Best Time for Gorilla Trekking

All-Inclusive Guide for Best Time for Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda & Rwanda

All-Inclusive Guide for Best Time for Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda & Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is a bucket list adventure for many travelers. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in the presence of the endangered mountain gorillas.

Gorilla trekking can be done all year round but choosing the best time to go will make your adventure tour even better. But how do you choose the best time to go for gorilla trekking?

There are several factors that you have to consider that will help you to make an informed decision from weather patterns to gorilla behaviour and tourist seasons.

Weather and Climate

Weather and climate are the top factors to consider when planning a gorilla trek. This is because they highly affect the gorilla trekking experience and the likelihood of gorilla sightings.

Mountain gorillas live in a tropical climate region with two distinct seasons: the dry season and the wet season.

The best time to go gorilla trekking is during the dry seasons. These offer more favorable trekking conditions and a higher chance of a successful and enjoyable experience.

The Dry Season

The dry seasons in the region usually last from June to September and December to February.

Since there is less rainfall during this period, it is less muddy and easier to walk on the trails that wind through the dense forests. This means that there are less chances of slips and falls during the trek.

It is also easier to spot and observe the gorillas because the dense vegetation that characterizes the wet season begins to thin out. The skies are clear, providing great visibility for photography and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

While dry season months are ideal and make your gorilla trek easier, mountain gorillas live in high-altitude rainforests which receive rain at any time of the year with little warning.  Therefore, you need to be prepared for varying weather conditions, even during the dry season.

Best Time for Gorilla Trekking
Best Time for Gorilla Trekking

The Wet Season

The wet season in this region lasts from March to May and October to November. During this time, the forests are thick and colorful changing the landscape into a beautiful paradise. This provides a breathtaking backdrop for gorilla trekking.

It offers a sense of exclusivity with fewer tourists and a more intimate connection with nature, especially for those seeking a more adventurous and off-the-beaten-path experience.

It’s important to note that trekking during the wet season requires more preparation and can be more physically demanding. The trails become muddy and slippery, requiring caution and the use of appropriate footwear and rain gear.

The increased humidity and occasional downpours can also make the journey more challenging. Moreover, dense foliage and misty conditions may hinder visibility, reducing the chances of encountering gorillas.

Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to pack comfortable and breathable clothing, layers, rain gear, hiking or trekking gear, modest clothing, and comfortable shoes. Here is the complete packing list for gorilla trekking to help you pack for your gorilla trek.

Best Time for Gorilla Tracking
Best Time for Gorilla Tracking

Gorilla Behaviour

Gorillas are highly adaptable animals, and their movements are influenced by factors such as food availability and weather conditions. Gorillas tend to stay at lower altitudes during the dry season, making them more accessible for tracking.

On top of that, gorillas are more active during the dry season. They display a range of behaviors and interactions as they move in search of food and water.

In contrast, the rainy seasons may see gorillas move deeper into the forest in search of shelter and food. Gorillas, like humans, may seek shelter during periods of heavy rains therefore trekking during this time may require more effort and patience since gorillas may be harder to locate in the dense vegetation. However, it offers an immersive and captivating encounter with mountain gorillas. You will be able to observe closer family interactions like mating.

Tourist Seasons

The number of visitors to gorilla trekking destinations can vary throughout the year. Peak tourist seasons typically coincide with dry seasons and holidays, resulting in larger crowds and higher demand for permits. If you plan to travel during this time, you need to book your permit in advance, especially for popular destinations such as Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

If you prefer a more intimate and less crowded experience, consider visiting during the shoulder or low seasons when visitor numbers are lower. You may also have a better chance of securing last-minute permits, however, we still advise you to book permits as early as possible to ensure availability.

Your Budget

Generally, gorilla trekking is an expensive activity, mainly because of the permit fees required to enter the national parks where gorillas reside. These permit fees can vary depending on the country you choose to go to for gorilla trekking.

Remember this fee covers only the activity itself, the park ranger guiding your trek, and the trackers who locate the gorillas. Additional expenses like transportation, accommodation, and tips also contribute to the overall cost of the trip.

Your budget and preferences will determine what kind of gorilla trekking experience you will have. A bigger budget will tend to a more luxurious experience compared to a smaller one.

More so, accommodation prices and availability affect your budget greatly because they vary depending on the season.

Peak tourist seasons usually have higher accommodation rates and limited availability, while low tourist seasons may offer more affordable options with lower accommodation rates.

Therefore, if you take a good look at your budget, you will be able to know when you can travel for your gorilla trekking trip.

So, what is the best time to go for gorilla trekking?

We have laid out all the options for you! Ultimately, the best time for gorilla trekking depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Whether you prefer mild weather, fewer crowds, or unique experiences like witnessing baby gorillas or mating rituals, consider what factors are most important to you when choosing the timing of your trip.

By weighing these factors and planning your adventure accordingly, you can increase your chances of having a rewarding and unforgettable gorilla trekking experience.

The Primate World Safaris Ltd team is available to help you with such details. Feel free to talk to us so that we can organize a trip that will suit your needs.