5 Reasons To Go On A Mountain Gorilla Trek In Uganda

There are approximately 900 mountain gorillas left and all of them are high up in the Ugandan Mountains. You need to be strong and fit to reach them up there as the track isn’t easy. But your hard work is justly rewarded with a once in a lifetime experience. Mountain Gorillas are rare and getting a chance to observe the daily interactions of these mysterious and powerful primates is something not many people have experienced. If you are planning for an adventure in Africa for your next holiday, a mountain gorilla trek in Uganda is something you should never miss out on.

The mountain gorillas are curious creatures. They live in areas where the vegetation is dense. This is why Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is one of their favourite places. Booking with a reputable tour operator like Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays you’ll be provided with all the help you could need. I was informed that the mountain gorillas have also made the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park their home too. Other popular spots for visiting mountain gorillas include Virunga National Park in Congo and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. So, without further ado here are 5 reasons why you should go on a mountain gorilla trek in Uganda.

You’ll Meet Mountain Gorillas in “The Place of Darkness”

Due to its dense treetops, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is also known as “The Place of Darkness”. This is an ancient forest that stretches 128 square miles. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site owing to its astonishing biodiversity and the dense population of endangered species that live here.

This is one of the two most famous gorilla trekking spots in Uganda. The other one is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. There are two places to find gorillas here because Gorillas, unlike humans, don’t heed political borders. But still, Bwindi remains the home of nearly half of the mountain gorillas in the world.

The trek to the place where gorillas live is filled with adventure. There are countless opportunities for photography and if you get tired somewhere, you can also sit and take a break. That can of course only happen if your local guide allows you to. You never know which place is home to which animal.

You Can Visit Mountain Gorillas To Save Their Natural Home 

Mountain Gorillas are rare animals and such creatures are always endangered. Sadly, their habitat also faces destruction which is another threat to mountain gorillas. The people are steadily using the land around the national parks for farming and residential purposes. These activities are constantly shrinking their lands. So how can you save their natural habitat? By planning your next trip to Uganda, of course. Let me explain.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s most profitable industries. Granted that there are many tourism spots in Uganda, but the majority of tourists here solely come to see the mountain gorillas. In this instance, trekkers are actively encouraged to look for ways to give back to the indigenous communities they visit. 

Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds and you have GPS and satellite to guide you. But if you hire a porter who is a resident then you will be creating a job that would help people earn a living. And porters are not altogether useless. Since the track snakes through an unpredictable landscape porters help in guiding you through river crossings or muddy slopes.

You Get Trekking Permits That Are Affordable And Easy To Acquire

If you have been travelling abroad for trekking adventures, you would know how hard it is to get a trekking permit. The permits get even more difficult to acquire when you are entering a region where endangered animal species are found. Likewise, there are some strict regulations set in place to ensure the gorillas stay healthy and wild in Uganda as well. 

Since there are permits and restricted daily viewings of each gorilla group in Uganda, visitors are expected to apply well before their visiting dates. Planning and preparations are important. When it comes to costs, I can tell you it varies season to season. Usually, the permit cost ranges from $450 to $600. The months of April, May and November are usually more economical. If you compare this price to Rwanda, the permit may go as high as $1500 all year round.

You Get To Set Foot On A Challenging Terrain

Uganda is a place of volcanic slopes and lush terraced hills. If you are an expert trekker looking for a new challenge, you will not be disappointed here. The trek to the gorillas’ home takes you high up in the mountains. There are streams and waterfalls along the way. You also get to cross some muddy slopes. It was lucky that I came prepared and packed all my trekking gear beforehand. If you are an expert trekker looking for an adventure of a lifetime, this is the perfect place for you. 

You must know that gorillas are not the next-door neighbours of people in Uganda. They live high up in the mountains. These places are usually difficult to get to. It takes a lot of hard work to reach the gorillas. There will be thorns, tripping roots and tangles of vines in your way. You will rarely find any paths or signs here. Still, the reward will be worth all the trouble.

You’ll Get to See More Animals Than Just The Gorillas

If you are an animal lover, this place is just for you. In Uganda, you come across another endangered animal species other than the mountain gorilla. It’s the furry comical primate called the Golden Monkey. These animals live high up in the bamboo forests and tracking them is similar to tracking gorillas. This way you can see two endangered animals in their natural habitat. If the golden monkeys are not that special for you, Uganda also has L’hoest monkeys, blue monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys. If you visit the Kibale Forest National Park, you can see many chimpanzees as well. There are also the Patas monkeys roaming around Murchison Falls National Park.  If you like the red-tailed monkeys, you can head over to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. 

These were five reasons why you need to go on a mountain gorilla trek. I hope you find this article convincing. Those gorillas are amazing creatures. If left to go about their daily routine, they are very peaceful. Once you visit them, you’ll ask yourself why you haven’t done it before. Do give the mountain gorillas a visit at least once in your life. It will be worth every penny.

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