Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda

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What better way to spend your vacation after quarantine than to go out and witness nature’s true beauty?

Despite sharing most of our DNA with mountain gorillas, many folks don’t know much about our strong friendly primates. Previously listed as ‘critically endangered’ but slowly increasing their population, these gorillas are under constant threat from habitat destruction and poachers.

A Gorilla Trek is the highlight of all visits done in Uganda and Rwanda and is also the main source of tourism-based income for these two destinations. Open year-round, both these countries guarantee gorilla sightings almost every day. However, they require the purchase of a gorilla permit at least 6 months in advance. 

Here are some of the best spots for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda:

Uganda:

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla trekking is one of the top attractions here but not the only one. This serene place also has a variety of other species and nature walks to fully immerse yourself in the forest and clear your mind.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Image Source: InsightSafariHolidays.Com

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

While venturing through the terrain tracking gorillas, you will also be exposed to the huge variety of birds soaring through the bright sky.

Rwanda:

Volcanoes National Park

Containing a great diversity of ecosystems from open grasslands to bamboo forests, this location offers many different experiences, like climbing volcanoes, visiting the golden monkeys and going gorilla trekking. An annual gorilla baby naming ceremony also takes place here every September.

Volcanoes National Park

Gorillas at Volcanoes National Park, Image Source: FrekaAfricanHolidays.Com

Cost

A 3-day gorilla safari (including permits, accommodation and transport) in Uganda costs around 1600 USD while the one in Rwanda costs about 2000 USD per person, with cheaper prices if you are traveling in a group instead of on your own. If these prices look scary, keep in mind that the money goes to conserving the habitat and lives of these mountain gorillas.

Although cheaper, the Uganda trekking requires you to be physically fit and have high endurance as the forest is thick and it takes a lot of effort to track gorillas through it. 
On the other hand, half of the total population of mountain gorillas reside in Rwanda so permits are more readily available there, and you are assigned a group depending on your physical fitness level. In Rwanda, trekking is done on the side of an extinct volcano which is rather easy to scale.

Despite the differences in terrain, the sighting and adventure will be fun and exciting at both locations, and any pictures you take should come out well.

Trekking

Trekking, Image Source: EnchantingTravels.Com

Accommodation

The accommodations are also very good in both these locations.

In Uganda, you’ll find many lodges and campsites located near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in the nearby towns.

In Rwanda, too, you can find many lodges within the National Park.

Lodge Accommodation

Lodge Accommodation, Image Source: EnchantingTravels.Com

Items to Pack

It would be best to consult your guide about what exactly will be needed in the expedition, but the general items you need include basic hiking equipment.

Make sure that the color of your clothes blends in with the surrounding (black, green, grey, etc.). Avoid any animal prints so as to not startle any of the gorillas.

Wear something with long sleeves to avoid prickly plants and pesky bugs. Garden gloves would be useful to grip onto surfaces easily with minimal damage to your hands, and trekking poles would really help with keeping balance on rough patches of terrain.

Staying hydrated is very important! Make sure you have packed enough flasks or Camelback hands-free water bottles. While there isn’t too much danger, a first-aid kit and all (if any) prescriptions must be included. 

Compasses and multi-tools ¬ like sunscreen and bug spray – aren’t necessary, but would make the entire journey much easier.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Uganda or Rwanda for a wonderful gorilla trekking experience!

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