Uganda is a great destination hosting a large population of the mountain gorillas. These great apes are well protected in two national parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
For the past 20 years, gorilla tourism has been thriving in the country and lots of tourists have visited both Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla tourism today is the backbone of Uganda tourism and gorilla trekking safaris are the most popular adventures that tourists enjoy! Today the gorillas live in a safe environment and the parks are well protected. Corresponding patrols to restrain poaching are taken through the parks and the benefit sharing schemes — including the sharing of tourism revenue with local communities have made tourism a success.
Within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there are 14 habituated gorilla groups and a total of 112 gorilla permits are issued each day by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). You can easily apply for one through us and we will make sure that you get it booked as soon as possible. Currently gorilla permits costs USD600 per person for Uganda and if you wish to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, the permit costs USD750 per person.
Things to Know About Gorillas
The gorillas have comparable DNA to humans and are therefore are prone to illness. Diseases as simple as common colds can easily wipe out an entire faction. Park visitors must keep a bare minimum distance of seven meters from the animals at all times, and visits are limited to one hour in the company of one of three habituated families.
Due to the restrictions, the future of this decisively endangered creature looks bright especially after decades of illegal deforestation and poaching, the number of gorillas at Bwindi has stuck at around 340, and for the first time in years, it is very slowly on the rise.
But gorilla tracking is no leisurely walk in the park. It can take anywhere up to 10 hours to find the elusive creatures in the dense undergrowth. Guides lead trekkers up precipitous verges and across rivers and old pangas are used to create paths through Bwindi. It is the perfect place to live out a childhood Tarzan fantasy, with vast sheathes of trees, vines, branches and bushes surrounding trekkers as they penetrate deep into the rain forest.
Treks begin with an early morning safety briefing. Depending on gorilla movements, you can spend a morning anywhere within the park’s 331sqkm forest with either in the Mubare gorilla family, the Habinyanja or the Rushegura group. The major is the Rushegura, a 12-strong group of habituated gorillas, including what is believed to be the world’s largest silverback, named Mwirima and weighing nearly 200kg.
In his family troop is Karungi, Nyamunwa, Kibande, Nyampazi, Ruterana, Kalembezi, Buzinza and several young males, including a couple of babies. Each is so named because of their individual markings in the local Ugandan language. Their broad shoulders look menacing but their eyes show wariness and they are incredibly shy. Though the woods are dense and thick, the gorillas leave behind muddy prints the size of baseball mitts, and are easier to spot than you may think. Wherever their leader Mwirima goes, they follow, leaving battered trees with broken limbs and chewed pieces of bark and bamboo in their path.
Seeing a wild gorilla only a few metre away feels like there is confusion in the trees or a violent shake in the canopy above your head. Then there may be a bang and a clatter, or a snapped branch and dark shapes plummeting into a clearing in front of you. One should expect their adrenaline levels to rocket and, in the warm, thin air, you will realize that cowering in front of an oncoming silverback is not something you could ever get used to.