What You Need To Know When Planning For A Gorilla Trekking Safari.

By Daudi Mutalya Balye – Chief Exploring Officer Buutu Safaris

Gorilla Trekking is a thrilling and once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most magnificent creatures – the mountain gorillas. Found in the dense forests of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, these gentle giants are critically endangered and only a limited number of permits are issued per day to ensure their conservation. 

Choosing the right safari operator: When planning a gorilla trekking safari, it is crucial to select a reliable and experienced safari operator. Look for operators with a good track record in organising wildlife safaris, particularly gorilla treks. They should have knowledgeable guides, good reviews from previous clients, and prioritise the safety and well-being of the gorillas and tourists alike. Uganda: The Pearl of Africa- Uganda is a popular destination for gorilla trekking, offering a unique opportunity to explore the lush Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This park is home to almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, making it the best place to encounter these majestic creatures. In addition to the gorillas, Bwindi is teeming with other wildlife, including over 120 mammal species and over 350 bird species. Rwanda: Land of a Thousand Hills Rwanda is another excellent destination for gorilla trekking, with Volcanoes National Park being the main attraction. This park is famous for its breathtaking landscape and its population of habituated mountain gorillas. Trekking through the misty forests of Volcanoes National Park is an awe-inspiring experience that offers a chance to witness the gorillas in their natural habitat. The Democratic Republic of Congo: An Adventure in the Wild For the more adventurous traveller, the Democratic Republic of Congo provides an off-the-beaten-path gorilla trekking experience. Virunga National Park is home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas and offers a chance to explore one of Africa’s most biodiverse regions. While trekking in Congo can be challenging, it rewards visitors with stunning scenery and a truly authentic experience in the wild. 

Booking a Permit to partake in a gorilla trekking safari:

It is essential to book a permit in advance. Due to conservation efforts, permits are limited and sell out quickly, especially during peak seasons. It is advisable to book your permit several months in advance to secure your spot and avoid disappointment. The permits are often quite expensive, but the funds generated from them go towards gorilla conservation efforts. 

Guidelines for a Successful Trek:Gorilla trekking requires physical fitness and a sense of adventure. You will be walking through dense forests and uneven terrains, so it is vital to be prepared with appropriate hiking gear. Remember to bring sturdy hiking boots, long pants, waterproof clothing, and insect repellent. Additionally, respect the gorillas’ space and follow the guidelines provided by your tour guide to ensure their well-being and minimise the impact on their natural habitat. Conclusion Gorilla trekking is an extraordinary experience that offers a unique insight into the world of these gentle giants. Whether you choose Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo as your destination, the opportunity to see mountain gorillas up close will leave a lasting impression. Remember to plan ahead, choose a reputable safari operator such as Buutu Safaris, and respect the gorillas and their environment. Start planning your gorilla trekking adventure today and embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa’s forests. Choose the Right Destination When it comes to gorilla trekking, there are three main destinations to choose from: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each offers a unique experience, but all provide an opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Uganda, known as the “Pearl of Africa,” is home to the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This lush rainforest is home to nearly half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. Trekking in Uganda offers a chance to not only see gorillas but also discover other incredible wildlife and stunning landscapes. Rwanda, often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” is known for its beautiful Volcanoes National Park. Here, visitors can engage in an unforgettable gorilla trekking experience. The park is easily accessible from the capital city of Kigali, making it a convenient choice for travellers with limited time. For the more adventurous traveller, the Democratic Republic of Congo provides an off-the-beaten-path gorilla trekking experience. Virunga National Park is home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas and offers a chance to explore one of Africa’s most biodiverse regions. While trekking in Congo can be challenging