More than half the world's remaining mountain gorilla families are in Uganda, concentrated in two parks, Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest and the Virunga Mountains, which shares a border with Rwanda. The mountains also spill into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most visitors go to Uganda or Rwanda.

In all areas, gorilla trekking permits are limited and date-specific. They must be arranged in advance. Uganda permits cost $600 per person per day; they also offer some low-season discounts. Rwanda recently raised its permit fee to $1,500 per person per day. The DRC charges the least, $450.

My trip to Bwindi National Forest was arranged by a London-based firm, Africa Travel Resource (

I stayed at Mahogany Springs Lodge. Lodge rates in low season (March-May, October-November) start at $240 per person per night, double occupancy, and include three meals, water in the rooms and wine or beer with dinner. High season (December-February, June-September) rates start at $287 per person (

Jane Wooldridge