With only around 880 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, Gorilla Safaris are life time safari experiences that you can ever have on the continental lands of Africa. Naturally gifted with the magical sceneries of the rolling hills and the lush green diverse vegetation types inhabited by the peaceful and organized homogeneous citizens, East and Central Africa is the only part of the world that have got the critically endangered mountain gorillas which only thrive in the forested mountainous areas of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park
About 480 mountain gorillas inhabit an extinct volcanic region called the Virunga Ranges and these reside on the altitude range of 2,300 to 4,500 meters in the hilly areas of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park (in the DRC) and Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda. The other 400 mountain gorillas inhabit a nearby area of a thick rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park in south western Uganda.
In Uganda, Gorilla trekking safaris are carried in two parks all located in southwestern Uganda i.e. the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi with 400 mountain Gorillas has 36 gorilla families and 11 habituated gorilla groups and Mgahinga has one habituated gorilla group which are opened for tourism purposes. Part of the fun of tracking gorillas here is trying to follow them through the dense foliage. You can also get to see other primate species and also under take cultural walk to encounter the rare local Batwa community who were the traditional owners of the land occupied by the two parks before they were pushed way.
Rwanda has one park in north western part of the country encompassing its share of the mountain gorilla population i.e. the Virunga National Park or Parc National des Volcans (PNV).The Mountain Gorilla families/groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park are separated into two (2) i.e. those for study or research purposes which are only visited by scientists plus researchers only. Among these include Beetsme and Pablo’s Shida’s which have the highest number of gorillas. Currently (2015), there are ten (10) Mountain gorilla groups/Families habituated for tourism purposes and a maximum of eight (8) individual visitors are allowed to visit each habituated gorilla family. The list of the ten habituated gorilla families/groups that are for tourism purposes in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park include the Susa Gorilla group, Karinsimbi Gorilla group, Sabinyo family, Hirwa Gorilla Family, Amahoro Gorilla Group, Bwengye Gorilla family, Group 13 (the Agasha group) and the Kwitonda Gorilla group. Ugenda Gorilla Family, Umubano Gorilla Group. With a gorilla permit costing US $ 750 per person per trek, part of your contribution goes to conservation of these critically endangered ape species- mountain gorillas.
Gorillas in the Virunga National Park
The DRC also has a section of the Virunga Mountains Park called the Parc National des Virunga or Virunga National Park where Gorilla Safaris are conducted. But the gorilla populations in this park have suffered a major setback because several Mountain gorillas were brutally hacked to death in 2007. However, in 2012 a census results showed that, the mountain gorillas were doing better than expected despite the civil war raging around them in large part due to the amazing efforts of rangers putting their lives on the line at Virunga National Park.
The in security in DR Congo makes Rwanda the land of thousand hills and Uganda –the Pearl of Africa to be the only two recognized safe and very secure countries where travellers in the whole world can trek the endangered ape species of the mountain gorillas (Gorilla Berengei Berengei) in their serene surroundings.
Gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda, Uganda or Congo offers rewarding life time experience, but you are not guaranteed to see Mountain gorillas because they are wildlife which keeps moving. The trek to where the gorilla groups live takes you through very dense vegetation, up steep slopes and can last several hours (2-8hours) depending on the movement of the apes. The dense vegetation is filled with burning and stinging nettles, so wearing gloves, waterproof walking boots; long sleeved shirts/trousers are a good idea. Red ants are also common, so wear long socks to tuck your trousers into. Gorillas move around so they aren’t all that easy to track and. The gorillas you’ll be meeting are habituated to humans and this gives an account as to why you are able to get quite close to them.
Trekking mountain gorillas in Mgahinga National park Uganda
Some basic rules of gorillas safaris include: You have to be over 15 years of age, You cannot be sick or have any infectious disease, Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas and you have to keep a distance of at least 7 meters, No flash photography is allowed, Trekkers must be fit and well equipped, which includes warm clothing for the wet cool climate high in the mountains among others.
Undertaking Gorilla safaris to with us to Rwanda, Uganda or DR Congo is among the rewarding decisions that you can ever opt for. The expert team and the vast knowledge that is possessed by its staff is enough to tailor any gorilla safari package in any of the three countries. The range of comfortable safari vehicles and the wide selection of quality lodges combine to generate ultimate safari memories to the esteemed travellers.