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There are just over 1000 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, and getting to see them is a highlight of any African wildlife safari experience. Unlike other animals, mountain gorillas can only survive in their natural habitat.

This means that you won't be able to see mountain gorillas in any nearby zoo or captive wildlife sanctuary. The lowland gorillas can survive in zoos and those can be seen in a few zoos around the world. 

young gorilla in Rwanda

The limited number of gorillas, and where they can be seen is one of the reasons why mountain gorillas trekking is a highly sought-after safari experience for those who love wildlife.

In this article, we'll look at where you can see mountain gorillas in their wild habitat, look at which places might suit you best and a summary of other activities you can combine with your trip. To keep this short and straight to the point, our focus is on mountain gorillas and not any other species of gorillas.

Where Do Mountain Gorillas Live

Mountain Gorillas live, and can only be seen in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Natural Habitat of gorillas is spread over the 3 National Parks in the Virunga Massif as well as the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Here are the national parks where you can see mountain gorillas in their natural wild habitat.

# National Park Country
 1  Volcanoes National Park  Rwanda
 2 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park   Uganda
 3 Mgahinga Gorilla National Park  Uganda
 4   Virunga National Park  D.R Congo 

Best Place To See Mountain Gorillas

As far as one place being better than another is a serious matter of opinion and personal experience. If you look online - even for a little while - you will find raving recommendations for any of the 4 national parks mentioned above.

Let us try to give you a comparison that is based on factors that are slightly less abstract.

 Gorilla Permit Cost  1500 USD  800 USD  400 USD
 Gorilla Families  12   25   10 
 Level of Difficulty (out of 5)   2 / 5  4 / 5  3 / 5

Gorillas In Rwanda

As you can summarize from the table, Rwanda's gorilla trekking prices are higher than in Uganda and DRC. Most gorilla families in the volcanoes can often be found much lower on the slopes, and thus the physical demand is less.

Gorillas In Uganda

Uganda has the most trackable gorilla families and as such attracts more people. Uganda has several tracking points across the two national parks and this helps to reduce the crowding, especially in the high season months of June to August.

Additionally, Uganda offers gorilla habituation experiences where you can spend up to 4 hours with a gorilla family that is newly getting used to humans. This gorilla habituation experience permit will cost 1500 USD.

sleeping gorilla

Gorillas In DR Congo

DR Congo's gorilla trekking is hindered by security issues which never allow the industry to recover long enough. rebels and kidnappings keep many people away from the country's gorillas. This means that you can find the least crowds - at any time of the year.


Aside from the above points, the rest is similar. This is because the terrain and environment are the same. In all the countries, you will have to spend the same amount of time with the gorillas (1 hour) and you are more than 99% guaranteed to see the mountain gorillas.

The preparation in terms of what to wear is the same, and conservation restrictions on age and disease are the same too.

Additional Activities

While you can travel strictly to see the gorillas and head back home, a combined experience will always give you more to appreciate.

Depending on your interests, a gorilla tracking safari can be coupled with activities like seeing savannah wildlife, seeing chimpanzees, mountain climbing, bird watching, white water rafting, cultural visits and so much more. It depends on what you would prefer to do.

Final Thoughts

Now you know where mountain gorillas live and can be seen. The decision of which country or national park you will go to is up to you.

There is no easy gorilla-tracking trail, but some are tougher. If you are the kind who is up for the challenge, make sure to get the tough route that will challenge and equally inspire your strength.

Gorilla trekking permits are costly and this could be another factor in determining where you end up going. Your consideration shouldn't just be based on one factor, but all the other things that determine what sort of trip you will have - including the other activities, you might have planned.

We hope this was helpful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and we'll help you answer them. 

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