The main tourist attraction in southern Uganda is its mountain gorillas, found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The population of gorillas in Uganda is approximately 400 individuals.
The current number of mountain gorillas as of September 2018 in the Virunga Massif, which consists of Rwanda, DR Congo and Uganda, is 604 members.
20 habituated mountain gorilla families are open to tourism in five different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo, in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park, all under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
This has increased the capacity of tourists allowed to track the gorillas, with over 160 permits available for sale daily. Tourists wishing to track gorillas must first obtain a permit. Permits are restricted to 8 visitors per group.
Selected gorilla families have been habituated to human presence, and the number of visitors is tightly controlled to prevent risks to the gorillas and degradation of the habitat. The gorillas seldom react to tourists. There are strict rules for tourists to minimize the risk of diseases passing from them to the gorillas.
Buhoma Region- 4 families – 32 permits available
Ruhija Region- 4 families, 32 permits available
Rushaga Region- 8 families, 64 permits per day
Nkuringo Region- 3 families, 24 permits available
Mgahinga National Park- 1 family, 8 permits available
A gorilla tracking experience is one activity that must be on your bucket list. A tailor-made safari including this amazing activity can be arranged and booked by Nkuringo Safaris. If you are a lone traveler, however, you can book permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, office in Kampala, or check for availability in the information centers in Kisoro or Buhoma. You are however encouraged to book permits in advance.
The permit buys you one hour with the gorillas. Permits are usually priced at;
Gorilla tracking in Bwindi is open all year round, but the best time to visit is during the dry seasons from June to August and December to February.
Bwindi has a tropical climate with the climate and environment regulated by the forest. Annual mean temperatures range from a minimum of 7 to 15 °C to a maximum of 20 to 27 °C. Its annual rainfall ranges from 1,400 to 1,900 mm. The rainy season occurs from March to April and from September to November.
The park’s forest vegetation has high amounts of evapotranspiration increasing the rainfall around the region. The forest vegetation lessens soil erosion, flooding and ensures that streams continue to flow in the dry season. The forest trails are drier and therefore less slippery, photography is easier.
The high season brings many tourists, it is between June to September and booking of permits in advance is advised. The low season is in the months of March, April, May, October and November and permits are readily available.
Mountain gorillas are gentle giants. They show very little aggression toward each other and their overall demeanour is extremely peaceful. There is always the potential for danger when you are close to wildlife, but these risks can be limited greatly by exercising caution and safety measures and following park rules.
You must consider the weather when packing for this exciting experience. If your trip entails a fly safari, you may be required to pack light since baggage is limited to 15 kgs. Make sure you have packed sunscreen, poncho or raincoat, warm clothing, insect repellant, money belt, long range camera, sturdy hiking shoes, flashlight, extra rechargeable batteries and many more.
Nkuringo Safaris has a detailed list of items to pack for your safari upon confirming your booking.
At Nkuringo Safaris, we can arrange everything from permits to accommodation to make your gorilla tracking experience the ultimate wildlife experience! Contact us today for more information about gorilla tracking in Uganda or to begin planning your Uganda safari!