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Guide to Visiting the Mountain Gorillas

Plan a visit to the mountain gorillas in Africa using our resources. Here is exclusive information about gorilla trekking, best places to go, when to go and more. Trips to see remaining in 3 African countries of East Africa; Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Make an adventure of a lifetime with us and track mountain gorillas beyond two countries and maximize your travel excitement with the largest primates on planet earth.

We’ll track gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park; Rwanda and learn about what it takes to habituate them from their natural wild state till they are calm and accommodating to humankind for tourism activities.

Cross over a few kilometers into Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and get mesmerized by the rugged terrain, thick and mist covered forests. Get extra doses of excitement by tracking these wild giants again and take great note of comparisons and similarities for they are never the same. Walk at leisure in the communities close to the park that have lived with the Mountain Gorillas all their lifetime. Share their experiences, listen to their music and moving stories, dance to their tunes. Wash off the fatigue of taming African jungles with an adrenaline raising boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi; the second deepest lake in Africa. The cool breezes will sooth your body and big swarms of beautiful birds tweeting in the air and magical views of floating islands calm your nerves. You have a big volume of wonderful experiences and authentic stories to live with and talk about all your lifetime.

Plan a Gorilla Visit

When should I track Mountain Gorillas in Uganda?Tourists want to get the best out of the fee they pay for gorilla tour and usually some tourists ask questions like; when is the best time for gorilla trekking?. While Mountain Gorillas can be trekked throughout the whole year, it is more pronounced during the drier months of June, July, August and early September then December up to February are the most preferred months for Gorilla trekking. No is guarantee is there that it will not rain in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest since it is a tropical rain forest and it is influenced by micro conditions of the area.

How much is Gorilla Tracking Permit in Uganda or Rwanda?

To obtain a gorilla permit, you should pay USD 600 to the Uganda Wildlife Authority. There are some months where there discounted permits at US$450 and this during the months of April. Following an announcement from the Uganda Willdife Authority all gorilla permit bookings from July 2020, the price for the gorilla permit has been increased to US$700 per person.

How can I reach Bwindi Impenetrable National park?

The park is located in south western Uganda and is divided into four regions. Buhoma region in North, Ruhija region in the east, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south. Each of this region has got habituated gorilla families for trekking/ tracking. If you are to trek gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National park, then you will need to mind about the specific regime where you are going as this will affect the lodge to be booked, gorilla as well as your transport.

When should I book my Gorilla permit/Tour?

Your Gorilla permit should be purchased three (3) months in advance to shortage most especially during the high season. The date you wish to travel should known by the tour company you wish to travel with.

What is included in a gorilla permit?

A gorilla permit allows you one hour with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga or Volcanoes National Park. Included in the cost are park entry fees for the respective parks, services of National Park guides/rangers who will escort you to the forest. Gorilla Tracking Uganda will ensure that you secure permits in advance

How long is a Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda?

Mountain gorilla trekking exercise can take from twenty minutes to three quarters of the day so one needs to prepare for both. This depends on several factors that include, mountain gorilla movements, where the gorillas stayed the previous night and the mood of the gorillas. It may also depend on the people in your group since the guides/rangers move following the slowest person in the group. Gorilla Tracking Uganda trading as Encounter Africa Safaris is happy to provide all relevant advice.

What is the age limit for Trekking Gorillas?

The age limit for gorilla tracking (Uganda and Rwanda) and golden monkey trekking (Uganda) is 15 years. The authorities are very strict on this, so kindly make sure all clients and children are 15 or older in order to avoid any sad incidents like guest(s) kids being refused to track!

The age limit for trekking chimpanzees in Uganda is 12 years old and children 10 years and older are allowed to trek golden monkeys in Rwanda as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Children under 15 years are allowed to Dian Fossey’s tomb – although the latter hike is a stiff one so we do not recommend that either to children under 12-13 years.

What should I pack for Gorilla trekking?

You need to prepare very well for your gorilla trek in Rwanda or Uganda, we advise trousers, long sleeved shirts or blouses, long socks to enable you tack in your trousers, garden gloves, a hat, sun glasses, hiking boots, insect repellents and some energy giving foods.

Do you have any questions about Gorillas?

In case you have any questions about Gorilla tracking, you will send an email with the tour company you are travelling with.

What is gorilla habituation experience?

The Gorilla habituation experience is an activity in Bwindi Impenetrable National park where tourists are allowed to stay four hours with mountain Gorillas after paying USD 1500 for a gorilla habituation permit. The Gorilla habituation safaris are currently taking place only in Rushaga located in southern part of Bwindi Forest.

The experience of Gorilla tracking with a booked Tour Company of your choice.

In Uganda, most tour companies organize safaris for Gorilla tracking and are conducted in depth with knowledgeable guides. They guarantee you a highly personalized gorilla trekking experience safari in the National Parks of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The endangered apes have been drawing for decades to the mountainous slopes of Virunga. The National park Bwindi is quite a threatening name and rightly so as thick jungle looms before you set off in search of hairy cousins.

It is not easy to get there because it is hard work. There is nothing interesting as the magical hour you spend with the Mountain Gorillas. The close proximity changes images of devoted mothers which care for their young cheeky babies clambering through the trees and awesome light of a massive silverback which will remain with you forever. Your sole journey to Uganda for Gorilla tracking will make you feel rewarded. Other activities which can be carried out along side Gorilla tracking in Uganda include; Chimpanzee trekking at Kibale Forest. This offers you a glimpse into the lives of our primate brothers. An additional tour is to Murchison falls national park where you will see the mighty Nile squeezes through a tiny seven meter gap. The tree climbing lions at queen Elizabeth National park are also interesting to your safari in Uganda.

Safaris with most tours and travel companies

African safari featuring gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo are intoxicating affair with a greater diversity of animals. You are called upon to visit the gorillas in the wild on exciting guided safaris offered by selected tour operators. A combined safari will enable you see a lot of amazing African animals including the big five as well the scenic landscapes that will make you fall in love with Africa.

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Experiences

Mountain Gorilla Trekking: A Lifetime Experience Only Done in Africa

Gorilla trekking is the most interesting wild life encounter in the whole world which can only be experienced in Africa. It entails hiking in the tropical rain forests of Africa before reaching these rare endangered species. Though challenging, trekking is so much interesting since from the start to finish as the jungle envelops the hikers in its sounds associated with the calls of unseen birds, the soft hum of insects, the whispering of countless leaves, wrapped in emerald shadows, travelers also glimpse the secret lives of the rainforest’s shy creatures including the mountain gorillas.

Mountain gorillas being the close relatives of human beings sharing 98.3% of human genes, they are so susceptible to human diseases and therefore a distance of seven metres is encouraged between the trackers and the mountain gorillas. Trekking time can range from 45 minutes to 8 hours depending on the location of a gorilla family. All gorillas live in families with each family headed by a dominant silver back that plans for the entire family and defending it against all external attacks, every gorilla is so much attached to its family and cannot join another family even if the two different families come in contact. Female gorillas are the mums in the family who nurse and cater for the young ones sin the entire family.

Once a trekking group approaches the gorilla family all other things are left with the porters except non flash cameras. While on a gorilla trek, trekkers are reminded of the seven meter distance and quietness as they observe the gorillas and take photographs for the maximum of one hour.

Mountain gorillas in Africa can be trekked in the following places:

Uganda

Uganda is a home to half of the mountain gorillas in the whole world. Approximately 480 gorillas are situated in Uganda in the two national parks of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park both in south western Uganda. Trekking in Uganda is interesting because there are 13 gorilla families with 12 in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga all available for trekking.

More still, the tow national parks are 7-8 hour drive from the international airport of Entebbe and this provides travelers an opportunity view other attractions and natural features en-route to the gorilla national parks. Travelers to Uganda also come in contact with other wild life for example the golden monkeys, elephants and many bird species which all provides a memorable experience to travelers never to forget.

Rwanda

Trekking in Rwanda is an easy in, easy out game. It is done in the volcanoes national park located only two hour drive from the international air port of Kigali. This short distance allows short time travelers to trek mountain gorillas in that they can even trek on the day of arrival despite tie long distance in Uganda. Trekkers in Rwanda can also pay a visit to the Dian Fossey grave site and will also encounter different animal and bird species which all adds to the final tourism experience.

There are 10 gorilla families in the volcanoes national park available for trekking and a gorilla permit is sold at 750usd quite expensive compared to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Democratic republic of Congo

Although done at a relatively low rate as compared to Uganda and Rwanda, mountain gorilla trekking in the DRC is now going on. It is done in the virunga national park and a gorilla permit is sold at 450usd which is quite cheaper compared to Uganda and Rwanda.

In the last years, the political instabilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the neighboring Rwanda led to the death and fleeing of many mountain gorillas since their habits the tropical rain forests were used by the rebel groups for hiding. This put trekking and tourism at a standstill but however at present the country has stabilized and gorilla trekking is done peacefully. There are other attractions such as the world’s largest lava lake at the summit of mount Nyiragongo among others.

Conclusively, mountain gorilla trekking is the best wild life encounter that provide memorable experience.  It can be done in only three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and therefore travelers can choose to trek in any of the three or visit all the three countries for the greater and memorable experience.

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Experiences

A Walk Through Time in Namibia

Namibia officially the Republic of Namibia is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres of riverbed (essentially the Zambia/Botswana border) separates them at their closest points. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek.

Part 1 : CNN’s Soni Methu explores the magnificent rock formations and ancient trees dotted all over the Fish River Canyon.

Check it out!

Part 2 : The Formation of Africa’s Biggest Canyon.Soni Methu meets Goldbeck who shares his extensive knowledge of Namibia’s Fish River Canyon.

Part 3 : CNN’s Soni Methu takes a mule trail tour to the bottom of Namibia’s incredible Fish River Canyon.

Photo Credit : Namibia Tourism

For information on Travel to Namibia – practical advise, details of accommodation, attractions, going on the safari etc, please check out Namibia Tourism Website.

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Experiences

Kenya Camping Safari

Kenya Camping Safari

From dramatic savannahs to the Great Rift Valley, experience Kenya in all its glory. Travel the vast open plains and rolling hills of the Masai Mara and scour the wilderness for Africas Big Five. Full-service camping under the big African sky will bring you closer to the region’s wildlife and gets you off the beaten path so you can really experience this land’s unique culture. Our small safari vehicles minimize drive times and improve your chances of snapping that perfect shot of some of the most amazing animals on the planet.