Is Gorilla Tracking In Uganda Safe : Mountain gorillas are the closest relatives to humans sharing more than 95% of DNA, gorillas are fascinating creatures, very powerful and intelligent.

Mountain gorillas lived in families/groups headed by a silverback who are known for displaying enormous strength though it is rare, the only time the silverbacks become aggressive is with other silverbacks and when they feel like their group is threatened.

Mountain gorillas remaining in the world are about 1,200 individuals in the wild and that is why they are categorized as endangered and they are found in only 4 destinations in the world that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in DR. Congo.

In Uganda, mountain gorillas are found in two national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi impenetrable national park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to over a third of the world’s mountain gorilla population, the park is situated in South western Uganda on the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and lies on an altitude range of 1,100 meters to 2,600 meters.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was created as a national park in 1991, located in South West Uganda covering just 34 square kilometers. The park is part of the Great Virunga Conservation Area and is dominated by a dense forest as well as Virunga Mountains with altitude varying from 2,200 meters to over 4,000 meters. Mgahinga is the smallest national park in Uganda at a size of 34 square kilometers.

How safe is it to do gorilla trekking in Uganda

Given the fact that it is one of the major tourist activity in Uganda, gorilla trekking is given a lot of attention so it is safe to do, the activity is well organized with enough security to make sure all tourists visit the gorillas are safe all through their trekking experience.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi and Mgahinga forest both sharing the border with DR Congo and Rwanda which are feared by some travelers due to their instability history and attacks from wild animals. To ensure safety of the tourists, these parks are well monitored by the tourism police and the park rangers to ensure that there are no intruders or terrorists in the forests. Also, visitors are escorted by armed park rangers equipped with AK-47 guns for protection purposes and also scare away wild animals in case of any attack.

Before visitors head into the forests of Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga for gorilla trekking, there is always an advance team that goes to the forest first to find out where a given gorilla family spent the night. Then during the trekking, you are guided by a team following the trail until you meet the mountain gorillas.

Rules and Regulations for gorilla trekking in Uganda

Before You Set Out

Before you head out into the forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga for gorilla trekking, you are offered a briefing experience through which you will be taken through the rules and regulations to follow and these include

  • Do not visit the gorilla if you are ill with a cold or other infectious illness
  • Minimum age for tracking is 15 years
  • Human waste should be buried 30 cm or 12 ft. deep
  • Maximum number of visitors per gorilla group is 8 people
Is Gorilla Tracking In Uganda Safe
Mgahinga Gorilla national park

When You Are With The Gorillas

  • Maintain a 7 meters (21 ft.) distance from the gorillas
  • Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted while in the forests of Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park
  • If you must sneeze or cough, cover your face and turn away from the gorillas as they can catch coughs and colds from humans
  • Visits to each mountain gorilla family per day is limited to one hour per gorilla group per day
  • Flash photography is prohibited as it irritates the gorillas.

Best Time for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

The best time to go gorilla trekking in Uganda is during the dry months of the year that is January, February, June to early September, in these months it is easier to travel to the park and the treks are a bit easier as the trails are relatively dry and not so slippery.

This period also offers clear views of the gorillas as the vegetation cover is not too much high grown.

Where to stay in Uganda while on a gorilla trekking experience

In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Forest National Park, there are a wide range of accommodation options ranging from budget, midrange to luxury.

Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

In Rushaga Sector

  • Rushaga Gorilla camp
  • Four Gorillas Lodge
  • Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge
  • Nsongi Camp
  • Icumbi Gorilla Safari Lodge
  • Gorilla Safari Lodge
  • Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Karungi Camp

In Nkuringo Sector

  • Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge
  • Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge
  • Lake Mutanda Resort

In Buhoma sector

  • Buhoma Lodge
  • Bwindi Lodge
  • Buhoma Community Rest Camp
  • Ride 4 a Woman

In Ruhija Sector

  • Trekkers Tavern Cottages
  • Agandi Eco Lodge
  • Gift of Nature Lodge
  • Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge
  • Broadbill Tented Camp among others.

Accommodations in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

 Lake Chahafi Resort

  • Gahinga Lodge
  • Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge
  • Kisoro Travelers’ Inn.
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