Gorilla Trekking is the most highlighted activity in Uganda for most tourists. The atmosphere of the trek through the jungle mist is unreal. Uganda is one of the best places in the world where you can see the mountain gorillas in their wild habitat.
But if you're a first-time safari-goer, which we doubt you are, you must be having dozens, if not kilos of questions running through your mind regarding Gorilla Trekking In Uganda. Based on our years of experience and the questions we have received feedback from clients after a gorilla trek experience, we've curetted a list of ten of the most frequently asked questions!
These Important Questions Are:-
1. Where Are The Mountain Gorillas In Uganda?
In Uganda, Mountain gorillas are only found in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks – part of the larger eco-system where Mountain Gorillas are found in the world. This eco-system is scattered over two forests that span across Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. One is Bwindi Impenetrable and the other is Virunga Range that is a chain of extinct forested volcanoes that extends into Uganda to form Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga are the go-to destinations for spotting Mountain Gorillas in the wild. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is 331 sq km in size and accommodates 400 Bwindi Gorillas is a part of the forest. In Uganda, Virunga Range runs through the extreme southwestern part of the country alongside Bwindi Impenetrable.
2. What To Expect When You Gorilla Trek In Uganda?
Gorilla Trekking In Uganda can be both fun and exciting, and also can be extremely rewarding for tourists who've come to Uganda only for seeing gorillas, thanks to the excellent gorilla concentration in its protected areas. During the trek, finding the gorilla family you are tracking can last from less than an hour to upwards of 4 hours in a tropical jungle with the threat of rain overhead. A gorilla tracking team will have departed ahead of your trekking team and will update your team of the exact location where the family you are tracking spent the night. Once you've spotted them, nothing beats the experience of being in their presence in nature. A family of 8 to 13 individuals headed by a dominant male ‘the Silverback’ will be few meters away from you. A playful baby Gorilla could come in contact with you but there is no cause for you to worry. All else around you, the other members of the family will be going about their daily nomadic activity. So be prepared with your cameras and camcorders.
3. Where Does Your Gorilla Trekking Safari Start From?
You can either start your safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Kampala/Entebbe or Kigali, the Rwandan capital. It depends on your booked flight options. Safari-goers can choose either Entebbe if they are here to see more than the gorillas or Kigali if they are here strictly for a short 4-days gorilla safari.
4. How Many Days Are Sufficient For A Gorilla Trek?
In both of these national parks in Uganda, chances of encountering gorillas are more than 90%. One trek, which usually takes a few hours (1-6 hours) will be enough for you to do a gorilla trek. However, a lot of people especially the luxury travellers are preferring to do two treks for a chance to spot another gorilla family. So safari-goers can either do a 1-day trek or two – depending on their budget!
5. Where In Bwindi Is It Best To Go For Gorilla Trekking?
Bwindi is divided into the north and south. The north is gentler in terms of terrain while the south is steep. So as we arrange your safari, we always ask our clients what they prefer! Pure trekkers who have the endurance are always booked to track in Rushaga – the southern sector of Bwindi.
Safari-goers who have a level of fitness even when they are advanced in age we recommend the north (Buhoma or Ruhija) but most probably Buhoma.
For goers who prefer two treks, we generally recommend the two extremes – the gentler north and the steep south!
6. What Is The Best Time To Go For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda?
Gorilla trekking tours are conducted throughout the year in Uganda. However, there is a sweet spot when the majority of the tourist prefer visiting, that is from June to September just after the rainy season and then from December to February, which is the dry season. During this time, the gorillas move further afield in search of food so treks during the dry season last a lot longer.
7. How Much Does The Uganda Gorilla Permit Cost?
A Gorilla permit in Uganda to any of the two parks costs $600 per person per trek. There are no Low season discounts anymore as they were discontinued last year.
8. How To Acquire A Gorilla Permit?
It is advisable to contact a safari agent who will interface with Uganda Wildlife Authority on your behalf to book and pay for your Gorilla permits.
9. What To Bring And Pack For Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
Nothing really special. Just watch out for these things:
- All the documents required, like tickets, permits, vaccination certificate (if any)
- Hiking or trekking boots
- Warm clothes and waterproof jackets (in case of rain falls)
- Insect repellent
- Gardening gloves
- Energy chocolate bar
- Long-sleeved shirt/blouse
- Khaki trousers/jeans/hiking pants
- Some amount of cash
10. Is It Necessary To Have A Porter Carry Extra Luggage?
Not mandatory, but highly recommended. Remember the treks can last for hours and your ruck-sack (contains water, camera gear, packed lunch, medicines etc) can get increasingly heavy on a long trek. For especially goers who are advanced in age, we recommend a porter. Hiring a porter is one way of giving back as they are largely drawn from the communities that neighbour the parks. So this gives them an opportunity for a job to literally have them as critical ambassadors in the conservation process.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is nevertheless one of the most memorable and exciting African experiences you can get that appeal to safari-goers of all ages. Besides gorilla trekking, you're bound to enjoy the lush green environment and the tranquillity of the forests.
Uzuri Uganda Safaris based in Uganda has arranged and handled Gorilla safari tours for hundreds of gorilla trekkers since its inception and has developed a good reputation among tourists. Contact us today for a quote on your Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour and we'll get back to you with the required information.