Are you looking for budget or luxury gorilla safaris? Are you interested in mountain gorillas but you are confused with which destination to go for trek? Uganda is one of the best destinations that tourists can visit for gorilla trekking in the heart of East Africa. Unlike the ordinary walks on flat land or in the city centre, gorilla trekking in Uganda is a true breathtaking experience where visitors meet value for money and authentic tourism products. Any endeavor that visitors invest to reach to the jungles of South Western Uganda comes with a spark of magical experiences from the only mountain gorillas that are still living in the world.

Currently, there are less than 900 mountain gorillas in the whole world! Besides, remarkable moments that you get within the one hour with the mountain gorillas, think about the moment when you are challenging yourself in the steep slopes within gorilla habitat and probably trying to grab some of the near by plants or trees species to gain grip; add that experience with that of trackers when they are clearing the dense vegetation using their machetes to create a path for you, certainly you will appreciate that gorilla trekking is indeed a life changing experience. No need to miss this incredible experience because it comes once in a life time!

Where is Gorilla Trekking Conducted?

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in either Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These two national parks are some of the 10 magnificent national parks that Uganda offers to its world visitors. You stand to make the right choice between the two national parks to enable you achieve your long term dreams. The world heritage site of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is UNESCO world heritage site that lies in South-Western, Uganda and it is surrounded by Kisoro, Kabale and Kanungu district. Within the jungles of Bwindi, there are 400 mountain gorillas while Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (in the extreme South Western Uganda) is a home to 80 of the rare mountain gorillas hence a reason why Uganda takes more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

There are several gorilla families that have been habituated for gorilla trekking within Uganda. Tourists who are interested in gorilla trekking tours within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are assigned to one of the 11 (eleven) fully Habituated Gorilla Families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and visitors interested in tracking the Mgahinga mountain gorillas, there is only one Habituated Gorilla Family that is set for tourism purposes. The trek is conducted for Nyakagezi Gorilla Family and those who get in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can choose to track from Buhoma Gorilla Families in the North-especially on Mubare gorilla group which is an ancient gorilla group to be habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Habinyanja gorilla group, or Nkuringo gorilla group or any of the Rushanga Habituated Gorilla Families.

Getting There

To reach to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, tourists can travel on road or alternatively by air. You can use aero link scheduled flights to Kisoro Airstrip where you will be transferred to either Mgahinga or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or land in Kihihi Airstrip and be transferred on road to your accommodation facility. If you decide to take the road access, from Kampala-you will get via Mbarara-Kabale-Kisoro and then connect to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This route is also convenient for visitors who are interested in tracking the mountain gorillas in the Southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. For those who need to track in the North or East, you will break off from Ntungamo-Kagaba-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Butogota and finally to Buhoma. Alternatively, you can take Kampala-Mbarara-Kasese-Kihihi and Buhoma route. This route is full of exciting things especially when you make a stop over Queen Elizabeth National Park-Ishasha area to see the rare tree climbing lions as they relax on the tree tracks, abundant wildlife that you have ever thought in life or make a stop over at the Equator and take photos.

What is required of you?

You must have a gorilla permit if you are planning to go for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In total, Uganda has 96 gorilla permits each day for visitors to purchase; out of 96, 88 permits are available in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 8 permits can be purchased for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Luckily, Uganda’s gorilla permits are still purchased at USD600 for foreign none residents during the peak season (June-September and December to February), USD500 for foreign nationals and shs250000 for East African nationals while in the low season (April, May and November), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) offers discounted permits at USD450 for foreign none residents and USD400 for foreign residents, shs.150000 for East African residents. Note that gorilla trekking is limited to only 8 visitors per day.

In addition, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has introduced a new product called Gorilla Habituation Experience which is offered in the Rushaga Area. While here, you will spend the whole day following the mountain gorillas while discovering their daily behaviors and after enjoy a total of 4 hours of face to face interaction with them unlike gorilla trekking where you have only one hour. Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience requires only 4 visitors per gorilla group and tourists visit Bushaho and Biking gorilla families. The habituation experience costs $1500 per gorilla permit per visitor, this applies to foreign none residents, while $1000 is paid by foreign residents and shs750000 for East African Residents.

What to Wear

Besides, possessing the gorilla permit, both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience requires you to be dressed properly, basically on long sleeved shirt or T-shirt, shocks, caps, trousers, waterproof hiking shoes but light in weight as well, never forget trekking stick to aid you at steep slopes as well as energy snacks and bottle of water to boost your energy. Tack into the shock to avoid injuries or harmful plants or forest insects. While enjoying the good moments with the mountain gorillas, the park management recommends visitors to keep 7 meters away from them and visitors should not be feeling sick or suffering from flue, cough or any diseases that can be transmitted to these creatures. The mountain gorillas are enlisted in IUCN red book as “critically endangered species.” All the rules and regulations should be observed as your tour guide will still remind you about them when you on your trek or during your early morning briefing at 7:30 am Ugandan time but you will need to be at briefing center as early as possible. Basically the outlined rules and regulations that visitor must observe are protective and conservation measures that are meant to safe guard the life of mountain gorillas. Let us all involve ourselves in conserving for generations as we enjoy our closet relatives in the wild!!

Where to Stay

However, there are also several accommodation facilities for you to choose from, they range from budget to luxury. They include, Gorilla Forest camp, Buhoma Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Cuckooland Lodge, all these can be found in Bwindi National Park. In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the notable lodging facilities include, Mount Gahinga Lodge and Mutanda Lake Resort.

In conclusion, Uganda offers tourists with two destinations in order for you to see the mountain gorillas. A tourist can choose to track in either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in South Western Uganda. These two parks are the only places where visitors can explore the reality about the world mountain gorillas in Uganda. You can either choose to do gorilla trekking or Gorilla Habituation Experience. However, you should be physically fit to hike because gorilla trekking/tracking is one of the breathtaking experiences that take you through the higher altitudes.

Recommended Websites

  • BwindiGuide.com offers comprehensive information on planning a gorilla safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • VisitMgahinga.com offers a complete guide to planning a gorilla safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Kenya is unrivaled in its incredible wildlife. There are hundreds of Kenya animals to catch a glimpse of, from the zebra to the rhino, although some are much more common than others.

On a Kenyan safari the sighting of no animal is guaranteed, but if you are traveling with an expert safari guide you might be in luck to spot something a little more special than a zebra.

Lions

Lions are the largest big cat found in Africa. Very popular with safaris, the great predators generally live in prides of up to 3 males and a dozen females.

Most active at dawn and dusk, lions can often be found resting in the shade during the day. However, sightings are still considered rare and it is a special thing to see a pride of lions on safari.

Cheetahs and Leopards

The two other big cats found in Kenya are cheetahs and leopards. Both solitary, and hard to spot while on safari, these predators are again likely to be spotted near trees, resting in the shade.

Leopards are the only big cat to take their kill up into a tree to eat and are often left bait near lodges so that tourists can catch a glimpse of the magnificent creature.

While perhaps not as exciting as the big cats, there are often opportunities to see wildebeest, gazelle, kudu and buffalo.

Buffalo

Buffalo are in fact very aggressive and should be avoided by tourists walking on foot. Even in a vehicle it is inadvisable to get too close, especially when buffalo calves are in the herd.

Buffalo kill more people each year than lions; don’t let their docile appearance fool you!

Giraffes and Elephants

Other Kenya animals that are favorites with tourists are giraffes and elephants. The National Park at Amboseli is home to herds of both animal and is one of the best places for sightings.

It is possible to get quite close to the animals in some situations, a truly incredible experience as both giraffes and elephants are huge!

The African Elephant is the largest mammal that lives on the land. Although they can cause trouble when they wander into human colonies or cultivated land, elephants are generally peaceful animals.

Giraffes are the tallest animal on Earth and are quite a sight in the flesh, reaching up to 5.5m high when fully grown.

Rhinos

The two species of rhino found in Kenya are also two of the rarest wildlife sightings while on safari. The black rhino is especially rare, so if you spot one you’re very lucky indeed!

They might look formidable with their two horns, but rhinos are vegetarian and live alone or in pairs. The chances of you coming into contact with them are rare enough, let alone being chased.

Other wildlife found in Kenya includes the hippopotamus, warthogs, crocodiles, baboons, vervets and many different specifies of birds.

Remember that even the best safari guide can’t guarantee you will see any of these Kenya animals.

However, this should mean that you make the most of every second you are experiencing Kenya, it’s culture and wildlife. As if you need any encouragement!

The Kilimanjaro National Park annual reports show that only 41% of climbers successfully reach to Uhuru peak annually. This means that more than 59% fail to reach the summit for various reasons. This is caused mainly by the drastically reduced levels of oxygen following the extremely increase in altitude. More than 85% of climbers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness.
The tips intended to provide you with a glue of what needed to be done before starting climbing the Kilimanjaro Mountain “The Mountain of Greatness”. Abiding to these tips will give you >>90% chances of climbing to Uhuru Peak (the top of Africa) successfully.

Tip #1: Decide to climb Kilimanjaro and get prepared mentally

Tip #2:  Choose the right climbing guide and route

Tip #3: Do enough acclimatization as much as possible

Tip #4: Put on the relevant climbing gears

Tip #5: Park as lighter as possible without leaving behind the important items

Tip #6: Take Diomox tablets with you in-case you get altitude sickness

Tip #7: Keep hydrated always especially as you go up the mountain

Tip #8: Don’t rash, walk slowly and steady. This is the key to successful climb to the top

Tip #9: Avoid the sun as much as possible

Tip #10: Enjoy and Experience the climb, make fun, exchange jokes as this will stimulate more energy to carry on