Why Uganda Is The Best Place For Gorilla Trekking

Why Uganda is the best place for gorilla trekking

Mountain gorillas can only survive in the wild, so trekking into their native forests is your only chance to catch a peek. Mountain gorillas only live in the dense vegetation of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and along the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range that stretches across Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

You’ll Be Where Half the World’s Mountain Gorillas Live.

There are two gorilla trekking spots in Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable also known as also called “The Place of Darkness” due to its dense treetops is home to over half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is an ancient tropical rainforest located in the south western region of Uganda famous for gorilla trekking.

For the sheer fact that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest population means that the chances of travelers seeing and encountering the gorillas is more than 99% making the best place for gorilla trekking.

Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park accounts for 13 square miles of the larger Virunga habitat, which stretches across 168 square miles into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The national park includes three of the eight major Virunga peaks: Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura and Mount Sabyinyo. The park is famous for gorilla trekking of the Nyakagyezi gorilla family and attracts only are travelers per day who mostly enjoy some bit of privacy and exclusivity leaving the park quite tranquil and serene.

First habituated gorilla family in Uganda

The very first gorilla family in Uganda was habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the years 1991 and 1993. The Mubare gorilla family has since attracted more and more trekkers some of whom have developed sentimental attachment to the family located in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi.

Gorilla habituation experiences

At Bwindi impenetrable National Park tourists will be availed more chances of spending plenty of time with the mountain gorillas in their habitats especially in Rushaga sector. Gorilla habituation experiences have travelers spending about 4 hours with the gorillas in the presence of gorilla experts and caretakers as they habituate.

Other Primates Will Inevitably Cross Your Path.

Uganda is a primate-lover’s dream. In addition to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga is home to another endangered species: the golden monkey. These furry, comical monkeys live high up in bamboo forests. Tracking golden monkeys is very similar to tracking gorillas, but the trek itself is not quite as challenging.  Further afield, Bwindi has L’hoest monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and blue monkeys.

 You’ll Find More Affordable Trekking Permits.

In Uganda, permit costs vary depending on the season. In April, May and November, permits are $450. The rest of the year, they cost $600. In contrast, permits in Rwanda now cost $1,500 year-round.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi, where there are multiple starting points and several gorilla families to track. Visits are led by park rangers and groups of eight are allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour, in silence and at a safe distance. There are strict regulations in place to make sure the gorillas stay healthy and wild—starting with the gorilla trekking permit process. Daily viewings of each gorilla group are extremely limited, so visitors should apply well before their desired dates.

 

It’s hard work to reach the gorillas. It requires navigating uphill and downhill through thick tangles of vines, thorns, and roots. The appropriately named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is only accessible by foot. There are no paths, no signs, no directions—and more often than not, no clearings (which is why the park rangers carry machetes). The good news? The reward seems that much better after all of the hard work.

 

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