Over twenty Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda families, totaling approximately 280 individual gorillas, live on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Twelve of these twenty families are visited, with ten families visited each day. On a daily basis, the Parks Authority rotates the families you come to see. Seeing gorillas in the wild is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience for many people.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda is the ideal place to stay if you want to see the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda its natural habitat. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is only a 15-minute drive from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, where gorilla treks begin.
Meeting the Gorillas in Rwanda take place in the morning and begin around 07:30am from the Park Headquarters. Prior to departure, park staff will give you a briefing, assign you to a gorilla family to visit, and provide you with rangers to guide you. The treks take place on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes, and clients should be in good physical shape because some of the treks are physically demanding. Treks typically begin in the cultivated land at the base of the volcanoes and then ascend into the beautiful dense misty forests. The trek typically takes between 2 and 5 hours, depending on the location of the gorilla family, with a maximum of eight visitors permitted per gorilla family.
When you arrive at the gorillas, you have an hour to observe them. In Rwanda, the minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years. A maximum of 80 gorilla permits are issued per day, and during peak season, these sell out quickly; therefore, it is critical to book gorilla permits as soon as possible. Currently, gorilla permits cost USD$ 1500 per person per trek.
If you are interested in planning a gorillas in rwanda trekking safari, please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have, advise you on current gorilla permit availability, and assist you in planning your safari.
The various Groups of gorilla in Rwanda and their locations will undoubtedly change over time. Mountain gorillas frequently climb higher in the dry season and descend during the rainy season; they may move due to pressure from wild gorillas, and individuals frequently join other groups.
When tracking gorillas, you can ask to visit a specific group once you arrive at the park headquarters, but this is never guaranteed. Some of the families currently habituated for gorilla safaris in Volcanoes National Park are as follows:
The Susa Group, also known as the Kurira Group and first studied by Dian Fossey, is the largest, with 38 individuals, including three silverbacks. It can be a difficult trek to reach the Susa Group high up on Mount Karisimbi in the summer months, but it is well worth the effort because of their number and, uniquely, because it has a set of twins, a very rare occurrence in the world of gorillas.
The Sabyinyo Group consists of approximately 17 individuals, including two silverback gorillas, one of which, Guhonda, is the park’s largest. The group is usually found near the forest’s edge (about 20–40 minutes’ walk), between Sabyinyo and Gahinga.
The Agashya Group, formerly known as Group Thirteen, was renamed after the dominant silverback Agashya defeated Nyakairima in 2010. The Sabyinyo Group usually lives nearby, but they can travel far and high. It has about 22 gorillas.
The Amahoro Group, with 19 members under the calm leadership of Ubumwe, and the Umubano Group, with 13 members, usually live between the Karisoke and Bisoke peaks. Both are typically further away from the headquarters than the Sabyinyo and Agasha groups, but more accessible than the Susa Group.
The Kwitonda Group has approximately 23 members and was established in the DRC. The group is known to have a much wider range than others, having crossed the border into Rwanda in 2005. It was named after their dominant silverback, Kwitonda, who died in 2012, and is now led by silverback Akarevuro.
The Hirwa Group, which means “lucky,” is made up of about 18 gorillas who came from the Agashya and Sabyinyo groups. One silverback and one of only a few surviving pairs of mountain gorilla twins, Isango Gakuru and Isango Gato, are part of the group.
Mountain gorillas in Rwanda share 98 percent of our DNA and are thus very susceptible to catching human infections, particularly respiratory ones, but they lack our immune system to deal with them – even a common cold can be fatal. As a result, various rules for gorilla trekking have been put in place to help protect these endangered primates:
The opportunity to photograph mountain gorillas in their natural habitat can be magical, but it does come with some challenges, not the least of which is that the light can be poor and flash photography is not permitted.
That said, this isn’t the place for a massive, tripod-mounted lens; instead, work with something that can be hand-held or stabilized with a monopod. We discovered that a zoom lens (80–200mm f2.8) combined with a high ISO setting works very well.
Keep in mind that the rainforest will almost certainly be damp, and you may need to protect your camera from heavy rain.
Gorilla conservation needs substantial funds for investments in research, Rangers, and scientists. This will cost money. A portion of the proceeds from gorilla permits are used to fund activities aimed at protecting these magnificent primates. In general, 15% of the money collected from gorilla permits is given to the government, 10% to local communities, and 75% to gorilla conservation. It is also important to note that if gorilla permits were significantly reduced, too many tourists would visit the primates, negatively impacting the overall well-being of the few habituated gorilla groups.
Mountain Gorilla trekking is only possible in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mountain gorillas can be tracked in Uganda’s Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks. The primates can be found in Virunga National Park in Congo, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
If you want to go gorilla trekking in any of the three countries, you must first obtain a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit is a legal document that grants you access to gorillas. Gorilla permits cost $700 in Uganda, $1500 in Rwanda, and $450 in Congo. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs 300,000 shillings if you are an East African national. During the low seasons of the year, gorilla permits in Congo’s Virunga National Park can be purchased for as little as \$250. (This could change soon). Rwanda may also offer discounted permits to African Union citizens, foreign residents, large groups, families, and those participating in other activities. Foreigners who live in East Africa can get discounted gorilla permits in Uganda.
A permit for the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi will cost \$1500 for those interested. The gorilla habituation experience is not the same as gorilla trekking. It takes the entire day and includes four hours with mountain gorillas rather than the one hour allotted to tourists during normal gorilla trekking.
A gorilla permit is required for gorilla tracking. You will not be permitted to participate in the activity unless you show the park authorities your permit. What exactly is included in the cost of a Gorilla Permit? A gorilla permit includes one hour of gorilla interaction, as well as park entrance and Ranger fees.
“Rwanda safari trips are available at any time, with the best time based on your personal interests and tolerance for rainy conditions.” The majority of visitors to Rwanda come for gorilla trekking, which is available all year. However, the wet climate in the Virunga Mountains, gorillas’ home, can make trekking difficult – especially during the Wet season (March, April, October and November).
The driest months (June to August) are ideal for Rwandan gorilla trekking, and they are also ideal for hiking in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Most primates in Nyungwe can be found all year, but chimps are easier to track during the Wet because they tend to move deeper into the forest when food becomes scarce.
Having said that, if you have good weatherproof gear and don’t mind getting caught in the rain on occasion, the Wet season months have advantages in that they are less crowded and lodges frequently offer lower rates. In addition, gorilla permits are easier to obtain during the Wet season.”
“Rwanda is a lovely little country best known for the 1994 genocide.” The good news is that the country has mostly recovered from this calamitous event and is now extremely safe and fully prepared for tourism. Throughout this turbulent time, Rwandan authorities managed to keep their gorillas safe, and seeing these gentle giants has become one of Africa’s top attractions. So, trekking mountain gorillas is by far the most popular attraction in Rwanda, and most tourists will come for that reason alone, often combining a visit to Rwanda with a safari in Kenya or Tanzania.
There is, however, much more to see and do in Rwanda than gorilla trekking. Other activities include golden monkey treks and climbing one of the Virungas’ volcanoes. Nyungwe Forest National Park is also worth a visit. This stunning high-altitude forest is surprisingly accessible and home to 13 primate species, including chimps.
Rwanda’s only savannah reserve is Akagera National Park. It doesn’t quite compete with the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in terms of wilderness appeal, but this scenic park has a lot to offer in terms of wilderness appeal and, thanks to recent reintroductions, it is also home to the Big Five.
“Trekking mountain gorillas is not cheap. Rwanda doubled its gorilla trekking permit prices in 2017, bringing the current price to US$1500. The high fee is justified by the fact that there are only eight habituated groups of gorillas that tourists can visit in Volcanoes National Park, and each group can only be visited by a maximum of eight tourists per day. As a result, there is a daily limit of 64 permits. Is it worthwhile? If you can afford it, it is well worth the money. “How can you put a price on such an incredible experience, which many who have done it describe as a travel highlight of their lives?”
Yes, trekking gorilla in Rwanda and Uganda is safe for both you and this magnificent animal, as long as certain precautions are taken. With male silverbacks weighing up to 400 pounds and standing almost 6ft tall, it’s natural to feel threatened when encountering gorillas in the wild. But, in reality, these charismatic animals are peaceful – their gentle nature allows us to observe them up close in their natural habitat (though, as always, it’s important to remember they’re wild animals and their privacy should be respected).
They are also threatened with extinction. The destruction of their habits for agriculture, combined with widespread poaching, has reduced their population to less than 1000 mountain gorillas in the wild.
Check out combining Rwanda gorillas and Rwenzori trekking
We have experienced adventurous gorilla trecking, chimpanzee tours, safari accompanied by waterbuffalo, pumba, giraffe, antilops etc encounter that has made our trip supercool I appreciate to have Martin as a… read more local fixer/guide/driver who was familiar in topics, flexible in unusual clients requests and cheerful guy that is soooo needed when travel long hours in a van.Samuel also was cooperative and reliable too
18 days with tent on top of the car with driver. Our driver Alonso helped us and guided us at all times! Good tips for sleeping, where to eat… read more and buy!!! In the safaris he knew all the parks very well and was passionate about birds!!! Agustin and Silvia from Spain we return in love with this country and its nice people!!! Thanks Alonso and Samuel!!! from Laba Africa Expedition!!
We had a 8-day wonderfull travel in Uganda, so well organized by LABA Africa. If you want to discover Uganda, choose this company, and you will have the… read more best experience ever.
We visited Bwindi Forest National Park with gorilla trekking – unforgettable -, beautiful Lake Bunyonyi – with a refreshing swim -, cykling safari between zebras, giraffes, antilopes and birds and finally boat trip to the source of the river Nile in Jinja.
All guides were knowledgeable and took very well care of us, espacially Robert, our excellent driver and guide for the whole tour.
The accomodations were perfect, confortable rooms, helpful staff and good food.
It’s amazing to be able to get so close to the animals, and experence the beautiful landscape and scenery of Uganda.
Thank you so much, Samuel and Robert.
AMAZING journey with Laba Africa all around Uganda for 21 days !! – We’ve had the chance to travel with ALONSO from LABA AFRICA for 21 days all around Uganda. We have met a lot of turists along our trip and I can… read more assure you one thing… LABA AFRICA is THE best company to discover Uganda.
Communication is really easy with Samuel (Laba’s Boss). He will take care of the itinerary, chimps and gorilla’s permits and will advise you perfectly on what to do, what to expect, and will make sure to answer all of your questions before your arrival.
Samuel even bought a Sim card for us to make sure we could get internet data as soon as we arrive in Entebbe Airport.
Our guide was Alonso.
Alonso is our best guide ever… We’ve traveled in a lot of countries, but I can assure you Alonso knows his country better than any other guide. He is very open minded and is able to talk for hours about everything related to his country (way to live, politics, economy, religion, local us and beliefs, etc.).
Alonso is also a true legend all around his country, he knows someone at every places we have been.. he knows perfectly all the natural reserve and taught us many things about the animals during our safaris.
He is an excellent driver.
If your are planning to come in Uganda and do self driving… Please don’t.. The roads are terrible and I wouldn’t advise anyone that is not used to it to drive on these roads by himself.
The car that Laba Africa provided us was amazing. Big SUV with 4 wheel drive with an open roof and a tent on the roof (amazingly comfortable).
The car is very comfortable and safe. Laba Africa even provided us sleeping bags (for the roof tent), cooler, camping chairs, cooking gaz and all the ustensiles we needed to cook ourself.
Alonso and the company has always been attentive to our wishes, needs and desires and is really customer focused.
During our trip, we’ve met a lot of locals, and it has been an amazing human adventure. Uganda is not only a destination to see animals and wildlife, it’s also a beautiful country that has so many to offer (waterfalls, landscape, tea fields, lakes, mountains, volcana, natural reserve, culture, traditions, people, local dance, music, crafts, hikings, cycling, rafting, boats trip, etc.)
Here are the main places we’ve visited : Kidepo National Park, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchinson Falls National Park, Queen Elisabeth National Park, Bwindi Forest, Bigodi Village, Kibale, Lake Mburo National Park, Sipi Falls, Jinja, Kampala.
Among our best memories, we will remember for ever our homestaying with a lovely local family within the Bigodi community, our night safari in Queen Elizabeth NP with the Lions turning around the car, and the quiet Jinja city on the Nile.
We really wanted to spend some time with locals and share a night with them. Laba Africa never organise Homestaying before. We’ve asked Alonso if it was possible. Of course, he made it possible because Alonso would make anything possible for you. So i wanted to thank him again because he made this trip amazing for us and now we keep this experience as our best memory from this trip.
Our trip was supposed to end on the 31st of December as our flight was very early in the morning on the 1st of January.
Alonso drove us to Samuel’s house. Samuel and Morgan (Sam’s GF) cooked for us for lunch and have spend the 31st of December with us. They’ve made a city tour for us, drove us to the craft market in order to buy some gifts for our family before our departure.
And the cherry on the cake… They took us with them in a party to show us “how we celebrate new year Eve in Uganda”. It was on the best rooftop of Kampala, to watch the midnight fireworks.
Honestly, do you know some company that can offer you such experience?
Don’t make a mistake and hire Laba Africa for your journey in Uganda, and please, stay at least 2 weeks if you want to discover most of the things this country has to offer.
Thank you again Samuel, Morgan and Alonso.
I will not forget you guys and I wish you the best for the future, you deserve it!!
Hope to see you again.
we keep in touch
We experienced a very well organized 9-day trip with a driver& guide (Robert) filled with amazing experiences like game drives, chimpz and gorilla tracking and boat safaris. The communication… read more with Laba Africa was very smooth and they tailored the trip according our wishes. The guide was very flexible and came up with ideas and options while on the road. We really appreciated him being with us. The Laba Africa guide had a vast knowledge about flora and fauna and was happy to answer all our questions. The accomodations chosen and booked by Laba Africa were absolutely stunning with very helpful staff.
Laba Africa planned a (4 days, 3 nights) trip to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with a stop in Lake Mburu (Uganda’s smallest national park). We had a great and friendly guide… read more in Alonso, who was very organized and patient. Making a stop in Lake Mburu breaks up the long drive to Bwindi, and is a great opportunity to get very close to giraffes and many other animals in the park. The gorilla trek itself was amazing and surreal getting very close to a gorilla family. All the lodges booked by Laba Africa, were in beautiful and serene locations with nice rooms, friendly staff and good food! After my third trip with Laba Africa, I would recommend them to anyone any day!
Great 3day trip go Murchison national park and falls! Also passed by rhino sanctuary on our way there. Really liked our driver and guide (Robert) who drove is there safely… read more and found tons of animals for us to see in the park.
Robert was a great guide. We went on Safari at Murchison and to the rhino sanctuary. The bGreat food and company. 10/10
On the way to the safari we went to the rhino sanctuary which was a cool experience. We slept at Fort Murchison which was a really good place to stay… read more in. The next day we went on the safari trip and a boat trip which was amazing. We saw so much animals.
Our guide, Robert, really gave us the best experience one could get.
Really recommend going with Laba!
I certainly got way way more than I imagined on this trip. I seen it on YouTube but not many indulge how fantastic the service this company has provided. My… read more guide Patrick was 10 out of 10. Friendly, informative and never refused an activity I wanted to see or do absolute gentleman. Then little did I know I was going to be provided with bony a top top quality chef. I was expecting package meals but no the food was excellent that I actually gained weight on this trip. I travelled the world but must say this company really exceeded my expectations.
Sam put together a perfect itinerary for our mother-daughter trip. Alonso took us around Kampala and showed us the main sights (Buganda kingdom, the mosque and bustling downtown Kampala), and… read more Robert took us to Murchison Falls National Park, then to Jinja and our final destination Entebbe (4 days). We had such a wonderful time and loved every minute of it: the roadside life, the food, the nature, the magestic animals, the friendly people – everything. They say that once you have experienced Africa, you will always feel a tug to return. Be prepared Laba!
My mom and me went on a two nights trip to Murchison Falls for safari and it was amazing! Sam organized a great trip for us and the communication was… read more very smooth the whole way. Our guide Robert was so nice and we saw so many animals each day. Sam also organized a city tour in Kampala for us and we also went to Jinja on a boat trip to see the source of the Nile, the local markets, and ate Ugandan food. Every part of our holiday was amazing and I would recommend Laba to anyone travelling to Uganda (and elsewhere)!!
I went on a two day Safari in Lake Mburo with Laba Africa Expeditions and it was an amazing trip. Everything was organized very well and our guide Samuel was… read more wonderful and came with suggestions during the trip and listened to our wishes as well. I would recommend this to everybody who wants a fun, safe and amazing safari. Even the rangers at Lake Mburo was great. I had not expected a safari to be such a incredible experience but it really was!
Samuel is the real fixer in Uganda! Within a week he got me the Gorilas permit to Bwindi. He also advised me in anything else I needed.
Adam, my… read more driver who took me from Kigali (Rwanda) to Bwindi, crossing Uganda’s border, became a friend. Is the best guide to move you around! Truly recommend both of them. Laba africa is the best!
We rented a car with roof tent for three weeks and I can highly recommend Laba Africa.
Great advise for trip preparation and replied instantly to all our (many) question… read more by whatsapp. Also arranged for gorilla trekking which was very pratical.
Car turned out to be great, no mechanical problems. Our rooftent was never used before it was brand-new.
Uganda is a beautiful country with very friendly population. We had a great time.
We went three friends on a safari to Murchison Falls (2 nights) and we had the best time. Everything was timed and organized to the last detail by Sam –… read more the best guide and the best company. We saw so many animals and it was an incredible experience for all of us. Sam was very knowledgable about the animals and the nature in general, which added to the whole experience. We stayed in a great lodge just outside the park. There was great food and a nice pool! We would definitely recommend this trip to anyone!
Christopher and I have been filming in Uganda for the past week, and the excellent results we got wouldn’t of been possible without Laba Africa. Top professionals who made our… read more work trip go super smooth. We would highly recommend them to other media professionals.
We rented a car from Laba Africa. They are very service minded and nice people. The car was kept in good condition. Recommended
We hired a land cruiser with a tent on the roof. The car and tent were great and pick up and drop off were very smooth- they met us at… read more our hostel each time.
We had a wonderful time with Laba Africa. From the beginning till the end of the trip we felt welcomed and very comfortable.
The accomodations we‘re well chosen and they… read more even prepared a surprise for our honeymoon :).
Samuel and our driver Alonso know a lot about the country and their way of presenting it to us was very pleasant.
The gorilla trekking in bwindi forest was definitely the highlight of our trip. Only after 30 minutes of walking we met the gorilla family and the rangers made sure that all of us could take nice pictures of the animals without disrespecting their personal space. We can really recommend the Bakiga Lodge for the Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi. The staff was really friendly and the food was great. The view from the top is breathtaking and the lodges are lovely decorated.
All in all a trip we‘ll never forget.
The gorilla trekking with Laba Africa was absolutely gorgeous. We were lucky to find the family after just 20 minutes of walking through forest. The rangers were always helping us… read more to get great pictures and they knew much about the animals.
Our driver Alonso was also very kind and gave us many valuable information on the pearl of Africa.
We really enjoyed every single moment that trip and can recommend it to everyone else.
An amazing experience! We saw so many animals, so many incredible landscapes. We also have the chance to discover the local cultures.
The guides were very nice… read more and we learned a lot!
Every lodge we slept in, was perfectly chosen. Uganda is worth a visit! Go there!
Did a great weekend tour visiting the Mundari tribe near Juba, South Sudan. Everything went well, I really enjoyed the trip.
Traveling with Laba Africa was a great experience!
We saw amazing landscapes and animals in different national parks and spent the nights in beautiful lodges. The guides were extemely… read more nice and fun to be around.
Especially the planning of our trip was amazing. We had some special requests because I wanted to visit some friends in between our Safari tours. That was no problem and got nicely included in our plan for the trip. Whatever we requested was made possible!
I can only recommend traveling with Laba Africa. We will definitely return!
My family and I just came back from a three-week-customized roudtrip of Uganda with Laba Africa. It was a tremendous experience!
Starting with chimp tracking in Kibale, we saw lions… read more the same day in Queen Elizabeth NP. Then on to Ishasha, Lake Mburo NP and jinja, where we had a short break. Then we went to a small village near Soroti to visit friends of our daughter. From there we went on to Karamoja, Kibale NP, Murchison Falls NP before we came back to Entebbe.
It didn’t matter what special requests we made, Laba Africa made them possible, sometimes even more!
But the most important thing is this: The planning of this trip startet in autumn 2019 and it was mostly paid for in January 2020. It should have taken place in March 2020, but then the pandemic destroyed our plans. Through all the insecurities for that 18 months peroid until we finally could make the trip, Laba Africa held contact, took care that our chimp tracking permits did not to expire und charged nothing additional – except for some new requests we had.
So Laba Africa is absolutely the best and most reliable partner for visiting Uganda or any of the other countries they are offering tours to! We will return to Uganda and to Laba Africa for sure!
The best part was definitely chimpanzee tracking, that was an incredible experience! Next amazing part of our trip was community walk, where locals showed us their traditional beer, gin, coffee… read more and basket making. It was great to have time to talk to them :) Game drives through savanas was so amazing, our guide Alonso did everything to try to find the best parts of the park and to find every animal there is to see, but you can never be sure, you’ll be lucky enough to see them all. We also saw Murchison falls, that was so nice, although the boat ride to see them from the river was kind of boring, too long for too little of experience. But overall amazing trip!
We really enjoyed out trip through Uganda with Laba Africa. The tourguides took good care of us and they showed us so many fascinating things! Furthermore, it was very… read more easy to change or add additional things to our already existing program.
I can really recommend a trip with Laba Africa to everyone! :)
Thank you very much to Samuel and his team! We really enjoyed our time in Uganda and with you.
Amazing experience!! Very serious and friendly team!! I really advise this company to travel in Uganda!!!
My friend and I did a 10 days Safari through Uganda which was one of the best things we‘ve ever done! Laba Africa organized an amazing tour and we really… read more enjoyed all of it. They took very good care of us. We also got to know local communities such as the Batwa tribe. Thanks to Samuel for this unforgettable adventure.
The trip was simply amazing! Had an experienced guide(Alonso) who showed is not only ugandian nature, but also explained many things about culture of this country. I would aspecially recommend… read more visiting community near Kibale NP.
Naprosto skvělý výlet. Zkušený průvodce, skvěle vybrané cíle i ubytování! Mohu jen doporučit.
White Water Rafting
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