Ways to do an African gorilla trek on a budget

A gorilla trek in Africa is undoubtedly the most special and one-of-a-kind wildlife experience. Mountain gorilla hikes are only permitted in a handful of African countries, and even fewer are safe and reasonably priced. For you to have remarkable close encounters with these gentle giants in the wild, African Budget Safaris has identified the best locations for safe and reasonably priced gorilla trekking in Africa.

Safe gorilla hiking in Uganda

Half of the world’s gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwest Uganda. There are four gorilla groups that tourists are permitted to visit in the deep jungle where the African mountain gorillas live. Bwindi, the greatest location in Uganda for a gorilla trek, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its rich biodiversity and diverse habitats.

The best way to explore the national park, which is only accessible by road, is with an organized group and registered guide. With a limit of six people per group, there are a number of different safari packages to choose from that will fit your budget and time constraints. 

Prices start at around $1600 (~R25 300) for a three-day hike, whereas a 10-day trek includes a full schedule of game drives and boat tours to explore the area too. These 10-day trips start at around $6300 (~R99 800).

Gorilla trek in Rwanda

Another safe destination in Africa for an incredible gorilla trek in Rwanda. The Volcanoes National Park is home to over 1000 mountain gorillas. A top location for risk-free gorilla trekking, this conservation area is also a World Heritage Site. 

To keep tourists safe while they go hiking in Rwanda, the authorities have specially trained rangers and security personnel. A three-day tour costs about $3200 (~R50 700) and expert trackers will be with you at all times. 

Safety while doing a gorilla trek

Mountain gorillas are well-protected because they are an endangered species. Only a certain number of tourists are permitted to visit each day. Habituated groups of gorillas, or gorillas accustomed to human interaction, are visited by tourists with professional guides. With a mountain gorilla hiking permit, you can spend an hour with a habituated gorilla group; each group may only have a maximum of eight visitors per day.

The safety of both people and mountain gorillas is ensured by stringent regulations. The walk to see the gorillas takes between two and six hours, so visitors must be moderately athletic because the weather and terrain in both Uganda and Rwanda can be challenging.

Up-close Bwindi experience

Consider taking part in the Bwindi experience if you feel that one hour spent with the endangered gorillas is not enough. This three-day gorilla safari offers a unique opportunity to interact with mountain gorillas for up to four hours at a time. 

You’ll get to spend more time with a group of gorillas in the Rushanga Area as you trek with four guests (instead of the usual eight) and are accompanied by a ranger and researcher. These gorilla groups gradually acclimate to people over a two-year period for the purpose of care and research. You can participate in this unique conservation experience for just over $2600 (~R41 200). 

Mountain gorillas are remarkably peaceful and gentle creatures. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda are the best destinations for a safe gorilla trek. Find a local safari company and do your research before booking your flights. You may find something which is fantastic value for money if you wish to visit both locations.


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Written by Taryn Hill

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