Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla Trekking is an ultimate African adventure that allows you to explore, discover the Gorilla Parks in Uganda as you help develop the incredible country of Uganda through trekking the Mountain Gorillas.
A Gorilla Trek is a highlight of all visits done in Uganda to visit the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in the wild.You’ll discover the last remaining wild silverback gorillas as you walk paths no-one else has walked to find them as you spend an hour in the company of the gentle giants, and contribute to the conservation of this critically endangered species.
Mountain Gorillas are one of the world’s most endangered apes estimated that there are only about 1000 left throughout the world. Almost half of them can be found in Uganda, and populations can also be found in neighbouring Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
This is a very special experience only offered in Uganda offering one of the ultimate encounters for any primate enthusiast. This experience offers travelers a chance to habituate the Gorillas alongside the researchers as they get these animals to getaccustommed to being in the presence of human beings without being afraid. This activity takes place in the Rushaga sector and normally lasts 4 hours in the company of the gorillas with only 4 tourists allowed to habituate a gorilla family at a cost of USD 1500. These will truly be the wildest gorillas that you’ll ever witness in the jungle environment.
Gorillas families move to new places everyday and never stay in one place twice, there is nothing like closest or furthest gorilla family, trek terrain may be different but the time taken is unpredictable with the location and movements of the gorillas in the jungle.
Gorilla Families in Uganda
Gorillas can be found in the Virunga Volcanoes in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in D.R.Congo. Uganda is home to 13 Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families with 12 gorilla families in Bwindi and 1 gorilla family in Mgahinga. Below is a list of the 12 mountain gorilla families for trackers along with their respective Bwindi Impenetrable National Park locations in Uganda.
Mubare Gorilla Family
Mubare is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda found located in Buhoma in the Mubare hills with 9 members including 1 silverback.
Habinyanja Gorilla Family
Habinyanja is located in Buhoma and derives its name from a local word “Nyanja” which means ‘body of water’ with 18 members including 2 silverbacks.
Rushegura Gorilla Family
The Rushegura gorilla family is a break away from located in Buhoma with 19 individuals including 1 silverback.
Bitukura Gorilla Family
The Bitukura group is located in the Ruhija sector and was named after a river where the family members were first sighted with 14 members including 4 silverbacks.
Oruzogo Gorilla Family
Oruzogo group is located in Ruhija 23 members including 1 silverback and was recently opened for visitor access in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Nkuringo Gorilla Family
The group is located in Nkuringo and it derives its name from a local word meaning “round hill” where the group was first sighted with 19 members including 2 silverbacks.
Nshongi Gorilla Family
Nshongi located in Ruhija was named after the River Nshongi, where the gorilla family was first found and is led by Nshongi, who is not even the oldest Silverback in the family with 18 members including 3 silverbacks and 7 blackbacks.
Mishaya Gorilla Family
With 7 members including 1 Silverback and located in Rushaga,silverback Mishaya decided to leave the Nshongi Gorilla Group with some females and started his own family.
Kahungye Gorilla Family
Located in Rushaga, this group has 13 members with 3 silverbacks which are the only ones named.
Bweza Gorilla Family
Located in Rushaga with 7 members including 1 Silverback, it is one of Nshongi Group that used to be the largest group ever habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Busingye Gorilla Family
Located in Rushaga, Busingye Gorilla Group is another splitter gorilla family having broken away from Kahungye Family with 9 individuals including 1 silverback.
Nyakagezi Gorilla Family
This is the only habituated group in Mghahiga Gorilla National Park with 10 members including 3 Silverbacks, 2 Blackbacks, 2 Females, 2 Juveniles and 1 Baby-Toddler.
How To Get A Gorilla Trekking Permit in Uganda
Over 88 people travel into Bwindi to see gorillas on a daily with only 8 people allowed per gorilla family. We strongly encourage you to book your gorilla permit with a safari agent, the most prominent mistake being booking a gorilla family which is far away from your choice of accommodation.
Gorilla permits in Uganda cost USD 600 offering an individual an one hour with the mountain gorillas in a group of 8 people while the Gorilla Habituation Experience costing USD 1500 offering an individual 4 hours during the habituation process of a gorilla a group and in Rwanda at USD 1500 per person while in D.R.Congo it is at USD 400 per person.
Rules and Regulations of Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla Trekking comes along with some mandatory rules to follow while in the company of the gorillas and before encountering the gorillas to ensure the conservation of these endangered species as well achieve a memorable experience with these gentle giants. The rules and regulations include:
- A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a family of habituated gorillas in a day and 4 visitors for the Gorilla Habituation experience.
- Always wash your hands before you head out to see the gorillas.
- Do not leave rubbish in the park.
- Always keep your voices low.
- While with the gorillas keep a minimum distance of 7 meters from the gorillas.
- Do not eat or drink while you are near the gorillas.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge, follow the guide’s example by crouching down slowly, and do not look at the gorillas in the eyes. Wait for the gorilla to pass you by and do not attempt to run away
- Flash photography is not permitted
- Do not touch the gorillas, they are still wild animals.
- The maximum time visitors are allowed to spend with the gorillas is one hour.
- Each group of participants is accompanied by a ranger guide and a military guide for protection.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable can take up to 8 hours with an one hour once you encounter the gorillas. The most exhilarating part of a gorilla safari is the time spent in the rainforest as you search for a gorilla family, follow ancient trails and discover the history of a people within the forest.
The gorillas move to a new location in the forest every day, so as you trek along the forest trails your guide’s job is to pick up from where they were the day before and try to find them again.
Gorilla Trekking can be done the whole year through and is evenly as good though in the rainy season the tracks in the rain forest might be a bit muddier and your tracking might be a bit longer/ tougher rendering the dry season the best time to track gorillas .
Uganda is the best place where to conduct a Gorilla Trekking Safari since it offers more adventure opportunities with a lot wildlife compared to Rwanda with other attractions besides mountain gorillas including Murchison Falls,other primates in Kibale Forest National Park and may more options according to your travel time and budget for your intended travel.