Exploring The Best Places in Africa Where To Go Gorilla Trekking – See Gorillas in Their Natural Habitat
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a glimpse into the lives of one of the world’s most endangered species. These majestic creatures are found in only a few places on Earth, making gorilla trekking an exclusive and sought-after activity. Here are the top destinations if you’re looking to go gorilla trekking.
1. Uganda – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Entry cost: Gorilla trekking permits cost $700 per person for a 1-hour visit with the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable or Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. There are also options for longer visits and private gorilla tours, which cost more.
Uganda is another popular destination to go gorilla trekking. The country’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, while Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to one gorilla family group. Both parks are located in southwestern Uganda and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
To access the gorilla parks in Uganda, visitors must drive about 10 hours from the international airport, take a one-hour local flight to two small airports outside the parks, or drive 5 hours from Kigali, with border crossing involved.
Like Rwanda, visitors to Uganda must obtain a permit to go gorilla trekking. Gorilla permits are also limited, so booking in advance is important. The gorilla trek in Uganda can be quite challenging, as the terrain is steep and the vegetation is thick. However, the reward of seeing these magnificent creatures in Africa’s tropical forests is well worth the effort.
2. Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park
Entry cost: Gorilla permits cost $1500 per person for a 1-hour visit with the gorillas.
Rwanda is the most popular gorilla trekking destination for luxury travelers. The country’s Volcanoes National Park is home to over a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Rwanda’s gorilla park is located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, a range of extinct volcanoes spanning the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda has some of the most pricy safari lodges offering splurge stays for travelers that seek a luxurious getaway after watching Africa’s gorillas. Additionally, Rwanda brags about having the most accessible and comfortable gorilla treks from the international airport.
Visitors must obtain a permit from the Rwanda Development Board to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The gorilla permits are limited, and booking in advance is important to avoid disappointment. The trek itself can last anywhere from one to eight hours, depending on the location of the gorilla family you’re visiting.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo – Virunga National Park
Entry cost: Gorilla trekking permits cost $400 per person for a 1-hour visit with the gorillas.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to both mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas. The country’s Virunga National Park is the oldest national park in Africa and is home to a quarter of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.
Due to political instability and security concerns, gorilla trekking in the DRC can be more challenging than in Rwanda or Uganda. However, the reward is seeing Africa’s magnificent gorillas in a less crowded and more remote setting.
4. Central African Republic – Dzanga-Sangha National Park
Entry cost: Gorilla trekking permits cost $350 per person for a 1-hour visit with the gorillas.
The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the least explored countries in Africa, but it’s also home to one of the most important populations of western lowland gorillas. The Dzanga-Sangha National Park is located in the country’s southwest and is home to over 3,000 gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in CAR is less well-established than in Rwanda, Uganda, or the DRC, and visitors should be prepared for a more rustic experience. However, seeing these magnificent apes in such a remote and unspoiled setting is a truly unique experience.
5. Cameroon – Mount Cameroon National Park
Entry cost: The entry fee for Mount Cameroon National Park is $10 per person.
Although you can go gorilla trekking in Cameroon, the country is not yet well-established. Currently, there are no established fees for this activity.
Cameroon is home to both western lowland gorillas and Cross River gorillas. The Mount Cameroon National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some of the last remaining populations of Cross River gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in Cameroon is less well-known than in other countries, but it’s an excellent option for those looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Gorilla treks can be challenging, but the chance to see Africa’s rare and elusive great apes in their natural habitat is extraordinary.
Tips for planning your gorilla trekking safari in Africa
Before you go gorilla trekking in these destinations, here are some tips for planning your safari trip:
Book your trip well in advance: Gorilla permits are limited, and booking logistics can be challenging.
Choose a reputable gorilla tour operator: Many reputable tour operators offer gorilla trekking tours in these destinations. Do your research and choose a company with a good reputation and experience.
Pack light: You will be doing a lot of hiking, so it’s essential to pack light.
Wear comfortable shoes: You will be doing a lot of hiking, so it’s vital to wear comfortable shoes.
Bring a raincoat: It can rain in the mountains, so bringing a raincoat is essential.
Bring a camera: You’ll want to capture your memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Be respectful of the gorillas: African gorillas are wild animals, and it’s essential to be respectful of their existence. Do not approach them too closely or make any loud noises.
Gorilla trekking is a truly unforgettable experience. By following these tips, you can ensure your trip is a success.
How to book a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda with everything taken care of.
In conclusion, Africa gorilla tours are a bucket-list experience that offers a unique insight into the lives of these mysterious giant primates. Whether you go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda, the DRC, CAR, or Cameroon, you’ll undoubtedly have an unforgettable experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Remember, however, that gorilla trekking is an environmentally conscious activity, and visitors must minimize their impact on the gorillas and their habitat. Additionally, gorilla permits are limited, and you must book them well in advance to secure your spot. Visitors should also be prepared for physically challenging treks through dense vegetation and steep terrain. But the experience of encountering African gorillas in the misty African wilderness is well worth the effort and cost, and the memories will last a lifetime.