Mountain Gorilla Information for Uganda and Rwanda
Helpful Information – Tips and Advice about the Mountain Gorillas
Your Informational Guide to Gorilla Tracking (Trekking) in Uganda and Rwanda
Mountain Gorillas – you cannot experience them in person anywhere else in the world (they do not survive in zoos) but in this small slice of Africa – and Uganda has over half of the Mountain Gorillas in the world
There are only Three countries in Africa with the rare Mountain Gorillas –Uganda with over half of the Mountain Gorillas in the World (480), Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
You can safely track them in Uganda and Rwanda – we have compiled some pages that if you are wanting to go on a Gorilla Trek – you have come to the right page where you will find all the helpful information- tips and advice that will enable to have the best experience tracking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and in Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park.
Below you find helpful Mountain Gorilla Information that will help you in planning a Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda.
Mountain Gorilla Background Information – Mountain Gorilla Background Information-Facts-History-Behavior of Mountain Gorillas, Habitat and Diet and Predators – chief predator being man.
The endangered Mountain Gorillas of Uganda will not be found in any zoo in the world (they do not survive in captivity and there are no surviving mountain gorillas in zoos), you can only find them in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Here you can find out more Mountain Gorilla Information about the Endangered Gentle Giants of the Rainforest.
A South African wrote some time back that he felt that gorilla tracking was not really worth it. Too much hassle, too much money, too many bugs, too much effort. How wrong he was and is. Thousands that go on a gorilla trek each year will tell otherwise and one never hears a bit of regret, only wishing that they could track the gorillas once again.
Gorilla Tracking like all priceless things in life has a price – 750 usd for permits in Rwanda and 600 USD in Uganda, add on top of that lodging, transport, guides, tips and yes, it is a bundle of money – no one has ever complained but the writer of a blog that I answer in the link above, who never tracked gorillas.
The above is question one often receives from clients. One also sees such questions on forums, TripAdvisor and blogs.
Uganda and Rwanda provide similar experiences when it comes time to spend that hour with the Mountain Gorillas.
The above link gives the pros and cons for Rwanda and for Uganda when it comes to Mountain Gorilla Trekking.
If you are in doubt regard which country to visit take a look. Our suggestion – Track the Mountain Gorillas in both Rwanda and in Uganda. Even better track the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and go on a 4 hours with the Gorillas on a Gorilla Habituation Experience.
Gorilla Tracking – both in Rwanda and in Uganda are safe and secure and there have no issues with insecurity in either country.
The safest place to be is on a safari in either Uganda or Rwanda.
On a gorilla trek you are guided by rangers, there is an armed military escort along in most cases. Gorilla Trekking is a major source of income for both Rwanda and Uganda and both governments have done everything to make it a safe experience for visitors.
Gorilla Tracking takes place in Uganda and Rwanda all year-long – there are two rainy seasons where the trails become quite muddy. One must also realize that it does not rain all day long during the rainy seasons.
In the rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda it can rain even during the dry-seasons. When it rains in Uganda and Rwanda – it is mostly during the night or early mornings and then it clears up once again as the sun comes out.
Gorilla Permits are discounted in Uganda during the rainy-season months of April – May and November and are only 450 usd for each permit.
Here is practical advice for those wishing to go on a Gorilla Trek in Uganda. It starts with planning ahead. way before you come. Gorilla Tracking is different from most any wildlife viewing in Africa – there is a limit to the number of visitors allowed each day to see the gorilla for one hour and that is for the well-being of the gorillas.
Months such as December are sold out well ahead of time with a few spots here or there. The best advice one can give you is to plan, Uganda has increased in the number of visitors that come here for a Gorilla Trek since in Rwanda Gorilla Permits cost 750 usd and it costs less in Uganda while there are conflicts in the Eastern Congo.
Take a look at what is best to wear for you when you track Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda.
Habituation is a process where a Gorilla Family Group becomes used to Human Visitors and continue about their daily activities while visitors are present. The process of habituation is normally about two years where researchers, trackers, rangers work in getting gorillas ready for visitation.
The Gorilla Family Groups vary in numbers of family members and though one could put a number to each family group, by the time you arrive it can change. There are family feuds that lead to splits in families and new groups area formed. There are also birth and deaths take take place in the families- presently they vary in size from 6 to over 20 in number.
How strenuous is Gorilla Tracking and what kind of shape do I need to be in?
In 2013 a 94 year old woman was carried on a stretcher on her Gorilla trek and fulfilled her lifelong dream to see the Mountain Gorillas in her lifetime – she did. She was carried by 12 men in relay teams and did it – most that go gorilla tracking are a bit younger, though we have clients that were 80 years old and did just fine.
One should be in reasonable shape and state of fitness to track the gorillas. The gorilla group requiring the most stamina and strength is the Nkuringo Gorilla group since you have ascend and descend 600 at the beginning and the end of the trek – however Porters can be used to carry your daypack and walking sticks can be purchased or some lodges have them available for their guests.
Both Uganda and Rwanda have tough groups to track and easier ones – we will work with you according to your fitness level and stamina.
What is the length of time that I am actually with the Gorillas on a Gorilla Trek?
Your time with a gorilla group is one hour in both Uganda or Rwanda –that does not take into account the time it takes to track your group. Even before you go to the park headquarters – pre-trackers are out finding the location of your group for that day.
The whole normally takes about 5 hours – it can be longer (up to 8) or shorter in time depending on the location of your gorilla group on that day.
That one hour with a Gorilla is for most a once in a lifetime event however you can also be with the Gorillas for 4 hours on a habituation experience.
Gorilla Permits for Uganda and Rwanda are best booked through your Safari Tour Operator such as ourselves. That is easiest and hassle-free way.
Permits in Uganda are booked through a member of AUTO – The Association of Uganda Tour Operators that work together with the Uganda Wildlife Authority in the promotion and sales of permits.
In Rwanda Gorilla Permits are booked in a similar manner through Tour Operators who fully understand the routines and ways to obtain permits for you Gorilla Trek in Rwanda.
The Gorilla Tracking Safari has some rules, guidelines, etiquette that go along with it and it is best to know about them prior to the gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda.
The rules for Gorilla Tracking are most similar and they are strictly enforced by the Rangers in both countries.
They range as to how much time you will have with the mountain gorillas, to rules about your health and well-being so that you do not infect a gorilla with the flu or a cold for example.
The distance you will have to be from the gorillas, the use of a camera without flash and more. Simple things that are good to know.
Gorilla Photography is a bit different, at times it can be the lighting since often you will have your one hour encounter in the forest where the conditions are a bit different.
Here is practical advice for you to get the best results while taking pictures of the Mountain Gorillas while tracking them in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Photography of gorillas, made a bit easier for you…enjoy your Gorilla Trek while taking some great photos
Children under the age of 15 cannot track mountain gorillas, however we design special children activities while the parents track the mountain gorillas. For younger children we have even engaged nannies to entertain them while the parents are off on their trek.
Cultural Visits – including village – school visits are often arranged by us and of course since we use kid-friendly driver guides the children will be in good hands with us.
Presently there is no nature – bush-craft program for children in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Volcanoes National Park such as there is in Kibale Forest while parents track Chimpanzees.
Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes National Park- Rwanda- there are 10 gorilla groups that can be tracked here in Rwanda.
Tracking is a bit different in Rwanda than it is is in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
Here you are in the shadows of the Virunga Volcanoes and it is a totally different scenery than in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
You can always compare and track in both countries – the parks are only a few hours apart.
The Doctors work tirelessly behind the scenes saving a species – one Gorilla at a time. This is an effort that is most often not realized by visitors to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, other parks in East and Central Africa where the Gentle Giants of the Forest are found.
From Immunizations to Surgeries in the forest, the Veterinary Doctors are working – dedicated to preserving an endangered species such as the Mountain Gorillas. They are part of a greater conservation effort that has been successful in increasing the numbers of these large Primates, the Gentle Giants of the Forests of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The page above has links to the website of the Veterinary Doctors where you will find more information.
A hidden figure in Uganda’s Tourism Industry today. Walter Walter Baumgärtel owned the Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro, a place where the Luminaries of the Gorilla Fraternity gathered including Dian Fossey.
Walter Walter Baumgärtel was more than a hotelier, he was a conservationist who adored the Mountain Gorillas and finally was able to convince the British Colonial Authorities that visiting the Gorillas in the forests surrounding Kisoro was a good idea and would actually help the conservation efforts to preserve the species.
Today, few no about Walter Walter Baumgärtel, some may have read his book “Up with the Mountain Gorillas: – nevertheless his efforts continue today – tourism is paying the way of gorilla conservation.
Take a look at the various Gorilla Safaris that we offer – from three days to however long you would like to stay in the Pearl of Africa. If you co see what you would like – we can create the safari that is just for you.
Gorilla Tracking – Plus – Enjoy your time in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda and Rwanda – Land of a Thousand Hills – Africa as you imagined it to be – only better….
Uganda and Rwanda are Mountain Gorillas Plus much more…
Track Mountain Gorillas in both countries – enjoy the Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
A Gorilla Habituation Experience is being for four-hours with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
You can only have the Experience in Uganda, not any other Country. There are only two gorilla families that you can visit on a Habituation Experience in the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The number of participants is limited to 4 per day, per group which means that only 8 participants are allowed each day. Permits cost 1,500 usd per person and are obtained through the warden of the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This is a a great opportunity for those that want to spend more time with the Gentle Giants of the Forest.
Need more Mountain Gorilla – Information – Contact us