Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Uganda’s forests are home to over half the world’s 1004 or so mountain gorillas (as of May 2018) – the rest live in the neighboring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As they do not survive in captivity, preservation of these fragile habitats is essential for their survival.

In Uganda mountain gorillas are found in two parks – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park – and tracking takes place at 5 locations. All locations combined give a total of over 20 gorilla groups and this figure includes two groups under habituation and one group only for researchers.

Gorilla Groups Open to Viewing

Gorilla Trekking for Tourists

Max 8 people are allowed per each gorilla group and for maximum 1 hour. Permits are 600US$ (including Park Entrance Fee) until further notice.

The minimum age for gorilla tracking is 15 years and there are specific behavior guidelines to follow. Due to the steep terrain, the thick vegetation and the high altitude, a good level of fitness is required.

Gorilla Habituation Experience for Tourists

Uganda Wildlife Authority has introduced gorilla habituation experience in the Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

In order to become habituated to the presence of humans, each gorilla group undergoes an extremely delicate process, lasting around five years, during which the gorillas gradually get accustomed to the presence of humans.

UWA Park rangers start off by spending a limited period of time with the gorillas every day and by remaining at a certain distance to respect the gorillas’ comfort zone. As the years go by, rangers gradually increase the time and reduce the distance. The habituation process ends when the rangers deem that the gorillas are ready for tourists’ visits.

The gorilla habituation experience allows a few lucky visitors to participate in this process by allowing them to stay with the rangers and trackers. At present this type of experience is limited to one gorilla family in the southern part of Bwindi forest.

The price for the mountain gorilla habituation experience is 1500US$ per permit (including Park Entrance Fee), is limited to 4 people per day and it allows to be with the mountain gorillas for up to four hours – this excludes the time spent to reach the gorillas. Obviously if the gorillas are not still but rather on the move, the visitors will have to move along. Minimum age and behavior guidelines remain the same of gorilla tracking.

Starting time: 8.30 for gorilla trekking and 7.30 for habituation (the compulsory briefing is earlier)

Costs: 600US$ versus 1 500US$

Number of visitors allowed per group: 8 versus 4

Time spent with the mountain gorillas: 1 hour versus 4 hours

Location: habituation only can happen in areas with mountain gorillas under habituation; as of now, it is only in Rushaga.

Differences between mountain gorilla tracking and habituation experience

Sourcing tracking permits

Nkuringo Safaris is the tour operation side of our business through which we manage clients travel arrangements to our Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge and share our in depth knowledge as how they can further maximize their visit to Uganda.

We are a full registered member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators

AUTO. We are a one stop shop with Entebbe office base with our own fleet of 4×4 safari vehicles to support our safari programs.

As a tour operator we are certainly more flexible that most and ready to work in partnership to deliver a fully tailor-made proposal for you.

Example tours - click for PDF

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