The mountain gorilla tours in Africa are experienced in either Uganda or Rwanda. The mountain gorillas live in only two areas of rainforest in the Great Lakes Region, which are the Virunga Mountains at the border of the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, and the fantastic Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
For this post, we will focus on Uganda for mountain gorilla tours in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Introduction to Uganda
Uganda is a beautiful country located northwest of Lake Victoria, which is the world’s largest tropical lake. Located in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, there’s some beautiful scenery in the country you will see on tour.
In addition to fantastic scenery, Uganda is home to some fantastic protected areas. These include the popular Queen Elizabeth National Park for some Big 5 sightings, the Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzees, and the fantastic Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for the mountain gorillas.
For this post, we will focus on the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, but to see a summary of the others area, you can see the article on Gorilla and Chimp Tours.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
As an introduction to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park…
The Bwindi Forest is one of the world’s only two areas where you can find mountain gorillas. In addition to being the world famous area to see the endangered mountain gorillas, Bwindi contains a diversity of animals and plants.
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park protects a significant amount of the Bwindi Forest and covers around 32,000 hectares of tropical rainforest. The wildlife you can find here is very diverse.
The Bwindi Forest contains over 350 different birds, 120 mammals including around 450 individual mountain gorillas, 1,000 varieties of flowering plant, over 55 reptiles and amphibians, and over 300 different butterflies.
There are 10 different primates to find in the park, including the gorillas. The others include black-and-white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, and blue guenons.
The Mountain Gorillas
One of the favorite animals to see in Africa, the mountain gorillas live in two areas of forest of the Virunga Mountains and the fantastic Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There are several different habituated groups you can see in the Bwindi Forest, which are accessed from four different trailheads.
In total, there are around 450 individual mountain gorillas living in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A great lodge for gorilla trekking to see some different groups is the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. This is just 300 meters from the start of the Nkuringo gorilla trekking trailhead and provides a comfortable base for delicious food and a restful night sleep. For many visitors, the highlight of seeing the gorillas in general is seeing the leading silverback. The silverback is the leader who protects the group from danger and decides where to go in the forest and when to move on.
The Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge
A fantastic lodge to see the mountain gorillas, from the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge you are just 300 meters from the gorilla trekking trailhead. Not only offering a comfortable base for gorilla treks with delicious food, the lodge sits on the Nteko Ridge for spectacular views of the Bwindi Forest and the distant Virunga Mountains.
The lodge can arrange various itineraries to see the gorillas, and also offer a few excellent itineraries to see other areas of Uganda and even Rwanda. Focus on one or two groups of mountain gorillas or combine the gorilla tour with an itinerary to see the Big 5 game animals in the Queen Elizabeth National Park and the chimpanzees of Kibale Forest National Park. Here we will mention some featured itineraries for the mountain gorillas and also mention one of these combination tours.
The 5-Day Gorilla Trekking Tour
The 5-day gorilla trekking tour takes you to the incredible Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to see the gorillas. The itinerary includes visits to two different groups in the Bwindi Forest where you will be based from the comfortable Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge.
The lodge offers beautiful views of the distant Virunga Mountains and the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. In addition to the comfortable lodge and beautiful views, the lodge is just 300 meters from the start of the gorilla trekking trail.
The morning after you arrive at the lodge, you will begin the walk to the visitor registration area at the trailhead. Here, you will have a briefing on correct behavior around the gorillas. After this, it’s time for the trek. This is a difficult trek to time as it depends where the gorillas are in the forest and how long it takes to find them. However, once found, we can stay with the group for a maximum of one hour. You will then return to the lodge for some nice food and a relaxing night sleep.
The next morning, you will have your second gorilla experience. This time you will visit the Rushaga section of the park to find another gorilla group. Again, you will have a briefing at the trailhead before setting off. Similarly to the day before, once you have found the group, you can spend a maximum of one hour with the gorillas. This makes sure the gorillas are not stressed with visitors.
The 4-Day Gorilla Trekking Tour
The 4-day gorilla trek takes you on a fascinating journey in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to see the mountain gorillas. The 4-day itinerary differs from the 5-day tour above simply by visiting one gorilla group and not two.
You will first enjoy a short flight from Entebbe to Kisoro to visit the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. After familiarising yourself with the lodge and enjoying a comfortable night sleep, you will head to the gorilla trekking trailhead. The trailhead for gorilla trekking is just 300 meters from the lodge itself.
You will walk to the visitor reception area at the start of the trailhead where you will have a briefing on correct behavior around the gorillas. After this, it’s time to begin the trek. The walk can last a few hours as it depends where the gorillas are in the forest and how long it takes to find the group. You can then stay with the group for a maximum of one hour, which will give plenty of time for some fantastic photos. It’s often the highlight of the hour when you see the silverback, who leads the group. When your hour is up, head back to the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge for some delicious food and relaxation before your journey home the next day.
Combine the Mountain Gorillas with Uganda’s Chimpanzees
In addition to exploring the Bwindi Forest to see the famous mountain gorillas, you can enjoy various itineraries to combine the gorillas with other wildlife and protected areas in Uganda. A great lodge to arrange the itineraries is the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge. Enjoy visiting the Queen Elizabeth National Park for some Big 5 sightings, the Kibale Forest National Park for the chimpanzees, and the Bwindi Forest. Here, we will mention two features itineraries, but there are others to choose from.
The 10-Days Primate Tour
The 10-day primate tour combines the Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and the fantastic Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
You will enjoy visiting the Kibale Forest to have a habituation experience with the chimpanzees. This is one of the best places in the world to see the chimps and a habituation experience is helping to get the chimps used to visitors.
As the activity can be physically demanding, you can call time when you wish. But you can stay until sunset if you would like more time with the chimps. After your time in the Kibale Forest, you will visit the impressive Queen Elizabeth National Park.
In the Queen Elizabeth National Park, enjoy a game drive to find some of the large and iconic African mammals. Spot giraffes, zebra, elephants, lions, buffalo and much more. This is also a great place for birding with hundreds of species to find.
This region of Uganda is particularly beautiful and is known as the Crater Lakes Region. The many beautiful lakes create a spectacular scenery, which you can enjoy from different vantage points.
Now it’s time to begin your journey to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will be based from the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge itself, which is just 300 meters from the start of the gorilla trekking trailhead.
After a briefing on correct behavior around the gorillas, begin the gorilla trek itself. This can vary in time as the gorillas can be anywhere in the forest, Once we have found them, however, you can stay with the group for a maximum of one hour. You will have plenty of opportunities for photography within this time.
You will then return to the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge for some hot food and a relaxing night sleep. The next day, you will enjoy a visit to the picturesque Lake Mburo National Park before your journey home.
As another suggestion, you can also choose the 7-day primate tour or even ask the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge to send you some other itineraries to combine the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with some other fantastic areas in Uganda and Rwanda.