Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park in Uganda has twenty-three habituated families, including the Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga. This particular family is known for moving back and forth between Rwanda and Uganda.
A hike to visit the mountain gorillas is arguably one of the most exciting encounters of the wild. Mountain gorillas primarily live in dense thick vegetation, which offers them both food and shelter. Trekking through some of East Africa’s thick forests will provide you an opportunity to see these magnificent creatures.
Wild mountain gorillas are condensed in one part of the world, East Africa. Where in East Africa can you see wild mountain gorillas? Well, in Virunga National park located in the Virunga mountain range which stretches across the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Also in Uganda, but not part of the Virunga Mountain range, you can find mountain gorillas in the famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park, South west of Uganda.
Virunga National Park in The D.R.C was established in 1925 making it the oldest National park in Africa, and second oldest in the world after Yellowstone National Park in The U.S.A. There are eight mountain gorilla families open to tourists for tracking in Virunga.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, which straddles both the Ugandan and Congo borders, has ten habituated families. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park in Uganda has twenty-three habituated families, including the Nyakagezi family in Mgahinga. This particular family is known for moving back and forth between Rwanda and Uganda.
Uganda and Rwanda offer the best mountain gorilla encounters in the wild compared to The D.R.C. To trek the gorillas, you will need a “gorilla trekking permit.” You can get this from a reputable tour operator in each country, or from the Rwanda Development Board if trekking in Rwanda, Virunga National Park if trekking in
The D.R.C and the Uganda Wildlife Authority if trekking in Uganda. Permit prices vary for either country as Rwanda charges $1500, Uganda $700 while The D.R.C, on the more affordable side, charges $400 per person, daily. Because Gorilla trekking is such an in demand activity, Gorilla permits sell out really fast and therefore must be booked or purchased at least three months before date of travel.
Only eight visitors are allowed to trek each gorilla family and are given one hour to spend with them. This minimizes stress and disease spread or contamination from humans to the gorillas. Smoking, eating and drinking are strongly prohibited while in the presence of the Gorillas.
You might have heard or read about the best times to do Gorilla trekking being in the dry seasons of June, July, August, September, October, December and January. However, due to the highland nature of the parks, rain can be expected at anytime including during the dry seasons.
The trek can be very strenuous therefore, tourists are required to be physically fit, and not younger than 15 years old. If you are interested in joining us on a trek to see some of the world’s only remaining mountain gorillas,
head on over here to see our sample itinerary.