Rwanda & Uganda - Van Bommel Safaris
Rwanda en Oeganda zijn de landen om berggorilla’s te zien in hun natuurlijke habitat. Een avontuurlijke, soms zeer pittige wandeling door het regenwoud, maar dan ziet u ze : een gorilla familie. Een gorillatrekking is een unieke belevenis.
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Rwanda and Uganda are the countries to observe mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. After what is an adventurous, and at times strenuous, hike through the rainforest, you suddenly spot them: a gorilla family. A gorilla trekking a unique experience.

Rwanda and Uganda are the best countries for mountain gorilla trekking. The gorilla trekkings in Rwanda follow the same pattern as in Uganda. You meet with others for a gorilla trekking and local rangers will decide on the day which gorilla group you will visit. Early in the morning trackers have gone out to localise the selected gorilla families. By the time you start your hike, the trackers are often still busy trying to find the gorilla group you’ll be visiting. That implies that it is near impossible to tell beforehand how far you will need to walk. In both countries you are only allowed to spend one hour with a gorilla family.

There are less than 900 mountain gorillas alive today and that give these special animals the status of threatened species. The permit you need for a gorilla trekking is expensive but I assure you that it is well worth the money, which serves a good cause. It is spend on both nature conservation and on the local communities. It is because of this that the mountain gorillas in these areas have gotten their high status: people will go out of their way to protect these mountain gorillas and their habitat.

Find the habitat of the mountain gorillas


Uganda – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – gorilla trekking

A gorilla trekking in Bwindi will lead you through dense rainforest, which is an adventure on itself. Then, after a long hike, you will find yourself face to face with one of these threatened animals: a literally breathtaking experience.

The twelve gorilla groups that reside here, all live in the four regions of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Three gorilla groups live in the northern region of Buhoma. Here, in 1993, the very first gorilla trekking with visitors took place. It is the only area in Bwindi where you can stay overnight in the park.

Rwanda – Volcanoes National Park – gorilla trekking

All gorilla trekkings in Rwanda take place in Volcanoes National Park. It houses ten gorilla groups. The gorillas live in the tropical rainforest on the mountain slopes as do the chimpanzees and the golden monkeys.

Volcanoes National Park got its fame by Dian Fossey who for years observed gorilla groups there from 1967. She founded the Karisoke Research Center. Volcanoes National Park became the home base for an impressive research into the life of the rare mountain gorilla and the fight against poachers. When Dian Fossey was killed in 1985, possibly by those very same poachers, the centre stayed active in the protection of the gorillas. After the Rwandese civil war (1990-1999) so called ‘baby naming ceremonies’ were started by local communities to promote tourism. Here baby gorillas were given names during a special ceremony. This became a great success, it not only increased tourism as was hoped, but it also had a positive effect on the gorilla population.


Rwanda & Uganda offer breathtaking gorilla trekkings


Gorilla trekking: keep seven meters away from the gorillas….

But a gorilla doesn’t know what seven meters is….

It has been a tiring hike along the mountain slopes. After stumbling through forests of bamboo, tripping over tree roots, ploughing through muddy terrain…. all of a sudden, all feeling of tiredness is gone…there they are. You spot females with their playing youngsters. Then a silverback walks past you, only yards away. Now your heartbeat nearly doubles, and you feel privileged to be so close to these friendly, near human, but imposing mountain gorillas. It is a unique experience; never to be forgotten.


You need to be fit for a gorilla trekking

But if you are in an average physical condition you should be able to handle a gorilla trekking.

It is nearly impossible to predict how hard or heavy your gorilla trekking is going to be.  Sometimes it is a singe, other times the going is really rough; remember, a gorilla trekking is always in a densely forested mountainous area. It is advisable to hire a carrier who, against a small payment, will carry your backpack with photo equipment and provisions. Carriers will also help you on moments when the going gets tough. They know the area and the terrain.


Combine gorillas with other safari wildlife areas

Combine a gorilla trekking with a tailor made safari to Kenya or Tanzania.

If you want more than ‘just’ an adventurous gorilla trekking then maybe a tailor made safari combination of Uganda or Rwanda with Tanzania or Kenya is something for you.

Flying distance between these countries is short and you can fly almost directly into Serengeti or Masai Mara.

Are you an experienced photographer and do you want to get more out of your safari? Our specially organized photo safaris are a must for the advanced photographer. Rise to the challenge and learn from the very best professional photographers in the field with whom we work

The best time for a gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekkings are possible all year round in both Uganda and Rwanda. Peak season is from June until October and from December until February.

Gorilla trekking

The procedure of a gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the same as in Uganda. In both countries visitors are only allowed to spend one hour with the gorillas.

By buying a gorilla permit you help protect the gorillas.

To join a gorilla trekking you need to purchase a gorilla permit, this is pricy, but the money is a direct contribution to the protection and upkeep of the habitat of the gorillas and the protection of these threatened gentle giants.

The issue of these permits is limited. In both Rwanda and in Uganda only 80 permits a day are granted. In peak season therefore, the permits are soon sold out.

In Rwanda the permits are more expensive than in Uganda.

During the rainy season (March, April, May and November) in Uganda a discount is given on gorilla permits.

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