Gorilla trekking is a unique and thrilling experience that attracts wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. Africa is home to several species of gorillas, and visitors can observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. The continent offers several gorilla trekking destinations, each with its own unique attractions and characteristics.
Trekking to see gorillas is a challenging activity that requires a reasonable level of fitness and endurance. However, the experience of observing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is worth the effort. It is important to note that permits are required for gorilla trekking in all of these destinations, and they are often limited in number. As such, it is recommended to book well in advance to secure a permit and ensure the best possible experience.
Here are the best five gorilla trekking destinations on the African continent
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the best places in Africa to observe mountain gorillas. Located in southwestern Uganda, the park is home to roughly half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. Visitors can track several habituated gorilla groups, and observe them as they interact with each other and their environment.
The park is characterized by dense forests, steep hills, and a rich diversity of plant and animal species. The gorillas in Bwindi are accustomed to human presence, and visitors can observe them from a safe distance. The trek to the gorillas can be challenging, as it involves hiking through rugged terrain, but the experience of observing these majestic creatures up close is worth the effort.
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda:
Volcanoes National Park is located in northern Rwanda and is home to several habituated gorilla groups. The park is part of the Virunga Mountains, a range of volcanoes that straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Visitors can trek through the lush forest to observe the gorillas as they go about their daily lives.
The park is also home to several other primates, including golden monkeys, colobus monkeys, and baboons. In addition, the park offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trek to the gorillas is generally less strenuous than in Bwindi, but it still requires a reasonable level of fitness.
Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo:
Virunga National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Africa and is home to both mountain and eastern lowland gorillas. The park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is known for its spectacular landscape, which includes active volcanoes, lush forests, and savannah plains.
The park is also home to several other iconic African species, including elephants, lions, and hippos. Visitors can trek through the forest to observe the gorillas, and may also have the opportunity to witness other wildlife along the way.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda:
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in southwestern Uganda and is home to the Nyakagezi gorilla group. The park is part of the larger Virunga Mountains ecosystem and is characterized by lush forests, bamboo stands, and swamps.
The trek to the gorillas in Mgahinga is generally less challenging than in other parks, as the gorilla groups tend to be located closer to the park entrance. Visitors can observe the gorillas as they interact with each other and their environment, and may also have the opportunity to see other primates and bird species.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo:
Kahuzi-Biega National Park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is one of the best places in Africa to observe the eastern lowland gorilla. The park is home to several habituated gorilla groups, and visitors can trek through the forest to observe these incredible creatures up close.
In addition to the gorillas, the park is also home to several other iconic African species, including forest elephants and chimpanzees. Visitors can also enjoy hiking and birdwatching in the park’s lush forests.
There are a number of several other gorilla trekking destinations on the African continent but the above five destinations stand out because of accessibility and popularity. Whether you are considering a tour operator-conducted gorilla safari or a self drive gorilla safari, these remain the best destinations.
Check out our guide on how to choose the right gorilla trekking destination next week.