Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda difficult?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda requires a moderate level of physical fitness, but most healthy individuals should be more than up to the challenge.
You will be walking at an altitude of 2500-3000 metres, meaning the air will be thinner and the demands on the lungs greater. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the primary gorilla trekking destination in Uganda, the terrain is mountainous and the vegetation is thick, so hiking here requires some stamina.
It's impossible to say how long your trek will be. Some groups make contact within 45 minutes, others can take 6 hours or more before finding a habituated group. If you're interested in gorilla trekking, you should be prepared to work for it.
If you book sufficiently in advance it is possible to arrange porters, sedan chairs and hiking sticks, as well as to join groups that are doing easier and shorter treks. Having porters carry a sedan chair will add to the cost of the trek, but can be a really helpful aid for those who need it.
Those who are worried about the difficulty of the terrain should also opt to go trekking in the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February, as the ground can become very muddy during the wet season. That said, keen photographers should note that rain clears away the dust in the air, which makes for better visibility and better photos of the gorillas.
Taking part in the gorilla habituation experience, where you can watch the gorillas for four hours instead of one, is often more physically demanding than the standard gorilla treks. Gorillas who are still being habituated can take longer to track down, as they are shyer and more wary of human contact.
The amount of time spent on the gorilla trek can vary a lot from day to day, depending on where the gorillas have settled, as well as on how many clues they've left behind. The amount of time spent trekking could be anything from 30 minutes to several hours.
Even though this trek can be tiring, it is all the more rewarding for it. Catching a glimpse of a wild gorilla deep in the forests of Bwindi feels particularly good when you have worked to get there. The challenges of the trek are easier to manage if you come well-prepared. Good hiking boots, comfortable clothing, a rain jacket, a hat, gloves, insect repellents and sunglasses are all recommended, as is bringing plenty of water and some healthy, energising snacks.
It is also a good idea to prepare yourself by doing some trekking and other forms of cardio before coming out to Uganda. If you build up your fitness, then the challenges of the gorilla trek will be much easier to handle.
All things considered, while gorilla trekking is no walk in the park, it is no Mount Kilimanjaro either.
Seeing these animals up close is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience, and the trek itself, passing through beautiful, biodiverse landscapes is one of the best parts of the experience.
Ready to meet the gorillas?
The tours below showcase just some of what is possible. Use these itineraries as starting points, or to draw inspiration. Then get in touch, and let our expert team help craft the perfect itinerary for you.
Chimpanzee & Gorilla Fly-In Safari
Combine chimp trekking in Kibale Forest with mountain gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A well-paced highlights tour unlocking some of Uganda's most impressive experiences. Consider breaking up the journey from Kibale to Bwindi with a classic safari at…
- 7 Days
Classic Gorilla Fly-In Safari
If you had the chance to trek through lush forests; to stand metres away from a family of Mountain Gorillas - deep in the heart of Central Africa - would you take it? This 4-day adventure works great as a…
- 4 Days
Uganda's Epic Southwest
Open top road trips looping through Uganda's epic southwestern pocket; this is the safari adventure of your imagination. Track chimpanzees in Kibale Forest, go in search of gorillas in Bwindi, cruise the savannah plains of Queens, and look out for…
- 14 Days
Gorilla Treks & Lake Retreats
Combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with beautiful lakeside retreats at Lake Mutanda. Tough treks and primate encounters paired with idyllic, calming lakes and oases make for an unforgettable experience in this remote pocket of Uganda.…
- 6 Days
Luxury Gorilla Fly-in Safari
Board a Cessna light aircraft and head into the southwestern pocket of Uganda. Trek through the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in search of the mountain gorillas. Retreat to luxury lodges for sundowners and delicious food. Hard days, soft…
- 4 Days
Luxury Safari and Gorilla Habituation
Spend 4 hours in the company of a gorilla family by joining the habituation trek. Combined with a luxury safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park, this trip offers truly once-in-a-lifetime wildlife…
- 7 Days
Safaris & Gorillas of Uganda
Combine safaris in Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park with a 4 day gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Top and tail with overnights in the bustling capital of Kampala.…
- 12 Days
Snow Capped Peaks & Mountain Gorillas
Trek the Rwenzori Mountains where forests morph into ice-clad mountain peaks, cut through jungle thickets to hang out with mountain gorillas, and finish your trip relaxing lakeside amongst the staggering beauty of Lake Mutanda. This is Uganda.…
- 15 Days
Ultimate Gorilla Experience
Two visits to the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, moving through the forest along the most awesome trekking routes, and staying the night at the best lodges and exclusive camps in the park. This is Uganda gorilla trekking at…
- 5 Days
Volcanoes, Gorillas and Great Lakes
Travel to the farthest corners of Uganda where towering volcanoes mark the border between the thick jungles of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the untamed vastness of central Africa. After trekking the gorillas in Mgahinga, head inland for a couple…
- 6 Days
The Very Best of Uganda
The quintessence of Ugandan exploration. Start your adventure in the wild Kidepo Valley in the northern tip of Uganda before weaving down to meet the gorillas in southwestern jungles. Epic landscapes, incredible safaris, and luxury lodges; this is a proper…
- 20 Days
The full western circuit complete with luxury lodges, gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, and the best safaris Uganda has to offer. Close out your adventure with kayaking and canoeing on the rapids of the river Nile.…
- 16 Days