Visit Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and The Democratic Republic of Congo
Visit gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and experience the way of life of these gentle primates.
Gorillas are of different types and the ones which can be seen in Bwindi national park and Volcanoes national park are mountain gorillas. The type of gorillas which can be seen in Virunga national park is the lowland gorillas. These types of gorillas have unique characteristics.
In appearance, mountain gorillas have thick and dark fur which is also longer to help them adapt to the conditions of the high altitudes where they live such as in Bwindi national park and Volcanoes national park while the lowland gorillas have lighter fur and live in the lowland areas.
For the experience of visiting the gorillas in Bwindi national park, Volcanoes national park, and Virunga national park, tourists are required to have gorilla permits. These gorilla permits are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Uganda, Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda and gorilla permits in Congo issued b the Virunga tourism office in Goma.
Booking of gorilla permits in the different destinations is recommended to be done in advance, especially for tourists planning to travel in the high season around June to October which is a time when many tourists also visit gorillas in Bwindi national park, Volcanoes national park, and Virunga national park. It is also considered the best time to see gorillas.
Visit gorillas in Uganda
Gorillas in Uganda can be seen in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and also in Mgahinga national park. However, Bwindi national park is more popular for gorilla trekking in the country.
There are different sectors in Bwindi national park where tourists can visit gorillas and they include the Buhoma sector, Rushaga sector, Ruhija sector, and the Nkuringo sector. When purchasing gorilla permits in Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues permits for each sector.
A gorilla permit in Uganda costs 700 USD for foreign nonresidents, 600 USD for foreign residents, and 250,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans. The permit is valid for a single gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi national park, admits one individual above the age of 15 years, and is inclusive of park entrance fees on the day of gorilla trekking, guide fees, and community development contribution.
Gorilla habituation is another activity to do as tourist visit gorillas in Uganda. This activity is done in the Rushaga sector in Bwindi national park. A gorilla habituation permit costs 1500 USD for foreign nonresidents, 1000 USD for foreign residents, and 750,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans.
Briefing for gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park is done by the UWA rangers at the park headquarters. After the briefing, the guests are divided into groups of 8 and allocated ranger guides who move with them into the impenetrable forest to search for the gorillas.
While in the Bwindi forest, the tourists follow trails in search of the gorillas and they are expected to remain with the rest of the group and avoid making noise or littering. Other rules to follow during the gorilla trek are also communicated during the briefing such as avoiding flush photography when with the gorillas.
After finding the gorillas, 1 hour is spent recording and observing the gorillas and then later the tourists return to the briefing point for their certificates for completing the gorilla trek in Bwindi national park.
The Bwindi national park is said to be the home to half the world’s population of gorillas.
Visit gorillas in Rwanda
In Rwanda, gorillas can be visited and seen in Volcanoes national park or Parc des Volcans which is located in the northwestern part of the country. From Kigali, the drive to the national park takes about 2 hours.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park starts at the Kinigi headquarters as early as 7:00 am which is also the briefing point. A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs 1500 USD for foreign nonresidents. Rules and regulations to be followed during the trek are mentioned during the gorilla trekking briefing at Kinigi.
There are about 12 gorilla families in the national park which can be seen as tourists explore Volcanoes national park and they include Susa, Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda, and Muhoza. These gorillas can be seen as tourists who hike through the bamboo slopes in the national park.
One hour is spent with the gorillas after they have been found in Volcanoes national park. These gorilla groups consist of the alpha male also known as the silverback as well as females and young gorillas.
Visiting gorillas in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda also benefits the locals in so many ways including employment of locals as rangers, guides, porters, drivers, and also staff in the different lodges, and the building of infrastructure such as roads, schools, and hospitals.
Similar to Bwindi national park, 8 gorilla permits are issued for each gorilla group per day in Volcanoes national park. These gorilla permits can be booked through a licensed tour operator. Other activities to do around Volcanoes national park include golden monkey trekking, hiking, Dian Fossey experience, cultural tours and also visiting Musanze caves.
Visit gorillas in Congo
Gorillas in Congo can be seen in Virunga national park which is in the eastern part of the country.
A gorilla permit for Virunga national park is 400 USD and is affordable for tourists to visit gorillas in comparison to Bwindi national park and Volcanoes national park. The gorillas can be seen in the lush forests of Virunga national park in groups of 8 people visiting a gorilla family and 1 hour is spent with the gorillas. The starting point for gorilla trekking in Virunga national park is Bukima.
Accessing Virunga national park can be through Goma which is the closest town. For flights, tourists can fly to Kigali international airport and then proceed to Goma by road through Gisenyi or fly to Goma airport using Ethiopian Airlines.
Activities to do around Virunga national park include the Nyiragongo hike and visiting chimpanzees among others.
Book your gorilla tour today and visit gorillas in Bwindi national park, Volcanoes national park, or Virunga national park.