Mountain Gorillas & Primates
A visit with habituated mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is the number one primate experience in the world, it is an unforgettable thrill, and it is perfectly safe to get up close to these wonderful creatures.
The gorillas are very accepting of human visitors and since the relatively recent onset of the program of taking permit paying visitors up to visit the gorillas, the gorilla population is increasing again from dangerously low numbers. Porters with sedan chairs are also available to carry visitors with walking issues up and down the mountain sides.
Lion Dog African Safaris does gorilla visits in both Rwanda and Uganda . Rwanda recently doubled the cost of the permits to $USD 1500 per person which compares to $USD 600 in Uganda in busy season.
Advantages of visiting gorillas in Rwanda versus Uganda.
1) Rwanda has been moved off the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) list where a yellow fever immunization is recommended whereas Uganda is still on the CDC list where a yellow fever immunization is recommended.
2) An encounter with the gorillas in Rwanda is almost 100 % guaranteed whereas the same guarantee can not be made for Uganda.
3) The Rwandan gorillas are much more habituated and welcoming of humans.
4) The terrain in Rwanda is not as steep as in Uganda. The Ugandan trek is more suited to younger fitter people.
5) The foliage in Uganda is thicker not producing as good as conditions for photography.
6) Logistically, the gorillas in Rwanda are easier to get to than the gorillas in Uganda. For instance, the drive from Kigali to Musanze in Rwanda is 2 hours on a picturesque roadway, whereas the drive from Entebbe to Bwindi in Uganda is a 9 hour drive prompting a flight instead. It is actually easier to access the Ugandan gorillas via Rwanda.
7) Adjacent to the Rwandan gorillas, there is a fabulous opportunity to visit Golden monkeys, which can be easily incorporated into the gorilla tour simply by tacking on another day.
One advantage with visiting gorillas in Uganda is that there is a habituation program whereby guests spend several hours visiting with the gorillas as opposed to the customary 1 hour visiting session.
Because of the logistics involved, and the cost of the permits, the gorilla visit is geared mainly to the upper Mid-Range to Luxury clientele. In the busiest months of the year i.e. July, August and Christmas, it may be necessary to book gorilla permits at least 6 months away. Refer to map on right for location(s)
After the mountain gorillas, the next best primate experience on the planet is to visit chimpanzees. Lion Dog African Safaris visits chimpanzees in Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda .
The very best place to visit chimpanzees in their natural habitat is Mahale Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania however it is a very remote location which makes it more logistically difficult and expensive.
The chimpanzees in Rwanda are found in a park adjacent to Nungwe Park in western Rwanda however they are not as habituated as the chimpanzees in Kibale Park in Uganda. At this time, Kibale Park in Uganda is the favoured destination for visiting chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
There is also an opportunity to spend time with Chimpanzee researchers in Kibale Park in Uganda , plus there is also an opportunity to visit the adjacent Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary as part of the chimpanzee visitation experience.
At Kibale, June to September is the driest time and temperatures average 80˚(25˚) but be prepared for the occasional afternoon thunderstorms. The hot dry time is January to February and is good time to visit. The Chimpanzee experience at Kibale is mainly geared to the upper mid Range and Luxury clientele.
Combination visits to the gorillas in Rwanda and the chimpanzees in Uganda, and vice versa, can be readily arranged due to the close proximity of the countries to each other.
Timing a Tour to Visit the Gorillas and Primates
JANUARY | FEBRUARY
If planning a visit to the Mountain Gorillas at this time; it is useful to know that rain and humidity is prevalent in the country of Rwanda in January and February however the mountain gorillas tend to climb at lower elevations making for a less strenuous hike.
MARCH | APRIL | MAY
If planning a visit to the Mountain Gorillas at this time; it is useful to know that rain and humidity is prevalent in the country of Rwanda in March, April and May, however the mountain gorillas tend to climb to the lower elevations at this time making for a less strenuous hike.
JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
If planning a visit to the Mountain Gorillas at this time; it is useful to know that rain and humidity is prevalent in the country of Rwanda year round although the driest period is usually between mid-June and mid-September. However, during this drier spell, the mountain gorillas tend to climb to higher elevations making for a more strenuous hike.
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER
If planning a visit to the Mountain Gorillas at this time; it is useful to know that rain and humidity is prevalent in the country of Rwanda in SEPTEMBER OCTOBER; however the mountain gorillas tend to climb at the lower elevations making for a less strenuous hike.
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER
If planning a visit to the Mountain Gorillas at this time; it is useful to know that rain and humidity is prevalent in the country of Rwanda in NOVEMBER DECEMBER; however the mountain gorillas tend to climb at the lower elevations making for a less strenuous hike.
Timing a tour in combination with other locations
LDAS suggests that clients rely on our expertise to determine the best time for their custom African tour. When clients are able to go when the overall conditions are best, LDAS finds that it sends a good percentage of clients in January February and September October, when all the variables are considered.
Between the two periods, in the southern hemisphere, the weather is generally cooler in September October than in January February when the temperatures are hottest. The only bad time to go to Africa iswhen the rains are heavy in the regions being considered.
African Gorillas & Primates Tours