The wilderness offers many interesting experiences, but seeing the mountain gorillas in the wild is undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime. These gentle giants captivate the hearts of those fortunate enough to see their presence up close.

As one of the most endangered species on the planet, mountain gorillas are found exclusively in two regions: the Virunga ranges, which extend over the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.

mountain gorilla family

Where to see gorillas in Uganda

Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population making it a fantastic destination for gorilla trekking. The two national parks where you can see gorillas are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

With 2 parks and a large population, Uganda is regarded the best place to see mountain gorillas in the wild. Both parks are located in southwestern Uganda and offer unique opportunities to observe these majestic gorillas in their natural habitat.

1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park encompasses an area of 331 square kilometers (128 square miles) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s rugged terrain, covered in thick vegetation, adds to its mystique and presents a challenging yet rewarding experience for visitors.

Bwindi is divided into four main sectors: Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. Each sector offers a different gorilla trekking experience, as the gorilla families reside in distinct areas of the park.

The sector you choose will determine the starting point of your trek and the specific gorilla group you will visit. Buhoma, located in the north of the park, is the most popular sector and offers a variety of accommodations for visitors.

mountain gorilla tracking in bwindi

Ruhija, in the east, provides a more off-the-beaten-path experience and is known for its diverse birdlife. Rushaga and Nkuringo, in the south, offer thrilling encounters with gorillas and also provide access to other exciting activities such as hiking and cultural experiences.

2. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a smaller park that shares borders with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The park covers an area of about 33.7 square kilometers (13 square miles) making it the smallest national park in Uganda.

Mgahinga National Park is situated in the Virunga Mountains and is known for its diverse range of wildlife and beautiful volcanic landscapes. Its landscape is characterized by rugged volcanic peaks, deep valleys, and dense montane forests.

It is home to only one habituated gorilla family, the Nyakagezi group, which occasionally crosses borders. Trekking here combines the unique experience of seeing gorillas with the opportunity to hike volcanoes. It is also a more intimate experience due to the smaller size of the park and fewer tourists compared to Bwindi.

Where to see gorillas in Rwanda

Rwanda has a significant population of endangered mountain gorillas, and the prime destination to see them is Volcanoes National Park, also known as Parc National des Volcans. Located in the northwest part of Rwanda, this national park is the exclusive habitat for mountain gorillas within the country.

Wildlife & Gorillas Rwanda Safari

Situated in the majestic Virunga Mountains, a volcanic range shared by Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park offers breathtaking landscapes adorned with lush forests, bamboo groves, and awe-inspiring volcanic peaks.

Visitors to Volcanoes National Park can embark on an exhilarating gorilla trekking adventure, providing an extraordinary opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat. The park is divided into various sectors, each housing a distinct gorilla family. These families offer unique insights into the fascinating lives of these gentle giants.

A visit to Volcanoes National Park not only grants you the privilege of encountering mountain gorillas but also immerses you in the stunning scenery of the Virunga Mountains, creating an unforgettable experience that combines the beauty of nature with the wonder of these incredible primates.

Where to see gorillas in D.R.Congo

To see mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you can visit Virunga National Park. Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site internationally recognized for its exceptional wildlife and habitats.

It is located in the eastern part of the DRC and is also part of the Virunga ranges, a transboundary protected area shared by Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC.

Gorilla Trekking here can be physically demanding as the park’s terrain can be challenging, but the experience is highly rewarding. You will be guided by experienced rangers who will lead you to the gorilla families residing in the park.

Helpful Info

 Uganda  Rwanda  D.R Congo
 Best Place  Bwindi Impenetrable National Park  Volcanoes National Park  Virunga National Park
 Best Time  June to September &  December to February  June to September & December to February  June to September & December to February
 Permit Price  USD 700  USD 1500  USD 400
 Time with gorillas  1 hour  1 hour  1 hour


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Country has the most mountain gorillas?

Uganda. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is known to harbor about half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population.

2. Is it better to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?

Both Rwanda and Uganda provide exceptional opportunities to see gorillas therefore choosing between Rwanda and Uganda for gorilla trekking depends on individual preferences.

However, Uganda boasts a larger gorilla population in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and affordable permit prices while Rwanda offers easier accessibility to Volcanoes National Park, where gorilla trekking takes place.

3. Are you guaranteed to see gorillas?

While there is a very high chance of seeing gorillas during a gorilla trekking experience, it is important to note that there is no absolute guarantee. Mountain gorillas live in their natural habitat, and their behavior can be influenced by various factors such as weather, movement patterns, and interactions with other wildlife.

4. How far from Kampala are the gorillas?

The distance between Kampala and the gorilla trekking locations in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is approximately 460 kilometers (285 miles) or more, depending on the specific gorilla trekking sector within the park. The travel time is around 8 to 10 hours to drive from Kampala to the park, considering the mountainous terrain and winding roads.

Alternatively, there are also options for domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport (located near Kampala) to nearby airstrips, which can significantly reduce travel time.

5. What is the cheapest country for gorilla trekking?

The Democratic Republic of Congo offers the most affordable gorilla trekking permits. However, considering the overall expenses involved such as transportation, accommodation, and logistics, Uganda stands out as a relatively cost-effective option for gorilla trekking.


Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the countries where you can experience gorilla trekking. Each country offers unique opportunities to get up close to these endangered primates while supporting conservation efforts.

Rwanda provides easier accessibility; Uganda boasts a larger gorilla population and affordability in terms of gorilla trekking costs while the Democratic Republic of the Congo offers lowland gorilla trekking experiences and has cheap gorilla permits.

Ultimately, the choice of where to see gorillas depends on individual preferences, such as accessibility, budget, additional wildlife experiences, and cultural attractions. Regardless of the country chosen, seeing gorillas in the wild is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should not miss.

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