Are you planning to trek mountain gorillas after the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda will be your perfect destination to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Uganda is one of the only 3 countries in the world with mountain gorillas others include Rwanda and DR Congo it is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Gorillas in Uganda can be trekked in two national parks that is Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which are both close to each other located in the far southwestern part of Uganda. These national parks can be accessed both from Entebbe/Kampala and Kigali, Rwanda, accessing these national parks for your gorilla trek it will be closer from Kigali with 4-5 hours drive compared from Entebbe/Kampala which is an 8-9 hours drive.
Amid this outbreak of the coronavirus which has caused a standstill on gorilla tourism activities in both national parks, this has as well resulted into a tentative closure of both national parks given the fact the same virus can easily spread to the mountain gorillas as they share approximately 98% DNA with humans, the closure is on until earliest April 30th and we do hope by this time the virus will be gone and gorilla trekking is back to normal. Uganda for the past many years has managed to handle and combat the pandemics, the same measures have been used in line with the guidelines and recommendations set by the World Health Organization to fight the spread of the COVID-19 and we do hope this will be combated soon.
Why trek gorillas in Uganda after COVID-19
Encounter Africa safaris organizes both budget, mid-range to luxury gorilla tours in Uganda. Our gorilla tours start from both Entebbe/Kampala and Kigali, Rwanda. We as well consider highly customizing all trips to best match our clients’ needs, please feel free to send us an email and we will customize for you a tour that will suit your interest budget and time. There are all reasons for you to trek gorillas in Uganda after COVID-19 and the major one is security and affordability.
When it comes to travel everyone has a choice ranging from budget, mid-range to tour luxury packages however Uganda among the destinations for gorilla trekking is much more affordable for all travellers given the fact food, transportation, accommodation and other services are abundant and this makes them cheaper and affordable to many travellers visiting Uganda for gorilla tracking. Then when it comes to gorilla tracking permit price Uganda is relatively cheaper compared to Rwanda that is USD800 and USD1500 per person per trek respectively.
The difference between Uganda and other destinations in terms of visiting the gorillas
The whole truth is that Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda have mountain gorillas and there is no big difference when it comes to the experience obtained at the end of your trek. The only difference is that Rwanda and DR Congo mountain gorillas are in the Virunga/hills with mainly bamboo as the main vegetation while in Uganda, these mountain gorillas are both in Virunga that is Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the tropical rain forest that is Bwindi Forest National Park with varieties of trees and plants. Chances of seeing gorillas in Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda are 98% so whichever country you visit, you will be able to see these great apes in their natural environment. It is believed that Rwanda gorillas are easy to see because of the kind of vegetation but this is in the mindset of people and also because Rwanda is highly marketed and hyped than Uganda. Those that have trekked gorillas in Uganda will equally hip praises on Bwindi.
Unique Gorilla tracking experiences
When it comes to gorilla tracking this is one of the best-organized tourism activity in Uganda and on your trek, you are given the maximum security and knowledgeable guides for the best experience during your trek. Among the unique gorilla tracking experience is the Gorilla Habituation Experience that only takes place in Bwindi forest national park among the national parks for gorilla tracking, with this when you choose to do a gorilla trek in Uganda you as well have an option to spend 4 hours encounter with the gorillas.
Other interesting attractions to visit in Uganda you can combine with your gorilla trek.
If you want to extend more days in Uganda, we usually recommend a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives and a boat cruise on Kanzinga Channel. This would be an ideal add on and worth visiting. Kazinga channel is one of the best avenues of spotting both land and aquatic wildlife in Uganda. Combining game drives and a boat cruise on the channel will be rewarding, among other areas to visit include Ishasha sector southern sector on Queen Elizabeth National Park for tree-climbing lions, Kibale Forest National park for chimpanzee tracking, Murchison falls and Kidepo valley national park for wildlife viewing among others.
Best practices that will be used to control the spread of COVID-19 during your gorilla tour in Uganda.
On top of the usual guidelines set by Uganda Wildlife Authority followed during the gorilla trek, Uganda Tourism board has issued travel recommendations that we will have to follow during the post coronavirus outbreak, due to the current threat posed by Corona Virus to Uganda travel trade and tourism assets, it is the recommendation of the Uganda Tourism Board that;
- All tour operators, travel agencies, and accommodation facilities provide handwashing facilities with soap at their premises and on-board travel vehicles and vessels
- To improve preparedness as a sector, tour operators, agencies and accommodation facilities are encouraged to maintain a stock of recommended masks (N95) for their clients
- All tour operators and travel agencies should encourage clients who intend to visit Uganda to carry their own recommended masks (N95)
- All tour operators, travel agencies and accommodation facilities should educate their staff and clients (visitors) on preventive measures for the mitigation of contracting Coronavirus
- These measures include; avoiding handshakes and body-hugging, washing hands with disinfectants, regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations
For travellers interested and planning to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda, you will need to abide with the following Gorilla Trekking Rules (as set out in the printed leaflet by the Uganda Wildlife Authority ‘Gorilla Rules’).
Before setting off for the gorilla trek:
- Do not visit the gorillas if you have a cold or other infectious illness. This will be determined by the head park ranger and he/she has a right to stop you from joining the trek, so before you travel to the park you should always first check with your doctor to confirm your health is okay for the gorilla trek.
- The minimum age for tracking is 15 years; this is always confirmed during sign in for the gorilla trek where you will be required to show your original passport for verification to be allowed to go for the gorilla trek.
- Human waste should be buried 30cm (15”) deep, this is always guided by the park ranger during your trek who will dig a hole for you to dispose of the waste.
- The maximum number of visitors is eight persons per gorilla group, this eases control of the movements in the forest as well reduces on the behavioural disturbances of the mountain gorillas during the encounter.
On the way to the gorillas:
- It is advised to keep your voices low. You will also have a chance to spot various bird species and other wild animals and if keen enough you will see some reptiles.
- DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out in your backpack with you.
- You will have areas and time for relaxing along the way
- When you approach the mountain gorillas, the guides will inform you to get ready for the amazing encounter.
When you are with the gorillas:
- Maintain a 7m (21ft) distance from the gorilla, this helps avoid transmitting the airborne diseases to the mountain gorillas.
- Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted. This may incite the gorillas to attack you and grab them.
- If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from the gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans
- Visits are limited to one hour per gorilla group per day
- Do not use flash photography when taking pictures you are also recommended to take care and follow the advice of your ranger guide.
Where to stay on a gorilla trek in Uganda after COVID-19
Accommodations in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park range from budget, mid-range to luxury. Budget options include Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Ride 4 a woman, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Buhoma Camp Lodge among others fares range from 90-100 dollars a night per person, mid-range options include, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Icumbi Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Buhoma Havens Lodge among others fares range from 100-300 dollars a night per person and then Luxury options include Buhoma Lodge, Bwindi Lodge, Gorilla Sanctuary Camp, Four Gorillas Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Engagi Lodge, among others fares range from 300-400 dollars a night per person.
Accommodations in Mgahinga National Park range from budget, mid-range to luxury. Budget options include Kisoro Travelers INN among others fares range from 90-100 dollars a night per person, mid-range options include, Lake Cahahfi Resort, Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge among others fares range from 100-300 dollars a night per person and then Luxury options include Gahinga Lodge among others fares range from 300-400 dollars a night per person.
Why book with Encounter Africa Safaris to trek gorillas in Uganda after COVID-19.
Encounter Africa safaris is one of the most trusted safari company offering safaris to a different part of East Africa including Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya and Tanzania. We have been conducting safaris for more than 10 years with passion. Contact us and we will assign you one of our safari designers who will assist you in organizing your safari to Bwindi impenetrable National Park to see mountain gorillas. Encounter Africa safaris is highly recommended on TripAdvisor as well as Safari Bookings.