Which is the best country to visit the Mountain Gorilla in; Uganda or Rwanda?

Rwanda is a much smaller country than Uganda, so  it means that given the travel distances, you can visit the gorilla in 3 days as opposed to 5. Rwanda also has more than twice the number of habituated mountain gorilla groups than Uganda and so permits are generally more easily available.  The forests are less dense so photographic options are better. However, Uganda also offers a lot of national game parks so If you want to do more than just gorilla trekking on your holiday, but add in a safari, Uganda is a better option than Rwanda. 

Permits are however more costly in Rwanda than in Uganda.

Where can I get trekking Insurance to see the Mountain Gorilla?

If you are going hiking or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking has become popular for many adventure seekers. But any hike even short ones carry a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click on the icon

When is the best time for Gorilla tracking?

You can visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda throughout the year. However the best months are June, July, and August to early-September as they are drier with less rain, and then December up to February. Given that it is a mountain are there is always a chance of rain and mist through regardless of the time of year.

What clothing do I need to wear to track the gorilla?

During the day the temperatures are generally warm to hot and humid so light clothing that you can layer is best.  We highly recommend that you wear long pants and long-sleeved shirt made of light-weight material to avoid being scratched with thorns and branches. You will also need a hat , sunglasses and a waterproof jacket in case it rains. Gaitors, gloves and sturdy hiking boots are also required.

What do the Gorilla permits cost?

In order to actually visit the gorilla, you need to have a permit which is obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda and Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda. The permit allows you to spend 1 hours with a habituated family at a good 7m distance. We arrange these permits for you.

In Uganda Gorilla permits are USD700 and in Rwanda they are USD1500 per permit per trek.Currently Rwanda Gorilla permit goes for USD1500.00 for Non-residents. 

How far in advance should I book my permit?

Given that permits are limited and the demand is high we advise that you book your Gorilla permit at least three months. If you plan to go to Uganda there is a greater demand as habituated families are lower as is the cost.  

How long will I spend with the Gorilla?

Once a habituated gorilla family has been located by your guide, you will have one hour with the family unless circumstances dictate that you leave earlier.

How close will I get to the Gorilla?

In theory you need to maintain a 7m or 27 foot distance between you and the gorilla. However, you will find they they sometimes will come close to you. You are not allowed to touch the gorillas.

Is there an age limit on tracking?

There is a minimum age of 15 years for anyone obtaining a permit to track Mountain Gorillas which Park Authorities will check against the date of birth in your passport.

How difficult is it to see the Gorilla?

 If you can hike in any weather on rough terrain for a few hours and a are fit  then you should be fine.  You are likely to return wed and muddy and climbing through the undergrowth can be tiring. However, we have had clients in their 70's do the trek without problems. 

The time it takes to get to the gorilla family is based mainly on the location of mountain gorilla  How near or far a gorilla group has moved since it was last trekked will determine how long it takes to get to them. Groups like Sabinyo and Group 13 I Rwanda are generally easier to get to while other families like Amahoro, Susa A, Karisimbi, and Ugyenda gorilla families tend to move a lot further. It can take between 1 hour and 5 hours to locate the family.

Is there a maximum number of people we can have in our travel group?

There is not a limit to the number of people we can book for so long as there is availability of permits. In addition, Only eight people are allowed to track a gorilla family per day. a number of gorilla families have been habituated both in Uganda and Rwanda.  In Uganda there are currently around 152 permits available per day, while Rwanda has 96 permits available each day.

What is included on a gorilla permit?

Gorilla permits are documents that allow visitors see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The gorilla permit includes;

  • Park entry fee
  • Guide/ranger fees
  • Gorilla trackers fees
  • One hour with gorillas once found
  • Visitors security in the forest
What are the chances of seeing mountain gorillas?

There is a 99% chances you will get to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Part of the fee goes towards paying the trackers who track the family from where they nested down the night before and where they traveled to when they woke up. These trackers then guide your ranger/guide to their location while the gorilla trackers keep monitoring the movements of the mountain gorillas.

Is gorilla trekking safe?

Compared to other wildlife encounters such as rhino trekking and some safari activities,      gorilla trekking is one of the safest there is. There are however rules that apply which trekkers must, in turn,      follow while with the gorillas. They are not aggressive or prone to be angered by tourists under most circumstances

What is a habituated gorilla family?

A habituated gorilla family is one that is trained to be more accustomed to having people around. Gorilla Habituation may take between two to three years .

read some of our blog posts on TREKKING AND THE GORILLA

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