Best Places to see Gorillas in East Africa- Gorilla Trekking with Primate Safaris

A mountain gorilla is a one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla, listed as endangered by IUCN in 2018. In Africa, there are two gorilla populations where one is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains within 3 national parks in three countries – Mgahinga national park in southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes national park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga national park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Then, the other population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable national park of Uganda.

On the African continent and the whole world at large, there are only about 900 endangered mountain gorillas left on Earth and trekking into their native forests is the only way to see them, as they cannot survive in captivity. Trekking the mighty endangered mountain gorillas in Africa’s jungled rainforests is arguably one of the life’s greatest privileges as you will observe their everyday interactions, follow the gorilla groups/families as they go about their daily lives, observe how a mother tenderly feeds her young and many other amazing lifestyles.

As per our introductions, there are only four national parks in 3 countries where the endangered apes can be trekked and below is the guide about all these destinations;

Rwanda: Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is the safest gorilla trekking destination within East Africa and the most easily accessible park for your primate Trekking tours in East Africa. Volcanoes national Park is located  in north-western region of the country that has been known as the prime Primate Trekking destination. Volcanoes covers a total surface area of 160 square kilometres (62 square miles) composed of prime rainforest, and five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains range. Gorillas are critically endangered primates and highly sociable creatures that spend most of their waking hours searching for food on the ground, moving less than 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) a day – which makes them easily trackable. You’ll be guided by an experienced gorilla tracker (ranger guide) through the park’s rainforests to the assigned gorilla family where you will face-to-face encounter with one of mankind’s closest living relatives (mountain gorilla).

When to Go: Best Time to See Gorillas in Rwanda

Although gorilla trekking in Rwanda is regarded as a year-round activity, the country’s dry seasons offer by far the easiest hiking conditions. The rainy season makes the surfaces slippery and making the walk in the forests difficult. The country’s long rainy season happens from March to May and the long dry season lasts from June to mid-September.

Other Attractions in Volcanoes national park

Apart from gorilla trekking, there are other activities done in Volcanoes and among these include; Dian Fossey’s visit, golden monkey trekking and cultural tours in the nearby communities like guardian village

Rwanda Gorilla permit costs

The price of a permit in Rwanda is $1 500 USD per person for spending one hour with the gorillas in Rwanda. These are often sold out up to a year in advance for a trek during the long dry season (June to September), so we recommend booking your Rwanda trip as soon as you know you want to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Best Time to See Gorillas in Mgahinga National Park

Gorilla trekking expedition in Mgahinga is considered a year-round activity but the best time to visit is the dry season which takes place in the months of June to September and December to February, when trekking conditions are more favorable.

Cost for Gorilla Trekking Permits

The cost price of a permit is $800USD per person to spend one hour with the gorillas in Uganda. These permits are obtained through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Uganda( the pearl of Africa ) with Primate Safaris

Uganda is the only destination that has two destinations for Mountain Gorilla trekking in Africa and its ranked as the safest place to see the gorillas in Africa if your planning to combine gorillas & wildlife , then Uganda the pearl of Africa is the best option recommended.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Uganda is the only country on the African continent with two gorilla trekking destinations and the most visited is Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Bwindi forest covers the country’s south-western mountains with both montane and lowland forest that provides a safe habitat for about 120 species of mammals, 350 bird species, 220 butterfly species, plus many more reptiles and amphibians. The park is home to over 22 gorilla families scattered in 4 sectors – Ruhijja, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Buhoma sector.

Other Attractions in the park

Aside mountain gorillas, there are other attractions seen at the park including over 350 bird species, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and Batwa pygmies. All these attractions can be seen during different park experiences like cultural encounters, hiking, bird watching and others.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga national park is the second national park in Uganda protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. With a coverage area of 33.7 square kilometers, the park protects 1 gorilla family – Nyakagezi and this has a history of wandering into Rwanda, which made it hard to pre-book the gorilla permits for this park in the past. At the moment, the mountain gorillas are steadily living in Uganda and are available for pre-booking.


Best Time to See Gorillas in Virunga

Gorilla trekking expedition in Virunga is considered a year-round activity but the best time to visit is the dry season which takes place in the months of June to September and December to February, when trekking conditions are more favorable.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a wild and affordable destination for adventurous people who want to see mountain gorillas in Africa. Despite ongoing civil wars on the borders with Rwanda and Uganda, where gorillas live, the country has sufficient tourist infrastructure to support gorilla viewing. DRC is the only country in the world with western lowland, eastern lowland, and mountain gorilla species and it offers some of the best opportunities to visit gorillas in their natural habitat.  Although Primate Safaris Rwanda mainly offers gorilla trekking Congo to Virunga National Park & Kahuzi Biega National Park for your ultimate Congo Expeditions. Get the best experience to Virunga National Park where you can add-on Rwenzori trek with Extreme Expeditions the company that partners with Primate Safari experiences to offer Rwenzori Trekking tours.

Cost for Gorilla Trekking Permits

The price of a permit is $400USD per person to spend one hour with the gorillas in the forest. These permits are obtained through Registered tour operators and we do book gorilla permits.