Tracking the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is an experience of a lifetime that any visitor on Uganda safari should not miss out. Though gorilla trekking is a very captivating activity, it is important to plan well your trip. Before you embark on this life-changing adventure, you need to be well-prepared and that is why the tips provided below will guide you appropriately as you plan your visit to the gorillas in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.
With fewer than 1000 mountain gorillas on earth today, Uganda is home to half of all these individuals making it one of the only three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo) in the world where mountain gorilla trekking is conducted.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is undertaken in two national parks – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
When is the best time to go Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
Like most countries in East Africa, Uganda has two rainy and dry seasons. The rainy seasons are between April to May and October to November while the dry season falls between December to early March. The best time for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest is during the drier season. However, given the popularity of the forest for chimp tracking, it can get crowded during the dry season. If you have come to see the chimps alongside other activities and wildlife adventures in the other game parks, then the dry season would be ideal. I would recommend that you visit during the low season if you have come to see only the chimps in Uganda to avoid the crowds. Besides, Kibale is a rain forest and the rains should be expected at any time of the year.
How much does Gorilla tracking cost in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest?
Uganda Gorilla permits are US$ 700 per person, per trek. These permits must be pre-booked and fully paid for before arrival. Permits are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Currently the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) the government body responsible for tourism in Uganda sells 152 gorilla permits per day visiting 19 habituated gorilla families spread over 4 sectors of Bwindi National Park.
10 Things to Know About Mountain Gorillas:
- Gorillas and humans share over 98% similarity in their DNA.
- Mountain gorillas are only found in three countries – Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
- Mountain Gorillas are endangered but the only species with an increasing population – currently there are 1,063 individuals in the wild
- Mountain gorillas are one of the largest, most power living primates. An average male Mountain gorilla can weigh 180 kilograms.
- A gorilla group is led by a dominant silverback who will defend the group to the death
- There can be more than one silverback in a mountain gorilla group
- Mountain gorillas have around 16 different types of call
- Mountain gorillas spend about a quarter of their day eating mainly leaves and shoots, but have also been known to eat snails, ants and bark
- In the wild Mountain Gorillas can live to over 40 years old.
- At night, mountain gorilla groups sleep together in nests on the ground, or in trees, that they make from foliage. Infants will share their mother’s nests, staying safe and warm.