Questions Frequently asked about Gorilla Trekking
Questions Frequently asked about Gorilla Trekking


Questions Frequently asked about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda – Best Time to Trek mountain Gorillas – Gorilla Habituation Experience

Questions Frequently asked about Gorilla Trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda.  The mountain gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. They are found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.

The other population is found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some primatologists consider the Bwindi population in Uganda may be a separate subspecies, though no description has been finalized. As of December 2019, the estimated number of mountain gorillas remaining in the wild today is about 1063 with almost half of that population found in Uganda.

Questions Frequently asked about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

What is Habituation Experience?

This is the most exciting tourist activity in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable national park. where visitors join researchers and park rangers to train mountain gorillas to get them used to human presence.

What is Gorilla trekking?

It’s a wildlife activity that involves hiking up into a thick forest to see mountain gorillas in their true natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is only done in three East African countries in the world that’s Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo.

How Difficult is trekking gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?

trekking mountain Gorillas is relatively challenging depending on someone’s physical fitness.  Gorilla trekking in Uganda is slightly challenging compared to Rwanda due to hiking through the thick forest with steep terrain, valleys, and crossing rivers. In both countries, however, one must be fit enough and able to hike the steep terrain to see Mountain Gorillas in the wild.

Uganda or Rwanda, what’s the best destination for gorilla trekking?

Gorilla families In Rwanda
Gorilla families In Rwanda

Uganda and Rwanda are the best countries for a Gorilla trekking safari in East Africa. These two African countries inhabit similar rugged terrains and have similar habitats. Very few tourists choose to track Mountain Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo these days due to security concerns and services there are not as well organized. The regulations and quality of local gorilla guides and trackers are similar in Rwanda and Uganda but there are as many factors to consider in picking your location within one of these countries.


The gorilla families in Rwanda and Uganda are not in a zoo but roaming free in very large areas of very dense forests and so many factors, such as the length of your trek or how to open the area you end up encountering the gorillas in, cannot be planned for. There are, however, some things you can plan for like your fitness, how much you want to spend on your trip, which gorilla family you want to see, and how much time you have on your holiday.

Can the elderly trek mountain gorillas

Many older people who don’t think of themselves as hikers or adventurers can successfully visit the gorillas. Personal assistants can be hired to carry your day-pack and assist you in difficult areas. The local guides will work hard to make it as easy as possible for one to track and photograph the Mountain Gorillas. Numerous clients in their 70s succeeded in reaching their target Mountain Gorilla groups. But many people return very exhausted, and muddy if they are not fit enough to go hiking in Rwanda and Uganda. Altitude sickness is not usually a problem, nor are insects. You will want a pair of gloves and clothing that protects your arms and legs from thorns and nettles. Good balance is helpful in Gorilla trekking as trails may be slippery. And we advise you to hit the gym for a week or two before you embark on this journey. This answers the 4th of most questions frequently asked about gorilla trekking in East Africa.

How long can one spend with Mountain gorillas?

Tips for a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda and Rwanda
Tips for a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

Visitors are required to spend a maximum of 1 hour in the presence of mountain gorillas while viewing to minimize disease transmission. A Gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda and Uganda allows you to spend only 1 hour with any group of mountain Gorillas. Sometimes your guide may allow you a few more minutes, especially if you have had a long trek. But that one hour is always worth it because the experience is incomparable.

Are Mountain Gorillas dangerous?

Habituated Mountain Gorillas are not dangerous or prone to be angered by tourists if not disturbed because they have been trained to be in the presence of humans. All wild animals in Africa are best considered potentially dangerous and treated as such, many people are surprised that the Mountain Gorillas seem to ignore the tourists in their midst completely but there’re a couple of rules that ought to be followed. One should not get between a mother and a baby or tease animals, use a flash when taking pictures, or make distracting noises in the presence of mountain gorillas.

How close can I get to the mountain Gorillas?

Officially you are required to keep close to a 7 meters distance from the gorillas. In practice, the mountain Gorillas often violate this rule by coming closer to you as you stand quietly observing or photographing them. It is still helpful to have a telephoto capability on your camera since some animals are shy, and the Silverback may be very protective of the young. You are not allowed to touch the gorillas, though it would be easy to do so.

What is the best time to trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda?

Gorilla trekking in the two countries of Uganda and Rwanda is at its best whole year round but the best time to trek gorillas is during the two dry seasons, December to February and June to September. Mountain gorillas live at a high altitude in the mountains which requires you to hike up to reach them and these places can be slippery and hard to reach during rainy seasons.

How old do you have to be to trek gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda?

The minimum age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda is 15 years. Any person of this age and above can apply for a gorilla permit to visit Mountain Gorillas. The Mountain Gorillas in the wild reside only in Bwindi Forest and the volcanic mountain ranges along the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo. Tourists must visit the Mountain Gorillas with the assistance of tour operators like Katland Safaris. We arrange the necessary gorilla permits, transportation, safari guides, and lodging required for Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. You are not permitted to trek Mountain Gorillas on your own or outside designated areas, you must be accompanied by the ranger guide to and from the park.

Is it possible to trek gorillas in Uganda via Rwanda?

This is currently one of the best ways to start a gorilla trekking adventure more so if it’s combined with wildlife safaris to Uganda. However, you must check if land borders are open to allow you across. Visitors can either fly from Kigali to Entebbe and then take charter flights to Bwindi or Mgahinga national park or they can use road transport which takes about 4 hours from Kigali to Uganda Bwindi or Mgahinga gorilla national park. Therefore, Visitors can fly through Kigali International Airport and then connect to Uganda by road.

How many Mountain Gorillas are there in the world?

As of recently, the overall global population is believed to be 1,063 mountain gorillas, and almost half of that number is found in Uganda.

How do I get a gorilla permit?

Travelers interested in trekking gorillas from Uganda must book and get their gorilla permit in advance from a trusted tour company like Katland Safaris or from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA For travelers trekking from Rwanda, they should book and get a gorilla permit from a trusted tour operator or Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in advance. Katland Safaris will assist you to book and get your gorilla permit to visit gorillas in both Uganda and Rwanda.

What’s the cost of a Gorilla permit in Uganda and Rwanda?

Uganda Gorilla permits cost $750 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250,000 Uganda shillings for East African citizens. Gorilla habituation permits cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and 750,000 Uganda shillings for East African residents.

This does not include transportation from the registration and orientation site to the hiking departure point or trailhead. This point may be up to 25 miles away. Your travel agency takes care of this. You may also want to tip your tour guide to keep them motivated.

We recommend you also hire a porter at an additional cost of $15 per trek, as they will help carry your day pack, carry you, or assist you trekking when necessary. That’s how the local community makes a little income from the park.

In Rwanda the Cost of a gorilla permit is $1500 per person and per day for all international visitors.  The minimum age limit to apply for and book a gorilla permit is 15 years.  Currently, there is no Discounted gorilla permit in Rwanda but special offers are available to Rwandans and Residents in East African communities.

Where and when is it possible to visit Gorillas?

Gorilla trekking in East Africa can be done freely in two countries that’s Uganda and Rwanda and it’s an all-year-round tourist activity. The best time to go on a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda and Rwanda is during the short dry season from mid-December to early February or over the long dry season months of June to September. These periods offer by far the easiest hiking conditions and the lowest malaria risk.

How many gorilla families are Habituated?

Mountain gorillas like humans, live in groups of families and the groups have to be tamed or habituated for tourism. The number of available habituated Mountain Gorilla groups for tourist tracking safaris varies throughout the year depending on the location of the Mountain Gorilla family groups. Gorilla groups often travel into the Congo or beyond the range of a day trek to visit them. Sometimes Mountain Gorilla family groups travel rapidly, break up and reform, or show behaviors that make them less attractive to visit. Other habituated Mountain Gorilla groups are dedicated to research and not open to tourist tracking.

How long is a trek to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?

Gorilla trekking takes 30 minutes to 6 hours or a full day depending on the location and movements of the gorillas on a particular day. Gorillas though habituated are still wild animals and so they keep moving from one place to another looking for food. The time taken for gorilla trekking involves the time taken walking to where the habituated gorilla family is, one hour spent with gorillas once found, and the time taken to trek back to the park headquarters which is the starting point. So, depending on where the gorillas are, visitors spend different times doing gorilla trekking.

What are the chances of seeing mountain gorillas?

There is a 99% chance of seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda and Rwanda. Part of the gorilla permit fees are used to hire gorilla trackers who go into the forest to keep monitoring the movements of the mountain gorillas. These trackers keep track of where the gorillas laid their nests the day before and follow them the next day from there. The trackers provide information to the park guides about the location of the gorillas. Therefore, the visitors are guaranteed that they will see gorillas.

When should I book a gorilla permit in Uganda?

Paying for a gorilla permit in installments.
Paying for a gorilla permit in installments.


The gorilla permits can be booked 2 years to 1 month in advance. Book early enough If you are to get the best gorilla trekking sector, especially for those interested in Bwindi gorilla treks. Any visitor planning for a gorilla trip needs to book the permit in advance which is about 3-5 months before the trekking date. Gorilla permits are highly competitive given that most people are interested in seeing these endangered primates so booking in advance helps you avoid a last-minute rush or even missing out. Gorilla permits are served on a first come first serve basis depending on the sector you choose to track.

What is a gorilla permit and what’s included in it?

one of the questions frequently asked about gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is to let visitors know What a gorilla permit is. It’s a document that allows a visitor to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat

The gorilla permit includes; Park entry fees for the day of trekking, Gorilla trekking fees and hour viewing gorillas once found, Visitors security in the forest, and Park ranger/ guide fees

How many people are allowed to trek with a gorilla family?

Only 8 people are allowed to trek with a habituated gorilla family per day. Several gorilla families have been habituated both in Uganda and Rwanda. The number is limited for several reasons like reducing the behavioral disturbance to the gorillas, minimizing the exposure of gorillas to human-borne disease, and reducing damage to the forest which are homes to these endangered species.

What should I pack for a gorilla trekking trip?

One of the other questions frequently asked about gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is this. Going for a gorilla trip can be exciting but it’s always more enjoyable when you carry everything needed with you. Some of the items to pack for a gorilla trekking trip include: Comfortable clothes that are long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, a Rain jacket or sweater, Energy giving snacks and enough drinking water, a Camera and enough batteries, Strong hiking shoes, Hand gloves, Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat

Contact us for any more inquiries about gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

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