Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda
Approximately 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world and only found in East African mountain rain forests in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest protects a little more than half of the total number of mountain gorillas in the world.
To see the mountain gorillas, it’s mandatory that you acquire a gorilla permit which will cost you US$600 in Uganda and US$1500 in Rwanda from the governments.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking Experience
Gorilla trekking is the major tourism activity in Uganda. The activity is done in only two National Parks, and these are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The country is blessed with fifteen habituated Gorilla families which include; Kyaguriro, Rushegura, Mishaya, Mubare, Habinyanja, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kahungye, Busingye, Bwenza, Bushaho, Mukiza and Nyakagezi. There are more families under habituation. Uganda is home to over half of the total population of these gentle giants in the whole world.
To be certain of going gorilla tracking, it is a must have a tracking permit which is issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and at Mukisa Safaris we help book it for you. Only eight people are allowed to visit a group per day, this minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
It is recommended to book permits as early as possible. We advise you book at least 3 months in advance to ensure tracking on the desired dates and the tracking of simpler families.
UWA uses the funds generated from the sale of these permits for the management of the National Parks. A percentage of the funds raised from park entrance fees are also donated to local communities living adjacent to the parks to contribute to their development and improve natural resource management in the region. By following these rules and through the purchase of the permit, YOU too are contributing to the conservation of the mountain gorilla.
Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world’s most endangered apes with a population of about 10000 of them world over and none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
They share 97% DNA with human beings. They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee with up to 25 vocalization for communication.
Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male -The Silver Back.
Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.
Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.
Adult males range, 1.65–1.75 metres in height (5 ft 5 in–5 ft 9 in), and140–200 kg (310–440 lb) in weight. Adult females are often half the size of a silverback, averaging about 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) tall and 100 kg.
Gorillas have a facial structure which is described as Mandibular Prognathism.
Almost all gorillas share the same blood type (B) and, like humans, have individual finger prints.
Gorilla Tracking Rules
- No one with communicable disease for example; flu, diarrhea is allowed to enter the park.
- Do not stand over them, stay together in a tight group while with the gorillas, don’t surround them.
- Do not use flashes while photographing.
- Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
- Turn away from the gorillas if you have to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose in the process.
- Bury all human waste in a minimum of 30cm deep and ensure that the hole is properly covered.
- Do not litter. All litter must be carried out of the park and disposed off properly.
- No person under 15 years is allowed to track gorillas.
- Do not make loud noise or move suddenly. Ask in a whisper if u must.
- The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour.
- Do not spit on vegetation or soil while in the park. Use your hankie or other garment.
- A 7 meter (21 feet) distance should be observed at all times from the gorillas. The far back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look at the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk.
- Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
- Do not look at them straight in the face but rather give a sideways glance.
- During the visit, keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.
NOTE: The gorilla permit is not a guarantee that the gorilla will be clearly viewed. Chances of seeing the Gorillas are 98%. The minimum age limit for visiting the gorillas is 16 years.
What you should bring?
- Ankle level boots are ok but make sure it is something handy.
- A warm cardigan
- Thick trousers and a long sleeved top
- Rain Coat
- Video- filming is allowed in the parks though not outside the park
- Water proof container for cameras
- If you prefer wearing a hat, a baseball cap is recommend