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A Guide to Gorilla Trekking on Your Uganda Safari

Gorilla trekking is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for these magnificent creatures. It is an experience that is well worth the time and money.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is not just a journey; it’s a privileged encounter with the world’s endangered gorilla population. When you do meet them, the utmost respect for these incredible creatures and their habitat is paramount. Uganda proudly hosts almost 50% of the world’s mountain gorillas, making it a premier destination for an awe-inspiring gorilla trekking safari adventure.

The expedition commences with an anticipation-filled preparation as you step into the enchanting Bwindi forest. The allure of encountering endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat adds an exhilarating thrill to the entire experience.

The emotional spectrum experienced during gorilla trekking ranges from sheer joy and amazement to a profound appreciation for the natural world. Participants often find themselves moved by the deep connection established during this extraordinary encounter.

Best Time for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda:

While gorilla trekking is possible throughout the year, the drier months offer optimal conditions with less rainfall. Average temperatures in Uganda range from 23-29°C (73-84°F). In the southwestern highlands home to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, temperatures vary from 7°C (45°F) at night to 20°C (68°F) during the day.

Monthly Overview:

  • December, January, and February: Drier months, though considered low season with fewer gorilla trekking tourists.
  • March, April, May, October, and November: First and second rain seasons make trekking challenging due to slippery slopes.
  • June, July, August, and September: Peak season; it’s crucial to secure permits early as they may run out. This period is the prime time for a gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda.

Park Altitudes:

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Elevations range from 1160m (3805ft) to 2607m (8553ft), with about 60% of the park above 2000m (6561ft).
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: Situated at altitudes between 2227m (7306ft) and 4127m (13540ft).

Altitude Sickness: Considering the altitude variations, some visitors may experience altitude sickness, emphasizing the importance of consulting with a doctor before travel.

Choosing a Gorilla Trekking Location:

Uganda offers two primary locations for gorilla trekking:

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: The most popular choice, boasting a higher number of gorilla families to track. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers diverse landscapes, teeming with flora and fauna, and houses 21 habituated gorilla families, providing multiple trekking options.
  2. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: A smaller park nestled against the Virunga Volcanoes, offering a unique trekking experience alongside golden monkeys. Only one gorilla family calls Mgahinga home, providing a more intimate encounter.


Obtain a Gorilla Trekking Permit:

Gorilla trekking permits are a mandatory requirement, obtainable in advance through licensed and reputable tour operators like Kwezi Outdoors. Due to limited availability, securing permits well in advance, especially during peak season, is highly recommended. The cost of a permit is US $800. A portion of the permit fee goes to returns to the communities near the gorilla parks. It is used to support projects like education and health in these communities. 

Fitness Level:

The trek can be physically demanding, necessitating good physical condition to navigate uneven terrain and varying elevations. For those trekking with Kwezi Outdoors, informing them in advance of any health or physical challenges ensures appropriate advice.

Gorilla Trekking Essentials: 

What to Pack for a Comfortable Adventure:

Ensure you are fully prepared for the gorilla trekking adventure with the following essentials:

  • Long trousers and sleeves for protection against insects and nettles. Avoid bright colors, blue, and black to minimize insect attraction.
  • Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with ankle support. Break into boots before the trek to avoid discomfort.
  • A pair of gardening gloves are recommended for hand protection against thorns and branches you will hold onto as you trek.
  • Rain jacket or poncho and a waterproof bag for electronic devices.
  • Hat or cap for sun and rain protection.
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent for a comfortable trek in insect-heavy environments.
  • Reusable water bottle or hydration pack.
  • Snacks or energy bars for an energy boost during the trek.
  • Quality camera or phone with charged batteries and spares.
  • Charging essentials with necessary cables and an international adapter for Uganda’s specific plug type (G).


Local Porters and Community:

Hiring a local porter is highly recommended, especially for those with limited physical abilities. This not only aids in carrying belongings but also contributes to the well-being of local families and communities.

Trekking Experience:

Gorilla trekking involves physically demanding hikes through dense forests and steep terrain. Treks can range from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the specific gorilla family’s location. Experienced ranger guides and trackers accompany visitors, leading them to the gorillas.

Meeting the Gorillas:

Once located, visitors have a magical hour to observe gorillas in their natural habitat, witnessing their social interactions, playful behavior, and the strong family bonds.

Rules and Regulations for Trekking Gorillas:

Strict guidelines are in place to ensure a safe and respectful experience for both visitors and gorillas. Maintaining a safe distance, minimizing noise, and avoiding direct eye contact are imperative to protect the gorillas and ensure a positive experience.

Who goes on a gorilla trekking:

If you have a respiratory infection like a cold, flu, or cough, you will not be allowed to go trekking with the gorillas. The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years. So teenagers are welcome on the trek as long as they are physically fit.

Will I be able to see the gorillas?

So far, every participant in our gorilla treks has had the incredible opportunity to witness mountain gorillas. Uganda stands out as an exceptional gorilla trekking destination, boasting 26 habituated gorilla groups available for tourism as of October 2023, as per the latest Uganda Wildlife Authority report. This marks the highest number of groups, with 25 gorilla families situated in the renowned Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, our primary gorilla trekking location. The remaining group is accessible at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, another stunning destination in Uganda.


Flash photography is not allowed during gorilla trekking or wildlife viewing. Ensure your camera or phone is fully charged and has enough space for photos before the trek. The day before, confirm the flash is turned off to avoid disturbing the gorillas.


Various accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly campsites to luxury lodges, are available near gorilla trekking locations. Booking in advance, particularly during peak trekking seasons, is advised.

Safety and Sustainability:

Follow the instructions of your guide, minimize waste, and dispose of trash responsibly. Respect the environment and local communities, choose licensed tour operators prioritizing responsible tourism practices and contributing to gorilla conservation efforts.

Making the Most of Your Gorilla Trekking Experience:

Embrace the adventure, be prepared for unexpected encounters, and prioritize respect over perfect shots. Immerse yourself in the natural environment, appreciate the beauty of the rainforests, and share your experience responsibly, encouraging others to support gorilla conservation efforts.

Gorilla trekking is a unique and unforgettable adventure connecting you with magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Adequate preparation ensures a safe, enriching, and sustainable experience, leaving a lasting positive impact.

Beyond Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi:

Explore additional wildlife and cultural experiences in Uganda:

  • Chimpanzee Tracking: Venture into Kibale National Park for a thrilling chimpanzee-tracking safari amidst lush rainforest habitat, known as the “Primate Capital.”
  • Golden Monkey Tracking: Hike through Mgahinga National Park’s bamboo forests to observe playful golden monkeys, a rare experience available in only three places globally.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Embark on game drives through various national parks to spot elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, and other captivating African wildlife.
  • Birdwatching: With over 1,060 bird species, Uganda is a paradise for birdwatchers, offering diverse landscapes and habitats for spotting unique avian wonders.


Rafting in Bwindi with Kwezi Outdoors:

For adventurous souls, Kwezi Outdoors now offers rafting and kayaking experiences on rivers near Bwindi Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Inflatable boats, guided by experienced teams, cater to solo adventurers or families seeking to explore