How to see gorillas in Uganda
How to see gorillas in Uganda. Want to see gorillas in Uganda and still wondering on how to do it? This article shall look at how you can be able to see gorillas in Uganda. Uganda is one of the few African countries with gorillas, inhabiting one of the most endangered gorilla species; the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are an endangered gorilla species that can only be found in three African countries with gorillas say Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is only in these countries in the whole world that gorillas can be spotted in their natural habitat which includes the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda and the Virunga Massifs which encompass Virunga National Park of the Congo, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda as well.
Travellers wondering about how to see gorillas in Uganda should know that gorilla trekking is one of the best and most sought after tourism activity in Uganda that sees trekkers searching through the dense tropical rainforest which inhabit the endangered mountain gorillas, to have an encounter with the gorillas. Uganda alone hosts over half the total world population of mountain gorillas. Given the habitat and the nature of mountain gorillas, seeing them does not come without challenges. Here is your ultimate guide on how to see gorillas in Uganda.
Where to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda
With about 1000 mountain gorillas still left in the world, they are distributed in the three countries of Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda. The one population of mountain gorillas is distributed by the Virunga Mountains of the Congo in Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda, with the rest almost half the total world population of mountain gorillas inhabiting the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda, a UNESCO world heritage site filled with great biodiversity. Both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda from where travellers can enjoy gorilla activities are located in the south western region of Uganda, just nearing the borders of Rwanda and the Congo.
Best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda
Uganda experiences two significant seasons of the wet season and the dry season. Each season comes with its own pros and cons, and it is left to the traveller to choose on the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking safaris. The dry season in Uganda primate destinations runs from June to September and December to February, and is characterised by dry weather conditions with very low rainfall being received, making it much easier to access the parks and hiking through the dense tropical rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, as well as the steep slopes whilst gorilla trekking. The dry season is considered to be the best time to go see gorillas in Uganda. The dry season is however the peak season of tourism in the world and so many travellers do throng these Uganda gorilla destinations in this period, booking your gorilla permit much earlier is highly advised.
The wet season falls in the months of March through May and October through November, characterised by heavy rainfall which makes gorilla activities like gorilla trekking quite challenging. The parks however do receive bits of sunshine as the rains don’t fall the whole day, giving travellers an opportunity to do their gorilla activities. It is however in the wet season that there is more food for the gorillas in the tropical rainforests, so they do not move much higher to get what to eat thus making it much easier to locate them while gorilla trekking.
Uganda gorilla permits
To be able to encounter the gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda, travellers are required to purchase a Uganda gorilla permit which is a document or card that they show to the park officials so as to be allowed to encounter the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents while it is only ugx250000 for East African citizens, per person per trek. A Uganda gorilla habituation experience which has travellers spending up to 4 hours with the gorillas costs $1500 per person per experience. Travellers are encouraged to book their Uganda gorilla permits much earlier prior the date of travel, especially for travellers looking to see gorillas in Uganda during the peak season; at least 3 months in advance is recommended for the permits do sell out very fast.
Uganda gorilla permits can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a trusted tour operator, who can handle all your gorilla safari planning process which includes booking for you a gorilla permit.
What to pack for your Uganda gorilla safari
Gorilla trekking is quite strenuous and has travellers hiking through steep slopes, slippery slopes, and through thick vegetation, with threats of rains falling anytime given that the gorillas inhabit the tropical rainforests of Uganda. Below are some of the most recommended essential gorilla trekking what to wear items that you have to pack for your Uganda gorilla safari;
- Sturdy hiking shoes with a strong grip re highly recommended, to help you navigate the terrain and often slippery and muddy trails. The trails in the park can be quite muddy and slippery especially in the wet season. Your sturdy hiking shoes should be comfortable and preferably waterproof.
- Long-sleeved shirts nd long pants of nature friendly colours like khakis are highly recommended, as they shall protect you from the cold and the sting of nettles and other insects, including being scratched by branches
- Gardening gloves do come in handy for they help you to have a strong grip on your hiking stick, as well as protect your hands when to do hold on to vegetation which can be sparky and thorny.
- Rain jacket or poncho shall also protect you from the rains that could fall at any time during your gorilla trekking activity. Be sure to have hooded ones, or carry a hat which is preferably waterproof as well to protect your hair and head from drenching in the rain should it decide to fall.
- Insect repellent creams
- Good camera for your photos
- Waterproof backpack to safe keep your gadgets and important and fragile items.
Where to stay
Wondering on how to see gorillas in Uganda, and where you could possibly stay while on your gorilla safari in Uganda? Well do know that there are a number of lodges and camps inside and outside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park from where you could stay. These accommodation options range from up-market to basic or budget options, say sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, among so many others. It is important to note that gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are in four sectors including Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija sectors; booking accommodation should be done only after knowing and confirming your gorilla trekking sector.
When and how to see gorillas in Uganda does cross the minds of many travellers who would like to encounter the gorillas in Uganda in various Uganda gorilla safaris. Reach out to us or your preferred tour operator to help you with more information on how to see gorillas in Uganda, as well as put together amazing Uganda gorilla safari packages fit for just you.