There are only three mountain gorilla trekking destinations in the world. These include Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with Uganda as the most popular and home to over half of the world’s Mountain gorillas. Over years, it has been recorded that majority of Uganda’s tourists would like to include gorilla trekking in their tour packages, besides other thrilling activities. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park, both located far in the south western part near the Uganda-Rwanda border. Gorilla trekking is conducted all year around but the best time is in the months of June, July, August, September and December. This is because of the less rains thus the park is drier and easier to take on the challenging the terrain.
Most tourists get hard times when trying to figure out which of these countries is ideal for gorilla trekking and below are the reasons you should choose Uganda as your best gorilla trekking destination.
- MORE AFFORDABLE PERMITS IN UGANDA
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are only US $700 and UG shillings 250,000 for foreigners and East Africans per day respectively, as compared to neighboring Rwanda which charges US $1,500 per day. There is definitely a difference of about US $800 saved, and this gives chance for more activities to be included in the tour package. This factor has largely been one of the reasons tourists trek the endangered species in Uganda, as the budget tourists also have the opportunity to participate in the trekking.
- HIGHER CHANCES OF SIGHTING THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN UGANDA
There are five gorilla trekking sectors in Uganda, four of them are found in Bwindi impenetrable national park namely; Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Rushanga sector, and Nkuringo sector and one other found in Mgahinga national park (Nyakagezi sector). The sectors in Bwindi have fifteen families and two other families are found in Mgahinga thus a guarantee of sighting the mountain gorillas during a trek. However, tourists are encouraged to purchase the permits early enough probably 3 months prior to your arrival since their availability is limited and are served on first come- first serve basis.
- CHANCE TO ENCOUNTER OTHER PRIMATES
Gorilla trekking in Uganda also gives chance to see a variety of other primates in the forests for instance, you could see the L’hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked monkeys, blue monkeys and golden monkeys comically hopping on the trees and enjoying their natural habitat. One could also choose to further track chimpanzees in Kibale national park which is also located in the vicinity of these parks to enhance the whole experience. Besides the primates, there are various bird species, plant species, butterflies and cold but serene environment to enjoy as you trek the terrain.
- GORILLA HABITUATION IN UGANDA
This is an opportunity to the tourists who prefer spending more time with the mountain gorillas and lasts up to 4 hours as compared to gorilla trekking where tourists are only given 1 hour to spend time viewing and enjoying gorilla interactions. A habituation permit is US $1,500 per day and per person, which is worth if compared to Rwanda’s US $1,500 for only gorilla tracking. Gorilla habituation experience gives tourists the opportunity to have an in-depth understanding of gorilla behavior and lifestyle. Note that among the three gorilla tracking destinations in the world, Uganda is the only destination that offers gorilla habituation experience.
- VARIETY OF OTHER SAFARI ACTIVITIES
Uganda, apart from Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park has other 8 national parks and 13 game reserves, which offer game drives, boat cruises, cultural experiences and so many other activities. Bwindi national park in particular has Batwa cultural tours that are usually offered after a gorilla tracking experience. The batwa community also known as batwa pygmies, consists of native and traditional group of people who have lived in this forest for their lifetime. They are believed to be the most primitive tribe in Uganda and therefore, a visit to their community exposes tourists to their lifestyle, traditional practices, any many more to discover.
About 10 hours drive from Entebbe international airport to Bwindi national park in south western Uganda gives chance to tourists to view the breathtaking sceneries of rolling hills and valleys, banana and tea plantations along the roads, make stopovers and enjoy the road side fruits sold by local vendors.
Other national parks in Uganda can be included in the tour packages so that tourists can make stop overs and enjoy the diverse tour activities before they finally track the mountain gorillas. This can be either on the way to or from Bwindi impenetrable national park. For instance, they can track the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park, wildlife viewing on horse backs in Lake Mburo national park, and so on.
- ENCOURAGES CONSERVATION AND ENHANCE HOUSEHOLD INCOMES
Trekking gorillas in Uganda is a great opportunity of conserving and fighting destruction of habitat since it’s the major threat to the mountain gorillas. The local people in this area sometimes encroach the forests to create more land for settlement and farming therefore, trekkers are encouraged to support the communities by buying locally made crafts, hire porters to help during the treks and also participate in coffee processing activities done within the communities. The locals thereafter use the money collected to enhance their living standards.
- IT IS AN ADVENTUROUS ACTIVITY
Gorilla trekking is extensively adventurous activity and therefore, tourists who love more challenging activities can include gorilla tracking to their tour packages. Trekking the Ugandan terrain and penetrating through the impenetrable forest is quite challenging but much easier as compared to Rwanda and where need be, porters are usually available to offer help to extremely tired trekkers. Other adventurous activities to look forward to in Uganda include abseiling at Sipi falls, white water rafting, tubing on the Nile and many more.
- UGANDA IS A PEACEFUL COUNTRY
Uganda over years has been a relatively peaceful and politically stable country hence creating a conducive environment for tourists who visit the country. Uganda Wildlife Authority has also deployed game rangers in the national parks who ensure safety and security of tourists during their visits.
- AVAILABILITY OF A RANGE OF ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES
Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park are surrounded by various lodges ranging from budget to luxury, strategically located in areas that give breathtaking views. The staff at these lodges are professional, hospitable and offer quality services. These lodges also offer a variety of continental foods and local foods therefore a variety to choose from. The lodge policies are convenient and easy to adhere to, thus enhancing your safari in Uganda.
In conclusion, many tourists have chosen Uganda as the best gorilla trekking destination and some have gone ahead to recommend or make return visits so as to have another round of experiencing the beauty of Uganda.
For memorable, exceptional and affordable Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, book with us at www.dalinksafaris.com. We offer quality services, that exceed expectations, we pride in client satisfaction.