Uganda gorilla trekking
Uganda gorilla trekking : Mountain gorillas are the most popular attractions in Uganda and they are found in two national parks namely Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Uganda is the best gorilla trekking destination in Africa in that it harbors over 459 mountain gorillas which is half of the world’s mountain gorillas. Apart from Uganda, gorillas are also found in other countries including Rwanda where the mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes national park and Democratic Republic of Congo where the mountain gorillas are found in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park which harbors the Eastern lowland gorillas.
Where gorilla trekking is done in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is an activity where visitors move into the tropical rainforest in search of the habituated gorilla families and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is carried out in two national park including
Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is the most visited national park in Uganda due to the highest number of the mountain gorillas. The national park is located in southwestern region at the boarder of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Bwindi impenetrable national park harbors about 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in four sectors including Ruhija, Rushaga, Buhoma and Nkuringo.
Gorilla trekking/ gorilla safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park starts in the morning with a briefing about the expectations, rules and regulations. after the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people to trek each gorilla family, you will then start trekking in the jungle at around 8:00am with a park guide who will be sharing information about the mountain gorillas.
Trekking of the mountain gorillas in the park takes about 2 to 7 hours depending on the location of the gorillas and once found you will spend one hour in their presence learning about their lifestyle, habits, behaviors, how they interact, how the juveniles entertain the group as you take photos with a flash less camera and record the moments.
Bwindi impenetrable national park is a unique gorilla destination in that it offers gorilla habituation experience a process where the mountain gorillas are trained to get used to human presence. Gorilla habituation experience is carried out by a team of researchers, trackers, park rangers among others and takes period of 2 to 3 years. Visitors who engage in gorilla habituation experience get an opportunity of spending plenty of time with the gorillas which is four hours compared to the one hour given during gorilla trekking.
Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is situated in southwestern region in Kisoro district at the boarder of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The national park is a home of two habituated gorilla families namely Nyakagezi and Hirwa family which are available for trekking daily. Hirwa gorilla family was previously living in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda until October 2019 when it migrated to Mgahinga gorilla national park and the group is currently visited by visitors in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking/ gorilla tours in Mgahinga gorilla national park starts in the morning just like in Bwindi impenetrable national park with a briefing about the rules, regulations and expectations during trekking in the jungle at Ntebeko park headquarters. After the briefing you will be grouped into 2 groups each group containing 8 individuals because each habituated group in the park can be visited by 8 people. At around 8:00am you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide who will be sharing information about the mountain gorillas as you hike the area where the gorillas slept the previous night.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park takes about 2 to 5 hours depending on the location of the gorillas because they like to move from one area to another in search of food. Once the gorillas have been found, you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat taking photos, recording videos, learning more about their lifestyle among others.
After the gorilla trekking experience in both destinations in Uganda, you will be given a certificate as proof that you participated in gorilla trekking activity in either Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. the dry season is also known as the peak season and visitors prefer travelling in the peak season in that during this period there is less rainfall in the Uganda therefore access roads to the gorilla destinations will be passable and the gorilla trekking trails in the forests will be dry and passable which make gorilla trekking successful. Though the dry season is best time to travel it has some drawbacks such as the gorilla trekking permits will be competitive hence you need to book in advance, lodges will be expensive and it can rain anytime of the day due to the fact that gorilla trekking is done in tropical rainforests.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda
A single gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign resident and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. The permit was however increased by $100 which implies that the foreign non-residents will pay $700 and $600 for foreign residents effective 1st July 2020 therefore you can book a gorilla trekking permit now when it’s still cheaper.
For visitors who want to participate in gorilla habituation experience a gorilla habituation permit in Bwindi impenetrable national park costs $1500 for foreign non-residents $1000 for foreign residents and UGX 750,000 for East African citizens.
When to book a gorilla trekking permit
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because the permits are competitive and usually get sold out especially during the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February therefore in order to avoid disappointments at the last minute, it’s advisable to book a gorilla trekking permit in advance.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit
There are two ways of booking a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda for example booking directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) a tourism body in Uganda. When booking through UWA, you will contact the offices in Kampala via email or telephone calls. There is also another option of booking a gorilla trekking permit through a tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. Booking through a tour operator is the best option in that it saves you all the hustle. You will therefore contact us with the date, month, year and destination where you want to trek the mountain gorillas. We will check for availability of the permits according to the dates, when there are permits available, you will be asked to make a deposit for the permits. When the deposit has been made you will be asked to send your scanned copy of the passport which will be used to register your permit. When we receive the money deposited we will book for your gorilla trekking permit and send you a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation.
Where to stay on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda
There are a wide range of up-market, midrange and budget accommodation facilities where visitors can stay in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park including Mount Gahinga Lodge, Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, Travelers Rest Hotel Kisoro, Mucha Hotel, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga Rest Camp, Virunga Hotel, Mgahinga Gorilla Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Engage Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Guest House, Mahogany Springs Camp, Bwindi View Bandas, Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort, Jungle View Lodge, Gorilla Friends Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge among others.
The gorillas provide quality services and facilities such as comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, sitting room, restaurant which serves local and international dishes, bar, free Wi-Fi in public areas, gardens for relaxation after gorilla trekking, spectacular views of the forest, bird species, primates among others to make you comfortable and feel at home. Visitors are however advised to stay in lodges near the destinations where they will be trekking gorillas from for easy accessibility.
How to get to the gorilla destinations in Uganda
when using road transport you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and then to Bwindi impenetrable national park which takes about 8 to 9 hours’ drive and when going to Mgahinga gorilla national park you will drive from Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, kisoro and then to Mgahinga national park which takes about 9 to 10 hours’ drive.
You can also use air transport means where by you will book a flight in one of the domestic airline companies in Uganda for example Aerolink which operates scheduled and chartered flights daily from Entebbe airport or Kajansi airfield to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip and then connect by road to any of the national parks.
Both Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park can be accessed from Kigali Rwanda. When using this route, you will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect by road to any of the parks through Cyanika boarder in Kisoro or Katuna border in Kabale.
Gorilla trekking is an incredible and thrilling activity which gives you breathtaking and unforgettable experiences on your safari in Uganda, visitors interested in gorilla trekking can book packages like 3 days gorilla trekking in Bwindi, 2 days gorilla trekking in Uganda from Kigali, 5 days gorilla trekking and wildlife and many others or contact us for more information about gorilla trekking in Uganda.