The shortest gorilla safari in Uganda is 3 day gorilla tour starting from Entebbe or you can do 3 day Gorilla safari from Kigali Rwanda. Either way the feeling you get after meeting the mountain gorillas is unmatched. If you want to make a short safari stopover to see the mountain gorillas, you can consider this 3 day Uganda gorilla tour.
In Uganda, gorilla tours are done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. You can do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience but you must secure the gorilla permit first. Uganda currently has 152 gorilla trekking permits and two gorilla habituation experience permit opened to the public each day.
You need to plan this gorilla safari upfront because securing the gorilla permit is number one consideration. Securing accommodation where to spend the nights during a gorilla safari is top priority. Transport means to the gorilla safari destination must be in plan too. ENQUIRE NOW
Summarized three day Uganda gorilla safari
Day one: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park
Day Two: Gorilla trekking or Gorilla Habituation experience
Day three: Departure after gorilla safari
You may choose to do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience
Gorilla trekking is a Uganda safari adventure where tourists search for a fully habituated gorilla family to have one hour in there presence. One hour is considered for conservation reasons as the mountain gorillas are distracted by human presence. They need to feed, groom infants, procreate, give birth and so much more but humans’ over stay may be an obstacle.
Maximum 8 trekkers per day per family are accepted.
What is gorilla habituation experience in Uganda?
Gorilla habituation experience is a safari where maximum 4 tourists follow a team of trackers and researchers to spend four hours with a semi-habituated gorilla family. At the moment, only two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation experience. During gorilla habituation experience, you may take part in observing, collecting samples, naming the mountain gorillas and so much more as instructed by the research team.
Detailed three day Uganda Gorilla Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Drive To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Or Mgahinga National Park
From Kampala or Entebbe airport, your driver guide picks you and heads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. The voyage is awesome as you may make interesting stops like at the Equator to perform the water experiment and take photos, visit Mpambire drum village, detour to Lake Mburo National Park and others depending on available time.
The drive time from Kampala or Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 hours to 9 hours. You need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle because of the nature of the terrain of this area.
Alternatively, you may do Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park route where you get into Uganda from Rwanda via Gatuna or Cyanika border. The journey takes about 5 hour to 6 hours passing Kabale to Kisoro then to Bwindi or Mgahinga national Park.
On arrival check in to your lodge:
Note: when your gorilla permit is booked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, put into consideration the area where the permit is booked as this is where you need to book your accommodation that is buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga area. Overnighting within or closer to where your Bwindi gorilla permit is booked saves you from having to drive in the dark in order to catch up with briefing in another area.
Gather at the ranger station early morning with other tourists. Don’t forget to carry your gorilla safari gears and wear the right safari clothes that are wilderness friendly. Take note that gorilla trekking has one hour with the mountain gorillas while gorilla habituation experience is for four hours with the mountain gorillas.
After briefing, you are distributed into groups of maximum 8 tourists to visit the gorilla trekking families. or maximum 4 tourists to visit gorilla habituation families. Before starting the gorilla safari adventure, you may hire a porter to help you carry your gorilla safari gears at a friendly cost.
Time of meeting the mountain gorillas is hard to determine as this is based on the proximity of there feeding area, in case of a fight with another gorilla family, death of a gorilla family member, fitness level of other trekkers and others. Having an open mind to enjoy other interesting features like sparkling water falls, a plethora of birds including Albertine rift endemics, different natural trees keeps you busy and not focused on seeing the mountain gorillas.
When you finally find the mountain gorillas, follow the instructions given at briefing time so that not to agitate the very conscience mountain gorillas. Taking photographs without flashlight as mountain gorillas are very sensitive to new occurrence in there vicinity.
Slowly retreat back to your lodge to relax.
Day three: Departure day after gorilla safari
After fulfilling your dream gorilla safari, you can depart for Entebbe airport to catch up you flight back home or carry on with to your final Africa safari destination.
Why Book Uganda Gorilla safari?
Uganda has many mountain gorillas
The Uganda gorilla safari gives you chance so see a number of mountain gorillas. Uganda currently hosts the biggest number of mountain gorillas. According to the recent gorilla population census which shows that about 1000 mountain gorillas area living in the world, about half this number lives in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are the Uganda homes for the mountain gorillas. At the moment Uganda has 19 fully habituated gorilla families and two gorilla habituation experience families.
Cost of Uganda gorilla permit
The Uganda gorilla permits currently costs $700 per person for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East African. This costs includes ranger guide fees, security, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, government tax, one hour with the mountain gorillas and others.
The costs of gorilla habituation experience permit is currently $1500 per person for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and 750000shs for East African residents. This cost of gorilla habituation permits includes researcher fees, ranger guide fees, security, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, government tax
The cost of Uganda gorilla permits is cheaper compared to her counterpart Rwanda whose gorilla Permits Costs Is $1500 Per Person Per Trek.
Additional Optional Activities To Combine With Gorilla Safari
Uganda has a variety of optional safari activities to combine with gorilla safaris that is chimpanzee trekking, game drives, boat trips, white water rafting, cultural experiences, golden monkeys trekking, visit the source of river Nile, scenic viewing, birding in Uganda, Nature walks, mountaineering and much more.
You need to organize an itinerary that covers all the activities in Uganda according to your needs. Together with our safari consultants we can tailor a gorilla safari itinerary to soot your needs.
Uganda’s position in East Africa
Uganda is may be land locked but shares borders with some of the top most safari destinations in East Africa like Kenya, in the East where there is Masai Mara Game reserve and Tanzania with Serengeti National Park.
To get to Kenya or Tanzania from Uganda for a safari, you can use road or air transport but you may use the East Africa visa which allows you entry into two East African countries. You can do gorilla safari in Uganda and continue with the wildebeest migration safari in Tanzania or Kenya.
Gorilla safaris in Uganda are open all year but the dry season is top priority to all tourists this is normally June, July, August, September, December and January. In this season, the mountain gorillas are full of life and so are other forest dwellers. The trails in the forest are more passable because there is less vegetation protruding to cover the way. Even the dense network of rivers flows in its normal course during the dry season.
Note that the demand for gorilla permits is high in the dry season yet supply is limited to maximum 8 per gorilla trekking family or 4 permits per gorilla habituation family. Most of the service providers like accommodation, vehicle hire, safari guides are on high demand too so charges get hire as peak season draw closer.
In case you wish to include additional activities to your gorilla safari, the dry season brings out the best of your experience and wildlife photos.
In the wet season chances of walking solo to find the mountain gorillas are higher. The wet season is normally March, April, May and November. Since there are more rains falling, most of the gorillas and other forest dwellers seem to be inactive. Last minute gorilla permits may be available in the low season which normally serves as the wet season.
If you have a limited budget but want better treatment on safari, the low season would be the best season. Sometimes you may qualify for discounts on services even from higher grade service providers.
How long does Uganda Gorilla Safari Take?
On the day of gorilla safari, the time of finding the mountain gorillas is hard to detect. This varies with where the mountain gorillas may be spending the day. Sometimes the tourists have found the mountain gorillas in 2 hours while others have spent more time. Finding the mountain gorillas in the wilderness may depend on factors like:
The location of the mountain gorilla feeding ground, in case of a fight with another gorilla family, loss of a gorilla family member, if the gorilla family is adventurous, pace of other tourists and so much more.
Consider having some patience while you trek to find the mountain gorillas because they are free animals that meander through the forest without anything stopping them. instead of getting bored and tired searching for the mountain gorillas, look out for other interesting wild animals like olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white monkeys, blue monkeys to mention but a few.
What can I Pack For gorilla safari in Uganda
Packing necessary but light for a gorilla safari in Uganda is one of the considerations you must make as you plan for your gorilla safari.
Safari boots that are comfortable enough to help you walk through the dense forest
Long sleeved shirt and trousers in wilderness friendly colors except those that may attract stinging insects like blue, white, black that attract tsetse flies. Camouflage is forbidden in Uganda because this is military wear.
Safari hat which covers you from water that drips off the trees.
Garden gloves to save your palms from getting hurt when you tripe and fall.
Insect repellant to keep away biting insects in the jungle
A camera to take photographs with as memory reminder
Extra hard cash that you may change into local currency in case you need to do on ground purchases
Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one runs low
Some warmers as it tends to get cold early morning or afternoon.
What are the rules of Gorilla safari in Uganda
In case you have a communicable infection before the gorilla safari, volunteer to stay behind or you may pass an infection to the vulnerable mountain gorillas
Keep low voices while you trek to find the mountain gorillas and while with them. They get to see you before you spot them.
When you find the mountain gorillas, leave a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas upon finding them.
Upon finding the mountain gorillas, you have just one hour with them for gorilla trekking and four hours with them for gorilla habituation experience.
Feeding the mountain gorillas is forbidden
Provoking or mimicking the mountain gorillas is forbidden
When eating keep a distance of about 200 meters from the mountain gorillas. They are wild animals that must not depend on human provision.