Uganda offers the highest number of gorilla families (16) that can be tracked in the wild, with 15 habituated in Bwindi and 1 family in Mgahinga.
Gorilla Trekking & Habituation
Gorilla Trekking is one of the most exciting wildlife activities in the world. To get up close to one of our closest living relatives in their own environment is truly unique. Gorilla Trekking is made even more incredible due to the fact that there are only 3 places in the world where it can be done, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and the gorilla’s natural habitat is very limited. Although the activity is the same in all three countries the price varies from $600 in Uganda, $400 in DRC and $1,500 in Rwanda. In Uganda, you are able to go Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Forest National Park
Gorilla Trekking requires an early start at either of the Parks Headquarters. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has 4 sectors with each having its headquarters you can see the different sectors and Gorillas families within each sector below. After a briefing with the Uganda Wildlife Authority guides you will be assigned a Gorilla Family to track and you Gorilla Trekking adventure will begin. An advance party of guides will have gone ahead into the forest to locate where the gorillas slept the previous night and will have began to track their movements. These guides will communicate with your team via a walkie-talkie and the trek into the forest will begin.
Gorillas Trekking itself can take anywhere from a few hours or the whole day depending on how far the gorillas have moved from the place they spent the previous night. For conservation purposes, the time allowed with the Gorillas is 1 hour. There are also a multitude of other animals that you might encounter including antelopes and rare monkeys not to mention the beauty of the forest itself. Once you have completed Gorilla Trekking you will return to the lodge, for a well earned rest and time to reflect on a truly magical experience.
- Mubare: 14 members with 1 Silverback
- Habinyanja: 17 members with 1 silverback
- Rushegura: 16 members with 1 silverback
- Nkuringo: 11 members with 1 silverback
- Bushaho: 10 members with 1 silverback
- Bitukura: 12 members with 3 Silverbacks
- Oruzogo: 19 members with 3 silverbacks
- Kyaguriro Mukiza: 11 members with 1 silverback (Research)
- Kyaguriro Rukara: 9 members with 1 silverback
- Nyakagezi; 10 members with 3 silverbacks
- Nshongi: 26 members with 4 silverbacks
- Mishaya: 12 members with 1 silverback
- Kahungye: 13 members with 3 silverbacks
- Bweza: 9 members with 1 silverback
- Busingye: 9 members with 1 silverback
- Bikyingi: 22 members with 1 silverback*
The Bikyingi family is currently under habituation and habituation experiences are being carried out only at Rushaga for the moment.
What You Need To Know
What Does It Cost?
Gorilla Trekking and Habituation fees are on the steep side for a wildlife experience, but part of the fees paid are ploughed back into conservation to ensure the continued existence and survival of the endangered mountain gorilla.
Gorilla Trekking: $600 a per person
Gorilla Habituation: $1500 per person
When to do it
The Dry season from mid December – February and June – September is ideal because navigation through the thick vegetation that lines the steep slopes of Mgahinga and Bwindi is much easier.
Gorilla trekking can also be done in the wet season from March – May and October – mid December but the journey is significantly harder and requires stronger resolve on the part of the trekkers.
Of course the beautiful Ugandan weather dictates how it goes in the end, so it is not uncommon at all for heavy rain to fall on occasion, even in the dry season.
Good to know
- Only 72 permits are issued each day, for a maximum of 8 trekkers per gorilla family
- Trekking and Habituation Experience permits must be booked well in advance through a registered safari operator
- To protect the gorillas, trekkers that are ill are not permitted on these experiences
- Permits are not issued to anyone below 16yrs