Did you know mountain gorillas can only survive in the wild, and trekking into their natural habitat is your only chance to have a glance at them? Mountain gorillas are one kind of rare wildlife species. There being rare isn’t about being hard to see but being a few in number and restricted within a specific area. In the whole world, Mountain gorillas only live in the dense vegetation of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda. Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. All four gorilla natural habitats are within the same vicinity.
A taking a Uganda safari or Uganda gorilla trekking safari gives you an opportunity to encounter these gorillas. Sitting or standing in silence on the cold ground of a Ugandan forest for 60 minutes might be one of life’s greatest privileges. There are about 1000 mountain gorillas in existence, and Uganda is home to half of those remaining in the world. A Uganda gorilla trekking safari tour provides Uganda tour travellers with a rare opportunity to observe the everyday interactions of these gentle, mysterious primates that behave just like humans.
In 1981, environmentalists estimated there were only 254 mountain gorillas left in the world, but the small population is rising slowly, however, it’s due to the intense international conservation efforts including the Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation. These creatures were once critically endangered according to the ICUN list but due to consistent conservation, their numbers rose to about 1000 according to the last census in Virunga hence scraping them off the critically endangered list. These endangered creatures can’t survive in captivity, the only way to see them is by booking a Uganda gorilla trekking tour, a Rwanda gorilla trekking safari, a Congo gorilla trekking safari up to their natural habitat in the famous misty cloud forests with altitudes that go to about 14,763 feet.
Reasons why Uganda should be your gorilla stop destination!
Did you know you will be where half of the world’s remaining gorillas are?
Uganda is blessed with two gorilla trekking; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Because gorillas in the Virungas’ don’t respect political borders, populations across the Virungas relatively change. Uganda has an advantage that Bwindi doesn’t lie in the Virungas and it alone is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park sometimes referred to as called the place of darkness due to its dense treetops, is an ancient, montane and lowland forest spanning 128 square miles making. The region was named a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its incredible biodiversity and a large number of endangered species that call it home.
While Mgahinga 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.
Your presence helps fight habitat destruction
Habitat destruction is the main threat to mountain gorillas. Uganda’s population growth is at a very high rate. Communities around the parks are heavily populated, and residents have traditionally used the land around national park boundaries for farming or building bigger homes.
Since tourism is now Uganda’s most profitable industry, the majority of tourists on safaris Uganda to see the mountain gorillas, they are encouraged to seek out ways to give back to the communities they visit. One popular option is to hire a porter, who is always a local resident, sometimes a reformed poacher. The landscape within the parks is unpredictable and difficult; porters help guide trekkers through river crossings and up steep along the muddy inclines.
You can also participate in community-led Uganda cultural tour initiatives. In Bwindi village, the Bwindi Bar trains young adults in hospitality through laborious classes and work experience, some communities teach art work and some entertain the tourists at a small fee.
Around Mgahinga, elders of the Batwa tribe lead visitors on a forest tour Uganda along the Batwa Trail, explaining how a dependent, forest-dwelling tribe that traditionally uses medicinal plants from the forest.
Uganda has affordable gorilla trekking permits
Gorillas are still endangered and strict regulations have been put in place to make sure the gorillas stay healthy in the wild starting with the gorilla trekking permit process. If you are interested in a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, you must book your permit early because daily viewings of each gorilla group are extremely limited, its only 8 people allowed to track a particular gorilla group a day. In Uganda, the permit costs $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 totalling to about 18 gorilla families. 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.
You have a chance to hike a challenging train
Once you cross to southwestern Uganda, you will witness lots of green terraced hills and rolling volcanic slopes and it’s clear this area of the country is not for the faint of hearted. Reaching the gorillas 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 no clearings. The reward seems much better after all of the hard work. This gorilla trekking tour in Uganda promises to be the adventure of a lifetime so await your ultimate Africa safari memories.
You will inevitably encounter other primates
Are you a primate lover? Look nowhere else, Uganda is a primate lovers dream. In addition to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga is home to another endangered species: the golden monkey. Golden monkeys are hairy, comical monkeys that live high up in bamboo forests. Tracking golden monkeys is very similar to tracking gorillas, but the trek itself is not quite as challenging.
Bwindi also has L’hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and blue monkeys. On your Uganda safari tour to Kibale Forest National Park, you will witness chimpanzees steal the show. You will sight lots of Patas monkeys roam around Murchison Falls National Park during your Uganda wildlife tour. Queen Elizabeth National Park has blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys.
Visit mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd.