author: toni marqués


Half of the world's Gorillas population live in the Virunga Mountains a mountainous volcanic chain on the border between DR Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Also few families live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on south-west Uganda. To visit them, you should go to this parks in the Virunga mountains, which are: Magahinga Gorilla National Park, in Uganda, the Volcano National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in D.R. Congo.
Gorillas where close to disappearing in the early 60’s and thanks to people like Dian Fossey, today although they are still in danger of extinction, we can visit them in 3 countries under strict rules to avoid disturb them. Just a few families are able to be visited and get permission its not only expensive (500 usd/ 1 hour) but also can take long time. Gorillas are herbivores and move around the mountains looking for food. As they don’t need passport and Visa, they can move to a different country as they wish.

The 3 countries where you can visit gorillas

1 R W A N D A

Rwanda is the country that offers more facilities to visit  mountain gorillas , and is also is the place where individual travelers can easily get gorilla permits.

After years of terror, today the stability is back in Rwanda and with Paul Kagame's government, the country is safe for tourism. It is important to take care on the border of D.R. Congo where some rebels from that country or Hutus who fled after 1994 genocide are still around.
The gorilla trek is with armed rangers to insure your security.
You can not do it for yourself and the permits are sold by the Rwanda Tourism Board Office (ORTNP) at the head office in Kigali or Musanze.
Book in advance.

Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN)
The Rwanda Tourism Board
Boulevard de la Révolution n° 1
PO Box 905
Kigali, Rwanda
Tel (250) 576514 or 573396
Fax (250) 576515
Email: reservation@rwandatourism.com

Price is 500 usd for one hour visit. Time starts in the moment you find the family.
 

2 U G A N D A

Applications for gorilla permits in Uganda should be made in UWA, Uganda Wildlife Authority.
You can visit them in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and in Magahinga National Park.
UWA sells 80% of permits to a local travel agencies. So it’s very difficult to get one for independents However, ot's easy if you contract a Ugandan company.
Anyway every first of the month they sell few one in the central office of UWA in Kampala.

Adress UWA
Plot 7 Kira Road, Kamwokya

PO Box 3530
Kampala, UGANDA
Telephone : +256-41-346287 o 346288, 355000

Fax : +256-41-346291

Email : uwa@uwa.or.ug


SUGGESTION:Let me recommend you a chimpanzee trekking in Kibale N.P. It’s amazing activity and you also can book it at UWA. Watch the video I did there.

3 D R. C O N G O

ADVERTISMENT :For many years because of Mobutu wars, or because Hutu refugees who where living on Congolese side of Virungas mountains, it was impossible visit gorillas in D.R. Congo. It was in 2004 and under an apparent stability when gorilla visit was reopened for tourism. Thought rebels are still present in that zone and they fight against government, both sides had get agree to respect and protect gorillas. Unfortunately this agreement is not working all the time and till today 97 forestall guards had died in rebels attacks.
There are tree options to visit gorillas in D.R. Congo.
First is in Djomba Gorilla Sanctuary, at 65 Kilometers of Goma.
Second one also in Virungas is Natural reserve of Bukima. Located on North of Goma-Rutshuru road.
I’ have no idea of which one is the booking procedure on Congolese authorities, but numerous European toursit company offer this option as part of a travel packet getting there cross Goma and after going Uganda and Rwanda.
Third option and more easy for individuals travelers. : Get Kisoro in Uganda and ask in hotels. In Travelers Corner Hotel, or Virunga Hotel (tel. 0486 30109) you will find someone who brings you to the other side of the border and visit gorillas. Also you can get it at Rugiga Valley Campsite (tel 0772 647600).

Lot of travellers report they had contacted Daniel Hanamali in Uganda for Gorlla trek in D.R.Congo and they got a great experience


 Recommended external links

Instructionsfor gorilla visit