Mountain Gorilla experience is one of the most thrilling experiences one can have in a lifetime it is the most sought-after thing to do by many travelers seeing mountain gorillas is like a dream come true! They live within the Central African montane forests and have been listed by the IUCN red List as critically endangered, they are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla Beringei which survive in high altitudinal zones only ranging from 2,200-4,300m above sea level, the gorillas are the largest living primates with muscular arms, massive chests, bodies covered in fur with brown eyes, they are characterized by their gentle behavior, intelligence and are herbivorous in nature feeding on the forest plants, tree backs, mushrooms and occasionally insects like termites.
In Uganda mountain gorillas are found in only 2 biodiverse ecosystems, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the southwestern part of the country home to half the population of the gorilla species in the world, the conservation area was gazette as a national park in 1991, and later recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site by 1994 this was done as a way to protect the endangered species of the park, divided into 4 sectors(Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga) each of these has gorilla families habituated for guest visit, the first place to have gorilla trekking experience was the Buhoma sector of the park, Mgahinga national park is home to only one transboundary gorilla group called Nyakagezi gorilla family recently there was a group joining and have been static for some time but it doesn’t guarantee that they will not move, they absolutely move from one point to another other ecosystems to see the mountain gorilla include Volcanoes national park of Rwanda and Virunga national park in the democratic republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking experience is done daily beginning in the morning at approximately 8:00 am Uganda Wildlife Authority team does a briefing basically about the forest and gorillas, Tracking is done in groups of 8 per gorilla family it takes 2 -8 hours or even the entire day depending on how far families have moved. Permits can be accessed through your ground handler foreign residents the rate is $700, for foreign residents, $600, and for East African citizens 250,000 shillings. It is important to pack right for this safari mainly warm clothes, long-sleeved shirts and trousers, waterproof hiking boots, gaiters, insect repellants, and any other items of personal nature.
The experience can be combined together with the Batwa cultural experience these are groups of the last structured short people in Uganda, they lived in the forest amicably with other creatures however due to conservation purposes these were evicted and hence continued living around the national park performing to their cultural songs, demonstrating how they lived in the forests and other medicinal purposes. Birding at both destinations is a rewarding experience Some of the birds of the region are endemic for example the African green broadbill to the Ruhija sector. The conservation areas can be accessed by road taking approximately +/-9 hours’ drive through western Uganda or +/-6 hours drive through Rwanda Charter or scheduled flights can be arranged to the Kisoro or Kihihi airstrip.