There are four habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi that’s Uganda and none tend to be found near to the park entrance. The groups are called the Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Nkuringo and range in size from 10 to 20 individuals, each with one or two silver backs. The terrain in Bwindi means that you sometimes start your trek at the top of the hills, descend on foot into the valley to see the gorillas, and then climb up the slopes at the end of the day, which can be more arduous while there are currently seven main groups that can be tracked in Rwanda that’s Volcanoes National Park, the Susa, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Kwitonda and Group Thirteen.The groups vary in number from around 9 to 39 individuals and all currently have at least one silver back male. Of the seven groups, there are a couple that tend to be found on the saddle between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga which is around a two hour walk from the park entrance.
For many years, these groups have undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually acclimated them to humans and allowed a few privileged visitors to interact with them briefly in the wild. The gorillas are not tame; thereby only tolerate human presence for about an hour each day. Experienced guides accompany us while tracking, many of whom have been involved in the habituation process themselves.
These guides will brief you on your arrival on the various aspects of ‘gorilla etiquette’, but the information contained in this set of guidelines will help you arrive for your track well-prepared, and ready to fully enjoy this unique opportunity. Visitors may track for as many days as they like, on purchase of the required number of gorilla permits.
The permits are extremely in advance and only persons over the age of 15 are allowed to participate in gorilla trekking tours in the mist. Gorilla tracking is a year-round activity in the rain forest is moist, and it rains very often in Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park throughout the year. Tracking commences every morning from the park headquarters at 8:30 AM. There is a daily maximum of eight visitors to each gorilla group, and each group is accompanied by a guide and porters who will carry your shoulder pack for you.
The gorillas cover large distances throughout the day and rarely stay in one area. The guides will use their knowledge of the gorillas’ habits and information from the previous day to locate the group’s whereabouts. Because of this, the time taken to track the gorillas can vary greatly, from half an hour, up to nine hours before returning to camp. The terrain can be difficult, with steep trails (often steeper than a flight of stairs) covered in the dense vegetation that gives the park its name. In addition, the altitude of 5200 feet means people must be physically fit to enjoy the hike. Once the gorillas are located, the group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them.