Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is such a fascinating and adventurous activity that allows travelers from different parts of the world to take part in trekking gorillas in any sector in Uganda. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the major and topmost activity enjoyed by several travelers on a Ugandan safari to trek the endangered gorillas which are still existing in only three countries including Uganda the number one destination for gorilla trekking, followed by Rwanda and then DRC all in the eastern region of Africa.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is specifically carried out in two national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park all situated in the south western part of Uganda where mountain gorillas lived harmoniously with the Batwa before they were exiled from their home.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park: Let’s talk about gorillas trekking in Uganda within Bwindi impenetrable national park. Bwindi impenetrable national park remains the best destination for gorilla trekking safaris in the pearl of Africa due to the existence of more than half of the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. In fact, Bwindi impenetrable national park has 22 habituated mountain gorilla families available for trekking on a daily basis thus 176 permits are issued out to trekkers in its four sectors each with specific mountain gorilla families. These sectors include;
Buhoma sector: Buhoma sector is found in the northern part of the park and best known to be the major trailhead when it comes to gorilla trekking in Uganda. The Buhoma sector is the best sector you could visit in order to trek the very first Mubare gorilla family that is the pioneer of gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Uganda at large.
Rushaga sector: Rushaga sector is yet another place for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. This sector is situated in the southern part of the park and it mainly receives travelers who trek gorillas in Uganda from Rwanda since it is the nearest sector that can be accessed via the Cyanika border within a 3-5 hours’ drive. Rushaga sector is known as a home to the largest population of mountain gorillas with many numbers of habituated gorilla families.
Nkuringo sector: Nkuringo sector is also situated in the southern part of the park close to Rushaga sector. Thus travelers can stay in any accommodations in the southern part of Bwindi and trek in either Rushaga sector or Nkuringo sector since they are close to each other.
Ruhija sector: Ruhija sector is another sector in Bwindi situated in eastern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National park: Mgahinga Gorilla National park is a home to Nyakagezi gorilla family which is habituated and available for trekking at any particular time. However, in 2019, Mgahinga gorilla national park received another gorilla family known as Hirwa that crossed the borders from Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and joined our Nyakagezi gorilla family making it two families as of now available for trekking on a daily basis. This implies that the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues out 16 gorilla trekking permits on a daily basis allowing daily 16 trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park.
How much is a Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda?
A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is obtained at a cost of 600 per person for Foreign Non-Residents, $500 for foreign residents and UgX. 250,000 for Ugandans and other east African community members. This cost of a gorilla trekking permit is only valid till the end of June 2020, and with the effective to July 1st 2020, a gorilla trekking permit will be raised by a $100 making it $700 for Foreign Nonresidents, $600 for Foreign Residents and for the Ugandans and other east African community members, the gorilla trekking permit will remain fixed at UgX.250, 000 in order to encourage more trekkers from within East African region.
A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is valid only for one day and once you miss the trek, there is no refund or rescheduling of the permit. A gorilla trekking permit is issued out to people who are aged 15 years and above thus people below the age of 15 aren’t allowed to access mountain gorillas since they are still considered to be minors. Once a permit is obtained, trekkers are supposed to spend at least 30 minutes to 8 hours trekking the mountain gorillas in the natural habitats until the y are spotted and once a particular family is finally seen, trekkers are allowed a maximum of one hours taking photographs, and learning certain behaviors of the mountain gorillas such as feeding, breast feeding, mating, and nesting. In case you need more time in the jungle with gorillas, then it’s better to obtain a gorilla habituation permit that goes for $1500 allowing at least 4 hours in presence of mountain gorillas. This permit is equivalent to a one hour trekking permit of our nearby country Rwanda.
What are the top 5 requirements for gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Here are the top things that are very crucial while planning a gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda and these include;
- Fitness: Gorilla trekking is a straining activity that need a particular fitness level and proper preparations in advance. Therefore once you are planning a gorilla trekking safari keep in the mind that the level of fitness to some extent matters.
- A gorilla trekking permit: this is the gate pass for mountain gorillas in Uganda and even other destinations like Rwanda and DRC. A Ugandan gorilla trekking permit as mentioned earlier costs $600 and by July 1st 2020, it will increase to $700. However it still remains cheaper as compared to a Rwanda permit that costs $1500. But all in all a DRC gorilla trekking permit is the cheapest at $400 and even reduces o $200 during low seasons.
- Appropriate gorilla trekking attire: this attire include long-sleeved clothes, a warm sweater, garden gloves, rain coat, waterproof hiking boots, sun glasses and a cap.
Insect repellant: remember in the jungle there is always insects such as mosquitoes, tsetse flies and other insects that can be dangerous to your skin so having an insect repellant is a good option for a safe gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.
Age limit: Age limit is yet another requirement for gorilla trekking in Uganda. The minimum age limit must be 15 years to be allowed to take part in gorilla trekking activity.
Gorilla trekking Rules and Regulations
Gorillas are endangered primates that need to be handle with special care and since there are few remaining in the wild and share almost the same DNA with human approximately 98% human DNA thus can easily catch human diseases such as flue and cough. Therefore the Uganda Wildlife Authority set up particular rules and regulations that govern travelers on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari and these include;
- Trekkers are supposed to keep a minimum distance of 7m away from gorillas
- Sick people aren’t supposed to take part in gorilla trekking even if it is mere cold, stay home until you heal completely otherwise you will be stopped by the park management at the office from accessing mountain gorillas.
- Never use a flash light while taking photographs in presence of gorillas
- A maximum of one hour is allowed in presence of mountain gorillas per day
- The maximum number of people allowed to trek gorillas are 8 person per day
- Do not spit in the park
- In case you badly need to cough or sneeze, turn your back and face away from the gorillas and properly cover your mouth and nose.
- The minimum age for gorilla trekking in 15 years and below that you are considered still young and minor.
- While in the park keep your voice as low as possible and avoid unnecessary movements in the park.
- Do not risk to eats or drink while in presence of gorillas otherwise, they might grab that food forcefully from you
- And finally, follow all the guidelines given by your tour guide and rangers.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda still remains the topmost activity that has always been on every traveler’s travel bucket. However, this is easily combined with lots of other activities to have an awesome experience in the pearl of Africa.