Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi Forest National Park

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National park

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National park

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest National park : Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular gorilla destination in Uganda as well the world hosting 18 habituated gorilla families roaming in its thick forests.

Uganda as a country hosts half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population found in two different protected (national parks) that are Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home to the second population of mountain gorillas and is the biggest population of mountain gorillas in the world. Bwindi national park is located in Southwestern Uganda along the rim of the Great Rift Valley, the park protects a range of biodiversity including the thick forest canopy and mountain gorillas and it is this reason that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to the recent census, there are over 600 mountain gorillas in the thick forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park, their number has steadily increased thanks to conservation efforts financed by gorilla trekking as a tourism activity.

uganda gorilla trekking

Bwindi impenetrable national park hosts a huge population of mountain gorillas including habituated and wild gorillas, there is a total of 18 habituated gorilla families. These gorillas where taken through habituation process of about 2-3 years which go them used to human presence.

Bwindi impenetrable National park is divided into 4 gorilla sectors/ trail heads that is Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo Sectors. Each of these sectors hosts its mountain gorilla family.

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
  • Kyaguriro Gorilla Family
  • Mukiza Gorilla Family

Nkuringo sector

  • Nkuringo Gorilla Family
  • Bushasho 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

Gorilla Trekking Experience

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park is done throughout the year, however the best time to visit gorillas in Bwindi is during the dry season experienced in the months of December to February and June to August.

Gorilla trekking is the popular and main activity to do in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, regardless of the gorilla sector you are visiting to do gorilla trekking. The experience starts as early as 7:30 am with briefing at the park’s headquarters of the particular sector, you join other trekkers and a senior ranger takes you through the rules and regulations to follow while in the forests of Bwindi and when you meet the gorillas.

bwindi gorilla trekking

As the briefing goes on, you will be entertained by local dances and songs performed by the local people “ride of women”, you will then be grouped into 8 people. Each group tracks a different group which will be assigned to you, each group is also assigned trained and experienced guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority, two armed rangers and porters for trekkers who need assistance with their bag packers.  With your packed lunch you hike into the thick jungle of Bwindi looking for a gorilla family assigned to you, during the trek through the forest your guide will share information about gorilla family and other animals encountered in the forest.

You will hike through thick-triffid like tangles of vegetation, up muddy hills and down into craggy valleys, the high altitude and testing terrain makes the journey tiresome but the rewards are more magical.

The time taken tracking gorillas depends on the gorilla family assigned to you and where it spent the previous night, normally the trek takes from 30 minutes – 6 hours to locate the mountain gorillas. A group of trekkers normally go ahead of the group to identify the location of the gorilla family, they then inform the lead Guide by radio call of the exact location of the gorilla family. These advance trackers know where the gorilla built their last sleeping nest and will head to that direction, there is no guarantee of seeing the gorillas but the chances of spotting the gorillas is over 98%.

Once you spot the family, you will be allowed only one hour with them while watching them as they go on with their day. Watching the mountain gorillas can be extremely emotional as mountain gorillas behave like humans and share about 98 percent of our DNA. You have enough time to observe their behavior and different personalities while taking some great photos for your memories.

Note: When taking pictures, you are advised to shut of the flashlight as it irritates the gorillas, also follow the rules and regulations as passed to you by the ranger such as do not make unnecessary movements while in the presence of the gorillas, do not look then straight in the eyes as it is a sign of a challenge.

After one hour, you will trek back to the park’s headquarters where you will be rewarded with gorilla trekking permits, meet your guide and head back to your lodge or go to the local community for an insight in their local way of life.

When to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi?

Gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park can be tracked year – round although the rainy season makes the treks more challenging, Uganda experiences two rainy seasons, one from March to May and another from October to November. The best time to time to go for gorilla trekking during dry season in the months of December to February and June to August.

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