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Where to See Gorillas in Africa?

Uganda should be on top of your travel-bucket list. No doubt about that! Why? Breathtaking landscapes, a rich culture, diverse wildlife, and the chance to see Gorillas up close. “Uh-uh-uh” -Yes, gorillas! Imagine being eye-to-eye with these magnificent creatures.

Seeing Gorillas in Africa, especially in Uganda, offers a thrilling and unique experience that will leave you in awe.

Thanks to conservation efforts around 1,000 of them currently roam around in Africa. But where can you best see gorillas in Africa?

Come with us on a journey to finding gorillas in Africa. We’ll tell you where you can best see gorillas in their natural habitat and have an experience of a lifetime. No safari jeep everybody, finding gorillas in Africa is done in style: on foot through the jungle. Ready?

The Emotional Thrill of Gorilla Trekking

Seeing gorillas in Africa is not for the faint of heart. It’s exhilarating, emotional, and surprisingly meditative at the same time. How? Customers have described it as a free-fall-feeling but leaving with a deep, long-lasting impression and a greater appreciation for wildlife.

Imagine… you are walking quietly through the dense forest in Uganda, your heart pounding with every step. The air is thick with the earthy scent of the jungle. The only sounds are the rustling leaves and distant bird calls. “Kow-kow-kow!” says the Great Blue Turaco.

Your group follows the guide closely, a mix of excitement and nervousness shared by all. Will we find them today? Suddenly, the guide turns, his eyes wide open with a knowing look. He whispers, “There they are.”

Your group stops instantly, hearts racing as you peer through the foliage. Just ahead, you see the gorillas. Two babies fighting for their mother’s attention, another female pack feeding on yummy figs, another one taking a nap in a cool spot. The moment is surreal and overwhelming, a profound connection with nature that leaves an indelible mark on your soul.

You’re speechless, alone with your own warm thoughts and wonder, which kind of gorillas am I watching here right now?

Baby mountain gorilla playing with its mother in the green forest

Types of Gorillas you can see in Africa

Africa is home to two species of gorillas, each with its own subspecies. Understanding the differences can enhance your experience seeing gorillas for the first time.

Let’s kick-start with… drumroll please… the Mountain Gorillas.

Mountain Gorillas

Surprise, surprise, mountain gorillas live in the mountainous regions of central Africa. Mountain gorillas are one of the most fascinating and critically endangered species in the world.

Why? They are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla known for their impressive size and gentle demeanor. Can you believe these giants have a gentle demeanor? Pretty much like walking into Hagrid from Harry Potter in the jungle… Okay, jokes aside.

Where can you spot Mountain Gorillas? Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo host their populations. And how to they live together as a group?

Habitat and Lifestyle:

  • Location: High-altitude tropical forests.
  • Social Structure: Live in family groups led by a dominant silverback male.
  • Diet: Primarily herbivores, feeding on leaves, stems, fruit, and bamboo shoots.

Second in line are the biggest of them all… the Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

Eastern Lowland Gorillas

The eastern lowland gorilla is even larger and more robust than its mountain-dwelling relatives. They are another subspecies of the eastern gorilla. You can primarily find them in the lowland tropical forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

How would we describe the lowlands in the Congo? Dense rainforests, extensive river systems, and a rich biodiversity.

Habitat and Lifestyle:

  • Location: Lowland tropical forests.
  • Social Structure: Similar to mountain gorillas, they live in family groups led by a silverback.
  • Diet: A varied diet that includes fruits, leaves, seeds, and bark.

Last but not least… Tada… the Western Gorillas.

Western Gorillas

Western gorillas are divided into two subspecies: the western lowland gorilla and the Cross River gorilla. These gorillas inhabit the lowland forests and swamps of West and Central Africa.

Habitat and Lifestyle:

  • Location: Countries like Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo.
  • Social Structure: Typically found in smaller family groups compared to eastern gorillas.
  • Diet: A diverse diet, rich in fruit, making up over 60% of their diet.

Cross River Gorillas

Cross River Gorillas, the most endangered subspecies of gorilla, are critically endangered primates found in the dense forests along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon, not Uganda. With fewer than 300 individuals remaining, they face severe threats from habitat loss and poaching.

  • Location: Restricted to a small region along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.
  • Social Structure: These gorillas are extremely elusive and live in small, fragmented populations.
  • Diet: Similar to western lowland gorillas, focusing on fruit, leaves, and nuts.

What’s currently done to overcome their endangerment?

Conservation Efforts

Gorilla tourism has been absolutely crucial in conversation efforts across Africa.

The bad news? Despite their protected status, gorillas still face numerous threats, including habitat loss, poaching, and disease.

The good news? Organizations and governments in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have implemented strict measures to protect these magnificent animals and their habitats. This has led to a gradual increase in their numbers.

Okay, finally, let’s dive into the hotspots on finding gorillas already!

Baby mountain gorilla hanging on a branch surrounded by green forest

Where you can see Gorillas in Uganda

Where to best see gorillas in Uganda? Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a must-visit for anyone looking to see gorillas in Africa.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to nearly half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Yes, half of the world’s mountain gorillas! This makes it the ultimate destination to see gorillas in Africa.

What to Expect:

  • Gorilla Families: Bwindi hosts over 459 mountain gorillas, with several gorilla families that visitors can trek to see.
  • Biodiversity: The park boasts rich biodiversity, including over 120 mammal species and 350 bird species. So you’ll get to see more than “just” gorillas 😉
  • Guided Tours: Safety first! Experienced guides lead the way, ensuring a safe and informative trek through the dense forests. Hiking boots on, let’s go!

Psst… looking for lesser crowds?

Mount Mgahinga

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: A Hidden Gem

If you’re looking for a quieter, more intimate experience, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the perfect alternative. Nestled in the Virunga Mountains, this park offers stunning landscapes and the opportunity to see the Nyakagezi gorilla family.


  • Fewer Tourists: Enjoy a more personal experience with fewer crowds.
  • Scenic Beauty: The park features volcanic mountains and bamboo forests. Kill two birds with one stone.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Besides gorillas, you might spot golden monkeys and a variety of bird species. Pretty cool!

Both locations are perfect to see gorillas in their natural habitat. What can you expect from a gorilla trek in both national parks?

Mountain gorilla silverback walking in the green grass in front of green bushes

The Gorilla Trekking Experience

The Adventure Begins

Seeing gorillas in Africa follows the motto “The early bird catches the worm”. The journey to see Ugandan gorillas starts therefore with an early morning briefing from your guide. You’ll then set off into the dense forest, following paths carved through thick vegetation. The trek can be challenging, but the reward is well worth the effort. Trust us!

Face to Face with Gorillas

The moment you come face to face with a gorilla family is indescribable. Customers who have tried to describe it say it’s a truly profound and humbling experience, like no other! Your guide will ensure you maintain a safe distance while providing insights into the gorillas’ behavior and social structures. You’ll come home a gorilla expert!

Conservation and Responsible Tourism

Gorilla tours play a vital role in conservation efforts. The funds from gorilla permits contribute to the protection of these endangered species and their habitats. As a visitor, you can support these efforts by following the guidelines set by your guides.

We have summed up the most important guidelines for you here. To already prepare yourself when seeing gorillas for the first time during your upcoming trip to Uganda 😉

Conservation Tips:

  • Keep Your Distance: Maintain at least 7 meters from the gorillas.
  • Avoid Eye Contact: Gorillas can perceive direct eye contact as a threat.
  • No Eating or Drinking: Refrain from eating or drinking near the gorillas.
  • Follow Instructions: Always listen to and follow your guide’s advice.

After all the excitement and fun, it’s now time to put your feet up and get some much-needed rest.

Accommodation: Where to Stay During Your Gorilla Safari

Planning a gorilla safari involves not only choosing the best trekking sites but also selecting the right accommodation in Uganda to enhance your experience.

Whether you prefer luxurious lodges, comfortable mid-range options, or budget-friendly stays, Uganda offers a variety of choices to suit every traveler’s needs. Here, we explore the different types of accommodation available, ensuring you find the perfect place to rest after a day of thrilling gorilla trekking.

Luxury Lodges

For those looking to indulge, Uganda offers several luxury lodges near the gorilla trekking sites. These lodges provide comfortable accommodations, gourmet meals, and stunning views of the surrounding forests.

Mid-Range Options

Travelers seeking a balance between comfort and affordability can choose from a variety of mid-range lodges and camps. These accommodations offer all the necessary amenities for a pleasant stay without breaking the bank.

Budget-Friendly Stays

Looking for a budget-friendly place to stay? Budget travelers can find numerous budget-friendly options available. These include guesthouses and community-run camps that provide basic but comfortable accommodations at reasonable prices.

We’ll assure you that all three options will do you well after seeing gorillas for the first time.

Your Ultimate Gorilla Safari Awaits

Seeing gorillas in Africa, particularly in Uganda, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Have you put it on your travel bucket-list already?

Uganda certainly stands out! With its incredible landscapes and rich wildlife, Uganda is the top destination to see gorillas in Africa.

Whether you’re an adventurer, nature lover, or wildlife enthusiast, Uganda will leave you with unforgettable memories. And a deeper appreciation for these magnificent creatures.

So, gather your friends, start planning, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Uganda’s gorillas are waiting for you!

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