Meeting face to face with mountain gorillas in the jungle is one the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences for trekkers undertaking Africa safaris. However, planning the destination where to go, when to go and what to pack for this Africa safari tour are important to note before you head for your mountain gorilla trekking safari destination. Even when you choose to undertake a gorilla safari tour in Africa, mountain gorillas can only be found in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tourists interested in a Rwanda safari, can enjoy their Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Uganda, besides being blessed with two mountain gorilla safari destinations, it is also home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.
Congo gorilla trekking safaris are done in Virunga National Park. Less explored and feared by many Africa travelers because of the countries past insecurities. Congo today is a very safe Africa wildlife safari destination rich with some of the best spots to visit in Africa.
Mountain gorilla trekking safari destinations in Africa
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda
Most tourists on Uganda safaris enjoy their Uganda gorilla safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda for it has over 17 gorilla trekking families properly distributed in its four regions; Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. More gorilla safaris in Uganda are done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda which has one gorilla trekking region and one gorilla family called Nyakagezi. Mgahinga National Park is the only park in Uganda which has mountain gorillas and golden monkeys that are available for golden monkey trekking safaris Uganda hence christening the Park “Where Silver Meets Gold”. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is part of the Virunga Massif together with the other two Parks, Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Virunga National Park Congo.
In Uganda, the cost of one gorilla trekking permit is only $600 per person and it is only sold to people above 15 years. Gorilla trekking takes about 2-8 hours depending on where you will find the gorillas. After finding the gorillas, you are restricted to only an hour with them.
However, tourists who want to spend more time with the gorillas, normally book Uganda gorilla habituation safaris. With gorilla habituation, tourists spend the day with gorillas, watching their movement, feeding, building their nests, and many more. The Uganda gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person per day which is better than paying $1500 in Rwanda to watch gorillas for 1 hour only.
The drive time to Uganda’s gorilla safari destinations is about 9-10 hours from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala excluding the stopovers, which is tiresome and long especially if you are not having a stopover in any of the other National Park. If you are not interested in long drives, there are scheduled flights to these gorilla safari destinations giving you opportunity to take a scheduled flight to the Park.
However, there is an alternative, visitors that want to enjoy a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda usually fly into Kigali and drive 4 hours to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park making it an easier Africa gorilla tour.
Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Unlike Uganda, Rwanda has only one Rwanda gorilla trekking safari destination; Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. From Kigali International airport, this park is only 113 square kilometers that takes about 2hours and 30minutes drive. Rwanda has the shortest distance to its Rwanda gorilla safari destination making it an easy option. Volcanoes National Park is home to over 10 groups that are habituated for Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris.
In 2017, Rwanda increased the cost of one gorilla permit from $750 to $1500 which doubles Uganda’s cost per permit and literally triples the Congo gorilla permit.
Gorilla trekking in Congo
Despite all the political challenges that took place in Congo, it is safe for Congo safaris and these take place in Virunga National Park. The Congo gorilla safari permit is cheaper compared to the cost of a permit in Uganda and Rwanda. Its permit costs only $400. The park is Africa’s oldest Park and is endowed with the highest biodiversity.
This Park stands as one of Africa’s most unique destinations with a number of breathtaking features like the active volcanoes; Nyiragongo which can be hiked in one day and the Nyamuragira Volcano which last erupted in 2011.
Besides visiting the gorillas, there are also other National Parks in these countries that you can enjoy on your Africa tour. You can combine your Africa gorilla trip with a visit to Kibale National Park Uganda, Akagera national Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mountain Rwenzori National Park, Semuliki National Park, and many more. You can also go for adventures outside parks like rafting on the world’s longest river; River Nile, horse riding, Kayaking, cycling safaris in Uganda Rwanda and many more.