Uganda gorilla trekking-Uganda gorilla safaris
On any African safari, Gorilla trekking in Uganda should be on your bucket list. With over 450 gorillas and growing, Uganda has half of the world’s mountain gorillas in the world. On your Uganda gorilla safari, you will get to experience why it’s one of the most popular safari activity in Africa.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in the gorilla’s natural habitat. In Uganda, they are found in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in the morning hours and usually takes between 3-8 hours. It entails trekking into the tropical forests, maneuvering your way through the thick green lush vegetation to locate the endangered species.
At Getaway Uganda tours, we have mastered the art of crafting your Uganda gorilla safaris to your specifications. We have tailor made itineraries and we encourage you to work with us to hand craft your perfect Uganda gorilla safari. We do short and long gorilla safaris, budget, mid-range and luxury gorilla safaris. Contact us for your memorable Uganda gorilla safari.
Preparing for the gorilla trekking in Uganda
Before you embark on your Uganda gorilla trekking safari, make sure you have the right clothing. These will ensure a smooth trek through the thick forest. You will need long sleeved shirt/t-shirt, trousers, gloves, rain jacket, insect repellent, a wide brimmed hat, sun block and sturdy hiking boots. You will need to be at the park headquarters for a briefing about the trek. Talk to the ranger and decide on your physical fitness. This helps in allocating the gorilla families to trek. Some families are far and need a certain level of fitness while others are near. You will be allocated gorilla families to trek and grouped into groups of 8.
Now, we head into the forest. Armed with a walking stick and a bottle of water, the rangers will lead you into the forest. In constant communication with the trackers ahead, you will weave through the forest following the directions of the guides. The trackers go ahead to locate the gorilla families. So you have 100% chance of seeing the gorillas. The steep valleys, filled with mist in the morning make an amazing trekking experience. The rangers ahead of you will clear the forest (That’s why it’s called impenetrable forest) using machetes. While Gorilla trekking in Uganda, you will enjoy the sounds, the birds and smell of the forest. The gloves, trousers and long sleeved shirts will protect you from the shrubs as you grope your way down the valleys. Then the magical moment. You find the gorillas.
The gorilla encounter
The long anticipated moment is here. An uneasy silence befalls you as you want to scream in wonder and perplexity. The first thing you will see will be the thick black shaggy coats. Then they will take shape as your eyes adjust to the sight of the magnificent apes. The white piercing eyes, the human like resemblance is astonishing. The agility as they move from one tree branch to another will leave you breathless. You will fumble to take as many pictures as possible before they dart off. They won’t. They will go on about their business as if you aren’t there. Since they have been habituated, they are used to seeing people.
The gorilla Interaction
The young however are playful and inquisitive. Sometimes, they will come and pull on your clothes or tap you to entice you to play with them. Don’t play or pet them. The older gorillas will charge you. All this will be explained during your briefing. Keep a safe distance of 7 meters as recommended by the guides and rangers. Don’t keep long eye contact with the primates as they may see it as a sign of aggression. Switch off the flash mode of your camera. You will spend an hour with the gorillas observing them as they eat and play with one another. You will take as many pictures and videos of the gorillas while Gorilla trekking in Uganda. After the hour, you will leave the gorillas and trek back to the headquarters where you will be awarded a certificate of gorilla trekking and helping in their conservation.
Where to go gorilla trekking in Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is the most popular destination of gorilla trekking in Uganda. With over 400 gorillas, you are bound to have an amazing time on your Uganda gorilla safari. The park is located in the south western part of Uganda and lies at an altitude of 2600 feet above sea level. The park is a tropical forest with over 18 gorilla families ready to be admired. The canopy of the forest is misty in the morning and evenings offering spectacular views. The park is divided into 4 trekking sector all with gorilla families ready for trekking. These include
- Buhoma sector
- Nkuringo sector
- Ruhija sector
- Rushaga sector
Buhoma is the go to destination for gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park. With 4 gorilla families, the sector offers amazing options for trekking. Buhoma sector was the first sector to be opened in 1993 with the Mubare gorilla family. The sector is easily accessible through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park which is famous for the tree climbing lions. With a variety of budget, mid-range and luxury lodges, the Buhoma sector is one of the best gorilla trekking sectors in Uganda.
The Nkuringo sector is found in the southern sector of the part. It is considered to be the most strenuous gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda. However, the sectors good photography opportunities as Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes of the Virunga National Park can be seen on this trek. The name of the sector was derived from the local language Nkuringo which means round hill. Rustic, midrange and luxury accommodations are available in this sector of the park.
Located in the southwestern part of Bwindi, the sector has 3 gorilla families for trekking. The sector is easily accessed through Kabale which makes it very ideal for short gorilla trekking safaris. The sector has 3 gorilla families and is less congested than Buhoma. Accommodation like Bakiga lodge, Broadbill forest camp and many more lodges offer comfortable accommodation while gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Rushaga sector is located in the southern part of Bwindi national park. With the most number of habituated gorillas, the sector receives the highest number of tourists. These gorilla families include; Bweza, Busingye, Nshongi, Kahungye, Mucunguzi, Rwigi, Bikyingi and Mishaya. All these families are visited by a group of 8 people on a given trekking safari.
Mgahinga national park:
Mgahinga gorilla national park is less known when it comes to gorilla trekking in Uganda. The park is 38 square kilometers but has a lot to offer when it comes to wildlife. The park shares the Virunga conservation area with Rwanda and Congo.
Gorilla trekking is the main activity done in this park with one gorilla habituated family; the Nyakagyezi family. The family is comprised of 9 members with 2 silver backs. In the past, this gorilla family would migrate to Rwanda and Congo but has recently settled in Mgahinga national park. Only 8 people can trek the gorillas in this park. However, other primates and safari activities are undertaken in this park. Golden monkey trekking is the second to gorilla trekking.