Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is where we find mountain Gorillas in Uganda, almost half the number of mountain Gorillas remaining in the world is found in this National Park. This park is found in the South Western parts of Uganda. It has 13 habituated Gorilla groups that are tracked by tourists, three of these are in the locality of Buhoma &1 group at Nkuringo. These Gorillas can also be sighted in Ruhija and Rushaga regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga National Park is another place in Uganda where you can find mountain Gorillas, it’s one of the parks which belongs to Virunga ranges shared between Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
Gorilla Tracking is one of the unforgettable experiences one can relish in Bwindi Impenetrable, trek in the forest and Gorilla Habituation is another way of spending more time with these gentle giants. This simply enables one spend time with the Mountain Gorillas for those who can afford.
About Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This park was gazetted in 1942, then elevated to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1992 and documented as a world Heritage site in 1994. Bwindi means” Impenetrable” in local Rukiga language. Bwindi National Park has got 327 km sq. of tangled vegetation swathed over a deeply fissured landscape of steep, slippery valleys & high draughty ridges. Gorilla trekking is practiced in this National Park in search for the endangered mountain Gorillas in one of Africa’s most ancient rain forests.
Bwindi has got a temperature range of 70℃-200℃ having the coldest period in June & July, receives 2390 mm of rain yearly (2 wet seasons). the seasons are short rains in March-May & heavy rains in September – November. This park is especially cold in the morning and at night.
Gorilla Tracking Permit in Uganda
A Gorilla permit in Uganda costs $600 per person, per trek and Gorilla Habituation Experience permit costs $1500 per trek in the southern Bwindi and each Gorilla family under Habituation is toured by a maximum number of 4 people. Well a single Gorilla permit is used only once by a single person and free to trek Uganda Gorillas in only 2 places (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park). Just contact Monumental Expeditions Safaris about Gorilla Habituation Experience safaris to tour Uganda Gorillas.
Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Tracking in Uganda
Before departing on your Gorilla Tracking,
- A maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to visit a group of habituated mountain Gorillas in a just a day, this is to minimize the risk of these animals being exposed to human borne diseases and also avoid behavioral disturbances.
- Do always wash your hands before you head out to your tour to the Gorillas.
On your way to visit the Uganda Gorillas,
- Always keep your voices very low in order to be able to watch well the great bird life and the other wildlife in the forest.
- Carry back every sort of rubbish you have come with, it’s not advisable and allowed to throw rubbish in the park.
- You will be taken through to the place where the guides observed the Mountain Gorillas from, flow the same trail to find them and look out for the Gorilla ‘s nesting sites along the way.
- About to approach the Gorillas the guides will alert you to get or be ready.
When with the Mountain Gorillas
- Keep a distance of 7m(21 feet) away from the Gorillas always, the further back you are the more the group will be relaxed.
- Always stay together in the group whenever you are near or close to the Gorillas.
- It’s okay to ask the guides questions but always keep your voices very low when near the Gorillas.
- Do not touch the Mountain Gorillas because they are wild animals.
- Do not smoke or eat or drink anything when near the Gorillas, this is prohibited because when done it can increase the risk of transmission of diseases due to the droppings or droplets of these drinks or food
- Do not look directly in the eyes of the Gorillas because they sometimes charge and that increases a lot of risk, leave the animals to pass, don’t also flash photographs it’s not allowed but instead move away slowly and carefully.
- The maximum time or period to spend with these animals is strictly 1 hr, however if these animals become agitated and nervous the guide will definitely finish the visit early.
- Still after the visit or tour please keep your voices very low until 200 m away from the Mountain Gorillas.
General Health Rules
- Always respect the limits imposed on the number of tourists going in to see the Mountain Gorillas each day in order to minimize the risk of disease transmission and stress of the group.
- If you are feeling ill, or carrying a contagious disease please volunteer to stay, another visit will be organized for you or if not your money will even be refunded back to you.
- If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses.
- Do not leave any rubbish in the park because this can harbor diseases or other contamination. If you need to go to the toilet tell the guide, they /he will dig a hole of about 30 cm deep use that and fill it in when you are done using.
- Stay 7m(21 feet) away from the Gorillas in order to protect them from catching human diseases.
What has got to be carried for your Gorilla Tour in Uganda
- Do always wear comfortable hiking shoes (waterproof/rubber form like gum boots) suitable for steep muddy slopes.
- Put on ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable/scared with the jungle different and continuous sounds.
- Carry a packed light lunch and a lot drinking water because you will need it as you tire on the Gorilla trek.
- Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion for the sun just in case, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable), insect repellent, a Camera for taking photos (using flashlight is not acceptable that why you are told to use films of 400-800 ASA
For more information about Uganda gorillas, feel free to contact Monumental Expeditions Safaris.
NB. Why are they called Mountain Gorillas?
This is because they are the largest primate and live at elevations ranging from 1,500-4,000 m. It can be quiet cold in the Virunga Volcanoes and Bwindi Impenetrable forest which is why they have such thick fur. Mountain Gorillas are gentle giants of the forest but not king Kong