Exhilarating and enchanting, tracking wild gorillas in the Bwindi rainforest is one of the world's greatest wildlife experiences. For all the excitement, we love that moment of calm when you first arrive at the troop and admire the emotion that's etched across the apes' faces. It feels like time is standing still and nothing else exists but you and the critically-endangered gorillas.
The incredible feeling of seeing wild gorillas.
Some gorillas are lost in the bushes, others are returning your gaze, three are swinging comically in the branches, and then a silverback beats his chest, the reverberating drumroll memorable for a lifetime. The similarities are astonishing and the gorillas' faces tell a thousand stories. Eyes are glazed with emotion and you watch the troop move from frowns to curiosity to smiles. There can be 8 to 25 gorillas around you and it's hard to know which way to look.
How to find the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking permits used to be like gold dust. However, a number of new troops have been recently habituated in Bwindi, a park that contains the majority of the world's wild mountain gorilla population. In comparison to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Bwindi has more habituated troops but takes longer to get to. Gorillas can be tracked from four different trailheads at opposing corners of the park. Mountain roads around the park are rough and rugged, so we think it's important to consider which trailhead is the easiest to combine with the rest of your Uganda itinerary. Minimising travel time means more hours enjoying the iconic vista of a rainforest coated in swirling mist.
Bwindi is full of brilliant lodges.
We can recommend excellent accommodation within easy reach of any of the trail heads and the serenity of the setting makes it worth staying for a few days. Golden monkey trekking and visiting local communities provide other experiences here. Gorilla trekking permits are expensive, especially since you only get an hour with the troop. But we've never met anyone who didn't think it was worth it. If you have the time and money then a second gorilla trek is equally unique as you'll visit a different troop with completely different behaviour.
The inimitability of the experience and the proximity to the gorillas makes Bwindi truly once in a lifetime stuff. We can't imagine visiting Uganda without spending a legendary hour with the captivating giant apes.