GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA | UGANDA GORILLA SAFARIS – BEST OF GORILLA UGANDA TOURS (PACKAGES/ITINERARIES) 2021/22 TO BWINDI NATIONAL PARK & MGAHINGA GORILLA PARK.
Uganda Gorilla Safari Overview.
Uganda gorilla safaris/Gorilla trekking Uganda safari tours take you on a lifetime adventure to the world`s greatest Uganda gorilla safari destinations of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to spend time face to face with wild mountain gorillas, the largest and most powerful of the great apes.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda or Uganda gorilla tour experience is considered by many to be one of the world’s most delightful wildlife encounters. Uganda gorilla tours offer you a lifetime golden chance to closely observe the human-like behavior of these incredible apes which share about 98.3% of their DNA with us, making them our closest cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos.
Enjoy the best affordable Uganda gorilla safaris and trips organized by us (the Uganda gorilla safari experts) as we take you on unique Mountain Gorilla safaris in Uganda-trips to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla Park for a priceless gorilla safari of lifetime memories. Uganda Gorilla safaris form the greatest number of Uganda safaris. If you book Uganda Gorilla tours with Prime Uganda Safaris & Tours, you are 100% guaranteed to go Gorilla trekking in Uganda and see Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable OR Mgahinga Gorilla Parks of Uganda in Africa where they Live!
For over 10yrs, we at Prime Uganda Safaris & Tours Ltd. organize amazing tailor-made Uganda gorilla safaris & tours tailored according to our clients` gorilla safari needs and budget, hence our Uganda Gorilla safari prices range from budget to luxury, catering for Budget gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda tours, the midrange group as well as the Luxury Uganda gorilla safari lovers.
We craft our Uganda gorilla safari trips with our clients and incorporate ALL their possible needs/interests to make their gorilla Uganda tour a lifetime memory as witnessed by many of our satisfied clients on our Tripadvisor Uganda gorilla safari company reviews after their gorilla safaris combined with amazing wildlife Uganda safaris that include, game drives in major Uganda safari parks, bird watching, mountaineering, fishing, scenery viewing, culture visits, chimpanzee trekking, adventure safaris all that make a memorable Uganda safari.
Allow us to plan your gorilla safari in Uganda together with you, based on your wishes for the best African Uganda gorilla safari experience.
SAMPLE UGANDA GORILLA SAFARI ITINERARIES-RWANDA UGANDA GORILLA TOURS-PACKAGES TAKING YOU GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA BUT THESE CAN BE CUSTOMIZED TO YOUR NEEDS!
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For those interested in undertaking Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda to Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National Park, the following information is a MUST READ to get the best information that you need to prepare for an amazing Gorilla safari in Uganda.
About Mountain Gorillas In Uganda
About Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
Uganda’s endangered Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are so rare and can’t survive in captivity. In 1981, environmentalists estimated there were only 254 mountain gorillas left on Earth. Currently, their population is about 1063 individuals with about 500 living in Uganda, 360 in Congo and the rest in Rwanda. The survival of mountain gorillas is one of the greatest conservation success stories, and gorilla trekking tourism has played its role in this.
Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda involves hours of hiking on steep, narrow footpaths, through the dense misty jungle in search of habituated mountain gorilla families.
It involves waking up very early in the morning and you drive to the park headquarters. Here, you wash your hands/sanitize, and have your body temperature taken as per 2021 COVID-19 Uganda gorilla trekking protocols. You then register, be divided into groups of 8, and allocated a gorilla family to trek. After a briefing on gorilla trekking rules and safety, you will transfer to the start of the trail to begin your search for gorillas.
You trek behind an expert range guide who slashes a path through the foliage with a machete. Treks often take 2-8 hours depending on gorillas’ movement. A certain level of fitness is required to traverse the tricky trials. Upon finding the gorillas, you spend 1 hour quietly photographing and observing them from a respectful distance as they groom, feed, play, and communicate with each other. This is a thrill of a lifetime Uganda can offer you.
After this life-changing experience, return to the starting point to receive your gorilla trekking certificates as you reflect on your encounters with our closest mammalian cousins.
Uganda Gorilla Habituation Experience
Uganda Gorilla habituation Experience offers visitors on Uganda gorilla safaris a great opportunity to take part in the gorilla habituation process of training wild gorillas to get used to the presence of humans. It involves 4 visitors accompanying researchers, conservation, and rangers into the forest in search of a semi-habituated gorilla family and spending 4 hours with them – not 1 like on standard Uganda gorilla safari trekking trips.
On this thrilling adventure, you track the gorillas from where they were last seen the day before. You move with trackers, learning the tell-tale that leads to the gorilla’ nests like knuckle prints in the mud, broken and twisted vegetation. Habituation is intended to find wild gorillas and stay in their vision as they move, eventually getting closer to reach that magical 7m distance.
Unlike fully habituated groups, these gorillas move fast to feed, dashing through dense rainforest, storming up and down slippery slopes, and crawling on knuckles through bushes, with you and the tracker team in hot pursuit. It’s not for the unfit or fainthearted. When they’re still, you stay still, mimicking their behavior to make them feel at ease. You crouch down when they do, copy them picking up grass pretending to eat it and talk to them in gorilla language, a series of vocalizations that have specific meanings.
Uganda Gorilla Safari Destinations
Uganda Gorilla Safari Destinations
Where to See Gorillas in Uganda? There are Uganda national parks – destinations for gorilla trekking tours in Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which are all situated in the south-western region of Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Composed of 321 km2 of both montane and lowland rainforest, and accessible only on foot due to the improbable steepness, Bwindi was gazetted as a national park in 1991. Due to its incredible biodiversity, it was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. In the local language, Bwindi means a ‘Place of Darkness’. Of course, most famously, Bwindi is home to almost half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas, about 459 individuals at last count. It is undeniably Uganda’s greatest attraction, and rightly so.
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi gorilla trekking Uganda tours offer you a superb encounter with one of the park’s 19 habituated gorilla families. Gorilla families in Bwindi can be accessed from 4 sectors/trailheads below:
- Buhoma with 4 gorilla families including Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, and Katwe
- Ruhija with 4 gorilla families including Bitukura, Oruzugo, Kyaguriro A family and Kyaguriro B (Mukiza)
- Rushaga with 8 gorilla families including Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bushingye, Bweza, Mucunguzi, Rwigi and Kutu
- Nkuringo with 3 gorilla family groups including Nkuringo, Christmas, Bushaho family
As you are planning a Uganda gorilla trip, please note that each gorilla trekking sector has its characteristics, levels of difficulty, and safari accommodation.
Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi
Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi National Park
The Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi is currently done in Rushaga Sector. Currently, Bwindi has only one group for the habituation experience called Bikyingi which contains 12 members including 2 Silverbacks, 1 black back, 4 adult females, and 5 infants.
Other Things To See In Bwindi
Other Things To See In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Other than being home to around 459 mountain gorillas, Bwindi hosts 120 mammal species including the rare L’hoest’s monkeys, Olive baboons, Black and white colobus monkeys, Forest duikers, and Forest elephants, as well as 220 species of butterfly and 351 bird species including 23 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemic species.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
One of Uganda’s most scenic parks, Mgahinga National Park also offers gorilla trekking. Covering just 33.7km2, this Uganda’s smallest park occupies the southwest corner of the country where the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) meet in the peaks and valleys of the scenic Virunga volcanoes. The park is home to one cross-border, habituated gorilla family called Nyakagezi Gorilla Family.
Also, Mgahinga is the only National Park in Uganda where you can track and see the endangered and beautiful Golden monkeys. Three conical, extinct volcanoes dominate the park’s scenery offering amazing volcano hiking adventures while forest walks led by local Twa pygmies give an insight into the lives of an indigenous tribe that has survived as hunter-gatherers in this forest for over 1000 years.
Gorilla Trekking Difficulty
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Difficulty
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is relatively difficult, requiring you to be fairly fit to enhance your overall enjoyment of the experience. Your trek through thick forests, valleys, hills, and swamps. However, the hike is always at a slow pace, with time for breaks if needed.
Also, trekkers are divided into groups of similar age and fitness levels, and the oldest and least fit people are generally be allocated a family that is nearest the starting point. And the fastest walkers will have to slow down to the pace of the slowest so that the group stays together safely.
If planning your Uganda gorilla safaris and tours, the best time is the dry season. In the wet season, the trek can be tough as mud can make trails slippery.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Rules
If planning a gorilla tour in Uganda, you must read about the Uganda gorilla trekking rules and regulations. These are intended to protect the endangered mountain gorillas and conserve them sustainably. Knowing these rules also helps you stay safe on your Uganda gorilla trek. Below are gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda;
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Rules Before You Visit The Gorillas
- If you have a cold or any contagious disease, do not visit the gorillas. This is because gorillas are susceptible to several human diseases, and researchers have long feared that one sick visitor may infect a gorilla, resulting in the death of the entire gorilla family.
- The maximum number of visitors is 8 persons per gorilla group per day to void behavioural disturbances to the gorillas.
- The minimum age for tracking gorillas is 15 years. This is because anyone below this age is considered a young and vulnerable person and therefore not fit to trek the gorillas. In most cases, persons below 15 have unpredictable characteristics that may lead to changes in the primates’ behaviours.
Gorilla Trekking Rules On The Way To The Gorillas
- Please always speak in a low voice in the forest. This will also enable you to observe other natural treasures in the forest such as birds and monkeys.
- Don’t throw away garbage in the forest. Whatever you enter into the forest with, must be brought back out when you are living in the forest.
- Keep your voices low and listen to the guide’s instructions
- Human waste should be buried 30 cm deep.
Gorilla Trekking Rules When You Are With Gorillas
- Maintain a 10-meter distance from the gorilla. This rule is often contravened by curious youngsters and sometimes adults approaching their human visitor. In this case, you will need to slowly and calmly move backward to regain the 10 meters distance.
- Do not use flash photography. They may cause the gorilla to charge at you.
- It is forbidden to eat, drink, smoke in the vicinity of the gorillas.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the instructions of the guide. Don’t run away, it will increase the risk of gorilla chasing you.
- If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from the gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans
- Visits are limited to 1 hour per gorilla group per day. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
- Don touch the gorillas.
- Don’t feed the gorillas
- Keep your voices low at all times.
Chances Of Seeing Gorillas In Uganda
Chances of Seeing Gorillas on a Uganda Gorilla Trek
Your chances of seeing gorillas on a Uganda gorilla trek is 99%. In fact, in recent years, the success rate has been 100%.
Mountain gorillas are so closely monitored and trackers are in touch with them every day. Of course, there are no guarantees with wild animals and an overnight thunderstorm or an unexpected encounter with a predator may cause a troop to move unexpectedly in a completely different direction, but scouts will pick up their trail again soon. This doesn’t only facilitate smooth gorilla trekking, but it also helps to safeguard these endangered primates from poachers.
The only reason you may not succeed is if you are not physically up to it and decide to turn back. However, if are reasonably fit will have higher chances of making it. Also, guides and porters will make every effort to get you there. To increase your chances, be well prepared with a walking stick, drinking water, and a rain jacket. It is also important to wear good hiking shoes.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Covid SOPs
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Covid SOPs
There has always been one golden rule when it comes to gorilla trekking: don’t go if you’re sick. Gorillas’ DNA is so similar to ours that they can catch our illnesses. Covid-19 transmission from humans to gorillas was only a hypothesis until recently. In January 2021, eight gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for Covid-19. On a gorilla safari in Uganda, the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Covid SOPs are as follows:
- Don’t go if you feel ill.
- Sanitize/wash your hands thoroughly before trekking and have your body temperature taken.
- Bring face masks and wear them properly. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) strongly recommends wearing an N95 mask.
- Take distancing seriously- stay at least 10m away from gorillas.
- Turn away from the gorillas if you need to cough or sneeze.
Uganda Gorilla Safari Permit Booking
Uganda Gorilla Permit & Booking Policies
Uganda Gorilla Permit is an official document or card issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority that allows any traveller above the age of 15 to visit gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
It includes the Uganda gorilla trekking permit which offers you a 1-hour encounter with gorillas and the Uganda gorilla habituation experience permit which offers 4 hours of viewing these great apes.
The gorilla permit includes two armed rangers for your jungle security and a knowledgeable tracking guide that leads you to the gorillas. The Uganda gorilla permit allows the country to control the number of people visiting the gorilla families. It also allows national parks to raise the money necessary to protect these endangered primates.
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe?
Are Gorilla Treks in Uganda Safe?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is safe.
Mountain gorillas are not at all aggressive and are fully habituated to visitors. In fact, they are often referred to as gentle giants. Their massive size would make them too dangerous to be close to if they were aggressive. The only reason they can be approached closely on foot is that they lack aggression.
Before gorilla trekking, you are briefed about the safety precautions. You should listen to the instructions given by your guide and follow them. You are supposed to observe a minimum distance of 10 meters for your safety. Gorillas, of course, don’t observe rules and might well approach you and come much closer. In most cases, your guide will tell you to back off. Sometimes this isn’t possible, due to dense vegetation, for example. In that instance, you’ll be told to crouch down and divert your gaze until the gorilla has passed.
There is the presence of armed rangers for your gorilla trek. These are highly motivated, adequately equipped and trained to ensure a safe gorilla trekking encounter.
Uganda has the added presence of the Tourism Police which provide another layer of safety and security for the visitor on Uganda gorilla safaris.
Note: The biggest danger on a gorilla trek is perhaps twisting an ankle on the slippery slopes. Make sure you wear good hiking boots that have been worn in before the day of the gorilla trek.
Best Uganda Gorilla Safari Lodges In Bwindi & Mgahinga Parks
Best Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari Lodges/ Accommodation
There are a variety of Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari Lodges/accommodations where you can stay on your Bwindi gorilla safari or a Uganda gorilla tour to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Uganda gorilla safari accommodation range budget, midrange to luxurious options.
Accommodation in Bwindi National Park/Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
When you are choosing accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is important to understand there are 4 different gorilla trekking sectors/trailheads in the park: Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. These 4 sectors/trailheads act as centers from which the trekking in search of different gorilla families begin.
When booking a Uganda gorilla permit, you book for a specific gorilla trekking sector. It is, therefore, crucial to select a lodge in the sector where you will be trekking the gorillas due to the long travel distance from one sector to another.
Keeping location in mind, there are several accommodation options to choose from ranging from budget, mid-range to luxury eco-lodges, and tented safari camps. Some of the lodges are out in the villages and some border the national park. Below are some of the best places to stay in Bwindi;
Bwindi Lodges/Accommodation In Buhoma sector
- Gorilla Forest Camp – Luxury
- Buhoma Lodge – Luxury
- Mahogany Springs – Luxury
- Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge– Luxury
- Haven Lodge Buhoma – Midrange
- Silverback Lodge – Midrange
- Buhoma Community Rest Camp – Budget
Bwindi Accommodation/Lodges In Ruhija Sector
- Gorilla Mist Camp – Midrange
- Agandi Lodge – Midrange
- Bakiga Lodge – Midrange
- Trekker’s Tavern Cottages – Budget
Bwindi Lodges/Accommodation In Rushaga & Nkuringo Sectors
- Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge – Luxury
- Chameleon Hill Lodge – Luxury
- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge – Luxury
- Mulehe Gorilla Safari Lodge – Midrange
- Gorilla Valley Lodge – Midrange
- Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge – Midrange/Budget
Mgahinga Gorilla Park Lodges/Accommodation In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Accommodation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park ranges from Budget, Midrange to Luxury options. Below are the best places to stay on your Uganda gorilla tour to Mgahinga.
- Mount Gahinga Lodge – Luxury
- Lake Chahafi Resort – Midrange
- Traveller’s Rest Kisoro – Midrange
Uganda Gorilla Permit Price
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permit Price
The Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permit Cost;
- USD 700 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
- USD 600 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
- UGX 250,000 for East African Citizens
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari Permit Availability
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permit Availability
Currently, 160 gorilla permits are available in Uganda per day. These are split between the habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
There are 19 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi and 1 habituated family in Mgahinga. Only 8 tourists can trek a single gorilla group per day, which means 8 gorilla permits are available for purchase for each gorilla group per day.
What Things To Pack For A Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari
List Of Essential Things To Pack For Your Uganda Gorilla Tour
- PCR Covid-test certificate
- Hand sanitiser
- Face Mask- N95
- Long-sleeved shirts and a pair of trouser
- Rain Jacket / Poncho
- A warm sweater
- Greens, browns, and khaki coloured clothing are advisable for Uganda gorillas safaris
- Pair of waterproof hiking shoes
- A Longer pair of socks.
- A pair of gaiters
- Energy giving snacks
- Water bottle
- Camera with extra batteries & memory cards
- Light waterproof daypack
- Strong gardening gloves
- Sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and a pair of sunglasses.
- Insect repellant.
- Any of your regular medication.
- A waterproof day pack
Bwindi Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit Price
Uganda Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi Permit Price
The Uganda gorilla habituation experience safari is more expensive than the standard Uganda gorilla trekking and the permit cost;
- USD 1,500 Per person per trek for foreign non-resident visitors
- USD 1000 Per person per trek for foreign resident visitors (with work permits)
- UGX 750,000 for East African Citizens
It is possible to book a Uganda gorilla permit directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority, but the most convenient way is to use a reliable tour operator. Most tour operators include a gorilla permit as part of the overall cost of a Uganda gorilla safari tour package.
You are advised to book your Uganda gorilla trekking permit 3-12 months ahead of travel to ensure availability. There are more visitors than available gorilla permits, especially during the high season months of June, July, August, September, December, and February.
How To Get To Bwindi National Park
Getting To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Flights to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The fastest way of getting to Bwindi is by air, and there are several flights to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park each day.
Most visitors arrive in Uganda at Entebbe Airport, which is roughly 40km from Uganda’s capital Kampala. From here, and from Kampala’s Kajjansi Airfield, many domestic flights are connecting to Bwindi. It is also possible to book chartered flights to Bwindi.
For visitors travelling to the Buhoma or Ruhija trailheads in the north of the park, the closest airport is Kihihi. There is also the option of chartering a flight to the Kayonza airstrip. Alternatively, if travelling to the southern trailheads of Rushaga and Nkuringo then Kisoro is the best place to fly to.
The total flight times are generally around 2 hours, which are then followed by a short drive of around 1.5-2 hours.
Road Trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The road trip to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is much longer than flying, but it offers you a wonderful opportunity to encounter the fantastic scenery along the way. Driving through Uganda often gives you a much better impression and understanding of the country than flying ever could.
Several routes can take you by road, depending on how much time you want to spend on your Uganda gorilla safari and other attractions you want to see. All the routes to Bwindi converge at the town of Butogota, which is then just 16km from the entrance gate at Buhoma.
If coming straight from Entebbe or Kampala, the drive distance is approximately 530km and the time is roughly 8/9 hours. For visitors who are already in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi is very easy to reach by a 2/3 hours ( about 218km) drive south. You can drive through Ishasha on this route to see the famous tree-climbing lions before arriving.
If you’re coming up from Lake Mburo National Park, the drive time is approximately 5-6 hours.
How Best To Visit Uganda Gorilla Trekking Destinations
Best Ways To Visit Uganda Gorilla Safari Destinations
The quickest and easiest way to visit Uganda gorilla safari destinations of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is by scheduled flight from Entebbe International Aiport or Kajjansi Airstrip, but many people find the road trip to be the best way to visit Uganda gorilla safari destinations.
Other Uganda Safari Attractions and Activities
Other Uganda Safari Attractions And Activities To Combine With Your Uganda Gorilla Safari Tour
Some travellers visit Uganda only to view the country’s famous mountain gorillas or sometimes as an add-on to a Tanzania safari or Kenya safari, which is a pity because there is much more to see on a safari vacation in Uganda. With 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves, forest reserves, sanctuaries, spectacular mountain scenery, and lakes, Uganda has a wealth of wildlife game viewing experiences and adventure activities worth adding to your Uganda gorilla safari tour;
Kibale National Park
As the best place to see wild chimpanzees in Africa, Kibale Forest National Park is a superb addition to your Uganda gorilla safari itinerary. This 795km2 park is home to the highest density and diversity of primates in Africa ranging from the rare L’Hoest’s monkeys, Black-and-white colobus, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys to amazing Chimps.
While the park’s plethora of primates is undoubtedly its main draw, Kibale is also home to other 70 elusive mammal species and 220 species of colourful butterflies. Here you can venture into the forest and go chimpanzee tracking and habituation experiences or undertake day and nocturnal nature walks. Birders will be mesmerised by the park’s 375 recorded bird species. You can even take a swamp walk in the nearby community-run Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s best-loved park, Queen Elizabeth Park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park but was renamed 2 years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. This 1978km2 is home to tree-climbing lions, 610 bird species, 95 mammal species and a magnificent landscape of rolling savannah grasslands, tropical rainforests, freshwater lakes, fertile wetlands, and saline crater lakes. The lakeshore is dotted with pink-backed pelicans, Nile crocodiles and wallowing buffaloes, while elephants and leopards wander along the forest grassland.
Game drives and scenic nature walks are the order of the day, while the Kazinga Channel boat cruise offers an opportunity to view some of the world’s densest hippo concentrations. Queen is often paired with the gorilla safari parks. You can even pair a game drive or boat safari in Queen with chimp trekking in the gorgeous Kyambura Gorge or in the nearby Kalinzu Forest.
Murchison Falls National Park
Uganda’s largest National park, the 3,840km2 Murchison Falls National Park is also a great addition to any gorilla trekking tour in Uganda. Four of the Big 5 roam about the edge of the historic Nile River whose waters eventually burst through a 7 wide cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment before dropping 45 meters below creating the world’s most powerful waterfall.
Cruising along the Nile River to the bottom of falls is the highlight of the trip. Whether seen from the top of the falls or the Devil’s Cauldron, its intimidating base, Murchison Falls promises striking vistas from whichever vantage point. The park’s 451 bird species including the pre-historic Shoebills and plethora of wildlife including huge Nile crocodiles, Hippos, Rothschild’s giraffes can be spotted on hikes, Nile cruises, and game drives.
Lake Mburo National Park
Halfway between Kampala and the Uganda gorilla trekking destinations of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park lies Lake Mburo National Park, a perfect overnight stop-over for travellers making their way between the two destinations.
Although the heavyweights such as elephants are missing, the great mix of wetland and woodland habitats makes for a wide range of birds and mammals such as Zebra, giraffes, Impala, Eland, Buffalo, Oribi, Waterbuck, Hippos, Hyaena, Topi, and Reedbuck. Mburo’s tranquil atmosphere and soothing views provide welcome relief after a tough journey. It also offers one of the most interesting game walks in Uganda.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Before your Uganda gorilla trek, you can go hike or climb the mythical Mountains of the Moon, officially known as the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park incorporates the third-tallest peak in Africa (5109m) with alpine habitat complete with snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and lakes that exist within a few miles of the equator.
An abundance of endemic alpine flora, including prehistoric-looking giant heather and lobelias, adds to the region’s surreal beauty.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
The 70km2 Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary offers an up-close encounter to Uganda’s only wild rhinos on foot. Watching these prehistoric-looking heavyweights on foot is a thrilling experience. And since proceeds go toward breeding and ultimately reintroducing rhino into Uganda’s parks, visiting this popular destination on your gorilla tour in Uganda is a must.
When considering things to add to your gorilla safari in Uganda, don’t forget the magical Lake Bunyonyi – Africa’s second deepest lake dotted with 29 spectacular islands. If you want to chill for a couple of days before or after a gorilla trek, Bunyonyi is the perfect place to do it. If you do get restless, however, there is plenty of opportunity for hiking, swimming, boating, island hopping, chatting to the villagers, and even paddling a dugout canoe.
Uganda Equator Crossing Kayabwe
The Uganda Equator Crossing Kayabwe offers a memorable stop on your trip to Uganda gorilla trekking safari destinations or on the way back to Kampala/Entebbe after the gorilla trek. Here you can stand with one leg in the Northern hemisphere while the other remains in the Southern! It makes for great photographs and memories. It is also an impressive site for purchasing memorabilia to take back home as a memento of the incredible Uganda gorilla tour.
Jinja – Source of the Nile River
Jinja source of the Nile is one of the most iconic places in Africa – the point at which the world’s longest river exits the world’s second-largest lake to commence an epic 6650km long journey through the deserts of Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Are you a thrill-seeker? If so, there’s plenty to get your adrenaline pumping, from white water rafting, kayaking, jet boating to bungee jumping. For those less eager, a sunset cruise, quad bike safari or simply lounging on at the stunning Wildwaters Lodge with rooms featuring outdoor claw-foot baths on the balconies overlooking the legendary Nile River.
Kampala – the Capital City of Uganda
Before or after partaking in your gorilla trekking tour, you may take off some time to explore Kampala, Uganda’s commercial, political and logistical hub. If you are interested in culture, you can visit Kasubi Royal Tombs, Lubiri ceremonial palace, Mengo which is the Parliament of Buganda Kingdom.
You spend a day in Entebbe before and after journeying to the home of endangered mountain gorillas. This modern and picturesque city is home to the country’s international airport and is sprawled across the banks of Africa’s largest lake, the magnificent Lake Victoria and is the very gateway to all that Uganda has to offer. You can visit Mabamba Swamps one of the most convenient sites to see the iconic shoebill birds, spend a day in the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, relax in the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, undertake an afternoon fishing on Lake Victoria or cruise to nearby Ngamba Island to view orphaned and rehabilitated chimpanzees.
Best Time To Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
Best Time To Go On A Gorilla Tour In Uganda
The best time to go on a Gorilla tour is in Uganda is during the dry season, though the gorilla trekking in Uganda can be done at any time of the year.
Dry Season Uganda Gorilla Safaris
Uganda has two dry seasons. The first runs from December to February and the second June to early September. The dry seasons are more comfortable for gorilla trekking in Uganda and there is less rainfall. However, I cannot give you the guarantee that there will be no rainfall during the dry season. Sometimes there could be some rainy conditions unexpectedly due to changes in climatic conditions as the result of global warming. So it is better to come well prepared.
Also during the dry months, there is high demand for gorilla permits, so you are advised to book at least 6 months in advance.
Wet Season Uganda Gorilla Tours
In the wet season, the mud can make trails slippery and the trek tougher. As gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it could be disappointing if it rained on the day. Primates may also seek refuge from the rain in nests or trees, making them harder to find and see. Also, not all gorilla families will be lolling around, munching leaves, and basking in the sunshine – some will be on the move. And they’re a lot better adapted to moving through their rainforest home than we are, so you’ll need to be able to keep up!
However, don’t be completely put off by the rains of November and March-May, as you will have the forests and mountains to yourself, the guides, and the gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Via Kigali
Uganda Gorilla safari from Kigali, Rwanda
Uganda gorilla safari from Kigali is meant for those people interested in gorilla trekking in Uganda but prefer to or are staying in Rwanda. It is also meant for those who would love to trek Uganda gorillas but prefer a shorter drive time. The drive time from Kigali to Ruhija where you will trek gorillas is only between 4-5 hours as opposed to the 8-9 hours drive from Entebbe to Bwindi. So, you can fly into Kigali Rwanda to meet your guide instead of flying into Entebbe International Airport. By tracking gorillas in Uganda, you will be saving $ 900.00 off each person as opposed to tracking gorillas in Rwanda.
How To Get To Mgahinga National Park
Getting To Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga is 14km on rough roads from the town of Kisoro, the entry point to southern Bwindi. Kisoro is best accessed using a scheduled light aircraft flight from Entebbe. Daily departures take about 90 minutes. Alternatively, Kisoro can be reached by road from Entebbe/Kampala – a long day drive of 10 hours or 5/6 hours from Lake Mburo National Park.
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Ready to start planning Your Uganda Gorilla safari? Mountain gorillas are endangered and the trek to see them is carefully regulated in Uganda gorilla trekking safari destinations of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. To get a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, you must book in advance and it cannot be held on a provisional basis.
Also, Uganda gorilla safaris parks are situated in remote areas, and to ensure the best chances for a successful Uganda gorilla trek, you require the kind of direct experience and local knowledge that you get from our safari experts. Please contact us to plan your amazing Uganda gorilla safari of a lifetime at an affordable price.
Other Africa Uganda Safari Experiences You Can Gorilla Trekking
Combining Your Uganda Gorilla Trip With Other Bucket-List Africa Uganda Safari Experiences
It’s easy to combine your gorilla and chimpanzee trekking experience with visits to other African destinations. If you’re coming all the way, you might as well experience everything that has Africa to offer!
One of our most popular options is to combine your gorilla trekking experience with a Great Migration safari in East Africa or you can experience the best of both Rwanda and Congo in our primate expedition tour. Finally, get the best of Africa by combining your gorilla trekking with a beach getaway in Zanzibar.
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