Gorilla Tours | Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Uganda & Rwanda
Our gorilla tours in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo enable travellers meet face-to-face with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats for a breathtaking experience. These are the only 3 destinations in the world where mountain gorillas which share 98% of the human DNA can be found. Are you interested in a budget or luxury trip to Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo? Book a lifetime wildlife experience to see the endangered primates in any of these destinations.
Our emphasis on exceptional travel services has made Gorilla Trek Africa Ltd (GTA) one of the best tour operators in Africa. National parks that protect mountain gorillas and host our gorilla tours include Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Virunga national park in DR Congo. Book an exceptional gorilla tour to any of these parks and enjoy a lifetime encounter with one of the habituated gorilla families that live in these stunning montane rainforests of east and central Africa. Besides gorilla safaris, we also organise other wildlife and adventurous experiences including game viewing, chimpanzee trekking & habituation, bird watching, and mountain climbing to make your African safari a complete package.
Why go for a gorilla tour?
A gorilla tour in Rwanda or Uganda offers travellers an opportunity to meet one of the rarest wildlife species in the world, the mountain gorillas. These endangered primates do not survive in captivity and can only be found in their natural habitats within the Virunga Mountains and in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Mountain gorillas were at the brink of extinction a few decades ago majorly due to poaching and habitat loss but as a result of intensive conservation efforts, their population is now on a recovery trend.
Meeting these gentle giants in the wild has been described as one of the best wildlife experiences in the world by many travellers who have encountered them in the montane rainforests of east and central Africa. At Gorilla Trek Africa, we don't just organise a gorilla tour for our travellers, we make sure that they also explore other amazing experiences the region has to offer to maximise their safari memories and quench their curiosity. We always customise our gorilla tour packages to include experiences like game viewing, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, cultural tours, among others depending on the interests of the traveller.
Check out our outstanding reviews on Trip Advisor posted by some of our past clients who have been impressed by our profession and quality services. These grateful clients have highly rated us in offering satisfactory and worthwhile travel experiences in East and Central Africa. From breathtaking wildlife encounters like gorilla trekking, chimpanzee tracking, and game viewing to adventure and cultural expeditions, Gorilla Trek Africa is highly credited for organising thrilling experiences.
We also tailor-make itineraries that include Tanzania's premier national parks including Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara; Egyptian and Ethiopian world class archaeological sites; and a visit to the world largest Victoria waterfalls in Zimbabwe.
2 Days Uganda gorilla tour from Kigali crossing to Bwindi national park for gorilla trekking tours in the wild. Read More
Book a 3 Days Rwanda gorilla trek to Parc Nationale des Volcans and visit the Genocide site with GTA. Read More
The 4 Days Uganda gorilla safari for double gorilla trekking experience. The 4 Days safari to Bwindi entail 2 gorilla treks and visiting the batwa pygmy communities to learn and experience their traditional forest life Read More
Enjoy this 5 Days Rwanda gorillas & chimpanzee safari Volcanoes National Park & Nyungwe Forest national park respectively. Th 5 Days Rwanda primates safari offers you chance to see gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural habitatas. Read More
Book a 12 Days Rwanda gorillas & Tanzania wildebeest migration safari with Gorilla Trek Africa. Enjoy a close encounter with endangered gorillas in Volcanoes Park and experience the annual migration of wildebeests in Tanzania. Read More
Enjoy a 9 Days Tanzania Wildebeest migration safari. The great annual movement of wildebeest and other ungulates in search for fresh pastures through Serengeti national park, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National parks thus encountering great predators such as cats and crocodiles along River Mara is a great spectacle. Read More
Book a tailored 10 Days Rwanda safari to explore primates and wildlife in this small country. The 10 Days safari include mountain gorilla trekking, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, Dian Fossey hike and big five game. Visit top destinations in Rwanda with Gorilla Trek Africa. Read More
This 2 Days Rwanda gorilla tour enables you to trek mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park with an additional experience of either a cultural tour or hiking Mount Bisoke. Read more..
Book a customized 6 Days Rwanda gorilla, chimps and L Kivu safari with Gorilla Trek Africa. Discover great primates of Rwanda, the mountain gorilals, in VNP, chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest and a boat cruise at Lake Kivu. Read More
More customised gorilla tours & wildlife safaris in Uganda and Rwanda
Enjoy our tailored luxury gorilla tours and wildlife packages to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to our standard safaris, Gorilla Trek Africa is offering luxury packages which feature luxury hotels and lodges across Africa.
Customized 5 Days Rwanda luxury gorillas and chimpanzee trekking safari to Volcanoes and Nyungwe Forest National Parks with Gorilla Trek Africa. Read More
Tailored 4 Days Rwanda luxury double gorilla trekking experience with Gorilla Trek Africa. The 4 Days double gorilla safari also entail golden monkey trekking. Read More
Frequently Asked Questions About Gorilla Tours
Yes, gorilla trekking is a worthwhile experience that every wildlife enthusiast should undertake in a
lifetime. Interfacing with these awesome giants is a breathtaking phenomenon. You can choose to
enjoy either a gorilla trek that allows you an hour in the presence of the gorillas; or have fun with
the gorillas for over 4 hours – the Gorilla Habituation Experience.
2. How much is the cost of a gorilla permit in any of the 3 countries: - DR Congo (Virunga NP), Rwanda (Volcanoes National park) and Uganda (Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks)?
The cost of a gorilla permit for foreign non-resident visitors is USD 1500 for Rwanda; USD 400 in DR Congo; and USD 700 for Uganda.
In terms of drive distance, Rwanda being a small country geographically, it takes only 3 hours to access the gorilla park (Volcanoes National Park) from Kigali airport on a smooth road; whereas it takes about 5 hours from Kigali to Bwindi national park in Uganda. If one is to begin the tour from Entebbe airport, it would take more than 8 hours to get to the park.
In terms of gorilla tracking experience, both countries are the same since they share similar features – they both belong to the Virunga Coservation Area and owing their originality to the same tectonic forces that form the mighty Virunga Massif with a rich biodiversity.
Uganda national parks including Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga national parks are the safest parts of this country. The team park rangers is well paid and motivated. They keep patrolling the parks 24/7.
Uganda is the cheapest safari destination in East Africa. Apart from a gorilla permit that costs USD 700, with a minimum of USD 100 each person per day can suffice. A safari in Uganda can be a day to 24 days depending on how you wish a safari to be customized for you.
Gorillas can be visited any time of the year. However the dry months of June, July, August and early September; and December to February are the best period of the year. During the rainy season March to May, and October to December, roads tend to be destroyed by floods; and in the park being tropical rainforests, rain is quite unpredictable thus making a gorilla safari albeit expensive, becoming a nightmare!
Gorilla Habituation Experience (Gorilla Habituation experience) is the activity where tourists are allowed to spend 4 hours with the gorillas as they immerse in all activities the gorillas undertake on a particular day. This experience is only organized in Rushaga sector of Bwindi national park in Uganda. When a guest books this Gorilla habituation Experience the funds are utilized in promoting the gorilla conservation efforts.
In Uganda the minimum age for gorilla and golden monkeys trekking is 15 years; and for chimpanzee tracking 12 years. In Rwanda, gorilla tracking minimum age is 15, so is the hike to Dian Fossey’s tomb; and 10 years for golden monkeys tracking.
In Uganda, if the child is below age and is keen to track gorillas, the adult guardian or parent must sign a document by Uganda Wildlife transferring all risk on him or her.
Only 8 people are allowed to track a gorilla family per a day. Where the number exceeds 8, there must be exceptional cases and Uganda Wildlife Authority senior park warden has to explain the reason for that.
For Gorilla Habituation Experience, only 4 persons are allowed to track a gorilla family. It is one of the reasons why a permit for this activity is as costly as USD 1500 per person.
There are over 97% chances of seeing the gorillas. The reason is that an advance team of rangers, on a daily basis, follow up the gorillas and can ably tell their movements. In the last 12 years we’ve been in operation (Gorilla Trek Africa Ltd), we have not witnessed any incidence of our clients missing gorillas.
At Gorilla Trek Africa Ltd, we advise our potential guests 4 months before traveling with us at least to pay a deposit that can buy a gorilla permit and pay the rest of the balance 2 weeks to the travel date. Gorilla permits sell out very fast as they are on a very high demand.
All you need to know about gorilla tours in Rwanda, Uganda & Congo
Gorilla trekking is considered to be one of the best wildlife experiences in the world by many travellers that have taken on the encounter in the montane rainforests of east and central Africa. Of all the tourist experiences in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo, gorilla tours attract the highest number of visitors who come to meet the endangered mountain gorillas face-to-face in their natural habitat. This is majorly due to the fact that the subspecies cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
For over a decade, Gorilla Trek Africa has been making adventure safari dreams of our clients come true (refer to our tripadvisor reviews). Your tour with us will be characterised by magical moments – especially after facing off with one of the stunning gorilla families in the wild. Get off the beaten track and into the scenery with our 4WD- off-road vehicles with luxury coach seats and air-conditioning. You will feel inspired, emotional and satisfied after looking into those liquid brown eyes of these human-related apes. Read more..
There is still much to see in the wildernesses of Rwanda, Uganda & Congo away from the gorilla tours, with other wildlife experiences like game viewing, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching and more all available to exploit. Our safaris range from 1 to 24 days for those that may want to traverse the region and explore its amazing wildlife, cultural and historical experiences.
Where do gorilla tours take place
Mountain Gorilla tours take place in only two locations in the world, that is in the Virunga Mountains that straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda & Congo and in Bwindi impenetrable national park in southwest Uganda. Mountain gorillas survive only in the wild and cannot be found in any zoo anywhere in the world. The montane rainforests in these two locations are the ideal habitats for these endangered subspecies and therefore the only place where they can be found. In addition to Bwindi, there are 3 national parks within the Virunga Mountains that protect mountain gorillas namely; Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in DR Congo and Mghainga gorilla national park in Uganda. The gorilla census of 2018 indicated that there were 1,064 mountain gorillas living in the wild though their number is likely to have increased since then. Bwindi impenetrable national park protects the highest number of mountain gorillas with about 450 of them followed by Volcanoes national park in Rwanda with about 350 while Virunga national park in Congo has about 200 animals.
Which destination is the best for gorilla tours?
The gorilla trekking experience is breathtaking and intriguing regardless of the destination where it may take place. Mountain gorillas share 98% of the human DNA and exhibit the same behaviour wherever they are found just like human beings. However, there a few factors that make one gorilla trekking destination more or less favourable to the travellers. These include cost of the gorilla tour, distance travelled from the airport to the park, standard of accommodation facilities, transport network, security, among others. In terms of cost, Rwanda is considered to be the most pricy with her gorilla permit sold at $1,500 per person. The country is also striving to be a high end tourist destination with several luxurious lodges and hotels already in place. Uganda’s gorilla permit is sold at $700 per person to foreign nonresidents, $600 to foreign residents in East Africa and Uganda Shillings 250,000 to East African residents. Congo’s gorilla permit is the cheapest at $400 per person although the country is less popular for gorilla tours due to the civil conflict in the eastern part of the county where mountain gorillas are found. Rwanda has the easiest accessibility to the gorilla park as it only takes visitors less than 3 hours to drive from Kigali International Airport to Volcanoes national park in the northwest. This is far faster compared to over 10 hours driven from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi in Uganda. It is also worthy noting that many travellers trek gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park while coming from Rwanda because it is more easily accessed from Kigali rather than Kampala. Unlike DR Congo, both Rwanda and Uganda are politically stable and travellers are assured of safety while on their gorilla trekking tours and other safaris.
Best season for gorilla tours
Although mountain gorillas are visited throughout the year, the best time to enjoy the breathtaking gorilla trekking experience is the dry season between June to September and December to February. Mountain gorillas live at high altitude in rugged montane rainforests which can be so difficult to trek in wet season through due to slippery and muddy conditions caused by heavy rains. Gorillas tend to be very difficult to find in rainy days since they tend to stay at one place for a long time whereas they roam freely in their habitat during warm days hence very easy to find. However, regardless of the season, travellers who want to trek gorillas are always encouraged to pack important gear like rain jackets and hiking boots since it may rain anytime in these gorilla trekking parks.
A gorilla permit is the primary requirement for those intending to visit mountain gorillas. The issuance of gorilla permits is highly regulated due to the need to enhance gorilla conservation in all the 3 countries. Only 8 permits are issued per day to trek a habituated gorilla family, meaning that only 8 visitors are permitted to visit a gorilla family per da. The easiest way to acquire a gorilla permit is by booking online through a credible tour agent. After receiving the booking fee, the agent goes ahead to buy the permit from the issuing authority on behalf of the client. Due to the limited issuance of gorilla permits, travellers are recommended to book for gorilla tours at least 6 months in advance in order not to miss out on this lucrative and adventurous encounter. Read more..
Gorilla trekking guidelines
Before entering the jungle to search for mountain gorillas, trekkers are first briefed about the dos and donts of gorilla trekking which are simply guidelines for the exercise. These were drafted by conservation authorities to ensure that the welfare of the gorillas is prioritised to enable continue to thrive in their natural habitat. This is very important especially when you consider the fact that mountain gorillas were at the brink of extinction a few decades ago. Limiting human interference is therefore one of the ways the animals can helped to live healthy and free in their natural habitats. Among the major rules include limiting the number of visitors per gorilla group to 8 per day and restricting the time visitors spend in the presence of gorillas to one hour. Others include prohibiting visitors from touching gorillas, maintaining silence in their presence, among others. Read more..
National parks for gorilla tours
There are four national parks where gorilla tours take place namely; Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in southwest Uganda, Volcanoes national park in northwest Rwanda and Virunga national park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bwindi protects the highest number of mountain gorillas and perhaps the most popular destination for gorilla tours. The park has over 20 habituated gorilla families that can be visited by trekkers every day and meeting these gentle giants here is almost certain for every visitor. Volcanoes national park in Rwanda has 12 habituated gorilla families, Virunga national park in DR Congo has 8 while Mgahinga in Uganda has one family which visits the park periodically and then returns to Rwanda. In addition to mountain gorillas, these habitats have also got a variety of other wildlife species that can be spotted by visitors while on their gorilla tours. These include the beautiful and colourful golden monkeys in Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park as well as forest elephants and baboons in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Other common species that can be found in all gorilla trekking parks include several bird species, chimpanzees, monkeys, among others.
What to pack for gorilla tours
Gorilla trekking is a unique experience that takes place in dense jungles of montane rainforests and therefore requires some special gear for a successful experience. Conditions in the parks such as regular rains, muddy and steep terrain, nestles and thorns in the woods make it important for travellers the necessary gear for the gorilla trekking encounter. Some of the most important items among the gorilla trekking gear include hiking boots, pair of gloves, pair of khaki trousers, long-sleeved shirt and a rain jacket. Other important items for gorilla trekking such as drinking water, packed lunch and snacks, and a walking stick are provided to the trekkers by their lodge of accommodation.
Just like humans, gorillas live in social families of related members with almost the same organisation like their human counterparts. A typical gorilla family is composed of the leading alpha male known as a silverback, several females, infants and several juveniles. In terms of numbers, there are some gorilla families that have been recorded with as low as 2 members while others have got as many as 30 members. It is worthy noting that apart from the habituated gorilla families that are visited by trekkers in these parks, there are also many others that are are wild or still undergoing process of habituation. Some of the habituated gorilla families in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park include Susa, Agashya, Mahoro, Titus, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Umubano, among others. Read more..
Gorilla tours in Rwanda
Gorilla tours in Rwanda are conducted in Volcanoes national park in the northwest, the country’s home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Volcanoes is one of the 3 mountain gorilla habitats found within the Virunga Mountains that lie across the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. The park has got 12 habituated gorilla families that are visited by trekkers every day with each family visited once per day by a group of 8 tourists. Although Rwanda’s gorilla gorilla permit is the most expensive compared to Uganda and DR Congo, the easy accessibility to the park, good quality accommodation facilities and a good road network make it the most ideal destination for gorilla tours. The gorilla trekking encounter in Volcanoes national park is also considered to be less exhausting because the park’s landscape is not as steep and the vegetation less dense compared to Bwindi in Uganda and Virunga in Congo. Given these favourable factors, it takes less time to reach gorillas in Volcanoes national park than in the other two habitats. Read more..
Kwita Izina – Gorilla naming ceremony
As part of her gorilla conservation efforts, Rwanda introduced the gorilla naming ceremony in 2005 in which new born gorillas are given names. The ceremony is locally known as ‘Kwita Izina,’ which means giving a name. It was adopted from Rwanda’s old tradition of giving names to newborn babies before a congregation of family and friends. The ceremony is carried out annually in September at Kingi, the headquarters of Volcanoes national park. Over 350 mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park have been named ever since the ceremony began. Naming infant gorillas helps rangers to easily monitor and protect them as they roam through the park. The practice has significantly enhanced gorilla conservation given the steadily increasing number of mountain gorillas in the park since it was initiated. As part of the ceremony several international guests including politicians, conservationists and celebrities are always invited to take part by naming the infant gorillas. Read more..
Uganda gorilla tours
Bwindi impenetrable national park in the southwest is the leading destination for Uganda gorilla tours. The park protects over 450 mountain gorillas, the highest number of the subspecies found in a single habitat. With over 20 habituated gorilla groups available for visiting by, Bwindi receives the highest number of gorilla trekkers of all mountain gorilla parks. Some of the habituated gorilla groups that are regularly visited in Bwindi include Mubare, Rushegura, Bitukura, Nshongi, Nkuringo, Bweza, among others. Gorilla tours in Bwindi take place in four different sectors of the park namely; Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo with gorilla permits allocated to visitors bearing one of these sectors. This is done to ensure responsible tourism in the park and reduce human interference and pressure on some gorilla groups more than others. Many travellers visit Bwindi to trek mountain gorillas via Kigali – Rwanda since it is a shorter distance to reach the park than coming from Kampala or Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. Gorilla tours are also done in Mgahinga gorilla national park though not as common as in Bwindi since the park has got only one gorilla family. Mgahinga is majorly visited by travellers who want enjoy another primate experience of golden monkey tracking due to the huge presence of the species in this park. The cost of a gorilla tour in Uganda is $700 per person for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents in East Africa and Shs. 250,000 for East African citizens. Read more..
Gorilla habituation in Bwindi
Gorilla habituation exclusively takes place in Bwindi impenetrable national park in the southern sector of Rushaga. Gorilla habituation is the process through which wild groups of mountain gorillas are made used to the presence of humans to facilitate tourism and strengthen their protection. During the process, the identified gorilla group is tracked by daily by rangers as they study their behaviour, location and organisation. Only four visitors per day are permitted to take part in the habituation process alongside rangers and trackers. The visitors get chance to spend more time in the company of gorillas unlike the normal gorilla trekking experience whey they are limited to only one hour before the gorillas. When the process is complete, the habituated gorilla group is officially availed for tourism and can be visited by travellers. Visitors who want to take park in the gorilla habituation experience are charged $1,500 per person and they are required to book their permits in advance to facilitate their integration into the process. So far, gorilla habituation with visitors is practised in only Bwindi impenetrable national park. Read more..
Gorilla tours in Congo
DR Congo is hugely endowed with a variety of wildlife species and unlike Uganda and Rwanda, the country has got more than one subspecies of gorillas. Congo’s mountain gorillas are found in Virunga national park while the other subspecies of lowland gorillas are found in Kahuzi-Biega national park both located in the east of the country. Gorilla tours are conducted in both parks with travellers able to choose their favourite subspecies for trekking. There are 8 habitauated gorilla families in Virunga national park including Kabirizi, Bageni, Mapuwa, Rugendo, Munyaga, among others. Congo’s gorilla permit is sold at $400 per person and just like in Rwanda and Uganda, travellers wishing t trek gorillas in Congo are encouraged to book in advance.
Gorilla tours in Congo are are less pronounced compared to Uganda and Rwanda due to the political instability in the eastern part of the country, the area around gorilla parks. This makes the area less attractive to visit due to the insecurity that chases away many potential visitors. The gorilla parks in the area are usually closed to tourism during the periods of intense conflicts and occasionally reopened when there is some relative stability. Travellers wishing to trek gorillas in Congo are encouraged to inquire about the security situation in the area before they book their safaris. Read more..