Gorilla Tours in Africa are only done in 3 countries inclusive of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo where travelers engage in the Gorilla Trekking activity to be able to explore the hidden facts about the endangered species of Gorillas.
Africa is blessed to be the habitat for the endangered gorilla species. There are about 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world along with the lowland gorillas whose number is not clear but estimated to about 25,000 individuals. Gorillas are the largest living primates and the gorilla trek is a must-do for eco-tourists. Gorilla trekking is the search of these gentle giants in their natural habitats. The remaining population of gorillas is found in the forests of Central and Eastern Africa and the countries one may visit to see the 4 different gorilla species are Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, for the mountain gorillas than in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic for the lowland gorillas which can also be visited in Congo.
Gorilla tours in Africa are the majorly done tour activities in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo as they are the only 3 places one can visit the last remaining individuals of the mountain gorillas. This ecotourism activity is popular and as fulfilling as the zeal most trekkers have before engaging in this activity. Gorilla trekking involves trekkers moving into the mountainous and forested areas where the gentle giants are found living and searching for about 2 to 5 hours according to the movement of the gorillas on that particular trekking date. Trekkers have the option of visiting any of the 3 countries according to which situation favors them. All the 3 destinations have different push and pull factors one may have to consider before settling down for one. You as a trekker could look at several factors for example the price of the gorilla permit per destination, the accommodations offered in the area, the political climate of the region, contribution of the particular park to the community and the environmental impact, the projects in the region that you may love to be a part of physically or financially, the authenticity of the experience or even word from your colleagues who have visited a certain destination.
Gorilla tours in Africa and in Uganda particularly are done in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park which has 4 sectors with several gorilla families that is Buhoma sector the most popular with great luxury accommodation facilities, Ruhijja which is close to Buhoma, Rushaga sector next to Nkuringo sector. Bwindi and Mgahinga are great gorilla trek options as the area is politically stable with a great and friendly community which tops up one’s experience here. There are also some community projects that visitors may be able to visit for example the village schools that are built to educate the children of the community. On top of the gorilla trek n Bwindi, one can visit the Batwa community that were the original residents of the area before even tourism was evident in the area. You get to visit them and know more about their history. A gorilla permit to visit the gorillas in Bwindi is currently still at 600 USD but with effect from July 2020, the gorilla permit will be sold at 700 USD as implemented by the Uganda Wildlife Authorities basing on a few factors considered. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park is the most visited gorilla park as most factors are favorable with less to none unfavorable factors. Bwindi and Mgahinga National park can both be accessed from Uganda by landing at the Entebbe International Airport and take a 7 to 8-hour road drive or take a domestic flight to Kisoro. You can also opt to connect from the southern side by landing at Kigali International Airport and driving for about 4 hours via Cyanika or Katuna border to connect to your accommodation where you will rest in anticipation for the gorilla trek the next morning. These are the so-called Bwindi Gorilla Trekking from Kigali Tours.
Gorilla tours in Rwanda are the luxurious way to visit the mountain gorillas of Africa as the permit is quite pricy with the luxury 5 star recognized accommodations, for example, the Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge. The gorilla trek experience in Rwanda is done in the Volcanoes National Park and is a once in a lifetime experience that is highly recommended if you are not traveling on a budget. The gorillas of Volcanoes national park are easier found in about 2 to 4 hours with less strenuous hiking compared to the gorillas of Uganda, The political climate of Rwanda is very stable with great security. Volcanoes national park is just 2 hours drive away from Kigali International airport. This is also where you can visit the Dian Fossey tomb to pay respects and also the former research center for the worldly celebrated mother of the gorillas for more detailed information about her and her regime and passion to conserve the mountain gorillas. This is also where the movie ‘The Gorillas in the Mist” was shot along with the cultural experiences the park has to offer like the Buhanga Eco-park visit, Musanze caves visit and community tours, Rwanda gorilla trek could be your ideal option. The best time to visit Volcanoes National Park in the dry seasons that is June to mid-September then December to early February as it is easier to maneuver through the forest to the gorillas. These are also high demand months so it is advisable to book at least 6 months in advance so as to avoid last-minute disappointments and these peak seasons, lodges tend to get fully booked out first that is why is a great option to get in touch with a trusted tour operator like Explore Rwanda tours to make your bookings at a great rate. You can also visit other primates on your visit to this park such as the golden monkeys, colobus monkeys to mention but a few. There are also more affordable and great accommodation options near the park so get in touch with us to provide you a quote and itinerary within your desired budget. A gorilla permit to visit the gorillas of the Volcanoes National park goes for 1500 USD for this million-dollar experience.
Gorilla Tours in Africa and particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the most authentic and virgin experience of the 3 destinations. The mountain gorilla trek in Congo is done and regulated by the Virunga National Park located in Nord Kivu. Virunga National park is just a 30 minutes’ drive away from Goma town where all the tours going to the park start from. All visitors to Virunga national park meet at the Grande Barrier building where the tourism office is strategically located which also acts as the border post of Rwanda and Congo. Most of the visitors of Virunga connect through the Gisenyi-Goma border by landing at the Kigali International Airport and driving 4 to 5 hours to cross into Congo to check in with the tourism office. The Virunga Gorilla Tours experience is a thrilling one as these mountain gorillas are the most habituated and the gorillas visited sometimes are shared by Mgahinga gorilla national park where they tend to cross between both parks.
On your visit to Virunga is where you get to see the biggest number of gorillas up to 40 members on your one time visit. You are required to have your valid yellow fever vaccination and valid visa which you should apply for at least 2 weeks in advance as it cannot be issued on the border. Virunga national park has the world’s only gorilla sanctuary where you can visit the younger orphaned gorillas up-close and be part of the activities at the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage center either physically or even financially but this is only available to those staying in Mikeno Lodge. The park also has projects where they are improving the living standards of the community like building schools for the children of the community from the proceeds gotten from the park. Also, the children to the fallen park rangers are catered for by the park. All these factors are the reason the visit to Virunga is considered the most authentic and less touristy. A gorilla permit to visit this park’s mountain gorillas costs 400 USD which is the cheapest permit of the 3. You may also visit the Tchegera island, the black sand beach to cool off the fatigue of the gorilla trek. Virunga park has great accommodation options such as the Kibumba Tented Camp, Bukima tented camp and Mikeno Lodge.
The Democratic Republic of Congo also has the lowland gorillas that can be visited in the Kahuzi Biega national park in Sud Kivu, Bukavu district. The permit also goes for 400 USD. The park has a big population of lowland gorillas and also are trekked in about 2 to 4 hours until you meet them. You will be allowed 1 hour to spend in their presence, studying them, taking photos, watching them relate with each other at a distance. One can also do gorilla habituation in Kahuzi Biega national park. Just get in touch with us to arrange this for you. The best time to visit the lowland gorillas is during the dry seasons as well that is January to February then July to October however, this is a forested area so expect rain showers any day. This country has had political instability in the past which is almost history lately but you should check with your embassy before choosing to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
All these parks are secure with great staff, the guides, and organized systems so whichever destination you may opt for, you are assured of a life-changing experience being in the presence of these endangered animals.