gorilla trekking in rwanda

Ultimate Traveler’s Guide to Rwanda Gorilla Trekking 2024

Rwanda gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – not many people can say they have trekked through the impenetrable forests of Rwanda to spend time observing endangered mountain gorillas! I’m so grateful that I was able to see the mountain gorillas when I was in Rwanda.

gorilla trekking in rwanda

My trip to Rwanda was one of the trickier trips I’ve had to plan – that’s saying something, considering I’ve traveled to almost 60 countries! And while seeing the mountain gorillas is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, there are a few things I would do differently (including not spending $1,500 on the permits!). 

I’ll share those mistakes with you so that you can have the best Rwanda gorilla trekking adventure possible!

This guide will tell you everything you need to know (and everything I wish I knew before I went) about how to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda, including pricing, what to bring, how hard it is, what you should expect on the day of, and interesting facts about the gorillas.

gorilla trekking rwanda
Table Of Contents show

Essential Information: Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Short on time? Here are some of the key takeaways you need to know.

  • Permits must be booked in advance – there are a limited number available and they often sell out
  • Tipping is customary at the end of your trek
  • Gorillas move freely through the forest, so the duration and difficulty level of the hike varies day-by-day and depends on which Gorilla family you’re assigned to see
  • The peak season for gorilla trekking is June through September (dry season)
  • Volcanoes National Park is located 3-hours by car from Kigali (Rwanda’s capital)

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Prices

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is EXPENSIVE. It’s the most expensive activity I’ve ever done on my travels (and I’ve traveled to almost 60 countries!). 

Each Rwanda gorilla trekking permit, which is required to complete the trek, is $1,500 USD per person. Rwandan and East African residents receive a discount.

Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda vs Uganda vs DR Congo

When you’re deciding where to go gorilla trekking, price is an important factor to consider.

And if you’re gasping at the $1,500 price tag (like I did when I first saw it), you should know that it’s a lot cheaper to do gorilla trekking in Uganda ($700 USD per permit) or the Democratic Republic of Congo ($400 USD per permit). Gorilla trekking in the DRC can be done in the Virunga National Park to see the mountain gorillas or the Kahuzi-Biega National Park to see the Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

Gorillas in the Congo Kahuzi Biega
Gorillas in the Congo

The reason I decided to do the gorilla trek in Rwanda instead of the other countries is because I was visiting a friend who lives in Rwanda. If it wasn’t for that, I would have probably ended up in Uganda!

These three countries share the forest where the gorillas live, and the experiences of seeing the gorillas are very similar from country to country.

How to Buy Gorilla Trekking Permits in Rwanda

Rwanda permits cost $1,500 USD per person. 

Rwandan and East African residents receive a discount.

Only 12 troops of gorillas are available for visiting on the Rwanda side of Volcanoes National Park, and a maximum of 8 tourists per group, which adds up to only 96 permits available each day to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. 

You must book your permits in advance, either online or with a reputable tour operator (I used this one). If you book your permit through a company, the cost should still be $1,500 USD.

I recommend you wait to book your flight and accommodation until your permits are confirmed, in case the desired date is already sold out.

Tipping is customary for Gorilla Trek

Tipping is customary at the end of your trek, and the staff relies on the tips as a big part of their salary. Bring $40-75 USD per person for tipping (breakdown below).

As always, tipping is discretionary, so you should give what you feel comfortable giving and according to what you think the service provided to you is worth.

gorilla trekking rwanda

The more money locals earn from gorilla tourism, the more effort the country puts into conservation efforts. 

  • Guide: $10-$25 USD per person 

Your guide should get the highest tip since they oversee the whole experience and is the most highly trained of the team. 

  • Trackers: $5-$15 USD per person 

Each group has a couple of trackers who start tracking the gorillas early in the morning or sometimes even stay with them from the day before. Without them, you would never find the gorillas! They’ll split the tip amongst themselves.

  • Rangers: $5-$10 USD per person

You’ll also have at least one armed ranger with you for protection. You’re in the jungle, and there’s always a chance that a wild animal could hurt you (although very unlikely). Our ranger told us the only animal he worried about was the buffalo, but he didn’t seem that concerned.

  • Porters: $10 USD per Person (extra tip optional)

Your Guide will tell you the set cost to hire a porter – usually $10 USD for the day. I recommend giving an extra $5-$10 USD tip, depending on how good they are. My porter not only carried my bag, but held my hand whenever we got to a challenging muddy part, and I appreciated it so much!

  • Driver: $10 for the day

Should You Hire a Porter for Your Gorilla Trek in Rwanda?

Porters are local people from the community who will help you carry your backpack and camera and assist you along the way. They do not earn a salary, so your $10 payment is how they make money (plus you can throw in a little extra as a tip).

I was so happy with my porter’s service that I gave him a $10 tip on top of the $10 payment!

Not only did he carry my backpack, but he was very attentive to me on the trek. It was extremely muddy and slippery, and he often offered me his arm along the way, which I gratefully grabbed. I was the only one of my friends who didn’t slip and fall on the way down the mountain – they didn’t have porters helping them on the hard parts.

But even if you don’t need your bag carried or a helping hand, you should still hire one. You’ve already spent a large amount of money on the permit, but none goes directly to the locals (although a portion of the money does help build up the communities, and the whole industry does help create jobs).

My $10 + $10 tip to hire a porter helped support him and his family, and I feel really good about that.

Is Gorilla Trekking Ethical?

When I was in Thailand (a long way from Rwanda!), I volunteered at an elephant sanctuary. 

In Nicaragua, I found a turtle sanctuary that didn’t let anyone touch the baby turtles that were being released.

gorilla trekking rwanda

I’ve learned over time that animal tourism can be done ethically (although, sadly, it’s often not). Rwanda is doing a great job prioritizing mountain gorillas’ conservation and well-being over tourists’ desires. 

Twelve gorilla families receive visitors in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, where your trek to see the mountain gorillas takes place. Each family (aks group or troop) has at least one male silverback gorilla and several females with their offspring.

Although the gorilla groups move around the park, they tend to stay in a preferred area so the park rangers can monitor and protect them, and we tourists can see them.

Rwanda has implemented many well-thought-out controls to keep the gorillas safe from tourism. There’s a very limited number of permits per day, only eight per gorilla troop per day, and tourists can only stay with the gorillas for one hour.

The money you spend on permits does a lot of good! A portion of the revenue from the permits goes toward helping local communities build schools, health centers, and roads. There is a fund to reimburse local farmers if any gorillas damage their crops, which helps the local communities live peacefully with the gorillas, thus helping with conservation.

gorilla trekking in rwanda volcanoes national park

The gorilla treks in Rwanda also create jobs for the locals – they can become rangers, trackers, porters, and drivers or work in local tourist lodges and hotels. The tourist dollars coming into the country encourage the government to support conservation efforts, which help the endangered gorilla population to grow.

What Level of Fitness is Required for the Gorilla Trek?

If you’re like me, you’ll want to know how hard it is to do a gorilla trek before you fork over your hard-earned money. I am not a super confident hiker, but I completed the trek (with help from my hired porter)!

My hike was supposed to be “medium-hard,” but was very challenging thanks to all the rain and mud we had to battle.

Your Group Will Be Assigned a Gorilla Family

The gorilla families visited in Volcanoes National Park are named Susa, Igisha, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugyenda, and Muhoza.

You’re assigned to a gorilla family in the morning – they try to assign the easier-to-find gorillas to the older/less fit groups. But, there are only twelve gorilla families to see, so some people will be assigned to some of the harder gorillas to get to.

Also, the gorillas move freely around the park, so even a group that is usually easier to get to could have moved to a more difficult location by the time you get there!

You’ll be with a small group so you can take your time. We saw a group of elderly people there (they got assigned to the easiest group). Even for the easiest group, you do need some level of fitness – it’s not a walk in the park.

We requested an easy trek but were assigned to a medium one. 

But because it was still rainy season when we went and had been raining non-stop all week, the hike was definitely not medium-level. It was one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done! It wasn’t especially steep and wouldn’t have been very difficult had it not been for the mud. I’ve never experienced mud like that in my life!

How Long Is The Hike?

Hikes last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4+ hours, reaching an altitude of 8,000-14,000 feet / 2,500-4,000 meters. It just depends on which gorilla family you’re assigned to visit and how long it takes the trackers/rangers to find them.

I know someone who has gorilla trekked twice – one time, it took them all day, and then another time, they were able to find the gorillas in 15 minutes!

It took us about 2 hours each way. Going down was harder than going up, thanks to the slippery mud up to our ankles. I was very happy to have a walking stick and a porter to help me – more on that below.

Weather Can Make Your Hike More Difficult

There was so much mud. I’ve never seen this much mud in my life. 

Sometimes the mud was so thick that it was sucking my boots off my feet. Sometimes the mud was so deep that it went up to my ankles. We were slipping and sliding all over the place, and it took every muscle in my legs, arms, and core to keep from falling (and even that wasn’t enough).

gorilla trekking in rwanda volcanoes national park

So, if you’re worried about difficulty, I recommend avoiding the rainy season. The hiking conditions are so much better when it’s dry.

There is No Hiking Trail

There is no real path to follow in Volcanoes National Park – the trackers and rangers cut a new path through the thick rainforest with their machetes as you go. 

You may need to crouch down or even crawl on your hands and knees through thick bushes. 

That part was actually a lot of fun for me since I’ve never done anything like it!

Can Children Go Gorilla Trekking?

There is a minimum age requirement of 15 years old for the Gorilla Trek in Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda vs Uganda

You can trek to see mountain gorillas in only three countries in the whole world: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Most people choose between Rwanda vs Uganda for their mountain gorilla trek. And you’ll be hiking in the same park shared between the three countries.

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Pros and Cons

I was already planning to visit a friend in Rwanda for a week, so for me, Rwanda was the obvious choice for where to do the trek even though the price tag made me cry.


  • Rwanda is the easiest place to see the mountain gorillas because Volcanoes National Park is only a couple hours’ drive from the international airport in Kigali, so it’s easy to get there. And it’s home to 12 gorilla families.
  • People say the terrain is easier to hike in Rwanda than in Uganda, but my hike wasn’t that easy, thanks to how muddy it was in the rainy season.
  • Rwanda is safe for travelers.


  • Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda are $1,500 USD per person, more than twice the permit cost in Uganda.
  • Altitudes tend to be a bit higher in Rwanda than in Uganda, which makes trekking more difficult.
  • Rwanda only sells 96 permits daily, so getting a permit for the day you want is more challenging.

Uganda Gorilla Trekking Pros and Cons


  • The cost for a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is less than half the price of Rwanda at only $700 USD per person (The Democratic Republic of Congo is even cheaper at only $400).
  • Lower altitude than Rwanda, making hiking a bit easier.
  • Uganda sells more permits than Rwanda, about 160 per day, so getting a permit for your preferred day could be a bit easier.


  • It’s at least an 8-hour drive to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest from the Entebbe International Airport.
  • Some say hiking in Uganda can be a little more challenging than in Rwanda. There are so many variables that can make the hike easier or harder, so I wouldn’t prioritize that when you make a decision.
  • Uganda is considered less safe for travelers than Rwanda.

When to Go: Best Time for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

High Season (Dry Season) Pros and Cons

The dry season is June through September, and the peak season for trekking to see gorillas in Rwanda.

If I did it again, I would go during the dry season. The trekking conditions would have been much better.

There’s a lot less mud, making our hike extremely difficult. And we probably would have seen the gorillas interact more. There’s also a lower risk of Malaria.

The downside is that there are more tourists, so you could have a harder time getting permits for the dates you want. And you’ll probably have a full group (a maximum of 8 tourists, so not terrible).

The gorillas are much more active and interesting to be near when it’s not raining!

Shoulder Season Pros and Cons

“Shoulder season” just means the transitional periods at the beginning and end of a season. 

March through May is the rainy season, but the rain usually slows down by the second half of May, so May is considered part of the shoulder season. 

I did the trek in the second half of May, but we got unlucky – the rain did not slow down while we were there. The hike was made extra challenging due to the muddy conditions.

The good part of going in the rainier shoulder season is that we had a private group to ourselves, and it wasn’t difficult to get the permits.

The downsides were that the mud made the hike extremely challenging, we were very wet (wetter than when I hiked through a water-filled canyon in Jordan!), and the gorillas were also very wet. That meant that they were less active than usual.

I’ve seen pictures and videos of the gorillas being a lot more active and social and even approaching and interacting with the tourists (that would have been my dream). Still, they didn’t like the rain any more than we did, so they were just sitting around, mostly trying to stay warm.

Rainy Season Pros and Cons

The short rainy season is from October through December. 

It was plenty rainy when we were there at the end of May, so I can only imagine what it’s like during the actual rainy season. 

The upside is that there will be fewer tourists, and you may get a discount on the permits and hotels. I’ve recently become a fan of traveling places during the rainy season – 3 months living in Northern Thailand during the rainy season was unforgettable!

What to Pack for Tracking Gorillas in Rwanda

  • Printed copies of your passport and your permit – it’s very important to have these printed. Our trek got started late because we didn’t do this.
  • Bug Spray – you want to deter mosquitos that could carry malaria.
  • Change of clothes and shoes, especially if it’s raining or muddy. We were freezing and soaking wet by the end of our trek. We left these in the car and were so grateful to be able to change out of our wet clothes before the long drive back to Kigali.
  • A plastic bag or laundry bag for your dirty clothes.
  • Camera (or in my case, your iPhone) – if it’s raining, keep it in a waterproof bag or ziplock bag.
  • Tip money (see above for recommended tipping amounts)
  • You could bring trekking poles if you have them, but they provided a nice big wooden walking stick for us, and I definitely needed it.
  • Rain cover for your backpack if it’s raining – I didn’t need one because my porter carried my backpack underneath his raincoat.
  • Snacks – our hike took about 4 hours, plus an hour with the gorillas, and we were starving.
  • Water
  • Don’t forget to ask your doctor about needing malaria pills (which you usually have to start taking a few days before arriving in a risk area and for one week after leaving).
  • A sense of adventure! Our experience was incredible, challenging, and surprising. The day went very differently from what we expected (not in a bad way), so a positive attitude and open mind were crucial to enjoying the day.

What to Wear for Gorilla Trek

  • Hiking boots – I didn’t pack these for my round-the-world trip, so I stopped by a local market and picked up a used pair for $20 (be sure to negotiate!). I was so grateful to have these in the slippery mud. And since I didn’t have any room to carry them in my backpack, I donated them to the village at the end of the trek. Our guides wore rain boots, so I suppose those work well, too.
  • Pants – I wore some cheap hiking pants that I picked up, and then I donated them to the village at the end of the trek because they were so muddy, and I had limited room in my backpack.
  • I had read online that black and blue colors may attract Tsetse flies, but I only had black hiking pants, so that’s what I wore. I didn’t have any issues, but it’s probably better to wear tan or beige colors, similar to what you would wear on an African safari.
  • Rain jacket – I was happy to have this on!
  • Gaiters and gardening gloves – the gaiters will help protect your legs from the stinging nettle plants, and the gloves protect your hands as you hike through the jungle (and they keep my hands warm in the pouring rain). Gaiters and gloves were available to rent for 5,000 RWF (about $5) each. My gaiters kept falling down, which was annoying. But they probably did help save me a few nettle stings (although I still got several).
  • Towel – if it’s raining, you may want one of these to dry off before changing into your dry clothes. Leave it in the car.

My Experience: What to Expect When Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Knowing more or less what to expect helps me when I’m anxious (and I always feel anxious before big hikes!), which will help if you’re feeling the same. 

My friends and I spent the night at this accommodation, not too far from Volcanoes National Park. We had breakfast early and then got on the road (we hired a private driver for the duration of our visit). 

Our check-in time at the park headquarters in Kinigi was 7:00 AM. 

Upon arrival at Volcanoes National Park, we were greeted by the rangers and asked to check in at the office.

Everyone was friendly and helpful, but the check-in process was annoying.

They had a hard time finding records of our permits in their system and then needed all of our documentation (permits and copy of passport) printed out, which we didn’t have. So, the check-in process took a little while. But it all got sorted.

Our guide introduced himself to us and told us a little bit about our assigned gorilla troop, which was assigned to us based on our fitness level (we asked for an easy trek but we got a “medium” one – the mud made it much harder.

He gave us a quick briefing on protocols for the trek and went over the rules for visiting gorillas in Rwanda. Then we had to drive to a village an hour’s away from the headquarters, back in the direction we just drove in from, and the opposite direction of where we were headed after the trek.

And our rental car wasn’t really made for the unpaved village road that was filled with potholes and large rocks, so we had to drive very slowly. There were a couple of points along the road where we thought we would get stuck, but we didn’t. In hindsight, we could have hired a Jeep/driver for the day but didn’t know we’d be going off-roading.

It was quite the adventure, and we were giggling nervously the whole way, just hoping we would get there safely – and eventually, we did.

We weren’t expecting to be driving that far to start the trek, so the whole day took a few hours longer than we had planned. Not all groups have a long drive to get to their trek starting point, it just depends on which gorilla family you’re assigned to and where they moved to in the park. You should leave some extra time, just in case!

When we finally arrived at the start of the trek, our guide introduced us to our rangers and porters (who we hired for $10 each). We had a slightly more in-depth briefing, which included how to act when we got near the troop and what to do if we got charged or grabbed on by a 400-pound gorilla. If I wasn’t nervous/excited before, I am now.

gorilla trekking in rwanda volcanoes national park

Trackers go out early to find the gorillas so that you know where to find them on your trek.  They start at the spot the gorillas were at the day before and then go back in the morning to see where they went – the gorillas can travel between 200m to 2km a day. Then they call the guide on the radio to tell him where we need to go.

The hike took us 2 hours each way, and each step was a challenge due to the very muddy ground.  The guide and porters were literally hacking a trail through the dense rainforest as we went. There were times we were crouched down, crawling through the bushes. I was stung by the stinging nettle plants through my clothes – which gorillas actually love to eat – several times (the stinging only lasts a minute, and I got used to it).

We were finally about to meet the gorillas. A few minutes before we arrived where they were, we were asked to leave our belongings and sticks – since we didn’t want the gorillas to grab them – and put on surgical masks to protect the gorillas from COVID and other infections.

We then spent an hour observing the gorillas.  Sadly, it was pouring rain the whole time we were with them, so the gorillas were not very active, just sitting in the rain face down (they don’t like getting rain on their faces, just like us).  It was still magical and exciting – we even saw the gorillas pounding their chests and eating.

Then, before we knew it, our hour was over, and it was time to start the very challenging climb down the mountain in the very slippery mud. It took forever. And I was so excited for it to be over because I was wet, cold, and tired.

Several dozen kids and people from the village were waiting for us at the end of the trail. I think the kids were there just to see us – it was probably pretty entertaining to see how tired and muddy we were. And some of the adults had set up tables with souvenirs for us to look at.

I gratefully changed out of my wet clothes in the back of our SUV, probably giving some of the locals a bit of a show, and then donated my muddy boots and pants to the village since I didn’t have room in my backpack for them.

And then finally, we started the bumpy ride back to the main road, and then a few hours back to Kigali in the dark. And of course, we couldn’t shower right away because there was a temporary blackout when we arrived back at our friends’ home where we were staying – all part of the adventure!

How Many Days Should You Spend in Volcanoes National Park?

You have to spend at least one day in Volcanoes National Park if you’re in Rwanda, but more is better if you have the time.

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is part of the Virunga Massif (this huge forest is shared with neighboring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo). 

This is the same park where Diane Fossey researched and led conservation efforts in the 1960s.

Gorilla trekking is not the only activity here.

Other Volcanoes National Park activities include:

  • Hike the Diane Fossey trail to visit her gravesite and the Karisoke Research Center
  • Hike the Mount Bisoke Trail
  • Track the golden monkeys with a guide
  • Canoeing
  • Mountain biking
  • Village experiences that give you insight into the culture and help support the locals
  • Guided tour of Buhanga Eco Park

How to Get to Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is not a huge country, making getting around a little easier than in other nearby countries.

The park is about 3 hours from Kigali or about 70 miles, depending on traffic. Driving isn’t too difficult in Rwanda, so renting a car and driving yourself is doable.

Rwanda gorilla trekking

Or you can do what my friends and I did and hire a driver along with the car – this turned out to be a very inexpensive option and meant we could be fully relaxed the whole time, especially when we had to do a bit of off-roading to get to the trail start, and when we drove home in the dark and rain. 

Keep in mind the roads aren’t always in great shape, and the weather can be unpredictable.

I had just finished a month-long solo road trip in Jordan, so having a driver was pure luxury!

The other option is to buy a tour package that includes the transfer.

Is Gorilla Trekking Good for Solo Travelers?

This is a great adventure for solo travelers (including solo female travelers) because you’ll be with a small group throughout the duration of your hike. You’ll bond quickly as you hike through the forest.

Where to Stay Near Volcanoes National Park

  • Ingagi Park View Lodge – If you’re after a lodge with beautiful views of Volcanoes National Park, you’ll love Ingagi! Your hiking boots get cleaned every night so they’re ready for more hiking the next day, and they even offer complimentary foot massages for your tired feet. The fireplace in your room will keep you warm at night.
  • Kinigi Cottage – You’ll be well taken care of at this accommodation, less than 10 minutes from Volcanoes National Park. The views are incredible, the attentive staff will make you feel at home, and the food is delicious. And the best part? It’s a lot more affordable than some of the bigger properties in the area.
  • La Locanda – I can personally recommend this accommodation, which is a bed and breakfast style since it’s where I stayed with my friends. It’s a very comfortable accommodation with a sauna and within walking distance to the small town of Ruhengeri. Still, it’s a 23-minute drive to the park headquarters, something you may not want to do so early in the morning.

Interesting Facts About Mountain Gorillas

  • Mountain gorillas can only be found in the dense rainforests of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 
  • Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates on Earth! The male silverbacks can grow to be 6 feet/1.83 meters tall and 400 pounds/181 kilograms in weight. Females can reach 5 feet/1.5 meters in height and 215 pounds/98 kilograms in weight. They are huge.
  • Mountain gorillas, along with chimpanzees, orangutans, and bonobos, are the closest living relatives of humans – and mountain gorillas have the most developed brains out of the group.
  • Mountain gorillas live in groups (aka families or troops) of about 30.
  • There is always one dominant male leader called a “silverback” due to the silver coloring on his back. There can be more than one male silverback in the troop, but only one is dominant. The dominant silverback leads the troop by determining when they eat, sleep, move, and rest.
  • Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivores – they consume more than 100 different varieties of plants. And they don’t need to drink too much water since the plants provide most of the hydration they need (not that water is a problem to find in a rainforest).

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda FAQs

How much does it cost to trek with gorillas in Rwanda?

Gorilla Trekking Permits in Rwanda cost $1,500 USD per person, with discounts given to local and East African residents.

How safe is gorilla trekking in Rwanda?

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is safe. Each group is led by a highly-trained guide and accompanied by an armed ranger.

What is the best time to see gorillas in Rwanda?

The best time to see gorillas in Rwanda is June through September, during the dry season. Trekking during the rainy season is much more challenging because of muddy conditions.

Is Rwanda better than Uganda for gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda are similar since the treks occur in the same Volcanoes National Park. It’s a lot more expensive (more than double the cost) to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

Is Gorilla trekking worth the money?

Gorilla trekking is worth the money! Seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitats is truly special.

Are you guaranteed to see gorillas in Rwanda?

You are guaranteed to see gorillas when you buy a permit to see them in Rwanda. Your guide partners with experienced trackers who will locate where your assigned gorilla troop is, and you’ll hike to see them.

Where do you fly for gorilla trekking in Rwanda?

For gorilla trekking in Rwanda, you’ll fly into Kigali International Airport.

Is Gorilla trekking cheaper in Uganda or Rwanda?

Gorilla trekking is cheaper in Uganda ($700 USD) than in Rwanda ($1,500 USD).

Can you touch the gorillas in Rwanda?

No, you are not permitted to touch the gorillas in Rwanda. They are protected. But you get very close and observe them for an hour. Sometimes the curious gorillas will touch you!

Conclusion: Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Worth it?

You will love Rwanda gorilla trekking if you love seeing wild animals in their natural habitat and hiking in a beautiful landscape! 

It was truly magical to see these huge primates in their home.

This is very different from a typical African safari where you sit in the back of a jeep and see animals – you actually have to find them in the forest first! It’s definitely more of an adventure than a safari.

Only about 1,000 mountain gorillas are left in the wild – they are an endangered species (recently downgraded from being critically endangered, which is an improvement). Thanks to governments, communities, NGOs, and responsible tourism, the population of mountain gorillas is slowly increasing.

And there are only a few places in the world where you can see mountain gorillas! So it is quite a unique experience.

Keep in mind that you’ll only be with the mountain gorillas for a maximum of 1 hour.

It could take a few hours of hiking to see them, but at the end of the day, you’re paying $1,500 to spend up to one hour watching endangered mountain gorillas. So if that doesn’t excite you, it might not be worth it for you. Seeing mountain gorillas really excited me, and I’m so happy I had that experience.

In Hindsight…

If I did the gorilla trek again, I would probably try to do it in Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it’s much cheaper. Or, at the very least, I would do it in the dry season – I would have loved to see the gorillas being more active instead of dealing with the rain (I dream of a baby gorilla climbing on me!).

About the Author

Cat is a very hungry solo female traveler in her 30s who left a 6-figure job in NYC to travel (and taste!) the world. Cat is determined to prove there are ways to backpack the world on a budget without fully sacrificing the “grown-up” lifestyle you love.

My Homepage: https://catisoutoftheoffice.com/ 

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