages are for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, not the individual tour operators. Because the tour companies charge different service fees and incur many costs from the time you confirm your safari, each will have a different percentage when it comes to canceling the gorilla permits.
GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA VS. RWANDA VS. THE DRC
Because of the low costs and other safaris that you can combine with your gorilla safaris, such as game drives around the country and cultural tours, gorilla trekking in Uganda is considered to be the best. It will take you about 2 to 3 days to get the full gorilla trekking experience while in the country. Uganda is home to half of the world’s gorilla population, which can be found in two national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs $600 per person, and a gorilla habituation permit costs $1500. Because of the presence of approximately 20 habituated gorilla families, Uganda provides the best trek.
Four participants in the habituation group spent four hours with the gorillas. Due to its affordability, safety, and availability of other wildlife safaris like the Big Five Safari, Uganda is a favorite among the three. In 2017, Uganda eliminated discounted permits, and you now have to pay $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East African residents.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking can be done in the Virunga region’s Volcanoes National Park. For travelers with little free time, Rwanda is the best place to see gorillas. It is a top-notch tourist destination. Rwanda has the most expensive gorilla permit of the three, costing $1500. The gorilla hike in Rwanda is simple, not taxing, and quick, in contrast to the challenging trek in Uganda. In comparison to the 8–10-hour drive from Kampala to Bwindi, the Volcanoes National Park is accessible in a short amount of time due to its proximity to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. Gorilla safaris are meticulously planned, right down to the opulent lodging near the national park’s infrastructure. The Rwanda Development Board is responsible for issuing gorilla permits, which can be obtained through their online system or through a reputable tour operator such as Explore Rwanda Tours.
During the wet season, also referred to as the low season, Rwanda offers discounted permits. Because there are fewer visitors during the low season, the permit fee is lowered to around $1050. However, in order to be eligible for the discount, you must spend at least three days in the country, visiting either Nyungwe National Park or Akagera National Park, both of which are home to large populations of chimpanzees.
The least expensive gorilla trek is available in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where permits cost $250 off-season and $400 during peak travel times. The least visited of the three countries that are home to mountain gorillas is Congo because of long-standing political unrest there. There are numerous political conflicts in the eastern portion of Virunga National Park, which have had a significant negative impact on the nation’s tourism industry. For instance, there was an incident in 2018 that resulted in the injuries of two tourists. The number of gorillas found in Virunga National Park has increased to about 300, and the government is doing everything it can to put an end to the fights and make going on a gorilla trek safe. You can purchase DRC gorilla permits from a tour company or online from the National Park.
THE COST OF A GORILLA SAFARI IN UGANDA
A habituation permit is good for one day and costs $1500 per person, while a gorilla permit costs $700 per person. Contrary to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which have low-season permit fees, Uganda eliminated them. Now, regardless of the season, the cost is always $600 for foreign residents, $700 for foreign non-residents, and 250000ugx for East African citizens. We advise that you reserve your permit at least six months prior to your anticipated safari because the peak season can be challenging due to the high volume of tourists.
The gorilla permit fee does not cover additional expenses for lodging, transportation, or other services, so you will need additional funds to complete your gorilla safari while visiting Uganda. The estimated costs for your trip include lodging, which ranges from $100 to $1500 per person per night; transportation from the Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi via road, which could cost $200 to $350; a flight to Bwindi, which costs approximately $350; and tips. This estimate is intended to help you budget for a gorilla safari so that you can be well prepared.
GORILLA TREKKING RULES AND REGULATIONS IN UGANDA
The Uganda Wildlife Authority established a set of guidelines for tourists to adhere to as they prepare for the trek, go on the trek, and encounter mountain gorillas. These guidelines are known as gorilla tracking rules and regulations. Before the start of a trek, you are reminded of the rules so that you can contribute to the conservation of the habitats where the gorillas live. These regulations are there to protect the already endangered species. The guidelines that each trekker should follow are listed below.
General health rules for gorilla trekking
In order to protect the primates, precautions were taken after the COVID-19 outbreak. Gorillas are susceptible to disease, so it’s important to follow all standard operating procedures to prevent the spread of Corona, which could decrease the number of gorillas. These include:
- Wearing cloth masks,
- Carrying two or three disposable masks if you have them,
- Washing your hands before starting your trek,
- Taking/Checking your body temperature, and
- Keeping a safe distance of at least 10 meters when you encounter gorillas.
Turn away from the gorillas and cover your face with a handkerchief if you start to sneeze or cough to prevent the spread of illness.
Rules to follow during trekking
- Avoid leaving trash in the national parks, which will harm their already vulnerable ecosystems: Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga.
- Remember that gorillas are peaceful creatures who do not like to be disturbed, so you must maintain your composure around them and throughout your trek. Low-pitched conversation or remaining silent will allow you to observe the gorillas peacefully without disturbing them.
- To protect the environment, all human waste should be buried 30 feet underground. If necessary, dig a hole in a bush, then fill it in with the tissues that were used inside. The tracker guide will reiterate the guidelines you are expected to follow while in the gorillas’ presence as your trek comes to an end and you have located the gorilla family.
Rules to follow when you are with the gorillas
- Avoid using a flash because it frightens gorillas, and make sure you make no noise while taking the pictures by moving slowly and quietly close to the primates.
- Each gorilla group may have eight visitors per group per hour. Smaller crowds of people are simpler to manage and less disruptive to gorillas, who prefer to maintain their peace and not be disturbed.
- Avoid looking the gorillas directly in the eye and instead crouch down like the tour guide when they attack instead of fleeing. Before returning to your regular posture, watch for the gorillas to move away or pass you by.
- Until you are at least 200 meters away from the gorillas, you are expected to remain silent or speak quietly. When you are near mountain gorillas, avoid eating, drinking, or smoking because the crumbs from your food could spread diseases from people to gorillas.
- For the hour that you will be with the gorillas, keep a distance of 7 to 10 meters. By keeping a safe distance, you can make sure the gorilla family you are watching is comfortable. You should also stick with your group while watching the gorillas.
FAQS ABOUT GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA
Where in Uganda can I see gorillas?
Uganda has two gorilla hiking destinations: Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which together house half of the gorilla population on Earth and are located in south-western Uganda. The Ntebeko trek route in Mgahinga National Park and the Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhoma, and Rushaga trek routes in Bwindi National Park are the five trek routes shared by the two national parks.
Depending on whether gorilla permits are available, you can start your trek in a different gorilla section. The dates and sections of the gorilla permits that are issued are taken into account when making hotel reservations. Due to the limited number of permits available during the dry season, you might not be able to choose which section you visit. However, if you book early enough, you may be able to select the trek section during the low season.
The over 131-square-kilometer Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place to go on a gorilla safari. In addition to other endangered species, it is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Due to the large number of endangered species and the biodiversity present within the National Park’s boundaries, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since you can spend more time with the gorillas during the habituation process thanks to Bwindi’s habituated gorilla families, the trek is more interesting.
Nkuringo sector: In the southern region of Bwindi, this is where you can find the Nkuringo gorilla group. There are three habituated gorilla families there: the Bushaho family, which has 12 gorillas; the Christmas family, which has 9 gorillas; and the Nkuringo family, which has 13 gorillas. The fourth family in Nkuringo is still being accustomed to, so it is not currently possible to trek there. Affordable lodging options in Nkuringo include the Chameleon Hill Camp, Mountain Gorilla Lodge, and Nkuringo Gorilla Camp. 24 permits are issued daily to the Nkuringo sector.
Ruhija sector: The Bitukura gorilla family, which has four dominant silverbacks, is in Ruhija, which is on the eastern side of Bwindi. There are also 17 gorillas in the Oruzogo family and 20 in the Kyaguriro family. Ruhija’s lodging options include Trekkers Tavern Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, and Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp. 24 permits are issued daily to the Ruhija section.
Buhoma sector: The most visited area of Bwindi is Buhoma, which is situated in the northern region. Compared to other sectors, it is more developed and offers upscale lodging options. It has four gorilla families: Rushaga, which has 18 gorillas; Habinyanja, which has 14, Mubare, which has 9, and Muyambi, which has 6. These gorilla families are habituated in Buhoma, which also receives 40 permits each day.
Rushaga sector: This area of Bwindi is home to several gorilla families, including the Bweza family, the Nshongi (9 gorillas), the Kahungye (17 gorillas), the Bweza (12 gorillas), the Mucunguzi (12 gorillas), and the Mishaya (12 gorilla) families. In contrast to Buhoma, accommodations in Rushaga are reasonably priced, and you should visit the Chameleon Hill Lodge and Gorilla Safari Lodge.
The other gorilla safari destination in Uganda is Mgahinga National Park, which is a part of the Virunga region that extends to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Sabinyo, Muhabura, and Mount Gahinga are the three main peaks of the National Park. Nature hikes, cultural excursions, and birding are additional activities that can be added to gorilla trekking in Mgahinga. There is only one trek route in Mgahinga, which is called the Ntebeko trek route, and this is where all of the treks begin.
There are 20 habituated gorilla families in total, and Uganda issues about 160 permits per day. Because there aren’t many last-minute gorilla permits available, you should make your reservation 4 to 6 months in advance of your intended trip.
What is gorilla trekking?
Different people engage in gorilla trekking, which entails a trek through the wild in search of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are only currently found in three countries: Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park, and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks. They live in mountainous regions. Depending on where the gorilla family has migrated, gorilla treks can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours, and you only get an hour with the primates when you meet them. Gorilla habituation permits, which cost $1500 and give you 4 hours with the gorillas, are available for those who would like to spend longer with them.
The treks start as early as 8:00 a.m. with a brief gathering at the various centers along the trek route. Eight people are in each group. Before the hike actually starts, two armed rangers and a trained tracker join the group to go over the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking with you.
A team of armed rangers is dispatched at dawn to determine whether the gorilla family you have been assigned to is available before the trek even begins. To easily communicate with the rangers at the center, they move while making radio calls. This facilitates the primates’ easy distribution and makes the trek simpler. The tracker will have a machete to cut through the bushes as the trek begins, and the rangers will have their guns for protection. In order to observe the endangered species comfortably for 60 minutes while sitting on the ground, you must maintain a 10-meter distance from the gorillas, remain calm, and make no loud noises.
What should I expect on a gorilla trek in Uganda?
Every traveler should have the opportunity to go gorilla trekking in Uganda, which begins with a trek through dense vegetation with no discernible path to the mountain gorillas. The hour you spend with them will be worth all the sweat you shed during the trek because they are now accustomed to people.
You are not permitted to approach the gorillas up close; rather, you must maintain a 10-meter distance from them. Flash photography is also prohibited because it agitates the gorillas, especially the silverback, who will perceive it as a challenge. You are also not permitted to make sudden noises, litter the national park, or consume alcohol or tobacco while viewing the gorillas.
All of this is done to prevent the mountain gorillas from going extinct and to prevent you from getting attacked by the primates while interacting with them.
What is the Age limit for gorilla trekking?
In Uganda, gorilla safaris are not permitted for children under the age of 15. You must send the necessary information from your passport to confirm that you are at least 15 years old before you can reserve a spot on the trek. The strict age restriction rule must be adhered to at all times; otherwise, if you try to misrepresent your age, you will be disappointed when you discover that you are not permitted to trek because tour guides confirm your age by checking passports the morning of the trek.
Children under the age of 15 are frequently difficult to control and prone to sudden movements. We advise leaving them at the lodges as you depart for your gorilla trek in order to prevent situations in which the silverback might attack.
When am I supposed to book the gorilla permit?
The primary goal of the few permits that the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues each year is to safeguard the already vulnerable gorilla population. Because of the high demand for permits, particularly during the dry season, you should make your reservations at least six months before your intended Uganda safari.
What is gorilla habituation?
Currently, only the Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park engages in gorilla habituation. Tourists who purchase gorilla habituation permits pay $1500 and get to spend approximately 4 hours with gorillas who have been trained to become accustomed to human presence. Only four people per group are permitted to approach gorillas during gorilla habituation safaris, which began in 2014.
Is gorilla trekking in Uganda difficult?
Because Bwindi and Mgahinga are located in rocky terrain, gorilla treks in Uganda are challenging. You will have to hike up and down several hills before you reach the gorillas because they live at high elevations of over 2600 meters above sea level.
You must be physically fit for the activity, especially if you intend to take the longer routes, and it is not for the faint of heart. The tracker use a sharp machete to clear the bushes, making it possible to more easily track the gorillas because there are no obvious routes or directions to follow. The only way to travel through Bwindi is on foot, but once there, the main perk is relaxing away from the gorillas for the hour that you have been given to observe them.
Can I track gorillas in Uganda via Rwanda?
Yes, gorillas in Uganda can now be tracked from Rwanda. It only takes 5 to 6 hours to fly from Kigali to the airstrip near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is less time than it would take to drive from Kampala to Bwindi. Booking an East African tourist visa, which costs $100, will make things easier.
How many people are allowed to be with a gorilla family?
For both the regular gorilla trek and the gorilla habituation trek, a gorilla family may be visited by eight people for an hour each day. Groups of four are permitted to spend approximately 4 hours with a gorilla family. The gorillas are to be protected, and there are to be as few people as possible in each group and as few hours as possible.
Are potters necessary while gorilla trekking?
Due to the difficult terrain and ambiguous paths, the hike through Mgahinga and Bwindi is where the potters come in handy. We advise that you hire a porter for around $20 to help you carry your luggage because hiking through the forest will be challenging, especially if you are carrying a daypack.
Potters are always waiting for tourists who need their services at the trail’s beginning in uniform. Many of the potters are either locals who were ejected from the national park in order to protect it or ex-poachers who are now looking for alternative sources of income. As a result, by hiring a porter, you are indirectly helping the neighborhood that surrounds the national park.
Is gorilla trekking in Uganda safe?
Yes, all tourists can safely go gorilla trekking in Uganda thanks to the numerous guidelines established by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the park authorities. Although the gorillas have been taught to become accustomed to people, they can become hostile if they feel attacked, especially the dominant silverback. To protect both yourself and the gorillas, you must abide by all of the gorilla trek’s rules and regulations.
Remember that you are just visiting and should leave the national park in the same condition that you found it as you get ready to go gorilla trekking. Avoid leaving trash in the national park and abide by all other instructions given to you during the briefing.
Once you arrive at the gorillas, you must make sure to maintain a distance of approximately 10 meters from them. The silverback can easily kill you if it senses danger, despite the fact that they are very calm and gentle primates who rarely attack. Additionally, the distance prevents the gorillas from becoming ill from a tourist’s cough or sneeze.
You must avoid engaging the gorillas at any point if they approach you, especially the young ones. Make sure you are always wearing a mask and avoid looking the gorillas directly in the eyes, as this might appear to be a challenge. Avoid fleeing when a silverback approaches; instead, bow down to show that you are submissive so that it won’t attack.
Since gorillas are susceptible to disease, you should postpone your trek if you’re feeling under the weather. All rules must be observed at all times because these are already threatened species that require protection at all costs.
What do I need to pack for gorilla trekking?
You should pack the following items, among others, for your gorilla safari:
Gardening gloves are a necessity for your luggage because you’ll be grabbing some trees and branches as you hike through the jungle. Your hands will be protected from cuts and bruises by the gardening gloves.
Daypack: The daypack should be light and waterproof, and it shouldn’t be bulky. This will make it easier for you to transport all of your necessities, such as water bottles, camera equipment, binoculars, insect repellent, and a waterproof jacket. To enjoy your trek without carrying around luggage, you might need the assistance of a porter to help you carry the backpack.
To prevent bug bites, you must always carry insect repellent with you.
Walking stick: Whether you’re trekking through the dry season or the wet season, Bwindi has some of the roughest terrain of all the national parks in Uganda, so you’ll need one.
When we refer to “gadgets,” we naturally include phones as well as cameras and binoculars. For an African safari, cameras and binoculars are a necessity. They are the binoculars that will enable you to see the gorillas clearly from a distance, and make sure you get a good camera so you can capture all the images of the gorillas that you desire.
How long does gorilla trekking take?
There is no definitive answer to this frequently asked question because it is well known that wildlife moves from one location to another, primarily in search of food, but there are other factors at play, such as weather changes, and this also applies to gorillas. You might be one of the select few who are able to see the gorilla families right away, or you might be one of the groups who must trek for hours before seeing the gorillas. The tracker and rangers typically know where to look for them and will make every effort to locate them based on where the gorilla spent the night. Any amount of time spent trekking will be worthwhile once you see the gorillas, so it doesn’t matter how long it takes.
Will I be able to see gorillas on my trek?
Nobody can predict what will happen in the wild, but you won’t be able to leave the national park without seeing gorillas. Armed rangers are dispatched before your trek to ensure that the gorilla family you were assigned to is on the designated path. They constantly communicate with the armed rangers who are at the trek group’s center, and in the rare instances where the family has strayed too far from the group, you are given another gorilla family to trek with.
Where is Bwindi Impenetrable Park?
Both road travel and air travel are options for getting to Bwindi, which is located in the south-western region of Uganda. The Nkuringo region in the south, the Buhoma region in the north, the Rushaga region in the south, and the Ruhija region in the east make up Bwindi’s four hiking-friendly regions. The accommodation you reserve will determine which region you trek to because the different regions have different gorilla families.
What should I wear on a gorilla trek?
Whether you are trekking from Uganda, Rwanda, or the DRC, there are a number of necessities you need for a gorilla trek. Here is a list of what to wear while on a gorilla trek so that you can be prepared for the trek with the gorillas. Remember to avoid packing camouflage clothing for a safari because it is associated with the military; instead, opt for neutral, muted colors.
Gaiters: These are long, thick socks that fit inside hiking boots and can be tucked into long pants with ease. The gaiters keep your feet warm and stop insects like red ants and other critters from climbing up your legs and bothering you.
When trekking through the jungle, long hiking pants will keep you from getting scratched. Avoid wearing jeans at all costs, and make sure the pants you carry are lightweight and easily absorb water without becoming heavy when it rains.
Given the rough terrain in the National Park, sturdy, waterproof hiking boots are a must. Avoid wearing sandals, loafers, and sneakers on a trek because they will soak up the mud and water and make the trek difficult. The ideal hiking boots ought to have space for gaiters, be lightweight and waterproof, and be at least knee-length. You’ll have the stability you need to trek through the jungle in good hiking boots.
Long-sleeved shirts: The long sleeves should at the very least be warm and sweat-proof for when the weather changes drastically, as it frequently does in Uganda. The shirts also shield from bruising and scratches from the bushes.
Sunhat and gardening gloves: while hiking through the jungle, the sunhat will shield you from the sun’s rays, while the gardening gloves will protect your hands from tree branches and other sharp objects. Women are urged to protect their hair, especially if it is long, to prevent tangles on objects like branches.
Rain jacket: It is advised to wear a waterproof jacket because Bwindi experiences almost constant rain, even in the dry season. Additionally, your jacket should be thin while still keeping you warm.
Is gorilla trekking worth the money?
This is a brand-new experience. You will encounter endangered gorillas while exploring the bushes in search of them, and the experience will stay with you forever. Therefore, the answer is that going ape-spotting is worth the money invested in the permit, lodging, and transportation. Gorilla trekking is one of those things that sometimes cannot be valued financially. When comparing gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda, the Rwandan safari is less expensive overall, including the price of the gorilla permit, lodging near the national parks, and transportation. Because you will carry the memories of your jungle trekking with you even after leaving Uganda, gorilla expeditions in Uganda are worth investing your time and money in.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS WHILE GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA
There are three types of accommodations available for use while on a gorilla safari in Uganda:
- Budget accommodations,
- Mid-range accommodations, and
- Luxury accommodations.
Your budget will play a major role in determining the kind of lodging you select. The list of lodgings you can choose from on your gorilla safari in Uganda is provided below, and prices range from $250 to $800 or more per person per night.
Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Mount Gahinga lodge
- Mahogany Springs Lodge
- Buhoma lodge
- Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Lodge
- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
- Volcanoes at Bwindi Lodge
- Nshongi camp
- Broadbill Forest Camp
- Buhoma community rest camp
- Bwindi View Bandas
- Ruhija Community Rest Camp
- Wagtail Eco-Safari Camp
- Gift of Nature Resort
- Ihamba residence
- Lake Mutanda resort
- Silverback Lodge
- Engagi lodge
- Chameleon Hill Lodge
- Travelers Rest Hotel
Accommodation in Mgahinga National Park
- Amajambere Iwacu community camp
- Mount Gahinga Lodge
- Mutanda Lake Resort
- Traveler’s Rest Hotel
TIPS ON GORILLA SAFARIS IN UGANDA
- The following are some recommendations that you should keep in mind to make the most of your Uganda gorilla trekking safari experience:
- For the gorilla trek, you must be prepared and physically fit. Tell the tour guides how physically fit you are so that they can place you with a gorilla family that is a little closer than the ones that are farther away.
- Having travel insurance and using local currencies will make your trip easier, especially when making purchases and paying tips.
- If at all possible, travel during the dry season, when the jungle is accessible. When choosing accommodations, be sure that they are close to where the trek will begin.
- Last but not least, despite any difficulties you may face along the way, make sure you enjoy yourself on your safari.
THE BEST TIME TO GO GORILLA TREKKING
One of the most common queries from travelers planning to go on a gorilla trek in Uganda is this one. The drier months of December through February, June through August, and early September are the best times to go on a gorilla trekking safari. Due to the high number of tourists who come to the nation during these times, they are also peak seasons, so be prepared for price increases—especially in the area of lodging. Because Bwindi is a tropical rainforest, rain should be expected at all times, including during the dry season. If you can brave the rain and muddy and slippery trek routes, you can go gorilla trekking during the wet season, also known as the low season.
Gorilla Trekking In Uganda From Kigali, Rwanda
Uganda mountain gorilla trekking Safari experience from Rwanda Kigali: Safaris to Uganda for gorilla trekking are increasingly popular these days. In order to save money and time, many tourists choose this type of arrangement. The term “Kigali to Bwindi gorilla trekking” is also used to describe these excursions. This is a good option if you think Rwandan gorilla permits are too pricey or if you’d prefer to see gorillas in Uganda.
Which would you prefer: a four-hour drive from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or an eight- to nine-hour drive from Kampala to Bwindi? Nearly one out of every ten visitors will reserve a trip to see gorillas in Bwindi from Kigali.
WHY BOOK UGANDAN GORILLA TREKKING FROM KIGALI?
Like I said earlier, a lot of tourists now prefer to trek gorillas in Uganda from Kigali, Rwanda. Let’s examine the reasons why this is the case.
Cheaper flights: In case you were unaware, Rwanda has its own airline. Due to Rwanda’s direct flights to Heathrow Airport, customers from the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and a few other select nations benefit the most from this. This favors safaris to see gorillas in Bwindi over those in Kigali. This results in extremely low-cost flight tickets, which are even more affordable if you are traveling for leisure.
Only a four-hour drive separates Kigali from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Compared to the nine-hour drive from Kampala to Bwindi, this drive is five hours shorter. You will be able to cut your travel time by about five hours.
Savings: Visitors who reserve Uganda gorilla trekking safaris from Kigali can travel from Kigali to Bwindi on the same day. They don’t have to spend the money on lodging because of this. As you are all aware, Bwindi gorilla permits cost $700 each, compared to $1500 for Rwandan gorilla permits. You can trek in Bwindi and spend $900 less per permit.
Customers who reserve Uganda gorilla trekking safaris from Entebbe in Kampala must reserve lodging for both the first and, in most cases, the last nights of their trip. If your flight lands earlier than 09:00 (EAT), you can’t arrive and transfer to Bwindi on the same day. In addition, it’s difficult to find such flights unless you’re lucky, and believe me, you don’t want to spend hours in the air, land, and then drive for another eight to ten hours to get to Bwindi.
In either case, you must stay the night in Entebbe or Kampala before leaving the following day. If no overnight flights are available to your home country on the day of your departure, you may choose to spend the night there instead.
Visit the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Monument in Kigali if you’re passing through the city. Gisozi is home to one of the most historic monuments in the world. This monument honors the millions of Rwandans who perished in the 1994 Genocide. If you are in Kigali before 12:00, think about going there. The activity is free and lasts about two hours.
Shorter Trips: From Rwanda’s Kigali, gorilla trekking in Uganda can be done in just two days. Arrival and transfer are handled on the first day. The second day is reserved for hiking and leaving. It is possible to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi and then transfer back to Kigali for your night flight.
Less Fatigue: Unless you enjoy traveling for long hours, less travel means less fatigue. The average amount of time spent driving is 4 hours. You stay in shape so that you can go on your gorilla trek the next day.
THE DOWNS OF STARTING YOUR UGANDA GORILLA TREK FROM KIGALI
Pricey: Unless you reserve your gorilla safari through a Rwanda travel agency or gorilla trekking company with a local office in Rwanda, this option is more expensive. A few Ugandan tour operators won’t take the trip’s first and last days into account.
If you remember, I said earlier that booking your Bwindi gorilla trek from Kigali would save you money, but now I’m going to argue the opposite. The fact is that it gives you a 50/50 chance of saving money while allowing you to spend more indirectly. Since the majority of tour companies operating in Uganda are based in Kampala or Entebbe, they must send a tour guide to Kigali, Rwanda, the day before so that he can pick you up from Kigali on time the following day.
The final day of your gorilla trip is no different. Once your guide has dropped you off in Kigali, he must spend the night in one of the western towns of Uganda before continuing on to Kampala the next day. As a result, a 2- and 3-day safari indirectly becomes a 4- and 5-day safari. You will be charged for the vehicle, the driver, and the fuel for these additional days.
Miss out on seeing Uganda’s countryside; it’s a very lovely place! You won’t be able to see the Ugandan countryside or stop at the Equator on the Masaka Road if you enter through Rwanda. The eight-hour drive from Kampala to Western Uganda’s Bwindi Forest National Park offers a wealth of sights to behold.
Most likely to encounter a guide alone: When a tour consultant custom-tailors your safari, meeting a completely different person the day of your pickup becomes unsettling. The majority of businesses only send tour guides to pick up customers in Rwanda. Any visitor who meets the consultant who confirmed their safari on the first or last day of arrival will feel at ease and a part of things. This rarely, but occasionally, occurs when you reserve Uganda gorilla tours from Kigali.
Border Traffic: The border can occasionally experience crazy traffic. Each vehicle must pass border inspection before entering Uganda. The same holds true if you are traveling from Uganda to Rwanda. Depending on the number of vehicles, there may be a lot of traffic at the border, causing you to wait for close to an hour.
APPLYING FOR VISAS
If you decide to travel to Uganda from Rwanda to go gorilla trekking, you might want to apply for an East African tourist visa rather than two separate visas. One visa covers multiple entries into Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. In either case, gorilla trekking in Uganda is fantastic from Kigali! I would advise every traveler to give it a shot. You spend much less time traveling as a result.