Mountain gorillas in Uganda
Uganda is one of the lucky three countries that harbors mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are endangered species of primates that cant survive in captivity. They only live in the thick vegetation covers at a high altitude. In Uganda mountain gorillas live in two national parks which cannot be seen in any other country.
Uganda’s mountain gorillas do live in the western part of the country in Kisoro and Kanungu district. Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are the two national parks. Where mountain gorillas do live. Uganda has the highest number of mountain gorillas left in the world while others live in volcanoes national park Rwanda and Virunga national park DR Congo.
Where to find mountain gorillas in Uganda?
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Located in Kanungu district, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a home to the highest number of mountain gorillas in the whole world. The park has over 700 mountain gorillas that live in the four sectors of the park which are Ruhija, Rushaga, Buhoma and Nkuringo. Over 21 mountain gorilla families are living in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and 2 of these are semi habituated.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has so many mountain gorillas and some of the families are three for habituation. 2 mountain gorillas families one in nkuringo and the other in rushaga sector are open for habituation activities. Giving tourists an opportunity to spend 4 hours around the members and getting involved in activities that mae them get used to human presence around them.
Mgahinga national park
Mgahinga national park is the smallest park in Uganda and the smallest of all. Harboring mountain gorillas in the world. The small national park in kisoro district protects about 90 mountain gorillas and these live on the slopes of Virunga volcanoes. Only one mountain gorilla family is habituated in Mgahinga national park and 8 people can visit it a day.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in both Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mountain gorilla families are fully habituated with in this park and are used to human presence around them. In Mgahinga national park there is only 1 mountain gorilla family. And the rest are in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Mountain gorilla trekking is an activity that involves tourists head into the jungle search for mountain gorillas and spend 1 hour around them. A maximum number of 8 people does trek a mountain gorilla family in any of the national parks. Trekkers are first briefed about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking exercise for their safety and that of mountain gorillas.
How the trekking is carried out
Armed ranger guides communicate with the trackers about the location of the gorilla family to be tracked so that they know the best routes to use. Tourists who want to hire porters do so at the briefing point. And the driver guide drives to the starting point of the trek. Meanwhile, here armed ranger guides lead trekkers in the jungle and they start looking for where the mountain gorillas could be.
Searching in both Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park does take 2-6 hours and there are times tourists move with their packed lunch. When searching the tourists do get opportunities of seeing some of the park mammals, primates, birds, vegetation and water sources. After hours of searching, tourists will eventually meet the mountain gorilla family they have been looking for.
When the mountain gorilla family is located, tourists are asked to keep the rules taught at the briefing center. One hour is given to the trekkers to be around the mountain gorilla family. Thus this gives them a chance to see them do different activities, and take photos. The time around a mountain gorilla family is always a dream, come true for most tourists. Because they say these apes share 98% DNA of human beings.
When 1 hour gets done, you will have to leave the mountain gorilla family according to the rules set by Uganda wildlife authority. Leaving the mountain gorilla family means that you have guven them freedom to carry out what they had loaned for the day. When you trek out of the jungle you drive to your briefing center. Pick a gorilla trekking certificate that confirms that you were part of the activity.
However, Gorilla habituation takes the same procedures as gorilla trekking however when you meet a semi habituated gorilla family in Rushaga or nkuringo. You are given 4 hours t be with the mountain gorillas. Here you get involved in activities that make the mountain gorillas get used to human presence around them. There is a team of researchers and rangers that teach you what to do to make mountain gorillas stay comfortable while around them.
How much does it cost to see mountain gorillas in Uganda
Uganda has gotten a fair price for one to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. The price of a gorilla permit in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla park. Is the same and its set by Uganda wildlife authority. This gorilla permit fee includes ranger guide fee, community fee, park entrance fee. As well as conservation fee to enable mountain gorillas keep surviving.
Therefore, a single gorilla trekking permit in both gorilla national parks. Costs $700 for foreign non residents. $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East African member states. A gorilla habituation permit which only works in bwindi impenetrable forest national park costs $1500 for foreign non residents. $1000 for foreign residents while citizens of East African member states pay UGX750, 0000.