Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the popular gorilla tracking destination in Uganda. Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is automatically the most undertaken activity for many tourists. Bwindi forest is home to mountain gorillas though those in the park are regarded as the Bwindi population. This is because they are known to have different behaviors like climbing trees, eating more and trekking longer distances compared to the population in the Virunga Mountains.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in southwestern Uganda. The park is part of the Impenetrable Bwindi Forest and is located along the Congo border next to Virunga National Park and on the edge of the western Rift Valley. The jungle forests cover 331 square kilometers and contain both montane and lowland forest and are accessible only on foot.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to almost 480 mountain gorillas that is almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. About 19 gorilla families are fully habituated and can be trekked on a Uganda gorilla safari. Minimum age of 15 is allowed to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi and 8 people trek a single gorilla family.
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi is done in the four sectors of the park. The sectors include Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo. Each of these sectors has several habituated gorilla families that tourists are allocated to trek. Allocation of which sector an individual is meant to trek is dependant on which sector they are allocated by the Uganda Wildlife Authority during the time of booking the gorilla trekking permit.
As of 2019, Foreign non-residents require US$ 600 for each gorilla permit in Uganda. Foreign residents require US$ 500 for each gorilla permit in Uganda. East African residents require UGX 250,000 for a single gorilla permit. Effective 1st July 2020, Foreign non-residents will require US$ 700 to purchase a Uganda gorilla permit. Foreign residents will require US$ 600 to buy a Uganda gorilla permit. East African Residents will still be able to purchase a gorilla permit.
How gorilla tracking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park
Each morning, a total of 8 trekkers are allocated 1 of the 19 gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to track. All individuals first gather at the park headquarters for a briefing on the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking in Uganda. Briefing starts at exactly 8:00 am local time, then after individuals are allocated a group with a total of 8 members in each.
Groups are allocated depending on the physical fitness levels of the clients and the group moves depending on the speed of the slowest trekker. Each group of 8 trekkers goes along with 2 armed park rangers for protection and guidance while in the jungle. Gorilla tracking lasts an unpredictable time lasting about 2-6 hours depending on where the gorillas spent their previous night.
After trekking and meeting the gorillas, you spend a maximum of 1 hour in the presence of the gorillas. You spend this time taking photos and interacting with gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest.
Best time for gorilla tracking in Uganda
The best time of the year for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris in both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is during the dry season months of June –August and December –February which makes it easy to go through the trails. When trails are drier, gorilla trekking is easy since trails are passable and the park is accessible. It is best advisable to track gorillas during the dry season since it’s easy to trek gorillas as well as view wildlife. However, the dry season is actually the peak or high season therefore early booking is recommendable since permits can easily get fully booked as well as accommodation.
Uganda gorilla safari packages
To help you better plan your gorilla trekking safari, here is a list of top gorilla packages in Uganda that you can choose from;