A gorilla trek has to be the highlight of any visit to Uganda. The lush rainforest at Bwindi is home to some of the last mountain gorillas in the world, and spending a day trekking for them remains high on the bucket list of many a wildlife enthusiast. There are thought to be around 400 gorillas in the park, with eleven families that travellers are able to visit, though shifting alliances to the silverbacks can change this. The terrain can be steep and hilly at times, and the forest is often wet and dripping, with brightly coloured birds flitting from branch to branch. You have an hour to spend with the gorillas, which passes in a flash. A tip from us: make sure you know how to use your camera before you go- gorillas are tricky to photographs, but your pictures will last a lifetime.
As gorilla trekking is so different from safari and other wildlife experiences, we’ve created a short guide to gorilla trekking, to help you out.
For especially fit travellers we can arrange heading out in an exclusive group with the park rangers as part of the process to habituate the wild gorillas. Terrain is steep and slippery and you’ll spend all day scrambling through the forest, often with fleeting glimpses of the gorillas as they move to the next feeding spot, but if you are looking for something a little different, this is a fabulous opportunity.
Hiking and cultural experiences:
If you have a little longer to spend at Bwindi, try spending an extra day walking, in preparation for your hike, or visit the local Batwa community. For those staying on the Buhoma side of the park, a visit to the Bwindi Bar is an excellent way to support a social enterprise and well-deserved reward for a day of gorilla trekking. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, we can arrange for you to hike across the mountains between different areas of the national park- we’ve tested this ourselves and can highly recommend it.
Where to stay in Bwindi
There are a handful of lodges that we can happily recommend for you depending on your preferences and where we are able to secure gorilla permits for you. Permits secured for the north (Buhoma) or South (Nkuringo) of the park mean you need to be based in a lodge in the same area- the roads in between are poor enough to make staying in one, and trekking in the other, impossible. We’ve inspected a huge number of lodges personally, so we’ll do our best to give you an honest opinion!