Gorilla Tracking In Uganda And Rwanda

Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda

Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda

Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda : Gorilla trekking is a remarkable and thrilling safari activity offering you an encounter with the endangered mountain gorilla in their natural habitat.

Uganda and Rwanda are the best gorilla trekking destinations in the world, these two countries host the largest population of mountain gorillas and they have the three best mountain gorilla trekking destinations in the world.

Mountain gorillas are one of the most amazing wildlife creatures in the world only found in the high altitude forests of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. There are only over 1000 mountain gorillas in existence in the whole world and they are found in 2 populations, one population which is the biggest population is found in Bwindi impenetrable national park anBd the second population is found in Virunga Conservation Area made up of Virunga national park in DR.Congo, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla national park.

 Gorilla tracking in Uganda

Uganda has two gorilla parks namely Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both found in the South – west of the country and from Kampala city it is a full day’s drive, although there are scheduled and chartered flights of 1 hour to the region’s airstrips namely Kihihi airstrip and Kisoro airstrip.

Uganda hosts the largest population of mountain gorillas with over 21 habituated gorilla families living in Bwindi and Mgahinga.

ugadna and Rwanda gorilla trekking

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best gorilla trekking destination in the world as it hosts half of the world’s gorilla population and it is the biggest population to be found in one park,

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park protects enthralling biodiversity in its size of 331 square kilometers, the park is divided into four trailheads including Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo where gorilla trekking is done. Each of these sectors host its habituated gorilla families open for visitors on gorilla trekking experience.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has a total of 21 habituated gorillas spread across the 4 sectors/trails and these 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 sits high in the clouds at an altitude of between 2,227 m and 4,127 m, the park covering an area of 33.9 square kilometers stretches over the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga volcanos of Mount Muhabura, Mgahinga and Sabyinyo.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park hosts one habituated gorilla family by names of Nyakagezi gorilla family led by Mark – the dominant silverback. This previously used to travel to Rwanda and Congo but for the past years decided to settle in Uganda, Nyakagezi gorilla family has 9 individuals including 1 silverback.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Rwanda has one gorilla park/destination that is Volcanoes national park which was made famous by researcher Dian Fossey, volcanoes national park is located in northwestern Rwanda covering 160 square kilometers of rainforest and encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains chain namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo.

Volcanoes national park is considered one of the best gorilla destinations in the world as it hosts a total of about 380 mountain gorillas and 10 habituated gorilla groups namely

  • Susa Gorilla Group (Susa A Family)
  • Karisimbi Gorilla Group (Susa-B)
  • Sabyinyo Gorilla Group
  • Amahoro Gorilla Group
  • Umubano Gorilla Group
  • Agashya Gorilla Group
  • Kwitonda Gorilla Group
  • Hirwa Gorilla Group
  • Bwenge Family Group
  • Ugenda Gorilla Family

Gorilla Trekking Experience

In Uganda and Rwanda only one gorilla group is visited per trek by a group of 8 people, on the day of gorilla trekking, you will have early breakfast and head to head to park’s headquarters for briefing about the gorilla rules and regulations to observe, be assigned a gorilla group to trek and in groups of 8 people you will head into forests looking for mountain gorillas.

With local guides, armed rangers and porters that can be hired to carry your day pack, you will hike through the jungle looking for mountain gorillas which takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the gorilla family you are trekking and where they spent the previous night.

When you locate the gorillas, you will spend one hour in their presence while observing their behavior as they go on with their daily lives, you are allowed to take pictures and videos of them. After one hour, you will trek back to the park’s headquarters where you will be rewarded by a gorilla trekking permit marking the ending of the experience.

Best time to see the gorillas

Gorilla trekking is available all year- round, though the conditions are more pleasant from June to March and then from late May to September which is a dry season and is considered to be the best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.

Uganda and Rwanda experiences two main rainy seasons each year, usually April/May and mid-October to mid – December. However it can rain at any time of the time in these gorilla regions as they are of equatorial rainforest. During the wet season, gorillas move to the lower slopes most especially in the Virunga volcanoes where they feed on the fresh bamboo shoots.

What to pack and wear for gorilla trekking

To enjoy gorilla trekking, you need to have the right items and these include

  • Long trousers and long sleeve shirts
  • Rain gear
  • Comfortable hiking boots more preferably waterproof shoes
  • Gaiters/ spats
  • Day pack to carry any valuables, camera, waterproof clotes
  • Water bottles
  • Leather gardening or similar gloves to wear
  • Walking

Cost for gorilla permit in Uganda and Rwanda

A gorilla permit in Uganda costs US$ 700 for Non – Foreign residents, US$ 600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African residents.

A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs US$ 1,500.

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