Best Place For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

Best place for gorilla trekking in Uganda

Best place for gorilla trekking in Uganda

Best place for gorilla trekking in Uganda : Gorilla trekking is a once – in – a lifetime journey on which you will see the incredible mountain gorillas – one of the fascinating primates in Africa.

Uganda has been recognized as the best place to do gorilla trekking in the world and this fascinating wildlife encounter is done in two national parks that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park found in the Southern region of the country.

History of gorilla trekking

Mountain gorillas are listed as endangered animals and they are the most successful conservation story in the world, thanks to gorilla tourism which was introduced in 1973 due to the undying efforts of Louis Leakey and Dian Fossey’s research in the 80s that brought the mountain gorillas to the natural world’s attention.

In 1980s, environmentalists estimated the mountain gorilla population had dwindled to 240 individuals due to habitat loss, poaching, diseases and other threats that had exacted a costly toll on the mountain gorillas. Due to the government’s interest to protect the gorillas, intense research efforts and funds from gorilla tourism. The mountain gorilla population has grown to more than 1,060 individuals in two decades.

Because of the increasing population of the gorillas, the IUCN has downlisted them from critically endangered to endangered which is a beautiful story to be celebrated by environmentalists.

What is gorilla trekking?

Gorilla trekking is a guided hike into the rainforest jungles of central Africa (Virunga – Bwindi highlands) through tall, tangled scrubs and ancient trees with a machete, heavy boots and thick trousers to meet mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

bwindi  gorilla treking

Since mountain gorillas are endangered apes, they cannot survive in captivity. Tourists can only see them through trekking into their natural habitats. The terrain is rugged, steep and the jungles are misty and thick reaching 14,763 feet above sea level.

Where can I see mountain gorillas in Uganda

There are two gorilla trekking destinations where you can see mountain gorillas in Uganda that are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These two parks offer gorilla trekking excursions at five trailheads that are Nkuringo, Rushaga, Buhoma and Ruhija in Bwindi and Ntebeko in Mgahinga which are all under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best destination in Uganda to see mountain gorillas as it hosts half of the world’s total population, the park spans 131 square kilometers of prehistoric, montane and lowland forest.

Bwindi forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its incredible biodiversity and many endangered species calling the jungle home including mountain gorillas.

Bwindi forest national park gorillas

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in Southwest Uganda’s mountainous region on the border with DRC in the west and about 100 kilometers from the border with Rwanda in the south, the park stretches on the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley.

Bwindi impenetrable National Park is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas with about 600 individuals living in stable groups. There are 20 habituated mountain gorilla families in Bwindi which are encountered on gorilla trekking adventure, on a daily 160 gorilla trekking permits are available daily.

Bwindi impenetrable national park has 4 gorilla trekking trail heads that are Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo.

Habituated gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park include

Buhoma Sector

  • Mubare Gorilla Family
  • Habinyanja Gorilla Family
  • Rushegura Gorilla Family
  • Katwe Gorilla Family
  • Muyambi Gorilla Family

Ruhija Sector

  • Bitukura Gorilla Family
  • Oruzogo Gorilla Family
  • Kyaguliro Gorilla Family
  • Mukiza Gorilla Family

Nkuringo Sector

  • Nkuringo Gorilla Family
  • Bushaho Gorilla Family

Rushaga Sector

  • Nshongi Gorilla Family
  • Bikingi Gorilla Family
  • Mishaya Gorilla Family
  • Kahungye Gorilla Family
  • Bweza Gorilla Family
  • Busingye Gorilla Family
  • Kutu Gorilla Family
  • Mucunguzi gorilla Family

Rwigi Gorilla Family

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the second gorilla park in Uganda, the park covers an area of 13 square miles forming an extensive Virunga habitat stretching 168 square miles into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo “Virunga Conservation Area”. The park includes three of the eight Virunga volcanoes – Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one gorilla family in the names of Nyakagezi which is open for gorilla trekking.

On a daily, there is a total of 8 mountain gorilla trekking permit available.

Gorilla Trekking Experience

Gorilla trekking experience in Uganda Bwindi and Mgahinga parks starts as early as 08:00 am with briefing at the park’s headquarters about the rules and regulations to follow while in the forest and in the presence of mountain gorillas.

In group of 8 people, you are assigned one of the habituated gorilla families and head to the starting point and with packed lunch, you enter into the jungle looking for mountain gorillas together with armed guides and rangers.

The trek normally takes about 30 minutes – 6 hours depending on where the gorilla family you are trekking is situated and where they spent the previous night. When you locate the gorillas, you will spend one hour in the presence of gorillas in their natural habitat watching them play with each other, pick leaves and fruits for food and silverbacks protecting their families. After then you will head back to the park’s headquarters to collect your gorilla trekking certificates.

Remember flash photography is not allowed.

 Best time for gorilla trekking?

The best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda is during the dry season which coincides with the peak tourism season, dry season periods in Uganda is December to February and June to October. In these periods there is less rain which makes the trails less slippery and relatively dry which makes it easy to hike through natural forests and rolling hills to find a gorilla family.

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