Best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda
Best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda : Gorilla trekking is a thrilling and most popular activity in Uganda where you will move into the tropical rain forest in search of the endangered mountain gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Mountain gorillas are endangered primate specie which can be found in two destination areas that is Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in southwestern Uganda.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the gorilla trekking destinations located in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district. The national park harbors half of the world’s mountain gorillas which make it the best gorilla trekking destination in Africa. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a home of 19 habituated gorilla families and they are found in four sectors of the park that is Nkuringo, Rushaga, Ruhija and Buhoma sector. Gorilla trekking in the park starts early at about 8:00am and with a briefing about the rules, regulations and expectations, after trekking you will be grouped into 8 individuals to trek each habituated gorilla family and then enter the jungle with a park guide who will be sharing information about the mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest takes about 2 to 7 hours and once the gorillas have been found, you will spend one hour with them in the natural habitat and this hour will be used to take photos, record the moments and learn more about their lifestyle, habits, behaviors among others.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is another gorilla trekking destination in Uganda. The park is located in southwestern Uganda in Kisoro district and a home of two habituated gorilla families Nyakagezi and Hirwa which migrated from Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park starts with a briefing at Ntebeko park entrance where after you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide. Gorilla trekking in the park takes about 2 to 5hours and once the gorillas have been found, you will spend one hour in the presence of the mountain gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park is only done by visitors above the age of fifteen, each gorilla family is trekked by a group of 8 individuals and in order to participate in trekking you will have to first purchase a gorilla trekking permit which is valid for one day and allows you to spend one hour with the gorillas in their natural environment.
Best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda
Uganda is an all year round travel destination for visitors planning a safari due to favorable climate and the best time for gorilla trekking can be determined depending on the season
Peak season in Uganda is also known as the dry season during the months of June to September and December to February. Visitors prefer the dry season because during this period there is less rainfall in the forests therefore there will be short grass which enables you to clearly view the mountain gorillas, easy accessibility to the national parks and the gorilla trekking trails in the jungle will be passable.
Even though it’s a dry season rain can be expected anytime and the peak/ dry season has some drawbacks for example a gorilla trekking permit is competitive during the peak season due to increased number of visitors and the permits usually get sold out therefore you are advised to book 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date to avoid disappointments. Accommodations in the national parks also become competitive hence visitors are also advised to book in time.
The low season is also known as the wet season, Uganda experiences two rainy seasons for example the long rainy season in the months of March to May and short rainy season in the months of October to November. during the wet/rainy season the forests in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park receive heavy rainfall and sometimes rains everyday which makes gorilla trekking activity difficult in that the access roads to the national parks will be impassable and gorilla trekking trails will be muddy and slippery.
The low/wet season has advantages such as less crowds therefore you will enjoy the park with few people and chose the gorilla trekking family that you want to trek, the gorilla trekking permits will be less competitive and last minute visitors can also acquire a gorilla trekking permit and the accommodations especially luxury lodges will offer discounts hence favoring budget travelers.
Regardless of the season in Uganda, it can rain any time of the day in the jungle therefore visitors on a gorilla trekking safari should pack gorilla trekking essentials such as
- Hiking shoes, the shoes will keep your feet dry during trekking especially in the wet season
- Garden gloves, these will protect your hands from getting hurt because you may touch plants, tree branches for support while in the jungle
- Long sleeved shirt and trouser, these clothes will give you warmth and also protect your body from being injured by trees
- Waterproof rain jacket, this will protect you in case it rains while trekking
- Warm sweater, the sweater will keep you warm because it’s always cold during morning and night hours in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park.
- Walking stick, a walking stick will be provided at the park entrance but you can carry yours if you want and it gives you support in steep and slippery slopes.
- Porter, visitors are advised to hire a porter when going for gorilla trekking because trekking is done in steep, muddy and slippery slopes therefore a porter will give you a push, pull and carry your backpack during trekking.
There are other essentials that you can pack like an insect repellent, backpack, drinking water, packed lunch, camera, binoculars, hat among others.
Gorilla trekking is done every day in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park despite the season and gives you breathtaking and lifetime experiences therefore if you want to visit the park with less crowds you will go for gorilla trekking in the wet/low season and in case you want to have a clear view of the gorillas in the jungle and dry grounds you can visit during the dry/peak season.