When it comes to primates, Uganda has the largest concentration of these species in the world. There are three National Parks specifically for primates only and these include Kibaale forest, Mgahinga National Park, and renowned Bwindi Forest.
The 331 sq. km Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the most popular destination in Uganda to the world as it offers an exquisite gorilla safari experience. It is termed an impenetrable forest because its trees are thick and the forest thicker with dense undergrowth, creepers, bamboo, and parasitic plants.
Gorilla Trekking is an experience where a group of people getsto hike/trek through the thick forests to see what gorillas look like and be able to view their natural habitat.
The best time to go trekking is during the months of June, August, September, and December. This is because there are fewer rains and the parks are drier, making it simple to hike and see the gorillas. A gorilla permit costs $700 per person and if you want to spend more time with these humble giants, there is a gorilla habituation experience that costs $1500 per person.
The park has Gorilla sectors including Ruhijah, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma. A maximum of 8 people is allowed to track each gorilla family. Tracking the gorillas takes 3-8 hours of hiking. You are advised to make arrangements at least 4 months prior to the date of your visit. Bwindi is essentially a rainforest and it’s necessary to carry a raincoat, hiking boots, long pants,and long-sleeved shirts along with gloves.
Their way of life
Gorillas are classified into two groups; Mountain gorillas and Lowland gorillas which are further classified into Western and Eastern lowland. Gorillas live in groups/ families without territorial boundaries but with family’s ranging from 2 to 15 square miles. Bwindi National Park has a maximum of 500 mountain gorillas that are split into 37 groups, 36 are in Bwindi and 1 group is kept for research and habituation processes.
Females decide whom they allow into their family. If a gorilla wants to join another group and the females don’t want her in, they will scratch her in the face and keep her out. If a female wants to leave a group to find a male she likes better but the other females like her very much, they grab her by the legs and don’t allow her to leave.
Gorillas communicate by stomach rumbling meaning they are contented, a roar or scream is made when they feel threatened, and a loud hoot or roar is given when silverbacks are interacting. This is done by chest beating and thrashing of trees.
Make sure to consider visiting these humble giants when planning your next trip.