Tracking the magnificent, rare mountain gorillas is one of the most extraordinarily moving wildlife experiences on earth. No one who sees them in the wild will be disappointed. Astonishingly human in their actions and size, Mountain gorillas have an undeniable lure; gazing into their liquid eyes is like gazing into another soul.
Exsus offers gorilla trekking holidays in the misty mountains of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, home to some 300 mountain gorillas. Rwanda works better for a shorter trip, while for a longer holiday Uganda is ideal as it offers countless other safari options (for our example holiday ideas, see below).
Exsus appreciate that if you haven't been on a gorilla trekking holiday before, you're likely to have a number of questions. Here, we answer some of the most common questions we receive, but we still recommend you call and speak to an Africa specialist, so we can give you the benefit of our expertise on all aspects of this phenomenal experience!
Currently, Exsus offer gorilla trekking holidays in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
For your gorilla trekking experience, you'll meet at the park gates where you'll be assigned to a trekking group of up to eight people (including trackers and armed rangers). Each night, the gorillas will be tracked by the rangers until they make their nest, so the rangers will have a good idea of where to pick them up in the morning.
When you arrive at headquarters, you will normally be assigned to a nearer or further family of gorillas, depending on your preference and fitness. A reasonable level of fitness is required as conditions can be relatively steep, wet, and muddy throughout the year. It is normally possible to hire a porter to help you with your bags, so that you can concentrate on the scramble. You’ll trek for anything between three and eight hours, and spend an hour with the gorillas.
An extraordinary, moving experience. Like no other wildlife encounter on earth. You’ll stay a few meters away from the gorillas and watch them, whatever they are doing: they might be moving through the forest grazing, grooming each other, or tumbling around the floor in play. They’re astonishingly human in their actions and size, and your ranger will brief you in how to behave around the gorillas.
Both countries are delightful, and in fact, it’s possible to combine both, as it’s an easy border crossing and gives you the chance to try trekking in both countries.
However, we normally recommend Rwanda for a shorter trip; if you want to extend your holiday Rwanda combines very well with a safari in Kenya, or the lovely beaches of Zanzibar in Tanzania. Trekking tends to be a little easier in Rwanda than in Uganda, but treks in either country can be challenging as the gorillas move around.
For guests who want a longer holiday in one country, Uganda is ideal. There’s a huge amount of diversity in the country, with safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautiful landscapes, chimpanzee trekking, and excellent birding. Also Uganda is an option that can work well for the less able-bodied: take a look at Gorilla Forest Camp.
*Please note that you will need a permit to track the gorillas, which we will arrange for you, but costs are upwards of USD$600 in Uganda and USD$750 in Rwanda.