3 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari

Uganda Safari Gorillas

Safari Overview

This 3-day gorilla trekking safari offers the best thrilling adventures and it is also a flexible budget, mid-range or luxury travelers to Uganda with so far the best gorilla trekking and habituation prices.

3 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari Summary

  • Day 1: Transfer or drive from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There will be a brief stop at the equator line for photography.
  • Day 2: Undertake Mountain Gorilla trekking About 6-8 hours trekking time, with 7 other trekkers in a group and a maximum of 1 hour in the presence of the Mountain Gorillas.
  •  Day 3: Transfer/drive back to Kampala or Entebbe International Airport.

Uganda is proudly home to over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, a critically endangered species of gentle giants that need our protection. Located along the mountainous southern border with Rwanda and the Congo are the majestic Bwindi Impenetrable Forest  National Park and nearby Mgahinga Gorilla Park,  some of the last protected stretches of Africa’s central rainforests and home to Uganda’s rebounding mountain gorilla populations. The only way to see the gorillas on a 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari is to purchase a permit and go on a guided gorilla trek in one of these two parks. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is ranked the best destination for mountain gorilla trekking in sub-Saharan Africa. It is recognized as a Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its diverse unique ecosystems.

This 3 days gorilla trekking safari Bwindi takes you for an exploration to the oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest, it is not only covered with the great apes but also several scenic trails and a diverse number of species of mammals like chimpanzees, butterflies, amazing bird species, species of geckos, chameleons, frogs and lots of unique flora such as vines, mahogany, ferns, and bamboo plant species.

The parks are best reached both by air and by road on this 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari from either Entebbe Airport near Uganda’s capital city of Kampala or Kigali Airport in Rwanda, a nine-hour drive and a four-hour drive respectively.

Transportation Options on your 3 days gorilla trekking safari

  • By Road

Using a 4×4 vehicle from Entebbe international airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is approximately 499km which takes about 8 – 9 hours.

You can also use Kampala – Fortportal – Kasese via the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Ishasha for climbing lions then later connect to Rukungiri – Kihihi to Kanyantorogo then branch off to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

  • By air

Chartered planes can be booked from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip. It is about1hr 49mins flight by Aero link to the Park.

On the morning of your 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari you’re led by a park ranger into the dense, beating heart of the rainforest. You hike along narrow, winding footpaths and through terrain that is slippery and often steep.   The round-trip hike can range from roughly two to six hours, so you need some walking fitness and to wear hiking boots with good grip. You can usually request a longer or shorter hike to suit your fitness level. The first sign that you’re close to making contact will be the distant calls and commotion that ring out across the forest as the gorillas try to establish who is approaching.

The moment your eyes catch a flicker or shadow through the undergrowth is truly electrifying.  Then, as you approach, it’s the profound familiarity and intelligence in the eyes of the gorillas that leave most in awe. Their sweetness and kindness is what quickly melts your heart.  Everybody’s experience with the gorillas is unique, but the gorillas generally don’t pay you, the humans, and too much mind and get on with their daily business. You will likely see youngsters playing and flopping around, mindful mothers keeping an eye on their babies and, if it’s lunchtime, the gorillas eat stems and leaves. Your presence is softly observed by the patriarch of the family, the enormous silverback male whose role is to protect the group from danger.

Some incidences on this 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari the gorillas may come close and even within arm’s reach, but don’t panic, lower your gaze, and don’t make any sudden movements; your team is always with you and by following a handful of basic rules you will thoroughly enjoy the experience. The trekking group spends 45 minutes to an hour meeting the troop, and then you must head back to base. Unless however, you’ve booked a habituation experience, which permits you four hours with the gorillas. But more about that later.

We’re often asked if you’re guaranteed to see mountain gorillas on this 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Safari.  The gorillas are completely wild and are free to roam as they choose so a  hundred percent guarantee cannot be given, however,  the likelihood of sighting gorillas is very high as they are tracked carefully on a daily basis by the park rangers. We are yet to experience or hear from any of our visitors who did not sight the gorillas.  There are also no recorded incidents of serious attack or harm caused by the gorillas out on a trek and despite having the strength to wrestle a tiger, these majestic creatures are remarkably docile and tender, and vegetarians to boot. It’s this kindness and intelligence that makes their presence so heartwarming and magical.  It’s important to know that the mountain gorillas that trekkers are permitted to visit have become habituated to the presence of humans.

Gorilla habituation

This habituation process is a slow one and gently familiarizes the gorillas to the presence of humans over a duration of two years. Here the park rangers build deep and intimate knowledge and understanding with the troop, meaning you are in the safe hands of a highly trained and experienced team. With gorilla habituation, group size is limited to only four tourists, and most interestingly you become a participant in the habituation process.  Some researchers and doctors may be present too,  but do not fear – these gorillas are towards the end of the habituation process – you are only helping them along. Again, while this may sound expensive, this is equal to what you would spend for only a one-hour gorilla trekking experience in neighboring Rwanda

 

Best time for  a  3 Day Gorilla Trek

Uganda, like much of East Africa, is governed by four seasons: two wet and two dry. The dry seasons from December to February and then June to September are generally considered the best months for this 3 Day gorilla trekking safari. Here you’re less likely to have rainy days, and the paths are drier and a little easier to navigate. That said, there is no time of the year that is considered off-limits; mountain gorillas live in the rain forests and so conditions are never dry regardless of the season. The good news is that gorilla parks are open all year round and the mountain gorillas don’t migrate or hibernate, so visitors can go gorilla trekking all year long.

A Gorilla Trek Tip

We highly recommend booking a gorilla trek at least several months in advance or more to avoid any disappointment, especially during the peak seasons. Permits are highly sought after.

Uganda Gorilla Safaris

Many visitors to Uganda’s gorilla parks choose to weave gorilla trekking safaris into a wider Uganda itinerary, enjoying the magnificent variety of activities and landscapes on the route. Nestled within the heart of the Great Lakes region in equatorial Africa, Uganda is a landlocked country characterized by endless verdant hills, expansive valleys, mountain peaks, and a scattering of giant shimmering lakes and streams. Roughly the size of the United Kingdom or twice as big as Pennsylvania state in the United States, Uganda is home to four major distinct ethnic groups and dozens of regional languages that form a  rich cultural tapestry of over 44 million people.  Undoubtedly what makes Uganda so exceptionally unique in the world is its outstanding variety of wildlife. In addition to your Gorilla trekking safari, Canoeing in a traditionally dugout canoe on beautiful Lake Bunyonyi and, for the daredevils out there, challenge yourself to zip line. You could as well add up on a boat safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, keep your eyes peeled for hippos elephants, and any crocodiles lurking in the waters below.

Go white water rafting and tubing in Jinja, Uganda’s adventure sports playground and pinpoint the source of the River Nile.  Hike the mesmerizing Sipi Falls and abseil down the rock face if you’re up for the challenge.  Bicycle through Lake Mburo National Park in search of wildlife and beautiful vistas. Hike the mighty  Mist-shrouded Rwenzori Mountains for otherworldly vistas and landscapes. Go on safari in Murchison Falls National Park and take a boat cruise to see the powerful falls.  Swim, kayak, and unwind on Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake and poetically known as ‘the home of gods’ in Uganda. Visit the Equator line for some great photo opportunities and a grand sense of perspective. Go chimpanzees trekking for the thrill of a lifetime. If this has you jumping around the room with excitement. Please feel free to check out our expertly crafted safaris to Uganda for a peek at some of our wonderful Uganda trips and itineraries.

Gorilla Conservation

Under mounting pressure from human activity conflict and poaching, mountain gorilla populations dwindled close to extinction in the late 1980s to less than 620 individuals. Today mountain gorilla populations are thankfully on the rise and stand at over one thousand.  Sustainable tourism has been decisive in reversing the trend. Strict rules and very limited permits have minimized exposure to humans and kept their remaining habitat pristine. Many scouts who at one point may have been poachers are now their protectors and earn their livelihood by safeguarding the future of the species. And as of 2018, the IUCN even revised their vulnerability status from critically endangered to endangered in a massive victory for conservationism. In the interest of covering all sides of the story, it must be noted that one unfortunate drawback of the creation of the protected gorilla parks has been the displacement of some Batwa pygmy communities from their ancestral hunting lands.  This difficult decision was taken by UNESCO and the Ugandan Government in the early 1990s in order to provide the gorillas with refuge and the  best chance of surviving the intensifying threat  of extinction.

At Masai Mara Holidays, our Uganda gorilla tracking safaris encourage visits to these communities to support the Batwa and learn about their history,  ancient culture and fascinating way of life.

Gorilla Trekking Permits

Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are priced at  $700 per person. Do note that this is for the permit and guided trek alone. Whilst this may sound dear, it’s important to remember the role you’re playing in the conservation of the species. Gorilla trekking tourism has been so effective as a catalyst for conservation due to its reluctance to fall victim to mass tourism.   Seventy-five percent of the price of your permit is reinvested into the upkeep of the parks and expanding conservation initiatives, so the money is truly well spent.  For those who are interested in spending more time meeting the gorillas, a habituation experience with a permit priced at $1,500 per person can be coupled up to this 3 Day gorilla trekking Uganda and allows visitors up to four hours with the troop. Permits must be booked well in advance, as demand is very high.

Our 3 Day Gorilla trekking Bwindi Accommodation Options

A wide range of accommodation options can be found to suit all budgets on our 3 Day gorilla trek, from basic forest camping, rustic huts to high-end luxury lodges. So you are not stuck for choice.  At Masai Mara Holidays, our 3 Day Gorilla trekking safari mostly heads to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as compared of Mgahinga,  one key reason being that substantially more gorilla trekking permits are available at Bwindi. Our 3 Day Gorilla trekking safari is accommodated at top-notch accommodations within the park carefully picked based on continuous great services gorgeous panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest and rolling hills.  Nothing beats unwinding and reflecting on your gorilla encounter with a refreshing drink as the sun slowly sets. It’s a really wonderful spot that will sow lifelong memories.

3 Day Gorilla Trek Rwanda or 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda?

Both the two 3 Day Gorilla safari options offer stunning adventures and access to fantastic gorilla trekking experiences.  However, some key differences do exist.  Most notably, gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda are substantially more expensive at  USD 1,500 per person as opposed to  $700 in Uganda. In addition to price,  Uganda‘s larger gorilla population makes securing permits easier, as more permits are issued per day.

This makes 3 Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda a good option for spontaneous types or those with less runway before departing for their trip. Where a 3 Day Gorilla Trek Rwanda has an advantage for some is its easier accessibility and connectivity.  The Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda sits a few hours’ drive from the capital Kigali, so those who are looking for a brief stopover to go gorilla trekking may find a 3 Day Gorilla Trek Rwanda convenient. However, for those travelers with time and seeking a more complete, holistic itinerary, Uganda offers a richer, more varied range of sites, landscapes, and activities.  From outstanding safari and wildlife experiences, immense lakes, snow-capped mountains to world-class game viewing

Other activities on your 3 Days Bwindi gorilla trekking safari

  • Cultural tours like visiting the community of the Batwa(pygmies)culture and learn how they used to light the fire using sticks.
  •  A chance to visit the Buhoma Kisizi waterfalls in the thick rainforest.
  •  A visit to Lake Bunyonyi which is the second deepest lake in Africa.

What to pack on your 3 days Gorilla Trekking Safari

  •  Jungle boots.
  •  Heavy jackets.
  •  Rain gears.
  •  Light clothes.
  •  Hand gloves in case of stinging insects.
  •  Head cap.
  •  Binoculars(optional) for bird watchers.
  •  Insect repellant.

Itinerary

Day 1
Transfer or drive from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Have an early breakfast before setting off on your adventure from Entebbe international airport or Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for your 3 days Uganda gorilla trekking safari. A professional Uganda safari guide from Masai Mara Holidays will meet you for a transfer to the Park. For the almost 550km drive to Bwindi National Park, you will be driven on a 4×4 wheel safari vehicle on a fairly tarmacked road along Kampala- Masaka- Mbarara-Kabale highway.
Along Kampala – Masaka highway, there will be a stopover at the Equator line in Kayabwe for a photo moment and geographical experiments on how water swirls in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres at the Equator line.
Continuing to the southern hemisphere for your Uganda gorilla tour, you have lunch en route at Mbarara town. Driving further to western Uganda, the rolling terraced hills of kigezi highlands and the long-horned Ankole cattle are part of what will constitute your scenic drive. On arrival at your preferred accommodation facility, your driver-guide ensures check-in for dinner and a night’s rest at the hotel or lodge. This will mark the end of your first-day gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi.
Drive Time: 8-10 hours


Day 2
Undertake Mountain Gorilla trekking About 6-8 hours trekking time

This is your long-awaited day for the Uganda Mountain Gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi forest. After early morning breakfast, your Masai Mara Holidays driver guide will pick you up from the accommodation facility for a drive to the gorilla trekking sector headquarters. At the headquarters, briefing on the tracking etiquette starts before 8:00 am local time. During the briefing, a total of 8 tourists are allocated a single gorilla family to trek according to fitness levels.
Each gorilla safari Uganda trekker then receives a trekking stick and heads to the jungle in company of the park rangers and guides, Mountain Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is unpredictable because of the movement behaviors of the gorillas and therefore the activity lasts about 6-8 hours. These hours are spent in search of the gorillas however only 1 hour has spent the presence of these gentle giants. At the end of this memory-filled 1 hour, you return to the park headquarters where you receive a Uganda gorilla trekking tour certificate. Later after that, you meet with your safari driver-guide for a drive to your lodging facility.
Besides the gorillas, Bwindi forest is also rich in a variety of African civet and the African golden cats, butterflies, endemic bird species, monkeys such as the red-tailed, Le’host, blue and black and white colobus monkeys, forest hogs, duikers, flowering plant species such as the brown mahogany which is a threatened plant species in the Park and so much more which you will sight as you take your nature walks through the scenic trails of the mighty jungle while on your 3 gorilla trekking safari.

Day 3
Transfer/drive back to Kampala or Entebbe International Airport

After a beautiful night in the foothills of the gorilla land, you embark on the road drive back to Kampala or Entebbe International Airport for a departure flight. You will have lunch en route and can purchase any craft materials at several souvenir shops along the way to always remind you of your Bwindi gorilla trekking safari. Our Masai Mara Holidays guide ensures you get to your preferred end of 3 days gorilla trekking safari destination safely.