Where To See Mountain Gorillas In Africa
Where to find Mountain Gorillas In Africa. Mountain Gorilla trekking is one of the most exciting wildlife experience in Africa, whether you love mountain gorillas or lowland gorillas (Western and Easter lowland gorillas). The absolute majesty of the silverbacks, the tenderness of the mother gorillas and the playful actions of the toddlers are just mesmerizing. Mountain Gorilla trekking is one of the most exciting wildlife experience in Africa, whether you love mountain gorillas or lowland gorillas (Western and Easter lowland gorillas). The absolute majesty of the silverbacks, the tenderness of the mother gorillas and the playful actions of the toddlers are just mesmerizing
Mountain gorillas are only found in the dense tropical rain forests of only 3 African countries: Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mountain gorillas are one of the rarest and endangered wildlife species with about 1000 individuals that are in existence according to the latest census confirmed. However, the number was so exciting because there was an increase of the total number of the existing mountain gorilla compared to 250 when conservation efforts first started some 50 years ago. Gorillas are divided into the mountain and the lowland gorillas that forms a couple of other sub-species. The Democratic Republic of Congo has both the lowland and mountain gorillas and Uganda and Rwanda have only the mountain gorillas.
The lowland gorillas are smaller with brownish-gray fur and a distinct brow ridge, while the mountain gorillas are larger with darker black fur. The Mountain gorillas are the rarest and most endangered primates in the entire world with less than 1000 still surviving in the African wilderness. The lowland gorillas are just in the DR. Congo, there are more than 100,000 individuals.
Where to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda?
Unlike Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda has two (2) destinations where you can see mountain gorillas fully in their natural habitats namely, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park all in southwestern Uganda. Uganda has the biggest population of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park only has half of the total population of the mountain gorillas in the world.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has over 500 mountain gorilla individuals out of the 1004 individuals that are existing worldwide with a total of about 36 families both wild and habituated one following the recent mountain gorilla census of 2017/2018 in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park has over 19 well-habituated gorilla families for tourism and research purposes. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park is the best national park in Africa for mountain gorilla trekking tour. Besides mountain gorillas, Bwindi impenetrable forest is the oldest ancient forest on the African continent that has lived for about 25000 years which gives a live example of how the nature once looked like.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is situated in southwestern Uganda attached to several Ugandan districts such as Kisoro, Kanungu and Kabale with a thick vegetation like its name suggests, it is the Uganda’s prime wildlife safari destination for a life time memorable travel experience. It provides the true life of African jungle which gives a feeling of being in paradise with zero pollution from several emissions common to our daily environment.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was acknowledged a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 because of its rich diversity that accommodates different flora and fauna such as being a home base to the biggest number of the total existing population of the mountain gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has an area of 321 km2 which is all covered with a green forest.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park holds the most untouched virgin forest residual on the entire African continent for example; it is a habitat to half of the world’s remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas, over 90 mammal species, 10 primates including the black and white colobus monkey, chimpanzees and hundreds of bird species where some of them are unique and endemic to this forest, many reptiles, unique butterfly species and many other unique wildlife species. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is the most popular and perfect destination for mountain gorilla encounter in Africa with 5/5 chances of meeting eye to eye with the endangered mountain gorillas. Therefore, it is a guarantee to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is easily accessible, affordable and gives a guarantee to see mountain gorillas with 98% clear chances on any day you choose to go for this activity. Mountain Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can only be done after purchasing trekking permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) which regulates all wildlife activities and protected areas of Uganda. Only 8 individuals of 15 years and above are permitted to visit each mountain gorilla family per day so, anyone below 15 years is not eligible to meet mountain gorillas and this is done for conservation purposes. Due to the high demand for the mountain gorilla permits and limited number to sellout on a daily basis, we advise you to book your permit at least 3 months before your intended trekking date to secure your permit and preferred trekking location.
When to see the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park?
Mountain Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can be done all the year around. However, the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December are the best time to go for gorilla trekking. This is because there are less rains and the park is dry which makes it to hike and see the gorillas. The average temperature of Bwindi Impenetrable national park is 11°C/52°F in the morning and 23°C/73°F in the afternoon throughout the year.
During March, April, May, October and November, Its rains so heavily which can sometimes make gorilla trekking so challenging because when it rains, the tracking trails become slippery, muddy and sometimes flooded. Therefore, when planning gorilla trekking tour during these months, you have to be prepare of unpredictable weather changes at any time of the day and changes in the tracking trails when dodging the most affected trails but still you will be able to see the mountain gorillas. So, in these months, there are few visitors who come for gorilla trekking to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park making it the best time for gorilla trekking to visitors who do not like crowds of people as it is the case during the months of June, July, August and September.
What is the climate of Bwindi Impenetrable national park?
Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park is characterized by a tropical climate with the annual mean temperature ranging from 7–15°C to a maximum of 20 –27°C and annual rainfall ranging from 1,400 to 1,900 millimeters. The heavy rainfalls occurs from March to late May and late September to November. The heat of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is tempered by the higher altitude.
There happens high amounts of vapor-transpiration from the forest’s vegetation during the early morning and late evening hours so, it tends to be very cold. Therefore, it is this high amounts of vapor-transpiration that increases the precipitation which is received by the park and surrounding region. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in the morning and evening normally has moderate temperatures between 7⁰C and 20⁰C mostly in the months of June to July. The months of September to November the park experience a total annual rainfall of 2390mm raining for long hours with gentle drizzles and January is the warmest month of the year.
The altitudes of the park areas, varies from 1160m to 2607m above sea level, which creates difference in the temperature. The park being so close to the equator, rain can come when it least expect it. In general, one would say that Bwindi impenetrable forest does not experience real dry seasons because even the known dry seasons, the park still do receive some short rains and the forest is always wet. June and July are coldest months in Bwindi
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has two seasons;
– Dry Season which starts from December to February and mid-June to late September
– Rainy season which starts from March to May and September to November
– Rains in March to May rain for long hours but with soft drizzle and heavier in the month of November but rains for short time.
Where to do gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Bwindi impenetrable national park has four main gorilla trekking sectors, these include; Buhoma Sector, Ruhija sector in the northern sector of the park and Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector found in the southern parts of the park. The Buhoma and Rushaga sectors have the biggest number of gorilla individuals and well habituated gorilla families for the gorilla tracking experience. At all these sectors, Gorilla Trekking experience can be done throughout the year.
Buhoma sector has the headquarter offices, most visited and the pioneer of gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Buhoma sector is referred to as the backbone of gorilla trekking experience in Uganda situated in the northern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park with approximately 5 well-habituated Gorilla families for tourism. The gorilla families in Buhoma sector include; Habinyanja family, Rushegura family, Muyambi family, Katwe family and Mubare family.
Mubare gorilla family, this family was the first to be habituated in Bwindi impenetrable national park for gorilla tourism in Uganda in 1991 and opened 2 years later. The Mubare family was named after the Mubare hills where it was first sighted.
Habinyanja family, this family got its name from the Kiga word Nyanja which means a water pond. It was habituated in 1997 and opened for tourism in 1999. It had 30 members lead by the dominant silverback called Mugurusi.
Rushegura family, this family split from the Habinyanja family in 2002 with 16 members under the leadership and left Habinyanja family with only 8 members. After the death of Mwirima in 2014, the family remained under the leadership of Kabukojo.
Katwe family, this is one of the newest habituated families to be launched in Buhoma sector for gorilla trekking experience. This family has 7 individuals with 1 silverback, 4 adult females and 2 babies.
Muyambi family, is the newest gorilla family in Buhoma sector, it was launched for tourism in 2019 with six family members. Muyambi was an adult family member of the Mubare family, and spilt away from the family to form a new family called Muyambi family now.