Experiential Gorilla Safari in Uganda

Experiential Gorilla Safari in Uganda

Overview | Highlights | Detailed Itinerary | Includes | Lodges



Conducted from nowhere else in the world except in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Southern Uganda, this Experiential Gorilla Safari is one of a kind Uganda safari is a highly thrilling package in which you take part in the process of habituating Mountain Gorillas to make them get used to the presence of human beings around them. This is a safari experience to leave you with memories of a lifetime and one that never allows you to remain the same!

Forest so thick you can’t see the person walking less than a meter in front of you, ground as slippery as ice and at a minimum angle of 30 degrees – this is where your gorilla tour begins! No other wildlife encounter in Africa matches the astounding experience of spending time face-to-face with wild mountain gorillas. Gorilla Trekking takes place in a handful of far-flung locations, adding a layer of exotic adventure to these safaris that is hard to match on any other itinerary. The fact that gorillas as a species are on the brink of extinction and treks are a highly restricted activity, encountering wild gorillas is considered a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

In this 3 Days Experiential Gorilla Safari in Uganda, you will have the experience of a lifetime watching at close range these majestic apes as they feed, play and relax.

Safari Highlights

  • The opportunity to accompany the researchers through areas of the park normally off-limits to tourists
  • Spending 4 hours with a family of semi-habituated Mountain Gorillas as they are taken through the process of making them get used to the presence of human beings around them.
  • Watching thrilling moments as the Mountain Gorillas and Golden monkeys respond to the simulation by the researchers in the process of habituation
  • Gaining insights into the habits, behaviour, security consciousness and survival mechanisms of these giant apes that have a lot in common with human beings
  • An opportunity to film and capture perfect photo shots of the habituation exercise
  • Getting the additional bonus of viewing several other wildlife in the parks visited for habituation and tracking experience
  • You can also make a valuable contribution to longstanding research projects as the data collected is used by the researchers to improve the tourism industry.

Activity Schedule

Day 1: Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Day 2: Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi
Day 3: Travel back to Entebbe for your departure flight

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Safari Itinerary

Day 1:  Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari - Budget Uganda Safari

We set off for an 8-9 hour drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the southwestern part of the country. You will have a stopover at the Equator where you will have an opportunity to stand in 2 hemispheres at the same time and take some photos. You will make another stopover for lunch en route before continuing with your journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park arriving in the evening. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.

  • Lower Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Travellers Rest Hotel Kisolo  / Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Silver Back Lodge / Lake Kitandara Camp / Chameleon Hill Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort.
  • Up market: Mahogany Springs Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Safari Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 2: Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

You will wake up early in the morning and head to the park headquarters to join other visitors for a briefing about the dos and don’ts while with Mountain gorillas on a habituation exercise. After the briefing, you will start your trek into the forest guided by researchers and guides to find a family of Gorillas under habituation. Unlike a normal Gorilla trek, this experience offers something far more intensive and educative as you will spend about 4 hours watching the moves of the Gorillas to see how they respond to the simulation by the researchers to make them get used to the presence of people around them. This exercise presents you with the opportunity to gain insights into their lifestyle, mannerisms and survival instincts and to film and capture perfect photo shots. The exercise is incredibly stupefying! You will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

  • Lower Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Travellers Rest Hotel Kisolo  / Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Silver Back Lodge / Lake Kitandara Camp / Chameleon Hill Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort.
  • Up market: Mahogany Springs Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Safari Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 3: Travel to Entebbe and Departure

You will have a relaxed breakfast and set off on a return journey to Kampala. You will have a stopover at the Equator where you will have an opportunity to stand in two hemispheres at the same time and take some photos. Arrive in Kampala in the late afternoon and either be transferred to the airport for your departure flight or to the hotel of your booking for dinner and overnight.

End of the Experiential Gorilla Safari in Uganda

Requirements for this Safari:

  • Uganda Visa (USD50) which can be paid on arrival at the Airport
  • Chimpanzee and Gorilla habituation permits (paid for in advance through our company)
  • Travel & Health insurance arranged for from your home country
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate
  • Physical fitness

The Safari package includes:

  • Accommodation as per the itinerary
  • 4WD safari vehicle with popup roof famous for off-the-beaten-track Big 5 Safaris
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Gorilla Habituation permit – US$1500 per person
  • Services of an English Speaking Driver/guide.
  • Community visit fees
  • Pickup and Return airport transfers

The Safari package excludes expenses of a personal nature such as:

  • Other drinks
  • Laundry
  • Tips to local guides
  • Telephone expenses
  • Porter fees while trekking Gorillas
  • Personal Insurance
  • Cigarettes


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What to Expect on the Experiential Gorilla Safari

For a great gorilla trekking experience,  you need to be fairly fit, equipped for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike, and in good health – gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses but don’t have our immunity, which means a common cold can be deadly to a whole family of gorillas and you won’t be permitted to trek if you are unwell. Even in the dry season, the rainforest is a challenging environment: it’s humid, wet and muddy with some steep slopes, plenty of insects and thick vegetation. It is worth the effort to spend time with gorillas in the wild, but be prepared to exert yourself on the trek.

Your professional gorilla guide and tracker leads you into the forest’s secret paths, looking for a habituated gorilla family. Once found, you’ll approach the gorillas quietly and settle down to observe them from between 7 and 10m (22 to 32 ft) away. You’ll spend between 40 minutes and an hour with the gorillas, watching the adults forage and groom each other while the babies tumble and play. You’ll be under the watchful gaze of the great silverback patriarch, whose soft brown eyes constantly sweep over his family protectively. Witnessing gorillas express typically human gestures and emotions is a truly profound experience and one of the reasons that gorilla trekking is such a life-changing encounter.

You’ll be asked to leave any personal items or bottled water you’re carrying with your porters and approach the gorillas with only your camera. You are not allowed to use a flash and it’s best to use a camera that doesn’t make loud clicks, whirring or other mechanical noises.

Quick links to gorilla trekking tips

When To Go – The best time to go on a Gorilla Safari in Uganda

Although a Uganda Gorilla Safari can be conducted all year round in the Virunga Mountains, due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest jungle in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting in the dry seasons where traversing the jungles is somewhat doable – and that is the months of June to September as well as from December up to February. You can visit Bwindi at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit prices.

Temperature & Weather

Up the mountain Forest in Bwindi could be very cold, especially in the morning & night. The annual mean temperatures range is 7°C to 20°C with the coldest months being June & July. Hence warm clothing is required, plus wet weather gear because Bwindi receives up to 2390mm of rain every year. This is centred on 2 wet seasons, short rains in March-May & heavy rainfall in the months of September-November. In Bwindi, rain often falls as long hours of soft drizzle, instead of the short tropical deluges. Our Tour Experts will help you prepare depending on the season.

Getting There

Bwindi is located in western Uganda approximately 9 hour drive from the Entebbe International airport. For the Experiential Gorilla Safari, you can choose to drive up to the destination and enjoy the scenic country views or you can take a chattered local flight from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip where you’ll pick up and drive approximately 1:45mins to Bwindi.

Bwindi has various gorilla families in different locations, be careful not to select the accommodation not close to the briefing point of the Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari.

The gorilla permit

The gorilla permit on the Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari is the second most important document next to your Visa and passport, The gorilla permit costs $700, and the gorilla habituation experience costs US$1500, a hefty sum but very much worth it. You should know that some of this money is used to take care of these creatures, help them repopulate and protect them from rampant poaching.

Acquiring a gorilla permit can be strenuous, especially in peak season. We would recommend buying them months in advance to avoid the long queues. The permit per person in most cases is included in the package price, so you’ll not need to hustle to acquire the document.

Once you have the gorilla permit and you’re guided into the jungle, prepare your emotions because seeing the mountain gorillas is guaranteed.

What To Wear on the Gorilla Safari.

Experiential Gorilla Safari gear guide: Good quality walking boots if trying any hikes or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude.

However, during the day, the sun is strong even when cloudy therefore always remember to carry and wear sunscreen as well as a sun hat. In addition, you may have to carry along waterproof bags to safeguard cameras plus additional equipment for the hike. Water plus snacks are additional recommended items plus a packed lunch for people doing full-day expeditions.

What else after the gorilla safari?

While in Uganda, besides visiting the mountain gorillas, you can take a game drive safari to Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo National Park and other interesting tourist areas that are worth checking out. Most tourists on African trips combine Tanzania safari adventures with gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda in addition to a safari in Kenya or Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking in Tanzania.

Where Else Can you see the Mountain Gorillas?

After your 3 Days Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari, a visit to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is a great opportunity to see the other half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world.

You can combine your Rwanda or Congo gorilla tour with climbing mount Nyiragongo. Most tourists who take on African safari holidays usually combine more countries in various destinations.

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Quick Safari Details

Number of people: Tailored

Leaves When: Any Day

Start/End: Entebbe, Uganda

Activities: Road Drive/Local Flight, Gorilla Trekking, Jungle Trek, Bird Watching

Destinations: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Price: Request a Quote

Best time to go: June to September and December up to February.

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