Last Minute Gorilla Trekking


Last Minute Gorilla Trekking

Looking for a last-minute gorilla trekking like other normal gorilla safaris has its challenges. Traveling to Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo for last-minute gorilla trekking is possible and presents opportunities to tourists with tight schedules for instance those on MICE visit in Uganda or Rwanda and they would like to go see mountain gorillas before returning to their home.

Last-minute gorilla trekking has its advantages, especially the opportunity for visitors to enjoy some offers/discounts. However, be mindful of the high demand for gorilla permits - the disadvantage that comes with booking last-minute gorilla trekking safaris.

Much as there is the possibility of embarking on a last-minute gorilla trekking trip, we encourage all of our visitors to have their gorilla permits booked early about 2 to 4 months before the exact date of visiting Uganda, Rwanda, or Congo to trek gorillas. Booking your gorilla permit early saves you the stress or disappointments especially when you don’t get a gorilla permit.

Have your gorilla permit booked early with our reservation team. A total of up to 80% of Uganda gorilla permits are with local or ground tour operators and you can easily have it booked. The remaining 20% can be booked with the reservation team at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

A local tour operator can arrange for you a last-minute gorilla trekking tour even when you send an inquiry 12 hours or 24 minutes regardless of budget, moderate or luxury gorilla safari. The beauty about booking a last-minute gorilla trekking through a reliable tour operator like us is that we have mutual understanding with most of the safari lodges in the respective gorilla parks making it easier to put together your trip.

In Uganda or Rwanda, a 3-5 day gorilla trekking can be arranged at the last minute. This is whether you are planning to go budget or luxury gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, or Volcanoes NP.

Last-minute gorilla trekking in Uganda

Last-minute gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are possible only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla NP. These gorilla trekking parks are found in Southwestern Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable NP lies within Kabale and covers 331sq. km of land area featuring a misty impenetrable forest.

Bwindi National Park is a UNESCO designated site and it was founded in 1991. On a last-minute gorilla trekking safari, there are 20 habituated gorilla families to visit while at Bwindi Impenetrable NP - these translate into about 160 gorilla permits per day.

Last-minute gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi cost USD800 for non-resident visitors, foreign residents $600 and UG. Shs. 250,000 for citizens in East Africa. Visitors can go explore Bwindi on 3 days, 4 days, 5 days gorilla trekking, or 3, 4, 5 days gorilla habituation experience.

There are 4 regions to visit for gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park and they include Nkuringo, Ruhija, Buhoma, and Rushaga sector. In each of these regions/sectors, there are already habituated families of mountain gorillas for tracking including Mubare, Katwe, Rushegura, and Habinyanja groups in the Buhoma sector; Mukiza, Oruzogo, Kyaguriro & Bitukura gorilla families in the Ruhija sector. Nkuringo gorilla families include Bushaho, Nkuringo, and Christmas, and at the Rushaga sector, find habituated families such as Kutu, Rwigi, Bikini, Kahungye, Busingye, Mucunguzi, Bweza, Mishaya, and Nshongi families.

Other primates and mammals of Bwindi Impenetrable NP include blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, bush babies, black & white colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, forest duikers, leopards, elephants, giant forest hogs, bats. Bwindi is also a significant birding site with over 360 bird species including giant kingfishers, Grauer’s rush warblers, yellow streaked greenbul, Rwenzori nightjar, handsome francolin, dwarf honeyguide, bar-tailed trogon, African wood owl, short-tailed warblers, African green broadbill, white-bellied robin chat, black bee-eaters, mountain yellow warblers. The others include blue-headed sunbird, dusky crimson wing, lagden’s bush shrike, montane oriole, dusky twin spot, red-fronted antpecker, regal sunbird, purple-breasted sunbird, Shelley’s crimson wing, and more.

On a gorilla tour of Bwindi, nature lovers have more than mountain gorilla encounters to enjoy. The park is also best to visit for nature walks, mountain gorilla habituation, cultural encounters at the Batwa pygmies’ community, Bakiga community; birding, and cycling.

Lodges/accommodations to stay on last-minute gorilla trekking Bwindi include Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort & Campsite, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and others.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s best park to visit if you don’t want crowds on gorilla trekking. Last-minute gorilla treks in Mgahinga National Park can be arranged and there is only one group of mountain gorillas to visit- the Nyakagezi gorilla group. This gorilla group takes only 8 visitors per day and a search for these large apes starts at Ntebeko taking visitors about 2-6 hours inclusive of one hour for observing mountain gorillas face to face.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest of the 10 parks in Uganda sitting on 33.7sq. km of land area with an elevation range of 2,227m to 4,127m. The park is compact but protects varied species of wildlife including golden monkeys, forest elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, bush bucks, and more. Over 180 bird species also share the same habitat with mountain gorillas including olive pigeon, brown woodland warblers, cinnamon bracken warblers, Kivu ground thrush, greater double-collared sunbirds, white-starred robin, waxbills, striped breasted tit, Rwenzori batis, scarlet tufted sunbird, Rwenzori turaco, and others.

While in Mgahinga NP, visitors can be part of activities other than gorilla trekking including golden monkey tracking, birding, nature walks, cave exploration, Dian Fossey tomb hiking, volcano hiking or climbing, Batwa trail experience, and others.

The top accommodations at Mgahinga include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Traveler’s Nest Hotel, Mucha Hotel, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, and more.

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is another exceptional gorilla destination, located 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali. The last-minute gorilla trekking in Volcanoes NP is all about exploring the 13 habituated gorilla families including Pablo, Susa A, Agashya, Kwitonda, Karisimbi/Susa B, Amahoro, Sabyinyo, Hirwa, Umubano, Titus, Bwenge and more.

Volcanoes NP is, gazetted in 1925 mainly to protect mountain gorillas the park’s top attraction. Other species of wildlife include buffaloes, forest elephants, giant forest hogs, spotted hyenas, golden monkeys, and about 200 bird species such as red-faced woodland warblers, Rwenzori double-collared sunbird, Grauer’s rush warblers, archer’s ground robin, turacos, and many others.

Gorilla permits in Rwanda are available for booking at the last minute at USD 1,500 per person. Booking for a gorilla permit is possible via a tour operator/Rwanda development board.

Accommodations at Volcanoes NP include Villa Gorilla, La Palme Hotel, Garr Hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Garden Palace Hotel, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Mountain Gorillas Nest Lodge, Kwitonda Lodge and others.

When to visit Uganda, or Rwanda for gorilla trekking?

Trekking with mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo is possible at any time of the year. The best time to go trek gorillas is the dry season and this occurs in two phases; the phase that starts in June, July, August, and September, and another phase is experienced from December, January to February. The drier seasons experience low or even no rain with routes kept drier making it simpler to navigate through while searching for mountain gorillas.

Many rains are encountered most often during the wet or rainy season- March, April, May, October, and November. In general, the weather conditions can’t be predicted and to be prepared enough, consider packing waterproof hiking boots, a daypack, a rain jacket or coat, long trousers, insect repellents, and more. Other items to consider packing include a sweater, visas, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, a walking stick, water, gardening gloves, snacks, and a hat.

Gorilla trekking regulations

The different gorilla trekking rules & regulations to follow include observing an 8-10m distance from mountain gorillas is a must, an age limit of 15 years and above, always wearing face masks covering the nose and mouth, sanitize and always keep the Standard Operating Procedures, maximum of one hour will be spent observing gorillas, no trekking mountain gorillas if a visitor is sick or ill, all tourists must carry or present valid gorilla permit, maintain a low voice when trekking, no drinking, eating and smoking near the gorillas, maximum of 8 visitors get to trek a single family of gorillas in a day, no use of flashlight camera for photo taking, cover the nose or mouth in case you want to sneeze or cough, wash the hands to avoid spreading germs to gorilla.

What the last-minute gorilla trekking experience covers

All our last-minute gorilla trekking safari packages include a magical encounter with mountain gorillas, park guide fees, transportation, accommodation, park entrance fees, safari activities except optional experiences, bottled water, meals, and more. The packages exclude airfares, beverages, optional activities, visas, passports, travel insurance, tipping, shopping, air tickets, any kind of expenses, hotel fees after the gorilla trip, and others.