Tracking gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a highlight that you will remember forever while on your Ugandan gorilla safari. The landscape changes dramatically: Bwindi is a place of steep hillsides, dense jungle and towering trees, harboring more than a half of the world’s remaining population of Mountain Gorillas.
Tracking the Gorillas
Trekking gorillas can sometimes involve walking for long periods through often muddy conditions. The reward, however, is well worth the effort as you spend up to an hour watching these primates in their natural environment.
A professional, knowledgeable and experienced armed guide will lead you along, searching for these gentle giants. Once found, you are only allowed with one hour of close contact with them, observing their way of life, watching them feeding and playing among others.
Mountain Gorilla Behaviour
Their behaviour is so familiar that you may feel like you have known them all your life; it is an inspiring and privileged moment to see these highly endangered creatures in the wild, eating, grooming, playing or napping. Sometimes a curious youngster might approach you for a closer look or to tug at an item that attracts its attention, but on the whole you are ignored; most particularly by the dominant male, whose indifference borders on the disdainful.
Looking into their deep brown eyes, you feel recognition, a feeling of kinship in a gaze that spans the aeons between you and our common ancestors.
Not only will you watch these amazing gentle giants but also get the opportunity to spot hundreds of astonishing species of endemic birds, plants, insects and butterflies and to learn more about rural life in Uganda by visiting community centres and Batwa villages. Another unique experience and Perfect for the adventurous at heart.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
Another extra ordinary activity is the Gorilla Habituation Experience (GHEX). Unlike the classic Gorilla tracking experience, habituation gives you more time (4 hours) to enjoy the best of your time with these endangered primates.
The activity involves waking up early in the morning and head to the park headquarters to join other clients for briefing about dos and don’ts while with mountain gorillas on your habituation experience. After briefing, you will start your trek into the forest guided by researchers and guides.
During your trek, you may encounter several birds, other animals and primates in the forest and once you have found the gorillas you will spend four hours or a whole day with them.
You will have an opportunity to listen and observer researchers doing their work of habituating gorillas and if possible, you will be called upon to participate by collecting samples, naming of group members, making calls and so much more. This is rewarding activity and lasting memory once you get face to face with these gentle and amazing apes.
Where else to do Gorilla Trekking besides Bwindi Forest
In Uganda, Gorilla tracking can also be done in Mgahinga National Park, the country’s part of the Virunga Conservation Area, made up of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. However unlike Bwindi Forest that has more than 18 gorilla families, Mgahinga currently has only one Gorilla Family, the Nyakagezi.
Gorilla tracking Fees
The classic Gorilla tracking permit in Uganda costs $600 per person while habituation is at $1500. However, starting 1st July 2020, the classic Gorilla permit will be costing $700 as according to the new conservation tariff by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
In Rwanda, Gorilla tracking costs $1500 while in DR Congo, $400 per person. Gorilla habituation is nowhere else besides Bwindi, in Uganda.