Africa is home to the three best countries in the world for gorilla trekking safaris. Uganda, Rwanda and Congo have made a name for themselves in the gorilla safari service industry as the leading destinations for travelers seeking for gorilla treks through untamed, pristine rain forests in search of these elusive primates.
The experience of encountering mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is said to be a life-changing and eye-opening moment that has become an unforgettable memory for all who have had the privilege to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Bwindi is a convenient park to visit because it is located close to some of the best tourist attractions in Uganda. These include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Kibale Forest National Park and more. It is therefore possible for visitors to combine a gorilla safari with spotting the big five.
A gorilla trekking permit in Bwindi and Mgahinga costs $700 and then the gorilla habituation experience still in Uganda cost $1500 and this is longer experience staying with the mountain gorillas in the mist to approximately 04 hours and then the permits in Rwanda costs $1500. At $400 Congo gorilla permits are the cheapest but the instability in Democratic Republic of Congo has slowed the growth of gorilla tours in this African region.
Days on a Uganda safari is just about enough time to experience the magic of the country’s rain forest, gorges and lush Savannah. You’ll be transferred to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – a tropical forest wonderland filled with dramatic landscapes and majestic wildlife. Naturally, it’s in Bwindi’s pristine forest that you will get the life-changing opportunity to encounter the four known habituated gorilla families that live in the mountains.
There are 17 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi which is the highest anywhere. Bwindi impenetrable forest park is not just about the gorillas. Visitors can also visit the Batwa pygmy community, take forest walks, spot birds and view other primates like Chimpanzees.
Talking about chimpanzees, Bwindi is one of the few national parks in the world were mountain gorillas and chimpanzee live together. The chimps may be sighted while tracking the gorillas.
Gorilla watching in Bwindi is done throughout the year but the dry/peak season is the best time to visit gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. That is dry months of December to February and June to August. The wet season is in March to May and October to November.
Tracking gorillas during the rainy season is more challenging because of the overgrown vegetation and muddy trails. However, visitors shouldn’t be discouraged from booking tour during the rainy season.
It starts with a briefing at the park headquarters at around 7:30am. Visitors should sleep early before the day of tracking and wake up by 5am to take breakfast before starting the journey to the park office.
After the briefing at the park office, trekkers are separated into smaller groups of 8. Each group of eight track a particular gorilla family. Some gorilla families live near the park offices while others are found further away.
The time taken tracking gorillas in Bwindi depends on the gorilla group one is assigned to. It can take only 30 minutes to locate some groups while others can take hours. A team of trackers normally go ahead of the group to identify the location of the gorilla family.
Spending days in one destination might seem excessive for this Congo luxury safari tour. But once you step foot in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, you will see that one week might not be enough time to spend in this magical region.
The park is a swathe of primary forest famed for its biodiversity and rich wildlife – ranging from western lowland gorillas to elephant and forest buffalo.
Once deemed inaccessible, the jungle is now home to a few eco-sensitive lodges that are carefully built into the landscape and each provides a different experience of the rain forest, wetlands and Savannah. During your time here, you’ll enjoy gorilla trekking, river cruises, kayaking adventures, guided walks and other exciting activities.
The trek is made physical by the wet habitat of the Odzala Kokoua forest as many small rivers cross through the forest cover and this trek can take anything from 2-7 hours and it’s one of the Must do activities in Africa for adventure travelers.
Odzala is one of the most botanically diverse areas in the world, with more than 4,400 plant species recorded. The southern section of the park is mostly Savannah – forest mosaic and forest galley ecosystem.
The centre is dominated by Marantaceae forest, while further north, the park is covered by primary rain forest. Natural forest clearings, called ‘bais’ provide incredible opportunities to observe wildlife more clearly than in the dense vegetation of the tropical forest.
Spend days in Rwanda on an amazing adventure jam-packed with exciting activities and unforgettable experiences. Your home away from home is the charming Volcanoes Virunga Lodge. The lodge provides a comfortable yet luxurious stay and boasts the most incredible views of the surrounding extinct volcanoes, lush forestry and tranquil Lakes Burera and Ruhondo that make up Volcanoes National Park.
The highlight of your trip will, naturally, be the time you spend in search of and observing the mountain gorilla family in their natural habitat. When not on your gorilla trek Rwanda, enjoy tracking Rwanda’s other endangered primates, the golden monkeys, or take a scenic stroll to pioneering primatologist Dian Fossey’s grave, as well as the gorilla cemetery she founded as a resting place for poached gorillas.
Gorilla trekking at the Volcanoes National Park involves hiking through dense bamboo forests and steep mountain slopes in search of one of the gorilla families in Rwanda. The final encounter with the primates is considered one of the most exciting and memorable wildlife encounters in Africa.
It starts with a briefing from the park authorities and Rangers at around 7:30am. During the briefing, participants are divided into groups and assigned to a particular gorilla family. The less fit hikers are assigned groups which are closer to the park offices. At 8:00am, the park Rangers lead the group to search for the gorillas.
Rwanda offers you 10 habituated groups/families to choose from. Regardless of which group you eventually get; you will find that watching mountain gorillas is breath-taking. You could spend hours just watching the little ones roll around and play.