Gorilla Tracking Safaris in Uganda & Rwanda

Gorilla tracking is probably the most sought-after African wildlife experience.

A gorilla trek involves hiking through thick natural rainforests in search of the endangered mountain gorillas. After finding the gorillas, guests spend around 1 hour observing them in their natural environment.

Seeing young gorillas play and learn from their parents while the dominant silverback quietly leads the group is an experience like no other. A personal encounter with gorillas is humbling, enlightening, and gratifying.

Our gorilla tracking safaris present the opportunity for such magical encounters in both Uganda and Rwanda.

Take a look at the safari packages shared below for some inspiration for your own gorilla trekking holiday. Most trips include other fantastic attractions and experiences.

Additionally, feel free to reach out to us for a fully custom-made safari. This can be designed with all your needs, budget, and schedule as the basis.

Will I definitely see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?

Your chances of seeing gorillas are 99% guarantee. That one percent is an adjustment for the reality of the wild where you can never be completely sure as gorillas don’t share their plans.

In all our years of taking thousands of people on gorilla tracking safaris, we haven’t had a client miss seeing gorillas. This is why we can confidently say that you will see the gorillas in their natural home – the thick rainforest of Uganda and Rwanda.

Please not that for conservation reasons, children under the age of 15 as well as anyone with an contagious diseases (such as flu and colds )are not allowed. 

Are gorillas Aggressive, or friendly?

Despite their imposing size, gorillas are friendly creatures with a calm disposition. 

The gorilla family that you visit during your trek is a habituated group of gorillas. This means they are quite used to seeing people and that the presence of humans doesn’t impact their daily activity. You are therefore able to closely observe them without disturbing them.

healthy on uganda safari

On a gorilla trek, you are often accompanied by rangers who are very experienced and can easily tell you how to act when you are around the gorillas. 

How difficult is gorillas trekking? How fit should I be?

While a gorilla trek is essentially a hike, it is far from a normal hike for most people. You will go through a dense forest with steep slippery slopes.

This is all to say that some level of fitness is required for the trek which doesn’t follow an established path and could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. The pace of each hike is adjusted to suit the group and those who need assistance can get a local porter who can help and make these tricky slopes easier to navigate.

While the gorilla trek is not the simplest thing, being in a rich natural environment and meeting the gorillas will make you forget about the slopes you scaled.

What should I pack for my gorillas trekking safari?

While packing for a gorilla trekking adventure , the main consideration is the cold temperatures and the steep densely forested terrain.

Considering that tropical rainforests get rain all around the year, and that gorillas live in high altitude mountainous areas with steep slopes, here are a few things that you should carry.

  • Sturdy hiking shoes, gaiters and gloves
  • Long pants and long sleeve shirts/t-shirts 
  • A jacket and rain coat/poncho
  • Packed lunch and drinking water
  • Camera with charged batteries and extra cards

Here is the full article that looks at the gorilla tracking packing list in more detail with reasons and explanations on each item.

Where will I see gorillas in the wild?

Gorillas in the wild are found in Uganda, Rwanda and DR. Congo. Our safaris go to Uganda and Rwanda where you can see gorillas in any of the 3 national parks.

Here are the parks where you will see mountain gorillas in the wild. 

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Uganda
  2. Mgahinga Gorillas National Park – Uganda
  3. Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

While the experience is fairly similar, each park is a bit different but seeing the gorillas is equally mind blowing. As you read through our itineraries, you will see which park we are suggesting and you can always ask us to customize the trip to your preference.

Where is the best experience between Uganda and Rwanda?

This is a matter of debate. Most people who have tracked gorillas in the 2 countries would find it hard to choose one over the other.

With the gorillas permits in Rwanda being sold at a premium 1500 USD per person, Uganda’s 700 USD permits make it an ideal choice for someone who prefers to put the savings toward other parts of the trip. For this reason an argument could be made for Uganda.

Beyond the prices, each experience is unique and the gorillas are never the same as they were the previous day – so it is hard to say where you will have a better experience. Our team of safari consultants are available to help you choose as they design your safari and align it with your choices.

When is the best time for a gorillas trekking safari?

The best time for to go for a gorilla trekking safari is during the dry season months of June to September and December to February. This is when the amount of rainfall is greatly reduced and you will very easily navigate the dense forests.

While the dry season makes it slightly easier, gorillas live in high altitude tropical rainforests where it can rain several times in a day (even during the dry season). For this reason, gorilla tracking is done all year round.

In the event that your schedule allows wet season months, you will still have a wonderful encounter with the gentle giants of the forest. In Uganda and Rwanda, you can be guaranteed that the sun will shine and warm away the rain.

Is Gorilla trekking worth the expensive price?

Gorilla trekking can be quite costly due to the pricey tracking permits which are bought at 700 USD in Uganda and 1500 USD in Rwanda. There is a limited number of people who can see gorillas at any given day and the demand is overwhelming.

While the permits are quite expensive, being able to closely see the mountain gorillas in their natural world is something you can’t compare to other experiences. The big calm silverback, the playful juveniles and the mama gorillas 

What are some rules to keep in mind about gorilla trekking?

Before starting your gorilla trek, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) rangers will brief you about gorilla trekking and the rules and regulations you have to adhere to. However, to best be prepared, you should keep a few of these in mind.

  1. You must be aged 15 years or older to be allowed to track.
  2. You are only allowed to spend 1 hour with the gorillas.
  3. You are to keep some distance between yourself and the gorillas (7 meters).
  4. You won’t be allowed to track gorillas if you have a communicable disease.
  5. Flash photography is not allowed, as it can irritate the gorillas.
  6. You are to follow the direction of your ranger/guide throughout the entire trek.

What other activities can I combine with my gorilla tracking safari?

The biggest percentage of people who come on our trips for gorilla tacking usually combine gorillas with other interesting activities to make for a more wholesome safari. Gorillas can been combined with any other activities you are interested in.

The common combinations are adding wildlife viewing, birding, relaxing on a beautiful lake, cultural encounters, white water rafting among others. Places like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Kivu and Mgahinga Mountains are located near the home of gorillas and offer very many activities that can interest both the young and the old.

To best see how we combine gorillas with other activities, take a look at our longer safari packages of more than 4 days. This will give you an idea of how everything would flow.