• A gorilla's gaze, Bwindi National Park, Uganda A gorilla's gaze, Bwindi National Park, Uganda
  • Batwa pigmy dance, Bwindi National Park, Uganda Batwa pigmy dance, Bwindi National Park, Uganda
  • Young Eastern Mountain Gorilla, Uganda Young Eastern Mountain Gorilla, Uganda

Track Mountain Gorillas in Africa

With only 700 mountain gorillas left in the world, seeing them in the wild is something only few people will ever experience. Although extensive conservation projects are underway, poachers persist their hunting. Additionally, the gorillas are affected by habitat degradation and human encroachment.

The Regions

Mountain gorillas are only found in the wild in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. You need an expensive permit to track gorillas in all of these countries. But most of the funds go toward conservation initiatives and gorilla protection.

Gorilla Tracking Map

Permits have to be obtained several months in advance, unless you join a tour with a prepaid permit. The permits cost US$400-500 per person per day, which is typically included in the cost of packaged tours.

Mountain vs Lowland

As well as mountain gorillas, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to lowland gorillas that live in dense forests and lowland swamps closer to sea level. They are much more widespread than mountain gorillas, numbering hundreds of thousands.

Lowland Gorilla vs Mountain Gorilla

The DNA of mountain and lowland gorillas is 98-99% identical to that of a human, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after two of the chimpanzee species.

Detail | Regions

You can track mountain gorillas in any three of these countries or online through Uganda's Friend a Gorilla program.

Online Tracking

Through the friendagorilla.org website, gorilla lovers worldwide have a chance to befriend any of Uganda’s gorillas from the seven habituated groups at a cost of one dollar.

The website also has other sections like Geo-Track, where you can track gorillas using regularly updated Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates. 

The aim is to raise awareness of the need to conserve gorillas, which are considered endangered because of human activities (like habitat destruction through logging, burning and clearing of land for agriculture), hunting and trapping by poachers, persistent diseases, and armed conflicts.

Uganda

There are two parks in Uganda where you are able to go gorilla tracking, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Mgahinga is located in the southwest of Uganda on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. The park is only small, but you can also see leopard, buffalo, bushbuck and golden monkeys. 

Bwindi is also in South-Western Uganda and it is home to about half of all mountain gorillas. The park covers over 500 square kilometres of extremely dense rainforest (compared to 70 square kilometres in Mgahinga) and is a proclaimed World Heritage site. You can also see chimpanzees as well as some spectacular bird life. 

Rwanda

Rwanda has one park in the North of the country encompassing its share of the mountain gorilla population: the Parc National des Volcans (PNV). The PNV is where Dian Fossey based her research center. Dian was the subject of the widely acclaimed film about mountain gorillas, Gorillas in the Mist.

The park covers an area of about 120 square kilometres and encompasses six volcanoes. Despite the terrible genocide in the early 1990s, the country is now relatively stable and the park permit system is running smoothly.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC encompasses a section of the Virunga Mountains park called the Parc National des Virunga. The DRC gorilla population suffered a major setback because several gorillas were brutally killed in 2007. However, in early 2009, a census showed that the gorillas were doing better than expected despite the civil war raging around them.

 

This is just an idea for a Trip that you can either Create with your own specific dates and requirements, or you can Find a Trip created by another traveller and join them on an adventure.

Vital Stats

Duration 1-7 days (avg)
When to go Jun - Oct
Alternative Period Dec - Mar
Highest Altitude 2,607 m
Rwamunyonyi 8,553 ft
Required Training 0 months

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Travel Trivia

What is Patagonia?

Trivia: What is Patagonia?

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Countries

Sub-Saharan Africa

Activities

  • Trekking & Hiking