Gorillas In Africa

Gorillas in Africa

Gorillas in Africa

Gorillas in Africa : Gorillas are special animals as they behave like the humans and share more 97% of our genetic composition, gorillas are generally wiser, charismatic and benevolent and they are only native to Africa.

There are two main species of gorillas that is western gorilla and Eastern gorillas, the western gorillas are further divided into two sub species that is the Cross River gorilla and the western lowland gorilla. The Eastern gorillas are divided into Mountain gorillas and Eastern Lowland gorillas (Grauer’s gorillas).

The western lowland gorillas are the common gorillas with an overall population of over 250,000, it is believed by scientists that western gorillas were separated from eastern gorilla during the ice age. The cold conditions and ice caused rain forests to shrink into smaller forests separated by savanna, after the ice age, rain forest once again spread around the tropics. By this time the western and eastern gorillas had been apart for too long and had started following a different development path physically and genetically.

gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Despite a few differences, all gorilla species share some common features. They have broad chests/shoulders and larger forearms/arms, their eyes are close together, their face is hairless and the nostrils are prominent.

The Eastern gorillas are larger than the western gorillas and have darker and longer fur, an adult male gorilla can weigh up to 200 kilograms.

Gorillas are most vegetarian and feed mostly on bamboo shoots, tree stems/bark, fruits and rarely feed on termites. They live in relatively stable groups which are headed by a dominant silverback who determines where to feed and rest and keenly watches all his family members and protects his family from other silverback gorillas or attacks from humans.

Gorillas can live up to about 40 years old in the wild and 50 in captivity.

With a population of over 250,000, western lowland gorillas are the most numerous and widespread, because of their constant encounter with the humans, they face the greatest persecution.

The Eastern lowland gorillas are about 7,000 individuals in the world, mountain gorillas are classified endangered species and so far they have shown the greatest percentage increase in numbers but their overall population is one of the lowest at about 1,000. The Cross River gorillas in Nigeria and Cameroon are the lowest with about 250 individuals found in the wild.

For the last few decades, the overall population of gorillas has reduced and most of the species are now listed as critically endangered or threatened due to hunting, disease, war, animal trafficking and habitat loss due to mineral exploration and logging.

 Where to see gorillas in Africa

Gorillas live in the forests of East and Central Africa that is Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda.

Where to see gorillas in Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the greatest habitats for gorillas in the world hosting 30% of the remaining population of mountain gorillas, in Rwanda Mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park where the famous primatologist Dian Fossey established based in the 1960’s to study their behavior.

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park is a very popular activity with thousands of tourists visiting the park to meet the gorillas in their natural habitat, the park hosts a total of10 habituated mountain gorilla gorillas which are open for gorilla trekking.

Rwanda is a perfect destination for gorilla trekking with developed infrastructures and 99% of seeing the mountain gorillas.

Where to see gorillas in Uganda

Uganda is the best place to see mountain gorillas in the wild with half of the world’s overall population of mountain gorillas which are found in two national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Both of these parks are found in the south western region of Uganda, there is a total of 21 habituated gorilla families in Uganda open for gorilla trekking. 20 gorilla groups are found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and 1 gorilla family is found in Mgahinga gorilla national park.

Because of the high number of mountain gorillas in Uganda, it is the only country in the world offering gorilla habituation experience offering visitors 4 hours of being in the presence of the gorillas while observing them.

gorilla trekking in uganda

Chances of seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is very high (over 99%).

Where to see gorillas in Congo

Congo has 3 of the 4 sub species of gorillas found in Madiakoko Mountains, Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Mountain gorillas arefound in the Virunga National Park, Eastern lowland gorillas are found in Kahuzi Biega National Park and Western lowland gorillas are found in the Madiakoko Mountain found in the far western part of the country.

Because of the insecurity in DR.Congo, viewing gorillas is only possible in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega at the moment.

Chances of seeing Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga and Mountain gorillas in Virunga national park are very high.

 Seeing Wild gorillas in West Africa

In West Africa, gorillas are found and can be seen in Cameroon and Nigeria.


In Cameroon is one of the countries in West Africa hosting the western gorillas, the country is home to both Western lowland gorillas and the Cross River gorillas living at the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.

These gorillas are the regarded as the most critically endangered of all the gorilla subspecies, once it had been thought that they had become extinct until only recently. These gorillas have not been habituated so tourists cannot visit them.

The Cross River gorillas are in captivity at Limbe Wildlife Center which takes care of orphaned western lowland gorillas. the western lowland gorillas of Cameroon are found in the Campo – Ma’an National Park.

gorilla trekking in cameroon

These gorillas can be seen at the national park but the chances of seeing them is less than 70% and the best way to see them is visiting the Mefou National Park which hosts rescued orphaned lowland gorillas.


Nigeria is another country in Western Africa where mountain gorillas can be seen, the country hosts Cross River gorillas which are still wild “not habituated”and chances of seeing them are very slim.

Cross River gorillas have been known to be more aggressive towards humans, only conservationsists and researchers can visit them as there are less than 300 individuals remianing in the wild.

These gorillas are scaettered around an area of about 2,900 square miles including central regions of Cross River National Park, Mbe Mountain and Afi Mountain, because of this they are had to see.

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is one of the best places in the world to see the western lowland gorillas, The Wild Wildlife Fund (WWF) has set up a gorilla research and habituation programme that has so far succeeded in habituating one gorilla group at the Dzanga – Ndoki National Park.

There is high chances of spotting gorillas although taking good pitcures of them is a challenge as they leave in a very dense forest with little light reaching the ground.

gorilla trekking in central african republic

Republic of Congo or Congo Brazaville

The Republic of Congo is the best place to see the western lowland gorillas  and they are found in several areas including the Odzala National Park with two habituated gorilla groups that are open to tourism, the park hosts over 22,000 gorillas including wild and habituated gorillas.

The best way to see to spot these gorillas is by staying in hidden enclousers/hides as you wait for them to come out in open clearing.

Mbeli Bai is known for having open clearing where about 100 individuals have been studied by the Wildlife Conservation Society for over ten years.

Gorillas can also be found and observed in marshes and swamps in company of other animals like buffaloes, swamp antelopes  and elephants.

Another place to see gorillas in the Republic of Congo is the Lefini Reserve found in an island which allows guests to see the gorillas from the boat.


Gabon has over 12 national parks making it a great destionation for wildlife enthusiasts, unfortunately these gorillas are not open for gorilla trekking.

Most of the national parks in Gabon host the western lowland gorillas, Moukalaba – Doudou National Park has one of the largest population of gorillas in Africa, this park is known for its sheer density of primates.

In this park, tourists can go and track these gorillas deep into the jungle on foot.

There was a habituation programme for western lowland gorillas in Lopé National Park, however it ended without success and the only way to view these gorillas.

Loanga National Park is another great habituation for the western lowland gorillas, this unique national park hosts great diversity and spreads all the way to the Atlantic Ocean offering a combination of forest and marine life thus allowing tourists to spot dolphins, whales, hippos along the Ocean shores or go into the forest to see chimpanzees, forest elephants and gorillas.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is one of the last remaing stronghold of the western lowland gorillas found in the Monte Alen National Park though gorilla tourism is not yet well developed and there is no habituated gorilla group in a park with very dense forest.

There are a few trained locals now conducting daily treks with tourists through the forest and see the gorillas.


Angola is the another country to see the western lowland gorillas living in the northern part of the country in the Cabinda enclave near the River Congo.

Gorilla toursim is not well organised and chances of seeing these gorillas is low.

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