Frequently Asked Questions about Gorilla Safaris in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo

How difficult is Gorilla trekking?
Questions about Gorilla Safaris
Gorilla Trekking In Ruhija Sector

Questions about Gorilla Safaris in Uganda

What is gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is an activity where tourists/visitors are allowed to see mountain gorillas for one hour in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking involves hiking and walking through the forest with an armed game ranger and this is done after a briefing on the rules and regulations of carrying out the activity.

What is the best time for gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking can be done all year round but the drier months of June, July, August, and September then December to February are best recommended for the activity because the trails are less slippery. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a tropical forest and therefore be prepared since rain is expected any time of the year. 

How much is a gorilla trekking permit

The gorilla permit allows access to tourists to trek the mountain gorillas. Uganda Wildlife Authority issues permit in Uganda while Rwanda Development Board issues permit in Rwanda. The cost of the permit varies in different countries.

A gorilla permit costs US$ 800(non-foreign residents)US$700(foreign residents) in Uganda, and US$ 1500 in Rwanda.

East African Community UGX 250,000. This is applied in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The habituation experience permit costs US$ 1500 per person. Gorilla habituation only happens in Uganda.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi is a tropical rain forest situated in South Western Uganda and is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas with four gorilla tracking sectors (Ruhija, Buhoma, Rushaga, and Nkuringo) and 22 habituated gorilla families spread across the different sectors.

When should I book a Gorilla Permit?

Gorilla permits should be booked in advance due to the high competition and also to avoid disappointments. Book your gorilla permit 3 to 5. 

What is Included on the gorilla permit?

The gorilla permit includes; park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, and gorilla tracking fees and it also allows you 1 hour with the mountain gorillas once you encounter them. 

What is gorilla habituation experience?

Gorilla Habituation Experience is a process of introducing gorillas to the company of tourists and here tourists spend four hours in the presence of mountain gorillas. Gorilla habituation only happens in Uganda in the Rushaga sector.  

What are the chances of seeing a mountain gorilla?

This is one of the most popular questions asked about gorilla safaris. The chances of seeing the mountain gorillas are 99% and this is because an advanced team of trackers gets up early in the morning to observe the movement of gorillas and this helps to identify where a particular gorilla group slept the previous night. The gorillas leave trails behind that can be followed by the tourists in order to get close to them. The advanced team keeps in contact with the guide so as not to get lost. 

What to pack for gorilla trekking?

Travelers should make sure to pack with them long-sleeved shirts, jackets, waterproof trousers, hiking boots, sunglasses, hats, insect repellants, binoculars, packed lunch, and drinking water since the gorilla trekking activity is strenuous and may take a whole day. 

What is the age limit for tracking gorillas?

The age limit for tracking gorillas is 15 years. This is because children below 15 years may not adhere to the trekking rules. The forest conditions and steep hills may also not be suitable for children.

How many people are allowed to visit a gorilla group?

A maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit a given gorilla group per day. For gorilla habituation, only 4 people are allowed to spend 4 hours with the mountain gorillas.

The number of people per day is limited because it helps to reduce exposure and the risk of disease transmission.

GENERAL INFORMATION

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

All visitors to Uganda or Rwanda must have a valid passport with at least 4 consecutive blanks pages.  Any applicable visa and/or relevant documentation are the responsibility of the traveller.  For further information on Visa requirements visitors are advised to contact their nearest Uganda or Rwanda Embassy or Consulate.

LANGUAGE:

English

TIME:

GMT +3

VOLTAGE:

220 Volts/AC50Hz. Sockets are UK style, 3 pin square plugs. Power is from the UMEME in the city/major towns and generator with inverter back up in the Safari Lodges and Camps.

CURRENCY:

Foreign currency must be changed at the Bank, Bureau de Change, and Hotel/Safari lodge/Camp/Resort.   Major Credit Cards, Master card, Visa, American Express, are usually accepted throughout the country.  Where credit cards are accepted, the payment will normally be recorded in US$ regardless of the card’s default currency.

CLOTHING:

Dress is mainly informal and should be comfortable as well as practical. Something warm should be brought along for early morning and evenings. Safari clothes are available from hotels/lodges/camps.

BAGGAGE:

Where possible, travel light. Baggage space on safari is limited to medium suitcase or soft bag per person plus reasonable amount of hand luggage. There is 15 Kilogram per person limit on all flights to the wildlife sanctuaries. Excess luggage must be stored in your arrival hotel.

WATER:

You will find many different of opinion of what is safe and what is not. We recommend for peace of mind, to drink local Bottled Mineral water. It is important to drink plenty of water especially during the hotter months. We would recommend that guests drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. 

HEALTH;

East Africa is a safe and secure destination; however, it is a good idea to take a few precautions.  Kindly consult your GP or local doctor at least 6 weeks before you travel, with regards:

Malaria prophylactics. East Africa is a known malaria area and preventive measures are essential. You are advised to take one of the recommended anti-malarial drugs.  Be sure to wear long sleeved shorts and trousers after sunset and spray the exposed parts of your body with a mosquito repellent spray

Remember to protect yourself from direct sun rays with sunscreen cream or safari hat.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:

For those guests with specific dietary requirement, please ensure we are notified prior to travel

GRATUITIES:

As a guideline and dependent on how happy you are, we would suggest the following:

The General Hotel/Lodge/Camp Staff – Approximately U$ 10.00 per person per day

Driver Guides – Approximately US$ 15.00 to US$ 20.00 per person per day

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Please be careful when photographing public buildings, airports, bridges, the national flag and people in uniform.  Ensure that you have sought permission before photographing local people and their villages.  If in doubt, please check with your guide.

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