Mountain Gorilla Encounters in Uganda
Mountain Gorilla Encounters in the Misty Mountains of Uganda
You are hiking through this dense impenetrable forest with a few drops of rain sprinkling on the vegetation as you enjoy the magnificent sights of the ever green vegetation with enchanting sounds of a number nature’s Creatures when your ranger guide instantly stops, pointing at a giant ape covered with black fur moving slowly through the thick forest. You then see a whole gorilla family with females grooming the little ones as the energetic juveniles play with each other jumping from one place to another freely in this natural habitant!! This is what it’s like on gorilla tracking expedition in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest where a number of traveler’s from all over the world flock to meet Man’s closest relatives and one of the most endangered primate’s species the Mountain gorillas
The Misty mountains of Bwindi are one of the three destinations on the planet to go for gorilla safaris rewarding you an exceptional experience. Recognized by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a world heritage site, Bwindi is situated in south western Uganda. This can be accessed through Uganda by flying into Entebbe International airport and then taking a road trip through the Beautiful countryside as you interact with some of the hospitable people in the world or through Rwanda by flying into Kigali international airport and then taking a road trip Northwest of Rwanda.
The Bwindi Area has 3 major sectors with gorillas including the Buhoma sector the pioneer area for gorilla tracking since 1993 with 3 habituated Gorilla groups, the Ruhija Sector in eastern Bwindi with 4 habituated Gorilla groups, the Rushaga sector in southern Bwindi with 5 gorilla groups and lastly Nkuringo area also situated in southern Bwindi with two Gorilla groups.
To go on the magical gorilla tour encounter, you don’t need to have experience in hiking. There are 12 habituated Gorilla groups in Bwindi some of which can be even got to after an hour or 45 minutes of hiking depending on the gorilla family you have been allocated to track. It’s always great though to have appropriate clothes for the trek given that it goes through thick vegetation. Long pants and sleeved shirts are highly recommended plus strong hiking water proof shoes or boots, a rain coat or Poncho as rain fall here is highly unpredictable. Even if it rains, it does not stop the trek and it even adds the experience in the Wild
A typical gorilla tracking day starts with a briefing early in the morning at the park headquarters where the national park ranger guides tell tourists about the rules and regulations while in the forest to ensure their safety so that they enjoy their gorilla encounter to the fullest. The major rule is to always keep at-least 7 meters away from the gorillas which is a two-way aspect to safeguard us the humans and Gorillas because gorillas have over 98% DNA similar to ours meaning that they can easily get infected with human diseases. Other major rules and regulations include not making noise while in the forest and in front of the gorillas, not imitating the behavior of the gorillas, avoiding straying away from your colleagues among others
There are number of accommodation facilities in the area ranging from budget to high end luxurious lodges most being strategically located near the park headquarters. Each of the above sector is well catered for in terms of accommodation and sometimes the gentle giants stroll from the forests to the lodges and if you are lucky enough you can have a double gorilla encounter
Important though is to get the gorilla permits in advance. Each goes for $600 and valid for a day but has to be secured way before because the number of people on gorilla safaris increase daily and with the increase in the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda to $1500, now most people have opted to track gorillas in Uganda. Permits can be secured through tour operators or directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Don’t forget that they are limited with only 8 tourists allowed to track a gorilla family a day.
A Uganda gorilla tour can be supplemented with a visit to one of the major savanna national parks including Queen Elizabeth NP, Murchison falls NP, Lake Mburo NP as well as Kibale forest NP a home of the highest chimpanzee population on the planet. These trips can be tailor made to start and end in either Uganda or Rwanda depending on ones’ preference and conveniences. For those who have great interest in the Batwa Pygmies, the Batwa experience is very ideal as the Batwa demonstrate their ancient ways of lives in Mgahinga gorilla park which also has a gorilla family.
Experience one of the natural wonders of the primates’ world- the mountain gorillas up close and personal in Uganda for unforgettable safari experiences