Gorilla trekking guide in Uganda
Gorilla trekking guide in Uganda : Gorilla trekking is a fascinating activity which offers you an opportunity to move into the forest in search of the mountain gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the most popular activity carried out in that it harbors half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. The gorilla trekking guide will help you to know more about the mountain gorillas, where to go for gorilla trekking, best time for gorilla trekking among others so as to plan for a successful gorilla trekking safari.
Where to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda
In Uganda gorilla trekking is carried out in two destinations which include Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Apart from Uganda gorilla trekking is also done in other countries including Rwanda where gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes national park and in Democratic Republic of Congo where gorilla trekking is done in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in Kanungu district south western part of Uganda and it’s the most visited national park in Uganda in that it harbors the highest number of the endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable national park is a home of 19 habituated gorilla families and trekking of the gorillas is done in four sectors which include Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the east, Rushaga in the south and Nkuringo in the south.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters in one of the sectors. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people and allocated a gorilla family to trek and a park guide who is well conversant with the gorilla trails in the forest. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park takes about 30 minutes to 7 hours and its strenuous because the gorillas live in high altitude areas therefore visitors need to be physically fit and those who are not fit are advised to communicate with the guides so that they are allocated a gorilla family that is easy to trek. Once the gorillas are found, you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which is used to take photos, record the moments, learn about their lifestyle, habits, watch them carry out their daily activities among others.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are also found in Mgahinga gorilla national park which is located in southwestern Uganda in Kisoro district bordering with Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. The national park is a home of 2 gorilla trekking namely Nyakagezi and Hirwa which are available for trekking on a daily basis. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park starts early in the morning with a briefing at Ntebeko Park headquarters where after you are grouped and allocated a gorilla group to trek.
Trekking of the mountain gorillas in Mgahinga gorilla national park starts at around 8:00am and takes 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the location of the gorillas because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. When the gorillas are found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you breathtaking and lifetime experiences.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda
A gorilla trekking permit is a document or card that is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to any visitor above fifteen years of age allowing him or her to visit the endangered mountain gorillas in either Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park.
A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $600 per person for foreign non-residents, $500 per person for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens. Uganda however increased the price of a gorilla trekking permit by $100 therefore effective 1st July 2020 the foreign non-residents will be paying $700 and $600 for foreign residents. A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda includes the one hour in the presence of the mountain gorillas though the actual trekking takes 30 minutes to 7 hours, the services of a park guide, trackers, park entrances fees for the national park and security.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is easy to purchase as long as you know the procedures to follow. There are two options of booking a gorilla trekking permit where the first option is booking directly through UWA a government body in charge of tourism. When booking directly you will contact UWA offices via email or telephone calls. The second option is booking through a tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris.
When booking through a tour operator, you will contact us with the date, month, year and destination where you want to trek the mountain gorillas. We will check for availability of the permit in UWA and if there are permits available according to the dates provided you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. You will also be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport with details like name, date of birth, nationality so as to register for the permit. Money transfer takes about 2 to 3 working days and when we receive the money we will acquire the permit for you and send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation.
Booking through Achieve Global Safaris is however the best option in that we will not only book for you a gorilla trekking permit but also organize your entire gorilla trekking safari which include transportation, meals, accommodations, other activities that you wish to engage in at the destinations among others so as to make your safari exciting and memorable.
A gorilla trekking safari in Uganda should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because the gorilla permits are competitive and usually get sold out quickly during the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February because most visitors prefer visiting in the peak/dry season therefore in order to avoid disappointments at the last minute you are advised to book in advance.
What to pack on your gorilla trekking safari
There are various essentials that you should carry on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda and they include hand gloves to protect your hands from thorny bushes, germs, long sleeved shirt and trouser to keep you warm and protect insects from entering your body, hiking shoes for easy movement and to keep your feet dry when trekking in muddy and slippery grounds, insect repellent to protect you from biting insects like tsetse flies, mosquitos, rain jacket/poncho to protect you from rainfall, hat and sunglasses to protect you from direct sun, camera and extra batteries to take photos and record the moments during the one hour, a pair of binoculars to view bird species in the forest and some animals.
Rules and regulations of gorilla trekking
- Only 8 visitors are allowed to visit each habituated gorilla family so as to minimize behavioral disturbance and the risk of transmission of diseases.
- Do not leave rubbish in the park therefore whatever you take into the forest should be carried back.
- Always keep your voices low during trekking and in the presence of the mountain gorillas.
- You should keep 7 meter distance to protect the gorillas from catching diseases.
- In case you are feeling ill, you are not allowed to visit the mountain gorillas because they are vulnerable to human diseases therefore you will be refunded the money.
- Stay in your group so as not to get lost in the jungle and to minimize behavioral disturbance.
- Do not smoke, drink or eat anything while in the presence of the gorillas because some food might drop down hence increasing the risk of disease transmission.
- Do not touch the gorillas because they are wild animals.
- You are allowed to spend one hour in the presence of the gorillas.
- Do not use flash light cameras when taking photos.
- In case the gorillas charge, you should crouch down, not look directly into the eyes and do not attempt to run therefore you should follow the guide’s example.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga gorilla national park can be done anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. The dry season is also known as the peak season and during this period many people like to travel due to the fact that there is less rainfall in the national parks therefore the access roads and gorilla trekking trails in the forest will be passable. The dry season however has some drawbacks like competition of a gorilla trekking permit therefore visitors who prefer visiting in the dry season are advised to book a gorilla trekking permit in advance.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda can also be done in the rainy season because apart from heavy rainfall which makes gorilla trekking trails muddy and slippery there are some advantages like fewer crowds in the national parks, less competition of the gorilla trekking permit which favors the last minute travelers and there will be colorful bird species for the bird lovers.
Where to stay on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda
There are a wide range of accommodation facilities in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park where visitors can stay during the gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. The lodges range from luxury, midrange, budget and they include Amajambere Iwacu community camp, Mount Gahinga lodge, Travelers rest hotel, Mount Gahinga rest camp, Bwindi Jungle lodge, Muhabura motel, Mucha hotel, Virunga hotel, Kisoro tourist hotel, Buhoma lodge, Clouds mount gorilla lodge, Chameleon hill lodge, Gorilla forest camp, Gorilla safari camp, Volcanoes safari Bwindi lodge, Ruhija gorilla safari lodge, Mahogany springs camp, Agandi lodge, Buhoma community haven lodge, Bakiga lodge, Bwindi jungle lodge, Cuckoo land tented lodge, Ecomarvels gorilla resort, Engagi lodge, Gorilla mist camp, Gift of nature lodge, Gorilla valley lodge, Ichumbi gorilla lodge, Lake Kitandara Bwindi camp, Broadbill forest camp, Buhoma community bandas, Bwindi guest house, Bwindi view bandas, CPTH gorilla conservation camp, Ruhija gorilla friends resort among others.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a breathtaking and extra ordinary activity that shouldn’t be missed on your safari therefore in case you are interested in visiting the mountain gorillas you can contact Achieve Global Safaris.