Luxury Gorilla Trekking


Luxury Gorilla Trekking

Visitors that book luxury gorilla trekking tours are offered nothing short of magical, with a once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting up close with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. The finest luxury gorilla trekking experiences lead travelers to Uganda and Rwanda within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Volcanoes National Park respectively.

Luxury gorilla trekking trips come with gorilla trekking permits that cost $1500 per person in Rwanda or $700 per person in Uganda in addition to private fly-in safaris to Kisoro and Kihihi Airstrips for Uganda as well as helicopter tours direct to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Mountain gorillas, sub-species of Eastern gorillas live in the dense rainforests, high in the mountains of East-Central Africa in Bwindi and Mgahinga for Uganda, Volcanoes National Park for Rwanda as well as Virunga National Park for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Phenomenal luxury gorilla trekking in Uganda

One could say Uganda’s jungles are still raw and remarkably endowed with the highest concentration of mountain gorillas and that’s a fact. Your unforgettable luxury gorilla trekking experience within this spectacular country is enjoyed in two heavenly places National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the south-west of this stunning country.

The larger and more endowed of these two safari destinations in Bwindi National Park, haven about 450 of the total survival mountain gorilla population living in four different trekking regions/sectors. This therefore makes it the most popular luxury gorilla trekking destination in not only Uganda but the entire world. Nestled in the southwestern corner, its borders are shared by Kanungu, Kabale, and Kisoro.

This extraordinary Protected Area received International recognition in 1991 when it became a National Park as well as in 1994 when it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Given its lush vegetation and rich biodiversity, the Park received the appreciation of CNN Travel as “the most spectacularly beautiful place on Earth and spiced by its high mountain gorilla population making it every traveler’s luxury gorilla trekking destination. About 21 gorilla groups have been habituated in this park and trekked by only 8 persons per day. These groups are Mishaya, Kyaguliro, Rushegura, Busingye, Mukiza, Mubare, Christmas, Kutu, Habinyanja, Mucunguzi, Katwe, Muyambi, Nshongi, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Bushaho, Rwigi, Bweza, Kahungye and Bikini.

Luxury Gorilla trekking tours for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are limited to only 8 persons per day because there is only one habituated gorilla family (Nyakagezi). This Park is also in the south-western side of the country, within the Kisoro district.

How luxury gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks?

All these adventures (whether in Bwindi or Mgahinga) begin from the trailheads (Nkuringo, Buhoma, and Ruhija. Rushaga, and Ntebeko) with registration, briefing on the rules and protocols of the activity and allocation into the gorilla groups. Hire porters who will offer support during treks (in the form of carrying your backpack and holding hands when you fail to hike).

By 8:00 am visitors are prepared to venture into the jungles to search for the allocated gorilla group and because they are constantly moving, expect 1-3 hours or even more of transversing rugged terrains, deep valleys, and crossing streams to the point of almost giving up. Your efforts pay off when you finally meet the mountain gorillas and get to spend one hour observing their different human-like characteristics and adorable physical size among others. No matter how exciting and life-changing it is, one hour is the maximum time to be spent in the presence of these Giant Apes.

Securing permits for luxury gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda

Possessing valid gorilla permits is the first guarantee for undertaking luxury gorilla trekking tours in Uganda and costs different prices, based on the category that visitors belong to. Visitors that belong to the foreign non-resident category pay $800 per person, the travelers in the foreign-resident category are charged $700 per person while the ones under the East African community category pay only Shs.250,000 per person.

Luxury travelers with plans of enjoying the Gorilla Habituation Experience to have more time with endangered mountain gorillas are required to pay $1500 per person.

There are two ways of securing gorilla trekking permits, the first being directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority via their Headquarters in Kampala (Plot 7, Kira Road-Kamwokya - Kampala), by sending an email or via telephone call. This option is usually considered stressful and cumbersome by travelers hence opting for the less stressful and more convenient option of booking a permit through credible ground tour operators.

Luxury accommodation options in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks

To make your luxury gorilla trekking safari in Uganda complete, book to stay and enjoy meals at the rustic accommodation options that lie within the different trekking regions.

Buhoma Lodge in the Buhoma sector/region is a private and outstanding upmarket lodge known for unrivaled views of the jungle. It has 10 cozy chalets that are specially designed and constructed with traditionally sourced materials. There is an elevated Central place with a spacious lounge area, a well-stocked bar, and a vast dining area.

Located in the Rushaga sector, Gorilla Safari Lodge comfortably sits within the jungle treetops, at the edge of Bwindi National Park. It has 18 en-suite and palatial chalets with private verandas, rewarding visitors with mind-boggling views of the verdant Tropical rainforest of Bwindi.

Other lodging options for luxury gorilla trekking in Uganda include Mahogany Springs Camp, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Trackers Safari Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorillas Lodge, Mount Gahinga Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge and so much more.

Luxury gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Africa, making it an overlooked safari destination for travelers but don’t be deceived by its size because it is so far the best definition of luxury gorilla trekking safaris. The country offers the highest gorilla permit price at $1500 per person as well as the most high-end accommodation options.

Most travelers to this country are drawn by the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environment, within Volcanoes National Park. This is surprisingly the only destination to achieve your dream of undertaking a luxury gorilla trekking trip, about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali City.

This beautiful Protected Area comfortably sits on approximately 62 square miles of varying vegetation types within the Northern Province of Rwanda. There are about 35% of the World’s surviving mountain gorillas of the wild in this Park alone and 12 habituated groups can be visited by luxury gorilla trekkers. On your trip, you will visit any of Ugenda, Igisha, Bwenge, Umubano, Hirwa, Sabyinyo, Kwitonda, Karisimbi (Susa B), Muhoza, Amahoro, Susa A and Agashya (Group 13). Given the short driving distances to Rwanda’s safari destinations, it is possible to add big game safaris within Akagera National Park and chimpanzee treks within Nyungwe Forest National Park, not forgetting the jaw-dropping golden monkey tracking within Volcanoes National Park.

How daily luxury gorilla trekking tours are done in Volcanoes National Park?

Typical luxury gorilla trekking excursions in Volcanoes National Park kick-off with acquainting visitors with the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking, done at Kinigi Park Headquarters. This is mandatory and usually done before actual gorilla treks officially start at 8:00 am keep in mind that these treks last anywhere between 30 minutes and 4 hours, sometimes even longer depending on the movement of mountain gorillas, nature of terrains, weather conditions, or speed of your group.

One hour is provided for studying and taking photos of gorilla behavior and physical characteristics, once contact is made with them.

Securing Gorilla permits for luxury gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Travelers making plans to book luxury gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda are required to first secure gorilla permits, at $1500 per person. This alone means Rwanda is the best location for luxury gorilla trekking safaris and this guarantees one hour with these gentle creatures in the wild. For the best time to make a booking, do it within 3-6 months before the planned trekking date via Rwanda Development Board (email, telephone call or physically reaching Kinigi Park Offices in Kigali).

Accommodation options for luxury gorilla trekking in Rwanda

There are remarkable accommodation facilities within the outskirts or close to Volcanoes National Park, that are perfect for luxury gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda and they include;

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Situated on the boundary of Volcanoes National Park is the swanky Singita Kwitonda Lodge, named after the iconic and humble silverback of Kwitonda Gorilla Group. It sits on an area of 178 acres and features four-room villas for family and group luxury gorilla trips.

Other outstandingly incredible sleeping options for visitors undertaking luxury gorilla trekking in Rwanda include Bishop’s House, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, Bisate Lodge, Tiloreza Volcanoes Ecolodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge and many others.

When is the best time of the year to enjoy luxury Gorilla Trekking?

Luxury gorilla trekking safaris are undertaken throughout the year because Uganda’s Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks as well as Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park are always open regardless of the season. However, it should be noted that the dry season from June to September and October to early December are known for offering more conducive trekking conditions in the form of drier trails.