The 10-Most Common Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid i Uganda

Posted by on August 16, 2019

10 Gorilla Trekking Mistakes that will cost you Time – Money and Extra Effort

A Gorilla Tour Operator’s Take on The10 Most Common Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid


 The Most Common Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid-The Solution is simple – Use a Gorilla Tour Operator such as ourselves.  We know Gorillas, we know all about Trekking, the Gorilla Habitation Experience, the lodges that are right for you. Gorilla Trekking and the Habituation Experience are the two most expensive Tourism Activities in Africa, and a mistake can cost you hundreds of extra dollars. 

Planning a do-it-yourself Gorilla Trekking Safari-our advice based on over a decade of creating Gorilla Trekking Safaris, forget doing it yourself, you do not know what we know – Gorillas, the ins, and outs of permits to which we have ready access too, the right lodge, the right airport to fly into and out of and that is just the beginning.

For over a decade with have been a successful Gorilla Encounter Matchmaker – Facilitator with our midrange and luxury Primate Safaris. We set up the date, the location in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park – we bring you to meeting place, however like a matchmaker anywhere we are not in control as to what happens on the date – that is up to the Gentle Giant of the Forest and not always predictable.


Gorilla Permits increase from $600 to $700 

If your Gorilla Safari is scheduled after July 1, 2020, you will pay the $700 USD Permit Price 


Uganda Gorilla Permit Price increases from $600 to $700 effective July 1, 2020. The $100 increase will go  to conservation efforts and to community infrastructure projects that benefit the communities surrounding the Gorilla Parks.

As of July 1, 2020, 80% of Permits will be allocated to registered Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO). 20% will go to the general public and freelance operators. An e-system will be in place for Tour Operator with online payment options including the use of Mobile Money which is a convenient way for payments in Uganda.

This nominal price increase should not be a hindrance for most gorilla trekkers. The price of a total 3 day Gorilla increased less than 10% for a moderately priced safari.


Our List of The Most Common Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Add the Gorilla Trek last to your time in Africa:

Most often Trekkers will plan their safari focusing on their time in the Masai Mara or the Serengeti, on the beaches of Zanzibar and then try to add Gorillas and Chimpanzees.

Gorilla Permits, Chimpanzee Permits are limited in availability, game drives in Kenya or Tanzania are not.  Unlike most other Safari Activities in Africa, Gorilla Trekking is a pretty limited, exclusive, and yes, expensive Activity.

Add on top of that for conservation reasons, the number of visitors, of trekkers is limited.

Avoid the number one mistake made when it comes to Gorilla Trekking planning. Plan your time in Africa around your Gorilla Trek and everything else will fall into place. Gorilla permits first, then plan the rest of your time in Africa. This is the number one mistake made by want to be Gorilla Trekkers.


 2.  Fly into the wrong Airport for Gorilla Trekking:

Entebbe International Airport is Uganda’s official Airport it is, however, is not the best airport if you are focused on Gorilla Trekking of the Gorilla Habituation Experience in the Southwest Corner of Uganda.

Kigali, Rwanda International Airport is only 3 hours from Mgahinga Gorilla Park and the southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is 4 hours from Kigali, making it the logical Airport to fly into for Gorilla Trekkers and avoid aking the 9-hour drive from Entebbe to Southwest Uganda.,

Just like for most Nairobi, Kenya is the airport that visitors to Tanzania most often use.

Kigali, Rwanda is the unofficial Gorilla Trekking airport for Southwest Uganda.  A reality that many do not realize and spend the extra time and even money flying into Entebbe and driving to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.


 3. Buying your Gorilla Permit in Uganda on your own:

There are three primary ways that you can obtain a Gorilla Permit in Uganda.  You can contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority for one either by telephone or via email on their website. Sounds simple, the reality for those who have tried to do it in that manner find it difficult and most often turn to a Tour Operator who sells Stand-Alone Permits, here there is a handling fee added of 35 to 50 USD, but one does get the Permit if you are dealing with an ethical Operator.

The best way is to use a Gorilla Tour Operator that is a member of AUTO – The Association of Ugandan Tour Operators.  We are a member of that organization which is contracted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority to the main-sales-agent for Gorilla Permits.  Receiving the most substantial portion of the permits and having ready access to the balance that remains.

Meaning – The most straightforward way of obtaining a permit is to Book a safari with Gorilla Trekking, and your permits will be part of the total Safari package, and that is just the beginning, there are many other benefits to using a Gorilla Tour Operator such as ourselves.


 4.  Booking a Gorilla Lodge that is nowhere near where your Gorilla Trek will take Place:

There are 4 Gorilla trekking locations, they are in some cases hours apart, and yet the unknowing Gorilla Trekker will book a lodge first before they have a permit in an area such as Buhoma and there Gorilla Trekking Permit is for Rushaga which is 5-hours drive time away from Buhoma.

Once again the novice do-it-yourself Gorilla Trekker loses out.  There is a reason that Gorilla Tour Operators exist and the above problem is just one that a knowledgeable operator will avoid.

A Safari that includes Gorilla Trekking is like a tapestry that is woven together to create a picture.  It has to make sense, be in the logical sequence of your safari.  A Gorilla Tour Operator can do just that, you, equipped even with the latest Bradt Guide and all the booking services available will often make a mistake addressed here.  One more reason to use a Gorilla Tour Operator such as ourselves.


 5.  Your Do-it-Your Gorilla Safari will cost more than if you used a Gorilla Tour Operator:

Booking one own’s Travels has become a simple process in most parts of the world.  It is not that way when it comes to Gorilla Trekking where the permit is often the hardest.  Lodging follows as a close second.  Availability may show online, you book on the internet, and you show up at the lodge, and there is no room.  The reason, the lodge did not synchronize its availability with the booking service that is online.

The prices online are often on a room or Bed and Breakfast basis not full-board as a tour operator would book you.  You think you are getting a bargain, only to find out that you are only having breakfast.

A Tour operator such as ourselves will give you value for your money without any hidden costs except drinks and tips at lodges.  Value for your Money plus Peace of mind.


 6. Not Being Informed enough about Gorilla Trekking:

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is unlike any other Tourist activity in Africa.  To begin with, it is most likely the most expensive activity you will embark on while on a Safari in Africa. Most potential Trekkers do not know enough about Gorillas and Trekking.  We strongly believe that you should know before you go – that in itself will save you time, money, frustration. Read up about Gorilla Trekking or the Gorilla Habituation Experience. You will find it helpful to you and in making plans for your time in Uganda.

One glaring example is the wrong information that people have about the Gorilla Habituation Experience.  Most think that it is simply more time with the Gorillas – something that it is but also the fundamental difference that on a Gorilla Trek you are an observer, but on the Gorilla Habituation Experience, you are an active participant in the Habituation Process.  It is a similar but yet very different experience. Knowing our advice, get to know what you are about to do.


 7.  Wearing the wrong Gorilla Trekking Gear:

We have seen everything over the years such as trekkers wearing Flip-Flop Sandals, Tank Tops, mini-shorts, and other merely improper Gorilla Trekking wear.

You are trekking in an ancient Rainforest, where the trails are often freshly hacked with a machete for you.  There are nettles, thorns, thick underbrush, slippery paths, flies and at rare times wasps.

You are in Equatorial Africa, yet you are trekking at a higher location, in a thick forest where your best protection is the right clothing.  This is not a fashion show, but for your protection.

Cover your skin, use garden gloves, use the right footwear, a good hat, thick socks, insect repellent.  You are on a Trek and not on Sunday Stroll in Central Park, be prepared.


 8. Not using a Porter and Walking Stick makes the trek more difficult:

Using a Porter at a nominal fee wile Gorilla Trekking will free you up to concentrate on the Trek and not on your Daypack.

Using a porter is smart and the right thing for most. Not having one means additional discomfort for the next 3 to 7 hours on the trail.

All of our Luxury Gorilla Safaris have porter included for the gorilla trekking portion of their safari. The added plus is that you assist the local community by using a porter.

The Walking Stick made locally is another added plus of comfort on your trek, do not head into the forest without one.

Porter and Walking Stick two must-haves for Gorilla Trekkers and it is a mistake to go without them.


 9.  Not Taking Advantage of the Gorilla Add-Ons to your Safari:

Uganda, most unbeknown s home to the Big-7, the traditional Big-5 of wildlife, Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Buffaloes, and Rhinos.  Uganda gives you the added Gorillas and Chimpanzees.

Uganda is much than a sort of Gorilla Pit Stop, but full-blown East African Tourism Destination with Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Kidepo Valley Park which is the third-best park in Africa according to CNN>

Uganda is Africa condensed into one Country. It is the Pearl of Africa, a term popularized by Winston Churchill who did not even trek Gorillas in Southwest Uganda when he visited here in 1907,

Uganda is Wildlife plus Primates, under the Radar of most, but being discovered by many, a mistake to miss while trekking Gorillas in Uganda.


 10.  Not using a Gorilla Tour Operator:

The Most Common Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid, we start and end with the same, use a qualified Gorilla Tour Operator in Uganda. One like us who lives and works here.  It will save you time, money, frustration.  You can book a gorilla trek in London, New York, Seattle, Melbourne, Toronto and elsewhere using a Travel Agency.  That might be more convenient, but it adds another layer of cost onto your safari plus the agent may have been to Uganda on a familiarization trip, but does not live here, does not Uganda, Gorilla Trekking as we do.

We have limitations in what we can do, we do not control the actual Gorilla encounter, no one does, but the Gentle Giants of the Forest, we do not control the lodges we use on the given day you stay there.  We go by history, feedback from our clients and personal experience, and neither would you if you booked your gorilla trek.

The Most Common Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid is not going on a Gorilla Trek at all – most travelers to Africa still do not include Gorilla Trekking during their time in Africa. They do not know what they are missing…