Luxury gorilla tracking and primate safari in Uganda and Rwanda - private safari package

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is ideally located for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda

GUESTS STAYING AT SANCTUARY GORILLA FOREST CAMP TRACK HABITUATED GORILLA FAMILY GROUPS IN BWINDI, UGANDA

Top reasons to include gorilla trekking in your East African safari

Be part of the privileged few who get to view these magnificent great apes

There are probably less than 800 mountain gorillas left in the world today. These rare and elusive primates occur in only two isolated populations - one in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, and the other in the Virunga mountains which include the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. 

Mountain gorillas are highly threatened and you can help simply by visiting

Mountain gorillas do not survive in captivity. (The gorillas that can be seen in zoos are lowland gorillas.) Community benefits resulting from gorilla trekking and other sustainable tourism initiatives may well be the only hope for the continued protection of the isolated pockets of rainforest where the mountain gorillas find food and shelter. 

Mountain gorillas share the forests with other fascinating primates

Apart from your gorilla tracking activity, you could participate in forest walks to view fascinating chimpanzees, rare golden monkeys and the charming antics of a multitude of other primates. 

Extend your East African safari

A gorilla tracking and primate safari is a fascinating and memorable wildlife experience that can easily be combined with big game viewing or a luxury beach break for an extended safari trip in East Africa.

Our preferred luxury accommodation for gorilla tracking and primate safaris

Sanctuary GORILLA FOREST CAMP

  • Very comfortable permanent tented camp in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Luxury accommodation ideally located for gorilla tracking in Uganda.
  • Spectacular and remote rainforest surroundings.
  • Eight tents raised on wooden decks. Queen size beds, private veranda, personal tent attendant. En suite bathrooms feature hot & cold running water, shower, wc, basin and bathtub looking into jungle canopy. Dining cottage, lounge, bar. Campfire evenings. Massages.
  • Gorilla tracking, forest walks, primate viewing, birding, Buhoma community walk & performance, Batwa pygmies
Immersed in the spectacular rainforest at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park


 SABYINYO SILVERBACK LODGE

  • Comfortable lodge located among agricultural rural plots adjacent to Volcanoes National Park. Luxury accommodation ideal for gorilla tracking in Rwanda.
  • Dramatic views of the Virunga Volcanoes.
  • Cottages (including a family cottage) with sitting area, dressing area, fireplace, veranda. En suite bathrooms feature hot & cold running water, bathtub, shower, double basins, toilet. Limited electricity but battery powered lighting in rooms available 24 hours. Bar, dining room.
  • Gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, escorted community walk, bird watching, cultural encounter.
Comfortable room at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge


When we plan a gorilla trekking and primate safari in Uganda and Rwanda, we use the above hand-picked top end exclusive luxury safari lodges and camps. Note that by the standards set elsewhere on a luxury safari in Tanzania and Kenya, even the best 'luxury' accommodation options in Rwanda and Uganda are relatively basic and you should not expect an opulent luxurious room. On request, your personal safari itinerary could deviate from our preferred luxury gorilla tracking accommodation.

What you should know when booking a gorilla tracking and primate safari

Habituation of gorilla families and other primate colonies

Gorilla families and other primate colonies that are visited, have been carefully and sensitively habituated to human presence. A fully grown silverback gorilla can be up to three times the size of an average man, yet once habituated, is remarkably peaceful and tolerant of human visitors.  Sightings of gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates can never be fully guaranteed, but sightings are very common and the local guides are skillful in tracking these fascinating creatures.

Gorilla tracking is physically demanding

You need to be fairly fit as you will track through dense forest, often on steep slopes and on muddy terrain. Depending on where the gorilla group is foraging, your trekking excursion could take up a full day. Generally speaking gorilla tracking in Uganda is slightly more challenging than in neighboring Rwanda, but the Uganda location at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is spectacular and Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is arguably the best luxury gorilla trekking accommodation available today.

Gorilla tracking rules

Minimum age for participation in gorilla tracking is 15 years; no exceptions are made. Group size is limited to 8. Gorillas are very susceptible to human disease so visitors must be in good health - even a cold will disqualify you from participating on the day. One hour maximum may be spent with the gorillas, at a distance of seven meters. Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted. Permits should be booked and paid well in advance to ensure availability, and are non-refundable.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda

An ancient landscape of towering mountains, misty valleys and  thick rain forests, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is recognized by UNESCO as a Uganda World Heritage Site. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is ecologically very rich. It is home to roughly half the world's remaining mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates, birds, butterflies, rare forest elephant, elusive giant forest hog, various small antelope and hundreds of plant species. Activities additional to the gorilla trekking are forest walks, birding, a community walk, and the Batwa Pygmie cultural experience. 

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Widely known by its French name, the 'Parc National des Volcans' protects a landscape of volcanoes, lakes, jagged valleys, waterfalls,dramatic mountain ridges and a mosaic of vegetation zones. Most accommodation options are situated in the agricultural farmland that surround the park. Several habituated families of mountain gorilla live inside the park on the slopes of the Virunga mountains, while the rare and fascinating golden monkey lurks in the bamboo thickets.

Golden monkey trekking

At Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, tracking the rare golden monkeys is available as an organised and guided activity. A golden monkey trekking permit is required and age limits apply to children. These energetic primates with their rusty orange fur occur in sizeable troupes and are a charming sight to behold.

Chimpanzee tracking

Minimum age for chimpanzee tracking is 12 years; permits are required. In Uganda, chimpanzee trekking is available in Kibale National Park - note that the accommodation here is quite basic. The chances of finding the chimpanzee are excellent. The park offers a half day guided primate walk including chimpanzee tracking, or a full day can be spent with a chimpanzee colony that is currently being habituated. In Rwanda, chimpanzee trekking is available at Nyungwe Forest National Park where a beautiful guided hike through the forest gives one the opportunity to look for these fascinating creatures. 

Other primates

Uganda has the world's greatest concentration of primates. Apart from the gorillas and chimpanzees, several monkey species are well represented, including black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey and the rare and endemic L'Hoest's monkeys. At Bwindi Impenetrable Forest some of these monkeys could be spotted on a forest walk. Kibale National Park has the greatest concentration of primates in all of Africa and up to six different species of monkey are likely to be observed during a single guided primate walk. Smaller nocturnal species such as bushbaby and potto also occur at Kibale. Large troupes of black and white colobus monkeys occur in Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda where sizeable habituated groups can be tracked. These charismatic monkeys are also sometimes referred to as Ruwenzori colobus and they share the pristine mountain rainforest at Nyungwe with more than 10 other primate species.

Forest birding

Uganda offers some of the finest montane forest birding. Twenty four of the Albertine Rift endemics occur in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, including spectacular and globally threatened species. Guests staying at Gorilla Forest Camp can arrange to book a 2 to 3 hour walk through the forest with a local expert guide. An escorted bird watching walk can also be incorporated into a gorilla trekking safari for guests staying at Sabyinyo Silverback lodge in Rwanda, where more than 40 bird species have been recorded. Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda is home to over 300 bird species, including 16 endemics. Spotting the birds in the forest may be a challenge, but the bird song is very beautiful.

Forest walk

The Munyaga waterfall trail through the forest at Bwindi in Uganda  is a good way to prepare for your gorilla tracking the day before, or to wind down the day after. Arrangements to book this walk can be made for guests staying at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp.

Clothing and equipment suitable for a gorilla tracking and primate safari

Contact us for a suggested packing list.

Support conservation efforts - book a gorilla tracking safari in Uganda or Rwanda

Mountain gorillas do not survive in captivity so it is essential to protect them within their natural habitat. This habitat is surrounded by densely populated rural areas and the expanding human population is putting pressure on the fragile ecosystems. Community benefits resulting from gorilla tracking and other sustainable tourism initiatives may well be the only hope for the continued protection of the isolated pockets of rainforest where the mountain gorillas find food and shelter. 

Make a difference in an African community 

Community walks and visits are an important source of income to the local communities in the gorilla tracking areas, and we highly recommend that you support these initiatives. At Bwindi in Uganda a Buhoma community walk gives insight into the daily existence of the local Bakiga and Batwa communities - visit a small tea farming project, a local banana beer brewery, a herbalist and the local hospital which Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp supports through various projects, including Pack for a Purpose. The walk ends with a cultural performance by members of the Batwa Pygmie community. Your hosts at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp can also organize a visit to the local Victory school. Fundraising by guests who visit the school allows it to develop its resources and classrooms and improve the quality of education provided to the learners. At Sabyinyo Silverback lodge, staff members offer an escorted walk through the surrounding community as a means of introducing guests to rural life in Rwanda. The lodge is owned by a Community Trust, SACOLA, which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park. On request some of these projects can be visited.

Best time of year for a gorilla tracking and primate safari

Uganda has a tropical climate. It rains regularly throughout the year, with peak rainfall from mid September to mid December and again from March to May. Tracking for gorilla, chimpanzee and other primates is available year round, but is less challenging during the drier months. In Rwanda the rainfall usually peaks from mid October to mid May, with some drier spells in December and January. Although the muddy terrain makes for more challenging primate tracking during the wet season in Rwanda too, the daily gorilla treks in Rwanda are generally shorter during the rainy season, as this is when the gorillas come down to lower altitudes to feed on the profusion of soft new bamboo shoots that appear at that time of the year.

Contact us for a personalized African luxury safari itinerary that includes a gorilla tracking and primate safari in Uganda and/or Rwanda

We create a private luxury African safari package, tailor-made to suit your own specific profile and requirements. We recommend to combine your gorilla tracking and primate safari with game viewing and/or a beach safari at other East African luxury lodges and camps in Tanzania and Kenya. On request your luxury gorilla tracking and primate safari can also be combined with luxury safari camps and lodges in Southern Africa, but this will involve more travelling. 

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