A Handy Guide to Mountain Gorilla Trekking

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Gorilla Trek Rwanda

Mountain gorilla trekking is an interesting tour activity can be enjoyed from only three African countries; Uganda,Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo. There are two populations of mountain gorillas. The population living in the Virunga ranges of Africa and a separate population living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Where to Go Gorilla Trekking

Uganda

Uganda hosts almost half of the remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas. About 440 individuals live within the Bwindi Impenetrable Natural Forest while some few individuals live within the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

All combined, there are 17 gorilla families that have been habituated in both national parks. These groups include 16 families living in Bwindi  and 1 habituated gorilla family that lives within Mgahinga National Park.

These creatures only reside in the areas of high altitude which explains why they only exist in the Virunga ranges of Africa and always keep to these areas. Almost every tourist to Uganda makes it a point to include mountain gorilla trekking in his “Tour Itinerary” while in Uganda. It is such a heartwarming experience to watch gorillas as they play in the fruitful trees and among the tree branches.

Many tour operators do offer both luxury and budget gorilla tours to Bwindi impenetrable forest in South Western Uganda and Mgahinga National Park. Other than trekking the endangered species of wildlife, the mountain gorillas, from Bwindi and Mgahinga you can also treat yourself to hiking, mountain biking, interactive cultural and nature walks with the Batwa people among others and birding.

Rwanda

Also known as a land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is an amazing destination that hosts the mountain gorillas. Rwanda is a favorite destination to tourists interested in gorilla trekking. All gorilla visits are conducted in the Volcanoes National Park, the Ugandan part of the Virunga Region.

There are 12 habituated gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists looking to gorilla visits in the Volcanoes National Park.

Planning a Gorilla Trek

A gorilla trip is one of the best guided adventures that reward in the end with sightings of the mountain gorillas in their natural homes. In order to take a gorilla trek in any location, one needs to have a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit in Uganda is currently at USD $600 and USD 750 in Rwanda. Gorilla permits can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority for Uganda and the Rwanda Development Bpard in Rwanda. However it is easier to secure your gorilla permit from a local tour operator than through these organizations. Please note that gorilla permits are issued on the first come first serve basis and therefore it is advised to book early for your gorilla permits most especially during the peak months of June – September and December – March.

Therefore it’s best to have your permit booked in advance (2-3 months to your visit). It’s also advisable to come with tracking gears; strong shoes/boots, long sleeved shirts /blouses, cameras, cap, sun glasses, hats to shield from hot sunshine, etc.

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