Gorilla Trekking Tours ,Tracking Gorillas
Gorilla tracking Safari can be a challenging activity, therefore ensure physical fitness. Eight people are permitted per group per day. There are currently five gorilla family groups for viewing. There are ten groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, (Mubare,Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Rushaga, Nshongi and Nkuringo) and one (Nyakagezi) in Mgahinga National Park.
Mountain Gorillas – gorilla gorilla beringei
Mountain gorillas – gorilla gorilla beringei are physically distinct from lowland gorillas. They are larger, have more hair, a broad chest and shoulders, have a short trunk and a longer and slightly different nose shape.
Mountain gorillas are born small, covered with black hair and usually weigh about 2.3 kilogrammes. Male and female gorillas between the ages of three and six years are classed as juvenile. They increase in size and weight at similar rates for the first six years. On reaching six years; most mountain gorillas are about four feet tall and weigh about 68 kilogrammes. The female mountain gorillas stop growing taller at around six years whereas the males continue growing both in weight and size till they reach the age of about ten or eleven.
Between the ages of six and ten, the male have black hair colour and are thus referred to as the blackbacks. On reaching maturity which is usually between 10 and 12 years, they develop silvery grey hairs on their backs thereby being referred to as silverbacks. Silverback is a dominant male in a group of about 12 or more gorillas that usually include females, juveniles and other infants.
Mountain gorillas are primarily vegetarian with their menu comprising nettles, bamboo and gallium. They occasionally also eat safari ants which are scooped in huge handfuls to stuff into the mouth until the safari ant bites overpower them. Gorillas spend most of their time foraging in search of food since plants and trees change with seasons.
They communicate through vocalizations. As an element of their socialization, they communicate through barks, howls, grunts and hoots. Screams and roars signal alarm or warning and are often produced by silverbacks.
They also communicate by beating on their chests or on the ground. This is done to show stature, prevent a fight or even scare off opponents.
However, even the infants beat their chests as a kind of displacement activity during play perhaps just to copy their elders. These Mountain Gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks of Uganda, Parc des Volcans – in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Foreign Nationals pay US$600 in Uganda and US$750 in Rwanda for Gorilla permits.
.1. Booking Office
· Jewel Safaris will help you secure the gorilla permits.
2. Long Term (Two Years in Advance) Booking Allocations
· Advance booking shall be allowed up to two years as long as a deposit of 30% is made and the balance shall be paid 91 days to the tracking date.
· 80% of all the permits in each month can be booked for two years in advance by the Association of Uganda Tour Operations (AUTO) members only. Foreign tour operators will book through local tour operators.
· Each tour operator (AUTO) shall book up to only 20 permits for that particular month on the day the booking opens, which is the first working day (Monday to Friday) of the month.
3. Short time booking (three months in advance)
· Individual trackers can buy from Uganda Wildlife Authority not more than 2 permits for the month. There is no guarantee, which dates or how many per day will be available. Booking can be done on the day the booking opens, which is the first working day of the month.
4. Permit Limits
· Permits not sold on the day the booking opens will be open for sale the following day with no limits on the number each tour operator would buy.
5. Refunds/Cancellation Guidelines
· UWA shall refund the full tracking fee, if the visitor fails to track due to illness, this will be at recommendation of the Warden in Charge and this clause only applies to visitors who have already tracked BINP or MGNP.
· Visitors who fail to track the gorillas (MGNP) as a result of their movement to the neighboring country shall receive a full refund on their permits. However, those who would have tracked the whole day and failed to view the gorillas for one reason or another will be refunded 75% of the tracking fee. All refunds shall be effected through the Reservation Office at UWA Headquarters in Kampala.
· UWA will retain the following percentages upon cancellations;
0 – 8 days to tracking date – no refund
9 – 45 days to tracking date – 75% (25% refund to client)
46-90 days to tracking date – 50%
91 days and above to tracking date – 25% (75% refund to client)
6. Any % refund to be made shall be at the value of the permit.
7. Time Limit
The tracking time is limited from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All visitors are expected back at the campground by 7:00 p.m.