Silverback Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

What is a silverback Gorilla?

A silverback is an adult male mountain Gorilla. They are named so because of the silver/grey hair they get on their backs as they age, which makes them stand out and distinct from other Gorillas. This transition occurs at around the age of 12. Male mountain gorillas between the age of 8 to 11 are called blackbacks.

Silverbacks are the largest living primates weighing up to 450 pounds compared to the females who weigh about 250 pounds. They have an average height of 5.5 feet and are very strong giant primates capable of lifting more than 800 Kgs of weight.

Socially, silverbacks are gentle, friendly and calm unless provoked. They are known for being aggressive and dangerous when it comes to protecting their families and resolving conflict between family members.

silverback Gorilla

silverback Gorilla

Dominant silverback Gorillas

Dominant silverbacks are adult male gorillas that head the Gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable forest. Gorilla families are usually made up of 5 to 30 members headed by the oldest silverback. A family will normally have one or two silverbacks and a number of females and young males (black backs) and infants.

The dominant silverback is responsible for the safety, protection, and guidance of its family members. They look for safe feeding and resting ground for their families and are also responsible for mating the females in the group. Other male Gorillas in the group usually leave their families as they grow up to form their own families.

Dominant Silverbacks are known for being aggressive and very protective of their families since they are responsible for the entire group’s safety. This however only happens when they feel threatened. In normal cases, they are calm and avoid conflict and that is where they got the name “Gentle giants”

What do Silverback Gorillas feed on?

Gorillas are herbivorous animals meaning their diet is mainly vegetarian, including plants, fruits, leaves, stems, roots, flowers and bamboo shoots. They also sometimes eat insects like ants, termites and caterpillars.

Silverbacks in Bwindi National Park spend most of their day eating and searching for food within the Bwindi forest for their families. They have 2 main meals one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. They feed 2 to 3 hours and in order to keep up their weight and strength, these silverbacks eat up to 60 pounds of food every day, which explains their incredible strength and their giant body structure.

While feeding, they ensure to avoid over consuming vegetation from one specific area. This allows the vegetation to restore and replenish hence conserving the environment.

What is the life span of a Silverback Gorilla?

Silverbacks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can live up to the age of 35 to 40 years. The biggest threats to the lives of mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest today are poachers, habitat loss due to encroachment by the local people, diseases and parasites.

The Uganda Wildlife authority has played a great role in ensuring the protection of these endangered animals through sensitizing the communities about the importance of conservation and also promoting responsible tourism. The Uganda wildlife authority also provides total security in Bwindi National park by deploying well trained and armed personnel. In return, the numbers of Gorillas have significantly increased over the years.

How to see silverbacks in Bwindi Impenetrable National park?

Nyakagezi gorilla group

silverback gorilla trekking in Bwindi

Silverbacks can be seen anytime of the year in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. You can book a Gorilla permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at 700 USD for foreign nonresidents,600 USD for residents and 250,000 UGX for East Africans at least 2 months before your visit.  To spend more time with the Gorilla, you can opt for a habituation experience, which gives you 4hrs with the gorillas as they are being habituated. A gorilla habituation permit in Bwindi impenetrable National Park goes for 1500 USD for foreign nonresidents, 1000 USD for foreign residents and 750,000 Ugandan shillings for East Africans.

Gorilla Permits are on very high demand and therefore easily sell out especially in the peak season. The same applies to accommodation. You are therefore advised to book your permit at least 2 months in advance to avoid missing out on this adventure. You should also book a hotel earlier so you do not miss out on spending the night in your preferred hotel, because just like permits, the hotels are also on high demand.

Gorilla Trekking Permits and Habituation Permits to Bwindi Impenetrable national park can also be booked through a trusted tour Operator in Uganda.

Jewel Safaris is one of the Leading tour operators in Uganda which you can trust with your plans for your Gorilla Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

How to get to Bwindi forest national park

By air you can get to Bwindi through the Entebbe airport then get a 2 hours transfer to Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip using chatter flights which are scheduled daily. From Kisoro or Kihihi airstip, you will have a road drive to Bwindi which usually takes about 2 hours.

By land from Entebbe or Kampala, you will have an 8 to 9hrs drive to Bwindi National park via the Kampala, Mbarara, Kabale Kisoro route. Here you have to start your journey quite early in order to make it early to your destination.

Most travelers prefer to travel by air to avoid the long tiresome drive of 9hrs by road. The road drive however offers you a chance to view Uganda’s beautiful and scenic landscape and vast natural vegetation.

In conclusion, Silverbacks are the strongest and largest Living primate. They are leaders and protectors of their families and this explains their aggressive behavior when it comes to anything concerning their families. On a normal, they are very peaceful and calm individuals and thus they were named, the gentle giants. Silverbacks can be seen in Bwindi Impenetrable national park during Gorilla trekking anytime of the year that you may choose.

Book and plan your Gorilla Trekking safari with Jewel Safaris, a trusted and experienced tour operator in Uganda.