The Mountain Gorilla Trekking Experience
Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 90%. Once sighted, visitors are allowed an hour with the gorillas. Overnighting in Bwindi is required the night before tracking due to your early morning start. As tracking can sometimes take a full day, a second nights accommodation is also highly recommended. Ideally 2 to 3 nights are suggested to enjoy this region.
Gorilla tracking timings and conditions vary tremendously as the gorillas move continuously through the rain forest. It is good to be prepared and remember the weather can change with very little warning. The terrain is often steep and through areas where there are no marked paths.
It can be VERY strenuous – it may be just a couple of hours but it can also be for a full day of up to 8 hours or more of hiking in hot, high altitude conditions – please be prepared for this by being as fit as possible!
Guides & Porters
You will be guided through the forest on your gorilla tracking by a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide whom you will meet at the departure point in the morning of your trek. Your guide can help you book a porter (or two!) so that you can track without having to carry the few essential items listed below in a day pack which you should bring with you. The porters are from the local community and very used to the local conditions and can assist in pushing, pulling and supporting you during your trek to the gorillas. They are usually an additional fee, over and above your safari cost, and you should budget on approximately USD15-20 per porter per day as a fee with additional tipping being optional.
As the porters do not have tracking permits they will be stopped a short distance from the point you will be viewing the mountain Gorillas. Please remember to take whatever you may need from your bag to view the gorillas and rather leave valuables at the lodge/camp.
You will be allowed up to one hour for viewing of the gorillas / chimps from when they are sighted by your group. This is to ensure that the wild animals are not over exposed to human presence. Whilst in their presence you will also be required to keep minimum distances from them – generally between 5-7 metres and your guides will ensure this is enforced.
What to pack on the day
• Plenty of water – 1-2 litres per person
• High energy snacks in addition to your packed lunch provided by the lodge / camp
• Spare film and batteries for videos and cameras
• Gloves (gardening type are good)
• Waterproof bag to protect photographic equipment
• A hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and band aids might be useful
• A lightweight water proof jacket / poncho
• Walking sticks are made available at the start of the trek for some of the steeper and more slippery tracks and may prove to be very handy.
Gorilla Trekking Age Limits
The age limit for gorilla tracking, chimpanzees, AND Golden Monkeys is 15 years and the authorities are very strict on this!
Videos & Photography
There is no charge for personal filming of gorillas and other scenes with personal video, digital or SLR cameras in Uganda
Professional photographers, film makers or media should advise us at the time of booking as special procedures are required as well as costs to be incurred for photographing and filming.
Buhoma Community Village Walk
This walk provides guests with an opportunity to support the local community whilst enjoying visiting various interesting places as you follow a walking trail through the village. Highlights include the traditional healer, banana brewery and Mukono Primary school where you may interact with the children.
Bwindi Community Hospital
Established during 2003 and has grown from small beginnings to become an essential service provider for the immediate communities and much of the surrounding areas too, caring for more than 100 000 individuals. Visit it to learn how it is helping to improve the quality of many lives.
The Batwa Tradition
A guided walk of around 1-2 hours established to provide its visitors with a better understanding of the Batwa’s early way of life whilst assisting them with additional income.
Batwa Cultural Experience
A full day experience provided by the Batwa Development Program allowing one to see, understand and participate in the lifestyle of the Batwa when they lived in the forest and depended upon their hunting and gathering skills for their daily needs.
Bwindi Forest Walk
This can be undertaken with a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide to allow you to hike along the trails and enjoy the forest flora, fauna and wildlife such as monkeys at close proximity. A popular choice is the 3-4 hour hike to the waterfall.
This can be done around the lodge and walks in the forest with local qualified guides. This forest area has recorded over 350 bird species. Of particular interest are the 23 species endemic to the Albertine Rift and at least 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda
Possible in the forest with Bwindi being home to over 200 species, some of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley