The best places and time to see gorillas and chimps in Uganda.
Parks including Bwindi, Mgahinga and Kibale forests have the best sites. However, tracking can be done throughout the year. Uganda is rich in primates of various kinds around the country.
See the gorillas and chimps in the forests of Uganda and Rwanda
Depending on your schedule, gorillas and chimp tracking can be done all year in Uganda or Rwanda. This because of the good seasons in the national parks of Bwindi impenetrable, Mgahinga and Kibale forest. In Rwanda, the same applies in the Volcanoes and Nyungwe national parks respectively.
The dry season
This is between June to September and December to end of February. This is the period within which most people prefer to visit. The roads and jungle trails are dry. Therefore hiking is not that difficult. It is however not easy to see the Gorillas or chimps. They are more active, searching for food. Thus they wonder to the upper slopes.
These come in between March, April, to May. And October to November. So most of the tourists don’t visit during that time. It is muddy and wet in the forests. However due to the rains, there is plenty of food for the gorillas and chimps on the lower slopes where it is warmer. These apes then stay on the lower slopes, since food is widely available and temperatures are lower. Therefore if you decide on tracking in the rainy season, you may not trek for long. You could find the gorillas or chimps just after 30 minutes or one hour of trekking. This means by lunch time you are back at the lodge to relax. Or even do another activity like a community tour in the afternoon.
During this time, it can rain for one to two hours in about 3 to 4 days of the week. For the rest of the day and week, the sun is out shining. However also in the dry season, there are some little showers experienced in the forested areas.
Taking advantage of the gorilla and chimpanzee permit discounts
Previously, some gorilla and chimp trekkers would take advantage of the seasonal discounts offered on the tracking permits in Uganda. Gorilla Permit prices were lower at USD450 in the rainy season from USD600 during the dry season. The Chimpanzee tracking permits decreased to USD100 from USD150 for the months of April, May and November. Unlike in the past, there are no longer discounts on these permits. From June 2020 onwards, gorilla permits will cost USD700 while the Chimpanzee permits will cost USD200. Nonetheless, several accommodation facilities around Kibale forest, Bwindi and Mgahinga still offer discounts in the low season.
Many experiences have shown that chimpanzee and gorilla trekking can be done throughout the year with not much problems. You will surely see these great apes and more so enjoy your trip!
Best places to track the Gorillas:
Best places for the chimpanzees and other primates:
The best places and time for gorillas and chimps in Uganda are clearly indicated above.