TOP 5 DESTINATIONS TO SEE GORILLAS IN AFRICA.
Gorilla encounters are the ultimate wildlife experience, whether they are mountain gorillas or Western lowland gorillas. It is really captivating to witness the pure beauty of the silverbacks, the toddlers’ fun, and their moms’ compassion. This leaves many trekkers asking themselves which country is the best for gorilla trekking.
Much as most of the travellers want to track mountain gorillas in Africa, there is always a debate about which country would offer excellent trekking experiences on a gorilla safari. They’re found in only three countries: Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Each of the countries offers a unique experience regarding the number of gorilla families, transportation to the starting point, terrain of the jungle among others which an enthusiast would not want to miss.
Choosing a destination for gorilla experiences depend on the client’s pockets and how much he or she is willing to spend throughout the entire safari and also the sense of adventure. Allow me take you through the top five destination you can option from beneath.
Within Uganda, the pearl of Africa, there are two amazing destinations where gorillas can be trekked from. These are the unbeatable,
- Bwindi Impenetrable national park, a home to majority of these amazing creatures and other wild life.. Within Bwindi, there are four different gorilla sectors of Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Buhoma where the 22 fully habituated gorilla families are trekked. It is therefore upon the trekker to choose s sector through advance booking.
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Nestled on the border between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a unique gorilla-tracking experience through its only Nyakagyezi gorilla family. The park’s location in the Virunga Mountains provides a stunning backdrop for your adventure. Here, you can witness the unique phenomenon of gorillas traversing international boundaries as they move between different forested habitats.
Also known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is the second best country where gorillas are trekked from. It protects the worlds most endangered primates on the slopes of the majestic Virunga mountain found between Uganda, Rwanda and DRC
- Volcanoes national park
Mountain gorillas are trekked only within Volcanoes national park which has over 12 fully habituated gorilla families that are found in different areas of the park. The park spans about 160 km2 of the rainforest having 5 of the 8.
- Virunga national park.
For the intrepid traveler seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience, Virunga National Park offers an incredible opportunity. Situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this park is not only home to mountain gorillas but also boasts diverse landscapes, including active volcanoes and vast savannas. The challenges of getting here are outweighed by the unmatched authenticity of the encounter. Your visit contributes directly to the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these endangered animals.
- Kahuzi Biega national park.
In the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo lies Kahuzi-Biega National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its lowland gorillas. These gorillas are distinct from their mountain-dwelling cousins, offering a different yet equally captivating experience. Exploring the lush forests and encountering these rare creatures is an extraordinary journey that provides valuable insights into the diversity of gorilla species.
Similarities between the gorilla destination countries.
Among all the nations of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, gorilla trekking is carried out all year round. The driest months lie between June – September and December – February. These are also the busiest months of trekking as the roads and trails are passable and dry.
However, low seasons/ wet months of March – May and October to November can also be used to trek the gorillas. So although the costs and less and the parks are less crowded, be ready to meet the slick roads and trails.
Gorilla trekking proceeds with a briefing about the activities dos and don’ts and then trekkers are led to the jungle to commence their search by a ranger guide.
Finding the gorillas in the jungle takes between 5- 8 hours depending on their movement, weather and the level of fitness of the trekker. The allocated time to see the gorillas, take videos and pictures is 1 hour.
The maximum number of people allowed to see the gorillas per group are 8. Trekking is also not allowed to the individuals below the age of 15 years.
Gorilla species: Within Uganda and Rwanda, the gorilla species trekked within the gorilla destinations are mountain gorillas. However, this is different in Congo as Eastern lowland gorillas are trekked.
Permit cost: Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs 700 USD, 1500 USD in Rwanda and 400 USD in Congo. This leaves Rwanda as the most expensive regarding the price of the permit, accommodation among others.
Africa’s gorilla destinations offer not just an opportunity to see these incredible creatures but also a chance to contribute to their conservation. The experiences are immersive, humbling, and transformative, leaving visitors with a deeper understanding of the fragile balance between humanity and the natural world. As you embark on your gorilla adventure, remember that responsible tourism and ethical practices are essential to preserving these magnificent creatures and their habitats for generations to come. Whether you choose Rwanda, Uganda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, your journey to witness gorillas in the wild will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.