How to Plan a Gorilla Trek Trip to Rwanda & Uganda - Africa Gorilla Tours
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How to Plan a Gorilla Trek Trip to Rwanda & Uganda - Africa Gorilla Tours

Are you interested in thrilling experiences? Have you ever thought about gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda? A trek to see a huge silverback gorilla in Uganda’s and Rwanda’s thick tropical rain forests is a dream come true for trekkers on safari to Africa. Spending an hour of face to face with these critically endangered apes is a magical experience that is offered no where else in the world except only in the mist valleys of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in the extreme Southwestern Uganda or the Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Because of insecurity issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, gorilla tourism has not been that vibrant compared to Uganda and Rwanda.

Below is a guide to help you plan your gorilla trek in Uganda and Rwanda

Booking your gorilla trekking permit in Uganda and Rwanda

Uganda offers refuge to half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, providing Uganda safari trekkers higher chance of tracking any of the 12 fully habituated families. If you are interested in visiting Uganda for mountain gorillatour, trekking permits are purchased at $600 for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East African residents. This only applies to visitors who on Uganda gorilla Safaris during the peak season which starts from the month of June to September and December to February. For those who wish to par take Uganda safaris during the low season, discounted permits are also issued at $450 for foreign non residents, $400 for foreign residents and shs.150000 and it only applies to April, May and November. Besides, for visitors who want to extend their stay in the country, you can also book for Gorilla Habituation Experience which is only conducted in Bwindi in the whole world. This adventure is exceptional as you get to the field with researchers, trackers or conservationists to a semi habituated group and visitors are allowed to spend four hours with these majestic wild creatures in their natural habitat.

In Rwanda, trekking permits are sold at $1500 per tourist to track any of the ten fully habituated groups. It is always advisable that you book your permit in advance. You can book your permit either directly from the respective conservation agency-in Uganda, it is Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and in Rwanda-visit the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN). Tourists can also book through the various local tour operators and this process has been noted to be the quickest for most trekkers to Uganda and Rwanda which is why, we encourage you to book your permits with us. Tour operators especially in Uganda are given about 85% of the trekking permits, meaning you have only 15 percent left if you are to book through UWA. In case you organize your permit, make sure that you pick it from the reservationist office in Kampala or Kigali prior taking a safari to the park. You must come along your gorilla permit and passport on the actual trek in order to be permitted to track these critically endangered apes in the world. For travelers who book through tour operator/agent and you are traveling with them, there is no need for you to think about accessing the permit from them but if you are not par taking a full gorilla safari with them, make sure that you obtain your permit prior the actual trek. Trekking permits in Uganda and Rwanda are only confirmed after you have paid in full amount!

Planning transport in Uganda and Rwanda

Because gorilla destinations in Uganda are situated far away from Kampala, it is advisable that you get a 4 by 4 vehicle. If you choose to visit Uganda for your gorilla trek, make sure that you plan 3-4 or more days. The first day will be for traveling to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park and the 3rd day will be returning to Kampala or Entebbe. In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is accessible within 2-3 hour drive from Kigali International Airport and this offers travelers who don’t want to spend many days in Africa to go and track these rare species within one day. 4 by 4 vehicles are recommended for tourists to connect to Uganda’s and Rwanda’s destinations due to their ability to navigate through the rough potholed routes that frequently make visitors get stuck for longer time especially during the wet season. You may also hire a vehicle for your gorilla trekking and wildlife safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. Public buses are the next option but better to use a 4 by 4 given the nature of using a public bus and you squeeze yourself while traveling.

Gorilla adventures are uncertain, meaning it can take you about a full day trekking to see these magnificent apes in the wild. This requires you to have packed lunch-snacks and bottle of drinking water, rain jacket, water proof hiking boots.

Hiring a porter and walking stick

There are porters for hire around the gorilla destinations and walking sticks. Hiring a porter is important in that if you have heavy luggage, they can help relieve you from that strenuous hike with heavy property. They are hired at $15 to $20. The walking sticks are available to give you support while hiking in steep slopes and they are obtainable at $5. Your contribution is highly appreciated.

The best time to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Whereas gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is an all year round adventure, these Great Apes are best tracked during the dry season which starts from June to September and December to February. During this season, it is easier to hike through the steep slopes to see the gorilla group compared to wet season when the habitat can be muddy and slippery.

Combining gorilla trekking with other safaris in Uganda and Rwanda

There is a lot more in offer for you to explore in Uganda and Rwanda. More than the rare mountain gorillas expect to also visit the might River Nile which is credited as the longest River in the world, you can combine it with your gorilla safaris or include chimpanzee trekking safaris in Kibale National Park in Uganda or in Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga National Park or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Murchison Falls National Park, for game drives and boat cruise towards the Murchison falls-the most powerful waterfalls in the world, Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives and boat cruise along the Kazinga channel in Uganda, game viewing in Akagera National Park in Rwanda or visit Lake Victoria the famous largest fresh water lake in Africa or head to Lake Bunyonyi the second deepest Lake in East Africa. These tourism sites can be visited prior or after your gorilla trek.

Planning for the lodge for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda

If you are interested in tracking gorillas in Uganda, the notable and excellent accommodation facilities for you to stay range from luxury to budget some of which include Lake Mutanda Resort, Mount Gahinga Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Travelers Rest Hotel, Engagi Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Camp, Buhoma Community Bandas, Mahogany Springs Camp, Silverback Lodge, Clouds Mount Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge and many more. Accommodation in Rwanda include La Palme Hotel, Hotel Muhavura, Virunga Hotel, Bisate Lodge, Volcanoes Gorilla Hotel, Gorilla Nest Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge and many others.

In conclusion, for a variety of safari experiences in Africa, visit Uganda and Rwanda. There are more than mountain gorillas for you to catch a glimpse while on a tour in that more areas are available for you to explore. Combine your safaris with gorilla tours in and you will be filled with life time experiences.

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