Listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list, there is only an estimate 1004 individual mountain gorillas in the whole world. The population of these endangered species is found in three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, over 400 individuals have been recorded in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and a lesser population in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is said to have an estimate 240 individuals and a good number has been recorded in DRC’s Virunga National Park.
Yaneta safaris offers gorilla trekking tour packages for tourists desiring to trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. To track any of the habituated families, one must first acquire a gorilla trekking permit which is acquired at a reasonable cost. Due to high demand, tourists are advised to pay for their permits several months in advance. Several habituated families are availed for trekking in the various parks, they include; Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Oruzogo, Bitukura, Kyaguliro, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Busingye, Bweza and Nkuringo, found in Bwindi. Nyakagezi is the only habituated family found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Susa, Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano and Kwitonda are the groups living in Rwanda.
An African safari is incomplete without a Uganda gorilla trekking experience. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a major tourist safari highlight. Gorilla trekking alone draws thousands of tourists to Uganda all-year-round.
Several tour operators have come up with a varied range of gorilla safari packages to meet the high demand in the tourism industry.
Besides having attractive tour packages for both solo and group travelers out for short and lengthy trips, Yaneta Safaris stands out for her tailor-made gorilla trekking safari packages. For every tourist, we create a package that matches their unique needs, adventure hype, and income.
Whether you’re the tourist willing to spend more for a seamless and polished gorilla trekking experience, or you are the cost-conscious adrenaline junkie, out for adventure, diversity, fun, and typically wild trekking experience, Yaneta Safaris is the ultimate choice!
Uganda is a country found on the African continent in the East – Central region. The country is bordered to the north by South Sudan, to the East by Kenya, to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to the south by Tanzania, and to the south-west by Rwanda.
With exception of those coming from visa-exempt countries, tourists intending to embark on Uganda gorilla trekking tours are supposed to obtain a Uganda visa.
Tourists can access Uganda visas via the official online portal or they can acquire it on arrival in Uganda.
A single entry visa valid for 3 months costs $50 while a multiple entries goes for $100 when valid for 6-12 months, $150 when valid for 12-24 months, and $200 when valid for 24-36 months.
The Ugandan Shilling is the currency of Uganda. The Ugandan Shilling currency code is UGX and the currency symbol is still UGX.
Uganda’s currency rankings show that the most popular Ugandan Shilling exchange rate is the United States Dollar (USD) to Ugandan Shilling (UGX).
Currently, the equivalence of 1 U.S. dollar in Ugandan Shillings is about 3770. 1 UGX, on the other hand, equals about 0.00026 USD. The exchange rates change daily and every other minute of each day.
Although the U.S. Dollar is the most commonly exchanged foreign currency in Uganda, other currencies are exchanged too. The British Pound, Euro, Yuan, Yen, Rupees, Dirhams, Canadian Dollar, and the Swiss Franc, are among the currencies also commonly exchanged to Ugandan Shillings.
When traveling for their Uganda gorilla trekking tours, tourists are advised to have dependable currency converters.
The best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda is during the dry months; December, January, February, June, July, August, and early September.
During the dry season, the ground underfoot is dry, the trails are not slippery making the treks less exerting. Also, the roads and routes within the parks are passable at this time of the year.
When it rains heavily, some roads become impassable due to flooding, and several lodges are forced to close down.
For tourists working on a tight budget, however, the best time for a Uganda gorilla trekking tour may be the wet season. The wet season is usually a low season since fewer numbers of tourists frequent the parks.
To boost business, most lodges cut their accommodation costs and parks give discounts on several tourist activities. Also, the dry season is the peak season; lodges and other service providers tend to hype their prices because of the high demand.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is taking a trip to the barely tamed wild. Prior preparation makes for a great safari. Here is a list of things to consider packing for a great Uganda gorilla trekking tour:
Uganda gorilla trekking permits are issued all-year-round by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Tourists are advised to book their Uganda gorilla trekking permits at least 3 months or more prior to their desired trekking dates.
Tourists are required to pay 30% of the total permit fee to confirm their booking. Pre-payment is aimed at ensuring the proper and timely allocation of gorilla families to trekkers.
A Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, and UGX 250,000 for all East African nationals. The permit for foreigner non-residents and residents will increase by $100 with effect from July 2020.
Tourists desiring to go gorilla trekking in Uganda can choose between trekking adventures and habituation experiences, or they can go for both.
The two activities are somewhat alike but are not the same. For gorilla trekking, tourists get to spend an hour with the gorillas once they encounter them. While tourists can spend as many as 4 hours with the gorillas on the habituation experience.
Uganda gorilla trekking permits cost $600, $500, and UGX 250,000 for foreign non-residents, foreign residents, and East African nationals, respectively. And a gorilla habituation permits cost $1500, $1000, and UGX 750,000 for foreign non-residents, foreign residents, and East African nationals, respectively.
One’s choice to travel solo on a privately customized trip or to join a group safari offer determines the much they pay for their Uganda gorilla trekking tours.
Group safaris are much cheaper as compared to solo safaris since there is a benefit of shared costs for group trips. You can be a solo traveler and choose to join a group safari.
When you choose a group safari for your Uganda gorilla trekking tour, the cost you pay for transportation, accommodation, meals and other services may turn out to be 3 times less than what you would pay on a solo safari.
For travelers desiring sophistication and typically tailor-made safaris to suit their unique tastes and preferences, solo safaris are the ideal choice.
There are rules to abide by when on a Uganda gorilla trekking tour. The set of regulations was put in place by the park authorities in the interest of the safety of both the trekkers and the gorillas.
When planning for a Uganda gorilla trek, tourists are better off booking accommodation within the parks. When trekking Bwindi gorillas, it is better to book a lodge or camp in the region where the gorilla family you are to trek lives.
Staying within the park and near to the family you are to trek helps in minimizing transport costs and ensuring you arrive at the park headquarters in time for the briefing to prepare you for your Uganda gorilla trek.
Uganda gorilla treks are exerting especially in Bwindi where the terrain is rugged and the forest is quite thick. Hiring porters is an option the park authorities put in place to ease the difficulty of the treks.
When you hire a porter, they help carry all your luggage; backpacks, video cameras, lunch boxes, and every other equipment you intend to hike with. The porters even give you a pull when you need it during the trek.
As for the elderly, they can hire a sedan chair and up to 8 porters or more to help with carrying them. This can cost around $400 or less. The porters will carry you until you find the gorilla family you’re trekking and still carry you back after your Uganda gorilla trekking excursion.
Porters are usually members of the local community; men making ends meet to help their families survive, and even students who need to raise funds for their school fees. Whenever one hires a porter, they are indirectly contributing to the development of a local community. Hiring porters makes it easier to conquer the exerting Uganda gorilla treks.
Like any other African safari, tipping is not compulsory on Uganda gorilla trekking tours.
Out of courtesy, you can always set aside a small amount to give to the devoted waiter, porter, guide, driver, hotel and park staff, as an expression of your appreciation for their effort and satisfactory service.
With no minimum wage set in Uganda, most employees earn barely enough to live by and support their dependents. Your tips no matter how small make a great difference for those you give it to.
Uganda gorilla safaris
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a prime safari adventure. Uganda gorilla trekking tours are organized in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park all-year-round. The two parks are the only places in Uganda where mountain gorillas are found.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is only possible after tourists acquire gorilla permits. The permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, and UGX 250,000 for East African nationals. The permit for foreign residents and non-residents will be increased by $100 from July 2020.
Uganda gorilla trekking tours include both gorilla treks and gorilla habituation experiences. For a Uganda gorilla trekking tour, tourists are allowed to spend one hour with the gorilla family once they have encountered it on their trek. While the habituation experience allows tourists to spend as many as 4 hours with the gorillas undergoing habituation.
Like gorilla trekking, the gorilla habituation process requires tourists to acquire permits. A habituation permit costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and UGX 750,000 for East African nationals.
Rwanda gorilla safaris
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is an all-year-round tourist adventure. Rwanda’s mountain gorilla population is found in Volcanoes National Park situated in the north-western region of the country.
Rwanda’s gorilla population includes over 10 habituated families; Titus, Susa, Karisimbi, Amahoro, Umubano, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Kwitonda, Hirwa, Ugenda and Bwenge. To trek the habituated families, tourists need permits. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking permit costs $1500.
When on a Rwanda gorilla trekking safari, tourists can consider engaging in other adventures like; golden monkey trekking, volcano climbing (five extinct volcanoes; Bisoke, Karisimbi, Muhabura, Gahinga, Sabyinyo, are found in the park), visiting the Dian Fossey Foundation, and exploring the Musanze caves.
Congo gorilla safaris
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the only other location where mountain gorillas are found in Africa, besides Uganda and Rwanda. Congo’s gorillas live in Virunga National Park, in the Albertine Rift Valley in the Eastern part of the country.
Virunga National Park has 8 habituated gorilla families including; Kabirizi (19 members), Humba (9 members), Rugendo (9 members), Mapuwa (22 members), Lulengo (9 members), Munyaga (7 members), Nyakamwe (11 members), and Bageni (26 members). A gorilla permit costs $400 in DRC.
While on a Congo gorilla safari, tourists can engage in several other adventures including; volcano hiking (Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira are two active volcanoes found in the park), chimpanzee trekking and habituation, and nature walks.