We bring you seven tips for planning a gorilla trekking safari through either Rwanda or Uganda to experience these magnificent jungle animals:

1. Remember to get a permit before you arrive on your Gorilla Trekking Safari

One of the most important aspects to remember if you are planning a gorilla trekking safari is that you need to obtain a permit to see the gorillas in both national parks in Rwanda and Uganda:

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: US $1500
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda: US $600

These Gorilla trekking permits are difficult to obtain because there are limitations on how many people are allowed into the parks.

Discover Africa Safaris will obtain these permits for you and they are included in the cost of your gorilla trekking safari. The essential thing here is to plan your gorilla trekking safari well ahead of time.

2. Be prepared for any weather

There is a good chance the weather will be both hot and humid as well as slightly chilly and rainy on the same day, reason enough to be prepared for varying weather conditions on your Gorilla trekking safari.

Safari experts recommend wearing layered clothing that can be adjusted according to the temperature. Make allowances for rain by packing a waterproof jacket or coat for your Gorilla trekking.

It is also essential that you bring a pair of good quality hiking shoes as you will be trekking through varied montane terrain.  It’s also advised to keep as much skin covered as possible as certain areas are notorious for blister bushes and stinging nettles.

3. Take food and water with you

There are no shops in the various national parks and although some tour operators will have options for packed lunches, it’s still strongly advised that you pack items that will help keep your energy levels up as you may be hiking for a maximum of eight hours while you locate the mountain gorillas. Pack some dried fruit, nuts or trail mix for some extra energy and plenty of water.

4. Waterproofing for your camera and absolutely no flash

Temperamental weather conditions require you to safely waterproof your camera on your Gorilla trekking safari. Water housing or casing is essential in protecting your equipment.

Flash photography is not permitted while Gorilla trekking or anywhere near the gorillas so make sure your flash setting is turned off.

5. Train before you leave and know your fitness levels

Both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Volcanoes National Park are high in altitude which will make Gorilla trekking much harder, even for experienced hikers. 

Make sure you know your fitness level before leaving and if you aren’t an avid hiker it’s advised to hit the gym or some local trails and hikes in your area before you leave to get to your optimal fitness level. 

You might see mountain gorillas after two hours or it could take up to 10 to find them in the thick jungle.

6. Travel in the dry season

Tracking down mountain gorillas isn’t limited to a season and you can visit any time of year. It’s believed that you will just have a more enjoyable experience in the drier months as everything is a little more accessible due to there being less rain and less mud. 

Dirt roads will be a part of the experience and these will be easier to tackle and much more comfortable in drier weather. The dry season is from mid-December to early February and the long dry season is from June to September.

7. Respect the gorillas’ space

While the Mountain gorilla population is habituated and gorillas are non-aggressive and shy, they are still wild animals. 

Respecting their space ensures that no one gets hurt on their Gorilla trekking Safari. Accompanying you on your Gorilla trekking journey will be experienced guides. These guides are highly trained and dedicate their lives to the conservation of the mountain gorillas. 

Respect the five-meter proximity rule.