Gorilla Trekking: where, when & how?

We’re frequently asked about gorilla trekking and how to best incorporate it into our clients’ itineraries. And doing so, in our opinion, is a brilliant idea – we believe that trekking to the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas of East Africa is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences one can do on the continent..!

By Troy Smith  |  Last updated at 08 November 2018, 15:03
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How to include in your itinerary?

Generally, as a rule of thumb it’s easiest to do the trekking at either the start or the end of your safari – the main reason being that you can easily fly in to / out of either Kigali (Rwanda) or Entebbe (Uganda) with most international carriers, and therefore, by removing the need for a further internal regional flight, you can often save some hard-earned cash, or allocate it to another part of your trip!

Where to trek gorillas?

There are four main areas where visitors can trek gorillas:

  1. Volcanoes National Park in north-western Rwanda: this is arguably the most well-known gorilla trekking destination, and for good reason. The trekking is largely considered ‘easier’ (though, still not an ‘easy’ activity!) than in Uganda, and the tourism infrastructure is generally a notch above. One major factor for consideration is that the trekking permits are priced at US$1500 per person, per trek, though – one big advantage is that Volcanoes National Park is an easy 2.5hrs scenic drive from Kigali, so is very accessible.
  2. Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest in south-western Uganda. This region has certainly earned its name and can indeed be, somewhat impenetrable! There are a number of gorilla families in Bwindi, and visitors should be aware that trekking here is generally more difficult than in Rwanda and that the whole experience can be considered more of an ‘expedition’ than a cruisy African adventure. One advantage (compared with trekking in Rwanda) is that the permits are currently priced at US$600* per person, per trek (*2018 prices).
  3. Mgahinga National Park, which is actually part of the Virunga Mountain Range (which spreads across Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC) and is literally just across the border into Uganda. This means that the trekking permits are also only US$600 per person, per trek.
  4. And finally, in Virunga National Park in the DRC. Though, please note, due to a number of incidents in 2018, the park has currently been closed to tourists and, at this stage, we do not encourage gorilla trekking there for a variety of reasons. Please contact us for more information.

Combining Gorilla Trekking & Safari

We can arrange a trek with ease in any of the parks in Rwanda or Uganda mentioned, and firmly believe that a gorilla trek should be high on everyone’s ‘African bucket-list’! You could combine your trek with a safari in Kenya or Tanzania, or, perhaps even do a circuit within either Uganda or Rwanda (or both!) as there are some other fantastic experiences which combine well with a gorilla trek, including chimp trekking, white water rafting on the Nile and even a safari – with Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth NP and Kidepo National Park, or Rwanda’s Akagera National Park all offering good safari experiences!

Drop us a note to learn more about ticking gorilla trekking off your bucket list!

Author

Troy Smith

Troy heads up the team and is based in our Cape Town office.
Find out more about the TrueAfrica team.

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