What To Expect on a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Central Africa

by Sandy Salle on October 1, 2013

Post image for What To Expect on a Gorilla Trekking Safari in Central Africa

Image above taken by our client, Gray Cornwell

Gorilla trekking. It’s something that’s on pretty much everyone’s bucket list, and for good reason! As someone who has been to both Rwanda and Uganda for gorilla trekking safaris, I can assure you that these treks are some of the most inspirational and emotional experiences I’ve ever had.

Both Uganda and Rwanda offer exceptional gorilla trekking experiences, but each destination does differ slightly from the other.

Uganda, for example, is celebrated for its stunning landscape, comprised of coffee, tea, and banana plantations that span across an entire, lush countryside. Uganda’s terrain is also comprised of dense forest and lush rolling hills.

Rwanda’s landscape, on the other hand, contains lots of bamboo and does not have as many thick, lush forests as Uganda’s landscape.

As for the actual gorilla trekking, both Uganda and Rwanda offer equally exceptional experiences. It is important to note, though, that Uganda treks are typically more difficult than those offered in Rwanda. In both areas, travelers are assigned a specific group of gorillas that they will track that day. Some gorillas are much further out and can require between 2 – 4 hours of hiking, while others are nearby and only require 30-minutes of hiking. Travelers are assigned treks based on their level of physical fitness.

When you do come across the gorillas (whether it’s in Uganda or Rwanda) you will have one hour to observe them. This time limit has been established for the protection of the gorillas as well as for the protection of the travelers.

During a recent gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, I was fortunate to track the Habinyanja Gorilla Group and witness a 3-week-old and a 7-day-old baby gorilla. When I tell you it was the most moving sight in the world to witness a mother gorilla nurture her precious babies, I truly mean it! Absolutely riveting.

Rwanda also offered an amazing gorilla trekking experience. In fact, whilst I was there, I was gently knocked over by a silverback gorilla as he was passing by, which was truly exciting!! I even framed the t-shirt I was wearing as a reminder of how amazing that experience was.

See below for some photographs that one of our recent clients, Gray Cornwell, took while on a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park:

gorilla trekking safaris

rwanda gorilla trekking


In addition to fantastic gorilla trekking excursions, Uganda and Rwanda also both offer wonderful cultural experiences. For example, one day after finishing our trek in Rwanda we enjoyed some mangos with the local people, which was truly an enriching experience. There are lots of fantastic cultural excursions offered in both countries, which include village tours, plantation tours, and visits to local markets.

See below for some pictures from Gray Cornwell’s cultural experiences in Rwanda:

rwanda safari vacation

rwanda culture

Check out some photographs from my gorilla trekking adventures on our Facebook page.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Pinto October 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

This is a beautiful and a true account of what happens on a typical gorilla tracking safari. The experience and thrill is pretty much the same in the 3 countries Uganda, Rwanda & Uganda.
Honestly, i dare everyone to try gorilla tracking in any country of your choose above.

Sandy Salle October 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

Susan, I absolutely agree that Uganda and Rwanda are the best places to view gorillas! Such an amazing experience – definitely a top bucket list item for discerning travelers!


rangersafaritours June 9, 2014 at 4:58 am

Thanks!! Wow – Quite pricey, but it sounds like a fantastic experience. Gorillas are such amazing creatures and thanks also for the Gorilla Trekking rules and tips which should be common sense for visitors, but so important to remember none the less!..

Felix June 18, 2014 at 1:26 am

Well, the most primary motivations for going to Africa this time was to go see the mountain gorillas. I was in there for a week before some months ago and I would like to suggest you that never make a plan to go there in the month of April and may, it may can be pretty wet.

Sandy Salle June 18, 2014 at 7:59 am

Yes, April and May can be quite wet! The dry seasons during January and February and June through September are definitely the best times of year to visit Uganda and go gorilla trekking. Thanks for sharing that great tip, Felix! – Sandy

Tom Hanks December 15, 2014 at 4:49 am

I just loved this post. We should know what to expect from a gorilla trekking safari and what not. This post clearly describes about this.

Polly Kamugisha January 11, 2016 at 11:43 pm

I really gain lot of gorilla adventure from this blog post and I do have a travel agency if some one interested in getting into Africa for travel purpose Can reach me .

Website: http://www.ugandarwandagorillatours.com

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