Uganda is one of the world’s desirable destinations for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking includes walking into the jungle in order to locate the mountain gorillas. The activity can go on for hours depending on the location of the mountain gorilla family. Gorilla trekking is a memorable activity and tourists can from all-over the world in order to view these rare primates.
Mountain gorillas can be trekked in only two national parks i.e. Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the first major destination for the activity due to the tremendous population of the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorilla conservation area of South Western Uganda in which the mountain gorillas are situated is known as Virunga region. Other countries that make up the Virunga region are Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a matter of fact, mountain gorilla trekking is only possible in the Virunga region globally. The reason is simply because the mountain gorillas are only situated in Central Africa.
About mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas as strange but awesome creatures with much likeness with humans. While the chimpanzees have the closest DNA similarity to that of humans, mountain gorillas can be safely listed among the primate species with equally near similarity too. The mountain gorillas are strong primates and grow to unimaginable body mass.
They live in the Virunga rainforests among the Virunga volcanoes. The volcanoes in the region have fertile volcanic soils on their slopes that have enabled the proper growth of the rainforests and the alpine vegetation on which the mountain gorillas breed and feed. Mountain gorillas live in nests formed within the bamboo vegetation and have a family experience with an adult male gorilla as a leader known as a “Silverback.” The silverback protects the family and ensures extension of the family line through reproduction. Mountain gorillas are social apes especially with now the intensified mountain gorilla research activities such as mountain gorilla habituation. Therefore, tourists get closer access to the apes in the wilderness since they are regarded as more human friendly after the habituation. The mountain gorillas in the Virunga have had some tough times surviving, due to wars, poaching, and encroachment on their habitats. However, the Uganda government under the Uganda Wildlife Authority has for a long time conserved the mountain gorillas and their habitats with support of the National Forestry Authority.
· Where mountain gorilla trekking is done in Uganda.
There are only two locations for the mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the major destination for the mountain gorilla trekking because it has the highest number of the primates. Mgahinga National Park is the second destination for the mountain gorilla trekking. Both destinations are situated in South Western Uganda. The two national parks have a great land coverage of the rainforests and extinct volcanoes which have been important aspects for the survival of the mountain gorillas.
· Cost of gorilla permits.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda is simply one of the most affordable for tourists who come to Africa for the activity, compared to Rwanda. In order for a tourist to trek the mountain gorillas, they are required to have a mountain gorilla permit.
The permits are accessible at the Uganda Wildlife Authority and come at a fee which depends on the status of the tourist i.e. EAC resident, foreign resident, or non-foreign resident. The EAC residents pay 250,000/= UGX each, foreign residents pay $600 each, while the non-foreign residents pay $700 each. Booking of the permits is recommended to be done at the earliest due to the high competition for the permits during the peak season.