Gorilla trekking in Uganda is famously renowned as the climax of all tourist activities in Uganda. At any time of the year, gorilla trekking is possible in the pearl of Africa.
Uganda is a natural habitat for over 400 mountain gorillas. The pearl of Africa has harbored over 12 different families of these primates in its dense rainforests.
Uganda still remains the prime destinatons where you can spot mountain gorillas as the country has the highest population density that any other place. These gentle massive creatures inhabit high terrains in the montane and bamboo forests between 1500 meters to as high as 4000 meters above sea level, sparsely surrounded by agriculture and local communities.
Where to see Gorillas in Uganda
Uganda is home to over 400 mountain gorillas clustered in over 12 families. Tracking these gentle giants is an adventure like no other, though only one family can be trailed by 8 people each day – a reason as to why its important to book your trip months prior to your trip so that you don’t miss out on seeing man’s closest relative.
Gorilla trekking is practicable in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. These parks that are situated within the Virunga Conservation area are the renowned destinations for gorilla tracking in the pearl of Africa.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the most public acknowledgement credit for gorilla trekking. This park is seated on over 120 square miles of montane and dense bamboo forests in Kanungu district, south western Uganda.
The park independently harbors over 10 distinctive families of the mountain gorillas in its nature habitation, i.e. Rushegura, Katwe, Bitukura, Oruzogo and many more. Recent census tolled over 300 mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park with 11 silverbacks. The park offers this exhilarating experience in a single itinerary, commenced depending on travelers’ tastes and preferences. This further beautifies the adventure.
There 4 sectors in Bwindi that you can visit if you plan on doing gorilla trekking and these include; Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo. Each sector has a unique gorilla families that are found there and you can as always select a sector depending on the lodge you plan to stay at while in Bwindi. We advise you to always ensure that you book a lodge close to the sector you plan to track gorillas. Forexample if you plan to stay in Rushaga, select a lodge within this sector as this allows you to reach the park headquarters easily in the morning hours for briefing.
Mgahinga National Park/ Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the only other tourism park notable for gorilla trekking in Uganda. This national park is located also in south western Uganda in Kisoro district. It is the smallest national park in Uganda, seated on only 34 square kilometers.
The park is a natural habitat for two mountain gorilla families, that is the Nyakagezi family and the Hirwa Gorilla Family.
The Nyakagezi family is largely populated in the low land areas of the park. It is one of the easiest gorilla families to track in Uganda. It has a rich historic background lofted by its guardianship of 2 dominant silverbacks. The highlight of this family’s legacy is that its predominant silverback, Bugingo, is estimated to be 54 years and counting. This is completely uncommon for a gorilla life span.
The Hirwa family mainly inhabits the Virunga conservation area. This family is an easier one to locate and encountering it takes not more than an hour when trekking in the Mgahinga Gorilla National park.
Although these gorillas can be tracked at any season of the year in Uganda, the best times to encounter these gentle giants should be in the long dry season (June to September) and the short dry season (mid December to early February). During these months, majority of the trails within the park are dry and less slippery making your hiking experience quite easy and memorable.
Cost of Gorilla trekking permits
To engage in tracing these mountain Gorillas in their natural habitats, travelers need to purchase a gorilla trekking permit. This permit is issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to only tourists over the age of 15.
Booking a Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs 700 USD for each foreign nonresident tourist, 600 USD for every foreign resident and 250,000 UGX for only an East African tourist. These prices are fixed for both Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park.
Crucially consider booking and purchasing of your Gorilla trekking permit from only trusted tour operators. Acknowledged operators on the market are spearhead by Uganda Self Drives. Be rest assured with Vizuri Africa Safaris to consider your ideal dates of travel, travel destinations, accommodation preferences and booking of your gorilla trekking permit.
Contemplate on other costs along the delightful adventure of gorilla trekking such as transportation, food, VISA, packing lists, porters and tips for on trip guides. These costs move along with your gorilla trekking experience modelling the adventure a magnificent one.
Tips on minimizing costs along your gorilla trekking journey should be prioritized, as emphasis on them not only saves you an extra penny but makes your gorilla trekking journey a comfortable one as well. Tips like booking gorilla trekking permits and accommodation in time, hiring chauffeur, changing currency into small notes and following a tight budget should be prioritized. To best exploit your adventure, we recommend you to entrust Uganda Self Drives to plan your wildlife experience.
Is gorilla trekking worth it?
The adventure and the opportunity to connect with nature makes gorilla trekking a worthwhile for wildlife enthusiasts. Gorilla trekking is renowned for its unique and rewarding adventure allowing tourists to encounter these holistic primates in their natural habitats. Gorilla trekking is truly amazing and worthy every second accounted on it.