In the whole world, you can only see the mountain gorillas only in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. In Rwanda, these primates can be seen in the Volcanoes National Park. There are over 8 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda thus making it 56 gorilla permits for visitors to Rwanda available every single day since only 8 people are allowed to visit a given group to trek these endangered apes. With a gorilla permit costing US $ 750 per person per trek, part of your contribution goes to conserving these mountain gorillas. In Uganda, there are 10 gorilla groups that are habituated where only 9 are trekked every day and the remaining one is gazzetted for research.
Although a gorilla safari can be conducted all year round in these two countries due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by the national parks in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting from June to September as well as from December up to February. This similarly applies in Uganda although there the rains begin in March up to May. Certainly the rains although not very heavy make it challenging to trek the sheer landscape. During that time the rain falls for just one to two hours in about 3 days of the week and for the rest of the days the sun is out. However even in the dry months of Uganda, there are some little showers experienced in Bwindi.
The seasonality of the trackers can as well be accredited to the overall weather back in the home countries. During summers for instance in Europe, the number of gorilla trekkers is high and then in winter it greatly lowers. Also there are some trekkers who take advantage of the seasonal discounts offered on the gorilla tracking permits. For example not long ago the Uganda wildlife Authority lowered the cost of permits by thirty percent for all non-Ugandans for the months of April and May whereby they will go for $350. The other months the gorilla tour permit will go for $600. A number of accommodation facilities in the areas where the gorillas are found as well will offer discounts in these months.
Within Rwanda, the initial rains are experienced at the end of February, March, April as well as May, and for that reason most of the tourists don’t visit during that time since it is muddy and pretty wet while tracking the mountain gorillas. However, during these very months, since it is raining, there is a lot of food for the gorillas on the lower slopes and also the temperatures are lower on the lower slopes. Because of that, the gorillas stay on the lower slopes since food is easily accessible and it is warmer. Therefore if you choose to track in these months, you won’t have a very long trek and actually most trackers find the gorillas just after two hours of trekking meaning by 2:00pm they are back at their lodge.
No matter what your explanation is, experience reveals that gorilla trekking can be enjoyed all year round and you will surely enjoy a great experience.