Alternatives for gorilla trekking in Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. Gorilla trekking is a thrilling and unique wildlife experience that allows you to get up close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The primary destinations for gorilla trekking are in East and Central Africa, primarily in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here are some options for gorilla trekking in Africa:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most famous gorilla trekking destinations in the world, with around half of the world’s mountain gorilla population residing here.
There are several trekking routes in Bwindi, offering various trekking durations and difficulty levels.
Permits for gorilla trekking in Uganda can be obtained through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda:
This park, located in southwestern Uganda, is another great destination for gorilla trekking.
It is part of the larger Virunga Mountains, which straddle Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Trekking permits are available for this park as well, but the gorilla groups here are smaller in number compared to Bwindi.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is known for its beautiful scenery and is home to several habituated gorilla groups.
Gorilla trekking here is well-organized and offers a chance to see the gorillas in the shadow of the Virunga volcanoes.
Permits for gorilla trekking in Rwanda are obtained through the Rwanda Development Board.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo:
Virunga National Park is one of Africa’s oldest national parks and offers a unique gorilla trekking experience.
The park is also home to the endangered eastern lowland gorillas.
Due to political instability in the region, it’s essential to check the current situation and travel advisories before planning a visit.
Kahuzi Biega National Park claims the title of the premier destination in Africa for Lowland gorilla trekking, having been designated to preserve the Grauer’s gorilla species, which happens to be the largest gorilla species globally.
The Eastern Lowland gorillas, also recognized as Grauer’s gorillas, represent the largest among the four gorilla subspecies. Trekking to encounter these majestic creatures takes place in Kahuzi Biega National Park, situated in Congo, approximately 30 kilometers from Bukavu town. Access to the park is available both by road and air.
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a chance to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat while contributing to their conservation. Gorilla trekking on planet earth is only done in Africa in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and the Central African Republic, many travelers interested in seeing the gorillas in the wild find it hard to choose where is the best place to see gorillas.
Involving walking and hiking through the forest to search for gorillas in their natural habitat once you find the gorillas you spend one-hour encounter with them, learning more about their daily lifestyle, taking pictures and videos. Despite the high costs, time and discomfort from booking to doing the hike through the forest to search for these endangered apes watching gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is one of the best wildlife experiences every traveler would do on his/her safari.
Alternatives for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking is much cheaper in Congo compared to Uganda and Rwanda. This issue of price difference is basically out of policy differences between these three countries Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Rwanda wants to promote itself as a Luxury destination while Uganda wants to market itself as an affordable destination. Congo is trying to promote its gorilla tourism to attract more travelers after a long turmoil in the region that caused a lot of insecurity. Whereas Uganda is promoting it’s self as the preferred best affordable destination for gorilla trekking among the 3. The experience and duration spent with gorillas is still the same in the all the 3 countries? However, there are different factors that make a difference in various terms as explained below;
The Gorilla permit in Uganda Costs $700 Per person per trek for the Foreign nonresidents, $600 Per person for residents and $70 (Ugx 250,000) for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan), this gives you an opportunity to spend one-hour encounter with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
The Gorilla permit in Rwanda Costs $1500 Per person per trek for the Foreign nonresidents, $500 Per person for foreign residents and $200 for East African Citizens (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan), this gives you an opportunity to spend one hour encounter with the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Gorilla permits in Congo costs $400 per person per trek for the high season months of Mid-December to mid-march then June to October and then $200 for the low season months of mid-march to mid-May and then mid-October to mid-December every year.
A gorilla permit in Kahuzi Beiga National Park costs $400 for foreign nonresidents, $200 for East Africa Residents and $20 national residents. Lowland Gorilla trekking permit price in Congo Kahuzi Biega National Park costs USD400 for Non-Residents, East African Residents-USD200, and National Citizens of Congo-USD20.
In terms of accessibility, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is a better option than Uganda and DR Congo. Reasons to support this is that Volcanoes National Park is a 2-3 hours drive from Kigali, and Gorillas are easily seen with the shortest drive time possible even in one day. This is indeed very true and no one can deny it. Alternatives for gorilla trekking
People used to avoid gorilla trekking in Bwindi because of the 9-10 hours drive from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi but now we arrange tours to Bwindi via Kigali which then becomes a 4-5 hours drive only. With this, you land in Kigali, use the East African Tourist Visa (which allows you to visit both countries at ago), and then trek gorillas in Uganda at an affordable price. Because of this, even Rwanda tour operators are selling Bwindi instead of their country.
In terms of Lodges, Both Countries have Budget, mid-range, and Upmarket Lodges where you could choose to stay during your trek. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is the best place for gorilla trekking for those interested in staying in super luxury lodges on international standards compared to Bwindi.
These lodges provide exceptional and luxurious services, with some being recognized among the finest in Africa and the country as a whole. Notable examples include Bisate Lodge and Singita Kwitonda Lodge in Volcanoes National Park. On the other hand, if you are seeking more budget-friendly options, Uganda and Congo present excellent choices. There is a multitude of accommodations to choose from, with prices ranging from $30 to $100, depending on your selected package.
Uganda has more gorilla families open for trekking than Volcanoes National Park. Bwindi has 20 habituated gorilla family groups this means 160 Gorilla permits are available every day for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Volcanoes National Park has 12 Gorilla families hence 96 Gorilla permits are available each day for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Congo has 10 gorilla families that is 8 in Virunga National Park and 2 in Kahuzi Beiga National Park. This makes it more flexible to get gorilla trekking permits in Uganda compared to Rwanda and Congo especially during the peak season months hence choosing from the Alternatives for gorilla trekking
The naked truth is that Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo have gorillas and there is no big difference when it comes to the experience obtained at the end of your trek. Chances of seeing gorillas in all countries are 98% so whichever country you visit you will be able to see these great apes in their natural environment. Nevertheless, Uganda stands out as a distinctive destination, offering the unique opportunity for an extended encounter with mountain gorillas through the Gorilla Habituation Experience, exclusive to Bwindi Forest. A gorilla habituation permit, priced at $1500 per person, grants you a remarkable 4-hour experience with semi-habituated mountain gorillas. During this encounter, you’ll be guided by trackers and researchers, in contrast to the standard trekking duration of one hour. Additionally, Congo provides a distinct chance to witness Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga National Park.
In terms of distance to see Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the issue of walking longer or shorter distances depends on the given gorilla family allocated to you on the day of trekking at the national park in the country you choose to go for gorilla trekking.
Although the allocation of gorilla families in Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo is determined by visitor interest and physical fitness, securing a short, medium, or long trek is not as straightforward as a day-of request. To provide clarity, here is a breakdown of how the allocation process works
Remember, gorilla families are wild animals, and their movements dictate the trek’s actual length. While park officials strive to accommodate preferences, the gorillas’ behavior ultimately determines the walking distance. Be prepared to adjust your expectations if the assigned family leads you on a longer-than-anticipated journey.
Embrace the Adventure:
The unpredictable nature of the experience adds to the thrill of gorilla trekking. Embrace the possibility of encountering the gorillas deeper in the forest, requiring a longer trek. Remember, witnessing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is a privilege regardless of the distance covered.
By planning, being flexible, and embracing the unknown, you can maximize your chances of having a perfect gorilla trek tailored to your preferences and fitness level.
Alternatives for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is done and is possible all year round. The best months to track gorillas include; June to August and December to February since they receive the lowest rainfall and the forest is less slippery. On the other hand, when you happen to travel from March to May and November there are chances of higher rainfall, and you will be able to get discounts from some lodges for your accommodation.
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