A remote pocket of rainforest in Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park in the southwest of Uganda is home to
half the world's population of endangered mountain gorillas.
The Bwindi Park is now the most popular region for gorilla
safaris in Uganda and has been proclaimed a World Heritage
Site. This park is made up of about 200 square miles
of dense rainforest and thick jungle vegetation - an
ideal habitat for the mountain gorillas.
The other park that offers great opportunities for Uganda
gorilla safaris is the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
This part is situated on the extreme southwest corner
of Uganda on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains that
also border Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Regardless of which park you visit, gorilla trekking
in Uganda affords you a once in a lifetime experience.
The thrill of trekking through the dense foliage as
you track the Uganda gorillas is one not soon to be
forgotten. On your forest trails; you may also come
across some of the other natural inhabitants of the
area, including diverse bird species, chimpanzees, golden
monkeys, bush buck, duiker and maybe even leopard.
The Rewards of Uganda Gorilla Safaris
The search through the dense rainforest could take anything
from 1 hour to 4 hours, depending on where the Uganda
gorillas choose to move to on that particular day. Although
they do have daily habits, they are constantly on the
move in search of food, so do not stay long in one particular
place, unless it is to rest for the night.
Visits to the family groups of Uganda gorillas are usually
limited to 8 people per group and the visit typically
lasts an hour. The trek is quite challenging, but once
you come into close proximity with these gentle distant
relatives of ours, the labours of the journey are soon
forgotten. Sitting in quiet observation of the Uganda
gorillas as they go about their daily life, playing,
eating and caring and raising their young, is a truly
Conservation History of the Uganda Gorillas
Until 1994, Uganda
gorilla safaris were a major tourist attraction.
However, when the civil war broke out in neighbouring
Rwanda, political unrest and bloodshed was rife, leaving
thousands of people dead and millions displaced from
their homes. Many of the victims of the war spilled
over into Uganda seeking refuge, which unfortunately
contaminated the natural habitat of the mountain gorillas.
Following the turmoil that erupted in 1999 when Uganda
was victim to Rwanda rebel attacks in the Bwindi Park,
even more gorilla lives were put at risk. <
Poaching of the Uganda gorillas was also on the rise
and with no strict conservation rules in place, many
gorillas were killed and the species diminished radically.
Over time, tighter policies have been implemented to
protect and prevent further incidents that could potentially
harm or inhibit the preservation if this species. Since
these protocols have been set in place and thanks to
the efforts of various conservation organisations, the
Uganda gorilla numbers have increased.
Uganda Gorilla Safari Guidelines
On your Uganda gorilla safari, you will always be accompanied
by a park ranger and trackers. These professionals will
gladly impart their knowledge of the area and the Uganda
gorillas, as they have invested much time conducting
the tours and spending time in the company of this incredible
Half of the fun of gorilla trekking in Uganda is trying
to follow the families of habituated gorilla through
the dense foliage of the equatorial forests. The gorillas
are constantly on the move in search of food which means
that you will have to be prepared for quite a tiring
but adventuresome trip! There are roughly about 700
mountain gorillas left in the world, which is why seeing
them in the wild really is an incredibly special opportunity.
Interesting Uganda Gorilla Facts:
* Mountain gorillas are diurnal - they are generally
active during the hours between 6am - 6pm, which is
why gorilla trekking in Uganda is conducted within these
* As male gorillas age, they develop a saddle of grey
or silver coloured hair on their backs, for this reason,
male Uganda gorillas are referred to as "silverbacks".
* Every evening, the mountain gorillas build a new nest
to sleep in for the night using surrounding vegetation.
* Uganda gorillas can be identified by their nose prints,
which are unique to each individual.
* The adult male Uganda gorillas have more pronounced
bony crests on their skulls, giving them a more conical
shape in comparison to the females.
* Uganda gorillas that live in the Virunga Mountains
have longer and darker hair than other gorilla species.
This hair allows them to adapt to their living environment
in a range of temperatures, including very cold climates.
About the Author
Oasis Overland offers incredible overland trips that
cover exciting regions around the world. The African
overland trips include those to the regions that afford
some of the greatest gorilla
safaris in Uganda. Contact Oasis Overland today
to start planning your unique Uganda gorilla experience.