Where to Encounter Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
Where to Encounter Mountain Gorillas in Uganda: In Uganda travelers can encounter mountain gorillas in two conservation national parks, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park both located in the southwestern region of Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable national park is a premium park and hosts the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world lies is Kanungu district and Mgahinga national park is located in Kisoro district of which these two are closely located, approximately 9 to 10 hours’ drive from the south of Kampala to access the main destination.
In the world, there are different types of gorillas that attracts millions of visitors to visit such destinations. However, Uganda is gifted with mountain gorillas of the Eastern gorilla type and are endangered species by IUNC. Other places to see mountain gorillas is in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here comes the environmental scientist who has recently proved that the number for mountain gorillas have increased to over 1065 than in those passed year ago. The number is increasing year by year. Surprisingly, Bwindi Impenetrable national park hosts half remaining mountain gorillas in the world and offering over 21 habituated gorilla families of which two groups are separated for Gorilla habituation experience that takes four hours while viewing these species and one hour for gorilla trekking. Bwindi gorilla families include Mukiza, Oruzogo, Bitukura and Kyaguliro found in Ruhija region, Habinyanja, Katwe, Mubare, Rushegura found in Buhoma region, Christmas, Nkuringo, Bushaho are found Nkuringo region and lastly Rushaga region include Kutu, Bikingi, Rwigi, Bweza, Nshongi, Mucunguzi, Busingye among others. Mgahinga has Nyakagezi group.
Mgahinga Gorilla national park is another Uganda gorilla safari destination with only one habituated gorilla group comprised of 9 members headed by silverback. But this group keeps on migrating to Congo and Rwanda borders since the park is neighboring the Virunga mountain thus making it a difficult gorilla group to trek.
Generally, each gorilla group is led by dominant silverback that protects their territories stipulated with female gorillas, offspring’s, Juveniles and infants.
Uganda mountain gorilla trekking can be done in one of the four sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable national park such as Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Nkuringo sector and Rushanga sector. With a maximum number of 8 people per group aged 15 years and above.
One to be able to engage in gorilla trekking must hold a gorilla permit which is advised to be booked in advance to avoid last minute disappointments. And always book your gorilla permits with trusted tour agent who has a registered tour company. Note that, gorilla permits are sold at UWA Uganda wildlife Authority Offices at fees USD 700 per person per day for gorilla trekking experience one hour is given to watch mountain gorillas and Gorilla habituation experience costs USD1500 is a full day activity given four hours to spend with these great mountain gorillas. East African citizen pay UGX 250,000, Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs USD 1,500 and Congo gorilla trekking permit costs USD400 per person per day. For more information, you can contact us Achieve Global Safaris for the help.
What to expect on a Gorilla Safari?
On the day of your trek, expect to wake up early enough leave your comfortable bed have breakfast, and then go for briefing point by 7: 30am.After briefing meet the park ranger who will allocate you to a group of gorilla you’re met to trek on that particular day in a group of 8 people. Head to the forest accompanied by the guides as you begin to search for gorillas. And as your trekking you will be able to see monkey species, mammals, beautiful butterfly many more. But sometimes the forest trails can be challenging and a good body fitness will be required and expect to be muddy and sweaty.
Once gorillas are seen one hour will be given to you take photos with your camera but flash disc are not allowed. It will be such a life changing experience and after trekking back to your lodge or opt to do cultural encounter visiting the Batwa people.
You can choose to do Gorilla habituation experience here gorillas are under training for 1 to 2 years as process of training these wild gorillas to get used to human presence. Along this activity you will be accompanied by the researchers and park rangers in a group of four visitors which makes it a special activity at a fees of USD 1,500.
Best Time to See Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
Gorilla trekking can be done throughout the year in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. But the best time to go for gorilla trekking is during the months of June to September and December to March. During this time of the year there are less rains and the park trails are drier thus making it easy to hike and see the gorillas. In Bwindi the average temperature throughout the year is 11 degrees Celsius in the morning and 23 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.
Where to Stay
Choosing the best safari accommodation on your visit to Bwindi Impenetrable national park will depend on how much you can afford, ranging from luxury –Midrange and Budget. Some of the lodges where you can make your choice include; Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Cultural Lodge, Sabinyo Guest House, Virunga Campsite & Backpackers among others,
What to carry with you on your Gorilla Tours?
They include; Day pack, Waterproof hiking boots, insect repellents, Light weight rain jacket, poncho, pair of binoculars, Camera, enough mineral water bottle, Hiking boots, hand gloves, long trouser and shirts as well as energy snacks.
Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations/Covid SOP
Mountain gorillas shares 98% of human genes, so it’s very easy for these apes to get corona virus as well as cough and flue and other airborne disease making Covid 19 a threat to the survival of the gorillas. Has listed below;
- Sanitize and observe other SOP guidelines
- Avoid sneezing
- Social distance at least 2 meters away to the other.
- Putting on masks is important
- Keep a distance of 7 meters away from the gorillas
- Do not leave your rubbish in the park go back with them
- Do not eat or drink in the park
- Be a good listener to the guide
If you what long haul tell the guide to make you hole of 30 meter with a panga after feed it with the dust.