Gorilla trekking in East Africa
Gorilla trekking in east Africa : Gorillas are no doubt the most fascinating of all primates in the world. Gorillas are unique in a way that they share about 90 percent of the human behavior making them similar to human beings. However, gorillas are the largest and probably the most powerful and gentle primate in East Africa. Mountain gorillas are the main reason for tourism development in East African in both Uganda and Rwanda because they can only be found in East Africa (Uganda and Rwanda) and the neighboring central Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorillas are found in the mountainous forests the Virunga Mountains and Bwindi impenetrable national park. Gorillas are the only natives to Africa with only two remaining species including, the Western gorillas and the Eastern gorilla. Rwanda and Uganda are the only 2 East African countries where travellers’ will find the only remaining endangered mountain gorillas in the whole world.
Rwanda; Rwanda is the smallest of all the East African countries but yet is if not the best, one of the best destination to see the mountain gorillas and this has been Rwanda’s biggest foreign income earner bringing a lot of foreigners in the country. The mountain gorillas in Rwanda are only found in the volcanoes national park located in the north western part of Rwanda, covering about 160km of the Virunga montane rainforest with other mountains including Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo. Volcanoes national park is bordered by Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga national park in Uganda and they are also homes to some of the remaining mountain gorillas. Apart from mountain gorillas, Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga national park are also homes to the golden monkeys.
Volcanoes national park was a base for the primatologist called Dian Fossey, an American zoologist who can down in Africa in the 1960s to study the behaviour of the gorillas in Congo however, given the constant wars and poach activities in Virunga forest, she moved to Volcanoes national park where she established a centre to protect the mountain gorillas. Volcanoes national park is has about ten habituated mountain gorillas families and the park has been recognized as the most convenient place to visit the gorillas in East Africa. Visitors are 99 percent guaranteed to see the gorillas as long as they have acquired the gorilla permits 5 months in advance. A gorilla permit in Volcanoes national park costs $1,500 for all nationalities throughout the year whether in low or peak seasons, therefore plane your visit accordingly.
Uganda; Uganda is the other East African country where you will find the mountain gorillas. Uganda has half of the remaining mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park both located in the southern western part of Uganda close to Uganda – Rwanda borders of Katuna in Kabale district and Cyanika border in Kisoro district. Bwindi Impenetrable national park has the highest number of gorilla families in East Africa of about 12 families and only one family in Mgahinga national park. This family in Mgahinga national park is similar to the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes national park given that they stay in relatively high altitudes while those of Bwindi Impenetrable national park are on relatively lower altitudes. Trekking gorillas in Uganda is one of the best experiences to do for travellers who are very adventurous. This is because the trekking involves hiking up and down the impenetrable forest. However, trekking gorillas in Bwindi forest takes longer hours depending on the location of the different gorilla families. Gorilla trekking in Uganda carried more advantages as compared to other East African gorilla trekking destinations. This includes; Bwindi national park has the largest gorilla families, chances of seeing the amazing creatures is 99 percent and gorilla permits cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and East African residents still pay 250,000 UG Shillings.
Democratic Republic of Congo; Gorillas can also be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is only in the Democratic Republic of Congo where one can see all the three different gorilla sub-species including the Eastern lowland gorillas in the Kahuzi Beiga national park and the Western lowland gorillas in the far western part of Congo along the Madiakoko Mountains and thirdly the mountain gorillas in the Virunga national park. However, due to the insecurities in some of the parts of Congo, gorilla activities only takes place in the Kahuzi Biega national park and Virunga national park. The chances of seeing the mountain gorillas in Virunga national park are high and a gorilla permit goes for $400.
Trekking gorillas in Virunga national park is considered as one of the activities to do when visitors come to Uganda and Rwanda simply because Virunga national park is closer to both countries and visitors can arrive in both Uganda and Rwanda and do a gorilla safari in Virunga national park.