Watching mountain gorillas up close is one of the most interesting things that can never escape your mind. These fascinating creatures, as their name goes live on mountainous areas. They cannot survive in captivity and therefore the only opportunity to see them is trekking into the tropical thick forests which are their natural habitats. It is very right to say that staying with mountain gorillas in the misty forests of East-central Africa is an extremely thrilling experience. The world has a total of about 1,060 mountain gorillas remaining and these live in two populations; one in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the other in the Virunga mountain ranges.
Mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountain ranges are protected under Mgahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the DRC. And now that we are aware that these cousins can only be seen in their native homes, tracking them in the dense forests is the only way to catch a look. In this article, Mumwe Global Safaris presents to you the reasons you need to add a gorilla safari in Uganda to your bucket list of things to do in the Pearl of Africa.
To trek at more affordable costs with cheaper gorilla permits
Since mountain gorillas share a high DNA with humans yet they are endangered, a number of strict regulations are followed on all gorilla trekking activities. This way, even the process for obtaining a gorilla permit is different from the rest of the wildlife permits. A maximum of 8 people is allowed to visit a single habituated gorilla family each day and therefore only 8 gorilla permits are produced for each gorilla family. Permits are normally on high demand more so for the peak season and potential trekkers are advised to apply early enough considering the dates they wish to travel.
Uganda and Rwanda are the popular gorilla destinations and Uganda is the only country with two national parks where to see gorillas. A gorilla permit costs US$ 700 for foreign nonresidents in Uganda which is less than half of the price of a single gorilla permit in Rwanda. In Uganda, US$ 1500 can cover the whole cost of a gorilla safari when using budget or midrange accommodation.
You will be a destination that has half of the world’s mountain gorillas
Uganda has two gorilla destinations; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (BINP). Both reserves are situated in the southwestern region of the country which is described by its beautiful undulating terrain. It’s a great privilege to watch gorillas in Uganda because it has the largest population of these fascinating creatures. Covering an area of 331 sq.km, Bwindi alone is home to almost half of the world’s gorillas and it has over 17 habituated gorilla families which can be met by trekking.
The 33.7 sq.km Mgahinga Gorilla national park has one transboundary habituated gorilla family that was fond of crossing to the DRC and Rwanda since the park is located at the border of Uganda with the two countries. However, a few years back the gorilla group settled in Uganda and is now available for trekking.
You have a chance to see other primates
Through the thick dense forests, the ground quite slippery, it is time to search for the allocated gorilla family in the gorilla parks. Apart from mountain gorillas, Mgahinga is a native habitat for golden monkeys while Bwindi is home to chimpanzees and other primates including L’hoest monkeys, blue monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys among others. As you hike around the forests, some of these primates will cross your paths. Therefore, expect some surprises to delight your gorilla trekking experience for the day. Alternatively, you can choose to go for golden monkey tracking the day after trekking gorillas. The experience is quite similar to gorilla trekking but good news here is that it is less strenuous since it is known that these monkeys are mostly found high in bamboo vegetations.
You can take on the gorilla habituation experience
Yes, the gorilla trekking experience is so life changing yet it gives just an hour of watching the apes. To make the visit extraordinary, you can spend 4 hours with the incredible giants to see the process they go through when being prepared for trekking. Visitors join a team of researchers, rangers and doctors into the Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park very early morning to meet the semi habituated or wild gorillas before they leave their nest and the preparation is done. For a period of about 5 years for the habituation process to be complete, each day is different. To go for this unforgettable experience, you simply need to obtain your permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority at US$ 1,500.
You can trek over the challenging landscape
Listening to a description of the terrain of the southwestern part of Uganda gets you knowing that it is a destination that perfectly suits tourists seeking adventure. From the rolling terraced hills, through the curving roads to the conical Virunga ranges, the region is so unique and worth a visit. Gorilla trekking on this challenging terrain or possibly adding a mountain hike on the trip makes the tour delightful.
The above 5 reasons are great enough to help you know that Uganda is the best place for your gorilla tour. The reward of the gorilla safari here is outstanding and worth considering. Mumwe Global Safaris is a credible tour operator with great experience in organizing gorilla tours. For details and inquiries, get in touch with us today through firstname.lastname@example.org or call +256-700135510 / +256 414-699459 to speak to our travel consultants