Gorilla Trekking – the once-in-a-lifetime experience for most. It is not something that one can hastily put together. There are exceptions where things fall into place at the last moment, but for the most part, it is best to plan your gorilla trek well in advance – especially during the peak season months of June to September and December to January.
If you plan well in advance – 3 – 6 months – you will have permits in hand even during high–peak seasons of June to September and December to February in Rwanda and or Uganda the two best places for Gorilla Tours in East Africa.
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer safe and accessible gorilla trekking all year around – one difference between Uganda and Rwanda is the price of permits – US$700 and US$1500 respectively. Uganda currently offers discounted – promotional permits of $400 that will end in March 2021.
For the adventurous of heart, you can trek mountain Gorillas in Rwanda in the Virunga Volcano chain and in Uganda in the ancient, UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Here are the best places to go for Gorilla Trekking in East Africa
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the best place for gorilla trekking in Uganda. It is an ancient forest that survived the massive plate shift of the earth that created the Western Rift is the most amazing. Bwindi is the local Bagika language means “a dark, difficult, a fearful place“, so actually one could say Impenetrable Forest. In some places of Bwindi, the canopy of the trees is so thick that no light gets through. There is also a large swamp deep in the forest. Thankfully the mystical Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is not so impenetrable – in fact, it is quite accessible and it is the best place in Uganda to track Mountain Gorillas if not the best place to track them in the three countries where Mountain Gorillas exist.
- The Buhoma area is the lowest altitude in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, it is also a less strenuous tracking location, it has the most lodging facilities from budget to luxurious up-market establishments with splendid views of the incredible forest.
- On the other hand, the Ruhija area is a diverse area of the park and if you are tracking a gorilla family group here such as the Bitukura Group or the newly added Oruzogo Group it is best for you to stay in one of the lodging facilities (from budget to up-market) in the area unless you would like to take a 2-hour ride on a rocky road prior to your gorilla tracking experience at Ruhija.
- Rushaga area is a part of the southern sector of Bwindi while the Nkuringo area is one of the most scenic areas of the park. However, Nkuringo is an area where you are going to burn a few calories while gorilla tracking especially as you return from your gorilla trek, climbing up a long-distance toward the top.
The only and best place to go for Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda is the Volcanoes National Park.
There are more than 13 habituated Gorilla Family Groups that can be visited at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. – that is translated into 80 permits a day available for visitors at US$750 per person.
These range in size from less than 10 members to 40 in number – your fitness level helps in matching you with the right gorilla group for you to track on the day of your Gorilla Trek in Rwanda.
At 7 am the gorilla orientation begins with a cup of coffee or tea and a traditional Rwandan Itore Dance Performance.
The treks range from shorter hikes to all-day treks in the case of Susa Group. As in Uganda Pre-trackers are out locating your gorilla group – meaning that very rarely do visitors not see their gorilla group on their scheduled day -only one of our clients – out of hundreds did not see the gorillas on the first day but did so on the second day.
Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda is different from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda though both are found to be equally rewarding – Rwanda Tracking is on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes – and in Uganda in the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Other areas to find Gorillas in East Africa are Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo.