Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the highlight of Uganda great wildlife experience. Having a safari in the pearl of Africa minus visiting Bwindi impenetrable forest or Mgahinga for Gorilla tracking makes your Ugandan safari incomplete. Gorilla tracking in Uganda is done in the Southwestern of the country in two national parks hose are Bwindi forest impenetrable forest and Mgahinga national park. The two national parks of Uganda homes more than half of the remaining 1004 mountain Gorillas according to the May 2018 Gorilla population census.
Gorilla tracking in Uganda is done in the 5 sectors of the two national parks which are covered by dense tropical rainforests. The 5 locations or sectors include: Rushaga, Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija, and Ntebeko found in Mgahinga national park. All five locations have over 18 Gorilla families or groups. However much the families are many but Gorilla tracking in Uganda are limited to 8 people per group of Family per day and this has made the activity to be on high demand. For one to do Gorilla trekking in Uganda you have to book your Gorilla permit in advance in arrange of 4 to 8 months in advance, especially in high season.
Bwindi impenetrable forest is the only unique park in the world where chimpanzees co-exist with Mountain Gorillas at the same park. To do Gorilla trekking one has to have a gorilla permit which currently costs 600usd per person. In next year the gorilla permit will be 700 USD per person. You also need to have a valid passport and one must be above 15 years of age in order to track the gorillas. Gorilla permits can be booked directly from Uganda wildlife Authority in Kampala or from any of the reputable tour operators.
Gorilla experience is one of the lifetime wildlife experience which is worth the money you pay for the Gorilla permit. Its not all that a simple activity since it involves trekking through the thick slippery and hilly forests to look for these apes. The activity needs some level of physical fitness though the hike is not technical hence making it possible for anyone. Gorilla trekking in Uganda starts as early as 7:30 am with general briefing by the game rangers and validation checkup of all the guest or verification of all the guests. There will be local traditional entertainment while you’re waiting for briefing by the senior guides. After the verification and briefing is done all the guests are subdivided in to groups of 8 people. Each group will be assigned a ranger guide and specific Gorilla family you’re going to track. The respective ranger will give you another detailed briefing highlighting the Gorilla family you’re going to visit.
Gorilla tracking is only allowed to persons of 15 years of age and above. The tracking can take few hours or a full day depending on the movement of the Gorillas on the forest. The Gorillas rarely nest the same point twice and this is one of the major factor that affects the time frame of Gorilla trekking in Uganda. After meeting the gorillas, the guests are allowed a maximum of one hour to be with the gorillas taking photos and videos. The trackers are always accompanied by well-trained game ranger from Uganda wildlife authority who will be guiding and giving you much information about the Gorillas.
Rules and regulations of Gorilla tracking in Uganda
These are the guidelines that all guests must follow before, during and after Gorilla tracking but within the park. This helps the Uganda Wildlife Authority to achieve their main objective of conserving the environment.
For all the guests who are planning to come and enjoy a glimpse of the pearl of Africa Gorilla tracking experience, the following rules apply:
- The maximum number of tourists per group is 8 for gorilla trekking and 4 people for Gorilla habituation.
- Only persons of 15 years and above are allowed to track Gorillas in Uganda.
- One must clean his or her hands before going to track gorillas, make sure you wash your hands well.
During Gorilla Tracking
- Always keep your voices as low as possible, use signs if communication is needed so as that we enjoy the best of our Gorilla trekking in Uganda experience well
- Littering around the park is completely prohibited. Incase of any need to litter look for the garbage tin to drop your rubbish
- Observe the recommended 7 meters distance when your with Gorillas. This sounds complicated especially if you track gorilla families with more babies who will come and even touch you. You will not run away but be stand still.
- You must always remain in group when you meet the gorillas.
- Don’t smoke, drink or eat anything when you’re with gorillas.
- No us of camera flush when taking photos or videos
- Donot touch gorillas
- You are only allowed a maximum of 1 hour to be with the gorillas
- You are not allowed to track gorillas if you have flue, cough or any bacterial related diseases that spread through air as gorillas are like humans and can catch the diseases
- In case of any need for the toilet while on the forest, one has to dig a hole 30 cm deep which you will cover after finishing.
What to bring for your Gorilla trekking in Uganda safari
For every trip to be successful, early preparation is a mandate and this will help you achieve your dream trip in Uganda and other parts of the world. Safari packing is essential always, most reputable operators advise their guests as soon as they confirm the trip. They tell them what to bring for their trip.
Like any other trip Gorilla trekking in Uganda has its key essential packing list which should be considered by guests for the successful experience of their Gorilla tracking. Below is the key packing list:
- Good walking books most probably the hiking boots or Tennis boots
- Wet weather clothing sometimes called warm layer clothing. These are good for the chilly morning and evening weather which is very cold being a rainy forest in hilly area
- Sunscreen and sun hat. Although the park is covered by the forest but one needs to have sunglasses and hat.
- Waterproof jackets and bags. The rainfall is unpredictable at the area so bring good water proof jackets and bags to keep your equipment well
- Good Camera which can work without even flash light since one is not allowed to use flash light when together with gorillas.
- Garden gloves or long sleeve shirts
When to go for Gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can be done throughout the year though the most recommended time is during the dry months from June to October, December to Feb. The dry months are called peak season and to get Gorilla permits one has to book early enough to secure the Gorilla permit. One has also to note that Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is montane or rainforest area the rains are unpredictable hence one has to be ready with a good packing list throughout the year.
Do your memorable gorilla tracking in Uganda using the rightful local tour operators who will advise you before, during and after the safari. This will turn in to one life experience if well planned.