Gorilla Safaris

Gorilla Safaris: Gorilla trekking is the most popular Uganda safari activity for all types of travelers. This is rightfully so because getting to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is truly a rare experience. Gorilla trekking is the single most profitable tourism activity in Uganda.

The topic of gorilla trekking safaris is a wide and in-depth one. With this article, we are going to give you all the ‘ingredients’ that can make your gorilla safari enjoyable. Information is powerful and we’ll give you all the information that we have learnt from our long years of experience organizing trips to see mountain gorillas.

As this is a long piece, we have organized it in such a way that you don’t have to read everything from top to bottom. Our various titles will guide you to the parts you want most. Each of the different parts (of this article) will have some links to other internal content that is relevant for that information. This is because some of those topics have already been explored in detail.

We shall look at topics regarding where you will find gorillas, how much it costs to track gorillas, what are some conditions to seeing the gorillas, what should you pack, how you get to their habitat in the rain forests, and what other things are usually added to complement the entire experience.

Without taking more time, let’s start with where you can find the mountain gorillas.

Where to see mountain gorillas

One of the major reason why seeing gorillas is regarded as a bucket list wildlife experience is because of the fact that they are endangered and are only found in a single region of the world. This is a big conservation challenge to one of our closest animal relatives.

You can do gorilla trekking only in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. With Uganda having the biggest population of gorillas and fairly priced rates, it is the most favourable place for you to do gorilla trekking.

As Exclusive African Safaris, we operate gorilla safaris only in Uganda and Rwanda. This is because of the uncertain security conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Uganda, gorilla trekking happens in the 2 National Parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga – which are located in the southwestern part of Uganda. In Rwanda, you will do gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. Here is a more detailed article about where gorillas live and their natural habitat.

Depending on how ‘tough’ you want the trek to be, our team organises your trip to an area of the park that will match what you want. Generally speaking, gorilla trekking is not a walk in the park, and even the simpler routes are tough enough to make you lose your breath during the trek.

Another important factor that affects the exact location of your tracking is the availability of permits. This is because there is a limited number of permits for each sector of the parks. Only 8 people are allowed to visit a gorilla family in a day. This should no be a problem because we find it a great practice to buy your gorilla tracking permit in advance.


Another important part about taking a gorilla safari is the money. The real price of your gorilla safari depends on the various components that make up a gorilla tracking safari.

The prices of a gorilla trekking holiday consist of transport, accommodation, charges for other related fares and activities. The safari quote usually doesn’t include your international flight, visa fees or any extra cash you use while on safari. For you, this means you have to factor all of that in as well.

Of all the prices involved, only the price of a gorilla permit has a fixed figure. All the others are very flexible and can depend on your personal preference and budget.

Here is a detailed article that will inform you of everything about gorilla permits. The other factors affecting the price are each individually looked at below.


Moving to where the gorillas live is the only way you can be able to physically encounter them. This raises the question of how you would get there.

Given that gorilla trekking is a popular activity, infrastructure has been built to help you easily reach either Bwindi or Mgahinga National Parks for gorilla trekking.

First and foremost, this rely on where you are starting your journey from. Most Uganda gorilla safaris start from either Kigali in Rwanda or Entebbe in Uganda. Of course the distance determines the transport costs.

For people in Entebbe/Kampala there is an extra option of using a domestic airline and flying to Bwindi or Mghaning. This is also possible if you are in other National Parks of Uganda where the same domestic flights go regulary.

The most popular (and budget friendly) way is to use the roads. On the road, the type of car, distance and number of occupants affect the price. The details of these are usually unclear untill the final details of each trip because group size and distance also determine the type of the car. You see how transport isn’t a one figure item of your safari.


Where you will stay is yet another important consideration of your holiday. Most lodges and hotels can be categorized as Budget, midrange or High-end based their services and how they charge for those services.

After many years of working with most of the hotels and lodges in Bwindi and Mgahinga, we can easily determine what will suit your needs and budget. It goes without saying that a budget lodge is cheaper than a high-end alternative, and even the service level is different.

Whatever kind of lodge you opt for, we usually suggest the ones we have used and can trust their promise of serviving you well. Again as we already established, this is an item with flexible prices and you should be aware of how it affects your gorilla tracking safari.

Extra Cash

While the Tour company makes all the arrangements for your accommodation, transport, meals and entry and permits to various places, you still need some cash on you. How much cash do you need for a safari? Well, that depends – on your cash habits.

The extra cash is useful for tipping and gratuities, buying souvenirs, and the few little spoils here and there. As you see, this one depends on what you will want to buy or spend on and how much. Here is a simple article that actually looks at carrying money on safari and all the related details of that.

As you look at your safari program, go the part which indicates what items aren’t inclusive of your itinerary. Those are the ones for which carrying extra cash is needed.

Trekking Eligibility

While you might want to have your personal encounter with mountain gorillas, it is important to know whether the option is possible for you. Yes, not everyone can get to see the gorillas. It’s sad but its true.

The first limiting requirement is that for any person to do gorilla trekking, they must be atleast 15 years and older. Of course this is a downer for family vacations with younger children who would have had the chance to see these gentle giants.

The other requirements are about one’s health and fitness. This is because gorilla tracking is very strenunous and is really not a walk in the park. Additionally gorillas can catch human diseases, so anyone with communicable diseases like flu cannot be allowed.

It is important that you read this article about gorilla trekking elegibility so that you will be able to fully understand why such restrictions are present, what purpose they serve and why they are strictly implemented.


Packing the right things is the easiest way to avoid ruining your trip – all by yourself. But as someone who [maybe] hasn’t done gorilla trekking before, it is expected that you will wonder what to pack (and what to not bother with).

There is the obvious thing to pack such as your passports, phone, sunglasses and camera. You must also pack for the weather, the terrain (steep slopes), the tropical sun and so much more.

Both Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks – where you will see mountain gorillas, are located far from the nearest towns and those towns are small enough to not have a lot of things. Being in the rain forest, means that even on the sunniest of day, it could rain heavy enough to drench everyone in minutes and preparing for this is essential.

Among the things to pack are long sleeved shirts, pants, a light rain jacket, sunscreen, sturdy walking/hiking boots, your regular medication and a camera for pictures.

The entire list of the things we recommend for you to carry is massive. Massive enough to have a whole article about it. Take a look at our recommended gorilla trekking packing list with details on why each of the items are important.

Other activities

It is very rare that someone will only participate in gorilla trekking only. While that is possible, most interests overlap with others and therefore gorilla safaris are usually paired up with other activities.

Among the many activities that are often planned along with seeing gorillas are;

  • Wildlife safaris in other Uganda national parks such as Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo (which are located near gorillas).
  • Community visits to the local communities that stay near Bwindi Impenetrable or Mgahinga National Park. These local communities have a rich cultural and play an important role in the conservation and protection of mountain gorillas.
  • Bird watching. Besides gorillas, Bwindi and Mgahinga are also rich with birds and you will see many of them along you gorilla trek. Avid bird watchers usually stay extra days in Bwindi to enjoy the sounds and sights of the birds.
  • White water rafting. White water rafting on the Nile happens in Jinja. After returning from the gorilla trek, it is usually interesting to try another of Uganda’s ‘only in Uganda’ activities. And that is white water rafting on the Nile.
  • When all is said, you can really combine your gorilla trekking with many other activities that are of interest to you. It is up to you what else you choose to add as a compliment to your seeing of endangered mountain gorillas.


This article shares an overview of what gorilla trekking safaris are. By highlighting all the various components of the gorilla safari, you now have an idea of the following. Where you will see mountain gorillas, how you will get there, how you will stay there, how much it will cost you to see the gorillas as well as other related activities you can enjoy on your adventure.

You also have some few gorilla tracking safari itineraries that thousands of our visitors have already gone on – and enjoyed. If these recommended trips don’t ‘do it for your’, just ask us to make for you your personal tour program.

Finally, we would like to extend our gratitude. Thank you for sparing a moment of your valuable time to read. We hope you found this information helpful. Feel free to talk to us about any farther queries you might have, and we shall be happy to help.

Who We Are

Exclusive African Safaris Ltd is a Uganda-based company with 15+ years of experience creating great holidays in Uganda and Rwanda.We know what it takes to meet and exceed your expectations.

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Exclusive African Safaris Ltd

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Mulawa – Kira, Wakiso – Uganda

+256 772 887 484

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