Where can I Watch Gorillas in Africa?
Where can I Watch Gorillas in Africa? Gorilla encounter is worth wildlife experience whether they’re mountain gorillas, Western lowland gorillas or the rare Grauer’s gorilla all makes it ultimate. The sheer majesty of the silverbacks who heads the group of gorillas, the playfulness of the toddlers and the tenderness of their mothers are more attractive. However, this is a commonly asked question to most of travelers who would wish to plan their gorilla trekking safari, that where can I watch gorillas in Africa/where are the best places to watch gorillas in Africa?
Most assuredly, people prefer to trek mountain gorillas but they keep on asking themselves which country offers the best mountain gorilla safari. Mountain gorillas can be found in only three countries Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo ‘’DRC’’. Surprisingly! their numbers are increasing and the latest census confirmed that there now over 1065 compared to 250 when conservation efforts first began some 50 years back.
Then the western lowland gorillas are more than 100,000 that live in the lush rainforests of west and central Africa. They are critically endangered, fewer groups are habituated for trekking because of their unreachable homelands.
One to choose the best gorilla safari it requires you to depend on your budget or wallet and your sense of adventure. Below is the list of the best places where you can watch gorillas on your visit in Africa, choices to make;
In Uganda travelers can do mountain gorilla safari in premium Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park renowned for harboring half remaining mountain gorillas in the world with more than 600 individuals, composed with 21 habituated gorilla families. Also Mgahinga Gorilla National Park one of the best place to see mountain gorillas that sits within the Virunga Massif neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Mgahinga national park offers only one habituated gorilla group which sometimes wonders over this two borders ‘’Congo and Rwanda’ ’Uganda is truly a gifted country that why it’s is called the pearl of Africa and also being one of best places to see mountain gorillas.
Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park has excellent rangers and trekkers as well as local communities who benefits from the fees. Though hiking can be tough but there’s a reason why it’s called Impenetrable. You need to be physically fit in the body without any sickness in you in order to manage the tough hike but those who cannot ascend for long hikes there some groups easier to reach without putting in much energy. Always assure to carry enough water, good hiking shoes and warm clothes because the climate is unpredictable rain can fall any time of the day. Gorilla trekking permits cost USD 700 per person per day, along gorilla trekking takes 2 to 8 hours while trekking depending on their location and movements but one hour is the time given to spend with these gentle giants in their nature habits.
Bwindi also has Gorilla Habituation experience where you can spend long hours with these creatures ‘’a semi habituated group’ ’up to four hours while studying about them, enjoy their interesting social life, take photos and capturing videos for your future remembrance. They are less predictable and intimate glimpse into how gorillas gradually get in touch or used to human presence. Gorilla habituation experience is at USD 1500 per person per day, the same price as 1 hour with Rwanda’s gorillas trekking.
Gorilla trekking experience is done in a group of 8 people with average minimum age of 15 years while Gorilla habituation can be done in a group of four people accompanied by researchers, guides, journalists and Doctors.
The best time to visit gorillas starts June to October and December to March when the roads are passable and forest trails are out of water source.
Rwanda’s gorillas can be watched in Volcanoes National Park found in Virunga mountains spanning the borders of Congo and Uganda. The park is home to over 550 mountain gorillas. Volcanoes National Park offers ten gorilla groups available for trekking, including the Susa family which lives high up on Mount Karisimbi and was studied by prominent Primatologist Dian Fossey. Other groups of gorilla’s roam at lower level down the slopes and are easier to trek although being wild but constantly moving.
The Rwanda’s gorilla trekking permits are bit expensive compared to the rest of places where to see gorillas, permit cost USD 1,500 per person per day. The park also has classic accommodation comprised of super-luxury. Rwanda’s gorilla trekking offers great experience in life time but very expensive.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo as a country harbors with both lowland and mountain gorillas compared with Uganda and Rwanda. But the country is the least visited, most adventurous and cheapest of the Virunga Mountains, with permits costing USD400. Virunga national park has four habituated gorilla families already to trek. This park was once closed because of kidnapping the British tourist which sounded has bad news but later it was reopened in February 2019 with assurances of being safer than before.
The Eastern lowland species of gorillas ‘’Grauer’’ are only seen in Democratic Republic of Congo and these are the biggest species and are believed to have a number of about 5,000. The best place to see this impressive species is in Kahuzi –Biega National Park home to over 300 individuals, providing with remarkable lakeside town of Bukavu offering good accommodations at colonial mansions.
Democratic Republic of Congo is a vaporous country, so keep an eye on the security it matters a lot. We recommend you to see gorillas in Congo on an organized trip.
Travelers do not be confused visiting Congo Brazzaville and its neighbor Democratic Republic of Congo ‘’DRC’’ .Congo Brazzaville is one of the best places to watch western lowland gorillas .The Odzala-Kokoua National Park its where you can watch these western lowland gorillas which lies in Congo’s northwest with two habituated gorilla groups to be trekked in tropical rainforest .And because of its remoteness it’s not cheap destination has you could thought .But it has a complete experience with groups of only four people ,with also rustic luxury accommodation combined with some tough trekking .Visiting one of the group is quite rewarding of seeing charismatic silverback. They can also be seen in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park around Mbeli Bai at a camp often visited by a resident silverback.
Central African Republic
The central Africa Republic is another country that has habituated western lowland gorillas but it’s not for the fainthearted, which can be encountered in Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve and Sangha Trinational Reserve a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve is home to the world’s highest concentration of western lowland gorillas and forest elephants. Sangha Lodge is a recommend place of stay to watch this species. Vising this reserve you will be highly rewarded.