If you’ve been dreaming of a safari honeymoon in Africa, chances are Botswana has made its way onto your ultimate honeymoon destination bucket-list – and we couldn’t be more excited for you. Beyond being one of Africa’s premier wildlife destinations, Botswana offers newlyweds the very best combination of romance, adventure, luxury, and exclusivity, paired with phenomenal game viewing, vast unspoiled landscapes, expansive lush green surroundings, wide-open plains domed by starlit skies and teeming with wildlife, sunsets that will leave you swooning, an endless array of exceptional destinations and attractions to discover and explore, and several unforgettable experiences and adventures you won’t find anywhere else than right here in the glorious African safari destination that is Botswana. And let’s not forget the sheer unapologetic beauty of the African bushveld.

If your honeymoon dream revolves around palm-fringed beaches, lazy sunshine-filled days and warm, starry evenings, Mauritius, a magnificent island located just off the coast of Madagascar, is the perfect honeymoon destination for you and your new husband or wife.

Here are some of the top reasons why Mauritius is a great honeymoon destination, and why it should be at the very top of every soon-to-be-married couple and newlywed couple’s honeymoon destination bucket list.

While South Africa has no shortage of beautiful destinations to explore, going on an authentic safari in the unspoiled African bushveld should undoubtedly be at the top of every traveler’s bucket-list. From the unapologetic natural beauty of the African wilderness, diverse landscapes, nature reserves, National Parks, and protected ecosystems, to thrilling wildlife encounters and spectacular birdlife sightings, South Africa offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience.

Here are the top 10 best private game reserves in South Africa to add to your African safari bucket-list.

The African continent is renowned for its once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings and encounters. However, few are as highly sought-after as Rwanda where avid wildlife enthusiasts from across the world have the opportunity of witnessing Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat. In fact, Rwanda is deemed the best place in Africa to engage in what is arguably the world’s single most powerful wildlife experience and thrilling wildlife encounter – tracking mountain gorillas through the steep bamboo and forest-swathed slopes of the Virunga Mountains.

This Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Guide Includes:

  • What is Gorilla Trekking?
  • Best Time of the Year for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
  • What Is The Trek Like In Rwanda?
  • How Difficult is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?
  • How to Book Gorilla Trekking Permits in Rwanda
  • Rwanda is Best for Traveler Types Who…
  • Best Places To See Gorillas In The Wild

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

The African continent is renowned for its once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings and encounters. However, few are as highly sought-after (or as frequently featured on traveler bucket lists) as coming face-to-face with Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.

Listed as one of Africa’s critically endangered species, there are approximately 1000 mountain gorillas left in the wild. These mountain gorillas can be found in the area known as the Virunga Mountains, and live in:

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
  • Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
  • Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to nearly half the planet’s remaining mountain gorillas. Carefully protected in the Impenetrable Forest of Bwindi, this esteemed national park is one of only three places in the world where travelers can see these remarkable and rare critically endangered mountain gorillas in the wild.

WHAT IS GORILLA TREKKING?

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Imagine this: You follow a narrow hiking trail through the lushness of a tropical rainforest, wiping sweat from your eyes and feeling grateful for your hiking gaiters. Suddenly, a tracker returns from scouting ahead and excitedly halts your group – it’s time to move forward, slowly, with nothing but your camera and the thrill of anticipation. Grinning, your guide turns and whispers the words you’ve been longing to hear: ‘There they are’.

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking is an extraordinary bucket-list worthy adventure where you hike, bushwhack, and trek deep into Africa’s Virunga conservation region and Bwindi impenetrable forest in search of rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Trekking into their native forests is the only way to see these critically endangered gorillas, as they cannot survive in captivity. Trekking for gorillas in Africa’s emerald rainforests and observing the everyday interactions of these vulnerable primates is arguably one of life’s greatest privileges and most powerful wildlife experiences.

Follow gorilla families as they go about their daily lives. Observe how a mother tenderly feeds her young while being cognisant of the cautious stare from a 200kg (440lbs) silverback as he keeps a protective eye over his troop. Locking eyes with a distant relative is a profound experience that makes spending time with gorillas in Africa an unsurpassable wildlife encounter.

Gorilla trekking is best early in the morning. Typically trackers who know the gorillas well will head off into the jungle at first light to look for their gorilla family. Once they find them, they will radio through to the rangers, who will be waiting for you at the start point – This is when the gorilla trekking adventure begins!

There are a number of different gorilla families you can visit, living in various areas around the Virunga Mountains. In Uganda there are 19 habituated (meaning they are used to humans) gorilla families in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga. In Rwanda there are approximately 10 habituated gorilla families.

**Important Note: In order for you to go gorilla trekking in Uganda and/or Rwanda you need to apply for a gorilla trekking permit. These permits can be rather costly. The cost of a gorilla trekking permit various from one country to the next.

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA

  • Best time: Rwanda’s Dry Months | June – September | December – February

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is deemed one of the top year-round wildlife experiences in Africa. Despite it being an incredible experience year-round, Rwanda’s dry seasons are without a doubt the best time to go gorilla trekking.

Rwanda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May. The long dry season then kicks off in June and lasts until about mid-September – this is generally the preferred time to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda. October to November sees a shorter rainy season, which is followed by a brief dry season from December to February. This is also a good time to see gorillas in Rwanda.

Rwanda’s dry seasons also offer travelers much easier hiking conditions as well as the lowest risk of malaria.

WHAT IS THE TREK LIKE IN RWANDA?

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

As Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is substantially smaller than Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the mountain gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda is generally shorter and less difficult; however, Volcanoes National Park is at a higher elevation.

**Extra Tip: Rwanda is a little more open and therefore it is easier to get a good view.

HOW DIFFICULT IS GORILLA TREKKING IN UGANDA & RWANDA?

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

While extremely exhilarating, gorilla trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda can be pretty tough. The trekking journey can become incredibly challenging, especially if the gorillas are constantly on the move. Mountain gorillas are remarkably fast and move through the jungle with great ease and speed, so trying to keep up with them takes quite some effort. For this reason, a moderate to high level of fitness is typically required to take on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

If you’re not exactly in tip-top gorilla trekking shape and your fitness level isn’t quite where it needs to be, you can request at the gate to be put in a group that will be trekking one of the nearer gorilla families. While it’s not always possible, it is certainly worth asking.

Regardless of your fitness level, it is important to keep in mind that you are literally trekking ‘through’ the jungle (which in itself is beyond impressive and an INCREDIBLE feat), with the rangers sometimes having to navigate and cut their way through in order to create a path. You need to remember that these are called ‘mountain’ gorillas for a reason and the terrain is pretty steep and can be slippery, especially in the rainy season. Good hiking shoes/boots are essential.

If you need help or require some assistance, you can hire porters to help you either by carrying your bag / bags, providing you with support, or assist you in navigating the hard and challenging sections of the trek.

If you have limited mobility, you can also hire a ‘gorilla chair’ and the porters can carry you through the jungle on your gorilla trekking journey – There is absolutely no reason why anyone, irrespective of their abilities, should miss out on this truly extraordinary experience.

WHICH IS BETTER FOR GORILLA TREKKING – UGANDA OR RWANDA?

How to Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Both Uganda and Rwanda are renowned for their bucket-list worthy gorilla trekking experiences, offering visitors spectacular sightings of these remarkable and critically endangered mountain gorillas in the wild.

However, in the great Uganda vs. Rwanda Mountain Gorilla battle, Rwanda claims the title of being Africa’s most accessible gorilla trekking destination. Not only is Rwanda smaller than Uganda (which means there is less square footage for the mountain gorillas to roam), the mountain gorillas in Rwanda are deemed easier to trek, spot, and get to than the Ugandan mountain gorillas. Rwanda also has more than twice the number of habituated mountain gorilla groups than Uganda and so permits are generally more easily available.

**Important Note: In order for you to go gorilla trekking in Uganda and/or Rwanda you need to apply for a gorilla trekking permit. These permits can be rather costly. The cost of a gorilla trekking permit various from one country to the next.

HOW TO BOOK GORILLA TREKKING PERMITS IN RWANDA

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

 

In order to apply for and book your gorilla trekking permits independently, you can do so through the following channels.

You can arrange, purchase, and secure your Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Permit independently via the IREMBO website. Alternatively, you can email the Rwandan Development Board on [email protected].

Similar to Uganda, if you are booking your Mountain Gorilla Trekking Permit via a company or on a tour, your chosen tour operator will navigate the entire process for you.

RWANDA IS BEST FOR TRAVELER TYPES WHO…

How to Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

If you have limited time to travel, then Rwanda is exactly where you need to go to see gorillas in Africa. You can simply land in Kigali, be driven to your lodge, go mountain gorilla trekking the next day and leave for the airport the following morning. This way it’s possible for you to wrap up your gorilla trekking trip in five days or less.

Best Places To See Gorillas In The Wild

How To Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Here is a guide outlining where the best places in Africa are to see gorillas in the wild:

Uganda

Rwanda

Congo

Gorilla Species Mountain gorillas Mountain gorillas Western lowland gorillas
Best gorilla trekking destination Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Volcanoes National Park Odzala-Kokoua National Park
Best time to go All year round, but driest from June to September and December to February All year round, but driest from June to September and December to February All year round, but driest from June to September and December to February
Trekking time Up to 5 hours, depending on weather, fitness levels of guests, and proximity of gorilla families Up to 5 hours, depending on weather, fitness levels of guests, and proximity of gorilla families Up to 5 hours, depending on weather, fitness levels of guests, and proximity of gorilla families
Trekking terrain Hiking at altitude through thick forested slopes Hiking at altitude through thick forested slopes Hiking on ground level through thick rainforest
Time allowed with gorillas (excluding trekking time) 1 Hour 1 Hour 1 Hour

Home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of wildlife, the Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s flagship conservation area and a must-do for first-time and returning safari goers alike. Meaning “endless plains” in the Maasai language, the Serengeti National Park is arguably one of the finest national parks in Africa as well as one of the most celebrated wilderness areas in the world. While the Serengeti is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife, it is best known as the site of the annual Great Migration, when an estimated three million antelope – mostly wildebeest — migrate to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve.

The Masai Mara National Reserve and its neighboring conservancies form Kenya’s flagship conservation area and is one of the finest wildlife and safari destinations in Africa. The Masai Mara’s sprawling wide-open plains provide a sanctuary for its abundant wildlife to freely roam the vast Masai Mara wilderness and beyond. It is also the site of the iconic Great Migration in Africa – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration and Masai Mara Migration.