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.
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£.
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.
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.
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