Gorilla Watching in Uganda

Most times regarded as Gorilla Trekking; it is one of the breathtaking activities one can enjoy while on a safari in the Pearl of Africa. Uganda is gifted by nature; with the deep lakes, spectacular greenery, exclusive cultures, soaring mountains and above all half of the world’s reaming gorilla population which live in the mountains in the southwestern part of the country. It is not a mystery but reality, it is possible to watch these endangered giants and even get closer to them than you have ever imagined!

Where to find Gorillas in Uganda

Though these mountain Gorillas can also be found in the Virunga Massif in Rwanda and DR Congo, the biggest percentage of the remaining population (about 60%) is found in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. therefore Bwindi is a guaranteed area to trek gorilla or even do habituation.

Bwindi is divided into four regions where trekking is carried out; Ruhijja region, Buhoma region, Nkuringo region, and Rushaga region. Among these, Buhoma is the famous area for most trekkers and it also has 4 habituated Gorilla groups

There is also another small National Park called Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; it also harbors these mighty giants and they can be trekked in a secure and habituated area known as Nyakagezi.

What To Expect On A Gorilla Trek

You should note that gorilla trekking begins at a certain meeting point. Some start at from the park headquarters of the different regions where they will trek fro while others have to drive to the starting point in the forest. When you reach at the headquarters you are briefed about the trek and later you can start off the trek, ensure you follow your guide, also you are escorted by around 2 armed rangers. Each group that treks consists only 8 members.

The trek

How long the trek takes in most cases is based on the location of these creatures, to some it takes about 2 hours to meet them others even 5 or 6 hours. But no matter how many hours you take, after meeting these close relatives you are overwhelmed and all the hustle you went through is forgotten there and then.

Trekking starts in the morning therefore ensure you are at the headquarters for briefing by 7:30am. The hike is mildly difficult and in most cases more difficult during the wet season therefore you are required to be in good physical shape and health because trekking doesn’t require any experience.

There are no worries of you will carry our luggage, you can hire some localporters whom you pay some money to assists in the carrying, it is about $15 or $20 per day plus a tip. They come from within the park and surrounding areas.

Interact with the Gentle Giants

Upon meeting with the gorillas, you will have one hour with them; observing, taking photos, videos and also asking as many questions as you want. Ensure that you camera doesn’t have a flash, also don’t eat or drink while with the gorillas.

Mountain Gorillas are primates and share approximately 98% DNA with the human beings, therefore it is possible for them to contract diseases from people hence you stand about seven metres away from them. The truth is during this hour while with the gorillas is rewarding since you enjoy watching the silverback, the female black backs, the young playful gorillas among others.

Best Time To Trek Gorillas In Uganda

Gorilla trekking is be done all year round and the trekking permits are issued every day. However, most trekkers love trekking during the dry season; between January andFebruary and from May to September. During this time there is less expectation of rains. In case one travels during the rains, they can still trek but the paths are slippery and the hike becomes a little more tiresome.

The gorilla permit costs $600 per person, this is accounted for the trek per day. If one is interested in Gorilla habituation where they can have more time with the gorillas, the permit costs $1500.

What to wear for the trek

Pair of Trousers (Water resistant hiking trousers during rainy season), Strong hiking shoes, Long-sleeved T-shirt, a rain coat or jacket.Also ensure that you carry certain items with you like drinking water, snacks, a camera, among other things as advised.

Please note that; there is no need to worry of where to spend the night after the trek since there are various comfortable accommodation facilities located in different regions, so you book your accommodation basing on where you are trekking gorillas from.

In conclusion, gorilla trekking is a lifetime experience which grants you an opportunity to engage with the endangered mountain gorillas. If you are planning to travel in the peak season, endeavor to make your bookings early enough both for the gorilla permits and accommodation. The trekking permits are bought and issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority whose head offices are located in Kampala. Make your booking with us today and live to see your dream come true!

3 Days Gorilla tour Uganda

This 3 Days Gorilla tour Uganda is an unforgettable safari that will take you to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for Gorilla Tracking. This park is has the a forests which have existed for over 25,000 years hence one of world’s oldest, covering an area of 321sqkm, it is home to 12 habituated Gorilla groups. Bwindi also harbors other primates like the black and white colobus, the red-tailed monkeys baboons, chimpanzee among others plus over 54 reptiles, 120 mammals, 163 tree species, 400 plant species, 27 frog species, 202 butterfly species, around 1000 species of flowering plants and over 347 bird species, geckos, chameleons, and many more.

Gorilla trekking can take as less as 2hours or more about 8hours. It is worth having a long trek for, because in the end you are fed by amazing sightings of the mighty creatures.

Safari Highlights

Day 1: Kampala-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (approx 9hours drive)

Day 2: Trek Gorillas and Cultural encounter-Bwindi Forest

Day 3: Return to Kampala

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Kampala-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (approx 9hours drive)

Pick up from your lodge by your driver guide and transfer to Bwindi for Gorilla trekking. You will have a stopover at the Equator where you will take photos and also buy some souvenirs and crafts. Have lunch on your way in Mbarara town and proceed with the journey where by you will arrive in Bwindi in the evening.

Have dinner, relax and sleep at the accommodation of your choice.

Accommodation options;Mahogany Springs/Buhoma lodge(Luxury), Silverback Lodge/Gorilla Mist Camp (Midrange), Rushaga Gorilla Camp/Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Basic)

Day 2: Trek Gorillas and Cultural encounter-Bwindi Forest

After a delicious early breakfast, leave your lodge and drive to the headquarters of the park for an orientation concerning the trek, after which you will be divided into groups of 8 individuals per group.

Later enter into this thrilling montane forest to look for these gentle giants, you will take 2-8hours before seeing them, as you trek you will spot mammals, birds and other primates. You will climb up the slopes of the mountains hence you are required to be in good shape. What will take your breath is watching the gorillas in their families, the young ones, the females, the juveniles and the Silverback.

You will spend an1 hour with the gorillas after which you will descend back to meet your guide.If you still have enough time you can visit the Batwa communities for a cultural experience which involves music, traditional dance among others. Later return back and drive to your lodge for dinner

Day 3: Return to Kampala

Enjoy your breakfast, checkout of the lodge and drive back to Kampala with a stop in Mbarara for lunch, also visit the Igongo cultural Centerwith a stopover around the Equator and proceed to Kampala or Entebbe arriving late afternoon.

Please note that gorillas cannot be found in zoos, so this is a great opportunity for you to watch them in their natural habitat. Also the accommodation facility you choose should be located in the same area as where you will be trekking gorillas from.

End of 3 Days Gorilla Tour Uganda

source: aboutuganda.com