Time spent in the company of an awesome male silverback, accompanied by his harem of females and youngsters is understandably the highlight of most trips to Uganda. It remains firmly as the No. 1 “Most Desirable Wildlife Moment” for many travellers, as our major UK research programme in 2016 showed.
Following successful conservation efforts, aided by tourism permit fees, endangered Mountain Gorilla populations are actually rising and are believed to be nudging 900. Just over half of these are resident in Uganda and 12 families have been habituated for tourism purposes.
Booking permits as early as possible is key, as only eight people can trek to see each family, each day. Permits are US$600 which drops to US$450 in April, May and November.
The specific family to be trekked by your client is allocated prior to commencement, dependent upon the client’s fitness level and preferences. Treks start early in the morning, from 4 different locations across Bwindi (Rushaga, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Buhoma) as well as in Mgahinga. So your client’s accommodation should ideally match that location, as there can be time/travel implications. Treks can take anything from one to six hours or even longer dependent upon the family’s location, but the chances of encountering the gorillas is very high… and the thrill of seeing them soon cancels out the effort taken to get there!
There is also the opportunity to participate in gorilla habituation experience where the client can spend up to 4 hours in the vicinity of a family. Due to the nature of the programme, the quality of sightings may not always be to the level of standard treks but the activity offers a chance to experience the activity carried out by conservationists as they habituate wild gorillas.
WHAT YOU NEED
Walking boots, firm trainers or wellies are ideal. Gaiters and gardening gloves can prove useful. Walking sticks are available at the start point. Hiring porters ($15) supports the community and avoids clients having to carry bags.
For further information on Gorilla experiences in Uganda, click here.
WHERE TO SEE GORILLAS
Uganda offers Gorillas in the following location. Click on the button below for more info and Accommodation lists.