Budget gorilla trekking is mainly about spending less money during the trip but also getting value for the money spent while trying to see the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environment. However, budget doesn’t necessarily mean cheap but good service, comfort, hospitality and mouth-watering meals at the most affordable rates.
Budget rates apply to all aspects of the gorilla trekking safari that include comfortable air-conditioned safari vehicles for taking you to and around the safari destination, full-board accommodation, meals and several en-route services. With our many years of operation, expertise and experience of dealing with different service providers, we can organize your budget gorilla trekking tours in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Budget gorilla trekking in Uganda
Uganda is surprisingly one of the few places in Africa to enjoy budget gorilla trekking, as visitors are offered the incomparable chance of meeting face to face with the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. So far, two gorilla parks can make your dream of undertaking a budget gorilla trekking tour come to life, choosing between Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The wonderful fact about these places is that they are all in the south-west of Uganda, about 8-9 hours’ drive from the Capital City.
Budget gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Of the 1063 mountain gorillas in the wild, about 450 of them are in this Impenetrable Forest alone, thus making it the perfect option for budget gorilla trekkers, owing to the fact that more gorilla groups are opened for trekking by visitors. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was officially established into a National Park in 1991 and gained its UNESCO World Heritage Site status three years later.
Budget gorilla treks are done in four trekking sectors that are Buhoma to the north, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south as well as Ruhija to the East of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Each of the 21 habituated gorilla groups in this Park are trekked by 8 visitors, meaning a total of 168 permits are availed each single trekking day. You will spend quality time in the presence of either of these families including Mukiza, Kutu, Mucunguzi, Oruzogo, Nshongi, Habinyanja, Bweza, Kyaguriro, Christmas, Mubare, Busingye, Rushegura, Bikingi, Kahungye, Nkuringo, Katwe, Rwigi, Mishaya and Bushaho.
For places of lodging, budget gorilla trekkers to Bwindi National Park can stay at Bwindi view Bandas, Broadbill Forest Camp, Ruhondeza lodge and campsite, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Broadbill Forest camp, Karungi Camp, Bwindi Close-up Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Gift of Nature Lodge and Trekkers Tavern Cottages among others.
Budget Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park not only offers budget gorilla trekking but more private experience for travellers who decide to take the off-the-beaten path to achieving their lifetime dream. Nyakagezi is the only habituated gorilla group in this 34-square kilometer National Park, hence only 8 gorilla permits are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority each day. Accommodation options for budget gorilla trekkers in Mgahinga include Chahafi Lake Resort, Mucha Hotel, Travellers Rest Hotel, Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge and many others.
How budget gorilla trekking tours are done in Uganda?
Regardless of your choice of budget gorilla trekking destination, start your day with meeting at Park Headquarters for briefing on the guidelines to be followed while trekking or watching the Giant Apes. This should be by 7:00am, then start the actual search for the allocated gorilla group by 8:00am and this will take 1-6 hours.
Several factors determine the duration of gorilla treks and these include nature of terrains, movement of the mountain gorillas and weather. You have one hour of observation and photography before leaving the forest for the next adventure.
Securing gorilla permits for budget gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks.
Presently gorilla permits for Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks cost $700 for foreign non-resident travellers, $600 for the foreign resident travellers and Shs. 250,000 for the East African travellers, which have to be booked 3-6 months to the actual trekking day.
As far as the booking process is concerned, there are two procedures-directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority or indirectly through a reputable tour operator and the latter is so far the less stressful option.
Accessing Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks for the budget gorilla trekking tour
Scheduled or chartered flights are the fastest option of accessing Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks. These tours land at Kihihi and Kisoro Airstrips, then travellers continue to their booked budget safari Lodge by road.
The road users should expect 8-9 hours’ drive from Kampala to the Gorilla Parks based within the south-western part of Uganda. Alternatively, there is a faster option of getting there, road trip from Kigali City with border crossing at Cyanika or Katuna boarder points.