Bwindi gorilla trekking history can be traced from the 90’s when Bwindi Impenetrable national Park was itself gazzatted as a national park. From the 1970’s to early 1980’s the republic of Uganda was plugged in wars and political instabilities to the extent that tourists were rebelled rebels and national parks were turned into hunting grounds. In 1986, National Movement Army under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni took over power and with time there was relative peace and security that is still prevailing even now. This peace resulted into gazzetting Bwindi Forest into a national park and as conservation efforts increased habituation of the first gorilla family started and took two years.
In Bwindi gorilla trekking history, the first gorilla family to be habituated was Mubare group located in the Northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This gorilla family was under the able leadership of the late Ruhondeza who enabled easy habituation of this group. In 1993, gorilla trekking was officially opened in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to the first group of tourists. As people showed interest in trekking gorillas in Uganda, more three gorilla families of Rushegura, Habinyanja (In the North) and Nkuringo in the south were later habituated bring gorilla groups to four by 2004.
To trek mountain gorillas just as it is today, required one to book a gorilla permit. Each gorilla permit allowing one to spend one hour with habituated mountain gorillas was costing USD360.00 per person which was later increased to USD500 in 2012. With increased demand for gorilla permits, more gorilla families were habituated bring the total to nine groups.
Currently Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 11 habituated gorilla families spaced in four regions of Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. As this was happening and more tourists coming to see mountain gorillas, the number of gorillas was also on the increase. At the moment, the population of mountain gorillas in the whole world is more than 800 individuals with over 400 gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi gorilla trekking history was further enhanced by Uganda Wildlife Authority in 2013 by introducing low season gorilla permits/discounted gorilla permits as a way of giving back to society since Uganda was celebrating 50 years of independence. Instead of USD500, permits were reduced to USd350 in May, April and November, which was later revised to USD450 in 2016 and 2017. More lodges to provide accommodation to tourists have been constructed in all regions and todate, one can decide to either drive or fly to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park since we now have both charter and scheduled flights to the Park.
For more information about Bwindi gorilla trekking history, gorilla trekking tours and habituation safaris, Encounter Africa safaris is always at your service.