Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

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Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a captivating and immersive wildlife experience that allows visitors to hike into the heart of lush rainforests in pursuit of a once-in-a-lifetime experience with one of the world’s most endangered species—the mountain gorilla.

Uganda has 26 gorilla families, which is the largest number of habituated gorillas in Africa. The overall total of mountain gorillas worldwide is now 1,063 based on the 2019 gorilla census.  With over half of the world’s total gorilla population living in Uganda, this country offers exceptional once-in-a-lifetime gorilla experiences.

The Best Time to Go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Dry Season (June to September  and December to February)

The dry season is considered the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda. During this period, the weather is generally favourable, with minimal rainfall and clearer skies. The hiking trails are less muddy and easy to navigate, making the gorilla trekking experience more comfortable.

Additionally, the gorilla sightings are often better the vegetation is less dense, improving visibility during the gorilla hike.

The recommended tip for gorilla trekking is to do it during June, July, August, or September. And, keep in mind that June and July are the driest months of the year, BUT it can still rain in and around the tropical rainforest!  The second option is December, January, and February the shorter dry period.

The months of June, July, August, and September are considered the high season. This means that the hiking trails and the parks the treks will be fully booked and the accommodations will be crowded as well.

It’s important to be aware that December is a peak period for gorilla trekking in Uganda, and it coincides with the festive season, making it a busy time for travel.

Notably, it is also the most expensive time to plan a trip to Uganda. Expect higher costs for accommodations and flights during this period, as demand for travel and tourism services tends to surge.

Being prepared for increased expenses will contribute to a more informed and smooth travel planning process.

Wet Season (March to May & October to November)

The wet season in Uganda,  the “low season, may not be ideal for hiking for a gorilla trekking experience. This is because rainfall is more frequent during this period making it difficult to nagivate the hiking trails. In addition to this visibility and hiking is a challenge as vegetation and undergrowth is thicker, which makes spotting gorillas a bit more challenging.

However, this might be the better option for photographers as the landscapes are incredibly lush and vibrant, creating stunning and amazing backdrops for photography.

The low season might be ideal for keeping travel costs minimal since most accommodations offer low-season rates during the wet season.

It’s important to note that gorilla trekking can be undertaken year-round, and the gorillas can be found at different altitudes in the parks.

Gorilla Trekking Experiences take place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the largest number of habituated gorilla families with about 25 groups and 2 are reserved for the gorilla habituation experience. The gorilla groups are distributed into 4 accessible trekking regions or sectors. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has only 1 gorilla group.

Buhoma Sector

The park’s headquarters located in the north of the park has 7 Gorilla Families, Habinyanja, Katwe, Bunyingo, Mubare, Muyambi, Kankwanyi, and Rushegura.

Ruhija Sector

This is the highest gorilla-tracking trailhead and lies in the east of the park. The Ruhija Gorilla Families are 6 and include, Bitukura, Kyaguriro A & B, Mukiza, Happy, and Oruzogo.

Nkuringo Sector

This sector covers the southwestern area of Bwindi Forest. Furthermore, it is the most challenging of all gorilla tracking locations comprising 3 Gorilla groups Nkuringo,  Bushaho, Christmas, and Posho Group still undergoing habituation.

Rushaga Sector

This sector covers the southern edge of Bwindi Forest and, most of all became a gorilla site in 2009. The sector has 10 gorilla families that include Nshongi, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, Kahungye, Kutu, Busingye, Bikini, Bweza, Tindatine, and Rwigi.

Nyakagezi in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Mgahinga has one habituated transboundary gorilla group comprising 9 members.

The Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Experience.

You will need a minimum of 3 days for your gorilla trekking experience in Uganda. 

After an early breakfast, you transfer to the national park offices where you will be allocated a gorilla family in groups of 8 people as well as a gorilla tracking guide.

A pre-tracking briefing at 07: 30hrs about gorilla rules and regulations, your assigned gorilla family as well as appropriate safety precautions are done.

Thereafter you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure, the highlight of your safari, an unforgettable encounter with the Gentle Giants!

Expect to walk between 2 to 8 hours in steep and slippery conditions at times with rain overhead, which can be quite challenging. You need to be reasonably fit as the treks depend on how far the families move in search of food and where they were last sighted the day before.

Upon the gorilla sighting, get your cameras ready, deactivate the flash mode though! You will spend 1 hour with these amazing and captivating apes.

If 1 hour is not enough, you can always trek twice or have a gorilla habituation experience. After heading back to the trailhead, you will receive a Gorilla Trekking Certificate, a document given to tourists after successfully trekking mountain gorillas.

It will indicate your name, your gorilla group trekked as well as the park and country. The gorilla trekking permit is for USD 700 per person valid for 24 hours.

Conservation and Responsible Tourism

Uganda emphasizes responsible and sustainable tourism practices to ensure the long-term survival of mountain gorillas and the preservation of their habitats. The Local communities are actively involved in gorilla conservation, and the positive impact of tourism extends to supporting community development projects.

There are a limited number of gorilla trekking permits ( 8 per group) issued daily, making it essential for visitors to secure permits in advance through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or authorized tour operators.

Gorilla trekking contributes significantly to the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these endangered species. The fees generated from permits play a vital role in supporting conservation initiatives and local communities.

Book your ultimate gorilla experience in Uganda with Travelers Link Africa. Request for a gorilla safari experience quote on info@travelerslinkafrica.com