Can I see Uganda gorillas peacefully?
Can I see Uganda gorillas peacefully? Uganda is one of the luckiest countries having mountain gorillas in its 2 national parks. Mountain gorillas in Uganda can be found in tropical forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or bamboo vegetation of Mgahinga national park both located in the southwestern part of Uganda. With the country hosting more than half of the mountain gorilla population, this means that you have a high of seeing these mountain gorillas in their natural habitats.
Uganda has over 19 habituated mountain gorilla families that are all open for trekking at any time of the year and 18 of these are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park while 1 is in Mgahinga gorilla national park. To trek mountain gorillas, you need to be 15 years and above and you must possess a valid gorilla trekking permit from the Uganda wildlife authority which you can book directly with their website or from a trusted local tour operator.
The security while doing gorilla trekking in any of the national parks is very tight with armed ranger guides leading the trekkers into the jungle so as to protect them from wild animals in case of any but as of political security, the country is very safe. The gorilla trekking activity any of the national parks Bwindi impenetrable forest and Mgahinga starts with a briefing early in the morning at different offices where trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the gorilla trekking activity after which groups of 8 are led by rangers into the jungle to look for these gentle primates. during the trekking, the trekkers have an opportunity of meeting different park animals such as duikers, forest elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, different bird species, and different trees.
Where can I see Uganda gorillas peacefully?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in only 2 national parks all located in the southwestern part of the country and these are Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park. It’s up to you to choose what is best for you hence making Uganda a good place for gorilla trekking.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the most famous park in the world hosting over 19 habituated mountain gorilla families, 2 undergoing habituation and it’s the same park that harbors more than half of the mountain gorilla population left in the world. It’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park where the first mountain gorilla family to get fully habituated happened and this was Mubare gorilla family in Buhoma sector which started in 1991 and got open for tourism in 1993. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has 4 gorilla trekking sectors and each of these has its own gorilla families for trekking and these are Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, Nkuringo, and Rushaga in the south. Tourists who trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park have an opportunity of meeting some of the park animals such as elephants, buffaloes, duikers, giant forest hogs, baboons, different bird species, and plants.
Mgahinga national park
Mgahinga national park is Uganda’s smallest national park located in the southwestern part of the country lucky to be hosting mountain gorillas. Mgahinga national park is neighbored by Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park and Virunga national park of DR Congo and it’s at the same time part of the Virunga conservation area. The park hosts 3 out of 8 of the Virunga volcanoes namely Gahinga, Muhabura, and Sabyinyo. Mgahinga national park has only 1 habituated mountain gorilla family that is open for trekking at any time of the year and this is called Nyakagezi with the highest number of silverbacks in the whole world. Trekkers in Mgahinga national park have opportunities of meeting most of the park animals forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, side-striped jackals, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, black-fronted duikers and South African porcupines, golden monkeys, birds, and different bamboo zones.
How many mountain gorilla families are in Uganda?
Uganda has a total of 19 habituated mountain gorilla families with only one found in Mgahinga national park and 18 families in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The gorilla families in Uganda are Nyakagezi gorilla family, Orugozo gorilla family, Bitukura gorilla family, Kyaguriro gorilla, Mukiza gorilla family, Muyambi gorilla family, Habinyanja gorilla family, Mubare gorilla family, Katwe gorilla family, Kahungye gorilla family, Bweza gorilla family, Mucunguzi gorilla family, Nshongi gorilla family, Mishaya gorilla family, Kutu gorilla family, Christmas gorilla family, Nkuringo gorilla family, Rushegura gorilla family, and Busingye gorilla family. Uganda also has 2 mountain gorilla families that are undergoing habituation namely the Bikingi gorilla family and the Bushaho gorilla family.
How much money do I need to see Uganda gorillas peacefully?
Gorilla trekking permits are the same for each of the national parks with the endangered mountain gorillas and these cost $700, foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa. the permits are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority and allow a person to be around mountain gorillas for a maximum of 1 hour. Travelers intending to trek mountain gorillas in the high season are advised to book their trekking permits in advance of 3-4 months to avoid disappointments. The gorilla trekking permits can be got direct from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or you can book them through a trusted tour operator like Africa Adventure Vacations licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board and a member of Uganda Tour Operators.
When you decide to use us to nook for you a gorilla trekking permit for any of the parks, what we do is ask you the dates you would like to conduct the trekking after which we check for availability with the Uganda wildlife authority and if the permits are available, we do ask you to pay and upon receiving the money we secure for you the permit and send you a scanned copy for confirmation. Apart from booking the gorilla trekking permits, we can as well book accommodation and also organize transport for you.
What is the best time to see Uganda gorillas peacefully?
Uganda can be visited all year round but there are months that are better than the rest like the drier months. The drier months in Uganda happen in June, July, August, September, December, January, and February. During these months, there is little or no rainfall, the vegetation in the parks is thin giving clear views of the park animals, the trekking trails are less muddy and slippery, and lastly, the roads leading to the parks are passable.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda can also be done in the rainy season happening in March to May and October to November with the advantages of getting huge discounts on the lodges. The disadvantage of trekking mountain gorillas in the rainy season is that there is too much rainfall which makes the roads leading to the park impassable, the trekking trails in the parks muddy and slippery and the vegetation is always thick giving unclear views of park animals and bad photography.
Where to stay on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda?
All the gorilla national parks-Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park have so many accommodation facilities where travelers can have a good stay while on a safari in the park. These accommodation facilities range from budget to mid-range to luxury options.
Mgahinga national park accommodation includes Lake Mulehe Lodge, Lake Chahafi Lodge, Muhabura Motel, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Gahinga Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Muhabura Climbers Rest Camp, Travellers Rest Hotel, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Air-Land Hotel, Lake Chahafi Resort, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mondi Lodge Kisoro, Sabyinyo Guest House, Virunga Campsite and Backpackers, and Gorilla Hills Eco-Lodge among others.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park accommodation in each sector are as follows
Rushaga sector accommodation – Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla havens lodge, Nshongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Four Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Lake Mutanda Resort and Rushaga Gorilla Camp.
Ruhija sector accommodation – Bakiga Lodge, Ruhija campsite, Broadbill Forest Camp, Gorilla Mist Camp, Cuckooland Tented Camp, Ruhija Safari Lodge, Gift of nature lodge, Agadi Eco Lodge, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, and Trekkers Tavern among others.
Nkuringo sector accommodation – Nkuringo Gorilla Safari Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Back Packer’s Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, and Crested Crane Bwindi lodge among others.
Buhoma sector accommodation– Buhoma Lodge, Trekkers Tavern, Engagi Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Bwindi View Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Jungle View Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp, Gorilla Conservation Camp, Gorilla resort, Jungle View Lodge, and Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge among others.
How to access gorilla national parks to see Uganda gorillas peacefully?
From Entebbe/ kampala, travelers can access bwindi impenatrable forest national park or maghinga national park by road via Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale and Kisoro road. The journey takes 9-10 hours with beautiful views of the countryside, a stopover at the equator, distant views of rivers, lakes, hills, mountains, and smiling people. Travelers from Rwanda can access the parks using the Cyanika border in Kisoro and Katuna border in Kabale taking only 4-5 hours. Travelers from Rwanda will need a tourist visa on arrival at Kigali international airport and this comes at a fee of $100.
Travelers who hate long distances can access any of the parks by flying from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi airstrip in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Kisoro airstrip. From here the guide will drive you to your booked accommodation facilities taking a few minutes.
What to do with Africa Adventure Vacations?
Africa adventure vacations is a tour company based in Uganda licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board and a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Booking with Africa adventure vacations provides you safety and confidence during your safari courtesy of well-trained safari driver guides who are well conversant with all routes and tourism destinations in Africa. You can book with us any of the activities you want to do in Africa such as mountain gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla habituation, birding, game drives, hiking, nature walks, and community tours among others. Booking can be done at any time of the year.