Gorillas - Rwanda & Uganda
One of the most amazing wildlife experiences in Africa is coming face to face with a family of mountain gorillas. Primarily located in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, and throughout the Virunga range of extinct volcanic mountains which form the border between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the estimated number of mountain gorillas remaining in the wild is currently 880. It is no wonder that an encounter with this critically endangered species is both a highly restricted activity and a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. To meet these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a true privilege and we are proud to support tourism activities that contribute directly to ongoing conservation projects.
Good to Know
When to go: Gorilla trekking safaris operate throughout the year, however the hiking can be more arduous in the rainy seasons from April – May and in November, but at an altitude of 2000+m it can rain (and probably will) at any time of the year. The most popular times for gorilla trekking is between December and February, and June to September when it is drier.
Gorilla & Chimpanzee Permits: There is a very strict policy in place regarding the the purchasing of gorilla permits. A maximum of 80 gorilla tracking permits are available each day. Therefore it is critical to ensure you have pre-purchased permits in place, which we organise for you, before you finalise your entire safari and issue air tickets. Permit numbers are limited, and we recommend you book early to avoid disappointment. Chimpanzee permits must also be pre-purchased, however there is less demand.
The minimum age to track gorillas is 15 years - with no exceptions.
How fit do you need to be to track gorillas? You do need a general level of fitness to trek to see the gorillas.The walking pace is steady and depending on which group you track, and the time of year you go, you might find yourself walking on some pretty steep slopes for an extended period of time.On the other hand groups have been known to trek for as little as 30 minutes. It’s best to prepare for the most active option however, so any preemptive exercise you can do before leaving home would be beneficial.
Gorilla tracking etiquette: For gorilla/chimp trekking it is imperative that you are healthy - officials do have the right to refuse entry if you are found to have or show any signs of communicable illness. This is because Mountain Gorillas are very susceptible to catching human infections, particularly respiratory ones and a common cold could eventually prove life-threatening. Various rules for gorilla trekking are therefore in place to help protect these precious primates.
Why we like it
- A once in a lifetime experience
- Contributing to their conservation
- Immense sense of achievement
- Incredible photographic opportunities