Gorilla Tours & Safari in Uganda & Rwanda
If you fancy a premier gorilla tour you should look no further than Uganda or Rwanda.
These two nations occupy a piece of land in the eastern part of the African continent. Besides gorilla trekking, there is a lot more to unearth on this jungle expedition.
Just engage a prominent local operator to customize for you a trip of a lifetime. Your gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda is customized heading to the major places that play host to the species of Gorillas and staying in the top deluxe lodges.
Gorillas are a rare attraction, therefore it is no surprise that thousands of tourists travel from various parts of the world just to have close encounters with these animals.
If you love animals and haven’t got a chance to meet these apes don’t hesitate to plan a luxury gorilla trekking tour in Uganda.
A trip to the western part of the pearl of Africa will expose you to a wealth of appealing things including the towering volcanoes and spectacular views of terraced hills.
The Gorilla Trekking Excursion
Gorillas have two species and four subspecies. Uganda and Rwanda are only home to Mountain gorillas, a subspecies of the eastern gorillas. These animals live very deep in the forest.
The only way to see them is to be part of a gorilla trekking expedition in Bwindi, Mgahinga, or Volcanoes National Park. This is a lifetime experience and it’s a dream for most travelers around the globe.
Gorilla trek in Rwanda and Uganda usually starts with a briefing that is conducted to highlight tourists on how to behave while in the jungle. After, you are selected into groups of eight people.
Each group is assigned to one gorilla family. With your ranger guide and colleagues, you start the journey to the jungle to search for your gorilla group.
Keep this in mind, the time taken for the trekking excursion depends on the location of your gorilla family and the nature of the trails. After discovering them you stay in their presence for a period of one hour.
Within this time frame, you can behold these animals as they perform different activities such as playing, construction of temporary shelters, feeding, and more.
If you have a camera with you taking photos and videos of the Gorillas is free but it is not allowed to use the flashlight on your gadget. After this session, you descend back to the park headquarters.
One thing you should not forget. Make sure to come with the packed food and drinking water from your place of stay. Lunchtime usually approaches when you are still in the jungle. The ranger will reserve time for a stopover on the way to have your lunch.
This activity exposes participants to lots of things in the jungle including plant life, insects, various bird species, reptiles, wild animals, towering hills, and more.
For a photographer, you will take yourself home plenty of beautiful pictures for your gallery or social media platform. Be sure to come with reserve storage cards, a good lens, and batteries.
The first thing considered for anyone to trek gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda is a gorilla permit. This card issues you permission for the activity. It is valid for use by one person on the respective booked date.
Getting a gorilla permit is easier when you reserve one through a local tour operator. The price for a gorilla permit depends on the country. In Uganda, it costs 700 USD per person and 1500 USD per person in Rwanda.
Apart from that, age is another point to mind. For any person to be part of the activity you must be fifteen years and above. Moreover, you should be free from any infectious disease.
Where to Go for The Expedition
Located in the western part, Bwindi is the leading home for the mountain Gorillas in Uganda. It provides shelter to the biggest percentage of these animals in its four sectors including Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija, and Nkuringo sector.
Each area has more than two fully habituated gorilla families that are available for trekking. Besides the trekking excursions, Bwindi is also ideal for bird watching and nature walks.
If not Bwindi you can visit Uganda’s gorillas in Mgahinga national park. This protected area is also located in the western region of the nation.
When combined with Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Volcanoes in Rwanda, these three parks form the notable Virunga massif.
Aside from Gorillas, Mgahinga also shelters the Golden monkey primates. This protected area is also great for mountain hiking adventures. It is home to three volcanoes named Sabyinyo, Muhabura, and Gahinga.
Volcanoes National Park
For Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is the only place to go for Gorillas. It is situated in the northwestern region of the country. It is about 110 km from Kigali city, the country’s capital. You can get there by road means.
A drive requires about 2-3 hours depending on the speed used. Once in this place you can not only enjoy gorilla trekking, there are other thrilling activities like golden monkey tracking, Dian Fossey hike, and volcano hiking adventures.
What to Pack
You have to start with the travel documents. These are a valid passport, yellow fever and covid-19 vaccination card, and a tourist visa. Don’t forget your backup medicine from your hospital or personal doctor.
Next on the list are the clothing, a Camera of good quality, essential things for gorilla trek like insect repellents, strong hiking shoes, sunglasses, and a hut, gloves, long sleeve shirts, waterproof jackets, and bags. Remember to leave space in your suitcase for souvenirs.
Gorilla Trekking Rules & regulations
This is more important. Gorilla trekking has its rules you must follow to ensure a successful adventure. It starts with maintaining your voice at a low tone while in the jungle. You must be free from any infectious disease to be part of this activity.
This is meant to avoid the spread of infectious diseases like a cough to the apes. Moreover, you are advised not to touch the gorillas without permission, maintain a distance of not less than seven meters from these animals.
Don’t eat in their presence. If you want to go for a long call, ask the ranger for guidance, dig a feet pit to deposit your wastes, and back-fill it after the process. Running after these animals and use of flush lights on your camera is also not allowed.
Luxury Lodges for You in Uganda & Rwanda
If you want to do gorilla trekking while spending your nights in the posh lodging facilities, here is the list for you. There are categorized according to the destination.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge – Bwindi
Located in the Nkuringo sector, Clouds is the best up-market lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is near the trailhead for tracking the Nkuringo gorilla family. Its seven guesthouses are built from local volcanic stone and outfitted with hand-woven rugs.
The ten stone cottages have pretty interiors that include African-themed art, high-beamed ceilings, a spacious bedroom, a lounge area, and an en suite bathroom with a shower.
Adding to the hot water bottles, the provided fireplace links the bedroom and lounge just to make sure the rooms are kept cozy and warm in the cool evenings.
Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge
With its rustic charm that includes a modern and sophisticated ambiance, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge is located in the northern section of the park.
Its central lounge and communal dining area are ideal for evening relaxation after the gorilla trekking excursion. You sit around the fireplace and enjoy some drinks while admiring the unending spectacular views of the forest.
The lodge has eight cottages, each with an en-suite bathroom. Named after Bwindi’s famous gorillas, these cottages are furnished with four-poster beds, hand-carved furniture, and terraces that spoil you with stunning views of the surrounding forest.
Mahogany Springs Lodge – Bwindi
Another appealing facility is Mahogany Springs, a lodge that treats guests with breathtaking views, world-class cuisine, and unrivaled hospitality services. It was named after the 400-year-old mahogany tree that towers majestically above its gardens.
This luxury lodge has seven large thatched cottages that blend with the surroundings and overlook the clear waters of the Munyanga River.
Its suites are spacious with large double doors, open terracotta showers, hardwood floors, crisp white linens, sun-soaked windows, advanced mosquito net systems, and private terraces with awe-inspiring views of the nearby valley.
In the evening, tourists enjoy glasses of wine at the impressive wooden bar, relax in front of the double-sided fireplace. The place is perfect to gather with friends.
Mount Gahinga Lodge – Mgahinga
Opened in 1997, Mount gahinga is a great base for luxury travelers who need to trek Gorillas in Mgahinga National park.
From this facility, you enjoy numerous engaging activities that the park has to offer such as golden monkey tracking, volcano climbing, and Batwa cultural trail and leisurely walks through the local villages.
Adding to the dining room, gardens, and lounge, the property has eight bandas including two bandas with deluxe facilities.
At the heart of an amphitheater formed by the eroded volcano cones is Bisate, a lodge that features six conically shaped thatched forest villas.
These structures are tucked into the lush forest setting with spacious verandas that spoil guests with magnificent views of the surrounding peaks and grasslands. The traditional shapes of the suites are a nod to Rwandan culture.
Each villa has a generous combination of bedroom, reception space, bathroom, and a central fireplace.
The restaurant serves fresh dishes including macadamia nuts and chilies, wild honey, papaya, avocado, climbing beans, mango, kale, plantain, passion fruit, and pineapple.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge
If you fancy luxurious treatments on your Gorilla trek in Volcanoes National park, why not Singita Kwitonda? This unmatched facility is set right on the edge of the park and its position puts the adventure within easy reach.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge features eight posh suites each with a wellness treatment area, a private heated plunge pool, and large timber-framed windows, the in and outdoor fireplaces.