Welcome to Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” that is found in the East African block. Uganda is bordered by Kenya and Tanzania in the Eastern side and then Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo in the Southern side.
While planning your Uganda tours do not miss the mountain gorillas that are a unique species that every traveler may wish to meet while in Uganda on their adventure safari vacations.
Mountain Gorillas are unique shy endangered ground dwelling herbivorous apes which usually feed on young bamboo shoot, stem, tree leaves, flowers, Sugar canes, fruits like jack fruits, mangoes, oranges, avocadoes, grapes, water melon and more.
Gorillas are divided into two species which include mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas which are further divided into other subspecies which include eastern lowland gorillas and western lowland gorillas.
Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” is among those few countries in Africa habituating the species of mountain gorillas and it is ranked to be hosting the highest number of the world’s remaining gorilla population in its two major gorilla hosting destinations which include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both located in the south western part of Uganda nearing each other.
Gorilla trekking experience starts in the morning from the park head offices where clients are oriented about the park and Apes and after are grouped in about eight people with a park ranger guide, optional porters following the permanently established routes heading into the jungle in search of the shy endangered ground dwelling herbivorous mountain gorillas which is referred to as mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda.
A park ranger guide is usually assigned to the group with the main purpose of leading trekkers through the journey heading to the jungle and communicating with the gorilla trackers who usually provide information about the location of the gorilla family you are searching for in the jungles of either Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
After locating the presence of mountain gorillas in the jungles you are allowed one hour permission while in the presence of these mountain gorillas seeing them playing with their young ones, feeding, laughing plus taking photos and videos of them, finishing your one-hour session next step is heading back to the park head offices with a stop for your packed lunch and then to office for gorilla trekking certificate award.
Always when going for gorilla trekking it’s advised you go with packed lunch and mineral water since most of the times lunch time reaches when you are still in the jungles with these apes.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park requires you to buy your gorilla trekking permit with your local tour company and this permit issues you permission for the activity and this permit costs $700 USD per person usually booked 3 months in advance before your trekking dates such that it’s processed in time by the responsible authorities and the above rate will be effective starting from 01st July 2020.
These gorilla permits in Uganda are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority and usually simple to get it when you book using a local tour operator. This permit is usually valid for use by one person in the respective dates, listed below is the Uganda’s major gorilla hosting destinations which include: –
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda
When it comes to gorilla trekking in Uganda, this park should be your first priority since it’s the center of gorillas popularly known to be hosting most numbers of Uganda’s remaining gorilla population with over fourteen gorilla families in its four major sectors which include Nkuringo sector, Buhoma sector, Rushaga sector and Ruhija sector with each sector having more than two gorilla families for trekking apart from Nkuringo sector which has only one gorilla family.
It is located in the South western part of Uganda lying along the borders with Democratic Republic of Congo characterized with thick impenetrable tropical rain forests, Savannah grasslands, bamboo forests and fertile Swampy areas.
The best way of reaching this park from Kampala the capital city of Uganda is by use of Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara highway associated with en-route stop over at the equator in Kayabwe for some brief explanation about the equator by the officials, photographs and snacks then continue with the journey using suitable 4×4 wheel drive safari jeeps, lunch is provided en-route in Mbarara town.
It’s about 512 kms from Kampala up to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park taking about 8-9 hours for the drive. The main activity done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is gorilla trekking plus visit to the Batwa people.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda
This is the second gorilla hosting destination in Uganda that one can opt to visit apart from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park being part of the Virunga Massifs is also popularly known for hosting the once trans-boundary gorilla family the “Nyakagezi family” that used to cross to the other 2 parks, the Volcanoes in Rwanda and then Virunga in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is characterized with the thick tropical rain forests, Savannah grasslands, bamboo forests and fertile swampy areas where these apes are habituated and fed on the bamboos, the best way of reaching this park is by use of Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara highway with en-route stop over at the equator for some simple explanations about the equator, photographs and snacks then continue with the journey and it’s about 9 hours from Kampala up to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
This park has got a light vegetation and as it is part of the Virunga mountains gorilla photography is much positive in this sector. Therefore, all gorilla photographers willing to visit mountain gorillas in Africa and on budget this is the park to visit in Uganda as it offers affordable gorilla permits at $ 700 compared to Volcanoes in Rwanda where the permit is a bit expensive at $ 1500 per person but if you are interested in luxury gorilla tours in Africa contact us and we shall offer you accordingly in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Meanwhile for those not interested in long drives from Entebbe – Kampala, today some of the tourists starts their gorilla tours in Uganda from Kigali, Rwanda. Both Uganda and Rwanda being East African Community members it is much easier to cross from one country to another as also getting visas at the borders it simple. More so there is an East Africa Tourist Visa that can allow you to cross as many times you can in 90 days valid of the visa and it cost $ 100 per person.
It is Katuna or Cyanika border to use to reach one of the parks of your choice to do gorilla trek. Bwindi Forest National Park is impenetrable and adventurous love it because of the undulating land slopes to hike while on your experience and here if you want more adventurous you can take the gorilla habituation experience which cost $ 1500 USD per person visiting the Bikingi family and it is 4 hours with the apes in a group of 4 people. Though the forest is thick but the gorilla habituation experience is worthy for the wildlife photographers.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also habituating Golden Monkeys and while in Uganda this is the only place where you can go for Golden monkey tracking or experience at $90/$100 USD per person respectively. Batwa people are also settling around the Suburbs of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park after migrating from the ituri forest reserve of Democratic Republic of Congo. The main activities here are gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking and the Batwa trail experience that cost $ 80 per person.
Here is the pack list for gorilla trekking experience which includes the hiking shoes, long sleeved shirts and trouser, shocking, insect repellents, caps & sunglasses, yellow fever vaccination card, waterproof jackets and bags to protect your camera.