Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is unlike any other Safari tour in Africa. The trek is challenging but rewarding for the travellers. With each step you take in the tour, you get the reward of seeing and interacting with the last remaining population of mountain gorillas. So, if you are looking for a stunning travel destination, Uganda should be on your list.
The trek involves taking a hike into the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, one of the world’s thickest jungles that is home to these critically-endangered gorillas. You need a local guide to cut across the jungle to find a troop of mountain gorillas in their habitats.
Where are Mountain Gorillas?
Mountain Gorillas are found in groups scattered in Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bwindi is one of the few national parks where these endangered gorillas are found.
The gorillas live in high altitudes ranging from 1500m to 3500m. This is a significant height to climb but it is extremely rewarding. They mainly feed on dense vegetation found on lower mountain slopes. Their diets mainly includes bamboo, ferns, and vines.
It is important to note that the zone where gorillas reside is misty and cold. Often, they move as seasons change but mostly spend their time in subalpine regions.
Why you need to go on a Gorilla trek to Uganda?
1. Visit the home of over Half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas
Mountain Gorillas are only found in Virunga region which straddles between Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is part of this region and hosts over 50% of all mountain gorillas. This park also referred as ‘The Place of Darkness’ due to its dense tree cover is an old lowland forest. It was named a UNESCO heritage site due to its vast biodiversity and the vast number of endangered animals it hosts.
2. Contribute to Gorilla Habitat conversation
Mountain Gorillas are mainly threatened by human encroachment into their natural habitats. Communities residing around the park are mainly farmers and are continually expanding into Gorilla’s habitat which contributes to habitat destruction.
With tourism being a lucrative industry in Uganda, it contributes a lot to these communities through employment as guides and porters, some of whom are reformed poachers. This helps in creating revenue for the local community and aids in the fight against deforestation.
3. Get an affordable trekking permit
Strict regulations have been imposed to keep gorillas healthy and wild. Gorilla trekking permit is one of the ways used to ensure this. To view a gorilla group, visitors have to apply for a permit before the trekking date. In Uganda, the permit varies with season. Typically, it costs $600 but is offered at $450 in April, May, and November.
4. Recharge your health by navigating challenging terrain
Gorilla trek is not for the faint-hearted. It involves navigating through challenging terrain to get to the gorillas’ habitat. Don’t forget the high altitude you have to reach to get into the gorilla zone. This makes a lifetime adventure that has numerous health benefits. Navigating uphill and downhill to reach the gorillas is a grueling physical activity that can promote a life full of longevity.
5. See other wild animals
In additional to mountain gorillas, you are likely to come across other exotic wild animals such as the rare Golden monkey. You may also encounter other primates including blue monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, among others.