Type of gorillas found in Uganda are the mountain gorillas which are the only species of gorillas found in the country. These primates are one of the most prominent and these can be visited anytime of the year. Mountain gorillas are black in color, have short limbs, thick fur, huge nostrils, and dwell in forests at high altitudes.
They eat fruits, stems, bamboo shoots, and other plant materials. What make differentiates them from the lowland gorillas, is they live in the highlands and have thicker far.
Gorillas in Uganda
In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park are only places where visitors can see gorillas in their natural environment. Tourists visiting Uganda frequently visit both of these places.
To access these gentle giants in Uganda, must possess gorilla permits in order to participate in gorilla viewing. A certified tour operator can assist in making reservations for gorilla permits for the national parks of Bwindi or Mgahinga from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) which issues these permits.
Tourists are advised to reserve their gorilla permits in advance in order to avoid missing the opportunity to see the gorillas since permits can be on high demand and easily sell out especially in the High season months of June to October and December to February
Tourists are also advised to carry the vital gear when considering a Gorillas Safari to Uganda such as hiking boots, waterproof coats, long sleeved shirts, hats, sunglasses, snacks and a camera these come in handy during the trek since it can be a tedious activity.
GORILLAS IN BWINDI NATIONAL PARK
In Uganda, Bwindi National Park is a tourist destination well-known for its mountain gorillas. It is situated in the southwest of the country. The majority of the mountain gorillas in the world live in Bwindi National Park and these numbers are estimated to reach 600 currently.
In Bwindi National Park, gorilla trekking can be done in any of its four 4 sectors including the Buhoma sector in the park’s north, the Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors in the south, and the Ruhija sector in the park’s east.
Gorilla Permits cost 700 USD for non-resident foreigners, 600 USD for foreign residents, and 250,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park. A guide charge, a park admission fee, and a donation toward community development are all included in the cost of a gorilla permit in Bwindi Park.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park begins with a briefing at the park’s briefing point and thereafter, tourists are divided into groups and assigned a gorilla family to trek. They are then led by ranger guides into the forest to trek mountain Gorillas. This usually takes 2 to 6 hrs depending on the location of the gorilla family you are trekking on a particular day.
Tourists can participate in gorilla habituation in the Rushaga area of Bwindi National Park in addition to gorilla trekking when they are there. This process of introducing gorillas to human presence in their natural environment is known as gorilla habituation. Habituation is done for purposes of research and conservation and this activity also allows visitors to learn about and see the Gorilla behavior. Unlike gorilla trekking which take 2hrs, habituation takes 4hrs giving tourists more time to spend with the Gorillas in Bwindi National park.
A gorilla habituation permits costs 1500USD for foreigners 1000 USD for foreign residents and 750,000 Uganda shillings for East Africans
Along with viewing gorillas, visitors to Bwindi National Park can take cultural excursions with locals, go on nature hikes, and bird watching.
Flying or driving are both options for tours of Bwindi National Park. Entebbe International Airport offers flights to Kisoro Airstrip and Kihihi Airstrip, which are the two closest airports to Bwindi National Park. The trip from Kampala through Masaka, Mbarara, and Kabale takes 8 to 9 hours by car to reach Bwindi National Park.
GORILLAS IN MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK
Mgahinga National Park is situated in the Kisoro district of south-western Uganda and is also a part of the Virunga conservation region. Gorillas in Uganda can also be viewed when on a trip to Mgahinga National Park.
While going on a gorilla trek in Mgahinga National Park, visitors can get to visit with the Nyakagezi family, the only gorilla Family in this park.
The cost of a gorilla permit for the Mgahinga National Park is likewise comparable to that of the Bwindi National Park, which is 700 USD for nonresidents, 600 USD for foreign residents, and 250,000 Uganda Shillings for East Africans.
While on the gorilla trek in Mgahinga National park, a unique thing you will get to see are are the Golden monkeys which can only be seen in this national park in the country. you will also get to see the Virunga volcanoes (Mount Muhabura, Mount Mgahinga, and Mount Sabinyo).
When going to this park by road, it takes up to 9 hrs driving from Kampala through Masaka to Mbarara to Kisoro to Mgahinga National Park. Alternatively, visitors can enter the park from Rwanda at the Cyanika border. Mgahinga National Park may be reached by plane from Kisoro Airstrip.
Around Mgahinga National Park, there are activities like golden monkey trekking, golden monkey habituation, nature hikes, bird watching, and cultural excursions like visiting the Batwa.
BEST TIME TO SEE GORILLAS IN UGANDA
It is possible to observe gorillas in Uganda year-round, although the dry season is the ideal time to visit Bwindi or Mgahinga national parks to see gorillas.
In addition to the months of December, January, and February, Uganda experiences two dry seasons from June through October. Conditions are ideal in Uganda during the dry season to observe gorillas as the roads and paths are not slippery.
Visitors can still visit Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National park in the wet season too because it is also the low season and most service providers offer discounts. The months in the low season are March, April, May and November.