Best Place to See Gorillas in Africa: Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
Welcome to the official section of Rwanda gorilla trek guiding you on how to book a gorilla permit, places for Gorilla Safari, Africa gorilla permit, Where To Go, What To See, Reviews, Gorilla trekking safaris, Cost for an ultimate safari in Rwanda, Uganda Safari or Congo Safari on a gorilla safari adventure with Active African Vacations, the most reliable safari company offering African Safaris to visit mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park, Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes national park & Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
With only around 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, seeing them in the wild is something only a few people will ever have the chance to experience. This section will tell you where you can see mountain gorillas, where to stay, how much it costs, and help you choose the best safari company to go with.
What species of Gorillas are found in Africa.
Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. These Gorillas are divided into two species of the Eastern Gorillas and the western Lowland gorillas which are both critically endangered. Gorillas are the largest living primates and the DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of humans, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos.
Gorillas’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 meters (7,200–14,100 ft). Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.
Democratic republic of congo is the only country in the world that hosts Eastern Lowland gorillas and all the congo safaris for lowland gorilla trekking offered by Rwanda gorilla trek will lead you to Kahuzi Biega National Park in eastern Bukavu city.
Where to See the Mountain Gorillas in Africa
About 400 mountain gorillas inhabit an extinct volcanic region called the Virunga Range along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in East Africa. The other 400 mountain gorillas inhabit a nearby area of Bwindi in Uganda, a thick rain forest, Check on the list of four national parks where to see the gorillas in Africa while on a gorilla safari with Rwanda Gorilla Trek.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Parks
Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate, its known as the pearl of african with the fact that its among the top tourist destination in East africa .
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.
Known national parks for Gorilla trekking safaris as habitat destination for Mountain gorillas include the Mgahinga National Park with in the virunga Mountains, and the second being Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park that is outside the Virunga Mountains.
When it comes to Uganda Safaris, gorilla trekking ranks among the top includes on all Uganda safari holidays designed by Active African Vacations limited.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park is listed under World Heritage site , situated on the extreme southwest corner of Uganda on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. It borders the DRC and Rwanda. Mgahinga gorilla national park is the smallest National park of the 3 national parks in the Virunga conservation area the other two parks are Virunga National park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and all form 434-sq.km of this conservation area.
The park only covers 28 square miles so it’s quite small, but besides gorillas you can also see leopard, buffalo, bush buck and golden monkeys and its mostly known for the gorillas & Golden Monkey tracking experience with some cultural experience.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient montane rainforest that’s a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is located in the North of the country encompassing its share of the mountain gorilla population: the Virunga National Park or Parc National des Volcano (PNV). The park covers an area of about 46 square miles and encompasses six volcanoes. Despite the terrible genocide in the early 1990’s the country is fairly stable and the park permit system is running smoothly. The PNV was where Dian Fossey set up her base and research center. Tracking gorillas in the PNV is slightly less strenuous than at Bwindi since the gorillas move around a little less. The more open terrain also allows more light for better photo opportunities than in Bwindi. Check out my gorilla tracking experience in Rwanda.
When Planning for a Rwanda Safari, your advised to include gorilla trekking, golden monkey , chimpanzee tracking & wildlife experience to visit the big five in akagera national park.
Congo’s Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park
The rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo contain great biodiversity, including many rare and endemic species, such as the common chimpanzee and the bonobo, the African forest elephant, the mountain gorilla, the okapi and the white rhino. Five of the country’s national parks are listed as World Heritage Sites: the Garumba, Kahuzi-Biega, Salonga and Virunga National Parks, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most bio diverse African country.
The DRC also has a section of the Virunga Mountains Park called the Parc National des Virunga. The DRC gorilla population suffered a major setback because several gorillas were brutally hacked to death in 2007. To find out how the game rangers are handling the situation and the difficulties they face, read their blogs. In 2012 a census showed the gorillas were doing better than expected despite the civil war raging around them in large part due to the amazing efforts of rangers putting their lives on the line at Virunga National Park.
Prefect fit for congo Safari, enjoy gorilla trekking for both the mountain gorillas, Eastern lowland, viewing the okapi, chimpanzee, Nyiragongo Volcano hike, white rhino in the wild of dr congo.
Other Travel Facts about Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Other facts include the gorilla permit, gorilla booking , safari planning , gorilla families & groups in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of congo for Mountain Gorillas , Eastern lowland gorillas.
How to Book Gorilla Permits, Gorilla Costs & Safari Planning
Planning for a gorilla safari in Africa irrespective of being Uganda Safari, Rwanda Safari or Congo Safari you will be required to book a gorilla permit in advance as its sold on first come first serve basis . Right away from the start when booking for a gorilla safari, begin by asking the availability of the gorilla permit for the particular date of your travel to avoid being disappointed on the gorilla permit availability that may require you to change to cost gorilla trekking date.
In Rwanda, the gorilla trekking safaris will lead you to volcanoes national park , gorilla permits in Rwanda costs USD 1500 Irrespective of the Nationality and the time of travel unless your visiting all the three national parks of Rwanda to qualify for discount. The official body selling gorilla permits in rwanda is Rwanda development board, Book a Gorilla permit to help you visit Volcanoes national park.
In Uganda, Gorilla trekking in Uganda will require you to secure the gorilla trekking permit that is sold by Uganda wildlife Authority , gorilla trekking to either in Bwindi or Mgahinga will cost of USD 600 during the peak season, in low season a permit costs $450 to track gorillas during the months March – May and October – November. You can get the permits in Kampala (the capital of Uganda) at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters.
It is possible to make an international booking for permits using email direct with UWA but they do not accept credit cards so it gets a bit complicated. See their web site for more details. To make it simple, you can just purchase your whole gorilla tour through a specialized company, like Gorilla Trekking or Volcanoes Safaris.
In DR congo you can get permits through the Virunga Tourism Board offices/ Kahuzi Biega Tourism Office (ORTPN) in Bukavu or Goma. The congo gorilla permits cost USD 400 per person per day irrespective of being Kahuzi Biega national park for lowland gorilla watching or Virunga national park for mountain gorilla trekking . Most people will get their congo gorilla permits through a tour operator that specializes congo safaris while planning congo gorilla trekking .
Gorilla trekking safaris and General Health Rules.
When you have booked a gorilla safari to africa either the mountain gorillas or eastern lowland gorillas , cross check with the gorilla trekking rules and regulations to enable the conservation of these apes and primates in their rain forests.
En route to trekking the gorillas
- Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great bird life and other wildlife in the forest.
- DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest on your gorilla safari should be carried back out with you.
- You will be taken to where the guides have observed the Mountain Gorillas the day before. From there you will follow the gorilla’s trail. Look out for the gorillas’ nesting sites along the way!
- As you approach the mountain gorillas, the guides will alert you.
When you are with the gorillas
- A 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas should be observed at all times. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
- You must stay in a tight group when you are near the gorillas.
- Keep your voices down at all times but feel free to ask your ranger guide questions.
- Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking will inevitably increase the risk of morsels of food or droplets of drink being left behind. Even the tiniest leftovers could increase the risk of transmission of disease to the gorillas.
- Move slowly and carefully. Do not point or wave your arms.
- Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
- Occasionally the gorillas charge. Don’t panic. Follow your ranger guide’s example: crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes; wait for the animals to pass. Do not attempt to run away.
- Your subjects are black animals in dim light so use the right camera settings. Flash photography is not permitted under any circumstances.
- The maximum time you can spend with these wonderful animals is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide may decide to finish the visit early. This is for your safety and for the safety of the gorillas.
- After the visit, you are bound to be excited! but please keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.