Being in silence on the icy ground of a Ugandan forest for 60 minutes can be one of life’s ultimate honors. There are fewer than 900 mountain gorillas in existence, and gorilla trekking provides a rare opportunity to observe the everyday interactions of these gorillas, mysterious primates.
Mountain gorillas only live in the dense flora of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and along the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range that stretches across Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ecologists estimated there were only 254 mountain gorillas left in the world, but the small population is expanding gradually thanks to concentrated international conservation efforts. Since these critically threatened creatures can’t survive in captivity, the only way to see them is by taking up a gorilla safari trekking tour with GoExplore Safaris up to their natural habitat misty cloud forests that can reach altitudes of 14,763 feet.
Our 5 reasons to make Uganda your base for this incredible journey.
You’ll Be Where Half the World’s Mountain Gorillas Live.
Uganda has two gorilla trekking spots where GoExplore Safaris can take you to: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mountain Gorillas don’t mind on political borders, so populations across the Virunga’s are relatively fluid. Uganda has an edge, however, since Bwindi alone is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (also called “The Place of Darkness” due to its solid treetops) is an antique, montane and lowland forest straddling 128 square miles. The region was termed a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its unbelievable biodiversity and the large number of threatened species that call it home.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park accounts for 13 square miles of the larger Virunga habitat, which expanses across 168 square miles into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The national park includes three of the eight major Virunga peaks: Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo.
You Can Fight Habitat Destruction by Supporting Community Enrichment.
Destruction of the habitant is the main threat to mountain gorillas. Communities around the parks are heavily settled, and residents have traditionally used land around national park boundaries for farming or logging.
Therefore, since tourism is now Uganda’s most beneficial industry, and the majority of tourists use GoExplore safaris to go see the mountain gorillas, trekkers on gorilla tours are encouraged to seek out ways to give back while on gorilla safaris to the communities they visit. One popular option is to hire a porter, while doing gorilla trekking who is always a local resident and occasionally a reformed poacher. The landscape within the parks is unpredictable and difficult; gorilla safari porters help guide trekkers through river crossings and up steep, muddy inclines.
Other options are to participate in community-led gorilla tours cultural initiatives. In Bwindi village, the Batwa tribe lead visitors on a forest tour along the Batwa Trail, explaining how their self-sufficient, forest-dwelling tribe traditionally used medicinal plants.
There are strict regulations in place to make sure the mountain gorillas stay healthy and wild—starting with the gorilla trekking permits process. Daily viewings of each mountain gorilla group are extremely limited, so visitors should apply with GoExplore safaris well before their desired dates.
In Uganda, a gorilla permits costs they cost $600 for the rest of the year. In contrast, permits in Rwanda now cost $1,500 year-round and you can book with GoExplore Safaris to secure for you a gorilla permits for gorilla tracking
Most gorilla trekking in Uganda takes place in Bwindi, where there are multiple starting points and several mountain gorilla families to track. Visits are led by mountain gorilla park rangers and groups of eight are allowed to observe the mountain gorillas for one hour, in silence and at a safe distance.
One look at southwestern Uganda’s green terraced hills and rolling volcanic slopes and it’s clear this area of the country is not for the faint of heart. Add in the high altitude and the challenging terrain, and mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda promises to be the adventure of a lifetime with GoExplore safaris while booking
It’s hard work to reach the mountain gorillas. It requires navigating uphill and downhill through thick tangles of vines, thorns, and roots. The appropriately named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is only accessible by foot. There are no paths, no signs, no directions—and more often than not, no clearings (which is why the gorilla trekking park rangers carry machetes). The good news? The reward seems that much better after all of the hard work.
The Pearl of Africa – Uganda is a primate-lover’s dream. In addition to mountain gorillas, Mgahinga is home to another endangered species: the golden monkey. These woolly, comical monkeys live high up in bamboo forests. Tracking golden monkeys is very similar to tracking gorillas, but the trek itself is not quite as challenging.
Further afield, Bwindi has gray-cheeked mangabeys, L’hoest monkeys, and blue monkeys. In Kibale Forest National Park, chimpanzees steal the show where chimpanzee tracking can be organized by GoExplore Safaris. Patas monkeys roam around Murchison Falls National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park has blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys (not to mention non-primates, like lions and elephants).
Visit mountain gorillas and more safaris in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with us at GoExplore Safari.