Mountain gorilla tracking is Uganda’s best selling tourism activity as it attracts the highest number of traffic from different countries. Most of these are those people interested in seeing these primates in their natural homes deep in the tropical rain-forests. Its only those that travel from their home countries to the real places like Uganda where the remaining gorillas are kept that can have a true experience of trekking. Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo are the only three countries in the world where the remaining mountain gorillas can be found and this explains why many tourists opt for them.
In Uganda, there are only two places where mountain gorillas are found namely; – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Both of these pars are found the southwest of Uganda but there is a distance in-between them. These parks are the best places for gorilla tracking experience accommodating the highest number of these primates. Bwindi in particular is singled out as the most stunning place on earth for gorilla experience because it has the highest number (over 350 individuals) and these are well organized in groups commonly known as Gorilla families. Bwindi has about 11 families which are ready to be tracked giving a tourist an advantage to select which one to trek and also have a wider exposure to the primates. Mgahinga on the other side is less marketed when it comes to attracting tourists simply because its gorillas are unpredictable as they keep on changing positions and travelling making it hard to track. It also has a lower number of mountain gorillas compared to Bwindi NP. This puts it in a second position when someone is selecting where to go for gorilla tracking.
Important tips about gorilla tracking in Uganda;-
- The maximum time tourists are allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour. Although some visitors want to spend more time with a gorilla family when in the forest, the time is limited and this is done to give chance to other people to view the primates. It’s also done like that to avoid irritating the gorillas and also avoid making them uncomfortable.
- Before one is allowed to go gorilla trekking, he or she is expected to obtain a mountain gorilla trekking permit. This costs USD650 per person per day and they act as authorizing documents to view these great apes. They are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority at their offices in Kampala. Tourists are always advised to book their permits in time to avoid inconveniences because it’s so competitive to obtain them especially in a peak season. It’s a good idea for tourist to book these permits through a tour agent so that he/she saves time and money.
- It requires some strength to trek the gorillas. Trekking involves moving for some distance in the forests and also climbing some hill areas searching for the hiding mountain gorillas. This means that someone needs to be physically fit in order to have a successful trek. However, there are some gorilla families Bwindi National Park which are near the lodges and therefore those tourists that are less fit or old in age can go for these ones.
- A maximum number of 8 people are allowed to see a gorilla family in a day.
The above tips are very important and should be considered by visitors planning to go for gorilla tracking in Uganda. For more information and travel tips to help you in planning a gorilla trek visit the “Visit Bwindi Gorillas” website.