The following companies can take you for Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale, Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest as well as other primate watching tours in Uganda and Rwanda. The list of the tour companies presented here is for only credible companies. There are various offers and tour packages that can combine more safari destinations in Uganda.
- Where are the mountain gorillas found in Uganda?
The mountain gorillas in Uganda can be viewed in two places in south-western Uganda, that’s to say Bwindi impenetrable Forest National park as well as Mgahinga National park.
Bwindi impenetrable National park also supports half of the world’s population of the mountain gorillas and is the most popular destination to track the gorillas in Uganda. The forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s between 1,1160m and 2,607m above sea level.
Buhoma which is in the northern side of the forest and is the most famous popular place for the tourists. In the southern side of Bwindi , there is Rushaga, Ruhija, as well as Nkuringo, and this gives you access to very many gorillas families.
Mgahinga Gorilla National park is known to be the smallest park that measures 34km. the park is a home to one of the gorilla family that keeps on moving between Uganda and Rwanda that makes it very difficult to trek this small gorilla population. It’s also part of the large Virunga Conservation Area that joins a total of 434km of the volcanic mountains that connect Uganda with Rwanda as well as DRC.
- How many Gorilla families are found in Uganda?
There are also many gorilla families found in Uganda though a small number have been habituated for the tourist visits. By habituation, we mean the animals that have got used to human presence. This is also a process that takes many years. Uganda has got over nine gorilla families which means the country has a maximum of 8 permits per day.
There are 3 habituated families in Buhoma. These include; Habinyanja, Mubare, as well as Rushaga families that live in the thick tropical forest as well as the trekking that takes 3 to 10 hours. In case you have ever watched the videos of the humans meeting gorillas in the grounds of a lodge, then it’s most likely to be buhoma.
Both the Bitukura and Oruzogo families are found in Ruhija southern sector of Bwindi.
Within the southern part of bwindi , you will find the Nkuringo , Nshongi, Kahunje, Rushaga and Businge families.
In the recent days, it has also become too possible to track the Nyakagezi family, which is the only habituated family in Mgahinga National park. The gorillas move across the border and this makes viewing so unpredictable. UWA also states that the Nyakagezi family is one of the most amusing gorilla family to trek. It has also got a higher number of silverbacks within the group.
The things to be done after trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda
You might come to Uganda for gorilla trekking but you might end up taking up many other activities. Just take a deep breath, you will enjoy the eventual guide to mountain gorilla trekking.
Bwindi forest has got 120 mammal species and it includes 30 elephants, 360 bird species and over 200 butterfly species. More so, the African Bird club rated Bwindi as Africa’s number one destination for birders. Even though you don’t know a lot about the birds, I challenge you to travel to Uganda without liking them.
The dark forest is also not the easiest destination to spot the birds and the trained bird guide can trap them out of the forest by skilfully copying their songs. Bird watching is also one of the best thing to carry out after gorilla trekking.
There were 324 tree species that have been recorded in Bwindi including the giant fern trees, shrubs as well as the vines, there are also nature walks that help in viewing the orchids as well as monkeys, there are also the guided bird watching safaris that can be arranged. There is also a walk to view many of the three waterfalls that are inside the part and this is highly recommended. In case you have time, you can enjoy a day walk from one side of Bwindi forest to the other.
There is also a tour to the beautiful bwindi community hospital found in Buhoma and was funded by its nearness to the centre for the mountain gorilla tourism activity , and this is a great activity to carry out after trekking the gorillas. This is also a beautiful health facility in a remote and poor corner of the world
You will also get some time and meet the batwa which is the original forest owner tribe, who have also given up their traditional home in the national parks as a big result of the international pressure of protecting the mountain gorilla’s habitant. The batwa culture is also known to be unique and these have lived for hunting and seeing their homes in the trees, which gives a fantastic glimpse of an ancient way of life. The batwa people have also got many community projects in Mgahinga as well as Virungas.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is also one place in Uganda where the tourists can see the golden monkeys. I also think that this guided trekking adventure above the calderas and also inside the bamboo forest was so good and this means that you can buy permits when you get to Mgahinga.
Uganda as a country has got many activities to so and the attractions to see, so this means that you might regret rushing home. There are game safaris to view the lions, elephants, 100 bird species, chimpanzee trekking, the friendly people, the lake rides in the dugout canoes, white water rafting. White water rafting, village community projects visit, eating some Ugandan food, quad biking, fishing, African dance, boat cruises in order to view the beautiful waterfalls, the hippos, and the crocodiles. These are some of the attractions that are found in Rwanda.
The tips of buying a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda
In order to reserve the gorilla permits in Uganda, you will need to agree which gorilla family you would like to visit. The reservations office will also guide you on which family to trek, these will advise on your fitness level and the accommodation favourites. The gorilla families are also spread over a wide area and it’s so important that you book the accommodation which is within an hour’s drive and its a few minutes’ walk.
To buy the gorilla permits, you should visit Uganda wildlife Authority office, Kira road, Kampala or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tips of buying gorilla permits in Rwanda
Here you don’t have to agree on a particular gorilla family when buying your gorilla permits in Rwanda. You will also be given a family to track on the day of your actual gorilla trek, and this will depend on your fitness level.
Rwanda gorilla trekking permits can be got through a local tour operator or at RDB tourism and conservation offices or you can send an email at reservation @Rwanda tourism.com.
Frequent questions asked about gorilla trekking
The permits are non-refundable but only for medical reasons, and you will need to provide a medical certificate.
Buying of the gorilla permit is not an assurance of seeing the mountain gorillas and you will have 95% chance of viewing them, this is a thanks to the rangers who do 24 hours of monitoring the gorillas. These gorilla families usually move out of range but this is rare.
What’s the best place to stay for gorilla trekking in Uganda?
- Where to stay in Bwindi impenetrable National park
There are good and comfortable budget facilities just 2km from Buhoma entrance to the national park for the trekkers, the students as well as researchers. 100% of the gorilla conservation camp’s profits are put to conservation.
Buhoma Lodge is also one of the two lovely lodges in Bwindi Park. This lodge is also a luxury eco lodge that is set on the hill with the best beautiful views of the rain forest.
Bwindi: Ruhija/Rushaga/ Nkuringo
There is Nkuringo gorilla camp that is set on the crest of the hill. This camp over looks Bwindi forest and on the other side, the guests can see the 8 volcanic peaks of the Virunga.
Traveller’s Rest Hotel
Located in Kisoro and has got simple and comfortable rooms and was known to be a frequest stop for the great primatologist Dian Fossey when she had travelled to Uganda , this is also an hour’s drive from Bwindi forest. More so, the budget accommodation can be arranged through the famous innovative gorilla highlands project.
- Where to stay in Mgahinga National Park
Mount Gahinga Lodge is just 5 minutes’ walk from Mgahinga gorilla national park. It’s nuzzled underneath the volcanic peaks, it’s a four star eco- lodge and it has got nice food. Each and every stay includes a complementary message and many well developed community initiatives which is a real hit for the visitors.
Expectations on your gorilla trek – starting the trekking day in Uganda
Gorilla trekking registration as well as briefing takes place at Uganda wildlife Authority park offices from 7:45 am and trekking also begins at exactly 8:30 am. In Uganda, you will be given a specific gorilla family to trek at the time of buying the gorilla permit. Some of the gorilla permits are so easier to track than others; and this also depends on what altitude they range, or what exact distance they cover during the day. This trek usually takes 1 to 3 hours before finding the gorilla family. In case you are so fit, going through these dense forest of Bwindi , with the ranger riding through the occasional branch with his blade in front of you, can be a loving adventure.
Gorilla trekking expedition
When you what to do gorilla trekking, you will understand that gorilla tracking is the most astonishing encounter in the world. When you come face to face with them, you will spend 1 hour with them as you will watch them play, feed or tease each other plus taking care of each other. You will as well take pictures and also expect lots fun as you watch them. It’s known that there are 0 habituated gorilla groups that live in volcanoes and these are distributed in all corners of the park and this means that you will be allocated a group which you will search for on a given day. These groups include; Amahoro, Agashya, or group 13, Kwitonda, the Hirwa, Umubano, Ugenda, Karisimbi, and the Bwenge family. Immediately after buying a gorilla permit, you will be assigned any of those groups.
The trek begins with a briefing from the headquarters and you will be informed about the dos and don’ts that you might need to notice while in the forest and then you will be put in the groups of 8 individuals at maximum. You will then be given rangers who will guide you through the forest which is full of sneaking plants as well as the steep slopes until you will find them. Its therefore very important to remember that gorilla tracking can be so active most especially to the physically unhealthy people since it includes hiking, walking for long hours which means spending long hours especially if your allocated group pondered off high in the mountains.
You will also find some comfort in the real fact that at the end, the adventure will be worthwhile to each and every one. In case you are planning to go for a gorilla safari, you will have to book the gorilla permits in advance since booking is only confirmed by paying for it. We shall also help you book the permit. Give you the necessary information about gorilla trekking in order to make sure that you have the best trip.
The gorilla permits have got different prices in the three countries. In Rwanda, a permit is at $750 per person, in Uganda, it’s at $600 per person, and in DRC, and the permit is at $ 400 per person. The gorilla permits in the low season of April, May and November are at $ 450 per person. These permits also help in limiting on the number of people that visit each and every group in a day. Its only 8 people who are allowed to visit each and every group and this is done to control the stress that can be caused to these primates since this might make them very violet.