Tours & Travel

5 Things to look out for before booking a Gorilla Safari to Uganda

Gorilla trekking is such a thrilling primate experience that any visitor on Uganda safari shouldn’t miss out (PHOTO /Courtesy)

Gorilla trekking is such a thrilling primate experience that any visitor on Uganda safari shouldn’t miss out (PHOTO /Courtesy)

Gorilla trekking is still Uganda’s leading tourism activity and for that matter, many people come to Uganda for mainly one purpose; gorilla trekking. To some gorilla trekking might be an overhyped activity while to others it is an activity of a lifetime. Whatever the narrative that resonates with you; you might have to consider the following before booking a gorilla safari to Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking is a Hiking Trip

With the popularity of Gorilla Tours in Africa, there is an assumption that everyone knows about how the activity is done. But this is not true. Many people identify with classic African safaris that are done in classic open-roof Land cruisers. However, this is not the case with gorilla trekking. When it comes to Gorilla Tours, you will only need the car to get to the park offices. After that, you will have to walk for a minimum of four hours.

Therefore before you get excited about seeing the mountain gorillas, be informed that you will not merely sit in the comfort of your car to watch the mountain gorillas rather you will have to hike for a few hours in the impenetrable forest of Uganda or in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

There Are Two Gorilla National Parks in Uganda

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is still the most popular gorilla trekking destination in Uganda. But it is important to note that there are two gorilla national parks in Uganda. That is Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Mgahinga gorilla national park is often sidelined by many people but before you make up your mind on trekking the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park; it is wise to consider looking into a comparison between gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in order to make an informed decision.

There Are No longer Low Season Permit Discounts

A couple of years ago, there was a possibility to go for your dream Gorilla Tour in Uganda at a favorably discounted price. Just like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda used to offer low season discounted gorilla permits. That is not the case for anyone. The permit rates in Uganda are $700 for foreign nonresidents and $600 for foreign residents throughout the year.

However, it should be noted that in 2020 and early 2021; Uganda wildlife Authority issued discounted permits before tours and travel started picking up in Uganda. It is not clear whether the Uganda Wildlife Authority has any plans in the future to consider offering gorilla trekking discounts but at the moment, you can only get accommodation and car hire discounts in Uganda.

9 Hours’ Drive From Entebbe to The Gorilla National Parks

Unlike a national park like Lake Mburo which is accessible within 4 hours from Kampala keeping the traffic jam issue out of the equation; Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park are only accessible with in a 9 hours’ drive from either Entebbe or Kampala.  This implies that when you are planning your gorilla safari in Uganda; you have to keep in mind the 9 hours transfer.

In case you are not on a tight program, you can consider a detour to Lake Mburo national park and Queen Elizabeth national park before making your way to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

There is also an option of connecting to the gorilla national parks through Kigali, Rwanda. With Uganda and Rwanda borders now open; you can save 4 hours of your journey if you connect through Kigali Rwanda. It is only through Rwanda that a 2 days gorilla safari in Uganda is possible.

 Cut Your Gorilla Trekking Budget by Considering These Options

Gorilla trekking seems to be a relatively expensive activity. Therefore any chance to cut the budget should be grabbed as soon as possible. Among the ways to reduce your gorilla trekking budget include;

  • Trekking the gorillas in the low season/ wet season in Uganda for better accommodation rates
  • Hiring a car with a driver
  • Self-drive gorilla safari

However, before you make a decision based on those three points, consider looking into the benefits/advantages of booking an all-inclusive gorilla safari over a self-drive gorilla safari in Uganda to avoid the disappointments that usually come with self-drive safaris in Uganda.

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