Mountain Gorillas tracking is one of the most amazing experience you can do in a life of trips, something that you’ll keep in your heart forever. The only two locations around the World where you can find this incredible animal are the Virunga range of extinct volcanic mountains on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda, that includes Virunga National Park with Mgahinga National Park, and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. Sadly the IUCN has listed the gorillas as critically endangered and the estimated number is about 880.
We have had the luck to track these wonderful primates twice so far: we first met them a long time ago in Congo (D.R.C.) hiking through the forest of Virunga National Park and in january 2018 in Uganda through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Both trekking were wonderful but with no doubt, for its charm and “not so easy to get there”, the most exciting experience was in Congo.
Bwindi is a small island of forest surrounded by some of the most densely popolate rural areas of Africa where people make their living through subsistence farming. It boasts approximately 300 gorillas divided in family groups and some of them can be tracked by visitors. The meeting point is at Rushaga Gate in the southern sector of the Park around 8 am, two hour drive from Kisoro. Before starting, the rangers give the visitors some important notices how to behave with gorillas. The duration of the walk is always different, could be from 1 to 4 hours or more and after the meeting, the rangers assign to the visitors a gorillas family to track. This time we were very lucky because the family they assigned us was quite close, only one hour hiking.
After 30 minutes drive by our vehicle, we start the hike through the forest that , as we come through, becomes very deep and ‘’impenetrable’’ so the rangers have to open a path with their machete while there is an incredible silence around us. After 1 hours of quite challenging hiking through the dense vegetation, we finally reach the ‘’trackers’’ that everyday follow the gorillas family. In a while, climbing up a dense and steep hill of plants and trees, we meet ”our” amazing gorillas family. There are 4 females, 2 babies and a big male called silver back because its back is covered by a thick silver fur, particular sign that marks him as the leader. Even though their daily bed area is a bit impervious, the rangers help us to find a good position where we can stand and watch at the gorillas family eating leaves and seeds. Unfortunately the time flies and after one hour, we have to leave the primates behind us in the dense vegetation and go back to the vehicle but doesn’t matter because we are really happy for this incredible experience.
When to go: January, February, June and July are the best months for visiting Uganda and gorillas.
Where to sleep: The town of Kisoro is the base for the gorillas trekking.
About Gorillas trip: On a single day, nearly 72 people travel into Bwindi to see gorillas and only 8 people are allowed to see a gorilla family. Only a few people a day can visit the other 2 national parks where mountain gorillas are living. You need a daily permit and the price is around 600 US dollars. The way to do the trekking is to book with some local tour operators in advance to be sure to get your permit. Anyways you can also try on the website of Uganda Wild Life.
You can find the website of some local tour operators here.
How to arrange your trip? Click here