when can i see mountain Gorillas in africa
Mountain Gorilla Trekking is a highlight done tourism activity for most visitors in Uganda & Rwanda and somehow these endangered mountain gorillas are the initial reason why very many travelers come to these 2 tourism destinations to find more information about mountain gorillas. Trek mountain gorillas in the wild, Mountain gorilla trekking means hiking to the dense tropical rain forest of Africa to view these giant apes in their natural environment.
COVID-19 Updates: Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Volcanoes national park, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park have been reopened. tourists can now trek mountain gorillas of Uganda, and Rwanda while following Covid 19 restrictions such as social distancing, and other guidelines.
When Can I See Mountain Gorillas in Africa?
Mountain gorilla trekking can be done throughout the year in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo, but the best time to trek mountain gorillas is in the long dry seasons of June, July, August, and September, and in the short dry seasons of December to early March. This is because these countries are receiving less rainfall and the national parks are dry, which makes hiking through the dense tropical forest to see gorillas easier.
Where can tourists see gorillas in Africa?
Gorillas are trek in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo. However, gorillas are classified into mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas, with sub-species in each. We suggest Uganda and Rwanda for tourists interested in viewing mountain gorillas and the Republic of Congo for those intending to see lowland gorillas. Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo also protects mountain gorillas, mountain gorilla trekking has been difficult due to political instabilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Lowland gorillas are smaller compared to mountain gorillas and also have a distinct brow ridge and a brownish-gray fur coat, while mountain gorillas are huge and have darker black coats. Mountain gorillas are the most unique primate species in the world, with less than 800 left in the African wilderness, and half of the total world population lives in Uganda, the pearl of Africa.
Where can I track mountain gorillas in Uganda?
Uganda offers two national parks where travelers can take part in a mountain gorilla trekking safari experience, namely Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which provides four different sectors for trekking mountain gorillas, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, all situated in southwestern Uganda. In Uganda, which showcases a total of 18 mountain gorilla families, tourists can only track one mountain gorilla family per day.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park alone offers 17 mountain gorilla families, which makes it the best destination to trek gorillas or the best national park where tourists can view mountain gorillas in the wild. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is an ancient tropical rain forest protecting over 90 mammal species, 11 primate species, including the black and white colobus monkey, and 150 bird species.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park’s mountain Gorilla Trekking sectors
• Ruhija sector mountain gorilla families: Mukiza, Bitukuru, Oruzogo,and Kyaguliro
• Buhoma sector mountain gorilla families: Habinyanja, Mubare, Katwe, and Rushegura
• Nkuringo sector mountain gorilla families: Christmas, Bushaho, and Nkuringo,
• Rushaga sector mountain gorilla families: Kutu, Busingye, Bikingi, Mishaya,Mucunguzi, Kahungye, Bweza, Rwigi, and Nshongi
Mgahinga Mountain Gorilla Family
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers only the Nyakagezi mountain gorilla to be trekked, which is always surrounded by the slopes of the Virunga chained volcanoes, namely Mountain Muhavura standing at 4,127 m, Mountain Gahinga standing at 3474 m, and mountain Sabinyo standing at 3645 m.
Which country offers the best option for mountain gorilla viewing? Comparing Uganda Vs Rwanda
This is a tricky question though since these are all-mountain gorillas residing in the tropical rain forests! same kind of environment but different locations. Comparing Uganda and Rwanda is not good since Uganda offers more wildlife species compared to Rwanda. Besides the rare mountain gorillas, travelers can track chimpanzees and other primates in Kibale forest national park, or explore Murchison Falls national park, Regarding the cost, please note that Rwanda’s mountain gorilla permits cost $2500 per individual and Uganda’s mountain gorilla permits cost $700 per person.
The price for mountain gorilla permits listed above includes one hour of viewing mountain gorillas with a group of eight people. Mountain gorilla trekking rewards every tourist with a lot of enjoyment, such as observing how they feed their young ones and getting protection from the silverback.
Mountain gorilla trekking is limited in number; keep in mind that they only issue 80 gorilla tracking permits per day, which means only 80 individuals are allowed to view gorillas in their natural environment each day. Because these mountain gorillas are very fragile, every time travelers walk in this dense tropical rain forest, they leave a footprint. In conclusion, Uganda offers the best place for gorilla trekking.
How Difficult Is It to Go Gorilla Trekking?
Mountain gorilla trekking has many factors influencing its difficulty. One of them is the tourist’s physical fitness. Other factors affecting mountain gorilla trekking include weather conditions and pack weight. It is good to ask the park rangers for a mountain gorilla family that matches your physical fitness. Porters are always important since sometimes mountain gorilla trekking is not very hard, but some people have also done it in their late 60s and 70s.
Mountain gorilla trekking is strenuous sometimes since it involves hiking. To start with, 60% of Bwindi Impenetrable National park is covered at an elevation of approximately 6,600 ft. Elevation occupies the entire Bwindi impenetrable forest from 3,904 to 8,553 ft. It is occupied by steep slopes in some areas. The mountain gorilla trekking experience lasts from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the location of the gorilla family.
Mountain Gorilla Tracking Rules and Regulations for Post-Covid Visitors
Mountain gorillas share 98% of human DNA, so it’s possible that these giant apes can get coronaviruses. Gorillas can also contract flu and other airborne diseases, making COVID-19 a major threat to Africa's last remaining wild mountain gorillas.
• Keep a 7-meter distance between you and the gorillas.
• Wearing of masks is important
• You are allowed only 1 hour to see the gorillas
• The age limit of 15 years or more remains.
• Avoid sneezing.
• Sanitize and observe other SOP guidelines.
What to expect on Mountain Gorilla Safari experience?
On the day of gorilla trekking, expect to wake up early from your comfortable bed and move to the briefing point at the park's headquarters. After the morning briefing, tourists are allocated to different tracking routes; each group has 8 tourists. Head to the dense tropical rain forest, where tourists are always accompanied by guides and park rangers as their search for mountain gorillas begins in that jungle.
In the forest, you may spot other monkey species, mammals, butterfly species, bird species, and so much more. Sometimes the tropical forest is quite challenging and may require a good level of fitness. At the end of a mountain gorilla trekking day, expect to be sweaty and muddy.
Once you spot mountain gorillas, you are allowed to take photos with your cameras or iPhone, but always avoid using the flashlight, or else these apes can charge. The normal gorilla trek lasts for an hour in the company of the gentle giant apes. Mountain gorilla trekking is a life-changing encounter. After gorilla trekking, return back to your lodge or opt for a unique cultural village experience with Batwa, Uganda’s pygmies.
Gorilla habituation is the process of training wild mountain gorillas to get used to physical humankind. These mountain gorillas are trained by researchers and park rangers; Gorilla habituation lasts for a period of three years. During the gorilla habituation training, tourists are allowed to join the group of park rangers and researchers. Only a maximum of four tourists are allowed. This makes the Mountain gorilla habituation experience so special. The Mountain gorilla habituation experience permits cost $1500 in Uganda per person per day.
Other Primate Safaris in Africa
Besides mountain gorilla trekking safari experiences, tourists can engage themselves in tracking chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park, golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda, or Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, and there are a number of other monkey species in Uganda. After a gorilla trekking safari, tourists can also visit the Queen Elizabeth National Park’s tree-climbing lions of Ishasha sector, explore Murchison Falls National Park, PianUpe Reserve, and Kidepo Valley National park for the best wildlife experience in Uganda.
Kibale Forest National Park Chimpanzee Tracking
Kibale Forest national park offers 13 different primate species. Kibale forest chimpanzee trekking lasts from 7 am to 2 pm with two sessions being offered, its common trail being Kanyanchu. The chimpanzee habituation experience is only offered at Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale forest national park's normal chimpanzee tracking permit costs $200 and the chimpanzee habituation experience costs $250.
Queen Elizabeth National Park Wildlife experience & Chimpanzee Tracking
Queen Elizabeth national park also offers chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura gorge. 16 permits for chimpanzee tracking are issued daily. Kyambura gorge chimpanzee trekking is more challenging than in Kibale forest national park which may require your physical fitness levels. Kyambura gorge chimpanzee tracking permit cost is $50 per individual per trek. Kyambura tracking minimum age is 12 years. Other primates include colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons, and red-tailed monkeys. Queen Elizabeth National Park offers other unique wildlife species such as the tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha, hippos, cape buffaloes, huge herds of elephants, leopards, antelopes, and bird species. tourists may Spend a night at Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha wilderness, Katara lodge, Irungu forest safari lodge, and Jacana Safari Lodge depending on your budget.
Volcanoes National Park Mountain Gorilla Trekking Safari
The Mountain gorilla tracking experience of Rwanda is being best done in the Virunga chained mountains park named Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda’s mountain gorilla permit costs $ 1500. Rwanda alone offers 17 mountain gorilla groups. The Susa mountain gorilla family offers the best experience for our gorilla safaris in Rwanda. The best time to track mountain gorillas in Rwanda is in the long dry months of late June to September or from December to March in the short dry season. Volcanoes National Park is among the 8 Virunga Mountains.
Golden Monkey tracking experience In Africa
Besides mountain gorillas, tracking of golden monkeys is Africa’s third-best primate trekking experience coming after chimpanzee tracking experience. Golden monkey tracking is best done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, all these national parks belong to the Virunga chained mountains.