Many African nationals ask what is required to go on a Gorilla trek from their mother countries and more so, South Africans keep wondering what it takes to organize gorilla tours from South Africa! This should not be difficult; South Africa is a well established and widely known destination for an African safari because of it’s infrastructure and wildlife numbers especially in Kruger National Park.
However, Gorilla trekking has come to the fore for many wildlife enthusiasts and safari lovers all over the world and it is top on the list of things to do in Africa among other primate adventures including Chimpanzee tracking and Golden monkey trekking which also rank highly after the Gorillas.
As such, both South Africans and foreign visitors to its parks find the need to organize gorilla tours from South Africa since there are no Gorillas in South Africa and Gorilla trekking takes place only in 3 East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo (DRC).
You need to first decide where to go for your Gorilla trek and this can be determined by the price of the permit, travel distances, flight costs, security and the required fitness levels among other factors. The cost of the permit for trekking in Uganda is $700 for both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park and Uganda possesses the highest number of mountain Gorillas in the world with more than half in Bwindi.
The Gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1,500 and $400 in Congo but trekking there is currently indefinitely suspended. You can however visit the lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park also at $400 each permit.
Apart from the difference in Gorilla permit prices, both Uganda and Rwanda are excellent destinations for Mountain Gorilla trekking. Both safe and secure with well-developed infrastructure in terms of roads and accommodation facilities. Uganda however has the friendliest people on the continent with a good command of the English language as well.
There are different carriers flying out of South Africa to Rwanda and Uganda including Uganda Airlines, RwandAir, Kenya Airways & South African Airways but direct flights to Kigali tend to be more expensive than flights to Entebbe.
The driving distance from Entebbe to Bwindi however is 8 hours and 9 hours to Mgahinga National Park as compared 3 hours from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and 5 hours to Virunga in Congo.
But it is also possible to do Gorilla trekking in Uganda while flying in and out of Kigali because the driving distance between Kigali and Bwindi or Mgahinga is 4 hours. So, you can either fly from South Africa to Entebbe, drive to Bwindi and fly out of Kigali instead of returning to Entebbe or vice-versa OR, Fly into Kigali, crossover to Bwindi or Mgahinga for your trek and drop off back in Kigali.
There are also scheduled daily domestic flights from Entebbe to Kisoro airstrip for Mgahinga National Park and the southern parts of Bwindi as well as Kihihi airstrip for the Northern parts of Bwindi to ease on the long driving hours.
There are South African companies which offer Gorilla trekking packages but the best way to oragnise gorilla tours from South Africa is to contact a local company like us at Gorilla Holidays and we will work with you to achieve your dream Gorilla trek.
We have firsthand knowledge of the destinations and local expertise to advise on what’s best for you and we have worked with many South Africans in recent past coming for Gorilla treks in Rwanda because of the discounted Gorilla permits offer which was luckily, extended up to December 2023.
We continue to offer affordable options for individuals, families and small groups giving personalized attention and delivering uniquely satisfying Gorilla trekking experiences, wildlife tours, cultural and primate adventures in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
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