Gorilla trekking is definitely one of the most carried out tourism activities in Uganda, Rwanda & Congo bringing in tens of thousands of tourists who travel all the way from their countries to come enjoy enjoy a trek in the respective habitats of these amazing primates. As a matter of fact, it’s an awesome experience! Bonding with animals that share over 90% of the human DNA, have human traits that can be seen in gestures and actions then remain threatened by threats that human face too is definitely amazing.
The mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda have boosted the respective tourism industries through funds that are generated annually from selling gorilla permits. You could have heard a lot of stories about gorilla trekking and might be willing to try it out from either of the three countries. I came up with this list of gorilla trekking companies to help you choose an operator who specializes mainly in selling gorilla trips and is very much knowledgeable about it. Some of the best gorilla trekking companies for Uganda, Rwanda & Congo include;
I will keep updating this list with operators that i trust will organize exceptional treks for you. Previously, i made a general list of Uganda tour operators but some of the companies in that list don’t sell much of gorilla tours despite their reputability. The Uganda safari companies will rather organize for you memorable wildlife safaris in either countries mentioned above. You might get shocked to see some of the companies listed on this article appear of the other list too! Truth is these companies are good in organizing various tour types within East Africa. I have personally carried out treks with all the companies on this list and never did i ever get a bad encounter with them and besides, their staff and guides are very professional, knowledgeable and supportive.
I’ve long advised travelers to book their gorilla safaris with companies that specialize more in gorilla tours. There is a lot of importance attached to this which i will explain in this lengthy article so that you to know all the benefits of dealing with companies that concentrate more on selling gorilla tours within East Africa.
The list above is mixed with companies from respective countries because most of them operate in other neighboring countries too. Besides, most of them already have offices established in multiple countries to ease the process of handling clients. These companies also organize for Uganda gorilla trekking from Kigali or gorilla tours from Entebbe besides luxury gorilla safaris and budget gorilla tours.
Why choose Gorilla Trekking Companies?
Searched for the reasons and failed to get them or rather got partial information before? I give all the reasons in this article considering a lot of factors that may stretch from your end right to the tour company’s end in various perspectives. I would opt for gorilla tour specialists because of the following reasons;
1. Knowledgeable. Gorilla trekking companies are always knowledgeable about any concerns related to gorilla activities and will definitely give you the best advice and informative you may need regarding your gorilla trekking safari. If i asked you for the best place to see mountain gorillas or rather for the best season to track them you wouldn’t know and neither would some of the operators do. Another question can be a debate about gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda! Not every one would have the perfect answer to this or rather know which experience is far better that the other as per customer reviews. Gorilla trekking companies are so knowledgeable about gorilla trekking and will give you the perfect answer for your question at ease.
These companies will go ahead and advise you on when you should schedule your trek in the respective countries, advise which gorilla groups you reserve your permit for (or do it for you), how best you can organize your safari plus a lot more. Travelers are usually white about such information of which even the ones that try to get answers online are likely to land on outdated information.
2. Price. Fact is you are likely to get quite low prices for your safari from gorilla trekking specialists depending on the accommodation package you plan to reserve. This is quite vital, especially in the low season when some companies unknowingly sell out permits to clients for $600 instead of the flat $450 fee. A company that sells more gorilla trips can easily identify the high and low seasons in the Uganda tourism industry and will revise their prices often in accordance to the season.
Gorilla trekking companies also have strong partnerships / mutual agreements with several accommodation facilities in the respective areas of tracking because they are able to provide them with huge numbers of clients annually. This implicates you are likely to get outstanding accommodation facilities for a less amount which all impacts on your final gorilla safari quote. With partnerships, you can easily get an accommodation facility worth $300 plus for just $150 which is quite a good deal. The figure could become way lower depending on the capacity of clients a company is able to send to a safari lodge on annual basis. This is something you should definitely take advantage of because such offers are rare to find.
3. Permits are priority. So many companies ask clients for booking advance on claims that they need to purchase the permits immediately but end up making the agreed purchase days to your safari. This isn’t good because not every gorilla group out there will reward you with the best experience or rather not all of them reside in areas with good accommodation facilities. Ever tried asking yourself why so many travelers opt to trek in Buhoma? Those are just some of the reasons! It’s pretty hard to get buhoma permits days prior to your safari at anytime of the year unless you purchase it months in advance as proposed. Gorilla trekking companies consider all these factors and endeavor to reserve your permits in advance so as to schedule for you an exceptional trek. In most cases, their trips are sold with Permits but something exceptional about these companies is that they always have the best bargain in scenarios of limited permits.
You should also know that very few companies refund money for permits in case of any cancellations which most of them have clear in a fine-print. The only way you can receive a refund for permits is when an operator manages to resell the permit to another client which is quite hard because getting a client for the same date isn’t so easy as it seems. However, the fact that gorilla trekking companies sell a lot gorilla safaris implicates chances of reselling such permits are quite high compared to normal operators. So what am i trying to say? If you booked your safari today and cancelled months prior then you would still be some-how certain about refunds on permits. Though this is not guaranteed, the chances are quite high.
4. Discounts on Permits: Of the huge number of travelers that reserve permits annually, not all make it for trekking. Some clients cancel their respective trips months prior yet their permits are already booked and end up requesting for refunds. These permits are usually resold to other clients for a lesser amount irrespective of the season implicating if your gorilla safari falls on the same date as reserved permit then you are likely to get discounted permits. Gorilla trekking specialists usually have so many permits in plenty from several bookings which might be a good chance for you to claim such discounts.
Besides that, such companies often give out huge discounts in low seasons where you could get a trekking permit for as low as $300 or $350. They run such promotions to sell more gorilla trips to their clients. You can read more about the high and low seasons of the Uganda Tourism industry in case you are white about it.
Lastly, gorilla specialists will always try to purchase permits for areas with the best accommodation facilities. These permits get finished quickly and have high resale ratios compared to permits of other areas. The solution to this is booking in advance, which most gorilla trekking companies always do.
5. Knowledgeable Consultants. There is nothing more comforting that dealing with consultants who are knowledgeable about gorilla tracking. These consultants will not only advise you but will also draft you good Itineraries for your gorilla safari. I have seen several cases where consultants book accommodation that is far away from trekking areas and clients have to travel for long distances to track mountain gorillas. A much clear example of this is purchasing a Rushaga permit yet your accommodation is in Buhoma! This is very unprofessional and very uncertain of gorilla trekking companies / specialists. Always deal with consultants who are knowledgeable about tracking mountain gorillas.
What more benefits are associated with dealing with knowledgeable consultants? From my own experience, not so many consultants will question your physical status or health complications when you are booking a gorilla trip. All they will present you is an itinerary with activities, accommodation facilities and quotations then ask for payments and that’s it. Very few will maintain a conversation with you or ask you questions about health after making a deposit especially if your arrival date is months away. This is very vital because gorilla trekking is a physically challenging activity and requires certain level of fitness implicating certain health cases might put you at risk. If you question your fitness then i would suggest you do regular exercises before your arrival to ensure you are ready for the trek.
6. Free tracking Gears. Some companies offer free gears as a marketing point because clients often lack them. It’s very rare to find an operator who will give you such but the ratio definitely increases when you opt for gorilla trekking companies when booking your safari. To claim such offers, it’s advisable to check on respective websites of operators or personally contact them and ask them whether they have such services available for free. Free trekking gears can save you the hustle of carrying a lot of luggage whilst traveling or rather spending cash on arrival to acquire them hence, you should take advantage of such offers especially if you are a typical budget traveler.
7. Financially secure. Based on my personal research, companies that specialize in gorilla trips are more financially secure than companies that sell more of wildlife safaris. While this might not apply to all the companies, it’s better to always deal with only financially secure safari operators so that in case of any cancellations you are certain of a specific percentage of refund as prescribed in your operator’s terms of cancellations.
8. Virtual Reality (VR) Gorilla Trekking. Did you know you can enjoy gorilla tracking at the comfort of your home in your country? We currently live in a world of virtual reality and since 2014, this technology has gone ahead to become popular. Stronger gears are being released with better ones yet to be released! While you may not actually be in Bwindi, Volcanoes NP or Virunga in reality, Virtual Reality can still give you a good experience of what gorilla trekking is like. Of all travel operators in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, i have only seen Matoke Tours market Virtual Reality Gorilla Trekking but more companies could realize it soon a later time moves on.
There are a lot of benefits associated to booking gorilla tours with gorilla trekking companies and above are just some of them. Most of these companies classify their consultants in a way that specific consultants respond to inquiries for gorilla activities where as others respond to other activities. This way, you are not only likely to deal with a consultant who is extremely knowledgeable about gorilla activities but you are certain that you will always get the perfect answers for all your questions in less time. These companies will also go ahead to advise you and give you tips regarding your tour opposed to a few of the rest!