From US$1250 per person
This 3-day Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari is the most booked safari package in Uganda and the reason is quite transparent. You probably have heard so much about them but the actual experience of meeting eye-to-eye with a wild mountain gorilla in its natural habitat is indescribable. Let’s just take you there so that you get the experience first hand.
Carefully planned to cover all necessary arrangements to get you to the misty Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to more than half the remaining population of mountain Gorillas, the Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari is the trip you’ve always wanted to take. The trip package includes accommodation, meals, transportation and the most important one – the gorilla permit. It can be booked privately or with a group because it’s tailor-made.
Apart from having the mountain gorillas as the main attraction, the Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari offers a unique adventure opportunity like bird watching, cultural experiences, a breathtaking scenic allure of stunning hills and lush vegetation inhabited by the elusive primates. But the gorilla trek activity beats them all as the most enchanting experience in this forest. You will have an experience of a life time watching at close range these majestic apes as they feed, play and relax.
- Scenic drive up to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Equator experience
- Mountain Gorilla Trekking and staying with the gorilla group for 60 minutes
- Optional visit to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi
- Meet with the Bwindi forest native community, the Batwa
Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari Itinerary
DAY 1 : Hotel – Road Trip to Bwindi Southwestern Uganda
Your Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari driver/guide will meet you at your accommodation at 0700hrs. An early morning start from Kampala takes you southwest and across the Equator. You drive through Savannah grasslands seeing banana plantations and herds of Ankole cattle, famous for their incredibly long horns. You then ascend into the Kigezi highlands, known as the “Switzerland of Africa”, with terraced farming and mountain scenery and continue your drive on to Bwindi. (9-10 hour drive).
Dinner and overnight at Broadbill Forest Camp or Safari Lodge of your choice.
DAY 2: The Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari Activity
After an early breakfast and a briefing by a ranger guide, enter the gorilla sanctuary for your adventure. The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular. The area offers dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense, but criss-crossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of these great primates. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle and endangered giants is an awesome, exciting experience to be long savored. Many of our Bwindi gorilla trekking safari travellers find it to be a rare and mind blowing experience.
Then later comeback relax have dinner and overnight at Broadbill Forest Camp .
DAY 3: Back to Entebbe
Wake up early in the morning, have your breakfast, end your stay in the “Land of the Mountain Gorillas” and depart with great memories of the moments spent with the fascinating Mountain Gorillas.
Transfer back to Kampala with lunch en-route. then proceed to Entebbe Airport where you will catch your flight back home.
QUICK TOUR DETAILS
- National Park entry permits
- Gorilla Trekking Permits
- Boat / Canoeing Fees
- Tour Guides Park fees
- Safari Vehicle, Gas & Driver
- B&B Accommodation
- Airport transfer
- Lunch enroutes and mineral water
- Spirits/alcoholic drinks
- And other personal activities are your personal charge
Single Entry Uganda Tourist Visa Cost $50 and can be acquired at point of entry (border or Airport Immigration desk) or online at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/. We wouldn’t recommend the online process because many of our travellers have found if lengthy and disturbing. But you can try your luck.
Documents you need for the online Visa application?
- Copy of your Passport (Bio-data page)
- Copy of a recent Passport size Photograph (copy)
- Travel Itinerary (for East African Visa)
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate copy
- Return Air Ticket (copy)
You can acquire an East African Visa if you’re going to do a safari to Uganda, Rwanda or Kenya which saves you on logistics and bureaucracy.
Find more safari visa information here: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/#/help/visa
What to wear when gorilla trekking
It’s likely that you’ll be trekking through mud and covered in dirt by the end of your trek so consider bringing clothes that you won’t mind ruining.
- Trekking pants.
- T-shirt and long-sleeved shirt.
- Waterproof or water-resistant jacket.
- Fleece or light jacket.
- Trekking shoes.
Food and Water
- Two liters of water per person.
- Lunch and snacks.
Other useful gear for your gorilla trek
- Small backpack.
- Walking stick.
- Cameras and rain protection.
- Sunscreen and bug spray.
Travellers are advised to be vaccinated at least 10 days before travelling to protect from contracting disease should any chance of contact happen. Travellers are advised to ensure they carry their Vaccination Cards (specifically the YELLOW FEVER card) with them throughout their travel to avoid any inconveniences. While in Uganda always sleep under a treated mosquito net which we’ll make sure the hotel/lodge we book you in has got.
What to Expect on the Gorilla Trekking Day
Your Team: Guides, Scouts, Trackers
Don’t forget to bring your passport with you as officials at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park office will need to verify your trekking permit against your identification. After a quick briefing on safety measures and what to expect during the day, you will be assigned to a group of a maximum of 8 people for your gorilla family search and visit.
Each Bwindi gorilla trekking safari group consists of a main guide and two scouts who carry AK-47 guns and walk before and after the group. You’ll be told that the reason for armed scouts is for protection in the forest against wild elephants or angry, unhabituated gorillas. The scouts are trained to fire shots into the air first in order to scare away the animals. We’ve never heard of anyone coming across these wild animals, but you should understand that the policy of the National Park is to be safe rather than sorry.
Your group will also have a pair of gorilla trackers who will have been sent out in the early morning (prior to your arrival in the park) to find the location of your specific gorilla family and to assess where they may be headed. Trackers communicate the gorilla’s movements to the guide so that he can decide on the best approach to meet the gorilla family.
- Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – A Traveller’s Guide
- Best Destination for a gorilla trek among Uganda Rwanda and DR Congo
- Uganda’s gorillas in the mist
- Bwindi Impenetrable forest Mountain gorillas’ habitats is shrinking
Trekking to Find the Gorillas
The length of your overall experience and the amount of time it will take to actually meet your gorilla family is said to vary widely. It may take as little as 30 minutes to find your family and as long as five to six hours.
The forest is lush, humid and damp and there are no discernible trekking paths. The terrain is full of hills and steep slopes where you will be required to pull yourself up steep jungle grades by grasping onto branches, plant roots, bushes and more. Follow the lead of the guide as to the best path and form to take.
If you need a break, let your Bwindi gorilla trekking safari guide know. The worst thing that can happen is if you overexert yourself or don’t hydrate enough and are forced to leave the park before you find the gorillas.
The moment with the Gorillas
Once your group finds the gorilla family the clock starts: you have an hour to spend with them.
Now is when you want to stay quiet, move slowly and avoid sudden movements. You’ll find that just sitting, enjoying being in the gorillas’ presence is the best experience.
It’s not a problem to look a gorilla in the eye, but if he begins charging you, hold your ground but lower your eyes to indicate that you do not want a confrontation. Photos and videos are fine, but no flash.
Ideally, you’ve found several gorillas together in a clearing on the ground. This provides you easy visibility and you can just sit and observe. In other situations the gorillas are up and moving around — in the trees, behind bushes, or walking around through dense brush. Follow the lead of the trackers and guides and stay close as they move around to find other gorillas.
The trackers will often clear the brush with their machete so you can get a clearer and closer look at the gorillas. It is incredible how graceful and peaceful these animals are, especially considering their incredible size. You’ll be amazed when you see the silverbacks (mature males) get up and move around.
Sustainability, Respect for the Gorillas
Gorilla trekking permits exist to limit the number of visitors and thereby reduce the stress on the gorillas. Our individual behaviors can also help to reduce the anxiety that our presence may effect, too. Give the gorillas the space they deserve.
Do not aggressively pursue them if it seems as though they are becoming annoyed and constantly moving to higher branches or behind bushes. Some of the most entertaining actions and displays (e.g., peeing or pooing on you from a tree, or chest beating) are usually an indication that a gorilla feels threatened. Good thing is, those displays are also a gorilla’s way of communicating “Keep your distance. You’d like to avoid resolving this with a fight.”
Some travelers may ask: Are mountain gorilla encounters sustainable and ultimately beneficial to the mountain gorillas? On one hand, the visits are clearly an invasion. Imagine a bunch of photographers coming into your home at approximately the same time every day. You might tire of it, no?
At the same time, to the extent that gorilla treks provide motivation to protect the gorillas and their habitat from encroaching land development and farms, it’s not only worthwhile — it may be the only thing keeping human beings from driving to extinction what few mountain gorillas remain.
With that in mind, respect the gorillas as the wild yet sentient creatures that they are.
As you stare into the eyes of a mountain gorilla you’ll likely feel a connection, one unlike you’ve ever experienced before. A connection of peering into the eyes of an exotic creature that looks and acts quite a bit like we humans do.
It’s a difficult feeling to articulate.