Mountain gorillas are an extraordinary primate species and are among the most protected animals on Earth. They can only be found in their natural habitats, specifically in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, as well as Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and DR Congo’s Virunga National Park. These national parks are geographically adjacent, facilitating coordinated conservation and protection efforts under the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration. As a result, managing the well-being of mountain gorillas is made easier for conservation partners in all three countries.
In Uganda, mountain gorillas are primarily located in two national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. According to the recent census of mountain gorillas, the total population in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo now stands at 1,063 individuals. Notably, the population in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, along with the nearby Sarambwe Reserve in DR Congo, has seen an increase from 400 gorillas to 459 gorillas. This positive trend indicates the success of conservation efforts in the region.
In Uganda, mountain gorillas are divided into different groups within the four sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These sectors include Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south, as well as Ruhija and Buhoma in the north. Each sector is home to multiple habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists, providing a unique opportunity for gorilla trekking experiences. Additionally, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to the Nyakagezi gorilla group, the only habituated gorilla family in the park. It’s important to note that there are also unknown gorilla populations in the wild, further contributing to the overall gorilla population in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking involves walking through the forest, following a designated trail, to search for and observe habituated mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Mountain gorillas can be seen in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offer remarkable gorilla trekking experiences, with Bwindi being a tropical rainforest and Mgahinga characterized by bamboo vegetation.
The cost of gorilla trekking includes the gorilla permit, transportation, guides, accommodation, and other services. A gorilla permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for residents, and $70 for East African Citizens.
Gorilla trekking typically takes 3 to 7 hours, depending on the gorilla group’s location and other factors. Once the gorillas are found, visitors spend one hour with them.
Only 8 visitors are allowed to trek each gorilla family to minimize disturbance and reduce the risk of disease transmission.
Gorilla permits can be purchased directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through reputable tour operators like Trek Africa Expeditions.
Yes, elderly or disabled individuals can trek gorillas with the assistance of sedan chair carriers, which are available for hire.
In Uganda, the minimum age limit for Gorilla Trekking is 15 years, while there is no specific maximum age limit. The restriction on children below 15 years is in place due to several reasons. Firstly, the behavior of young children can be unpredictable and uncontrollable, which may cause disturbances during the trek and potentially disrupt the gorillas’ natural habitat. Additionally, children are more susceptible to diseases, including those that can be transmitted between humans and gorillas. To ensure the safety and conservation of both visitors and gorillas, the minimum age requirement is strictly enforced.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is available throughout the year, offering opportunities to encounter these magnificent creatures. However, there are certain periods considered as the best time for gorilla trekking. The recommended months include January, February, March, early April, and June to early September. During these months, the vegetation cover in the national parks is less dense, making it easier to spot and observe the mountain gorillas. Additionally, these periods experience fewer rains compared to April, May, and November, which can make trekking more challenging and uncomfortable due to muddy conditions. By planning your visit during the optimal time, you increase the chances of a successful and enjoyable gorilla trekking experience.
Proper preparation is crucial for a successful gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda. When packing for your trek, it is recommended to include the following essential items:
During your gorilla trekking experience in Uganda, there is a wide range of accommodation options available to suit different preferences and budgets. These options include:
These accommodations offer comfortable lodging, a variety of local and international food dishes, Wi-Fi access, and convenient access to gorilla trekking activities. Whether you prefer budget, mid-range, or luxury options, there are suitable choices to enhance your stay and overall safari experience.
Trek Africa Expeditions is a reliable and experienced tour operator that specializes in arranging gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. By booking with Trek Africa Expeditions, you can expect several benefits, including:
Uganda is home to a significant population of mountain gorillas, with their habitats primarily located in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The conservation efforts in these parks, along with the collaboration between neighboring countries, have contributed to the increase in gorilla populations. Gorilla trekking in Uganda offers a unique and memorable experience, allowing visitors to observe these incredible creatures up close while ensuring their conservation and protection.