Have you always wished to be part of magical encounters with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural wild? Wondering how you can plan a gorilla safari and which places you should visit during your holiday? Well, get the best of magical encounters with these Great apes in Uganda’s wilderness.
Guide to Gorilla Trekking Uganda
Why Visit the Uganda Gorillas
Treks to see these massive creatures is remarkably one of the most fascinating wildlife experiences in the world. If you have any plans to embark on an African holiday, gorilla trekking should be a must to do adventure that you should include in your bucket list. Think of a magical encounter with our closest relatives while in the wild and think about a trek to see mountain gorillas in Uganda’s jungles.
These great apes share about 95 percent of their DNA with humans making them a few closest relatives to humans. With only three countries where these unique creatures thrive, Uganda is that one magical destination not to miss out in your travel plan. The other two countries include Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Today, about 1004 mountain gorillas still thrive on earth and a trek to view is truly a lifetime primate experience.
Where to Go for Gorilla Trekking
Uganda gorilla safaris take you through its two spectacular parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park which all straddle in southwestern side along the Albertine rift just at the border with DR Congo. The two national parks offer refuge to nearly half the population of these great apes that still live on earth today.
The UNESCO world heritage site of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone is a home to about 440 mountain gorillas making it a true gorilla highland. This 331 square kilometer protected area straddles between altitude 1160m and 2607m and remarkably, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gorilla treks in Bwindi National Park are conducted within the four main trailheads of Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija and Rushaga. Interestingly, each of them feature habituated families for visitors to explore more about these dramatic creatures while in their natural habitat.
The Buhoma sector features habituated families like Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Katwe; Ruhija region has Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguliro; Nkuringo area comprises of Nkuringo and Christmas family; while Rushaga comprises of Nshongi, Kahungye, Busingye, Mishaya and Bweza group.
The less known Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on the other hand covers an area of about 34 square kilometers making it the smallest national park in Uganda but rewards travel endeavors with magical experiences. This national park has only one habituated gorilla family ‘Nyakagezi’ where visitors trek every day to see the rare mountain gorillas. This pristine protected area forms part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) that features about 434 square kilometers of the mighty Virunga Volcanoes.
Getting to Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park
To get to Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National Park, you need about 8-10 hours to drive from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. You drive via Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara route but regardless of the long hours, en-route, you have variety of unique attractions to catch a glimpse before getting to a park of your choice. Most importantly, if you drive via Queen Elizabeth National Park, you have a chance to catch a glimpse at the unique tree climbing lions at Ishasha sector and make stopover at Equator crossing at Kayambwe.
Alternatively, connect from Kigali about 3 to 4 hours’ drive via Chanika border crossing to Kisoro town or Gatuna border crossing to Kabale. In case you need to save time, you can embark on a flight from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield and land into Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro airstrip where you can easily connect by road to a park of your choice using safari vehicle.
How much are gorilla permits in Uganda
To take part in gorilla trekking in Uganda means you must have a gorilla permit. You can obtain one at $600 through a ground tour operator or reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Uganda is incredibly a magical destination of its own. It offers you two great opportunities to realize your dreams with the rare mountain gorillas while in their natural habitat.
Apart from the mountain gorillas, there are lots of other interesting things to see in Uganda. These include;
- The Source of the Nile in Jinja, the adventure capital of Uganda. There are lots of things to do along the Nile River including white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, jet boat rides etc.
- Uganda is the best place to see wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat. There are four great locations to see chimpanzees including Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest etc,
- Game drives in various savanna national parks including the Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park etc.
- Mountaineering Tours to the Rwenzori Maountains
For any plans to trek these Great Apes in the pearl of Africa, consider visiting Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park a must and you will have the best of unique primate experience.