Africa Gorilla Safaris
Africa Gorilla Safaris are those amazing primate safari tours in Uganda, Congo, & Rwanda where travellers get a chance to explore the endangered mountain gorillas. The last remaining mountain gorillas are all found in Africa in only three African nations that is; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. These are all found on the Eastern side of Africa.
These mountain gorillas stay in the thick forests of the Virunga mountains just like their name dictates, they tend to stay in mountainous areas. There are 4 national parks where you are able to book yourself a permit to spend some time with these gorillas. The permit prices vary with locations mainly influenced by the country’s economic value or climate. The prices are set by the authorities governing these parks. If you choose to take on a visit to the mountain gorillas, you can either choose to spend the allotted one hour as is acceptable on all gorilla treks per permit or choose to spend 4 hours with the mountain gorillas. The 4 different mountain gorilla parks for the Africa Gorilla Safaris, all have their perks and downsides. We may look at the four gorilla parks briefly and get and get a brief picture of what they have to offer or expect.
Virunga National park is the only park in the Democratic republic of Congo among the 10 national parks of the country that offers this experience of the mountain gorillas however the country is blessed to have the lowland gorillas further south of the country. The mountain gorilla experience in the Democratic republic of Congo is one of the most authentic as the region has not yet been exploited by a lot of tourism activity so if you are looking for an authentic experience, book your permit in the Virunga national park.
The mountain gorilla permit goes for 400 USD for foreigners while for the Congolese get their permit at 200 USD which is the cheapest of all the destinations but you take it in mind that with the reopening of Virunga national park recently in February 2019, you book the permit along with accommodation and the Congo VISA, in short, you cannot buy an individual permit but you purchase a whole travel package. This was concluded as a security measure by the Virunga park authorities and has seen the tourism in the park successful all year with no cases of insecurity. The park has 8 habituated gorilla families with some families having up to 40 members that you could be lucky to see on your mountain gorilla trek. Some of the gorilla family names are Nyakmwe, Bageni, Munyaga, Lulengo, Mapuwa, Humba, Kabarsi and Rugendo and all these have a unique story to tell and were named after these stories.
Virunga national park is also the only park in the world with a gorilla orphanage within its boundaries which you may visit when you book yourself a night stay at Mikeno lodge and this is free of charge visit. If you have more days to spare in the park, you can look out for the Nyiragongo hike which is an overnight hike or opt to go cool off from Tchegera Island. This park has three great accommodation options that you can opt to stay in like the midrange options that is Kibumba Tented camp and the Bukima Tented camp and the luxury option of the prestigious Mikeno lodge. The park is also preparing a new luxury lodge called Ngila lodge that is expected to be functional by the peak season. Virunga has great packages that you can book according to your interests and time frame so reach us and specify and let us recommend.
Bwindi forest national park is one of the two national parks of Uganda that offers this mountain gorilla experience i.e. Africa Gorilla Safaris and a permit for the gorilla trek goes for 600 USD until 1st July 2020 where it will be increased to 700 USD per permit as regulated by the governing body of the Uganda national parks that is Uganda Wildlife Authority and same applies for the second gorilla park of Uganda, Mgahinga gorilla national park. Bwindi forest national park receives the biggest number of tourists looking for the gorilla experience as it is the park with the most available and affordable permits. There are 19 gorilla families in Bwindi Forest and 8 people are allowed per day to visit a gorilla family. If one hour with the gorillas is not enough then Bwindi has the option of gorilla habituation where you pay 1,500 USD to spend 4 hours in the forest with the rangers who are habituating a group. This option is limited to four people per day so you will need to book your spot early enough to avoid last-minute turn downs when you can reserve a spot on the ground.
The Mgahinga forest national park has 1 gorilla family but has been visited by a gorilla family from the neighbouring Volcanoes national park of Rwanda. This park is much smaller than Bwindi that has 4 gorilla sectors. Mgahinga gorilla national park was named after the presence of the mountain gorillas and is Uganda’s second gorilla park. But also has the presence of golden monkeys. This park is in Kisoro district and can be accessed faster from Rwanda as the distance from Kigali to Mgahinga is about 4 hours while Entebbe to Mgahinga is about 9 hours. The mountain gorilla permit of Mgahinga is also offered at 600 USD until July 2020 where it will be at 700 USD for foreigners while the Ugandan citizens and East Africans will get a gorilla permit at 250,000.
Volcanoes National park is the only gorilla park in Rwanda and is located in Ruhengeri district. This is considered the luxury gorilla experience mainly because of the gorilla trek permit being 1,500 USD but is also a great and safest destination. Volcanoes National park also allows guests on the trek to spend 1 hour in the forest with the gorillas. This price is for both the foreigners and the Rwanda citizens. There are luxury accommodations that are widely recognized like the Bisate lodge and the Singita lodge that will require you to part with a few thousand dollars for a room per night but if you are on budget, you can as well opt for more affordable accommodation which we can arrange for you when you get in touch with our very skilled consultancy team.