UGANDA SAFARIS - GORILLA SAFARIS IN UGANDA & RWANDA
Find the perfect Uganda safari holiday with Maranatha Tours and Travel a Ugandan based tour company organizing adventure safaris through out Eastern Africa. We arrange and ensure quality gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo with priority given to the clients interests, time frame and budget backed up with the best travel tips and advice from our knowledgeable travel consultants. With us, the visitor can be rest assured of the very best travel services.
With over 6 years of first hand travel experience within East Africa, we can guarantee to offer you the best adventure tours which can be customized to include gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda, chimpanzee tracking, wildlife safaris, bird watching, cultural tours, city tours, mountain climbing safaris, whitewater rafting and so much more.
We are ready to turn your dream holiday into a reality!
POPULAR GORILLA SAFARIS
Wildlife Safaris in Uganda/ Combined gorilla & Wildlife Tours
Guide on Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo
Gorilla trekking has become the most attracting activity in Africa especially in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Many tourists prefer going to the deep tropical rainforests searching for these endangered species and some even end up doing a double trekking after a thrilling experience. In these three countries, trekking is now the leading tourism attraction bringing in visitors from different countries.
Uganda has the largest number of mountain gorillas with an estimate of 400 primates and this is half of the world’s total population of 900. This East African country has improved its tourism for the past five years and gorilla tracking is the main reason to this achievement .Many people prefer spending their money on a safari to Uganda because they want to have the best out of their money with a life-changing experience in the interesting parts of the country where gorillas are found.
Gorilla tracking in Uganda can take from twenty minutes to three quarters of the day depending on the gorilla family trekked. It should also be noted that the maximum time one is allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour therefore a tourist is advised to maximize the time he/she spends with the primates.
Where to go gorilla trekking in Uganda
The only places where one can go for a gorilla trek in Uganda is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Bwindi has the highest number of the primates, about 75% of the total number of gorillas in the country. This explains why most clients book safaris that include a tour to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Moving through the thick forest of the park is an adventurous experience full of amazing encounters with different primates and other hard-to find creatures.
About Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Located in the southwest of Uganda, Bwindi is the most visited park in the country. The park is divided into four regions namely;- Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo. Each of these regions act as a trekking site with different habituated mountain gorilla families .Incase one is interested in tracking the gorillas in Bwindi, then he/she has to be selective on which family to trek so that it simplifies the work of booking the trip in terms of accommodations and gorilla permit .While coming up with a choice of which region of Bwindi to track, one should have it in mind that all the four regions are equally interesting and offer a stunning gorilla tracking experience.
Need some help on when to go gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Although gorilla tracking can be successful throughout the year, there are specific months when the activity is most interesting and these months are referred to as peak seasons. This is the time when primate lovers yearn for a tour to the national parks where mountain gorillas are found. These months are June to September, then December, January and February. But this does not mean that other months are not good to go for a trek and it doesn’t stop a client from making his/her own choice when it comes to deciding when to travel to Uganda.
Special information before booking a gorilla trekking safari to Uganda
Since every client wants to get value for his/her money, he/she requires to know some important tips on what to consider before booking a gorilla trek to Uganda. First, the client has to make sure that he is in good health since gorilla trekking requires some physical energy of moving through thick forests in search for the primates. Then, a client has to book with a credible tour company with a remarkable experience when it comes to organizing trekking trips. This is to ensure that a client gets the best experience in Uganda with the help of the most qualified staff.
A client is also advised to research about gorilla tracking in Uganda so that he/she has a clue of what it is and also make the best choice of which gorilla family to visit and where to stay. If these few things are done before booking for a gorilla trip, then a client is assured to make the right choice and should expect the best experience.
Why buy a gorilla trekking Permit?
Before a tourist is allowed to trek the mountain gorillas in Uganda, he/she is expected to obtain a gorilla tracking permit. This acts an authorizing document to track the primates in either Bwindi or Mgahinga national parks. A gorilla trekking permit specifies the gorilla family to be tracked by the client. Each tourist requires one permit and this allows him/she to trek once and specifies where to trek from.
In Uganda, the permit costs USD600 and it is issued by Uganda wildlife Authority at their offices in Kamwokya a Kampala suburb. It’s kind of hard for clients especially those in foreign countries to obtain these permits in time because of the long distances and the best way they can do this is through using a tour company to obtain them on their behalf. It is advisable to book for a gorilla trekking permit three weeks before the actual day of traveling. This is done to avoid inconveniences on the safari and also give ample time to the tour organizer to book for the accommodations in time.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is one of Africa’s most interesting tour activities and actually it attracts more visitors in the country than any other activity. Rwanda has the second largest portion of the total mountain gorillas in the world next to Uganda. Many clients prefer going to Rwanda especially those interested in a thrilling primate watching experience and this is the reason why this East African country has improved when it comes to tourism. Also known as “the land of a thousand hills”, Rwanda offers the best atmosphere for viewing the gorillas with an estimate of 300 mountain gorillas.
The only park where gorillas can be trekked in Rwanda is Volcanoes National park in the northern part of the country about 85km from Kigali, the capital city. Currently, Volcanoes National park records the highest number of visitors on a daily basis and these come specifically to track the primates in their natural habitats.
About Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park covers an area of about 130km squared covered with scenic – forested mountain and also 6 volcanoes. The park is a home to the endangered mountain gorillas harboring about 300 of them, making it one of the most populated national parks with the gorillas.
One of the things that have made Volcanoes National Park popular is that it is where the iconic and legendary mountain gorilla conservationist, Dian Fossey Lived, carried out her duties from and where she was killed. Today, her grave which is found in the heart of the park has turned out to be an attraction as many tourists especially those interested in learning more about her history come to view it.
Why tourists prefer a Rwanda gorilla trekking Safari
According to some clients, the main reason for picking a Rwanda trekking safari instead of others is that it is less strenuous. The gorillas in the park move around the whole park making it easier for tourists to encounter them. Also the wonderful scenic views of volcanoes are breathtaking and give better views of taking clear photos. Another reason why a Rwanda gorilla trekking safari is easier is that unlike in Uganda where one purchase a gorilla permit for a specific gorilla family, in Rwanda a client only purchase a permit and it allows him/her to trek any gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park.
How to Buying a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda?
Just Like in Uganda, a tourist intending to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda is required to obtain a mountain gorilla tracking permit. This is issued by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which is the Rwanda’s tourism governing body and they cost USD750 each per person per day.
About Gorilla Trekking in DRC
Visiting mountain gorillas in Congo is carried out in Virunga National Park. The park is located in the eastern part of DRC on its border with Uganda and Rwanda. The park is a home to about 200 mountain gorillas and this makes it one of the ideal places to go trekking especially for an adventurous experience. Although one may encounter one or more gorillas on a trek through the tropical forests of Virunga, the best part to view the primates is the southern area of the park.
About Virunga National Park
Covering an area of about 7850km squared, Virunga National Park is a wonderful place to tour especially for primate lovers. The park is about 35km from Goma, the capital city of North Kivu Province. Accessing the park from Goma is challenging due to the poor infrastructure especially the bad roads. Therefore, a transfer from Kigali, Rwanda using the good roads is the best option and this takes about three hours to reach the border. It’s easy to cross the border at Goma where Virunga is just a 10 minutes walk.
Gorilla Trekking Tips
For any traveler preparing to do a gorilla tracking safari either in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo, the following information would apply.
Before your departure for gorilla trekking:
- A maximum number of 8 members are only allowed to visit a group of habituated mountain gorilla in a day. This helps to reduce exposure to human-borne diseases.
- Before heading to the forest to track gorillas always wash your hands
On the way to the gorillas:
- When you set off to the forest always keep your voice low to avoid scaring away the primates and you will be fortunate to spot the great bird life and other wildlife that live in the forest.
- When in the forest do not leave any rubbish, whatever you come with into the forest should be carried back out with you.
- The guide will take you to where the gorillas where last observed the day before, from there you will follow the guide’s trail to find them.
- When you come across the gorillas, the guide will alert you in order to get ready for the activity.
When you are with the gorillas:
- You must keep a distance of about 7-9metres away from the gorillas to make the gorillas relaxed.
- When you meet the gorillas you must stay in a tight group don’t stay alone to avoid risking
- Try to keep your voice down as much as you can; however, don’t fear to ask your guide questions you feel like
- You are not allowed to smoke, drink or eat when with gorillas. As this could increase the risk of transmission of diseases, Eating or drinking certainly will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling
Always follow the guide’s instruction when with the gorillas. When a gorilla charges, squat down slowly and avoid looking directly into its eyes till it passes away.
- You are not allowed to use Flash cameras when taking photos and when taking pictures move slowly and carefully to avoid irritating the primates.
- You should not touch gorillas. They are wild animals
- You are only allowed one hour with gorillas while observing their behaviors as well as taking photos. However if the gorillas become stressed or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early to avoid risks.
- After the activity keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from these gorillas.
General health rules:
- You should respect the time limits for visitors to spend with the gorillas as this helps to limit the risk of disease transmission and stress to the primates
- For the good of mountain gorillas and your life, avoid going gorilla trekking when sick as this disease may be transmitted to gorillas. If you feel like coughing or sneezing when you are close to gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to reduce the spread of microorganisms or viruses.
- You are reminded always to keep a distance of 7 meters away from gorillas This is to protect the gorillas from risks of contagious human diseases.
Rubbishes should be left in the forest like food wrappers, any item you come with should be taken back to avoid risks.
What to bring on your Gorilla Safari
- Put on comfortable sturdy pair of walking shoes/boots suitable for steep muddy slopes.
- In case you feel uncomfortable with the forest sounds, Put on ear plugs while trekking to block the different sounds from the forest.
- Come with rain gears like jackets, sunscreen lotion, and a hat African weather is unpredictable as it’s subjected to change at any time and also do not forget an insect repellent.
- A bag is also vital for any gorilla safari as it help to carry your accessories like camera, jacket bottled water and sometimes packed food
- Don’t forget to bring a photo of film camera. Flashlight is not permitted when taking photography, so we recommend using films of 400-800 ASA.
Mountain gorilla trekking permits are a must have for tourists before they are allowed to view these rear primates. It should be noted that the Uganda Wildlife Authority instructed all the tour operators and the various national parks’ authorities to restrict clients without permits from seeing the gorillas and even accessing the parks where they […]
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