Gorilla trekking involves hiking the steep slopes, deep into the thick rainforests of Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo. As a travel experience, seeing gorillas is mindblowing, humbling, and satisfying in a way that cannot be compared. This is why many tourists from all around the world come to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Besides gorilla trekking, East Africa is blessed with a warm climate and open savannahs that are home to many wild animals. Whether it is Kidepo, the Serengeti, or the Masai Mara the abundant wildlife stands true to the fact that East Africa is where Safari Travel was born.
Many travelers have expressed interest to visit not just the gorillas but the wildlife of Kenya – especially the great migration of millions of animals in the Masai Mara. We have some itineraries that show how a trip can easily combine visiting both Uganda and Kenya.
This article will serve to provide an overview of all that you would need to know – and show you that you can do gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kenya.
Guide to gorilla trekking from Kenya
Where to see gorillas in Uganda
While Mountain gorillas can be seen in both D.R. Congo and Rwanda – in addition to Uganda, Uganda has the highest number of gorillas. This is because Uganda has 2 national parks where gorillas live freely in the wild.
Therefore, in Uganda, you will be able to see gorillas in the wild in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – both located in Southwestern Uganda.
During the process of planning and finalizing the details of your trip, a given park and trekking sector is chosen based on your own preferences and trip specifics.
Best time to visit both Kenya and Uganda
Generally, both Uganda and Kenya enjoy a warm and sunny climate all year round with comfortable temperatures. In both countries, the seasons are differentiated by rain. It is either a dry season with little to no rain or a wet season with regular rains.
For gorilla trekking, the difference in seasons makes the hiking trails a bit more slippery but being a rain forest, the dry season doesn’t guarantee dry days.
For wildlife viewing in the savannah, the dry season forces wild animals to congregate near water sources which can be great for seeing animals in big numbers.
The best time to visit both Uganda and Kenya – including gorilla tracking is therefore during the dry season months from June to October. If you are interested in witnessing the great migration in Masai Mara, September and October might be the best months.
Depending on the movement of the animals in the Serengeti, this can change. During the planning of your trip, the most recent information can be used to plan your visit at the most ideal times.
Related article: Uganda’s Climate & Weather
Visiting both Kenya and Uganda has become much easier since the introduction of the East African Tourist Visa. The visa allows you multiple entries into Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.
You can apply for the East African Tourist Visa online via the various online visa portals for Kenya, Uganda, or Rwanda. For purposes of entering multiple countries, this visa is cheaper and saves you time in filling out multiple visa forms.
The online applications are quite straight forward and your visa will often be processed within 2 days.
Moving from Kenya to Uganda
There are several ways for you to move from Kenya to Uganda for gorilla trekking. Depending on your preferences, you can use the roads or flight to Uganda.
If you are intent on only gorilla tracking, you can fly to either Entebbe or Kigali and then get driven to Bwindi and Mgahinga. Kigali is close to the Bwindi and Mgahinga and the drive will take around 4 hours to reach the home of gorillas.
From Entebbe to Bwindi, the drive takes around 8 hours to reach Bwindi. From Entebbe, you have the alternative of a cheap domestic flight to Bwindi or Mgahinga – which is a time saver.
There are various options, including buses that come from Nairobi to Kampala and Kigali. While this is rarely used, it can be a viable option for someone who can endure the long drive and save some money.
The most ideal option is flying to Entebbe, and then either driving or flying to Bwindi depending on your exact safari program.
Cost of gorilla trekking
The cost of gorilla trekking differs from country to country and if you are planning to do gorilla trekking in any of the three destinations, you will need to acquire a gorilla permit which is basically a document that allows you to access the gorillas.
In Uganda, gorilla permits cost $700, in Rwanda $1500, and in Congo $400. And if you are an East African national, you can obtain a gorilla permit in Uganda for 250,000 Uganda shillings.
It is important to note that the price of gorilla permits is just a fraction of the overall cost of a gorilla trekking safari. The cost of the whole gorilla trekking experience will also depend on other several factors like the type of accommodation (Luxury, mid-range, or budget), food, activities, transport, packing lists, porters, and tips for the Guides among others.
Our trips are oftentimes all-inclusive packages that take care of all the details once the guests start their safari.
Due to the specifics of a given trip, the cost can change based on many factors. The best way to get a satisfactory price is by working with the tour operator to figure out your specific needs and how to fit that into your budget.
Related article: Cost of an African Safari
There are different lodging options that are strategically set up for gorilla trekking in Bwindi ranging from budget, and mid-range to luxury accommodation.
Whether you want to camp under the cold starlit sky of Bwindi/Mgahinga or you prefer a dash of luxury, you will not be lost for choice.
Related article: Accommodation for tourists in Uganda