Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda: From Planning to Departure
From Dream to Departure: 8 Crucial Steps for Your Ultimate Gorilla Trek in Uganda
From Dream to Departure: Planning your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda is the first step in turning your dream adventure into reality. This guide is designed to navigate you through the crucial aspects of safari planning, ensuring your journey through Uganda’s majestic landscapes to encounter the incredible gorillas is both enchanting and well-organized. With insights on the best times to visit, selecting the right trekking area, and understanding permit procedures, your safari planning is about to get exciting and thorough.
1. Initial Planning and Research
- Determine the Best Time to Visit for a Gorilla Safari: The dry seasons, from June to September and December to February, are ideal for trekking. Uganda is an all-year-round safari destination.
- Select a Trekking Area: Choose from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
- Research Gorilla Trekking Permits: Understand the cost and availability. Booking in advance is crucial as permits are limited.
2. Booking and Preparations
- Secure Gorilla Permits: Book through a reputable tour operator such as us.
- Book Flights: Arrange international flights to and from Entebbe International Airport.
- Accommodation: Choose and book lodges or hotels based on your trekking area.
- Prepare Visas and Vaccinations: Ensure your visa is in order and vaccinations are up to date, including Yellow Fever.
3. Arrival in Uganda
- Arrive at Entebbe: Usually, visitors spend a night in Entebbe or Kampala before heading to the trekking area. Here are some lodging options in the Entebbe vicinity and Kampala for your arrival and the night before departure.
- Travel to the Trekking Area: Most opt for a domestic flight or a long drive to the national park. We recommend breaking the long drive with these gorilla trekking add-on options.
4. Pre-Trek Briefing
- Attend a Briefing: A mandatory briefing by UWA on rules, expectations, and group assignments.
- Meet Your Guide and Group: Groups are typically limited to 8 people per gorilla family. You might consider hiring a porter.
- Start Early Morning: Treks typically begin in the morning and generally last from a few hours to about 5 hours, although sometimes they might extend throughout the entire day.
- The Trek: Hike through challenging terrains with guides to find a gorilla family.
- Gorilla Encounter: Spend up to one hour observing the gorillas in their natural habitat.
6. Post-Trek Experience
- Return to the Starting Point: Receive a trekking certificate from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
- Rest and Reflect: Spend the evening relaxing at your lodge, often with options for other activities or community visits. Most travelers spend this night or the night or the second night after the gorilla trek at Lake Bunyonyi or Lake Mutanda, or trek the Golden Monkeys in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
7. Departure Preparations
- Return to Entebbe/Kampala/Kigali: Travel back to Entebbe or Kampala, usually spending a night there. Most travelers break the long drive by spending the night at Lake Mburo Park, which takes 4-5 hours to Entebbe Airport. We’ll drop you off at the airport at the end of your gorilla safari. If your safari ends in Kigali, we need about 4-5 hours, including border crossing delays.
- Souvenir Shopping: Opportunity to shop for souvenirs and gifts.
8. Departing Uganda
- Depart from Entebbe: Check-in for your international flight home, marking the end of your gorilla trekking adventure.
Tips for a Smooth Trekking Experience
- Physical Fitness: Gorilla trekking can be physically demanding. Prepare by exercising in advance.
- Packing: Bring appropriate trekking gear, including waterproof boots, rain gear, and layers for variable temperatures.
- Respect Wildlife: Follow the guidelines given during the briefing to ensure a safe and respectful encounter with the gorillas.
As you approach the end of your gorilla trekking safari planning journey, from initial dreams to your eventual departure from Uganda, remember that the essence of a successful gorilla trekking adventure lies in the details. This guide has walked you through each critical step, ensuring your experience is memorable and smoothly executed. With your preparations complete, from securing permits to packing the right gear, you’re now ready to immerse yourself in the extraordinary experience of gorilla trekking in the heart of Uganda.
Here are some helpful links that you might want to check out:
- Why You Should Consider Uganda for Your Gorilla Trekking Safari
- Explore our Mini Gorilla Safari Itineraries
- Explore our Multi-day Gorilla Safari Itineraries
- 12-Day Pearl of Africa Safari
- 10-Day Big 7 African Experience Uganda Safari
- 5-Day Luxury Gorilla-Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Safari