Uganda Gorilla Trekking for a Solo Traveler

Gorilla trekking for a solo traveler has become common in recent years in Uganda and Rwanda. Unlike many African safari destinations with many group tours, Uganda gorilla destinations attract more solo travelers. Taking on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari as a solo traveler is such a rewarding experience. This does not mean that gorilla safaris for groups are not beautiful. It rather means that you do not have to worry about a Uganda gorilla trekking trip if you are a solo traveler. In this article, we shall delve into the ways how to get the most out of your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda as a solo traveler. Just Read ahead.

Planning a solo mountain gorilla trekking vacation to Uganda is 100% possible, but there is need for interested visitors to take note of some factors/travel tips. Here is a complete guide to Uganda gorilla trekking for a solo traveler.

Where to go for solo gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Are you a primate lover looking for the best gorilla trekking destination? Uganda is one of those destinations you should look out for the best gorilla trekking encounter. When you think about solo gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda, first, you need to know which destination to visit. Uganda has two major gorilla trekking destinations. These include; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These parks give travelers the best gorilla trekking tours. Walking through the lush green thick forests in search of giant apes is a moment turned into a memory.  

Gorilla safari to Bwindi for solo travelers

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is found in Southwestern Uganda, and this gorilla park was gazette in 1991 primarily to offer refuge to mountain gorillas. The park is officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and spans over 331sq.km. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 26 habituated mountain gorilla families. These are available for visitors to explore starting from any of the four sectors; Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhoma, and Rushaga. The gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest include among others Mubare gorilla group, the Rwigi family, Kyaguriro, Nkuringo, Habinyanja, Busingye, Mishaya, Oruzongo, Bitukura, Bweza, Nshongi, Rushegura and Christmas.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Located in Kisoro district, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is most popular for its rewarding mountain gorilla trekking adventures. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to one habituated mountain gorilla family. This family is open to travelers on a Uganda gorilla trekking tour or a Uganda solo gorilla trekking trip.

On a solo gorilla tour to Mgahinga, the treks begin at the Ntebeko area with a briefing about mountain gorilla trekking regulations. Mgahinga was gazette in 1991 and is the smallest national park in Uganda, extending up to 33.9 sq. km. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park together with Bwindi offers refuge to half the population of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas.

How many days do I need for a gorilla trekking tour as a solo traveler?

Gorilla trekking expeditions are flexible in the sense that solo travelers can spend as many days as they can. Spending more days in a destination puts you at an added advantage as you get a chance to have a deep understanding of the mountain gorillas. You can opt for a short gorilla trekking tour of 2-4 days or a 5-day gorilla trek safari for a better experience. Taking the longer trip allows you even engage in other experiences in Uganda, and the Pearl of Africa, especially chimpanzee tracking, game viewing/game drives, boat cruises, cultural encounters, and a lot more.

How much is a Uganda gorilla trekking safari for a solo traveler

The cost for a Uganda gorilla trekking safari for a solo traveler does vary significantly depending on various factors. Essential factors such as length of stay, the kind of safari (budget, midrange, and luxury options), accommodation type, transportation, cost for purchasing the packing list items, flight ticket, gorilla permits, and others do impact the overall cost of a Uganda gorilla trekking tour.

The cost of a gorilla permit

Uganda issues gorilla permits depending on 3 visitor categories. These include; foreign non-residents, foreign residents, and East African citizens. Each category has a set rate to pay to obtain a valid gorilla permit for gorilla trekking in either Bwindi or Mgahinga. The foreign non-residents intending to go gorilla trekking in Uganda as solo travelers can book a gorilla permit at USD 800 per person; the foreign residents pay USD 700, the Africans living outside East Africa USD 500 and East African citizens inclusive of Ugandans plus those within the East African Community member states pay shs.300,000 per person.

Obtaining a valid gorilla permit in Uganda is very simple when you deal with a reliable and trusted tour operator on the ground. This should be done at least 2-6 months before the actual planned date to visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. It is also important to note that gorilla permits are open for booking for persons above 15 years.

Things to consider while planning a Uganda gorilla tour as a solo traveler

Uganda Gorilla Trekking for a Solo Traveler

The transportation

 This is a key component one must take note of when planning a trip to see mountain gorillas in Uganda and does influence the overall cost of the gorilla tour. The cost of hiring a car varies from tour operator to tour operator, the kind of rental car you desire –budget, midrange, or luxury; the cost of fuel and others are among the key elements that have an impact on the overall cost for gorilla trekking safari.

Accommodation

Accommodation facilities in Uganda are categorized into budget, mid-range, and luxury. Each of the accommodation choices does come with their prices and plays a significant role in the overall cost of the gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.

Packing list

Packing right is a must-do when you think of a solo gorilla trekking trip in Uganda. The cost of obtaining some of the items such as cameras, safari clothes, waterproof walking/hiking boots, first aid kits, and other essentials does have an impact on your planned gorilla trip.

When to travel for a Uganda gorilla trekking tour as a solo traveler?

Gorilla trekking trips in Uganda are not static. A visitor can travel to a destination of their choice any time of the year thanks to the favorable weather conditions experienced in Uganda. But to have a successful Uganda gorilla tour as a solo traveler, we recommend that you plan your trip around the dry months of the year. Each year, the gorilla safari parks in Uganda experience two important phases of dry spells that are long and short.

The long dry months of the year are recorded from June, July, August to September, then the short months fall around December, January to February. Very low or literary no rains are recorded during these months of the year with the gorilla habitats usually kept drier making them the most favorable for gorilla trekking.

How to prepare for a Uganda gorilla trekking tour as a solo tourist?

Early preparation is essential for you to realize a successful gorilla road trip in Uganda, and this includes conducting adequate exercise to keep you fit. Trekking to see mountain gorillas in Uganda like in Rwanda involves walking through the natural rainforest for hours. Your level of fitness does determine how long you will spend before you come across a family of mountain gorillas in the wild.

Early preparation also allows you to secure every essential that is required for your gorilla trekking vacation. Overall, a solo traveler has adequate time to plan for everything early enough rather than having a rush hour/last minute thing to put things together.

What to carry for a Uganda gorilla trekking trip?

A lot of items are required on a trip, but for a gorilla trek tour, a solo traveler should consider essentials first. These include among others a good camera which is free of the flashlight, a pair of gardening gloves, a rain jacket, a tin of insect repellent, a backpack, enough drinking water, a torch, long trousers, a pair of socks, waterproof walking/hiking boots, a safari hat, energy giving snacks, toiletries, first aid kit or medical kit, extra batteries for the camera and additional storage.

Where to stay?

Uganda features a good number of accommodation choices for solo travelers to pick from while on a gorilla tour. They include among others Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Heights, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Bakiga Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge. In and around Mgahinga National Park; the existing lodges include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga Rest Camp, Mucha Riverside Lodge, and more.

Getting there

The easiest way to get to your preferred destination for gorilla trekking as a solo traveler is either by road or air. By road, you can use a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle which you can hire from the tour operator and expect to spend about 8-9 hours driving. This involves navigating via the Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale route or crossing from Rwanda via the Katuna or Chanika border to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park for your gorilla trekking adventures. By air; take a flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajansi Airfield up to Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip where you can easily connect to Bwindi/Mgahinga by road.

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