5 Reasons You Need to See Gorillas in Uganda

5 Reasons You Need to See Gorillas in Uganda

5 Reasons You Need to See Gorillas in Uganda : Mountain gorillas are rare sub species of the Eastern gorillas only found in the mountainous rainforests of Eastern and Central Africa living in two populations, Uganda is blessed with these gentle giants living in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is part of the Virunga Conservation Area and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Sitting in silence on a cold ground in the jungle of Uganda forest 60 minutes and a few meters from the gorilla family is one of the life’s greatest privileges, there are approximately 1006 mountain gorillas in existence and gorilla trekking adventure provides a rare opportunity to observe and interact with these gentle, mysterious primates.

In the whole world, mountain gorillas are found in the dense forests of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Volcanic Mountain range that stretches across Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 1981, the environmentalists estimated there were only 253 mountain gorillas left in the world, but the small population is slowly rising thanks to the intense international conservation efforts. These endangered creatures cannot survive in captivity and because that, the only way to see them is by trekking up to their natural habitat, in the misty cloud forests that can reach altitudes of 14,763 feet.

As you are planning your gorilla trekking safari, here are the 5 reasons to make Uganda your destination for your gorilla trekking adventure.

  1. You’ll Be Where Half the World’s Mountain Gorillas Live.

Uganda has two gorilla trekking destinations/spots that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, naturally gorillas do not pay mind to political borders so populations across the Virungas are relatively fluid.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

Due to its dense treetops, Bwindi is called “The Place of Darkness”. The forest is an ancient, montane and lowlands forest spanning 128 square miles. The park was named the UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its incredible biodiversity and the large number of endangered species that call it home.

 Mgahinga Gorilla National Park covers 13 square miles of the larger Virunga habitat which stretch across 168 square miles into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The national park includes three of the eight major Virunga peaks – Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura and Mount Sabyinyo.

  1. You can support the fight against Habitat Destruction by supporting the local community

The main threat to mountain gorillas is habitat destruction, communities around the parks are heavily populated and residents have traditionally used land around national park boundaries for farming or logging.

Tourism is now the most lucrative industry in Uganda and the majority of the tourist come to see the mountain gorillas, trekkers are encouraged to seek out ways to give back to the communities they visit. One of the best and popular option is hiring a porter who is always a local resident and occasionally a reformed poacher. The landscape within the parks is unpredictable and difficult, porters help the guide trekkers through river crossings and up steep, muddy inclines.

Other options are participating in community – led cultural initiatives. In Bwindi Village, the Bwindi Bar trains disenfranchised young adults in hospitality through rigorous classes and work experience. Around Mgahinga, elders of the Batwa Tribe lead visitors on a forest tour along the Batwa trail explains how their self – sufficient, forest dwelling tribe traditionally used medicinal plants.

  1. You will Find More Affordable Trekking Permits

In Uganda, there are strict regulations in place to make sure the gorillas stay healthy and wild. One of then is the gorilla trekking permit process, daily viewing of each gorilla group are extremely limited so visitors should apply in advance before their desired dates.

In Uganda, gorilla permits cost US $ 800 per person per trek. Uganda’s permit is slightly cheaper than that of Rwanda costing $ 1500.

Most gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi where there are multiple starting points and several gorilla families to track, gorilla treks are led by park rangers and groups of eight are allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour, in silence and at a safe distance.

  1. You Can Take on Challenging Terrain

The Southwestern Uganda’s green terraced hills and rolling volcanic slopes is a clear indication that Uganda is not for the faint of heart, add in the high altitude and the challenging terrain and gorilla trekking in the country’s misty forests promises to be the adventure of a lifetime.

It is hard work to reach the gorillas, it requires navigating uphill and downhill through thick tangles of vines, thorns and roots. The appropriately named Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is only accessible by foot. There are no paths, no signs, no directions and more often than not, no clearing (which is why the park rangers carry machetes). Good news is the reward seems that much better after all the hard work.

  1. Other Primates Will Inevitably Cross Your Path

Uganda is a primate capital and paradise to primate lovers, in addition to mountain gorillas. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to another endangered species – the golden monkey, these furry, comical monkeys live high up in bamboo forests. Tracking golden monkeys is similar to tracking gorillas, but the trek itself is not quite as challenging.

The forests of Bwindi are home to several primate species including L’hoest monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and blue monkeys.

Other amazing primate destinations in Uganda include Kibale Fores National Park – home to the largest population of chimpanzees in East Africa and other primate species such as L’Hoest monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and patas among others.

In Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park you will find blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys among others. You will enjoy sights of wildlife include lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes among others.

  Gorilla trekking is an incredible adventure every one should once in a life time and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla destinations are the best destinations in the world to have an encounter with mountain gorillas.

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