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Gorilla trekking tours in Uganda

What is this safari about?

Uganda’s greatest tourist attraction is the mountain gorilla trekking safaris which take part in the south-west of the country. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas in existence. In addition, it is the only national park in the world where chimpanzees co-exist with mountain gorillas.

Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda can also take place at the little known Mgahinga National Park. However, we do not recommend this as highly as only one gorilla family is available for trekking and the group often crosses the border into Rwanda making them inaccessible.

To enjoy this experience, you must first obtain a gorilla permit which costs USD$700 per trek and is non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Once a gorilla trek is booked and scheduled it will go ahead regardless of the weather. The payment for the permits is often requested immediately so as to confirm the booking and avoid disappointment.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has 13 habituated gorilla groups that can be tracked by tourists. It is important to note is that a permit is specific to a certain group and day. In Uganda, a maximum of 8 tourists may visit a group of habituated gorillas per day. This is vital information because Bwindi has 6 different starting points from which to trek and ensuring that your permit matches your accommodation’s location is crucial. It is also important to book far in advance to avoid disappointment.

How does it work?

A tracker will go out at the morning’s first light to the place the gorilla family was seen settling down to sleep the previous night. They will begin to track the gorillas whilst you are getting a full briefing at the trek starting point. Upon finding the gorillas, the trackers will radio their location to your guides. The guides will then decide whether to walk from the starting point or to drive a short distance and then start to trek.

You then set out on foot directly to the location of the tracker who remains in constant radio communication. Your group will spend exactly 1 hour with the gorilla group once you find them, after which you will trek back to the starting point/vehicles. You should be ready for this activity to take up most of the day. We recommend that you ask your accommodation to provide a packed lunch.

Ngoni safaris Clients Carrying out Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi.

Things you need to know:

Mountain gorilla trekking is a very strenuous activity, due to the nature of the gorilla’s habitat and the terrain (they are mountain gorillas after all!). Although each trek varies greatly from day-to-day and from one gorilla to another you should prepare for 4-5 hours of trekking up and down valleys on slippery ground and through dense vegetation. You must be fit, healthy (with no contagious diseases) and well prepared for the experience or they might refuse for you to take part.

There is a porter service available where you can have a porter carry your gear for about USD$15, doing this does support local community members by providing employment. The porters are also happy to assist you over difficult terrain which is a great help. These porters are particularly useful for photographers with camera gear.

Make sure you bring comfortable hiking shoes, suitable for steep muddy slopes, a packed lunch and enough drinking water, rain gear, sunscreen, hats, insect repellent and a small backpack. For camera gear, ensure the sounds are off and no flash photography is permitted. Bring some cash with you for tipping, porter payments and souvenirs.

Ngoni safaris team ready for gorilla trekking..

Who can go?

  • Children 15 and above only
  • Trek participants must be fit for the hike.
  • Trek participants must not be displaying any signs of a cold or flu in order to protect the Gorillas from human-borne illness.

Why is this special?

  • The chance to see some of the under 1,000 mountain gorillas alive today.
  • Enjoy hiking through the beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
  • Observing mountain gorillas in the wild for an hour.
  • The great sense of accomplishment and awe you will feel.
  • Making a difference as funds from trekking actively contribute to mountain gorilla protection.

Where is this?

In south-western Uganda. The majority of trekking takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and there is a second smaller population of mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National Park.

Access is either by flight to Entebbe in Uganda or by flight to Kigali in Rwanda followed by a cross-border road transfer

What should I expect to pay?

Currently, a gorilla trekking permit costs USD$700 per person per trek. In comparison, Rwanda is USD$1500 per person per trek, so you can effectively trek twice in Uganda for the same price as once in Rwanda. Accommodation in the area varies greatly from under $100 per person per night to around $800 per person per night for high-end luxury lodges.

What Extensions do you recommend?

  • A safari in Tanzania or Kenya before or after the trekking works wonderfully.
  • Alternatively, include some chimpanzee trekking and visits to other parks in Uganda such as the nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park.
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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .
 
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