Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda

By: Grace Park

Grace Park is Mountain Travel Sobek's Marketing Coordinator. Her recent travels have taken her to Korea, Israel and Cambodia, where she helped teach Cambodian high school students as part of an international mission. Grace enjoys drinking boba & coffee, eating good food, hosting people at her home, playing board games, and trying out new cafes!

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January 29, 2024 | Adventure Experts

Embarking on a journey to witness the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an adventure that sits high on many travelers’ bucket lists. Nestled in the heart of East Africa, Rwanda and Uganda offer unparalleled opportunities for a face-to-face encounter with these gentle giants. From permit costs to awe-inspiring locations and diverse terrains, learn more about the captivating world of gorilla trekking in these two breathtaking destinations.

Best Uganda and Rwanda Adventure Tours

Uganda Gorilla Safari Tour
Spotting family of chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, Africa, during a game drive

Experience the best gorilla safari by venturing to Uganda, a raw and beautiful land coined “the pearl of Africa.” Cross its wetlands, tropical forests, and volcanic crater lakes on foot and by vehicle. Listen for the pant-hoot calls of clever chimps high up in fig trees and spot black-and-white colobus, gray-cheeked mangabey, and vervet monkeys. Accompany lion researchers in Queen Elizabeth National Park and partake in thrilling game walks and drives through acacia-rich woodland and grassy valleys. Witness the expressive look of mountain gorillas up close in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on two challenging but rewarding treks. Come evening, bask in the comforts of wilderness lodges and relish each day on safari.

View Uganda Gorilla Safari Tour

Rwanda Primate Private Adventure Tour
Searching for golden monkeys in bamboo forests in Akagera National Park in Rwanda, Africa

Go deep into beautiful Rwanda, “Land of a Thousand Hills,” for thrilling face-to-face encounters with endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Trek through densely vegetated tropical forests with professional ranger-guides in search of these gentle giants and wander through bamboo forests on the lookout for charming golden monkeys. Pair this incredible experience with epic game drives and Big Five sightings in Akagera National Park. Come evening, bask in the comfort of luxury eco-lodges, perfectly located for wildlife exploration.

View Rwanda Primate Private Adventure Tour

How much do gorilla permits cost?

The first step towards embarking on this extraordinary adventure is obtaining a gorilla trekking permit. These permits are not only a gateway to witnessing these magnificent creatures but also contribute to conservation efforts that protect their vulnerable populations. Permit costs vary between Rwanda and Uganda. Rwanda’s permits were notably higher, priced at around $1,500 per person, while Uganda’s permits were comparatively more affordable, ranging from $600 to $700. Keep in mind that these costs can change, so it’s advisable to check the most recent information before planning your trip.

Choose a Mountain Travel Sobek gorilla adventure in Rwanda or Uganda, and our expert team will obtain your gorilla trekking permits.

Where can I see gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda?

Rwanda and Uganda offer distinct experiences when it comes to gorilla trekking. Rwanda is home to the renowned Volcanoes National Park, a part of the Virunga Mountains that straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This lush, mist-covered terrain provides a surreal backdrop for your gorilla encounter. On the Ugandan side, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a treasure trove of biodiversity, harboring nearly half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. Both locations promise an immersive experience in the heart of nature.

How fit do I need to be to go gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is an adventure that requires a certain level of physical fitness and a spirit of exploration. In Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, trekkers traverse through bamboo forests, open meadows, and dense vegetation. The lush terrain may challenge your stamina, but every step is rewarded by the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lives up to its name, with dense foliage that can truly test your determination. The terrain can be rugged and steep, making the trekking experience a mix of excitement and endurance. Remember to pack sturdy hiking boots, rain gear, and a good dose of resilience.

What is it like to see gorillas in the wild?

The moment you’ve been waiting for: the face-to-face encounter with the mountain gorillas. Both Rwanda and Uganda offer a strictly controlled experience to ensure the safety of both visitors and the gorillas. Treks are led by experienced guides who are not only well-versed in gorilla behavior but also intimately familiar with the terrain.

As you venture deeper into the forest, each rustle of leaves heightens your anticipation. The guide’s signals become more subtle, indicating that the gorillas are near. And then, a moment of sheer magic unfolds. Emerging from the foliage, you’re face-to-face with these incredible creatures – a silverback watching over its family, playful juveniles tumbling through the branches, and nurturing mothers cradling their infants. Time seems to stand still as you observe their intricate social interactions and marvel at their human-like expressions.

What is the difference between seeing gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda?

Between Rwanda and Uganda: While the ultimate goal of both Rwanda and Uganda’s gorilla trekking experiences is the same – to connect with these magnificent animals – there are subtle differences that can sway your choice. Rwanda’s permits come with a higher price tag, but the relatively smaller size of Volcanoes National Park can result in shorter trekking distances. In contrast, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers a more challenging terrain but also presents the opportunity to explore a larger area and potentially observe other wildlife species along the way.


Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda is a journey that transcends mere travel. It’s an odyssey into the heart of one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, where you become a guest in the homes of these incredible creatures. The experience is a privilege that comes with a responsibility – to contribute to the preservation of these endangered species and their habitats. Whether you choose the misty mountains of Rwanda or the dense forests of Uganda, the memories of this encounter will remain etched in your heart forever. So, lace up your hiking boots, don your adventurer’s spirit, and prepare to witness the raw beauty of nature in its purest form – a rendezvous with the majestic mountain gorillas of East Africa.

Request a free adventure travel catalog from MT Sobek
Request a free adventure travel catalog from MT Sobek

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