A Getaway Uganda ours, we customize your Uganda Gorilla safaris to your specifications. This includes your level of fitness, the time available for your gorilla safari, your budget and what other safari activities you are interested in. Below are a few of our specially hand crafted gorilla safaris. If you don’t find what suits you, reach out to us.

Frequently asked questions about Uganda Gorilla safaris

Is Gorilla trekking worth the money?

Is gorilla trekking worth the money?

Ever wondered about what’s like to trek the impenetrable forests in search for the mountain gorillas? Are you wondering on whether to spend that extra $700 for a gorilla permit? Have you considered whether gorilla trekking is worth the money? A Uganda safari takes you places, from the remote savanna plains to the forests of Kibale. But there’s nothing quite like Uganda gorilla trekking. If you are thinking of doing a safari anywhere in the world, gorilla trekking should be on top of your bucket list. Gorilla trekking is one of the most sought after safari activities in Uganda. It’s an uninhibited safari activity that sees you trekking through the dense forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga in search of these magnificent apes.

Is gorilla trekking worth the money?

The trek through the forest

Gorilla trekking in Uganda entails a marvelous trek through the forest in search of the gorillas. Trackers are sent ahead to locate the gorilla families. You don’t want to trek the whole day, do you? On your trek, the rangers will give you constant updates on the location of the gorillas. This will get your adrenaline pumping. The anticipation will creep in, alerting your every sense. On making contact with the gorillas, you will be astounded at the beauty of the gentle giants. The size of the silver buck, its agility as they climb up the trees will leave you speechless.

Spending time with the Gorillas.

Uganda gorilla trekking is a life time safari activity and here, you are allowed one hour with the gorilla families. The gorillas have a charcoal shaggy coat that protects them from the elements. The young gorillas are a delight. They play with each other and will sometimes want to play with them. You are advised against touching them as this may look like a sign of aggression to their mothers. They could lead into the gorilla charging you. The young gorillas will climb on their mother’s back eat and play with one another to pass the time.

These gorillas are wild and you are required to keep a safe distance. Even when the young gorillas come and tag at your trousers (yes they usually do), do not play with them or be alarmed. They are in their natural habitat. Uganda gorilla trekking is one of those activities that you would want to do over again. Many a client have said that they would do it over all again. I do believe that gorilla trekking is worth the money.

Uganda gorilla trekking permits cost $700 effective July. In Rwanda, the permits go for $1500 and $400 in Congo. Gorilla trekking is done all year around but due to the nature of the hike, you are advised to do it in the dry seasons of June-September and December-January. Due to the changes in the climatic seasons, please contact us for more information.

At Getaway Uganda tours, we pride ourselves in offering you well-tailored Uganda gorilla safaris for memorable experiences. Get in touch with us for a quote. We do believe that gorilla trekking is worth the money.

Is gorilla trekking safe

Is gorilla trekking safe?

Gorilla trekking is a once in a life time experience you shouldn’t miss. It entails trekking through the impenetrable forests to get a chance at catching a glimpse of the endangered mountain gorillas. In Uganda, gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park. We are addressing the big question; is gorilla trekking safe?

Uganda gorilla trekking is one of the popular safari activity. Gorilla permits have to be booked in order for you to get a chance to trek the gorillas. This Uganda gorilla safari sees you trekking and have an hour watching and observing the gentle giants. The beautiful sounds of the forests and birds is just an added bonus on this gorilla safari.

Gorilla safaris Rules and regulations

The Uganda wildlife authority has made it possible for you to enjoy these amazing wildlife safely. However, it’s rather intimidating. Uganda gorilla trekking safaris allow you a few meters away from the primates. A set of rules and regulations have been put in place to ensure a safe trek. You are briefed on these rules and regulations at the park headquarters before you head out. As you trek, the guides and rangers will always remind you of these rules and regulations. They help protect you and the gorillas.

Is gorilla trekking safe?
Photo by Gorilla Doctors

You are expected to keep a distance of 7 meters between you and the gorilla families. Eating and smoking is prohibited while viewing the gorillas. Avoid eye contact with the gorillas as it can easily be interpreted into a sign of hostility. If a gorilla comes into close proximity with you, stay still and resist touching them. You are required to keep your voices low during the trek. Switch off the flash on your cameras while taking pictures and videos of the primates. Now that we have gone through the basic rules and regulations, let’s look at other measures that have been taken to ensure that gorilla trekking is safe.

Gorilla safaris Habituation

Only gorilla families that have been habituated are visited on any of the gorilla safaris. These primates are wild animals and behave so, if they feel threatened, they will attack. For over 2 years, rangers from the Uganda wildlife authority regularly visit the gorilla families, keeping at a safe distance. By doing this, the gorillas will get used to humans and not perceive them as threats. On your Uganda gorilla safari, you will get to view them and they won’t fell threatened because they are used to seeing humans.

Park rangers

The Uganda wildlife authority doesn’t allow anyone in the forest without rangers and guides. These are armed and know the forest very well. These rangers are there for your protection. This precaution has made Bwindi impenetrable forest a safe destination for gorilla trekking.

Dress code;

During gorilla trekking, you are advised to out on dull colored clothes. Like most humans, bright colors attract the attention of wildlife and these interactions may not end very well for both the wildlife and the guests. You are advised to carry a waterproof boots, insect repellent, long sleeved shirts and trousers. These will ensure you have an enjoyable Uganda gorilla trekking experience.

I hope we have been able to offer satisfactory answers to the question “Is gorilla trekking safe”.

 

How Much are gorilla trekking permits

A gorilla permit in Uganda costs USD $600 per person (US$700 starting July 1, 2020)  and USD1,500 for gorilla habituation experience permits. A single gorilla permit can only be used once (single day), by a single person and to trek Uganda gorillas in only two destinations,  Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National.

Buy your gorilla permits or secure your gorilla permit in Kampala (the capital of Uganda) at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters by paying USD $600.00 per person for foreign non residents, USD500.00 for foreign residents with working permits and sh250,000 for East African Citizens. Please note that effective 1st July 2020, Uganda gorilla permits will be selling at $700 for non residents and $600 for foreign residents with working permits in any of the East African community countries. Book Your gorilla tour before 1st July 2020 to benefit from the current price of $600. Encounter Africa Safaris organizes all inclusive safaris to see gorillas including our popular 3 day budget gorilla safari to Bwindi.

In Rwanda you can get permits through the Rwanda Development Board offices (ORTPN) in Kigali or Ruhengeri (near the PNV) after paying $1500.00.

Why is Gorilla trekking expensive

Unlike any other African safari activity, gorilla trekking is involving, unique and a once in a lifetime activity. Unlike other wildlife, gorilla behave like we humans do. With the dominant silverback heading the groups, they live in families. It is the role of the silverback to protect the families and lead them to good feeding grounds.

Now to the big questions. Why is gorilla trekking expensive? Unlike many other species, mountain gorillas are endangered. This puts the gorilla trekking on high demand. If the cost of gorilla trekking was low, large numbers of people would flock to see the gorillas. This would endanger the conservation efforts and strain the gorillas because of the constant stream of humans in their natural habitat. Risks of transmitting diseases from humans to gorillas would be greater.

More importantly, gorilla conservation is not a cheap endeavor. Huge investments are needed for rangers, research, and doctors. Only 8 people are allowed to trek a gorilla family on a given day and this group will need trackers, rangers and guides. All these human resource needs to be taken care hence the high cost of gorilla trekking. Of the cost of a gorilla permit, 75% goes into conservation (rangers, doctors and researchers), 15% goes to the government and 10% goes to the local communities.

In order to protect the endangered primates, the principal of demand and supply is applied. The higher the demand, the higher the cost. Otherwise, the high number of tourists would affect the well-being of these species. In the world, gorilla trekking is done in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. In Uganda, gorilla safaris are done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. In Congo, gorillas are found in Virunga national park while in Rwanda, they can be trekked in Volcanoes national park.

How to book a gorilla permit

On your Uganda gorilla safari, you will have to book with your tour operator. The government authorities in different countries are in charge of issuing these gorilla safari permits and your tour operator is in the best position to book and arrange the best trekking sectors for your gorilla safari. In Uganda, gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. According to your desired itinerary, your tour operator will find the best national park. Bwindi has 4 trekking sectors; Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Buhoma. Your gorilla trekking destination will be greatly affected by your itinerary.

It is imperative to book your gorilla trekking permits at least 3 months before your Uganda gorilla safari in the low season of February-May. In the high seasons of June-September, you are highly advised to book your permit at least 5 months before your Uganda safari tour. This is because a limited number of people are allowed to trek the gorillas on a given day.

What to wear on a gorilla safari

What to wear for Gorilla safari

To truly enjoy your Uganda gorilla trekking safari, all aspects have to be in place. The accommodation, food, transport and what to wear for your gorilla safari. Uganda is home to mountain gorillas. They reside in the mountains, their natural habitat. At over 2000 feet, you are high up in the mountains. More to that, Bwindi is located in the Albertine rift. The terrain is hilly. As you pack for your Uganda gorilla safari, bear this in mind. Don’t ruin your gorilla trekking safari because of inappropriate wear. Below are recommendations on what to wear for gorilla trekking.

Long Sleeved Shirts and Trousers

Gorilla trekking is done in the tropical forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga. In these forests, there are no trails. Rangers go ahead clearing a path for you. Trousers and long sleeved shirts will shield you from branches and shrubs that may scratch you. Waterproof trousers would even be of advantage because of the dew on the lush green vegetation. Wear comfortable clothes because gorilla trekking can be tough.

Waterproof Hiking Boots

When it rains, the grounds can be slippery. A pair of good sturdy hiking boots will make your trekking experience more comfortable. All rangers and trackers wear gumboots on these gorilla treks. For good traction, support and stability, these boots come in handy. Good thick socks are recommended. Tuck your trousers into your socks. However unfashionable, this prevents fire ants from attacking you.

Gardening Gloves

During gorilla trekking, you will need to reach out for support as you hike down or up the forest as you search for the gorillas. These gardening gloves will protect your hands from scratches. On making contact with the gorillas, you will take them off for good photos and videos.

A Rain Jacket

Tropical forests receive rain in the dry and wet season. While gorilla trekking, remember to carry a rain jacket or a poncho in case it rains. A light jacket that can folded into your backpack with a bottle of drinking water is ideal in case it rains.

Hat

This may seem farfetched but a good brimmed hat will protect you from the elements. If it rains, it will keep your head dry and if the sun is out, it will protect you from sun burn. Local markets have affordable hats that you can carry home as a souvenir.

Insect Repellent

The tropical forest is full of wildlife ranging from primates to insects. Carry and apply insect repellent before your gorilla safari. Apply the repellent and sunblock on your exposed parts of the body. For those who would like to undertake the gorilla habituation experience, carry your repellent and sunblock with you since the activity takes a full day

Warm Clothing.

Yes, warm clothing. Morning and evening in the mountains of Bwindi and Mgahinga are cold. They get as low as 10°C/50°F in Bwindi and sometimes lower. Almost all the lodges in these parks have fire places. Hot water bottles are provided on the cold nights.

Wha are the chances of seeing the gorillas

This is one of the most common question when our clients are considering gorilla safaris. I would ask the same question if I were in your shoes. Considering the cost of the gorilla permits, accommodation, air tickets and visas, am sure you would like to know the chances of seeing the mountain gorillas. Uganda Gorilla safaris are popular because the chances of seeing the gorillas are high.

The chances of seeing gorillas in Uganda are 95%. The 5% is taken out just to reduce the expectations. We have never heard a scenario where tourists failed to see the gorillas. Even when it is raining, you will be able to see the gorillas. Not an ideal situation but its mother nature.

Why the chances of seeing mountain gorillas are high?

Gorilla families are located in different areas of the park, some near, other further away. As groups are allocated, the level of fitness is taken into consideration. It is vital to let your rangers know of your physical capabilities. Tourists are asked before the trek in order for them to pick what suits them. Younger or physically fit tourists are allocated families that are further away and elderly or unfit tourists are allocated families nearer to the starting point. This is to ensure that all those who are undertaking the gorilla trek get to finish and enjoy the experience. For the elderly or those who are unfit to trek, porters are available to lift you on the sedan chairs. You however have to incur the cost of the porters.

Gorillas have close DNA as humans and contract the same diseases that we have. If you have flue, cough or diarrhea, you will not be allowed to trek the gorillas.

One of the main reasons why the chances of seeing gorillas are high are the trackers. These are a group of highly skilled trackers who set off before the sunrise and head into the forest to locate the gorilla families. With years of experience, they follow their trail through the broken twigs, excrement and once they locate them, they communicate with the rangers on the location of the gorillas. With the route provided, the rangers will successfully guide you to the gorilla families. Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to locate the gorillas in the deep forest on your Gorilla safaris.