Gorilla trekking has become the most attractive activity in Africa especially in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many tourists prefer going to the deep tropical rainforests searching for these endangered gorillas and some even end up doing three times tracking after their experience. In these three countries, trekking is now the leading tourist attraction bringing in visitors from different countries all over the world.
Uganda is known for its unsurpassed biodiversity but gorilla trekking safaris are the most popular and are the prime reason many tourists visit Uganda. Mountain gorillas are scientifically known as Gorilla beringei beringei and in Uganda occupy the thick Tropical rain-forests of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks found in the south-western corner of the country.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a one-of-a-kind activity that leads enthusiastic primate lovers to the dense jungles to meet one of the 21 habituated gorilla families that call Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks home. With more than half the World’s population of surviving mountain gorillas calling these Park’s home, Uganda is definitely the best gorilla trekking destination.
Mgahinga is a home to only one habituated gorilla family known as Nyakagyezi while Bwindi Impenetrable offers shelter to 20 habituated gorilla families found within the four sectors of the Park thus 160 permits are available per day.
The habituated groups you will trek when you visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking safaris are Habinyanja, Mubare, Rushegura, Katwe, Nkuringo, Christmas, Bushaho, Bikingi, Mucunguzi, Kutu, Rwigi, Busingye, Bweza, Kahungye, Nshongi, Mishaya, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyaguliro and Mukiza. With a valid gorilla permit costing only $700, you will be able to trek the mentioned gorilla families and spend one hour with them.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are relatively cheaper than in Rwanda and the cost depends on a number of factors that include the transport means chosen, the accommodation facility (whether its budget, midrange, or luxury), and the time of the year (wet months are generally low seasons where most safari lodges/hotels offer discounts). However, some costs especially for gorilla permits remain constant at $700 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, and Shs 250,000 for East African Community Residents.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are incomplete without a number of essential things that include a gorilla permit which you need to put first in your bag, gardening gloves that will protect your hands from getting hurt as you hold on tree branches, a rain jacket, strong hiking boots with enough grip, toiletries, cameras with extra batteries and enough memory, long-sleeved shirt/top, insect repellant, rainproof backpack, energy-giving snacks, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, pair of binoculars, long trousers, long cotton socks and finally you will need to hire a porter on the day of trekking.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are done all year round but gorilla permits are usually on high demand during the dry months of January, February, June, July, August, September, and December because most tourists prefer trekking during the dry season when trails are drier and less muddy or slippery.
This however doesn’t mean that the Gorilla trekking destinations are avoided during the wet season but surprisingly, the months of March, April, May, October, and November offer easier and faster trekking conditions given the fact that food for the mountain gorillas is in plenty and these primates don’t move too far places.