You’ve woken up and the sun rose in a glowing calm style on the Virunga chained Volcanoes, emitting
a heart-welcoming light from the tropical rainforest as you move deep shadows into these chained mountains. Just follow the lead of your experienced guide who knows the trudge meaningful and so careful part of the dense forest, untrodden land, and navigating trails.
Your guide will help in pulling back the last branch, comparable with the theatre, as you find yourself being introduced to the world’s most unique creature that resembles human beings, in that your heart doesn’t know whether to either pound twice as hard or to skip a beat. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, Gorilla safaris
Face to face eye encounters with gorillas can humble every traveler, emotionally and a real privilege. Seeing gorillas offers a mutual understanding as tourists watch them in their natural environment, as these gorillas do their daily businesses such as feeding, silverbacks protecting his family.
Gorilla Youngsters always show off to the tropical forest newcomers, like jumping for joy because they have seen someone fresh as they demonstrate their motor skills too. Silverbacks always beat their big chests as an indication of supremacy or even charge, Gorilla trekking offers an exhilarating experience!
Gorillas sit peacefully as a family, chopping the bamboo together and they groom each other. Gorilla trekking is considered as ‘the most memorable encounter in the world why. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, Gorilla safaris.
Tourists are allowed to spend an hour with the gorillas and if feels it’s never enough. That is why we strongly recommend two treks or else Uganda offers gorilla habituation experience. Although the second gorilla trekking allows you to picture with the gorillas.
You can choose to trek a different gorilla family, trek in a different sector of the park or even cross the border and trek gorillas in a different country. No two gorilla trekking experiences are ever the same, they offer different experiences.
Time to leave for gorilla trekking comes too early, and you follow your guide as he or she takes you via the trail back to your cozy lodge.
Your Evenings can be fun as you share your gorilla trekking stories and photos of the day around the campfire, with your drink in your hand. Wrap yourself with a warm blanket as a sign of protection from coldness and you settle into a fabulous seat. No other wildlife experience can ever match the awesome inspiring encounter of mountain gorilla trekking.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, Gorilla safaris
The gorillas are wild animals; their behavior is uncountable or predictable in any way by anyone. By trekking them, tourists are opening the doorway in their natural environment.
Tourists always witness knuckle-walking, playing, eating, grunting, sleeping which totally makes your trip so unique encounter gorilla trekking safari is a life-changing experience.
Gorilla trekking is a niche tourism activity best done only in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo at present. Each country is unique and tourists are guaranteed to choose an incredible gorilla trekking experience in any of these countries offering gorilla trekking experiences.
These countries are all different so we have listed some of the best bits of information that may help and the downsides for each to help tourists as they choose where they want to trek gorillas from.
The Best bits
Rwanda’s terrain is less steep, less dense, and gorilla trekking in Rwanda is generally shorter, making it an easier gorilla trekking destination compared to Uganda.
The Best bits
Uganda presents two national parks protecting the endangered mountain gorillas namely Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national park offering countless gorilla trekking encounters.
The Best bits
You can trek mountain gorillas all year round, mostly in Uganda and Rwanda. The rainy season lasts from March to May every year, and another short rainy last from October to November, in the rainy season gorilla trekking is slightly harder because all the walking trails get muddy. however, it's often the best time for photography providing better lighting and the vegetation is super vibrant.
Gorilla trekking safaris’ favorites’ time stick to the short dry seasons of December to February and from June to September. these months are termed as the peak seasons when tourists are many so we advise travelers to make their gorilla trekking experience early enough to avoid any inconveniences, tourists can combine their gorilla trekking safaris with a fantastic extension to Tanzania or Kenya for the migration of the wildebeest and zebras. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, Gorilla safaris.
Congo’s safaris to trek lowland gorillas always depart from May to December. Although trekking lowland gorillas is best done in the long dry season which lasts from May to September and brings light skies and makes it easier to move within the terrain, it’s difficult for photography.
Congo’s short dry season lasts from January to February. Congo’s long-wet seasons last from September to December and short- wet season starts from March to April respectively. These months bring many challenges and unpredictable terrain; however, it brings out an incredible photo under cloudy skies.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is never ‘busy’ so tourists shouldn’t try to avoid the peak travel times. You can travel to Congo at any time, all you need is to discuss with us your travel plans to the R.O.C. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, Gorilla safaris.
Every tourist interested in trekking mountain gorillas in either Uganda or Rwanda, or trekking the lowland gorillas in Congo, all tourists requires a tracking permit. These permits are issued per person, per trek basis and for each permit purchased there is the percentage that goes back to the local communities and national park infrastructure.
We can help you purchase your gorilla tracking permits for you since getting them directly with these parks may be harder. We get these permits at a free cost we don’t charge any commission on this; gorilla trekking permit costs are the same from us or directly with these national parks.
We recommend double gorilla trekking hence buying two gorilla tracking permits. This offers a number of reasons such as.
Costs are per person, per permit.
Permits cost US$700.
Permits cost US$1500.
In the Congo
The cost of your permit is included with your accommodation and overall safari cost.
Tourists interested in gorilla trekking should importantly note the following gorilla tracking participants rules and regulations of conduct:
Only a few specific numbers of gorilla tracking permits are issued each day therefore tourists must be booked prior to their travel date.
Photographing the gorillas can be difficult due to light conditions and proximity, as well as your limited time with them. The likelihood is that you will not have shot in these conditions before so it is important to be as prepared as possible to get the best photos and memories from your experience. Make sure you enjoy it too, focus on the experience and your images will be great. Don’t be a photo-trophy hunter!
Use a porter. Porters are a small cost and will help carry your equipment and assist you on your trek. This makes your trek more enjoyable and gives them work.
Be watertight. Make sure you have waterproof bags or covers for your camera. It may rain which would result in amazing photos, if you can keep your equipment dry!
Which camera? The body of your camera is totally up to you. We recommend a digital SLR that can shoot at a high ISO as you will probably have to shoot in quite low light at times. 800 or above is good, similar to what you would use if you were shooting indoors without a flash. A bonus point is having inbuilt stability as you cannot bring tripods or monopods.
Which lens? You will be at least 7 metres from the gorillas at all
times. We recommend a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm lens, as well
as a 200-400mm if possible. A 100-400mm would also be a good option with a tele-converter (1.4).
Flash. Do not use flash.
Accessorise. Bring your chargers and plenty of spare batteries. Keep everything as charged as possible throughout the trip. Make sure you have additional storage cards to what you think you need.
Downloading images. Leave a laptop back at the lodge so you can download and enjoy your images after your trek.
No. Gorillas are susceptible to human disease and even
something minor to us can be fatal to them. Take care of your health prior to your safari to try and avoid getting sick. You must warn your guide if you are feeling unwell.
There is a maximum of 8 people per gorilla tracking group in Rwanda and Uganda.
Most of the accommodation facilities are located within easy access to the park’s headquarters, but the distance depends on which accommodation you have chosen.
Gorilla trekking excursions vary in difficulty and length. it can be possible that you can spend from 40 minutes - to 7 hours tracking gorillas in the tropical rainforest and you can able to reach an altitude of 6,500 feet above sea level. Anyone interested in gorilla trekking must have a reasonable fitness level or should be physically and mentally okay, tourists must remember that some walking trails can be steep, slippery, and the foliage thick.
The terrain is more difficult in Uganda compared to Rwanda. travelers should always take their time and don’t panic if your group moves at a slow pace, because you will still have a good time with the gorillas
Upon seeing the gorillas you will have just one hour with them. We recommend you track them at least twice. The second time you often feel you can put the camera down and really enjoy the experience.
15 years. It may be possible for a younger child to be cared for at your lodge whilst you are tracking gorillas.
Gorillas are wild animals too so there are no guarantees, but it will be so unlucky if you don’t see gorillas. In all our operating years.
In all the regions, we have never gotten any unsuccessful gorilla viewing.
Guides are well trained in locating these gorillas and they know where these gorillas were the previous day, as well as all their movements.
We always send our tourists the packing list on booking. Other additional essential packing lists include gardening gloves that help you with worn or spikey vegetation, sturdy hiking boots, windproof, waterproof, and breathable jacket. Always wear natural or Khaki colored clothes for gorilla tracking.
Preferably due to its quick-drying nature and moisture-wicking.
Carry a smaller backpack for trekking gorillas where you can fit some extra layers and your camera equipment’s etc.
All these countries require tourists to have a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months before its expiry date), you have to acquire an entry visa for each country visited.
Most nationalities planning to travel to Rwanda need to apply for their entry visa “facilitation” prior to their travel dates. Please kindly check at ease www. migration.gov.rw the Rwanda immigration department’s official website, which all the nationalities need an entry visa to Rwanda. The visa facilitation website gives you normally gives a confirmation within 3-5 working days. Please apply for your entry visa at least a month before your intended date of travel to Rwanda. Please carry a copy of your visa approval sent to you (it's very important). The current cost for a 30-day tourist entry visa costs US$ 50 per person. accepted to be paid in US$ cash only. Please note that the US$ notes accepted are 2008 series only in Rwanda. Older notes are accepted in Rwanda.
Entry Visas for Uganda for most nationalities must be applied for online through an Electronic Visa application at www.visas.immigration.go.ug in advance before your arrival to Uganda, and a payment of $50 USD cash will be made at the entry point.
** Please be advised that a valid yellow fever vaccination card is mandatory for entry into Uganda.
East Africa Tourist Visa
An East Africa Tourist Visa permits the passport holder to move freely in three East African countries namely Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya, with the availability of only one Visa, that is valid for 90 days. It is also called a multiple entry Visa, so if you are intending to leave any of these countries, you do not need another new Visa to re-enter (provided your travel intended dates fall within the 90 days validity period). East African tourist visa must be applied for in advance, and you should contact the foreign Embassy you are intending to visit for more details. East African tourist visa cost is 100USD.
Every traveler is different therefore spending behavior may vary. Some travelers drink more than others, other travelers love to buy more souvenirs compared to others. Please every traveler should consider their own spending habits depending on their wallets. when it comes to drinks, tipping, and shopping. Please consider the above following specific recommendations when planning your gorilla trekking trip.
Uganda's local currency is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX, or USH), Kenya’s local currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES, or KSH).
Tourists can obtain Shillings locally by changing foreign currency at the Airport or by using your ATMs (where available).
The easiest foreign currency to exchange in these countries into the local currencies is the $US dollars. However, the British Pound and Euro can also be exchanged. Please note that due to forgery, $US notes older than the year 2008 series are not accepted in Africa.
If you want to rely on cash, please carry your foreign currency (USD, Euro, and Pound) along with you, as you know that it’s often expensive to buy these foreign currencies locally more so in rural areas.
Tourists can also buy their entry visas at the border points, you will need to carry $USD cash to pay for the visas. Please note tourists can’t use any local currency or any other currency to buy these entry visas- these entry visas must be brought in USD.
Please note that cheques are not accepted in Africa. They are difficult, or not impossible to exchange in many places in Africa.
Visa/Plus system cards are widely accepted debit cards in Africa. We highly consider if you are holding a Mastercard, you must obtain a Visa card in advance of your travel with both. This is also important information that should be unforeseen happening to one of your cards during your travel period.
There are many ATM machines in most of the trading centers, there are no guarantees whether your credit or debit cards will be able to work in Africa. Please check with your bank.
Credit cards can be possibly used in most cities and towns only but they are not reliable as a method of payment because they are not generally widely accepted. travelers should not purchase any products or services on a credit card there is a fee of 5%-10% is usually applicable. The majority of other optional tourism activities can be paid for by credit card.
Please note that many places in Africa experience occasional power outages, where electricity can go for hours. In addition, ATM machines outside larger centers sometimes run out of cash unexpectedly. These Africa facts can affect your ability to withdraw money from your ATMs. With the above information, please make sure that you do not rely on credit or debit cards as your source of money only.
Having a combination of a foreign currency or credit/debit cards for cash in advance is best. Always take more credit or debit cards than less, in case you don't want to spoil your trip by feeling short of funds constantly.
Foreign currency exchange rates keep fluctuating more often we ask you to keep referring to this website for daily exchange rates updates at www.xe.com.
Please make sure you have some emergency fund of additional cash of at least USD $200 that can be used when circumstances are out of control such as natural disasters that may require a change of the planned route. Although it is a rare occurrence!
Tipping is an expected gift as part of your appreciation, although, it is not compulsory, a component of your tour program. Tipping is a gesture that serves in expression for exceptional service rendered, and tips given depend on the traveler’s discretion.
Tipping is another sign of a direct way that you are positively supporting the African community. Although tipping may not be customary for you, it is a direct source of income for those working in the tourism industry. Offering a tip is in form of ‘thank you.
The best tipping method for someone who has served a big group should be planned in advance, and not when you are all rushing to say goodbye. A better suggestion should be for each member in the group by contributing by putting their tip in an envelope. This works best for groups or they should gather as they present their gifts to the recipient(s), offering their sign of saying thank you and showing their appreciation for the services. This tipping method brings their action in an open style, providing a friendly and appreciative nature with the group and the recipient(s).
Local guides: $1-10 USD (per day).
Safari Guide/Driver: 10-20 USD (per day).
Restaurant Staff: 10-15% of the cost of the bill.
Gorilla trekking guides: $10-20 (per day).
Travel insurance is mandatory in order to participate in any of your trips. We strongly advised that the travel insurance policy covers other personal liability, curtailment, cancellation, loss of luggage, and the traveler’s personal effects.
Travelers’ check-in times and baggage allowances may vary depending on the airline and can change at any time. For more up-to-date travel information regarding your flight, kindly contact your airline for more information. We recommend you check-in online prior to your departure in order to avoid delays at the airport.
The whole world offers four gorilla subspecies such as mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas (Grauer’s gorillas), western lowland gorillas, and cross river gorillas.
There are approximately 880 mountain gorillas surviving in the wild, scattered between three African countries namely Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo living within the Virunga-chained Volcanoes Massif.
Western lowland gorillas are more popular, with a total population of about 100,000 believed to have been surviving throughout the low, tropical rain forests of central Africa. Eastern lowland gorillas have a total population of fewer than 8,500 in the DRC and the least known are the cross-river gorilla sub-species, which can only be seen in western Cameroon and south-eastern Nigeria, with an approximated population of 250 remaining in the wild.
By visiting these gorilla areas or purchasing gorilla trekking permits, you are supporting financially in increasing the gorilla populations. By hiring a porter to help you for your gorilla trek or buying from any local community you are also helping those locals earn an honest living.
Gorilla Doctors and wildlife tourism have also contributed so much to the increase in gorilla populations across the Central African region. Donations are given no matter how small or big assist in the protection of these human’s closest relatives.