Charter flights take around 1.5 hours from Entebbe or Kajansi to Kihihi or Kayonza, with 40- or 120-minute drives respectively to Bwindi. Alternatively, it’s an interesting 8-hour drive by 4WD.
There are two trekking options – the standard option where you get to spend one hour with the gorillas, or a new ‘gorilla habituation experience’, where you can spend 4 hours with them, for double the cost.
Only eight people can see each of the eight groups daily, hence permits are difficult to obtain so book your trip early. You’ll need to pay for your permits in full at the time of booking. Although it’s possible to arrange independently (through email@example.com), it’s easier to book a package (with accommodation and travel) through tour operators, and let them organise permits.
Some tour operators combine this with gorilla tracking in Rwanda, flying in to one country and returning from the other. A scenic road transfer between the two takes 6 hours.
Gorillas move on every day and finding them isn’t guaranteed. Some people buy two permits to increase their chances of an encounter and double the income for gorilla conservation too.
Food & drink
There’ll be no food available on the trek. Have a hearty breakfast at your lodge and take snacks and water but remember you mustn’t eat or drink near the gorillas.
Buhoma Lodge, a 5-minute walk from Park HQ and the tracking departure point, has a beautiful first-floor terrace bar perfect for a celebratory drink after your gorilla encounter.
Gorillas occasionally wander around the grounds of Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp and Buhoma Lodge. They clearly have good taste – both are great places to stay inside the Park.