Mountain are a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla - there are two recognised species of gorilla, each of these with 2 subspecies:
Western lowland gorilla
Cross River gorilla
Eastern lowland gorilla
Similar to a human fingerprint, mountain gorillas can be identified by their completely unique nose print. They have large jaws and teeth and long black hair that is often thicker and longer than the other species so they can survive in the colder, mountainous temperatures. Adult males can weigh up to 200kg and be up to 6ft tall, females can be half the size with an average weight of 100kgs and height of 4 foot 11 inches when standing upright.
Predominantly ground dwelling, mountain gorillas prefer open canopy forests that allow light to reach the forest floor; their diet consists of bamboo, roots, stems, leaves and vines. Female gorillas actively choose their breeding partners as the male protection is essential to a successful reproductive cycle. Male partners are usually the older, stronger and more experienced silverbacks. Communication varies between barks, screeches, pant grunts and chest beating. Movement is usually on all fours via "knuckle walking". Group size varies from 2-30 individuals but a common average is 9. Mountain gorillas have a fairly limited home range, making them easier to track and habituate for tourism and research possibilities.
Only present in moist tropical or subtropical forests in the Virunga Mountains along the borders of South West Uganda, North West Rwanda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Level of Protection
Critically Endangered. Recent efforts have seen the population increase from 650 to 790 mountain gorillas. Habitat is under constant threat from logging and civil unrest in DRC. Poaching is also still a threat.
Best Time to visit
It is possible to trek the mountain gorillas throughout the year, however there are wet seasons between March to April and October to November. Wetter conditions can mean that the trekking conditions are a bit more difficult and the gorillas sometimes hide a bit more to shelter from the rain. Please bear in mind that trekking in the rainforest does mean that you can get wet no matter what time of the year your travel!
We offer a range of safari options for tracking the mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. We are happy to design you a bespoke safari, or you can join a small group safari – great for solo travellers or those who wish to travel with like-minded people. Get in touch with us for more details, or your tailor-made safari.
Speak to one of our consultants now:
Call from UK +44(0)1273 691 642
Toll Free from US 1866 357 6569
Call from Australia 1800 66 8890
Contact Us via the Contact Form: