How to improve gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks
Having the best gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park depends on personal feelings and the services provided by Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers.
It takes two to tangle so improving on gorilla trekking adventure includes what tourists put in the suggestion box all propose to be done for the better good of gorilla trekking and the action taken by Uganda Wildlife Authority as long as it is in line with conservation.
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How To Improve Gorilla Trekking Experience in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park
By Uganda Wildlife Authority
- Dividing Vast Bwindi Impenetrable National Park into Areas
- Promoting Golden Monkey Trekking In Mgahinga National Park
- Improving Transport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park
- Setting Healthy Rules For Gorilla Trekking
- A variety of accommodations Are Available To Book For Gorilla Trekking
- Using Professional and Knowledgeable Ranger Guides
- Uganda Wildlife Authority Adding Gorilla Habituation to Gorilla Trekking
- Purchase a gorilla trekking permit or gorilla habituation permit
- By hiring a porter during gorilla trekking to help a tourist
- As a tourist, follow the gorilla trekking rules.
- Have some level of fitness before gorilla trekking
- Pack the right gorilla trekking gears
- Volunteer to stay behind when you catch a communicable infection before gorilla trekking.
- Combine gorilla trekking with other Uganda safari activities.
By Uganda Wildlife Authority
Dividing Vast Bwindi Impenetrable National Park into Areas
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a vast park occupying over 327 square kilometers making administrative duties hard. The Uganda Wildlife Authority subdivided the park into four administrative areas to ease and control administrative duties.
The four areas into which Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided include Buhoma area, Ruhijah area, Rushaga area and Nkuringo area. When a Bwindi gorilla permit is booked, it is reserved according to area. Each area has gorilla families under which tourists are subdivided on the day of trekking.
This arrangement is one of the ways to allow tourists to visit the different parts of Bwindi National Park unlike in the past when their preference was always Buhoma area or the Northern part of Bwindi. This arrangement dragged and stagnated the development of other areas of Bwindi.
Promoting Golden Monkey Trekking In Mgahinga National Park
Other than gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park where the only family called Nyakagezi was known to be mobile, golden monkey trekking and other Mgahinga activities are being promoted.
Mgahinga National Park is known to be the smallest park in Uganda, occupying about 33.7 square kilometers. It is also one of the virgin national parks in the country because it receives fewer visitors.
Golden monkeys are some of the endangered primates in Africa, of which about 20000 to 40000 golden monkeys are believed to be existing in the world. They are a unique specie with golden brown hairs and a larger body structure compared to normal monkeys. Golden monkeys are very active in nature and exciting to watch while in the jungle.
Over time, the presence of the golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park has brought it closer to the tourism map other than the mountain gorillas. This is one of the top reasons for tourists to visit Mgahinga National Park.
Improving Transport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park
Accessing Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga National Park is currently either by road or air. The roads leading to these national parks were in a very sorrowful state in the past, but the unending quest for improving them by Uganda Wildlife Authority to the Uganda government has yielded some fruit. Some of the routes leading to these parks are currently being worked up, so transport is improving.
Daily domestic flights are currently part of the transport means one can choose from. Tourists previously used to get fatigued by the long journey of about 8 hours to 9 hours from Entebbe Airport to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
The daily domestic flights take about 1 hour and a half to 2 hours from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airport to either Kihihi Airstrip or Kisoro Airstrip. You need a connecting transfer vehicle from the airstrip to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
Setting Healthy Rules For Gorilla Trekking
The Uganda Wildlife Authority strengthens the rule of volunteering to stay behind in case you have a communicable infection. You must be covid-19 free by the time of gorilla trekking, wear a clean mask before meeting the mountain gorillas and sanitize your shoes too before starting the gorilla trek.
All these are aimed at protecting the mountain gorillas from acquiring human infectious germs whose effect may not be great for the conservation of the mountain gorillas. Their conservation has taken a long time and a lot of money, which doesn’t deserve to go to waste.
A variety of accommodations Are Available To Book For Gorilla Trekking
Within the park and outside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is a variety of accommodations you can choose from according to your budget. These accommodations range from Luxury, Mid-range, and Budget facilities plus camping sites.
Bwindi accommodations include Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, and others
Mgahinga accommodations include Gahinga Lodge, Traveller’s Inn, Mgahinga Gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mutanda Lake Resort, and others that can be booked in Kisoro town.
Using Professional and Knowledgeable Ranger Guides
The Uganda wildlife authority often offers refresher courses to ranger guides to improve their guiding tactics during gorilla trekking. Even new ranger guides are often trained to keep the work of protecting the mountain gorillas going while others retire.
Tourists would like to have factual and firsthand information about the life of the mountain gorillas when they visit other than what they read from the different platforms.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger guides often go through theory and practical mocks to check their knowledge about mountain gorillas.
Each gorilla trekking safari is led by an experienced and professional guide with an armed ranger guide to offer extra protection to the tourists while in the jungle.
Uganda Wildlife Authority Adding Gorilla Habituation to Gorilla Trekking
As gorilla trekking is limited to strictly one hour, which may not be enough for some tourists so, by Uganda Wildlife Authority added Gorilla habituation, and tourists get extra 4 hours.
Gorilla habituation safari is the adventure of following semi habituated gorilla family in the wilderness to get them familiar with the presence of humans without altering their nature.
Since 2014, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has allowed a maximum of 4 tourists to participate in formulating a new gorilla family to add to the current gorilla trekking families. Currently, this is done in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where currently two gorilla families are open for habituation.
What A Tourist Can Do To Improve Gorilla Trekking Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park?
Purchase A gorilla Trekking Permit or Gorilla Habituation Permit
To support the conservation of mountain gorillas, when you buy a gorilla permit, you add to the gorilla conservation fund. The mountain gorillas were some of the highly endangered primates by the 1980s when the census indicated about 250 mountain gorillas existed.
Gorilla trekking was taken as one of the measures to support the conservation of mountain gorillas.
What is Gorilla Trekking?
This safari adventure is where you search for a fully habituated gorilla family and stay with it for just one hour. It is a thrilling experience in the jungle of Uganda. Currently, Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for tourism living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is currently as follows:
$700 per person per trek for foreign nonresident tourists,
$600 per person for resident foreign tourists
150000shs for East African Residents
What Is Gorilla Habituation?
Gorilla habituation safari is an adventure of following a semi-habituated gorilla trekking family with escorting researcher and habituation. Only a maximum of 4 tourists are allowed to do gorilla habituation per day for 4 hours.
Since these mountain gorillas are semi-habituated, expect them to show some wild behavior. Some of these behaviors include going into hiding, so some patience and good behavior according to the information given during the briefing is necessary.
The cost of the gorilla habituation permit is currently:
$1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents
$1000 per person per trek for foreign residents
750000shs per person per trek for East African Residents.
What Is Included in The costs Of Gorilla Permit and habituation permit
Park entrance fees for the day, ranger guide fees, gorilla conservation fund support fees, security during gorilla trekking, and community development contribution.
What Is excluded In Gorilla Permit and Habituation Cost
Tipping, drinks, packed lunch, transport, and any other items of personal nature.
By Hiring a Porter During Gorilla Trekking To Help a Tourist
By hiring a porter during gorilla trekking or habituation, you get to support the local community directly. This is one of the ways the local people get to appreciate why mountain gorillas and their habitat deserve to be protected.
A porter is a person who assists you in carrying your gorilla trekking gear and other gadgets in the jungle. He may give you a push when you are stuck in the forest. The porters are hired at an affordable fee.
As a Tourist, Follow The gorilla trekking Rules.
Before gorilla trekking, you are advised to attend a briefing where the rules are given and more in-depth traits about these primates.
When tourists are subdivided into groups of a maximum of 8 trekkers, you follow the ranger guide into the jungle using the trails constructed by daily visitors.
Each gorilla trekker is expected to follow the rules of trekking individually, like no noise making during gorilla trekking and not provoking the mountain gorillas and others. Some of the rules aimed at preventing chances of agitating the mountain gorillas, which may push them into hiding.
Have some Level Of Fitness before Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is done in a volcanic area with ragged ridges and Plateaus. Sometimes the mountain gorillas spend their day on the slopes or lounging there.
To successfully enjoy gorilla trekking, you must have some level of fitness. You do not have to spend the entire day in the gym, but do some simple exercises to stretch your muscles a little more.
Pack The Right Gorilla Trekking Gears
During gorilla trekking, you need to have the right gorilla trekking gear. Some include safari boots to protect your feet from harsh forest conditions, a camera, a safari hat, insect repellant, warm clothes, safari attires, and so much more.
When you have your gear, you feel comfortable and prevent getting disorganized when looking for where to hire them. You also get to keep memories of your lifetime adventure experience with the only leftover mountain gorillas in the world.
Volunteer To Stay Behind When You Catch a Communicable Infection Before Gorilla Trekking
If you catch a communicable infection like flu, cough, or cholera, volunteer to stay behind so as not to pass it to the highly susceptible mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorillas have a DNA of about 96% to that of humans. Their conservation has taken a lot of time and money, yet you don’t know the effect of this infection.
Combine Gorilla Trekking With Other Uganda Safari Activities
Apart from gorilla trekking, you can do other Uganda safari activities to get the best of Uganda. However, this may be possible if you have extra days on safari.
Some of the additional activities include chimpanzee trekking, game drives in Murchison Falls National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park, visiting the source of the River Nile in Jinja, white water rafting, launch trips, and so much more.
With this, you need a well-tailored itinerary from a professional safari company like Encounter Africa Safaris, which has done Uganda tours for over a decade.
Each of the Uganda National Parks has different interesting features and wildlife that may be appealing to your eyes. You need to use an experienced person to select the best destinations in Uganda to fit within your holiday timeframe in Africa, and Encounter Africa Safaris does this best.
Contact us for further information.