5 Facts About Mountain Gorillas

Scientifically known as gorilla beringei beringei, Mountain gorillas are one of the largest living mammals on earth. They are large, powerful and energetic yet so gentle, charismatic and shy. These human-like primate species are the most interesting since they behave like real human beings with about 97% of the human genetic code.

They are subspecies of the eastern gorilla and as their name goes, mountain gorillas survive in forests that are high in the mountains at an elevation of 8,000 to 13,000 feet.

Mountain gorillas are characterized by thick fur that enables them to survive in very cold conditions. About 1063 mountain gorillas are remaining in the wild globally. Almost half of these are sheltered in the great Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in the south western part of Uganda. The rest and a bit more than half of them survive in Virunga mountains which span the only three hosts of mountain gorillas in the whole world which are Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.


There are only three countries where the only remaining surviving endangered mountain gorillas call home. These countries are the popular gorilla trekking destinations globally and they include Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Both domestic and international tourists visit these countries from all parts of the world to have a lifetime experience with the endangered mountain gorillas.

In Rwanda, there are about 30% of the remaining mountain gorillas all found in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda’s popular tourism destination. The chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park stand high about 95% due to its convenience and great efforts put up by the Rwanda Development Board.

Besides Rwanda being one of the safest places to visit, there is also improved infrastructure to the standard level and therefore visitors can anticipate the best out of Rwanda gorilla trekking safari. There are about 10 habituated gorilla families to choose from in Rwanda.

While in Uganda, the pearl of Africa is one of the best places to see mountain gorillas in the whole world. There are only two gorilla trekking destinations in the country including the largest host of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park located in the southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro District. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park alone shelters almost half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world and allows its visitors to track and choose from 21 habituated gorilla families.

Mgahinga National Park on the other hand shelters only one habituated gorilla family known as “Nyakagezi gorilla family”. Uganda is endowed in an exceptional way that some mountain gorillas in the country haven’t been habituated since they are large in numbers.

The chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda stand at 99% and the country is the only one that offers gorilla habituation experience to its trekkers. This is where trekkers get to spend some quality time with the mountain gorillas as they are being trained to tolerate human presence.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s case is somewhat different as the country not only is endowed with mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park but also their species known as the Eastern lowland gorillas in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.  


Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates on earth as the male dominant silverback weighs about 390 pounds while adult female gorillas weigh about 250 pounds.

Mountain gorillas are smart, intelligent and charismatic as they also have the same emotions as humans. They can communicate with human beings through the use of sign language.


Trekking mountain gorillas involves getting through thick and hilly areas in search of these primate species. The trekking activity starts in the morning with a briefing by park rangers and guides alongside grouping trekkers in a group of eight each allocated to one particular gorilla family for trekking. Once the tracked gorillas are located, trekkers are limited to only an hour of spending with them.


The cost of trekking mountain gorillas largely differs in the three countries that host these primate species. With efforts to boost the luxury type of tourism in Rwanda, the country has been aggressive in achieving its goals as far as the tourism sector is concerned and has since registered success with infrastructure.

Rwanda has the most expensive gorilla trekking permits among all three at 1,500 USD while Uganda moderately charges about 700 USD for its gorilla trekking permits. In Congo, gorilla trekking permits are sold at 400 USD.

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