Encountering face to face with mountain gorillas in the jungle is one the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences for trekkers undertaking Africa safaris. It’s good to experience sitting or standing in silence in the cold forests for over 60 minutes, this is one of life’s greatest privileges that tourists enjoy during their Rwanda safaris, Congo safaris & Uganda safaris. However, planning the destination where to go, when to go and what to pack for this Africa safari tour are important to note before you head for your mountain gorilla trekking safari destination.
There are about 1063 mountain gorillas in existence, and Uganda is proud home half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas that can be trekked in its two gorilla safari destinations giving travellers on safaris in Uganda Uganda gorilla trekking safaris opportunities to observe and interact with these gentle, mysterious primates. Mountain gorillas therefore only live in the dense vegetation of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda and along with the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range that stretches across Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since these critically endangered creatures can’t survive in captivity, the only way to see them is by choosing Uganda as your next safari destination for gorilla trekking in Uganda up to their natural habitat in the misty cloud forests that have an altitude of over 14,763 feet.
When you choose to undertake a gorilla safari tour in Africa, mountain gorillas can only be found in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda, besides being blessed with two mountain gorilla safari destinations, it is also home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Uganda gorilla safaris/ Uganda gorilla trips can be enjoyed in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park situated in southwestern Uganda. As you plan a Uganda gorilla tour on your Africa tour, be sure that there is something unique about the Mountain Gorilla trekking safari experience in Uganda.
Current State Of Gorilla Trekking Safaris & Permits in Uganda
Currently, the gorilla permit was raised by the Uganda Wildlife Authority from $600 to $700 effective 1st July 2020 and its policy still remains that it is only sold to people above 15 years. Gorilla trekking takes about 2-8 hours depending on where you will find the gorillas. After finding the gorillas, you are restricted to only an hour with them. However, tourists who want to spend more time with the gorillas, normally book Uganda gorilla habituation safaris. With gorilla habituation, tourists spend the day with gorillas, watching their movement, feeding, building their nests, and many more. The Uganda gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person per day which is better than paying $1500 in Rwanda to watch gorillas for 1 hour only.
Most tourists interested in gorilla safaris in Uganda want to enjoy their Uganda gorilla safaris in Bwindi Forest National Park Uganda for it has over 18 gorilla trekking families properly distributed in its four regions; Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. More gorilla tours in Uganda are done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda which has one gorilla trekking region and one gorilla family called Nyakagezi. However, what makes it unique is that Mgahinga National Park is the only park in Uganda which has mountain gorillas and golden monkeys that are available for golden monkey trekking safaris Uganda hence christening the Park “Where Silver Meets Gold”. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of the Virunga Massif together with the other two Parks, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Virunga National Park Congo.
The drive time to any of the Uganda gorilla safari destinations is about 9-10 hours from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala excluding the stopovers, which is tiresome and long especially if you are not having a stopover in any of the other National Park. If you are not interested in long drives, there are scheduled flights to these gorilla safari destinations giving you the opportunity to take a scheduled flight to the Park. However, there is an alternative, visitors that want to enjoy a gorilla safari in Uganda usually fly into Kigali and drive 4 hours to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park making it an easier Africa gorilla tour.
Current State Of Gorilla Trekking Safaris & Permits in Rwanda
Unlike Uganda, Rwanda has only one Rwanda gorilla tour destination; Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. From Kigali International airport, this park is only 113 square kilometres that take about 2hours and 30minutes drive. Rwanda has the shortest distance to its Rwanda gorilla trip destination making it an easy option however, it has the most expensive gorilla permit among the three countries. In 2017, Rwanda increased the cost of one gorilla permit from $750 to $1500 which doubles Uganda’s cost per permit and literally triples the Congo gorilla permit. Volcanoes National Park is home to over 10 groups that are habituated for gorilla safaris in Rwanda.
Current State Of Gorilla Trekking Safaris & Permits in Congo
Less explored and feared by many Africa travellers because of the countries past insecurities, Congo’s gorilla safari permit is only $400. Despite all the political challenges that took place in Congo, it is safe for Congo tours and these take place in Virunga National Park. The Congo gorilla safari permit is cheaper compared to the cost of a permit in Uganda and Rwanda. The park is Africa’s oldest Park and is endowed with the highest biodiversity. This Park stands as one of Africa’s most unique destinations with a number of breathtaking features like the active volcanoes; Nyiragongo which can be hiked in one day and the Nyamuragira Volcano which last erupted in 2011. Besides visiting the gorillas, there are also other National Parks in these countries that you can enjoy on your Africa tour. You can combine your Africa gorilla trip with a visit to Kibale National Park Uganda, Akagera National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mountain Rwenzori National Park, Semuliki National Park, and many more. You can also go for adventures outside parks like rafting on the world’s longest river; River Nile, horse riding, Kayaking, cycling safaris in Uganda Rwanda and many more.