It is not about trekking to tracking it is about being with Mountain Gorillas
You can call it Gorilla Tracking or Trekking – it is a once in a Lifetime Encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest
Call it Gorilla Tracking or Trekking -to most it is Incredible, once-in-a-lifetime Encounter with the Mountain Gorillas in the Wild. You can not see Mountains Gorillas anywhere else in the world. No Zoo, has Mountain Gorillas for you to see, one reason that they are so special, so out of the ordinary. It is only in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo that you can see them be with them for one hour, or even 4 in Uganda in their living room, their natural habituat which in Ugana is in either Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park
The Mountain Gorillas of Uganda attract people from around the world. They are the main reason that Safari Travelers come to Uganda and venture into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park. The visitors to Uganda are not so much into the terminology of “Call it Gorilla Tracking or Trekking “. To African Travelers from near and far, it is all about being for one hour with a Gorilla Family. Now you can spend 4 hours with the gentle Giants of the Forest on a Gorilla Habituation Experience in the Rushaga area of Bwindi.
Whether you call it Gorilla Trekking or Tracking is immaterial – the fact remains – It is a once in a Lifetime Encounter with the Mountain Gorillas, the Gentle Giants of the Forest.
Unlike Pandas, Orangutans, Chimpanzees, Mountain Gorillas’ cannot be found or visited in a zoo anywhere in the world. You can only find Mountain Gorillas in three countries in Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over half of the mountain gorillas in the world can be found in Uganda in two spots – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where there are over 480 Gorillas and when the new census comes out for Bwindi Forest there
What people may not realize is that unlike seeing lions in the wild, or searching out Giraffes, Elephants, Warthogs, Crocodiles, and Hippos, there are a limited number of visitors allowed to view and visit the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda. Presently there are 19 groups that have been habituated and are open for visitation – 18 at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and one, the Nyakagezi Family in Mgahinga Gorilla Park. (Habituation simply means that the Mountain Gorillas are used to Human Beings, a process that can take up to two years) There are over 36 Mountain Gorilla Groups in the wild of Uganda in total both habituated ones and those who are not.
Each Mountain Gorilla group can have a maximum of 8 visitors each day for about one hour. Gorilla Groups vary in size from 6 to up to 30 in number.
You meet at the park office, depending which group of gorillas you are tracking – it can be in the Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, or Nkuringo area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
It is best that you have a packed lunch with you, 2 liters of water, Gorilla Wear such as hat, tough gardening gloves, long pants, boots, long-sleeved shirt, rain jacket, backpack, insect repellent, lots of batteries, you can get a walking stick locally and the assistance of a porter if need be.
At the Gorilla tracking orientation you are assigned to your guide who is an expert on the group of gorillas and most often was a part of the gorilla group’s habituation process and visits your gorilla group daily and knows their ways and patterns of movement since gorillas move on a daily basis and build new nests each day.
The tracking time can take up to 8 hours. You cannot just drive up to their location – it can be a hike, especially in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. However, in spite of a strenuous hike, your surroundings in either Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park are simply awesome, breathtaking and beautiful. Not only will you see your Mountain Gorillas up close and personal but also other mammals who call Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park their home.
There are birds endemic to the parks, butterflies, chimpanzees, forest elephants, and of course the rugged, scenic beauty you will see on your own Gorillas in the Mist experience in Uganda. Some people cannot get enough of the Mountain Gorillas in one day, so they schedule and plan for two days of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. Never have I had someone disappointed with their encounter with the gentle and majestic Mountain Gorillas of Uganda.
There are some restrictions to visiting the Uganda Mountain Gorillas: No flu, coughs or colds, not diarrhea problems, reasonably fit, and a minimum age of 15. To some of the cost of a permit to see the Mountain Gorillas may restrict them from a budgetary viewpoint. The cost of one permit is 600 USD. Rwanda has raised its price to 750 USD as of June 2012.
Lodging in the two Mountain Gorilla locations in Uganda can be from a budget rustic price to 5-star facilities up to 500 USD per night per person. Some take the bus to Kisoro and then Public transport to the Gorilla locations. The best and most recommended is to use a tour operator such as Kabiza Wilderness for safety and security reasons and for getting the best value for the money you are investing in your trip. Ugandan Tour companies are your best bet since they will be intimately acquainted with the area, lodging facilities and giving you the best Gorilla Experience.
Mountain Gorilla Tracking has not always been around. Some scientists and or researchers were against the concept of Mountain Gorilla Tracking such as Dian Fossey. Max Walter Baumgärtel was the father of Mountain Gorilla Tracking. His idea was to promote tourism and thereby provide funding to the conservation of these majestic creatures. He bought the Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro near both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. He pioneered the modern Gorilla Trekking program working through obstacles with the British Colonial Government which at first was against the concept then later with the Ugandan government of Milton Obote, causing him to leave in 1969. Many famous Mountain Gorilla researchers stayed at his hotel which in those days did not have running water but had to be brought in. He climbed into the surrounding mountains with a Ugandan man who became an expert guide over the years and discovered the wonders of the Mountain Gorillas.
He was right, today Mountain Gorillas in Uganda live in protected areas, their biggest threat, poachers have been dealt with by giving a portion of the Gorilla permits to the local population. Gorillas are also growing in numbers in the protected areas of Uganda proving Walter Baumgärtel the father of gorilla tourism right.
Today, thanks to pioneers of Mountain Gorilla Trekking such as Walter Baumgärtel who had the right idea, that tourism could actually help the gorillas instead of destroying them as was the fear of Dian Fossey. He left Uganda in 1969 to live in the country of his birth, Germany where he died but never forgetting his beloved Mountain Gorillas.
Today, thousands come to Uganda each year in search of the Mountain Gorillas, some even stay in the Travellers Rest Hotel he owned, but even he would be surprised as to what has happened to his beloved Mountain Gorillas.
No matter what – It is a once in a lifetime experience you will not soon forget.
If you like to go and experience the gorillas and not worry about the terminology, “Call it Gorilla Tracking or Trekking” – then contact us to experience the Mountain gorillas on a trek or a Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
We love to be of help and create for you that perfect Mountain Gorilla Safari Experience in Bwindi Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park. An experience that you will never forget – you might even return for another tracking or trekking the Gentle Giants of the Forest.
Gorillas, Gorilla Safaris is what we are about, what we do, we do not dabble in other things, but memorable including memorable Gorilla Safaris whether you are trekking or Tracking, we will get you there.