The best time to see gorillas in Africa. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo


The best time to take part in gorilla trekking in central Africa is now, and fulfills a lifelong dream of watching a family of silverback gorillas in the jungle. With the prices of mountain gorilla permits rapidly going up, you should plan your gorilla trek sooner rather than later. You can visit habituated gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga national park, both in Uganda, in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or in Virunga National Park in Congo.


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Visiting our close endangered relatives upclose in the jungle is a must for all tourists visiting Africa, not only to because of a bucket list adventure but also to contribute toward the conservation projects which are enabling mountains gorillas to survive in the jungle, through the gorilla trekking permits.


If you are thinking of coming to Africa to it is important to plan your gorilla tours as the prices of the trekking permits are uncertain and can grow at any time. This year the Rwanda gorilla permits, which used to sell for $750 have gone up to $1500 Per Person, while the gorilla permit in Uganda has remained $600. The low season gorilla permit discount, which used to be $450 Per Person has been scrapped off, and kept at $600 all year round. The Congo gorilla permit is the cheapest, starting from $400 Per person and going even lower during the low seasons.


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Which Place to go for trekking

My choice is Bwindi national park – Indeed impenetrable, a dense jungle forest home to half the total gorilla population, with over 13 gorilla families and 2 families available for gorilla habituation experience. Bwindi forest is easily accessible from Kigali in just a 4 hours drive, crossing the Ugandan border. Here tourists can ably plan a one day gorilla tour and most conveniently a 2 day silverback gorilla trek, with an overnight accommodation in Bwindi forest.


Some travelers are hesitant to choose Bwindi forest because it’s so dense, but Bwindi offers simple, moderate but also tough treks accomodating the interests of all types of adventure seekers. Even for people with disabilities, the Uganda Wild Life authority has put stretchers in place to help take you to the gorillas. Mountain gorillas are one of the world’s most cherished animals and every person should have a chance to experience seeing them once in a life time.


Volcanoes national park Rwanda – Most suitable for visitors with limited time to visit gorillas. One can opt for a single day gorilla trip, flying into Kigali airport. Rwanda gorilla tracking is however much more expensive as of May 2017, when the price has risen to $1500 for international and local Rwandans.

Volcanoes national park offers a total of 10 habituated gorilla groups available for tourists to visit everyday offering an easy, medium and tough trek. Every traveller gets a chance to decide which type of adventure they can do.

Composed of bamboo, Volcanoes National Park offers a much easier hike, since the bamboo allows light into the jungle, making movement and photography easier.


Here are some hotel suggestions for your gorilla trek adventure:

If you are on a budget, you might want to consider Paradise Eco-Hub, a local B&B with wonderful views, on the island from Lake Buyony,  starting from only 7£ a night. Another budget option is Bunyonyi View Resort with simple rooms starting at 11£ a night.

If you are looking for a medium budget accommodation option in Bwindi forest you might want to take a look at The Garden Place Hotel, a hotel with large, comfortable rooms, starting at 56£ or Savannah Resort Hotel, with private bungalows and a pool, with prices starting at 121£.

For a luxury experience you might want to consider staying at The Silverback Lodge, starting at £239 a night or at The Gorilla Safari Lodge, with prices starting at £216 a night.


Virunga National Park Congo – Until today, we have received many questions about the security of Congo. The Eastern part of Congo is very safe and receivers many numbers of tourists interesting in a silverback gorilla trekking or in climbing mount Nyiragongo.

Tourists can access Virunga national park from Gisenyi via the Rwanda Congo border of Goma. It is a must to arrange your Congo Visa at least 48 days before you cross.

Virunga National Park is home to 6 habituated gorilla families but tourists are accompanied by armed guards or security. Virunga is a much cheaper option for gorilla tracking as compared to the 3 other destinations.

With respect to the abrupt raise of the Rwanda gorilla tracking permit, the Uganda Wildlife Authority offered a 1 year guarantee to main gorilla permits at $600. However we cannot tell what happens after this one year. Its much advisable to plan your trek today and enjoy a magical hour with a family of silverback gorillas in the jungle.


Disclaimer: This post has been written in collaboration with Wild Rwanda Safaris.

Some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and do a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. This helps me keep my website running and continue to share my traveling knowledge with you. I thank you for booking your flights or hotels using the links on my website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.


  1. OH this sounds amazing! Primates have always been my absolute favourites, and I’d love to be able to see them like this in their natural habitats. Thanks for the useful info, I would not have known any of that!

  2. Wow, the gorilla permits are pretty expensive. Very worthwhile, mind you. Seeing them in their natural habitat is something that would stay with you forever.
    Do you really have to apply for your Conga visa 48 years in advance? 😱

  3. This is such an eye-opener. I’d love to do this but it is so expensive! Not only that, it requires long preparation. I hope my husband will take me…even to the lowest cost one!

  4. I think it’d be a dream of mine to see these gorillas in the wild. They’re gorgeous creatures, and it makes me happy knowing they’re hopefully safe in their habitat. I’ve seen the documentary on Virunga, and it’s good to know there’s a safe and accessible part for tourists in the Congo.

  5. Exploring wild animals in the real forests of Africa would definitely be a must-do thing atleast once in lifetime. Its really nice to know that the place is accessible for differently-abled as well! 13 Gorilla families? Wow, that’s a lot!!!

  6. That’s a hefty price tag but I’d definitely pay for this trek! Your pictures are amazing- love how you captured that moment with the baby gorilla. I’m adding this to my bucketlist!

  7. What great pictures. I love seeing the gorillas up close and personal! And, I’m quite surprised at the range of prices for accommodation – is there a significant difference between basic and luxury here?

  8. We had no idea it was so difficult and expensive to see the gorillas. But you provided lots of helpful information on tours, hotels, and locations to do so. Will keep that in mind in the future when we get a chance to go. Bwindi sounds amazing!

  9. It has always been a dream of mine to visit the Gorillas in Rwanda / Congo. I still don’t have this side of Africa on my itinerary but I’m sure at some point it will be. Whoever took those gorilla photos did a good job, I’d love to photograph them for myself, definitely a zoom lens required!

  10. This is definitely on the bucket list. We went to the San Diego Zoo last month and spent about an hour watching the gorillas. The family structure was so easy to identify and fascinating to watch. It would be incredible to experience this in the wild. I never realized how expensive and scarce the permits are. I am glad that they are encouraging quality tourism.

  11. This all sounds like so much fun. Loved how you gave insight to the care of these gorillas, as well as, what to expect in each. Also nice to know this adventure can still be done on a budget.

  12. I love all the photos of the gorillas! The information about the tours and pricing was very informative! I almost got a chance to go to Rwanda next summer, but it fell through. Hopefully one day I can go.
    -Nicole V

  13. Oh the baby gorillas are so cute! Good to know about the permits, and that they’re so expensive!! But then again, the prices of the hotels are rather OK. So I guess it’d be worth the experience.

  14. Wow!! Quite interesting. Especially if you’ve never been outside of the US. I had a friend that went to Kenya last year and did touring. A bit pricey, but I’m sure it’s well worth it.

  15. What an incredible activity, I have never been to Africa, but it has always been my dream destination…now im just off to try and convince my partner with your amazing article as help 🙂 x

  16. This is an amazing post, great insights on visiting and seeing the wild gorillas in Africa. I will have to put this on my bucket list. I am a huge animal lover and gorillas are neat creatures. Thank you for sharing! <3

  17. It is my childhood dream to spot gorillas in wild. I checked out Paradise Eco Club. Despite the kind of views they offer its really affordable. Gorilla tracking however is expensive at $1500. Time for me to save!

  18. It’s really amazing experience to see a Gorillas in their Habitat. I would love ot visit africa someday, so great destination.

  19. Oh wow this experience is high on my list. This is a great informative post for anyone looking to do this experience. Gorillas fascinate me so much. It would be especially amazing to see them in their natural habitat and not just in some zoo. Great post!

  20. This is so amazing, the pictures are beautiful. I live in Nigeria for years, and i sincerely didn’t pick interest in sight seeings like this. I hardly travel back then, so I did miss a lot. Now, that I am far away, I wish I can visit and see all this. Thanks for sharing this lovely pictures.

  21. I’ve been wanting to go on safari for a while now, but the prices have always scared me. I didn’t even know a gorilla trek was an option and this seems so affordable to everything else I have seen. I would love to do this! Thanks for recommending it.

  22. These gorillas are so adorable. How fun to see them in person! It would be such an interesting life to work in an animal refuge taking care of creatures like these. I’m sure they could be dangerous in the wild.

  23. I’d love to do this!!! They seem so cute !! and this seems so affordable to everything else I have seen before! Def adding to my list

  24. Wow $600 per person! That’s shocking, but I’ve never really thought about those permits before. This is definitely something I would like to do in my lifetime. How difficult are the treks?

  25. Hey! Rwanda, Uganda and Kongo have some amazing nature. I hope I can make to one of the places you mentioned, especially Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga national park seems perfect to see these beautiful animals in the nature.

  26. Quite an interesting read. I have never considered Bwindi national park on my list. Now all the more reasons to visit this park to meet the Gorillas. Thanks for sharing it.

  27. Seeing Gorillas in their natural habitat is our dream and is really high on our bucket list. The Bwindi national park seems the apt place to meet them. Thanks for sharing the useful info.

  28. Oh my heavens – this post! These photos! My heart skipped a beat as I viewed the baby gorilla photograph <3 Seeing gorillas in their natural habitat like this has been a dream of mine for years. I can only imagine how amazing this experience would be! So incredible!

  29. I visited Uganda a few years ago and I am so gutted that I didn’t take the opportunity to see the Gorillas; it looks like a once in a lifetime, incredible opportunity. If I’d known about Bwindi forest I might have made more of an effort to visit. The photos you’ve shared are absolutely stunning.

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