Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda occurs in two distinctive places; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest protecting close to half of the total gorilla population, and Mgahinga National Park contingent with Rwanda’s Volcanoes and DR Congo’s Virunga National Park. Both parks offer the best gorilla trekking adventures globally and protect the highest number of animal and plant species. Bwindi impenetrable is rated as the top travelers’ choice and most affordable for gorilla trekking accommodations and permit availability. Between the parks, over 20 gorilla families are habituated for human visits and are available for gorilla trekking within the five distinctive sectors spread around the park boundaries.
Between Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda protects more than half the world’s Gorilla population; you’ll most probably have a great chance to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda than in Rwanda and DR Congo.
To access Uganda gorilla trekking adventures, one flies into Uganda through Entebbe International Airport located on Lake Victoria shores near the capital, about 500 kilometers from the gorilla destinations. With the gorilla permit booked in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, one can either drive 10 hours by road through the southwestern highlands to get to the gorilla destinations or take a one-hour flight to one of the two small airports 2-hours drive outside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can then book accommodation at any of the five trailheads, spend a night, and track the gorillas early morning the next day.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda excursions occur in four major sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, including Buhoma sector with 4 Habituated Gorilla families, Ruhijja sector with 4 Habituated gorilla Families, Nkuringo Sector with 3 habituated Family and Rushaga Sector with 6 Habituated Gorilla Families. The fifth sector is in Mgahinga National Park with 1 habituated gorilla family.
Gorilla trekking starts at about 8:00 AM at the main hall in all of the five sectors. The Park superintendent briefs the visitors on tracking guidelines, COVID-19 SOPs and then assigns which gorilla group to track based on physical fitness. Visitors are then selected in groups of 8 tourists, 2 armed rangers, and an expert local tracker guide to lead the trekkers into the jungle to find the gorillas.
You will walk in the dense forest searching for the gorillas, and the trek can last from a few hours to as much as a whole day, depending on where they built their nests last night and how far they would have moved to search for food. Once you find these close relatives of ours, you are allowed 1hour interaction due to conservations purposed. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a life experience exiting that will always have a fresh memory on your mind.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Rules
Before you embark on the trek, you need to take precautions and safety guidelines; this will be mostly told during the morning briefing just before your guide leads you to the jungle to search for these incredible apes. Here are some of them you need to observe.
Before the gorilla trekking excursion
- .Do NOT visit the gorillas if you have a cold or infectious illness; the gorillas would easily get infected too; conserve!
- You should have tested negative for COVID-19 before your visit to the gorilla park.
- Gorilla trackers must be fit and in good health to transverse the steep slopes in the impenetrable forest.
- Human waste should be buried 30cm (12″) deep.
- The maximum number of visitors is 8 persons per gorilla group per day.
During the gorilla trekking excursion
- Maintain a 7m (21ft) distance from the gorilla
- Smoking, drinking, and eating are not permitted on the tour
- If you must sneeze or cough, cover your face and turn away from the gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans.
- Visits to see mountain gorillas are limited to one hour with the gorillas per gorilla group per day
- Do not make sudden movements
- Do not touch the gorilla even if they come closer to you or if they touch you.
- Do not surround the gorillas
- Do NOT use flash photography
What To Pack For Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
- Gorilla trekking is an exciting adventure and a lifetime experience; by its nature and the location where it happens, there is more or less that you may need depending on your preferences. “So pack for a purpose” you can pack all you need in a small backpack.
- Long-Sleeved Shirt made of materials that dry quickly or the wick-away moisture type of clothes. (the long sleeves protect you from tree branches, sun, and insects)
- A fleece or light wool sweater mornings can be cool, and the evenings can get quite chilly in Bwindi.
- A thin rain layer or a cheap poncho just in case it starts to rain while on the trek.
- Long pants are preferably made of synthetic material, and long pants will help with stinging nettle plants and ants.
- Walking shoes or boots that can support your ankle are essential; you might encounter ankle-deep mud at specific points.
- Gaitors or long socks (to touch the trouser and boots for protection from insects) depend on personal preference and the type of boots and trousers you use.
- Smart wool socks
- All clothing should be neutral-colored, loose-fitting, and relaxed clothing.
- Sunscreen or moisturizing cream
- Sunhat or Sunglasses with neck strap
- Insect repellent with DEET, please note that DEET can affect artificial fibers and plastics.
- Ziplocs / dry bags and other plastic bags for keeping valuables dry or storing wet clothes
- Packed lunch, find out what the packed lunch is, make sure to have it with you, or some energy bars and fruit depending on your preferences.
- Trekking may last longer into the afternoon.
- Enough water minimum of a liter, would be okay and should also be part of your packed lunch.
- Walking stick
- You may need to hire a porter to carry some of your stuff or for support
- Lastly, do not forget to bring your gorilla permit; your guide will always have the permit printed on the card, but just to be sure it is present.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safaris
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