With an estimate of about 1004 mountain gorillas left in the world, Uganda is one of the few countries where one can go and have a closer look at these wonderful primates. The country hosts numerous visitors from different corners of the world who come specifically to look at these great apes in their natural habitats and as you read this, gorilla tracking is the leading tourism activity in Uganda. The country acts as a home to over 500 mountain gorillas habituated in 17 families. There are specifically two parks where mountain gorillas are found in Uganda including Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Park. Among these, Bwindi hosts the highest number of trackers annually because of the inconsistency of the gorillas in Mgahinga. The highest number of these elegant primates is found in Bwindi and trusts me; a trekking tour to this park is full of great experiences. Best facts to consider before going gorilla tracking in Uganda.
Best time to travel
Although gorilla tracking can successfully be conducted at any time of the year in Uganda, there are best months to do so especially if you are interested in a more adventurous experience. The most preferred periods by tourists are June to September and December to January.
During this time also termed as “the peak season”, the traffic to various parks increases and there is increased competition when it comes to obtaining the gorilla permits. Other months are called “low seasons” and during this time, the cost of gorilla permits is reduced. At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, gorilla tracking is carried out at any time of the year irrespective of whether it’s a low or peak season. Therefore, it’s up to the tourist himself to decide what is best for him or her.
How to obtain a gorilla permit
Before a tourist is allowed to trek the mountain gorillas, he/she is required to obtain a tracking permit. This acts as an authorizing document which signifies that one has met the requirements for viewing the primates. Currently, the majority of the sold permits are for Bwindi simply because of the inconsistency of the gorillas of Mgahinga national park. A gorilla permit costs US$600 for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and 250,000shs for East African residents. Gorilla permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority at their offices in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb. Well, this may sound a bit tricky for intending tourists in other countries but the best way to obtain them is through a safari agent who can obtain them on your behalf. Visitors are required to obtain these permits in time to avoid inconveniences due to the high competition from numerous tourists who also want to have a glance at the primates. According to the recent reports, about 73 gorilla permits are issued out on a daily basis to Bwindi. This means that the competition to obtain one is high and therefore one has to book at least a month before the actual safari date.
What to expect on a gorilla safari to Uganda
A visitor should expect a lifetime experience full of breathtaking natural wonders. A day spent with the mountain gorillas in the tropical rainforests of Bwindi and Mgahinga is a hard-to-forget experience. Spend an hour with a gorilla family witnessing how they truly behave and how they associate with each other and get a story to tell when you get back to your home country.
In general, Uganda is the best gorilla trekking destination sheltering a high number of mountain gorillas in the world. Book a gorilla safari to Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park to see gorillas for a memorable experience.