Uganda Primates Tour

3 Days Gorilla Trekking - Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

 KABALE, Uganda
 01st Oct - 31st Aug

Overview

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VISIT BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK:

A 3-day gorilla trekking tour in Uganda leads you to a magical journey into the isolated jungle of Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Southwestern Uganda,  promising you an experience like no other. Sitting among a family of wild mountain gorillas in the deep misty jungle of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest park is utterly magical; nothing can ever prepare you for such an experience – their sheer beauty, brawn, and soulful brown eyes, their astonishingly human-like expressions or their extraordinarily gentle demeanor. One to six-hour with these gentle creatures takes to change your whole life’s experience. Besides the mountain Gorillas, you will also have an opportunity to see other primates such as the red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys among others. This forest is also home to 120 mammals, 51 reptiles, 310 butterfly species, 27 species of frogs, geckos, chameleons, 163 tree species, 104 fern species, 1000 flowering plants, as well as over 350 species of birds such as the hornbills and the Turacos!  Gorilla trekking takes around 2 to 8 hours, which is worth it as those into hiking will have a great time climbing up and about the rolling hills, and going through the lush vegetation.

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1. Gorilla Trekking Permits

These permits should be secured several months before if possible to avoid missing out on getting one for the desired date. Gorilla Permits can be paid for up to two years in advance, although it's highly recommended to book at least 2 to 5 months before your gorilla-tracking safari since there's usually a high demand for the permits, basing on the seasons.  Gorilla Trekking permits should be under your own names and never allow you to use permits that are not under your names. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs US $700 for non-foreign residents and US$600 for Foreign residents.  Tracking the gorillas can last from a few hours to a whole day, depending on how far the gorilla group being tracked has moved since it was observed nesting up the previous evening. You will spend one hour with the gorillas after reaching them. However, due to a few inconveniences, your guide may allow you a few more minutes. Mountain gorillas prefer being in their own company doing their wild activities like eating, mating, etc. rather than being surrounded by humans for a long time. This is why the time is restricted to one hour.

2. Consider the Season

You should know the best time to have Gorilla Safaris in Uganda if you are to have exceptional gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. The best time to travel to Uganda is during the dry seasons of the year, June to mid-September (the mini-dry season) and December to February (the main dry season). In Uganda, there are generally two rainy seasons; March to May, and mid-September to November. However, the temperatures are always high regardless of the seasons. Rains in March-May are short while they are heavier in September-November but can just be long hours of soft drizzle. Bwindi is chilly in the morning and at night with average temperatures ranging from 7⁰C - 20⁰C. Note. During the rainy seasons, the permits are sometimes offered at a discount.

3. Uganda Gorilla habituated groups and families in Bwindi.

The process of mountain gorilla habituation can take from two to three years to be completed. Habituation in Uganda is done by a group of researchers who operate under the Research and Monitoring Department of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. This exercise started in 1993 and the Mubare group in Buhoma was the first to be opened for tourism. Currently, Bwindi has 50 gorilla groups but only 21 are habituated for tourism. 21 groups are an increase from 18, due to various factors ranging from one group splitting to give rise to new ones to new families emerging due to the habituation process coming to an end. These 21 groups are found within various trekking sectors.  Buhoma has 5 habituated groups; Rushegura, Mubare, Muyambi, Katwe, and Habiyanja.  Ruhija is considered the most remote sector of all the four and has 4 groups; Bitukura, Mukiza, Oruzogo, and Kyaguliro. In Ruhija, there's also a three-hour hike to visit the Mubwindi swamp. Rushaga has 10 groups namely; Kahungye, Mishaya, Bweeza, Nshongi-has 36 members including 5 silverbacks, Busingye, Kutu, Mucunguzi, Rwigi, and Bikingyi. Nkulingo which is about 10km from Buhoma has 2 groups; Nkuringo and Christmas. You will have an opportunity to track one of these groups and families during this 3-day gorilla trekking tour in Uganda.

4. Precautions & Advice for gorilla trekking

Individual tracking is not allowed, rather the park authority assigns guides to each tracking group to help them locate the gorilla families and also to ensure that the trackers adhere to all the tracking rules and regulations.  The recommended distance between trackers and the gorillas is 7meters, although gorillas can move closer to you. There is nothing to fear even in this case. You just have to follow the instructions of your guide. You are encouraged to maintain the distance are not allowed to touch them. If you must sneeze or cough, cover your face and turn away from the gorillas, as they can catch a cold and cough from humans. Even though Bwindi’s various trailheads can be reached by vehicle, there are no roads within the park itself, making exploration majorly possible on foot. Bwindi has aptly named the ‘impenetrable forest’; paths pass through dense vegetation and can be steep. You are thus advised to take advantage of walking sticks offered at the start of a walk. 

There are other activities one can do while in Bwindi. These include; a cultural experience with the Batwa community, nature walks, cycling, and bird watching. For bird enthusiasts, the park is home to 23 Albertine Rift endemics such as the short-tailed warbler, Shelley’s crimson wing, African green broadbill, and the blue-headed sunbird, and seven IUCN Red Data List species. Fourteen species, including the brown-necked parrot and the white-bellied robin chat, occur nowhere else in Uganda. Bwindi’s four trailheads all offer excellent birding opportunities with the prospect of checking off forest rarities. The River Ivi Trail between Buhoma and Nkuringo is recommended, as is Buhoma’s forest-edge Munyaga River Trail. Ruhija’s Bamboo Trail, leading to the 2607m Rwamunyoni peak, and Mubwindi Swamp Trail areMunyanga River Trail, in the valley below the Buhoma trailhead, provides a short walk to view birds and primates along the forest edge. Waterfall Trail leads through one of Uganda’s most pristine tracts of rainforest, passing beneath tree ferns, epiphytic ferns, and orchids to visit three sparking crystal clear waterfalls. Rushura Hill Trail provides expansive views across the plains of the Albertine Rift Valley and (on clear days) to Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains to the north. 

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  • Please note the age limit of 15 years and above for gorilla tracking.
  • Book your permits well in advance as only 8 permits are issued per gorilla group in a day. There are 21 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi.
  • You should be free from infectious diseases such as Flu which can be passed to the gorillas since humans share 98% DNA with gorillas. If you are found to carry an infectious disease you will not be allowed to track.
  • Every participant has the chance to hire trekking assistance (porter) who will help to carry the bags and support them whenever it is needed. For the trekking assistant, an additional fee of US$ 15 is charged. Even those who consider themselves very old and don’t think they are hikers or adventurous can also successfully visit the gorillas. This can be done by hiring personal assistants to carry your daypack also to assist you in difficult areas.
  • Do not use flash photography.
  • Littering in the forest is not allowed! 
  • You are required to maintain a distance of 7 meters when you reach the gorillas. In certain instances, the young gorillas may come closer to you out of curiosity to touch you. However, you are not expected to respond because the silverback could respond violently as it tries to protect the young one from you.

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Gorilla trekking clothing is the same for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park, and Volcanoes National Park, so the next question to be answered is what to pack for a gorilla trek.

  • Bring proper walking boots, long trousers, and rain gear as you will be hiking through Bwindi Forest.
  • Insect repellant is recommended.
  • At least 1-2 liters of drinking water per person during the trekking.
  • Hiking boots, gloves, rain jacket.
  • Camera and extra batteries.
  • sunscreen and a sun hat, since the sun may be hot during the day.
  • waterproof bags to protect cameras and other equipment when hiking, just in case it rains.

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Gorilla Safari highlights:

  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest
  • Photo session at the Equator
  • Optional – community walk

This Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour is arranged either in the budget, mid-range, and luxury safari to allow every traveler to have a chance with the endangered mountain gorillas. nothing can ever prepare you for such an experience – their sheer beauty, brawn, and soulful brown eyes, their astonishingly human-like expressions, or their extraordinarily gentle demeanor. 

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5.0/5

(2 Reviews)

Tour Overview

Availability

Oct 19 - Mar 21

Duration

3D/2N

Pickup Location

Pickup available from airport and transport by road.

Language

English

Car PickUp

Available

Tour Guide

Included

Included

  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Ground transport
  • Bottled water in the safari vehicle
  • Full board accommodation for two nights
  • Service of an English-speaking driver guide
  • All mentioned activities except for the optional ones

Excluded

  • Extras at the accommodation i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc.
  • Tips to porters and driver/ guide
  • Insurance

Itenary

Day 1
  • 10:00 AM

    Kampala – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

    Our driver-guide will pick you from your area of accommodation in Kampala or Entebbe Airport after which you embark on your journey to the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National park a journey that crosses the equator line..

  • 11:00 AM

    This park is most famous for the rare mountain gorillas and the drive to the park is incredibly scenic, passing through various local villages and the lush green countryside & hills which characterize so much of southwestern Uganda..

  • 03:00 PM

    Once you are in the forest park, it is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa and the diversity of species is a feature of the park. The journey takes 10 hours, so you're advised to land at Entebbe airport in the morning or have an extra night in Kampala and then travel to Bwindi the following day.

    Accommodation Category: (Silverback Lodge - Luxury option) (Buhoma Haven Lodge - Mid Range option) (Buhoma Rest Camp - Budget option)

Day 2
  • 10:00 AM

    Today you go to track the rare mountain gorillas, after a briefing from your ranger guide, begin tracking the mountain gorillas through the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This can take a couple of hours or a whole day depending on the location of the apes. Keep an eye out for forest species such as buffaloes, elephants, black-fronted duikers, and bushbucks. It is a humbling experience to stand just meters from man’s distant cousins as they eat, rest, play, and bond with their young. Follow the mountain gorillas as they range freely in the impenetrable forest and discover their gorgeous natural habitat and the many species they share it with.

  • 03:00 PM

    Gorilla Trekking Day. The Gorilla group you will track belongs to one of the habituated family groups (Nkuringo family) who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day. After a well-earned gorilla experience, you will be transferred to your lodge or have any other optional activity. Accommodation Category: (Silverback Lodge - Luxury option) (Buhoma Haven Lodge - Mid Range option) (Buhoma Rest Camp - Budget option).

Day 3
  • 10:00 AM

    Transfer Back To Kampala. After breakfast, drive (8-10 hour drive) back to Kampala with a stopover for en-route lunch at the Equator if you happened to miss it on your 1st day. Here you will have detailed experience with the equator and visit some crafts market in case you’re interested in buying some souvenirs. Your guide will therefore proceed to Kampala and will drop you back at your accommodation in Kampala or Entebbe Airport for your late flight back home. Journey time: 8-10 hrs Meal plan: Breakfast & Lunch

  • Lisa

    18th Oct, 2020

    Good. I had limited time in Uganda and it certainly wasn't a relaxing vacation, but I was focused on the gorillas and I knew what I was going into. Thumbs up to Mr. Musa and his agency, who made my journey easier, very professional, and customer care oriented. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone.

    5.0
  • Brendon

    18th Oct, 2020

    The gorilla's tracking was incredible. I wish we could have stayed longer with them, and or be able to do another trek.

    5.0