GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA, RWANDA & CONGO
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo: While planning your next safari to Uganda, Rwanda or Congo, keep it in mind the Gorilla trekking is the topmost activity to add on your travel list for an opportunity to spend a full hour with the remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. However, Gorilla trekking is usually enjoyed by people who are aged more than 15 years below which, you are termed as a minor and unable to participate in Gorilla trekking activity. As mentioned earlier, gorilla trekking is conducted only in Uganda, Rwanda and DRCongo which are the only 3 countries that harbor these endangered species. Let me take you to these 3 countries on your next African adventure in East Africa.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Uganda the pearl of Africa is one of the most stunning countries to visit especially for the mountain gorilla trekking safaris. Uganda harbors these endangered primates in its parks including Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park all found in the extreme south western part of the country.
Of the 2 parks that harbor gorillas in Uganda, Bwindi impenetrable national park protects the largest population of Gorillas in fact more than a half of the entire population resides in Bwindi’s 4sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. This offers tourists a golden opportunity to make a choice of which gorilla sector one wishes to trek in depending on the gorilla permits availability. On the other hand, Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home to 1 habituated gorilla family, Nyakagezi.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Rwanda is another beautiful country to visit while planning your next Africa safari. Rwanda the land of a thousand hills is another destination to trek endangered mountain gorillas in their habitat in Volcanoes national park. Rwanda comes as the 2nd after Uganda which is the leading destination for gorilla trekking. Just like Uganda’s gorilla habitats, Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is the most visited park not only for gorilla trekking but other activities like volcano hiking, nature walks and many more.
Gorilla trekking in Congo
Congo is the 3rd gorilla trekking destination after Uganda and Rwanda. Surprisingly, Congo harbors both the endangered mountain gorillas and the Eastern lowland Gorillas. Mountain gorilla trekking Congo is conducted in Virunga national park which is part of the great virunga massif that is shared across Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla national park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Virunga national park itself in DRCongo. On the other hand, East lowland gorilla trekking in DRCongo is done in Kahuzi Beiga national park. Thus one can combine the 2 treks on in Virunga national park to meet mountain gorillas and then another trek in Kahuzi Beiga national park to meet Eastern lowland gorillas.
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit varies from one country to another.
For the year 2021-2022, a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs 700$ per foreign Nonresident, 600$ per foreign Resident and 250,00Ugx per adult Ugandan and East Africa community member state countries. A permit to trek gorilla is Rwanda costs $1500 per person and a similar permit to trek Gorillas in Congo costs $400 per person. Each permit comes with the entrance fees for 24 hours, 1 hour in close vicinity of gorillas, Ranger fees and Guide fees.
How can I obtain a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo?
To obtain this gorilla trekking permit, there are two options which include;
Option 1; either to visit the responsible managing bodies for every country that you need to visit either online or at their offices. For instance, to obtain a Uganda gorilla trekking permit, you need to visit the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters in Kamwokya Kira road. For Rwanda gorilla trekking permit, Visit Rwanda Development Board the body responsible for issuing out gorilla permits and as well manage all protected areas in Rwanda and finally Congo gorilla trekking permits are obtained from Virunga park headquarters.
Option 2; or you may alternatively choose to use a registered and trusted tour company like Focus East Africa Tours to help you in obtaining your gorilla permit. At focus East Africa Tours, we are always readily available to assist all our clients to obtain their gorilla trekking permits and as well help them in planning entire safari at ease.
However, to be able to join the group of trekkers for a breath taking gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo, one must be aged 15 years and above and the best season for gorilla trekking is during the dry season though it can as well be done all year round even in rainy season due to the climatic conditions in east Africa where you can even expect sun after rain.
What to pack for a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo/
The gorilla trekking packing list is endless however, I will highlight a few crucial items you need to consider while packing for your gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda , Rwanda and Congo and it includes;
- A gorilla permit is a MUST have before setting off for your safari. In fact, you need to book your permit at least 6 months in advance. We can do this for you at ease though.
- A camera with extra charged batteries
- A pair of waterproof hiking shoes/ boats and tuck in stockings
- Garden gloves
- A rain Jacket/ poncho which MUST be in your back pack at all the time while in the jungle.
- Long sleeved warm and light clothes
- Sun glasses to keep your eyes safe from foreign particles, a cap and sun screen
- A hiking stick “Usually provided at the briefing point”
What are the Gorilla trekking rules and regulations?
There are mandatory rules and regulations put in place in order to protect and conserve the habitats of gorillas in the wild. Below are the rules and regulations you need to follow during your gorilla trekking safari in any country be it in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo and they include;
Before the gorilla trek;
- Report to the briefing point in time for briefing with your packed lunch box, enough drinking water and some snacks all in your backpack
- One MUST present a gorilla trekking permit during the briefing session
- Only persons aged 15 years and above are allowed to trek gorillas
- A maximum number of 8 trekkers are allowed to trek a particular gorilla family
- No trekking gorilla while sick from infectious diseases like flue and cough
- You may hire a porter to assist you in carrying the backpack before setting off for a forest walk to trek gorillas
While in Habitat of Gorillas;
- Keep your voice as low as possible
- No throwing rubbish in the park
- In case of visiting the toilet ensure that you burry your waste as deep as possible
While with gorillas;
- Keep a social distance of 15 M at all the time
- Keep your voice very low once again
- Do not eat, drink or smoke
- Do remove the camera flash light and shutter sound while taking photographs of gorillas
- In case the gorillas charge, do not panic, and just keep following all the guidelines as advised by your ranger who knows the gorillas better than you do. Though this is a rare case, it is always important to be informed about it for safety purposes.
“Now that you know all the information about gorilla trekking, let us take you on a practical adventure to spend an hour with the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. If you wish to spend more time with gorillas, then opt for a gorilla habituation experience which is conducted only in Uganda at a cost of 1500USD per person allowing you 4 hours with gorillas.”