Gorilla Trekking in Uganda 101: A Completely Proven Free Guide

Half of the world’s mountain gorillas call Uganda home. The best way to see Africa’s wildlife is to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures in their own environment. Going on a gorilla safari is a great way to help with conservation and the population boom.

Complete Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda; Popular trips & example itineraries, Where can I track gorillas in Uganda?, When is the best time to go?, Securing a gorilla permit, How difficult is the gorilla trekking?, What to wear on a gorilla trek? , The rules around gorilla trekking, Are gorilla sightings guaranteed?, What are the accommodation options? The Mountain Gorilla.

What Our Clients Say About Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Gabriel Winslet | Malta, New York | Visited April 2023

“Gorillas Worth It!
I think gorilla tracking is underrated. No tour operator or guide tells you the real thrill since you have to experience it on your own. I just did the normal gorilla trekking. Am sure i will do the habituation experience the next time i come to uganda.”

Carol B | Visited July 2023

“Be Still my Heart!
Oh My! Where to start. The trek into the forest was a little challenging but well worth it when you turn a corner and see the gorillas! There are no words to describe the experience. Seeing the babies play and the silver backs standing guard. A once in a life time experience.”

BUCKET LIST TRIP: Gorilla Trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

If you’re short on time or simply in Uganda to witness the gorillas, you have the option to book our fly-in safaris apart from your other experiences. There is a wide variety of gorilla trekking in Uganda itineraries, lodging choices, and trek configurations; the treks shown below are only a few examples. Which configuration is best for you? Our team can explain it to you.

While gorilla trekking in Uganda is an activity in and of itself, most people combine it with other safari activities and travel to different destinations. You may see some samples of the possibilities down below. Take use of your time in the nation to the fullest by letting our specialists assist you in selecting the perfect vacation or creating a personalized schedule.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda

Gorillas & Wildebeest Migration
Days: 12 | Nights: 11
Gorilla Trekking and Great Migration in this one-of-a-kind luxury bucket list Gorilla Trekking and Great Wildebeest Migration showcasing 4 iconic wildlife destinations.

Uganda Safari Tour to Murchison Falls

A Classic Uganda Safari
Days: 17 | Nights: 16
17 Days Uganda Safari – Explore the ‘Pearl of Africa’ in detail! Uganda is rich in treasures big and little, from the source of the Mighty Nile to breathtaking waterfalls.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

A Uganda Gorilla Safari
Days: 4 | Nights: 3

4 Days Uganda Safari is Gorilla Trekking Bwindi & Wildlife Tour in Lake Mburo National Park. Travel to Uganda and encounter one.

gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park

Uganda And Rwanda Safari
Days: 14 | Nights: 13
14 Days Uganda Rwanda Safari offers Primates tracking and Wildlife tours. Uganda and Rwanda are blessed with incredible primates including gorillas.

Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Kenya

Uganda, Rwanda And Kenya Safari
Days: 13 | Nights: 12
This 13 Days journey through Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya the Wild dreams come true. Enter the realm of the endangered mountain gorillas.

Gorilla Tracking Adventure in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking Experience
Days: 8 | Nights: 7

The Unforgettable 8 Days Uganda Rwanda Safari Adventure of a Lifetime. This Uganda Rwanda Safari offers Double Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.

Gorillas in Bwindi

Primates And Wildlife Safari
Days: 8 | Nights: 7
The star attractions of this 8 Days adventure Safari to Uganda are endangered mountain gorillas and fascinating chimps. Track and observe habituated primates.

Best Places for Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are two of Uganda’s gorilla trekking sites.

Because of its larger gorilla population, convenient location for fly-in safaris, and wide variety of lodging options, Bwindi is the park of choice for most visitors.

Your overall trip plans and available time will choose which park to visit. Neither the permit prices nor the likelihood of sightings vary between the two parks.

Both Bwindi and Mgahinga are located in a deep pocket in southwestern Uganda, close to the borders with Rwanda to the south and the DRC to the west, as can be seen on the map on the left.

The southwestern region of Uganda is home to several of the country’s safari hotspots. This makes it simple to pack a savannah safari with gorilla trekking and other once-in-a-lifetime adventures into one incredible vacation.

Uganda is a tiny nation, but it sure is powerful.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Travelers to Uganda primarily undertake gorilla trekking in Bwindi. From the four trailheads at Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo, habituated households can be reached.

The features, families, and degrees of difficulty of each trailhead are unique.

Embark on a guided Uganda gorilla trekking trip into the forest in pursuit of one of the eleven habituated gorilla families, setting off from one of four trailheads located around the forest’s border. The maximum number of participants per group is eight.

As you make your way to see the gorillas, knowledgeable advisors from the Uganda Wildlife Authority will fill you in on the forest’s ecosystem and the way it’s changing over time. The group of trackers who have been following the gorillas since dawn is in constant contact with your guides. In order to visit the gorillas, the trackers will tell your guides where to go.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park | The Ultimate Guide to Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Many visitors choose to include a stop at Mgahinga National Park on their route to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, which is located close to the Rwandan border. Additionally, you won’t find golden monkey trekking anywhere else in Uganda. Combining a gorilla hike at Mgahinga with one in Nkuringo (Bwindi) is a common choice.

Compared to Bwindi, Mgahinga is less crowded and offers easier treks. Less permissions are available in this area. There is only one habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga, despite the fact that gorilla families frequently cross the border into Uganda. This troop of gorillas is known as the Nyakagazi and it consists of five silverbacks, two adult females, and three juveniles.

There are two reasons why Mgahinga is no longer utilized as a “over-flow” site for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. The first is that tourists are skipping Rwanda altogether to go on hikes in neighboring Mgahinga, where the price per person is $700, because the Rwandan gorilla permits have risen to $1,500 per person.

The second justification is the incredible beauty of Mgahinga. You might easily spend a week in the far southwest, near to lakes Mutanda and Bunyoni; the rest of Uganda would require a second visit!

Additionally, Mgahinga is home to several volcanoes that can be climbed. These walks are challenging, lasting 8 to 9 hours and covering terrain that exceeds 4,000 meters, but they are well worth the effort.

While most gorilla treks in Uganda take place at Bwindi, about 10% take place at Mgahinga.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking | Uganda | Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

GORILLA TRACKING in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Best Time To Visit Uganda for Gorilla Trekking

Because of its equatorial location, temperatures in Uganda are rather constant throughout the year. One thing that unites all four seasons is precipitation. The rainiest months are March through May, while the driest are October through November.

Anyone, at any time of year, can go see the gorillas.

Sadly, the practice of adjusting the price of gorilla permits according to the changing seasons has been discontinued. You should consider your availability, the availability of permits, and any other travel plans you may have outside of gorilla trekking when deciding when to visit, as permit rates remain unchanged throughout the year.

Securing a Gorilla Trekking Permit

The current price for a gorilla permit is $700 USD.

Permits are no longer cheaper in the wetter months, but you can get them more quickly if you plan to travel during either the long (March–May) or short (October–November) rainy seasons in Uganda.

Permits may sell out up to a year in advance for the busiest travel months (June–August and January–February). We advise starting the planning process early because the number of permits is limited.

Permit charges in neighboring Rwanda are eye-wateringly high—$1500 USD per person—compared to Uganda, which is a major plus for gorilla visitors.

In the Rushaga part of southern Bwindi, there is an opportunity to join the habituation team if one hour of interaction isn’t enough, if you’re a wildlife photographer, or if you’re just captivated by the behavior of these remarkable creatures. For $1,500 per person, you can spend up to four hours observing the family and their interactions.

While gorilla permits are non-refundable, the Uganda Wildlife Authority will reimburse half of the fee if you go on a hike and don’t see any gorillas. Infrequently does this occur.


How difficult is gorilla trekking in Uganda

For approximately three hours, you’ll have to make your way across difficult terrain with high peaks and valleys, following animal pathways through dense vegetation. On occasion, you may be able to make contact after 45 minutes, but on other occasions, it can take six hours.

Trails can get considerably more treacherous and difficult to traverse when it rains. You should be ready to hike for up to six hours regardless, while the length of the trek may be reduced if the gorillas descend to lower ground due to rain.

The walk becomes increasingly difficult due to periods of steep grades because gorillas usually favor the highlands.

What to pack for gorilla trekking in Uganda

A well-planned get-up is necessary for charging through the thick woodland thickets at Bwindi or Mgahinga. Your location on the equator means that you should always pack for the possibility of rain. Light and comfortable gear is key, as is weatherproofing, because you’ll want to stay cool during the 2–6 hours of trekking.

Protecting yourself against the poisonous plants and insects of the forest, especially fire ants, requires you to wear loose-fitting clothing. Staying dry, comfy, and cool is important.

The essential clothing:

  • Good quality, robust, waterproof trekking shoes/boots.
  • Light waterproof trekking pants/trousers.
  • Long socks to pull up over your pants/trousers to keep your skin protected. Waterproof Gaters are an even better option.
  • Waterproof jacket/rain coat/wind breaker
  • Long sleeve trekking T-shirt (ideally Dri-FIT or similar)
  • Gardening/outdoor gloves to protect against thorns and allow you to push through the more difficult parts of the trail without worrying about what you’re grabbing on to!

Bring a few sachets of rehydration salts as well. Of course, the hikes supply water, but after a long day of trekking, you can feel parched; the salts might help you quickly rehydrate.

Walking sticks are provided for you.

Rules and Regulations for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

The regulations for tracking gorillas will be briefed to you by your guide before you begin any gorilla expedition. This briefing is critical, so please pay close attention and follow the instructions.

The headlines are:

  • After making initial contact, you will get one hour to spend with the gorillas. Although an hour may not seem like much time, the majority of participants report that it is more than plenty to fully enjoy the event. For an extended encounter, you have the option to become a part of the gorilla habituation team and spend a maximum of four hours in the company of the primates. Doing two gorilla hikes in separate parts of the park is another common choice. Obtain more information by contacting us.
  • You must keep a distance of at least 7 meters at all time.
  • No flash photography under any circumstances.
  • You cannot join the gorilla trek if you find yourself unwell prior to the trek.

Are Gorilla sightings guaranteed

Although sightings cannot be guaranteed, it is highly likely that you will see them in Bwindi or Mgahinga due to the experienced trekking guide and the increasing number of gorilla populations in Uganda.

The catch is that you might have to put in six hours of hard labor before you come across a habituated bunch.

Half of your permit fee will be refunded by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in the event that you do not see the gorillas. Nobody who has worked with us in Uganda for any length of time has ever failed to see the gorillas.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda | What It’s REALLY Like

Ready to start your gorilla trekking journey?

Meeting mountain gorillas in their native environment is a very moving and humbling wildlife encounter. Backpackers who have spent time with the gorillas are easy to detect; even the most reticent ones are beaming and babbling like birds when they return.

Trekking in Africa’s gorilla parks is strictly restricted due to the extremely endangered status of gorillas. Obtaining a permit is no easy feat; not only is it expensive, but it also cannot be held in a provisional capacity. If you want to travel to such isolated places and have the best chance of a gorilla trekking in Uganda, you need the kind of first-hand expertise and local knowledge that an Africa Safari Expert can provide. Make contact with an individual who has experienced this:

“It’s never too soon to get in touch, we are always eager to help out!”