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Watching chimpanzees on safari in Uganda

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Frequently Asked Questions:
Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking

What is the best time of year to view the Mountain Gorillas?

Anytime of the year is good.  There is no need to avoid rainy season as the amount of rain is not much different than other months of the year.  You are traveling into a rain forest.  It rains some of the time.

If I go gorilla trekking am I guaranteed to view the Mountain Gorillas?  How long am I allowed to view them?  

All of our guests have been able to view the gorillas.  Rangers at the park monitor the gorillas daily so they always know the approximate location of the gorillas.  You are allowed one hour of time to view the gorillas once you arrive in close proximity to them.  Bwindi Forest in Uganda does have a full day gorilla habituation program.

What kind of shape do I need to be in?  How strenuous is gorilla trekking?  

Let us know what kind of shape you are in and we can recommend the gorilla family you should visit.  Some of the gorilla families live in close proximity to the park's entrances, while others live deep in the forest.  We are quite good at making sure that anyone who feels they have hiking limitations is able to get up close gorilla viewing. You can anticipate between one and eight hours of hiking depending on which family you visit.  Bwindi in Uganda has some steeper terrain than Parc' Nationales in Rwanda.  Still, let us know about your physical fitness and we will get you the right viewing experience.


Should I visit Rwanda, Uganda, or both?  

Bwindi's gorillas in Uganda live in a high altitude montane rainforest, while the forests of Parc' Nationales in Rwanda are dense with bamboo.  These habitats result in some behavioral differences and definitely result in different hiking and viewing differences.  Budget issues often impact whether our guests visit both parks or only one.  If time and budget permit, we recommend that you view in both parks.  

Are there rules to abide by when gorilla trekking?  What are they?

Yes, the park rangers are very strict in managing gorilla and human contact.  The rules include: 

  • No more than eight guests are allowed to view each of the three habitauted gorilla families at any one time. 
  • You should maintain a distance of at least seven meters or 23 feet from the gorillas.  Do not touch the gorillas or try to make contact.  The gorillas will break the rules occasionally.  In such cases, don't increase the distance between you and them, but drop back as soon as you can without distrubing them. 
  • Do not use flash cameras.
  • Do not eat or smoke.
  • Do not do anything that may cause the gorillas stress or exhibit any behavior that they may see as a challenge. 
  • Respect their space, speak very quietly, and avoid unnecessary movement. 
  • Keep in a small group and never surround the gorillas. 
  • Leave nothing behind but footprints. 

What kind of weather can I expect while gorilla trekking?  

Days are warm and sunny and there is often a rainshower in the late afternoon, even when it is not rainy season.  It is very humid, and can get quite cold at night. 

What type of clothing do I need to bring? 

Whether gorilla viewing in Bwindi or Parc' Nationales one should hike into the forest in long pants and long-sleeved shirts.  It is best to keep your skin covered.  Rain jackets are necessary for any afternoon showers.  We provide our guests with complete packing lists and discuss clothing nuances we have learned in hiking these forests over the years.