We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions concerning our gorilla safari holidays in Uganda and Rwanda. If your question isn't listed below, please contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Frequently Asked Questions
Numbers are variable and imprecise but estimates in 2011 range from 750-850. Not all are in habituated groups accessible to tourists.
There are many lodges in Rwanda and Uganda offering a range of accommodations, vehicles, airport transfers and other safari services. Albatros Travel uses a variety of accommodations in the higher comfort ranges.
The most comfortable times for gorilla safaris are the dry seasons July-September and December-February. It can and does rain in every month and the effects of climate change are quite evident in this area of East Africa with seasonal rains being much less predictable and sometimes more intense. All gorilla safari parties leave around 8am when there is least likelihood of heavy rain. If you happen to be assigned a distant gorilla group requiring four or more hours of tracking your chances of returning in the rain increase.
There is a minimum age of 15 years for anyone obtaining a permit to track Mountian Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. Park Authorities will check the age of all permit holders against the birthdate in your passport.
The current cost of gorilla viewing permits in Rwanda and Uganda is USD 500 per person for a one hour visit in a group of eight visitors. This does not include the transportation from the registration and orientation site to the hiking departure point or trailhead. You will also want to tip your park guide and trackers about USD 5 each. Please note that you must purchase gorilla viewing permits in advance and Albatros Travel can help you with this.
There is really not much difference between seeing gorillas in either Rwanda and Uganda. Very few tourists choose to track Mountain Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo these days due to security concerns and services there are not as well organized. The mountain gorillas of all three countries inhabit similar rugged terrain and have similar habits. Individual mountain gorilla groups vary in their accessibility. The regulations and quality of local gorilla guides and trackers is similar in Rwanda and Uganda.
You must be able and willing to hike in rough terrain and in any weather to see mountain gorillas in the wild. However, many older people who don't think of themselves as hikers or adventurers can successfully see the gorillas, and personal assistants can be hired to carry your daypack and assist you in difficult areas. The local guides will work to make it as easy as possible for you to track and photograph the gorillas. We have had numerous clients in their 70's succeed in reaching their target Mountain Gorilla groups. Most people return very exhausted, muddy and sore if they are not used to vigorous hiking. Altitude sickness is not usually a problem, nor are insects. You will want a pair of gloves and clothing that protects your arms and legs from thorns and nettles. Good balance is helpful in gorilla trekking as trails may be slippery.
Officially you are required to keep 27-feet (10m) away from the gorillas. In practice, the gorillas often come closer to you as you stand quietly observing or photographing them. It is still helpful to have a telephoto capability on your camera since some animals are shy, and the Silverback may be very protective of the young. You are not allowed to touch the gorillas, though it would be easy to do so.
All wild animals are best considered potentially dangerous and should be treated as such, but mountain gorillas are not aggressive or prone to be alarmed by tourists. Many people are surprised that the mountain gorillas seem to ignore the tourists in their midst completely. You should not get between a mother and a baby or tease animals, use a flash, make distracting noises or move quickly.
No. Our tours and holidays do not include international flights. Some tours include domestic flights.