Any visit to Uganda is not complete without visiting the endangered mountain gorillas. This is the highlight of this trip and over half of the world’s population 480 can be found here in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park located in the south west part of Uganda. Outside of Uganda they can only be found in Democratic Republic of Congo and in Rwanda.
It takes almost a day to drive south west to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Parks over 09 hours on a rough road from Kampala. The drive is scenic and gives you a good idea of what Uganda offers to be called the Pearl of Africa through some beautiful national parks along your rout to the west part of Uganda. Alternatively you can take a short flight from Entebbe international airport to Kisoro or by charter to Kayonza airstrip.
There are over 14 habituated gorilla families which are opened to tourists to be visited. Below are the groups currently available for gorilla tracking within Uganda. Buhoma area we have Mubare group, Habinyanja group, and Rushegura group. Ruhija area we have Bitukura group, and Oruzogo. In Rushaga area we have Mishaya group, Nshongi group, Kahungye group, Busingye group, Bweza group, and Nkuringo group. Mgahinga has only one gorilla family group called the Nyakagezi a transitory gorilla family often on the move.
It is only in Uganda where you can go on a mountain gorilla habituation experience and spend all day on a trek in the forest which includes being 4 hours with a gorilla family, presently with two gorilla groups found in Rushaga area Bikingi and Bushaho gorilla families at $1500 in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
There only 80 permits available for tourists on a daily basis in Uganda which means they are now available on daily basis in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga national park and you have to book budget gorilla tours permits in advance like three month prior to your holiday. Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda cost $600 per person and are issued out by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). In Rwanda Volcanoes National Park they were increased from $750 to $1500 per person and in Democratic Republic of Congo Virunga National Park they cost $400 per person.
Opportunities to see mountain gorillas of Uganda offers you more primate and wildlife safari than any other East African country, you get spending an hour with mountain gorillas and chimpanzees of Uganda alone, are worth the trip to Africa, spend a day whole with Gorillas or chimpanzees by going for habituation experience.
Gorilla trekking is a an extraordinary practice which is worth to take due to the existence of these apes in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the delightful, clever and approachable to interact with. These are categorized with silver backs that act as leaders with adult female gorillas who are the take care of the young gorillas and the juveniles which are very playful and areal ways hanging in the trees.
Tracking gorillas starts very early at 7:45am with morning breakfast then head to Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters with a short briefing about the gorilla rules and the forest. The gorilla trekking experience can take from 2 to 8 hours; it is difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. Expect to walk along distance in steep and muddy conditions, some time with rain overhead. We trek through the rain forest and bamboo covered slopes accompanied by a guide and trackers in search for a gorilla family.
A thrilling trek through the foothills of the Virunga provides inspiring views in all directions. Then suddenly the trail enters the national park, engrossing trekkers in the strange closeness of the rain forest. The trekking is quite strenuous but a worthwhile on encounter of these gentle giants. The excitement of you coming across with these apes will wipes away your intricacy of the strenuous trek and you are allowed a maximum of one hour to watch and observe them while taking pictures and videos of them.
Besides gorilla tracking, there also many other tourists’ activities that can be enjoyed apart from mountain gorilla trekking, some of these activities include; golden mountain tracking, community to the pygmies, bird watching, and guided nature walks, plus Volcano climbing. Bwindi impenetrable has also got some chimpanzees and monkeys as part of its primate species.