Gorilla trekking guide in Uganda
Gorilla trekking guide in Uganda : Gorilla trekking is an adventurous and thrilling activity in Uganda where visitors move into the tropical rain forests in search of the endangered mountain gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is the major activity done in Uganda and its carried out in two destinations that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Apart from Ugandan destinations gorilla trekking is also done in other destinations in Africa such as Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is the best destination for gorilla trekking in that trekking is done in two destinations and it harbors the highest number of mountain gorillas in the whole world. Gorilla trekking guide will help you to plan for your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda in that the guide provides you with basic facts about gorilla trekking including
Gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda
Bwindi impenetrable national park
The national park is located in southwestern Uganda in Kanungu district and is the best gorilla trekking destination in Uganda in that it harbors over 400 mountain gorillas which is half of the mountain gorillas in the whole world. Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home of 19 habituated gorilla families which are found in four sectors in the park that is Rushaga in the southern sector which has 8 habituated gorilla families, Buhoma in the south with 4 habituated gorilla families, Nkuringo in the south with 3 habituated gorilla families and Ruhija in the east with 4 habituated gorilla families.
Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mgahinga gorilla national park is another gorilla destination in Uganda located in southwestern Uganda in Kisoro district. the national park is a home of 2 habituated gorilla families namely Nyakagezi and Hirwa family which migrated from the neighboring destination Volcanoes national park in Rwanda in October 2019 to add on Nyakagezi family therefore the park has two gorilla families that are available for trekking daily.
How gorilla trekking in Uganda is done
Gorilla trekking in both destinations starts early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters about expectations, rules and regulations to be followed during trekking in the jungle. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 individuals and allocated a gorilla family to trek, grouping is done depending on physical fitness and age. You will later start trekking in the jungle with a guide who will be sharing information about the mountain gorillas, answering any questions among others. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park is unpredictable in that it might take a short time or long time of 2 to 7 hours and once the mountain gorilla are found, you will spend time with them in their natural habitat learning about their lifestyle, behaviors, habits, taking plenty of photos with a flash less camera and recording the moments.
Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda
A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document or card that is issued to a visitor above the age of fifteen years allowing him or her to trek a gorilla family in either Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park.
A single gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $600 for foreign non-resident, $500 for foreign resident and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. A gorilla trekking permit was however increased by $100 effective 1st July 2020 therefore a foreign non-resident will pay $700 and $600 for foreign resident. A gorilla trekking permit is cheaper and affordable compared to Volcanoes national park in Rwanda where a single gorilla trekking permit costs $1500 for all nationalities.
How to book for a gorilla trekking permit
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda can either be booked directly through Uganda Wildlife Authority a government body in charge of tourism in Uganda by contacting them via email or telephone calls or you can book via a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. Booking through a tour operator is the best option in that you will contact us with the dates, months, year and destination where you want to trek the gorillas and we will check for availability of the permits depending on your dates, once there are permits available you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit and also send your scanned passport copies which will be used when registering for your permit. When the deposit has been made we will acquire the permit for you and also send scanned copies of the permit as confirmation.
A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda should be acquired 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date in that it’s competitive and permits usually get sold out especially during the peak season therefore to avoid disappointments you should book in advance.
Best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is an exciting activity that can be done all year round though the best period is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the forests therefore access roads to the Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park will be passable, shrubs in the forest will be short which gives you a clear view of the gorillas and the gorilla trekking trails will be dry and passable. Due to the fact that gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in tropical rainforest, rain is expected anytime of the day regardless of the season.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can also be done in the wet season during the months of March to May and October to November. Though the wet season is full of heavy rains it has some advantages such the gorilla trekking permit will be less competitive in that the last minute visitors can acquire permits, lodges in the park will offer discounts which favors budget travellers and there will be less crowds during trekking.
What to pack on your gorilla trekking safari
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in the tropical rainforests therefore it can rain anytime of the day regardless of the season therefore visitors should pack essential items for their gorilla trekking safari including
- Gorilla trekking permit, this is an important item for your gorilla trekking safari in that once you forget it you will not be allowed to trek any gorilla family in either Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park.
- Hiking shoes, the hiking shoes should be comfortable and reach at the ankles so as to protect your feet, easy movement in muddy and slippery grounds during trekking.
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers, these will give you warmth and also protect your body from getting injured while in the forest.
- Waterproof rain jacket, since it can rain anytime in the forest the rain jacket will protect you from the rain.
- Warm sweater, this will give you warmth because it’s always cold during morning and evening hours in the park.
- Insect repellent, the forests are full of biting insects such as tsetse flies, safari ants, mosquitos among others and the insect repellent will protect you from the insects.
- Garden gloves, these will protect your hands from thorny bushes and germs.
- Energy snacks, gorilla trekking takes about 2 to 7 hours therefore when going for trekking you should carry packed lunch and drinking water to give you energy while trekking.
- Camera and extra batteries, the camera will be used to take plenty of photos and also capture the moments during the one hour in the presence of the gorillas.
- Backpack, the back pack will be used to carry all the items for your gorilla trekking safari for example a camera, energy snacks, insect repellent, permit among others.
- Hiring a porter, all visitors are advised to hire a porter when for gorilla trekking activity in that during trekking you will pass through steep, muddy and slippery grounds therefore a porter will give you a push, pull and also carry your backpack.
Rules and Regulations for gorilla trekking in Uganda
- Visitors should be above 15 years of age to be issued a gorilla trekking permit
- Gorilla trekking only allows 8 people to visit a gorilla family, this helps to reduce the risk of transmitting diseases and also minimizes on the behavior disturbances.
- Visitors should be physically fit because trekking involves walking long distances in steep terrains and slippery grounds.
- You should keep 7 meter distance from the gorillas because they can easily be infected by human diseases.
- You should stay in your group so as not to get lost in the jungle
- Do not touch the gorillas because they are wild animals
- Do not smoke or eat anything when near or in front of the gorillas because it increases the risk of transmission of diseases.
- Use a flash less camera when taking photos.
- Keep you voices down until 200 meters away from the gorillas
- You will only spend one hour in the presence of the mountain gorillas
- In case a gorilla charges, do not look directly into the eyes of the gorilla, crouch down slowly and do not run because running will increase the risk of a gorilla attacking you.
- Do not leave any rubbish in the forest
- In case you are not feeling well with a cold, cough, you are advised not to trek the gorillas because they can easily be infected by human illnesses.
- In case you want to ease yourself the guide will dig for you a 30cm deep hole and after using it you cover it.
Other activities that you can do on your gorilla trekking safari
Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park have other activities which visitors on a gorilla trekking safari can engage in such as community tours where you will visit the Batwa/pygmies who used to live in the forest many years ago, nature walk, golden monkey trekking, mountain climbing in Mgahinga gorilla national park, birding to spot out different bird species like black kite, paradise flycatcher, double collard sunbird, speckled mouse bird, handsome francolin, Rwenzori batis, strange weaver, chapin’s flycatcher among others. You can also combine gorilla trekking with activities in other destinations such as boat cruise, game drive, lion tracking, and chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth national park.
Where to stay
there are a wide range of luxury, midrange, budget and camping sites in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park where visitors on a gorilla trekking safari can stay including Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp, Lake Kitandara Camp, Engage Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Volcanoes Safari Bwindi Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs Camp, Gorilla Friends Lodge, Eco Marvels Gorilla Resort, Bwindi Guest House, Bwindi View Bandas, Jungle View Lodge, Mount Gahinga Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, Travellers Rest Hotel, Mutanda Lake Resort among others. The lodges provide quality services and facilities such as comfortable beds with en-suite bathrooms, siting lounges, living areas, free Wi-Fi, gardens for relaxation after gorilla trekking, restaurant which prepares local and international dishes, bars, spectacular views of the park, hills, homesteads, animals, birds among others.