How to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

How to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda: A Memorable Wildlife Adventure. Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience that allows you to get up close and personal with endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Uganda and Rwanda are two of the best destinations in the world for gorilla trekking. In this guide, we will explore the steps and preparations needed to embark on this incredible journey in both countries.

Selecting the Destination: Uganda or Rwanda

Before you start planning your gorilla trekking adventure, you need to decide whether you want to visit Uganda or Rwanda. Both countries offer exceptional gorilla trekking experiences, but there are some differences to consider.

Uganda: The Pearl of Africa

Uganda’s Gorilla Trekking Destinations

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  2. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Uganda’s Unique Selling Points

– Diversity of Habitats: Apart from gorillas, Uganda’s national parks offer a wide range of habitats and wildlife, including chimpanzees, tree-climbing lions, and diverse bird species.

– Cultural Encounters: In addition to the wildlife, Uganda’s cultural diversity is captivating, with various tribes living harmoniously across the country.

– Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures: Uganda allows you to explore less crowded areas and off-the-beaten-path destinations for a more intimate experience with nature.

Rwanda: The Land of a Thousand Hills

Rwanda’s Gorilla Trekking Destination

  1. Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda’s Unique Selling Points

– Ease of Access: Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is easily accessible from the capital city, Kigali, making it convenient for travelers with limited time.

– Sustainable Tourism: Rwanda is renowned for its commitment to sustainable tourism practices and conservation efforts.

– Beautiful Landscapes: Known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda boasts stunning scenery and a lush green landscape.

Obtaining Permits and Booking

Uganda: Securing Gorilla Permits

Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Due to limited availability and high demand, it’s essential to book your permit well in advance.

Rwanda: Acquiring Gorilla Permits

In Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). As with Uganda, it is crucial to book your permit early, especially during peak seasons.

Packing Essentials

Clothing and Gear

Both Uganda and Rwanda have varied climates, so it’s essential to pack appropriate clothing and gear for your gorilla trekking adventure.

Some of the essentials to pack on a gorilla safari

Essential Items

  1. Sturdy Hiking Boots: Comfortable and supportive footwear is crucial for trekking through dense forests and rugged terrains.
  2. Lightweight Rain Jacket: Be prepared for sudden downpours, as rain is common in the gorillas’ habitats.
  3. Long-Sleeved Shirts and Trousers: To protect against insects and vegetation.
  4. Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is essential during the trek.
  5. Camera and Binoculars: Capture the magical moments and observe wildlife from a distance.

Health Precautions

Vaccinations and Medical Requirements

Before traveling to Uganda or Rwanda, check with your doctor or travel clinic for required and recommended vaccinations. Yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for both countries.

Altitude and Fitness

Gorilla trekking often involves trekking at higher altitudes. Being physically fit will enhance your experience and make the trek more enjoyable.

Respect the Gorillas and Their Habitat

Gorilla Trekking Etiquette

  1. Keep a Safe Distance: Maintain a distance of at least 7 meters (21 feet) from the gorillas to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
  2. No Flash Photography: Flash photography can startle the gorillas, so avoid using flash while taking pictures.
  3. Limit Group Size: Each gorilla group visit is limited to a small number of visitors to minimize disturbances.

Responsible Tourism

Community Involvement and Conservation

Both Uganda and Rwanda emphasize community involvement and conservation efforts to protect the mountain gorillas and their habitats. By participating in gorilla trekking, you are directly contributing to the preservation of these magnificent creatures.


Embarking on a gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda or Rwanda is a remarkable and life-changing experience. Witnessing these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a privilege that requires careful planning and preparation. By respecting the gorillas, their habitat, and the local communities, you can help ensure that this incredible opportunity remains available for generations to come. Whether you choose the lush landscapes of Uganda or the thousand hills of Rwanda, a gorilla trekking expedition will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.

Popular gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda include:

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