Gorilla trekking is remarkably the most exceptional wildlife experience that differentiates Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park from other safari destinations. Worldwide, mountain gorillas thrive in only 4 national parks which Bwindi is part and the others include Mgahinga National Park in southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). To catch a glimpse at these unique creatures while in their natural habitat, a number of things have to be put together. That said, if you have any plans to be part of magical encounters with these great apes in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, then you need to take note of the following essentials.
You need gorilla permit
When you think of gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo, a gorilla permit is the most important tool every trekker must have at hand. Compared to Rwanda, Uganda’s gorilla permits are relatively cheaper and one permit at hand is what offers you opportunity to trek through one habituated family in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to search for these unique creatures. You can obtain one at $600 through a registered, recognized and trust worthy tour operator or through a reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). If you wish to spend more hours with these creatures while in the wild, the best is for you to embark on gorilla habituation experience and permits for these extra-ordinary adventure goes at $1500 per person. Due to high demand, you are advised to book your permit in advance before the actual trek.
Where to track mountain gorillas in Uganda
Unlike Rwanda and the DR Congo, Uganda is endowed with all the two national parks where gorilla treks are conducted each day. They include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which all straddle in southwestern Uganda. Bwindi National Park for instance boasts of about 440 of these Great Apes and features many habituated families. Besides, there are 4 main trailheads where treks always kick start from, each of which comprises of habituated groups. They include Buhoma sector which is composed of gorilla families like Mubare, habinyanja, Rushegura and Katwe; Ruhija sector with groups like Kyaguliro, Oruzogo and Bitukura; Rushaga region with Nshongi, Bweza, Busingye, Mishaya and Kahungye and lastly, Nkuringo area with gorilla families like Nkuringo and Christmas. The word Bwindi was derived from ‘Mubwindi bwa Nyinamukari which denotes dark place of Nyinamukari. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on the other hand inhabits a section of these rare apes and Nyakagezi family is the only habituated family set for tourism purposes in this park. Visitors on gorilla safari in Mgahinga National Park can obtain permits at the park headquarters.
The length of the gorilla treks
The length of your trek while on search for mountain gorillas varies and depends on several factors including among others your hiking speed, nature of habitat and location of these unique apes in the course of the day. It is therefore significant that when you think of embarking on a trek to look out for these creatures, you know when it is best to go for gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Usually, dry season is characterized by low rainfall amount and the terrain or ground remains relatively drier making it easier for one to hike through the dense vegetation and steep slopes while on search for these amazing apes in the wild. This season is normally experienced from December to February and June to September. However, it is also possible for you to track these creatures during wet season which starts from March to May and October to November.
What pack for gorilla trek?
Besides observing the set rules and regulations, how you pack for this adventure also matters a lot. For a successful gorilla experience, there are essential items you need to put into consideration. They include among others waterproof hiking boots, waterproof daypack, insect repellent, long sleeved shirts or t-shirt with neutral color, trousers, sunscreen, energy giving snacks, bottled water, rain jacket or poncho, first aid kit, walking stick-this one can be got at the park headquarters or ask for one at a lodge where you will spend a night and many others.
In conclusion, when you think of gorilla trek in Bwindi National Park or any gorilla national park, the above information should be put into consideration and you will have the best of this lifetime experience.