Your Ultimate Guide to booking a Wildlife Safari and Gorilla Safari in Uganda for 2023/2024
Only done in the Continent of Africa; Gorilla Tracking is such an amazing activity. Gorillas are shy and gentle apes; sharing over 95% human-like genes.
They are social creatures; having families led by a giant dominant silverback who ensures discipline, and safety of all the family members.
The Trekking experience is unforgettable offered on Uganda safaris, Rwanda safaris and the Democratic Republic of Congo adventures which is home to both Eastern Lowland Gorillas and Mountain Gorillas.
Everyone can visit gorillas in their lush tropical jungle; whether for research, business trip, honeymoon, family retreat, weekend adventure, summer or winter break – gorilla tracking will never disappoint.
Uganda Safari Cost: How Much to Budget for Your Safari Experience?
This is one of the frequently asked questions by travelers planning to go on Uganda safaris. All in all, this country is one of the least costly safari destinations in Africa and caters for all categories of travelers from the budget to the luxury travelers.
However, the cost of safaris largely depends on the nature and number of activities in the itinerary.
The park entrance fees, price of hiring a car per day with different types are charged differently. Accommodation cost (whether it is budget, mid-range or upmarket), en-route meals, number of people you are traveling with (the larger your group, the lesser the cost of the safari since some costs like transport and accommodation are shared), the length of the safari (shorter trips obviously cost less than long safaris) and the overall mark-up of the booking agency, which varies across companies.
Why Uganda is a Great Destination for Safaris?
Compared to other East African countries especially Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda tours are awesome.
Much as Uganda’s Savannah National Parks do not match to the large numbers of animals within its counterparts, the thrill of finally encountering animals offer Ugandan travelers exceptional safari experiences.
From the jungles of west and south-western Uganda, mountain peaks to the Savannah plains, Uganda tours spices game drives with gorilla treks, mountain climbing, chimpanzee treks, birding tours and water sports in a single trip, which is not experienced in other popular and traditional safari destinations like South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana.
When you talk of safaris in Africa, travelers only think of game drives on-board open-roof vehicles but these adventures in Uganda also provide opportunities of wildlife viewing aboard a boat, hence making Uganda good for safaris.
In Uganda, safaris are conducted within four of the ten National Parks that include Lake Mburo, Murchison falls, Kidepo falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks.
How much does it cost to go on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda?
The cost of Uganda gorilla trekking depends on a number of factors that include your travel style (whether you wish to trek gorillas on budget, mid-range or luxury category), accommodation choice and cost of transport while price of gorilla permits remain constant; $700 for foreign non-resident visitors, $600 for foreign resident visitors and about Shs. 250,000 for East African residents.
On a rough estimate, an all-inclusive 3-day Uganda tour adventure costs from $1350 to $3000 per person sharing (for two people) while the all-inclusive 2-day trip costs between $1080 and $2500 per person sharing (two people).
Is it Safe to Go on a Gorilla Safari Tour in Uganda?
Yes, it is safe to go Uganda gorilla trekking and in fact, this country is one of the safest places to be for a gorilla safari.
The Tourism Police and Park rangers within Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks are well-trained, sufficiently equipped and highly motivated to offer safety and security for the visitors.
How to Choose the Best Time of Year for Safaris in Uganda?
The best time of the year to go on Uganda tours is during the two significant dry seasons.
The short dry season from December to February as well as the long season from June to September are marked by more comfortable trekking conditions when searching for mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees.
This is because forest floors are drier and vegetation sparser. Also, game viewing in the Savannah Parks is perfect as most animals converge at the few remaining watering holes.
Generally, trekking to see chimpanzees and mountain gorillas is an unmatched experience regardless of the time of the year.
How does Uganda’s travel costs compare to other African safari destinations?
Much as the East African region is known for its costly high-end accommodation facilities and safari adventures, Uganda is cheap to travel to.
While here, adventure seekers are showered with raw nature. Even on a budget travel, one can get a chance to trek one of the most sought-after creatures (mountain gorillas and chimpanzees) in their natural environment, undertake game drives in the Savannah Parks, undertake village/community walks, hike the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, awaken your adrenaline side with visit to Jinja City, and relax by the Lakeshores.
Ensuring Safety During Your Uganda Safari (Safe Safari Travel in Uganda)
Uganda is undoubtedly a safe safari destination but there are many porous borders that are not adequately enforced, thus allowing unregulated flow of immigration and illegal trade.
Additionally, there are cases of petty and violent crimes such as sexual assault, drive-by bag snatches, muggings and home invasions, like it is in any part of the World.
It is therefore important to avoid falling victim by keeping valuables at home/Hotel and avoiding night movements.
Do lions exist in Uganda’s safari destinations?
There are several lions in Uganda, although their numbers are not as bounteous as in the East African counterparts of Kenya and Uganda.
High concentrations of lions are mainly found in three popular Savannah National Parks that include Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls and Kidepo Valley National Park.
You will visit at least one or two of these parks on your Uganda tours. The more exciting thing about Uganda is that the extraordinary tree-climbing lions can be encountered in Queen Elizabeth National Park and be informed that they are in only two places in the while World.
Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Challenging?
Gorilla Tracking in Uganda is relatively difficult but still remains one of the most rewarding wildlife experiences in the World.
This activity involves hiking at elevations of 2400 and 3000 meters above sea level with thinner air and more demands on the lungs, mountainous terrains and densely forested mountain slopes hence requiring a moderate level of physical fitness.
It is difficult to predict how long your trek will last although some trekkers make contact within half an hour while others take up to 6 hours before finally coming into contact with the habituated gorilla family.
Is Uganda Gorilla trekking worth the cost?
Yes, gorilla safaris are worth the money. Anyone who has had the experience of trekking through the jungles and coming face to face with the mountain gorillas will concur that it is worthwhile.
A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500 per person per trek, Uganda – $700 and Democratic Republic of Congo – $400.
Gorilla conservation is generally expensive because a team of Gorilla Doctors, rangers and Law Enforcement Officers have to be paid to ensure the protection and research of these already endangered Great Apes.
Uganda vs Rwanda: Which destination is better for gorilla trekking?
Uganda and Rwanda are both wonderful gorilla trek destinations but some travelers prefer Uganda while others like the latter.
Each of these countries presents unmatched opportunities and challenges in trying to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitats.
Rwanda’s gorilla trek terrains are more open, the Park (where gorillas are trekked) is just 3 hours’ drive away from the City/Airport but it is more expensive-gorilla permits cost $1500 per trek.
For Uganda, vegetation of Bwindi is denser, involves more hiking because it is more mountainous, more affordable (permits cost $700) and boasts of twice the number of habituated gorilla groups than Rwanda.
However, Bwindi and Mgahinga Parks are over 8-9 hours’ drive from Kampala. Therefore choice of Rwanda or Uganda largely depends on individual preferences.
How challenging is gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Gorilla Tracking is undoubtedly difficult and physically demanding because it involves hiking through mountainous slopes, dense vegetation, through valleys and crossing rivers but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
The feeling of finally seeing the huge silverback gorilla is an experience you can’t describe in words.
Treks usually last between one and 6 hours but the joy of finding them beats the fatigue and challenges.
What are the risks involved in gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Gorilla tracking is not dangerous because the gorillas that are trekked are generally habituated.
Additionally, Giant Apes are gentle and peaceful creatures that will only become aggressive when they feel frightened or provoked.
Silverback weighing over 180 kilograms is the custodian of the gorilla group and when he feels the group members are unsafe, he reacts by beating his chest and stumping feet.
What are the reasons for the high cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Gorilla tracking is so expensive because of the high cost of research, protection and monitoring of endangered gorilla in their natural environment.
The Tourism Police, Gorilla Doctors, trackers and armed rangers that escort trekkers have to be hired and facilitated hence making gorilla permits expensive.
Also, the high cost is to limit the huge numbers of travelers who would wish to see them hence saving the creatures from human diseases.
How to prepare for Uganda’s rainy safari season?
The rainy season in Uganda appears twice a year. The long rainy season is experienced from March to May while the short one is from October to November.
This season is identified by average daytime temperature of 28˚C and morning temperature of 16˚C, light occasional showers and heavy downpours at night or few hours during day, thunder and lightning.
Most travelers avoid this season for safaris yet bird-life flourish and calving of animals begins hence more animals spotted.
Travelers also have better opportunities of enjoying more secluded Uganda tours.
What are the reasons for the high cost of gorilla trekking in Africa?
This could be the question asked by most people, a reason why many miss out on an amazing experience and encounter with Man’s closest relative in their natural habitat.
As per the June 2020-2022 Uganda Wildlife Authority tariff, Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs 700Usd for foreign non-residents; 600Usd for foreign residents and 250,000ugx for East African residents; a cost that is relatively high for many to afford.
Rwanda charges 1500USD, whereas the Democratic Republic of Congo charges 400usd.
Gorilla tracking is expensive because of the much effort and resources dedicated towards conservation of mountain gorillas their pristine habitat, scarcity of the trekking permits, high demand of permits and due to the fact that mountain gorillas are so endangered.
Mountain Gorillas are gentle, exciting and social, yet only eight people are allowed to encounter a family per day.
These apes are only found in the continent of Africa, thus its high demand and increment in the prices.
None the less, a gorilla trek is one of those activities worth engaging in despite the high cost.
When is the rainy season for safaris in Uganda?
Uganda is one of the countries with the most beautiful weather in the world. Each passing year; the rains and sunshine are moderate across the country.
The rainy season is that time when the rains fall time and again. Under normal circumcises, Uganda’s rainy season is as this; Early March to May receives much showers of rain, whereas from October to early December are characterized by low rains.
But also note that once in a while rains occasionally fall even in other dry months.
Interestingly, the Ugandan rainy season is unique in the way that it can rain for about 2 hours in the morning and then shine thereafter with a possibility of showering again.
Is Uganda a beautiful country?
Yes! After witnessing the impressive views of the landscape, vegetation, and mountains; the wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inscribed in his book entitled “My African Journey” “Uganda, the Pearl of Africa”.
Uganda is gifted with a variety of nature, cool weather, lush tropical forests, great water bodies, exotic beaches and fascinating landscapes giving it unmatched beauty.
The cultures, food, animals, welcoming people and touristic attractions are add-ons to the country’s magical treasures, as each direction you choose to take has something unique and special.
Preparations to make before embarking on a Uganda gorilla safari
A gorilla trek calls for adequate preparation before heading out for it; a successful and unforgettable safari. It requires mental, physical and financial preparation. Simple steps to how you can plan for a Gorilla trek;
Identify the destinations where you want to do your trekking. Three countries are offering this activity; Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park and The Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
You need to purchase a gorilla tracking permit to get access to different trekking destinations.
Contact a licensed tour operator who will draft an itinerary and guide you throughout the planning process.
Decide on the month of the safari, what to pack and the number of people traveling.
A maximum of eight people, aged 15 years and above, with valid trekking permits are allowed to encounter a gorilla family per day.
Though the activity is done on foot, even the elderly and disabled can take advantage of the special offers and have their dreams come true.
The packing list may have a camera, good hiking boots, warm clothes, binoculars and gloves, as well as valid travel documents.
What makes Uganda tours unique and special?
Land of wonders and surprises; Uganda is adorned with a variety of breathtaking scenery and unmatched attractions.
Despite being landlocked and unknown; it is ranked among the countries with the most hospitable people in the world. You will see this on your Uganda adventures.
Uncover some of the most amazing wonders in the world; talk of half of the total Mountain gorilla population in the universe; the source longest river on earth-river Nile; 10% of total bird species, African Big 5 mammals namely; lions, leopards, Buffaloes, Rhinos and elephants; the most powerful waterfalls on earth – Murchison Falls and the Equator which crosses only thirteen countries in the world.
All these make your Uganda tours even better.
How friendly are Uganda gorillas towards humans?
Gorillas are truly very gentle and friendly to humans; though shy, a reason why visitors are given a maximum of one hour to take photos, ask the ranger guide questions and so much more.
Many people, unfortunately think that the fact that gorillas have very huge bodies, they are tough; not knowing that in fact they are so shy.
Gorillas can only charge at humans when feeling attacked and this they do by beating their chest as a proof of majesty; tearing leaves, running on two legs, somersaulting and making different unusual sounds.
Assuming this happened when with the Gorillas; don’t panic, run or shout, but rather be composed, look or squat done, and follow the instructions as given by the ranger guide.
What is the ethical stance on gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Gorilla trekking is very ethical and worth engaging in; an activity of encountering gorillas in their different territories; where they are feeding, playing or resting.
There are guiding rules every trekker must follow from the start to the end of the search, in all different destinations that inhabit gorillas.
These rules include among others; arriving for the activity very early in the morning, no littering the park, no making noise, listen to the rangers’ explanations, spending a maximum of one hour with the apes, not using the flashlights while taking photos, talking with a low tone and not creating unwanted paths in the forest.
Gorilla trekking greatly contributes to the conservation efforts of apes and their habitat, as the proceeds got from visitors are used for running conservation activities, monitoring, sharing with the neighboring and doing research.
How likely is it to see mountain gorillas in Uganda?
Visitors have over a 99% chances of seeing Gorillas in Uganda. But first, you must search for them throughout the different corners of the jungle while paying attention to the silent echoes, other primates and forest mammals.
The trekking exercise lasts for roughly 1-8 hours, plus an additional maximum hour for viewing them.
The search doesn’t end without some unforgettable challenges, smiles and laughter.
Uganda is an asylum to half of the total world’s mountain gorilla species in the wild, over 500 individuals in Bwindi impenetrable National park and others in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
These are available and spend their day and night feeding, moving and resting in the lush tropical jungles.
In addition to gorilla trekking, what other activities can be done in Uganda?
Though ranked as a premier safari activity in Uganda; there is more offered in Uganda than gorilla tracking.
These included among others; wildlife safaris, chimpanzee trekking, white water rafting, Mountain Hiking, guided nature walks, cultural encounter, city tours, Boat cruises, Beach safaris, Hot air balloon experience, golden monkey trekking and birding expedition.
Check through your travel bucket list and tick Uganda; one of the finest safari destinations in the continent of Africa.
It is a premier gorilla safari destination offering budget and luxury travelers a great opportunity to make relax, have fun and explore.
Much as we offer affordable Uganda trips, we occasionally upgrade to top notch experiences too for clients who request for it.
You can request for whatever setting you want basing on your budget and time frame and we shall update it on your preferred Uganda trip.
Booking affordable Uganda trips does not necessarily mean you are going to enjoy a bad experience!
With us, we try so hard to negotiate prices with various Uganda lodges so as to get a price cut on their services.
This often works out for us and we are always able to offer comfortable facilities to our clients for less.
Our Uganda tour guides are experienced and knowledgeable. They are not just drivers but rather trained Ugandan tour guides who will explain every bit of the country to you as you adventure through the wilderness.
All our Uganda trips are operated by customized 4×4 safari vehicles which may be vans or land cruisers depending on your budget.
About timing, weather is everything regarding your travel. No one would wish to travel on rainy days where roads are muddy, vehicles often get stuck and wildlife is rare.
For this we recommend booking your Uganda trips for the months of June – September and December to February.
Visiting outside these months is also fine only that the weather is kind of unpredictable.
Besides organizing affordable Uganda tours, we also offer Kenya Trips, Tanzania Trips and Zanzibar Trips.
If you want to combine most of these destinations in a single package, you can check out our Africa safaris in East Africa.