So, you have read or heard about how Gorilla trekking is such a once in a lifetime adventure and you have decided that you need to go on a Gorilla trek on your next holiday and now the question is where to go trekking with Gorillas?
The choice of where to go for your Gorilla trek will be determined or largely influenced by these three factors;
Specie of Gorillas to see:
Gorillas are divided into 4 types; the East Lowland gorillas found in the Democratic republic of Congo on the Eastern border with Rwanda, the Western lowland Gorillas found in Cameroon and Central African Republic, the Cross-river Gorillas and the Mountain Gorillas which are Found in Virunga National Park in Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda which possess the largest population.
That said, the two most preferred types of Gorillas for trekking are the Eastern lowland Gorillas found in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the giant Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
Time can be a big factor in choosing where to go for your Gorilla trek; this is because of the distances between the airports / cities and the parks where trekking takes place.
For those with limited time, a trek in Rwanda will be ideal because the distance between Kigali and Volcanoes National Park is short (3 hours drive) and thus, you can even do a 1 day Gorilla trek in Rwanda from Kigali.
It takes 8 to 9 hours of driving between Entebbe and Bwindi or Mgahinga where trekking takes place in Uganda and this is sometimes a turn-off for those with limited time. There are options however with daily domestic scheduled flights to Hihihi in Bwindi and Kisoro airstrip which is closest to Mgahinga National Park
The other option is to do Gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali. It takes 4 hours of driving between Bwindi and Kigali which makes it ideal to do the trek in Uganda while flying in and out of Kigali and the boarder crossing process is smooth especially with the introduction of the East African Tourist Visa which allows you multiple entries into both countries.
Unfortunately, mountain Gorilla trekking in Congo is currently indefinitely suspended. So, you can only visit Kahuzi-Biega National Park for the lowland Gorillas amidst tedious visa processes as well but we can help.
For every holiday or tour, budget is always the biggest consideration and thus will be a big factor when deciding on where to go trekking.
The cost of the permit to see Gorillas in Rwanda is $1,500; this is because the country has branded itself as a luxury destination with luxury lodging facilities and other amenities. The other reason is to limit the pressure on the park because Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the major activity for almost everyone visiting the country and it is a small park. So, the deterrent price is also a conservation measure.
The cost of the permit to see Gorillas in Uganda is $700 for foreign nonresident visitors, $600 for foreign residents and less than $100 for Ugandans and East African nationals for both Bwindi and Mgahinga Parks.
Visiting the Eastern lowland Gorillas in Congo costs $400 – the permit.
Other factors will include safety and security, altitude and fitness levels among others but all in all, the price / budget will be a big consideration.
To sum it up, if short on time and have the money, visit Rwanda
If your budget is limited, visit Uganda or Congo
If you’re short on both time and money, visit Uganda while flying in and out of Kigali.
With the above, I hope you are now better placed to decide on where to go for your next Gorilla trek. You can as well contact us if you need any assistance.