Gorillas In Uganda – Facts & Best time to See Gorillas 2022
Been wondering why you need to trek Gorillas in Uganda! Mountain gorillas are some of the rare apes found in thick forests. Gorillas in Africa are found in 3 countries, 4 National parks i.e. Bwindi, Mgahinga, Volcanoes and Virunga National Parks.
Gorillas in Uganda are one of the exciting reasons why travelers choose Africa, to spend their Holidays/vacations. No wildlife experience beats the thrill of meeting face to face with the gorillas in the wild, at a small distance of 7 meters.
Which Gorilla Species are in Uganda?
There are just two gorilla species in the whole World-Eastern and western gorillas. Each of these species is sub-divided into two more species that are Cross River and western lowland gorillas under western gorilla category as well as the mountain and Eastern lowland gorillas under the Eastern gorilla specie.
The Gorillas in Uganda are “mountain gorillas”, known for their muscular arms, huge hands and feet as well as wide chests. Additionally, these gorillas have thicker, darker and longer fur on their skin, as a way of insulating them from the unbearably cold temperatures within their natural habitat.
Still on their habitats, these creatures only live high on the mountains (altitudes of 2500 to 4000 meters above sea level) with dense rainforests hence their name “mountain gorillas”.
Where are the Gorillas in Uganda found?
The gorillas in Uganda can only be found within two magnificent places – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as well as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These beautiful Parks are situated within the south-western side of the country and they border Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Another interesting thing about these Protected Areas is that they were both gazetted in 1991, mainly to protect their fragile ecosystem as well as the mountain gorillas that were at the time facing several challenges and at the verge of getting extinct.
Why visit Gorillas in Uganda?
There are many places in Africa where gorillas are found but there are numerous reasons for choosing Uganda. First, travelers are introduced to half the entire World’s mountain gorillas (when Bwindi and Mgahinga gorillas are combined).
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park covers about 13 square miles of the vast Virunga ecosystem that extends into Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
Another reason to visit gorillas in Uganda is the more affordable gorilla trekking permits, compared to Rwanda. Permits in this country go for $700 for foreign non-residents and $600 for the foreign residents while East African residents pay Shs. 250,000 per person versus $1500 per person for Rwanda gorillas.
Additionally, other interesting primate species are likely to cross your way during the trekking process in Uganda.
How many Mountain Gorillas are in Uganda?
The latest census places the number of gorillas in the entire World at about 1080 individuals and Bwindi National Park alone houses about 450 gorillas while Mgahinga has about 80-100 gorillas. These two populations when combined puts Uganda’s mountain gorilla population at half.
How are gorillas in Uganda trekked?
For any gorilla location you choose in Uganda, you must possess a valid gorilla permit, which is simply a document that allows you to have access to the gentle giants. On the trekking date, visitors are required to converge at the respective briefing points to get acquainted with the guidelines to be followed while in the jungles.
This comes along with allocation of 8 persons into each gorilla family. Afterwards, trekkers enter the forest to search for the gorillas for 1-5 hours, depending on the terrain difficulty and location of these wonderful creatures. Interactions (in form of observation and photography) last one hour at a distance of 7 meters at all times.
Is it safe for visitors to see gorillas in Uganda?
Yes, it is absolutely safe for visitors to see mountain gorillas in Uganda and it should be noted that no life-threatening security issue has been witnessed in the last two decades.
Besides the well-trained, highly motivated and well-equipped Park Rangers, there are also military Police and Tourism Police to ensure safety and security of tourists and their personal as well as surrounding local communities.
Daily law enforcement patrols are conducted within or around the Gorilla Parks as a way of shielding visitors from any form of danger.
It is also safe for visitors to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda because they have been fully habituated to be in the presence of humans, hence instances of gorilla attacks and confrontation are rare. However, it should be noted that these are wild animals you are dealing with and likely to charge when provoked/pushed beyond limits.
How much does it cost to see gorillas in Uganda’s jungle?
The amount of money you will pay to see gorillas varies according to the category of trip you are undertaking-budget, midrange or luxury. However, some aspects of gorilla safaris especially gorilla permits are constant regardless of the chosen category.
For this case, permits cost $700, $600 and Shs. 250,000 for foreign non-residents, foreign residents and East African residents respectively. Given the long driving distance between Kampala/Entebbe and the Gorilla Parks, travelers will need to spare 3 days to achieve the dream of encountering mountain gorillas in their natural environment.
A typical 3-day Uganda Gorilla Safari costs $1100 to $1400 per person for two people, and is inclusive of permits, transport, driver allowances and accommodation.
When is the most ideal time of the year to see gorillas in Uganda?
The most ideal time of the year to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda depends on individual interests. The wet season that begins from March winds down to May then October to November.
The forests display the thicker and verdant vegetation, yet perfect for visitors who want to avoid huge crowds. However, travelers should be prepared to walk through muddy and slippery forest trails, yet better chances of encountering numerous bird species.
The dry season from June to September and December to February offer drier and less slippery forest trails, yet are typically more crowded.